ambivalent imbroglio home

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February 01, 2005

Blawg Tsunami Charity Drive

Jeremy Richey is encouraging law students to donate their Lexis “Ultimate Rewards” points to tsunami relief. He's hoping people will donate 4000 points by Friday. I have 2990 points at the moment, and I'd be happy to donate them all; they're relatively worthless to me and I've always thought the whole points thing was a stupid gimmick to get law students to like Lexis and forget how evil it is. Still, I hesitate because
  1. I don't know how much money Lexis will give to the Red Cross if I give my points. Are 100 points worth $1 for the Red Cross, or what?
  2. I don't want to help give Lexis any credit for doing anything positive b/c I think Lexis, West, and their competitors are parasites on society. (They take public information (legal decisions, statutes, constitutions, etc.) that is and should be free to the public, package it in complex ways designed to maximize their profit, then sell it back to the people it belongs to in the first place—you and me!) Lexis is probably going to take the points that law students donate and cut a check to the Red Cross, then release a statement congratulating itself for being such a good global citizen. “Lexis generously donated $5000 to the Red Cross today....” Lexis should be making a donation to this effort, sure, but law students shouldn't have to give points for that to happen.
  3. I get the impression the tsunami relief effort has been pretty well funded already. I could be wrong.
  4. There are many other worthy causes that need our attention and aid as much or more as the tsunami relief. For example, as I noted here (quoting this editorial), “ Each month more than 150,000 African children die of malaria; that's about the death toll of the Asian disaster. Yet those deaths do not sear the public's mind.” Yet Lexis, the good and generous corporation that it is, does not offer us any options for charitable point donations except tsunami relief. Why not? When this donation opportunity expires on Feb. 4th, will Lexis replace it by giving us another worthy cause to which we can give our points?
  5. I'm a cynical, mean, cold-hearted person. I don't think so, but I bet a lot of you will when you read this. ;-)
All that said, I may throw my points in, anyway. Like I said, they're largely worthless to me, and since I think the whole idea of the points is evil to begin with, this would at least be some way to squeeze something good out of them. Anyway, if you're less cynical than me, please join Jeremy's campaign. He's trying to collect a total of how many points have been donated, so if you give, drop him a comment so he can add it to the tally.

Posted February 1, 2005 06:52 AM | 2L law school

The good news is they go to The Red Cross, so I'm sure they are used for something good even if they are getting plenty of funds for tsumnami relief. I don't know how much they're "worth", but it's more than I paid for them, so I'm just gonna do it.

Posted by: energy spatula at February 1, 2005 09:25 AM

I just updated my site, but apparently 100 Lexis points are worth about $1.60, which means that a couple hundred bucks were raised just this morning alone by blawggers.

Posted by: energy spatula at February 1, 2005 03:43 PM

That's awesome! I'm not concerned about how much the points are worth for my own purposes; I just don't trust Lexis, so w/out knowing what the points are worth in this program, we could all donate thousands of points and Lexis might send $10 to the Red Cross. That would blow. It's so corporate of Lexis not to make the point exchange rate clear on the donation page. They don't put it in writing so we can't hold them to it, I'm guessing.

But whatevah. Like you say, the points were free to us (except when you consider the tens of thousands of dollars we pay in tuition, which is what really "bought" us our Lexis access -- but I'll save that for another day), so I'll throw my 2900 into the mix.

Posted by: ambimb at February 2, 2005 06:39 AM

I thought cynicism was a pre-requisite for law school.

Posted by: Law-Rah at February 2, 2005 09:32 AM

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