Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is Frank Corte Really Safer in Iraq than in D. C.? No, Not Really.

I should be studying for my finals right now but this crap makes me so DAMN MAD that I had to take a moment to rant discuss the following little tidbit that some Republican punk cooked up and has been spreading around the Internet like wildfire.

Have you seen this yet?

60,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.
The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 30% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.

Oh, hahahaha! See? War is safer than stateside urban living! You are much more likely to get killed in D.C. than in Iraq! Our soldiers don't have it that everyone kwitcherbitchin!

While I can agree that pulling out of D.C. (at least out of the Beltway) isn't the worst idea I have ever heard, it is really time to stop believing everything we read. So when someone sends this crap to you, or you see it in someone's blog, send them this back:

This email/blog posting has been going around for a few months so I'm not sure what period the 22 months pertains too. So let's just look at the total numbers current to date, alrighty?


1) In the actual theatre of operations, there are actually only 30,000 American soldiers in the theatre at any time and this number has been consistent for over 2 years. Not 60,000.

2) The number of American deaths in Iraq is also wrong. To be fair, it may have been accurate at the time of the orignal email. But since we are checking all the numbers, the number of American military casulties is currently 2405.

3) If we use the actual theatre of operations numbers like the original email suggested the American military death ratio is actually 8016 per 100,000 in a two year period. So, that averages to 4008 per 100,000 a year. Wow. Ok. Let's play fair again. It's easy to play fair when the other side is so incredibly wrong that you can give them every benefit of the doubt and have them STILL be wrong. Our total "boots on the ground" troop numbers right now is about 130,000. Not in theatre, but total in the country in any capacity. This is actually, from all my research, probably a high estimate; but it is the number given by the same site that lists 30,000 in theatre so let's stick with it for consistency's sake. If the number of deahts (2405) is taken out of the 130,000 total number instead of the 30,000 in theatre number we get a rate of death of 1850 American US Military per 100,000 in a two year period. Or 925 per 100,000 per year on average.

34ncludes suicide let's aim for accuracy again and look at the homicide numbers instead. Again with the fairness. I know. Using the city per capita murder rate (which is higher than the rate for the greater metro region...fair is fair) and figure it based on D.C.'s population of 553,523, you get a rate of 35.8 murders/100K population (with 198 murders total).

5) Too many numbers and links? Ok, here is the simple version. 925 versus 35.8. Oh hell, let's make it 36 just to keep it nice and even. 925 per 100,000 American troups dying in Iraq each year and 36 US Citizens dying in Washington DC by homicide each yet. The email seems less and less funny now, doesn't it?

6) Stay with me. We have more.

7) Nowhere in this little blurb do we discuss the number of Iraqi citizens that have been killed. Just the US Military troops. That's kinda like basing the DC Homicide rate solely on the number of tourists that were killed instead of the number of citizens, isn't it? Made harder by the fact that our current administration isn't releasing Iraqi death toll numbers, and where these deaths are occuring; I did figure the following: the minimum, MINIMUM, number of civillian deaths so far is 34,711. The higher estimate (albeit still a conservative one) is 38,861. The population of Iraq is
22,219,289. This is the whole country. Not just certain urban areas that are showing the most fighting. Total. Even using the MINIMUM number of civilian deaths throughout the WHOLE COUNTRY OF IRAQ, we have a 175 per 100,000 homicide rate.

8) Short and sweet again. 36 in DC based on the HIGHER metro homicide rate. 925 American troops based on the TOTAL number of soldiers. And 175 Iraqi citizens based on the TOTAL number of citizens.


While I realize these kinds of emails are kinda funny, especially if you don't think about what we are making fun of too deeply, this kind of misinformation is really dangerous. This is war and these are human lives. We don't have control of the White House, the Senate, or the House of Representatives. All we have is the truth.

The truth is contagious. Pass it on.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Outsourcing: More Republican Stupidity

Good Hair and his Corte are sending millions of dollars overseas to foreign companies and placing hard working Texas citizens in the unemployment line. He is conducting secret negotiations with Cintra of Spain concerning toll road management; and has already awarded a $899 million contract to Accenture of Bermuda.  The Accenture contract is eliminating union jobs in the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.  These idiots tell Texas citizens that it is cheaper to outsource work: nonsense. Here is how contractors calculate charges. They start with the salary, add overhead, add fringe, add management fee, and finally add their profit. Yes indeed, we citizens pay for their corporate overhead and the benefits, if any, their workers get. Here is how the math is done on a $10.00 per hour salary.

$10.00 X 1.35 = salary and fringe:  $13.50

$13.50 X 1.20 = salary,fringe,overhead: $16.02

$16.02 X 1.10 = plus management fee: $17.62

$17.62 X 1.20 + above plus profit: $21.14

In the case of Accentrure, we also paid $300 million for a new software program called "TIERS".

Deloitte was given the software contract.

The actual cost for a state employee is about $17.00 per hour.

The legislature has also contracted out a large portion of our state prison system.  Now ask yourself this question. Why would a contractor want to rehabilitate prisoners, find work for the unemployed, or reduce entitlement programs? They would put themselves out of work! In fact, contractors would want to see poverty and unemployment increase so their contract would get bigger.  And Republicans accused Dems of creating a culture of dependency!

We need neighbors helping neighbors; not foreign countries or corporate giants making money on folk's poverty and misfortune. Instead, we need to support the Texas State Employees Union which has won three separate awards for dedication and expertise. We need to stop paying $21.14 for a $10.00 per hour job.

Tax and spend Republicans-get out of Austin.  You are too expensive for us to support.