Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Harper's Index Bush Retrospective

By Ben Trott

I imagine that like many other subscribers to Harper's magazine, the first thing I do when it drops through my letter box is turn to the 'Harper's Index'. It's a list of often surprising and sometimes highly obscure statistics, usually arranged in a way that builds up dramatic effect or illustrates ironies. The feature appears in every issue of the magazine, and the January 2009 edition is dedicated to a retrospective look at the Bush era. Here are a few highlights:
  • 'Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98'
  • 'Number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African men detained in the U.S. in the eight weeks after 9/11: 1,182'
  • 'Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0'
  • 'Number charged with an immigration violation: 762'
  • 'Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush's 2002 State of the Union standing ovations: 22,000'
  • 'Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50'
  • 'Estimated number of U.S. intelligence reports on Iraq that were based on information from a single defector: 100'
  • 'Number of times the defector had ever been interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents: 0'
  • 'Factor by which an Iraqi in 2006 was more likely to die than in the last year of the Saddam regime: 3.6'
  • 'Factor by which the cause of death was more likely to be violence: 120'
  • 'Portion of Baghdad residents in 2007 who had a family member or friend wounded or killed since 2003: 3/4'

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