Let's begin with a little bit of disheartening information, shall we?
Percentage of federal returns audited in 2000 that were filed by poor Americans seeking Earner Income Tax Credit - 44%.
Percentage change between 1999 and 2000 in the number of audits of U.S. corporations - down 28%
Federal income tax paid by PepsiCo in 1999 - $0
Number of years ago that the Village Idiot's new Department of Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Energy - 2.
Gallons by which daily U.S. oil consumption would drop if SUVs' average fuel efficiency increased by 3 mpg - 49,000,000.
Gallons per day that the proposed drilling of Alaska's Artic National Wildlife Refuge is projected to yield - 42,000,000.
Percentage of U.S. nuclear power plants operating in 1996 that have since broken federal safety regulations - 92% ( 1 )
Percentage of Americans who cannot remember what the original allegation against President Clinton investigated by Kenneth Starr was - 40% (this figure is from 1998 at the height - or nadir - of the Starr Chamber Inquisition)
Percentage of violent offenders in state prisons whose crime was committed under the influence of alcohol alone - 21%
Percentage whose crime was committed under the influence of crack or cocaine alone - 3% ( 2 )
Number of U.S. college applicants who were denied federal financial aid because of a prior drug conviction - 9,215.
Number of U.S. college applicants who were denied federal financial aid because of prior convictions for rape, assault, or murder - 0 ( 3 )
When House Speaker Dennis Hastert was scheduled to speak before the National Association of Manufacturers, the association sent out a memo to it members that, in order to make it appear for the cameras as if actual working people were present, that they were to be "DRESSED DOWN" in order to appear to be "REAL WORKER types" (their formatting). Just another example of never believing what you see on TV or read in the papers. The only things that are real are the lies.
Here's a fun question that a political cartoon by Kirk Anderson posits; Would you demand an investigation if a plane crashed, killing all 250 civilian passengers on board? What if a plane crashed every day of the year, same airline, same model plane, killing 250 civilians each time? What if they were Iraqis?
Rank of the U.S. among all industrialized nations in spending for health care - #1
Rank of the U.S. in quality of care for all citizens among all industrialized nations - #37 ( 4, 5, 6 )
"We no longer have a Democracy, we have an emergency.", Doris "Granny D" Haddock who walked across America for campaign finance reform. ( 7 )
Here's some very scary information. According to a Harris poll, when asked who their heroes are, 1,022 people named Jesus Christ as their #1 hero. That's more than acceptable, particularly if they also aren't hypocrites and vote Republican. Too many on the rest of the list are just a bit creepy, though. While the non-violence teacher and activist, Martin Luther King Jr., came in second, the murderer of innocent Iraqi women and children, Colin Powell, came in third. Fourth was John F. Kennedy, who was publicly a great leader and had very good taste in mistresses, although a status as "hero" could be argued against pretty easily. Mother Teresa came in fifth, although she would have been in my top three. Next, a rather stupid man and horrendous President, Ronald Reagan, was rated sixth by those 1,022 people. Next came Abraham Lincoln, another of my top three but how he could be rated behind a poor actor and worse president is beyond me. The last three are beyond the pale for anyone to think of them as anything but bit players on the real world's stage. Coming in eighth was another insipid actor, John Wayne and the ninth was just another athlete who has done little or nothing to make the world a better place (and has made it a bit worse through his association with Nike), Michael Jordan. In tenth, and last, place, is Old Billy Bob Clinton, himself. I guess I could see people having a level of respect for him in as much as he was able to make people believe he was a Democrat while ruling as a right-wing Republican but, no, I can't see him as a hero in any respect.
That means, in my counting, that three, maybe four, of the people on the list had any positive effect on the world. The rest just had better PR people in their employ that the folks who actually impacted history's direction in a constructive way. ( 8 )
Does anyone remember the name Eugene Hasenfus? Anybody? 1986? CIA? Nicaragua? Plane fell out of the sky? Political prisoner? Iran-Contra? Oliver North? Oh, never mind! Here's the story on him, anyway.
Mr. Hasenfus, it seems, was arrested in the parking lot of a K-Mart store in Brookfield, Wisconsin. His offense? Sitting in his car in the busy parking lot, masturbating. It's good to know that he's improved the moral level of his offenses, isn't it? ( 9 )
How about another trip down memory lane? Remember during the Republican Convention last year in Philadelphia when the Pennsylvania Storm Troopers, er, rather, the Pennsylvania State Police raided the "puppet warehouse" where the demonstrators set up their headquarters? Have you since wondered, as I have, exactly what provoked this Nazi Germany-type act?
It appears that they were informed that the demonstrators were being funded by (GASP!) "Communists and leftist parties and sympathetic trade unions" as well as (double GASP!) the "Soviet-allied World Federation of Trade Unions"! How could they have ever uncovered such horrible information, you might ask? Well, actually, the state police didn't uncover anything at all. Instead, the information was given to them by the Baltimore-based (and ultra-ultra-ultra-right wing) Maldon Institute, the very same little group of Nazis, funded completely by that nasty little Richard Mellon Scaife, that spent eight years creating blaring headlines about illegal activities by Bill Clinton, not one of which was ever found to contain even a molecule of factual information and none of which were ever retracted in the newspapers where they first appeared.
Naturally, once it was known that this right-wing bunch of loonies had provided the police with this information, you would think that the report would become public property so that reporters and attorneys for those harassed and arrested would be able to see for themselves what accusations were made, wouldn't you? Now remember, this is the year 2000, which bears little or no relation to 1776 in this once nearly okay nation. Instead, the police are claiming that the information was confirmed by undercover police that had infiltrated the demonstrators, thus any questions about the accuracy of that information would have to be directed at the undercover officers whose identities the police refuse to divulge. And around and around it goes. ( 10 )
Whew! That's a lot of trivia and scads of factual information, isn't it? We'll pick up where we're leaving off in the next article. We don't want to make each article too long, now do we? As a reader once said, each article is just long enough to read while using the bathroom. Don't want anyone's legs going to sleep.
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