December 19, 2006

some people seem so obsessed with the morning

Frank Stella, Fez(2), 1964

* From January 2007 edition Harper's Magazine:

-- Estimated number of gallons of extra gasoline burned each year because Americans are overweight: 938,000,000

-- Percentage of their total cost that five audited Iraqi reconstruction projects spent of overhead costs: 35

-- Average number of months after workers and equipment were ordered to Iraq that substantial work on the projects began: 6

-- Minimum number of South Africans who do their banking entirely by mobile phone: 500,000

-- Amount a Rhode Island man received in a settlement last year over his faulty penile implant: $400,000

-- Number of years he has had an erection: 10

* America's biggest cash crop? Marijuana.excerpt:

"Marijuana is the most valuable cash crop in the United States, worth more to its growers than corn and wheat combined, according to a new report by a leading American drug reform lobbyist that cites the US government's own figures.

"Decades of government efforts to crack down on both the cultivation and consumption of pot have had a counter-productive effect, since even the most conservative government estimates suggest domestic marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past 25 years. It is the leading cash crop in 12 states, and one of the top five crops in 39 states."
"Since the presidency of George Bush Snr in the late 1980s, official policy has been one of zero tolerance of all illegal narcotics. Recently, the federal government has been unforgiving of the medical marijuana movement, and federal agents have raided numerous marijuana farms that were fully licensed under state law.

"It has not cut down use of the drug. Mr Gettman and other activists argue that it might be time to legalise the entire industry and subject it to proper regulatory control and taxation.

"'The fact that marijuana is America's number-one cash crop after more than three decades of governmental eradication efforts is the clearest illustration that our present marijuana laws are a complete failure,' said Rob Kampia, executive director of Washington's Marijuana Policy Project."

* "Poetry’s oldest duty is preservation. The life we live eludes us as we live it, and when we are old we cannot credit what we have lost — measured by the fragments that we keep." -- Donald Hall


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