Archives for October 7, 2005

MADD makes 25 years, and begs retirement

via Fox News, and the on-target Radley Balko:

This fall Mothers Against Drunk Driving marks its 25th anniversary. The organization certainly has much to celebrate: Deaths from drunk driving are down more than 35 percent since the early 1980s. We no longer chuckle at the bumbling drunk who can barely get his key into the ignition — we scorn him. Hopefully, we arrest him, too.

Unfortunately, MADD has come to outlive and outgrow its original mission. By the mid-1990s, deaths from drunk driving began to level off, after 15 years of progress. The sensible conclusion to draw from this was that the occasional drunk driver had all but been eradicated. MADD’s successes had boiled the problem down to a small group of hard-core alcoholics.

It was at about this time that MADD began to move in a different direction, one not so much aimed at reducing drunk driving fatalities but at stripping DWI defendants of basic criminal rights. MADD also seemed to expand its mission to one of discouraging the consumption of alcohol in general — what critics call “neo-prohibition.”

Before you write excoriating emails, I am an Emergency Physician and I see the effects of drunk driving virtually every shift, sometimes several times per shift. I have previously denounced drunk drivers, and truly wish there were more prosecutions of the actually impaired driver. I’m also very aware of research that the drunk drivers I see are less likely to be prosecuted.

And, MADD is off the rails. Their actions toward a new prohibition are both wrong-headed and counterproductive. Their initial goal, a change of laws and attitudes toward drunk drivers, is done. They must stop before they damage their initial cause, and trivialize their initial gains.

A man, a dog, and a dream

In the “He made what?” category is this tale of a man, a neutered dog and a dream: Pooch Neuticles top Ig Nobels

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — Gregg Miller mortgaged his home and maxed out his credit cards to mass produce his invention — prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs.

What started 10 years ago with an experiment on an unwitting Rottweiler named Max has turned into a thriving mail-order business. And on Thursday night Miller’s efforts earned him a dubious yet strangely coveted honor: the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine.

“Considering my parents thought I was an idiot when I was a kid, this is a great honor,” he said. “I wish they were alive to see it.”

The Ig Nobels, given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research magazine, celebrate the humorous, creative and odd side of science.

Miller has sold more than 150,000 of his Neuticles, more than doubling his $500,000 investment. The silicone implants come in different sizes, shapes, weights and degrees of firmness.

So, he’s grossed at least $500K making this product. For a purely cosmetic ‘addition’ to a pet, this takes the cake.