Friday, May 12, 2006

Amerika I: By the Numbers


That’s the number of Americans in prisons.

Of the 9 million people incarcerated in the 211 countries studied by the International Centre for Prison Studies at Kings College London, almost half were in American and Chinese prisons, and the U.S. has the highest prison population rate in the world – 714 people per 100,000.

About 750,000 Americans are in prison because of drug possession, not drug trafficking or manufacturing, and many of them for smoking marijuana.

5 per 1,000

That’s the American newborn infant mortality rate.

The U.S. has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world, according to a new report. Only Latvia is worse with six deaths per 1,000 births. The Save the Children report states that

The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but its newborn rate is higher than any of those countries.

American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the U.S. than in Finland, Iceland or Norway.


That's the number of people handled by Baghdad's central morgue in April as a result of continuing violence in the Iraqi capital.

Meanwhile, some 2,434 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Another 17,000 have been wounded.

$70 Billion

That's the windfall for rich Americans in the Republican-sponsored tax bill passed this week by the House of Representatives. The middle class and poor -- you know, the people who struggle to make ends meet -- get nothing.

The bill also extends the Bush administration's tax cuts for another three years, further widening the yawning gap between rich and poor, as well as guaranteening further budget deficits.


That’s the number of visits that disgraced super lobbyist Jack Abramoff made to the White House, according to a Bush administration response to a court order demanding the information as the result of a lawsuit by a conservative watchdog group.

There have been at least three other confirmed visits by the lobbyist, who has ensnared a Who's Who of Republican lawmakers in his web of corruption, proving once again that the White House is not beneath lying about anything.


That’s the percentage of people who think President Bush is doing a good job of dealing with high gasoline prices.

This is according to the results of the latest New York Times/CBS Poll, which like the results of the latest Gallup Poll, reflect the continuing slide of the Bush presidency into the national toilet.

Only 31 percent of the people who responded to both polls think that Bush is doing a satisfactory job. In the case of Gallup, that is a six point drop in two weeks among all respondents and an astonishing 13 point drop among Republicans, a reflection that even some committed partisans are abandoning him.

Bush has already broken through the 30 percent barrier in the Harris Interactive Poll, the results of which show a mere 29 percent approve of his performance. (Incidentally, John Kerry checks in at a dismal 26 percent in one recent poll, down from 40 percent in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.)

The president's polls ratings are the third lowest in 50 years. Only Nixon and Carter fared worse.


They reveal a deeply dysfunctional society that

Throws its brothers and sisters in jail rather than address the underlying problems that make them go bad.

Rails about the rights of the unborn but ignores the needs of the newborn.

Was tricked into the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time that has indelibly stained America's standing in the world, not to mention with the people the U.S. supposedly was liberating.

Has a Congress that is tone deaf to the plight of the poor working slob.

Has a presidential administration with no regard for the rule of law.

Elected not once but twice a man so hubristically incompetent that his presidency has inevitably imploded.

Is Amerika a great country or what?

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