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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

place your bets – 911 iraq parity day

there’s no end in sight, and we’re well above 2000 dead american soliders in iraq, so i figured it was time to start collecting best guesses on the day that the us solider body count in iraq reached 2976, which is 40 in pennsylvania, 184 in virginia and 2752 (the latest ‘official’ body count for new york that i found) in new york.

as i write this, the number of dead bodies brought back from iraq is 2283. i’m using the “confirmed by the department of defense” number, because i like to be all official-ish in matters of this type. one must maintain standards, after all.

the current gap is 693, and the question i have for you out there is: on what date do you think that difference will reach zero? drop your best guesses in the comments.

posted by roj at 9:41 am  

Monday, February 27, 2006

1 billion itunes songs

since it’s such a milestone, it’s worth a few setences here. apple’s moved a billion itunes songs – with a billion itunes drm locks. my position on drm is pretty clear, someone else thinks those itunes buyers are suckers.

but it’s always been this way – for at least the 100-ish years of the recording industry. do these music buyers care? or is “good enough for now” good enough for now?

at current itunes prices, how much is your music worth to you?

posted by roj at 2:41 pm  

Monday, February 27, 2006

let no good deed go unpunished – barton’s citgo investigation

i’m not going to pretend to know the nuances that work around this story, but the big picture is pretty sad.

Big Oil fan after little man [ny daily news, 2006.02.23]

Rep. Joe Barton, the powerful Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, launched a bizarre investigation last week into possible antitrust violations by a major oil company.

You will be surprised to learn that Barton, one of the top recipients in Congress of campaign donations from the energy industry, is not probing whether ExxonMobil or Chevron or any of the other oil giants engaged in price gouging when gasoline and heating oil costs skyrocketed the past few years.

No, the good congressman has set his sights on the only oil company that actually dared to lower its prices last year – at least for the poorest Americans.

so, in a period with oil companies posting record quarterly profits, and even politicians making noise about the high price of oil products, the investigation that the united states congress decides to pursue is how one company decided to help keep poor people warm in the winter.

note to self: kick the next homeless person i see on the street; if i toss them a sandwich, it sounds like my congressperson might want to see my desk calendar.

posted by roj at 2:34 pm  

Monday, February 27, 2006

funding our prison education system

and by prison education system, i’m not talking about educating convicted criminals. i’m talking about locking up our children.

ars technica has a short piece, here.

$370, 000 from the united states department of justice to install biometric access control in an elementary school in new jersey.

ars compares that to hiring someone to sit at the door… i’m going to go a bit deeper. the function of a school is education, so let’s go that direction.

according to this report [pdf], the average teacher salary in new jersey was $53,663 for the 2003-2004 school year. so that’s 6.89 teachers for the cost of a front door for a school (and i don’t know if that even includes the door…).

posted by roj at 1:58 pm  

Monday, February 27, 2006

black box voting finds some anomalies

just in case you thought the whole election thing was settled… it’s not.

florida election matchine logs with thousands of anomalies. don’t i remember that being a really close election in florida?

posted by roj at 1:51 pm  

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

check your bumperstickers: you might be a terrorist

idaho crackdown on federal-employee terrorists…

Red State, Meet Police State [boise weekly, 2006.2.15]

“Bottom line: My rights are very dear to me. I served my country to defend them, ” he says. “And one of the things I was defending was free speech. It’s the First Amendment for a reason–not the last, not the middle. The first.”

no arrests made, just trouble for people who have anti-bush-administration opinions.

posted by roj at 5:38 am  

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

winter arrived

taken at around 11pm on the 11th with a 5-second exposure and all the bouncy lights from the houses around the neighborhood…


posted by roj at 11:17 am  

Monday, February 13, 2006

dick cheney opens lawyer season

can we all shoot a lawyer now?

posted by roj at 1:35 am  

Friday, February 3, 2006

t-shirts are dangerous around congress

where possible, i like to get to the source. in this case, it’s not difficult to find.

cindy sheehan has her story about being ejected from the state of the union address.

this counts as personal, just a few days ago, a congressman complimented me on a t-shirt, i wasn’t using my civil rights anyway

probably a good thing i wasn’t invited. arrests, even short ones, on the basis of political protest in america take the panic level to orange.

posted by roj at 10:30 pm  

Friday, February 3, 2006

presidential off-the-cuff remark, or bold lie?

today’s example of “it sounds good when he says it” comes to you from the state of the union address…

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally.

we can apparently either believe that the president was merely riffing on a theme, and the state of the union address was not a prepared speech… or we can believe that he said what he said while the public was paying attention, with the full intent and instruction to staff to “take it back” once the public went back to their lives.

then again, it seems not many people were really paying attention to the state of the union address this time around, so… maybe i’m just being cynical.

if a promise is made in the congress, and nobody hears it, is it a promise? not so much a promise… but a “goal”:

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

posted by roj at 10:19 pm  

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