Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crazy Grants : June 29th

Civil Society Forward in Serbia $7,000,000
Giving money to another country so that they can become civil. Really? This is a good way to spend money?
Tibet Education Project $2,000,000
Money to pay for the education of Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. Again, education money for other countries. I thought our education system needed more money.
Wild Horse and Burro Training, Adoption and Marketing Project $40,000,000
Train wild horses and burros and give them up for adoption.
Wild Horse Partnerships for Eco-sanctuaries on Private Lands $2,500,000
Create a partnership with private land owners to provide a sanctuary for wild horses.
Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Exchanges $0
No money to establish Health Care Exchanges according to the Affordable Care Act.
Land Ethic Leaders/Green Fire $100,000
Make a documentary about about famed conservationist Aldo Leopold and his land ethic ideals.
Effects of Grazing on the Endangered Autumn Buttercup $25,000
The tasks to be performed under this agreement are as follows: The primary objectives of this project are to determine whether small mammals are preferentially grazing on the buttercup, or if grazing and/or mowing is making a more suitable habitat for the buttercup by decreasing plant competition, and/or if grazing and/or mowing are making a more suitable habitat for buttercup by decreasing small mammal habitat.
International Collaborations in Organismal Biology Between US and Israeli Investigators $2,500,000
Study biology. Literally. That is all it is.

Today's Total $54,125,000

< 7/2 more grants 6/28 >

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Blend It!

Chicago Today, Russia Tomorrow

That is the actual title of a Department of Commerce blog entry.

Chicago Today, Russia Tomorrow

You would think someone might have some common sense and pen a more banal title. After Obama's "flexibility" comment on a hot mic, this just sounds bad.

The blog talks about Chicago's exports. It then highlights a Russian company, BayRu, that is based in Illinois. In fact, it is the only business talked about in the blog entry. Almost half the entry talks about Russia and their entry into the WTO and the Obama administrations push to Congress to repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. This would make trade with Russia easier and more open.

BayRu is being highlighted because they were just awarded an Export Achievement Certificate. The commerce blog also has an unfortunate way of describing BayRu:
But what makes this company unique is that it’s headquartered right here…in Skokie, Illinois. BayRu has a unique business model of buying American consumer goods here, which are often tough to find in Russia, repackaging them, and then exporting those goods for delivery in Russia.
I think it is the "repackaging" term that sounds bad. Makes it sound like a pirating operation, but it is not. They are a portal to get American goods to Russia.

BayRu was founded by two brothers from Russia : Anton and Gene German. Their company hopes to do $40 million in business this year. Russia is a mostly cash country and BayRu has set up 500,000 payment points across Russia and post-Soviet countries to accept cash payments.

Did you catch that?

Lets go through a few points again:
  • Obama is a Chicago politician
  • Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he'd have "more flexibility" after the election
  • Obama is complaining he will get outspent this election ( probably not true )
  • Obama is pushing for more open trade with Russia
  • BayRu is a business based in Chicago run by two Russian brothers
  • BayRu has 500,000 cash payment points in Russia
Now I'm not saying that anything inappropriate is going on. I am just a blogger restating facts in a way that sounds bad.

Now if there was an actual investigative reporter out there that could look into this ... but they don't exist anymore, do they?

Coast Guard Protecting Oil Rigs From Environmentalists

The Coast Guard is keeping environmentalists 500 yards away from oil rigs and vessels for their own safety. They are also doing this because the environmentalist tactics are illegal that puts everyone in danger.

This is about environmentalist trying to board vessels and rigs or swimming and boating in their path.

Yes, "boarding." The articles never talk about property rights. They just say the tactics are illegal and talk about safety.


Cursing on Obama Campaign Blog

By today's standards the word "damn" is not a shocking curse word, but you still don't want your kids saying it.

Do you want your President saying it? It depends.

If the President said "we need to catch those damn terrorist" that is fine. If the President says "the damn public doesn't know what's good for it" then it is inappropriate.

Well Obama has to win the "damn election." You know. That inconvenient process where the people vote for him. I went to his campaign site to see if he was crying for money again and saw this cursing front and center.

Classy. That is exactly what you want your kids to think of when they think of the President. A foul mouthed present stealer.

ObamaCare has come out in Obama's favor, but they are still complaining. Is the campaign being run from a Junior High School?

How many classrooms do you think might be doing projects on ObamaCare today? You know they will go to his campaign site. How many second graders are now going to be talking about the "damn election?"

Stay classy, POTUS.

