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Saturday, December 31, 2005

resolved, 2006

That you are here-that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

posted by roj at 10:05 am  

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

drama in the theater?

i can’t take any credit for this one, but it’s a brilliant idea…

Read it here first: The Multiplex Under Siege [the big picture, barry ritholtz]

Here’s my gift to the theater owners: Before each movie, stage some guerilla theater. Roll a fake preview clip, and then 30 seconds into it, have an audience plant cell phone ring LOUDLY in the theater. Stop the clip, partially raise the house lights, and then put a spotlight on the offender. Have two ushers confront the guy out — he’s wearing makeup and a corny outfit (i.e, zoot suit), so it looks real campy — but have the goons drag him out, kicking and screaming. It should be both theatrical and real looking.

People would talk about this for months.

and i know just the right kind of people to do it….

when you’re ready, mr. multiplex, have your people call my people.

posted by roj at 1:26 pm  

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

we have already lost the war

or, to put it another way….

Fear destroys what bin Laden could not [miami herald, 2005.12.26]

I evidently have a lot poorer insight regarding America’s character than I once believed, because I would have expected such actions to provoke — speaking metaphorically now — mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate. I would have expected proud defiance of anyone who would suggest that a mere terrorist threat could send this country into spasms of despair and fright so profound that we’d follow a leader who considers the law a nuisance and perfidy a privilege.

i, too, have no insight into america’s character.

posted by roj at 4:37 pm  

Saturday, December 24, 2005

looks like i won’t be visiting ohio any time soon

your papers, please.

update: aclu analysis and call to action

posted by roj at 1:57 am  

Thursday, December 15, 2005

1000 days of war

the independent has done a bit of a retrospective on 1000 days of war in iraq, including a most interesting “by the numbers” summary. some numbers…

$204.4 billion The cost to the US of the war so far. The UK’s bill up until March 2005 was £3.1 billion
2, 339 Allied troops killed
98 UK troops killed
30, 000 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths
0 Number of WMDs found
8 per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition
$35,819m World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction
53,470 Iraqi insurgents killed
67 per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation
$343 Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75
66 journalists killed in Iraq. Journalists killed during Vietnam war: 63
5 foreign civilians kidnapped per month
47% Iraqis who never have enough electricity
20 casualties per month from unexploded mines
20% Inflation rate 2005
25-40 per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005
251 Foreigners kidnapped
70 per cent of Iraqi’s whose sewage system rarely works
183,000 British and American troops are still in action in Iraq. There are 162,000 US troops and 8,000 British with 13,000 from other nations
90 Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov ’05. In Jun ’03: 8
82% Iraqis who are “strongly opposed” to presence of coalition troops
15,955 US troops wounded in action

and, to add some meta-roj-math to these numbers… just for some skewed perspective on the effort:

$686 cost of the war to date for each us resident
£51 cost of the war to date for each uk residentiraqi resident (£3.1b = us$5.5b)

$54.4 billion iraqi gdp

3.86 price-to-gdp ratio, to date.

also worth noting is that president bush thinks it’s about 30,000 dead iraqis. the independent has 30,000 dead civilians, plus another 53,470 insurgents, for a total of 83,470 dead iraqis. there are even other estimates – more like 100,000, maybe 194,000.

update (2005.12.15): i just noticed that there are deaths caused by “unexploded mines” in this report. i can only imagine how dangerous the exploded ones are.

posted by roj at 7:52 am  

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

it’s ok to wear t-shirts in pennsylvania again

A Pennsylvania student is off the hook after the American Civil Liberties Union defended his right to wear a political T-shirt to school.

Chris Schiano’s T-shirt said “International Terrorist” and had a picture of President Bush.

my t-shirts are a little more subtle, so i haven’t been in court. yet.

posted by roj at 9:53 am  

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

torture is an invaluable part of the war on terror?

on the record, off the record. nevermind that it’s not a war on terror.

Rice On Torture [voice of america, 2005.12.13]

The United States does not condone torture. It is against U.S. law to be involved in torture or conspiracy to commit torture, and it is also against U.S. international obligations. And the president has made it very clear that U.S. personnel will operate within U.S. law and within our international obligations.

an eery parallel? could be… we seem to be in the rabbit hole. life imitates art.

Take caution in your tone, Commander. I’m a fair guy, but this fuckin’ heat’s making me absolutely crazy. You want to know about code reds? On the record I tell you that I discourage the practice in accordance with the NIS directive. Off the record I tell you that it’s an invaluable part of close infantry training, and if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my base how I run my base. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me. So don’t for one second think you’re gonna come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous.

yes, i want the truth… and the truth will out.

posted by roj at 9:03 am  

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

diebold ceo resigns

since i have spent a lot of time discussing diebold here, the news that their ceo has resigned (and the resulting rally in the stock price) is worth mentioning. briefly.

posted by roj at 1:50 am  

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

our new orleans

good music. good reason.

our new orleans

posted by roj at 6:01 pm  

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


just a quick posthumous review for any governors that might have difficulty with the concept (from merriam-webster):

Main Entry: clem·en·cy
Pronunciation: ‘kle-m&n(t)-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
1 a : disposition to be merciful and especially to moderate the severity of punishment due b : an act or instance of leniency

and in case someone still has trouble with the idea, what that says is that clemency is not an “extra-judicial appeal process” or a “last-chance case review” or “examination of evidence.”

in the case of california, this shows up in article 5, section 8 of the california state constitution, reproduced for your convenience:

(a) Subject to application procedures provided by statute,the Governor, on conditions the Governor deems proper, may grant a reprieve, pardon, and commutation, after sentence, except in case of impeachment. The Governor shall report to the Legislature each reprieve, pardon, and commutation granted, stating the pertinent facts and the reasons for granting it. The Governor may not grant a pardon or commutation to a person twice convicted of a felony except on recommendation of the Supreme Court, 4 judges concurring.
(b) No decision of the parole authority of this State with respect to the granting, denial, revocation, or suspension of parole of a person sentenced to an indeterminate term upon conviction of murder shall become effective for a period of 30 days, during which the Governor may review the decision subject to procedures provided by statute. The Governor may only affirm, modify, or reverse the decision of the parole authority on the basis of the same factors which the parole authority is required to consider. The Governor shall report to the Legislature each parole decision affirmed, modified, or reversed, stating the pertinent facts and reasons for the action.

posted by roj at 6:17 am  
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