Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Truth in numbers ...

A conservative talk show host rips into a tree-hugger on live TV. Meanwhile, half a world away, innocent children are ripped into shreds by a bomb made in Littleton, Colo., the town where two disturbed children gunned down their classmates and trees were later planted in the children’s honor.

Coincidence? Or ...

(Cue music)

I have no idea what that little fantasy opening does, but it seemed fitting when I wrote it.

Today we’re going to take some random facts and the numbers associated with them — mainly because there’s some irony to be found.

* 3,248 — Domestic violence reports filed in Niagara County in 2002. Considering the county has a population of about 220,000, that’s a really disturbing number. About 1.5 percent of Niagarans filed a domestic violence report. So if you’re in a store with 66 other people, it’s likely one of them called the police last year on a member of the family.

* 3,240 — Number of civilians killed in Iraq, according to a recent report by The Associated Press.

* 3,240 — Total of Israelis and Palestinians (civilians and soldiers) killed in fighting since September 2000, according to news.com.au.

Yes, I realize those two numbers are exactly the same. It’s ironic if nothing else. What do you make of it?

* 46 — American soldiers killed since President George W. Bush declared an end to the major fighting in Iraq on May 1. That’s one a day.

* $64 billion — Cost of the war as of this morning (to the nearest billion).

* $40 million — Approximate amount of the preceding number that’s coming from the Western New York area. We could have given health coverage to 17,000 kids this year for the same price.

* $4.8 billion — Worth of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

* $127 million — Buffalo’s anticipated budget deficit in the year 2007.

* $800,000 — Amount of money U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has spent trying to get Gov. Gray Davis recalled.

* 5,553 — Height of the soon-to-be Mount Reagan in New Hampshire.

* 5 — Number of years a person is supposed to be dead before a mountain is named after them, according to the federal process.

* 1984 — What America’s starting to look like, thanks in large part to Attorney General John Ashcroft and the PATRIOT Act USA.

* 57 — Percent of people who think W is doing a good job, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.

* 1 — Number of people who wrote me an e-mail last week complaining about my referring to the president as “W,” which I thought was relatively universal.

* 43 — Another nickname for our president. (He’s our 43rd president. Most people who call him 43, also refer to his father as 41. The Presidents Bush gave themselves these nicknames).

* 43 — Number of columns I’ve written for this publication if you include my first column about Cappy, the happy mannequin in the boat on the Tri-Way Bridge.

* 36 — New York Gov. George Pataki’s approval rating, according to a recent poll by the Siena Research Institute.

* 100 million — Number of people who voted in 2000 (rounded to the nearest million).

* 5 — Real number of votes George W. Bush needed to propel himself into the White House.

* 4 — Number of months it has been since MSNBC announced it would employ Jesse “The Body” Ventura as a talk show host — a job he has yet to begin.

* 3 — Number of people who made the decision to further erode the barrier between your media and big business when the Federal Communications Commission voted to allow further media consolidation.

* Zero — Weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq as of the writing of this column.