Crazy Grants : June 28th

Humanitarian Assistance to Cuba $6,000,000
There is an embargo on Cuba to make Communism unpleasant. Instead we will give them money for nothing. They don't have to work for it.
Digital Democracy $6,000,000
"Digital Democracy" is intended to produce free flow of information to Cuba through the internet. Stated problems : few Cuban's have access ( less than 10% ), it is expensive, it is slow, it is censored. Throw money at the problem! Irony : SOPA, PIPA.
Cooperative Development of a Freshwater Contaminants Monitoring $59,000+
Since the 1970's people have been able to monitor their pool water to see if it is safe to swim in. It is the year 2012 and the government doesn't know how to test water? Is there not some freshwater testing program already being used somewhere that can be copied? There must be because the EPA fines a whole lot of people!
Improving Coordinated Transportation Systems for Transportation Disadvantaged Populations $1,000,000
I have no problem with helping disabled people, but this is a feel good bureaucratic double talk project. A lot of money to get disabled people to give their 2 cents about public transportation and determine out of all the communities across the U.S. who best serves the disabled. The idea is that this will be used to redesign public transportation to be more responsive to the disabled. Sounds good, but not likely.
Recovery activities for the endangered plant Nipomo Lupine $44,000+
Nipomo Lupine is an endangered plant growing in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes region where it is threatened by veldt grass, pocket gophers , and a proposed highway realignment for development. Someone is needed to plant more of these suckers in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes region to avoid these threats, even though the recovery area is where the threats are in the first place. Huh?
River of Raptors Project Fall 2012 $48,000
Counting birds in Mexico. This isn't even for wildlife in the U.S.
Least Chub Habitat Sensitivity Study $40,000
Measure and predict water levels. What for?
Texting ban Enforcement $550,000
Advertisements and advertisement strategy for the texting ban where it applies. Doesn't this already exist? Don't you always hear "don't text and drive?"

Today's Total $13,741,000+

< 6/29 more grants 6/27 >

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crazy Grants : June 27th

BLM Washington Office Intern* $200,000
Cowbird Control in the Santa Clara River $30,000
Landbird Monitoring $67,000+
Countering Violent Extremism Bangladesh Program $1,200,000
Statistical Examination Presidential Pardons $350,000
Federal White Collar Violations Statistical Series $500,000

Today's Total $2,347,000+

*Split among 2 recipients. Will reflect the diversity of the Nation, so race based.

< 6/28 more grants 6/26 >

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Green Energy is Sexist

The cartoon would be much more funny if it were not true. Unfortunately what is in the cartoon is the very first line from a blog entry by the Energy Department.
To tackle the economic and energy challenges of the 21st century we need more women at the table.
According to this blog, that is why the DoE launched the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative.

C3E believes there needs to be more women in the clean/green energy industry. They are disappointed by the low numbers of women involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Maybe they can nip this in the bud and force more women to major in these subjects instead of "Women's Studies." Irony.

The C3E does have statistics on its side:
There is also a business case for gender diversity; studies show that organizations’ outcomes qualitatively improve when the leadership is composed of at least 30 percent of each gender.
If you set up a company be sure you have 30% men, 30% women, 30% hermaphrodite, and the final 10% what-ever. Because it you want to be successful in green energy too many trouser snakes is sure to hinder innovation. Crotch flowers will help your clean energy business bloom.

Beyond Solyndra : Energy Department Brags About What's Next

The Energy Department thought that Solyndra was so good that they put it in the title of a presentation to show how much more good they will do with the same policies. Below is a hot-linked slideshow thrown together. You can go to the original slideshow too.

 01 of 14  

All this really is is a list of upcoming scandals and how much it will cost us.

Ivanpah $1.6 Billion
Aqua Caliente $967 Million
Abengoa Solana $2.466 Billion
Caithness Shepherds Flat $1.3 Billion
Ford Unknown

You may have noticed Ford on the list and you may know that I have ragged on Obama about taking credit for Ford when Ford did not take the bailout. In this case, Ford has taken loans. Unlike the other companies on the list, Ford has an amazing amount of assets and produces a product. If Ford were to default on its loans it could be liquidated and the loans would be repaid.

However, I find it unsettling that the DoE does not tell us how big Ford's loans were. Ford shouldn't have taken them in the first place anyways.

The slide show starts with $35 billion in loans and $55 billion in economic investment for the energy grid. That is $90 billion total from the DoE. It will support 60,000 jobs and thousands more coming down the pike.

Just to have some numbers, let's say we get an additional 60,000 jobs for a total of 120,000 jobs. That means the DoE has spent $750,000 per job. If the loans get paid back and these companies can become self sufficient this is not a problem. But if subsidies will always be needed it is a raw deal for everyone! Changes are being made to our energy infrastructure that will eventually fail!

In the auto industry we have $8.3 billion in loans and $14 billion in investment to support 38,000 jobs. That is $586,000 per job.

This is a little better because we are talking about products and liquid assets. Updating factories to be cleaner, okay. Investing in all electric car companies, not so okay. We have already seen one of those fail, or is it more than one?

This is all a waste.

At the end are quotes that should be positive, but they really describe how shaky and unstable this all is. I'll just go over one quote and you can mull over the rest:
Once so risky that only government backing could draw private capital, solar projects now are making returns of about 15 percent, according to Stanford University's center for energy policy and finance...

