Rice's Baker Institute on Drugs


Rice's Baker Institute on Drugs
KPFT recordings to be archived there

By Chris Vogel

When talking publicly about illegal drugs and butting heads with the U.S. government over its prohibitionist policies, respect is hard to come by.

Over the years, though, local Houston radio host Dean Becker has earned high regard for getting top-tier guests and having intelligent discussions about the war on drugs for his weekly show on the Drug Truth Network on KPFT.

Recently he earned another level of respect, as the world-­renowned James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University will keep an archive of Becker's broadcasts and make them available to listeners at any time on its Web site.

"The fact that the show is being brought forward by the Baker Institute," Becker tells Hair Balls, "shows a lot about the work we've done, the knowledge we've accumulated within our programs, the caliber of the guests and the information we've shared, which more and more is being recognized as right on the mark."

In the eight and a half years Becker has been hosting his show, on which he spends time poking enormous holes in and criticizing United States drug policies, his guests have included congressmen, federal judges and Nobel Prize winners such as economist Milton Friedman, as well as locals such as Harris County DA Pat Lykos and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

The one dream interview Becker says he hasn't gotten yet is a sitting drug czar from the federal government.

"But that's not ever going to happen," he says, "because I will cut him off at the knees and I think he knows that."

Becker is thrilled his work will be accessible to everyone online and says he has no plans to slow down.

"The first question I would ask the drug czar is, 'Can you tell me the number one success of this drug war?' And there just isn't one. Thirty-nine million people have been arrested, we're empowering our terrorist enemies, we're enriching barbarous cartels, we're giving a reason for the violent gangs to exist and we're ensuring more access [to drugs] for our children and more overdoses from drugs that are unlabeled and for which no one can call for help for fear of a prison sentence.

"I try to open up this dialogue and force people to look at what's before our eyes."


Ted Poe, Obsessed with Vagina

By Craig Malisow

For hardcore political junkies — and we do mean hardcore — capitolwords.org can be downright addicting. Although the actual meaningfulness of the site might be up for debate, its wonkish fun factor is not: The site tracks how many words are spoken by individual U.S. legislators in a given time period and the frequency of certain words.

As might be expected, Sheila Jackson Lee is the undisputed champ among Texas lawmakers: Measuring word count in the Congressional Record from May 13, 2009, to May 12, 2010, the Honorable SJL racked up 12,774 words — about 4,300 more than second-placer Ted Poe.

Democrat Charles Gonzalez falls dead last, at a mere 380. (Nine of the top ten are Republicans; six of the bottom ten are Democrats.)

Hair Balls went through great efforts to find out what else your legislators are saying:

Most Uses of the Word "Hemp": 31, by Ron Paul

Most Concerned With the ­Ladies: Al Green, who used the word "women" more than any other word

Most Uses of the Word "­Barbie": ­Michael Burgess (10)

Most Proud of Him/Herself: John Culberson, who used "Culberson" 58 times

Best Use of a Homonym: Mac Thornberry, "Seaman" (Nine times)

Most Pious: Kenny Marchant, who used the word "church" more than any other word. (Marchant is also the only lawmaker besides Jackson Lee to use the word "hooker.")

Most Sexually Obsessed: Ted Poe used the word "vagina" twice.

Possibly Just as Sexually Obsessed, Depending on Context: Pete Sessions used the word "snatch" twice.


There is a ton of new stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you're only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or "/rocks" or "/eating") and under "Tools" on the top-right side of the page, use the "categories" drop-down menu to find these stories:


We bid a not-so-fond adieu to Astro second baseman Kaz Matsui, whose stint here was known mostly for underperforming and for going on the injured-reserve list for anal fissures. We provided audio of the radio mano a mano between Texan David Anderson and Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice, in which neither side came off looking too great. And Rice and UH struggled their way towards the baseball postseason.

Food (Top 5)

Our Eating...Our Words blog ignited two frenzied debates among readers with our examination of "Top Five Twitter Food Fights" (they're not over, apparently) and our five reasons why Houston is letting the best restaurant in town, Feast, die. (You're not adventurous enough, Houston!)

Crime, Courts

Don't worry — Texas has planned ahead to counter the worldwide shortage of the drug used in lethal injections. (You knew it would.) Alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford has an impressive in-jail drug regimen; two people suing the Katy police department are thankful for digital recorders; and Dorothy Petite Bud got busted for growing weed on her windowsill.

Political Animals

Mayor Annise Parker chose to sit for a photo with gunmen from an oppressive, murdering regime, and we wondered why. Our survey of the Five Best Houston Sex Scandals (Such As They Are) included some disgraced pols; the State Board of Education continued as always to appall and amuse; and fresh air came to the Metro board meetings.


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