Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's All in the (Business) Numbers

Number of workplace arrests made by U.S. immigration authorities in 1997: 17,554[U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]

Number in 2003: 445[U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]

Percentage change since 1999 in federal prosecutions of white-collar crime: -25[Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (Syracuse, N.Y.)]

Chances that a U.S. company settling a corporate crime case will illegally deduct some or all of the settlement to the IRS: 3 in 5[U.S. Government Accountability Office]

Average percentage by which U.S. senators’ investments outperform the stock market each year: 12[Alan J. Ziobrowski, Georgia State University (Atlanta)]

Chance that the CEO will quit or be fired within eighteen months: 1 in 2[RHR International Company (Wood Dale, Ill.)]

Average performance rating, on a scale of 1 to 100, of top U.S. government managers who are political appointees: 62[David Lewis, Princeton University (New Jersey)]

Average for those who are career bureaucrats: 70[David Lewis, Princeton University (New Jersey)]

Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000[James G. Kahn, University of California, San Francisco]

Percentage change since 2000 in the average amount U.S. workers spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses: +93

Harper’s Magazine

Monday, September 04, 2006

Failing the Grade

The war in Iraq has emerged as the dominate issue for the ‘06 elections. Politicians of both parties franctically try to distance themselves from their almost universal previous support for this illegal and ill-conceived war.

The American public is increasingly disenchanted with the war and the world at large now widely views the US as being a bullying aggressor in Iraq. Nonetheless we continue to hear President Bush cry “Staying the Course” and his people running this war compare those who disagree to traitors and Nazis and characterize them as 'unpatriotic'.

Bush’s poll numbers have plummeted and Republicans overall are being blamed for this situation. The rush to distance themselves and disown the war has become a stampede, but it increasingly looks as if Republicans will be hugely punished in the upcoming election.

While both major parties are complicit in the Iraq War fiasco, a look at the stated goals by this administration for the war, and the progress towards those goals validates the overall public view on the war. I have taken the trouble to prepare a ‘Report Card” to illustrate this.

If this administration were in a public school they would be sent back a grade and that is just what might happen soon: