Thursday, May 11, 2006

Civil War's Toll

When speaking of homicide, there are two separate frames to contend with in the popular media. The first probably consists of reporting murders within the country, and to that end it is likely to be a quick number and brief details on the nightly news of who was killed in a major metropolitan area. The second frame must contend with deaths outside of America, and then it is most likely a total reported via a conflict of some sort.

Just comparing basic statistics for a major metropolitan area inside the borders of the United States, the murder rate can be gathered year by year and compared historically. For the metro area in and around Washington D.C., the number of homicides for 2005 was 466. The year prior the number hit 420. Obviously that is more than one slaying per day in the general vicinity of the nation's capital and a grisly reminder of the rate of violent crime in the area.

For the month of April, Baghdad tallied almost 1,100 dead by violence. Pause on that figure for a moment. This is not crime-related violence, or a surge in drug gangs and turf wars. Rather, this is one ethnic group taking on another ethnic group and bodies are piling up.

If Baghdad has a homicide rate of 10,000 per year, would that be enough to state that there is a civil war raging in Iraq, or is it that a civil war is classified when one side wears dark blue uniforms and the other butternut gray?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Senate Majority Leader Bill "C-Note" Frist

A few months back, this web log reviewed the year that was for 2005, and one of the commentaries focused on the leadership qualities of Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee. Or the lack of leadership from the southern Senator.

Just a few days ago, there was a well-timed press conference conducted by Sen. Frist introducing the Republican idea that Americans needed some extra money in their pockets to take to the pumps. It has not gone over so well on either side of the aisle.

Again Frist faces what will look like in hindsight an opportunistic grab at publicity and 2008 voter appeal intertwined with public policy. The idea of reimbursement must have seemed appealing at some point, but the details and the logic of the legislation fall by the wayside when the shorthand rationale is explained as "throw money at the voters".

Leader- n 1: a person who rules or guides or inspires others

Senator Frist is having issues again with this noun.