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March 30, 2005
Now It's Wednesday


It's policy.

And the reports just keep on coming.

Antiquated laws

North Carolina's "anti-cohabitation law" loses a woman her job. A 200 year-old law, dredged up, dusted off, and waved in someone's face.

I guess the question is...do you really want your tax dollars being spent to enforce someone's personal morality? (Yes, it's a law, but a law that isn't enforced equally across the population is a tool of repression. And it needs to be repealed, anyhow.)


The Asia Times thinks Iran should be worried about the USofA's continuing push to set up military bases all around it. (We have our usual poor-quality "intelligence" on what's actually going on in the rest of the Bush Axis O'Enemies.)

I noticed what it said about still-chaotic Afghanistan:

One thing that is certainly not under control, and is surely the source of many threats to the region, is opium production. During the US occupation, opium production grew at a much faster rate than Washington's, and Karzai's, enemies weakened. In 2003, US-occupied Afghanistan produced 4,200 tons of opium. In 2004, US-occupied and semi-democratic Afghanistan produced a record 4,950 tons, breaking the all-time high of 4,600 tons produced under the Taliban in the year 2000.

Though the problem is known to the world, the Pentagon refuses to deal with it. It is not the military's job to eradicate poppy fields, says the Pentagon. Indeed, it would antagonize the warlords who remain the mainstays of the Pentagon in Afghanistan, say observers.

Maybe if we hadn't been in such a screaming hurry to run away from what we started in Afghanistan, so we could free up soldiers to invade a non-aggressive country, we wouldn't now be allied with drug-smuggling, war-mongering radicals in Afghanistan, you know?


Do you know where your tax dollars go?

(Note the caveat in the article. These are estimates. The Pentagon is notoriously reluctant to share actual allocations for expenditures, partly because of the money they funnel into little-advertised "intelligence" projects and partly because keeping track of where you spend hundreds of billions of dollars every years is not a small project.) (I'm not entirely faulting them for this. On Monday, I had $82. Today I have $47. I bought lunch for $10. I gave $3 to homeless people. I have no idea where the rest of it went.)

(Note: It's been mentioned in the comments that the DoD funds quite a bit of health-related research. This is true, although the dollar amount is not large when compared to the overall Pentagon budget.

Also, I feel absolutely compelled to mention that the DoD doesn't undertake this research out of altruism but because they have tens of thousands of soldiers with health problems, from PTSD to bullet or bomb wounds to diabetes to cancer to everything else. Also that the DoD isn't doing anything that wouldn't be done by other health-care research organizations if those organizations were given the money the DoD is given.

And, having said, that, let me add a disclaimer that I've worked, briefly, with a number of DoD health-care offices and VA hospitals and have never encountered anyone who was not hard-working, dedicated, and truly committed to providing value for investment and the best possible care to their patient populations. The "DoD" I'm discussing is the faceless entity, the budgetary umbrella penciled in for $513B in the next budget.)

I refuse to get all wound up about the $345.8B budgeted for health care. First, I'd much rather spend billions on medicine than missiles. Second, I refuse to get mad again about the pharmaceutical company give-away that the new Medicare "prescription drug benefit" became. At least, not at this moment. I have other things to be mad about today.

The fuller .pdf discussion is really interesting, not the least because it behooves us all to know where our money goes.

It's our money. Our tax dollars. We need to keep an eye on where it goes.

There will be a brief pause while you all give thanks that I chose not to insert a lengthy rant about how the Republican party provides imitation Secret Service muscle to keep taxpayers out of taxpayer funded gatherings.

If it were me, and I were attending such a function, now that I know this, I'd refuse to be removed. A public event, funded by my tax dollars, and me not creating any kind of disturbance? You'd better believe I'd refuse to leave. And then I'd sue. I am not, by nature, "actively" radical, but the idea that we have a president too fragile to hear a dissenting opinion really disturbs me.

Okay, a short rant. But not a lengthy one.

I had a lot more I wanted to talk about today, but it's time to share some of my time with the folks who pay me.

Later, we'll be considering bananas.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:24 PM


It just keeps getting weirder.

Posted by: Kat at March 30, 2005 01:31 PM