Don't go to Stanford if you want to understand business, the economy, and capitalism.
Risk is something the private sector is supposed to invest in. The government is not supposed to be taking risks with our money. This creates unfair competition for legitimate investments because the government can just steal more of the people's money to prop up a failure to compete with better concepts. This is how you end up with a messed up economy and infrastructure when the best product doesn't win. The product that the government dumps our stolen money in does and we lose because it only stands if we continually dump money into it.

If something can not draw private capital there is a reason why. Why can't the government get this through its thick skull!?


See the humor on twitter with the hash tag #ObamaDoesntRemember

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arrested For Using Their Hands

Four men in Iowa were arrested for catching catfish with their hands. One of them was also charged for fishing without a license.

Apparently only one man did not have a license. Other than that you can fish, but don't use your hands. Really? It is illegal to use your hands.

Again. The government says it is illegal to use your hands to fish.

The Department of Natural Resources took the fish they caught, their boat, their motor, the trailer for the boat, and went to the home of one of the fisherman and took catfish fillets he had there. Again, went to his home and confiscated property.

Chances are those fillets are going to go to rot. If they are doing this to feed themselves, think they might do this again since the government took away their food AND possessions?

Economy is in the crapper and the government is confiscating food because they used their hands.

Crazy Grants : June 26th

Where does the government spend our money? Check out Here are some crazy grants announced just today!
Genetic Identification of Western and Yosemite Toads and Intergrades $94,000+
Preserve, protect, educate, and promote the public awareness of the Santa Fe Trail $159,000+
English language micro-scholarships in Asuncion and San Lorenzo, Paraguay $25,000
Building U.S.-India Connections through Dance $75,000

Today's Total $353,000+

< 6/27 more grants

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Obama the Beggar

A couple days ago the Obama campaign posted a blog entry complaining that they will be outspent 3 to 1 in this campaign. I told you this would happen.

The post continues on saying that GOP outside groups will spend $20 million. So? At the end of May Obama had $100 million more than Romney. We will have to see what the numbers are at the end of June, but Obama has been far ahead for a long time.

Now Obama is trying to scare his supporters that he could be outspent 10 to 1. Here is the quote from the blog:
We can be outspent and still win—but we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.

Obama's campaign had $277 million at the end of May. Do you really think that more than $3 billion will be spent in the next 4 months against him? I think that only the federal government can spend money that fast. But I could be wrong. It will be interesting to see.

As Obama keeps having contests for you to have dinners with celebs, and celebs have expensive dinners for him, his campaign seems to not count them as the rich. He wants you to think that the rich and money are only flowing to Romney. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Obama is lying, of course. He has more money than Romney. He is just trying to scare you. He is correct when he says you can win even when you are outspent, which he is doing ( spending not winning ) to Romney right now. He also believes if you can spend enough you can buy the election, which is what he is trying to do.

He is ahead financially and is trying to keep it that way.

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Christians Attacked by Arabs and Police Approve in Michigan


Hate posting something so adult, but some things should not be ignored. At the Arab festival in Dearborn a Christian group is protesting. The crowd curse at them and throw objects. The Arab children are insanely insolent.

The police tell the Christians to leave. They cannot spare two officers to keep the peace by their protest. However, they can spare ten or more to kick them out.

Welcome to Dearbornistan

U.S.Forest Service Baits Hunting For Birds and Discriminates Hunters

This is like hunting in the Twilight Zone.

The U.S. Forest Service and Blue Ridge Electric Co-op are working together to set up an area for hunting doves. To achieve their goal they are erecting fake power lines close to food sources to attract the doves for perching and providing an easier shot.

This is intended to improve the dove field. It sounds like the article is trying to sell this as the same idea as the 60 minutes special on how hunting endangered species helps to save the endangered species.

If you saw the special you will see how off the mark this project is.

First, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op is a non-profit organization. The U.S. Forest Service is a government organization which means it is not profit driven. Yet, they are mimicking a profit modeled project? What could go wrong?

Second, the dove is not an endangered species. The article does not mention the hunting model. How many birds can be hunted. How much each bird costs when shot. How they will keep the flocks at a healthy size.

Since the doves are not an endangered species, and these entities are not profit driven, what does it matter if they slaughter all of the birds? They can bring in more. Doves are plentiful and the U.S. Forest Service has our tax dollars to bring in more doves if necessary.

This is of course voicing a worst case scenario. Blue Ridge is known for its environmental stewardship and many of its employees are hunters and fisherman, so they were interested in helping set up this project. But this is on federal land. It will be run by the U.S. Forest Service, a government entity. What could go wrong?

Maybe the discriminatory practise that is going to be put in place will prevent all of the birds from being slaughtered. What sort of discrimination would that be? This dove hunting field is only for youths and the mobility-impaired. I guess if your hunters are inexperienced or lame there is less chance of the marks being hit. Flock size remains healthy.

Who dreams this stuff up?