May 5, 2005

Got brass in pocket

Walker Evans, Roadside Stand Near Birmingham, Alabama, 1936

* Contractors now charge as much as $35,000 each way for a trip from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone. excerpt:

RUSSERT: There is a road, a highway from the airport to downtown Baghdad that's called the Road of Death by many. I understand there's a taxi service on that road to take someone from downtown to the airport.

FILKINS: Yeah. There's actually a company in Baghdad that does nothing except offer rides to the airport and back. They've got an armored cars and some guards. And they charge $35,000 for...

RUSSERT: Thirty-five thousand dollars?

FILKINS: ...for a ride to the airport. And I think you know, if you miss your plane and you have to come back, it's another $35,000. But...

RUSSERT: How long--is it six miles?

FILKINS: I think it's about six miles, yeah. It's not a happy six miles. So, you know, they earn their money.

RUSSERT: Why have we been unable--or the Iraqis unable to protect that road, that stretch?

FILKINS: That's a real mystery. It's a really bad neighborhood that it goes through, and you know, people come in from both sides. And--but it's--you know, they'd have to occupy six miles of road 24 hours of day. I think in the dead of night, people come out and plant bombs and they stage attacks.

* The War On Drugs was the first test to determine whether Americans would willingly give up their constitutional rights, says the Progressive Review's Sam Smith. [via]. excerpt:

"...It turned out that they would and so for the past twenty years invasions of civil liberties increased, America threw more and more of its young people into prison, while exploding drug war budgets did nothing to stem the growth of the drug industry. Further, the drug war was a useful testing ground for repressive measures instituted following September 11.

"But to make all of this work you need a sufficient quantity of drugs, they had to be easy to find and a sufficient number of people had to use them. This is where marijuana came in. Although marijuana is far less danger than just legal drugs as cigarettes and alcohol and, even as a medical prescription, far less hazardous than ones routinely given out by doctors, it had the constituency, physical bulk and ubiquity to make it just the thing for adding to police budgets and taking away from human rights."
- Of the 450,000 increase in drug arrests during the period 1990-2002, 82% of the growth was for marijuana, and 79% was for marijuana possession alone;

- Marijuana arrests now constitute nearly half (45%) of the 1.5 million drug arrests annually;

- Marijuana arrests increased by 113% between 1990 and 2002, while overall arrests decreased by 3%; 1 Cooper, G. (2001, August 20).

- New York City experienced an 882% growth in marijuana arrests, including an increase of 2,461% for possession offenses;

- African Americans are disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests, representing 14% of marijuana users in the general population, but 30% of arrests.

* "Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art." -- Charlie Parker

* George Bush, you're an asshole.


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