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Friday, July 21, 2006

so you want to be a producer?

it’s never been this easy before.

(and it’s for the global fund for women, and it can be tax-deductable if you do it right).

posted by roj at 5:08 pm  

Friday, July 21, 2006

goodnight, sweet prince

posted by roj at 8:00 am  

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

bush abandons weapons development

with war building in the middle east once again, it’s time to discuss president bush’s new policy on war-fighting technology. bush has abandoned science that will destroy life, and in this perpetual war on terror, which is, as we are often reminded, all about keeping us safer (meaning “save our lives”), the united states just isn’t going to spend the money any more.

“I have made very clear to the Congress that the use of taxpayer money to promote science that destroys life in order to save life, I am against that,”

this is not a new policy, in fact, it’s been in place at least a year –

Taxpayer Money Should Not Promote Research That Destroys Life.

even better, there’s evidence to support this interpretation of this quote from

posted by roj at 7:21 am  

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

some t-shirts are crimes

maybe not a terrorist, but a protester.

today i stumble into a piece by one mike ferner, who has apparently been booked for wearing the wrong t-shirt.

“Hey, listen. I’m a veteran. This is a V.A. facility. I’m sitting here not talking to anybody, having a cup of coffee. I’m not protesting and you can’t kick me out.”

“You’ll either go or we’ll arrest you,” Adkins threatened.

“Well, you’ll just have to arrest me,” I said, wondering what strange land I was now living in.

You know the rest. Handcuffed, led away to the facility’s security office, past people with surprised looks on their faces, read my rights, searched, and written up.

and so, another saga begins. how ironic, that this should come to my attention just a few hours after writing about a police state…

update (2006.07.11): i’ve gotten an email from mike ferner, and, understandably, he’s buried in email at this point. i’ve sent him an “i wasn’t using my civil rights anyway” t-shirt (perhaps for his court appearance…), and offered whatever else i have available. the illinois aclu has taken the case.

posted by roj at 5:03 pm  

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

america the police state

in case you weren’t feeling safe enough in this new america, i decided to scratch around some statistics to see just how safe you should feel. i’ve written previously on the prison economy, so this is a bit of a tangent from that material. today we explore the cost-per-capita and law enforcement employment statistics for the united states of america.

the bureau of justice statistics makes much of this information readily available, so this shouldn’t take much time at all.

from their most recent report on justice expenditure and employment in the united states, we can find two simple measures:

as of march 2003, there were nearly 2.4 million “full-time-equivalent employees” in law enforcement in the united states. the population of the united states in july of 2003 (closest data set readily available) was 290,850,005. july 1982 population estimate is 231,664,458.

also according to the bureau of justice statistics, we spent a total of $185 billion on law enforcement in the united states in 2003, or about $636 for every man, woman and child in the country.

more disturbing are the growth rates – law enforcement spending is up 418% from 1982 to 2003, and using a percentage-of-GDP metric, has gone from 1.1% of GDP (1982) to 1.8% (2003) – a 61% increase. law enforcement employment has gone from about 1.27 million people (1982) to 2.36 million people (2003). that works out to .55% of the population in 1982 and .81% in 2003 – a 68% increase.

and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when you think about security guards, private investigators, and even private armies operating in this country.

do you feel 60+% safer than you did in 1982?

oh! hello, officer!

update (2005.07.05): the same source data provides 1,118,936 police in 2003 (table 5, page 6), or 3.85 police per 1000 population, so right in the neighborhood of slovakia and the czech republic, according to this table.

posted by roj at 4:50 pm  

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

priorities in the war on terror

two stories that cross the wires over a holiday weekend when everyone is out having a beer and roasting their weenies, but somehow… i made a connection. a connection, speculative at best, that i will share with you.

“My husband has been sold to the Americans,” the woman said in an interview published Sunday. “He had become too powerful, too troublesome.”

“I think a secret pact was struck whose immediate goal was his death,” she told the newspaper. “In return, the American troops promised to ease, at least momentarily, their hunt for bin Laden.”

“Al-Qaida is currently especially worried with protecting its charismatic leader,” she added.


The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice “dead or alive.”

happy birthday america. do you feel safer?

posted by roj at 4:16 pm  

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

happy birthday america. good luck with that.

today is america’s birthday, so i reflect on those words that gave birth to this nation, in light of 2006, in part:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

you may find other sections personally applicable.

is it so much to ask that those executives of our government, sworn to uphold and defend the constitution, actually understand it?

posted by roj at 5:30 am  

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