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Thursday, October 5, 2006

the sydney mcgee case

it’s been here before, and i guess it’ll keep happening, so i’ll keep pointing….

a teacher has been suspended because some of her students were “exposed” to nudity in art.

Museum Field Trip Deemed Too Revealing [ny times, 2006.09.30, registration required]

“Keep the ‘Art’ in ‘Smart’ and ‘Heart,’ ” Sydney McGee had posted on her Web site at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in this moneyed boomtown that is gobbling up the farm fields north of Dallas.

But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended.

Although the tour had been approved by the principal, and the 89 students were accompanied by 4 other teachers, at least 12 parents and a museum docent, Ms. McGee said, she was called to the principal the next day and “bashed.”

sooner or later, this society will have to come to grips (literally, perhaps) with the concept that while violence is optional in the span of a human life; nudity (and sex) is not. we’ll have to deal with the fact that when we’re young, we use naked breasts for food, and when we’re old, we’ll probably have people wiping our naked asses – that sometimes nudity isn’t about sex.

and we’ll have to deal with the fact that our parents all got naked and had sweaty, passionate sex. we’ll have to deal with the fact that we get aroused and most of us do something about it. and hopefully, we’ll embrace the idea that knowledge is empowering and it’s impossible to shelter everyone from the world, so we might as well know something about it.

posted by roj at 10:35 pm  

Thursday, September 28, 2006

habeas corpus

and so, now the vanishings can begin….

posted by roj at 5:21 pm  

Monday, September 4, 2006

pre-crime registry from the ohio thought police

don’t get accused of sexual misconduct in ohio, or it will go on your permanent record.

Plan gains to publicly identify accused [ toledo blade, 2006.08.29]

An Ohio legislative panel yesterday rubber-stamped an unprecedented process that would allow sex offenders to be publicly identified and tracked even if they’ve never been charged with a crime.

No one in attendance voiced opposition to rules submitted by Attorney General Jim Petro’s office to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, consisting of members of the Ohio House and Senate.

there used to be a thing in this country called due process. i’m not sure when it got lost, but if you find it, please send it to me.

posted by roj at 3:17 pm  

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Mark Morice, new orleans hero, sued

sorry i’m late to the party on this one… seems a guy that used what was available in the middle of a disaster to do something useful (like saving people’s lives) will now have to waste his time and my legal system because the owner of the boat he used to rescue said people has suffered terribly as a result.

“Next time there’s a major storm or natural disaster and I’m called to save lives, I’ll try to remember to bring a pen and paper,” he said.

posted by roj at 2:15 pm  

Friday, September 1, 2006

uncle walt cries for what america has become

apparently, visitors to disney will now be fingerprinted. .

posted by roj at 5:46 pm  

Friday, August 25, 2006

you can’t handle the flags

it appears that in some places in america, people can’t handle flags.

best wishes, eric hamlin. even middle school students need to know we live on a planet full of countries.

posted by roj at 3:38 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  

Sunday, June 4, 2006

how to steal an election – a blueprint

this sort of thing doesn’t happen in america, right? stolen elections are the sorts of things you expect from third-world strongman dictators.

there are several months to get it fixed…

posted by roj at 9:10 am  
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