Tag Archives: government waste

$1M federal grant to train 24 teachers of ‘social justice’ math/science

“Social justice” is the new Marxism of the Left.

The supposed meaning of the term is that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, wellbeing, justice and opportunity:

  • According to Investopedia, the term “is broadly associated with the political left, and in the U.S. its advocates are mainly found in the Democratic party, particularly in the party’s self-identified progressive and socialist wings.”
  • According to the Heritage Foundation, “Originally a Catholic term, first used about 1840 for a new kind of virtue (or habit) necessary for post-agrarian societies, the term has been bent by secular ‘progressive’ thinkers to mean uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages.”
  • Stripped of its utopian gobbledygook, the best and most succinct definition of “social justice” is Urban Dictionary‘s: “A euphemism for an economic mugging by political force.

Whatever the definition, “social justice” is a normative term; it’s about values — what is just or unjust.

Mathematics and science, in contrast, are not about values; neither is about just or unjust, good or bad. The American Heritage Dictionary defines:

  • Mathematics as “The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.”
  • Science as “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of [natural] phenomena.”

In epistemology, “social justice”, “mathematics” and “science” occupy entirely separate and different domains of truths: Social justice is normative; mathematics is analytic; science is empirical. Simply put, there is no such thing as “social justice mathematics” or “social justice science”. 2+2=4 is the same whether one is rich or poor, male or female, white or black. To say otherwise is akin to saying there are “social justice algebra” or “social justice bicycles” or “social justice belly buttons”.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal government agency that supports basic research and education in science and engineering, except medicine (which has its own federal agency, the National Institutes of Health).

With an annual budget of $7 billion (fiscal year 2012), the NSF funds approximately 24% of all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities. In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics, and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.

Alas, having corrupted all other institutions in America, the neo-Marxist disease of “social justice” has infected the National Science Foundation. The NSF has approved a (continuing) grant of $1,009,762 to Drexel University, a private university in Philadelphia, to train 24 undergraduate students to teach “social justice” mathematics and science. By my calculation, that comes to $42,073 taxpayer dollars per student.

The Drexel University project, which began this summer, promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) high school curricula that are “steeped in the context of social justice.” 24 Drexel undergraduate students will be trained to teach “social justice” mathematics and science in Philadelphia’s “high need” middle schools. How these students, upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, can be compelled to actually teach in “high need” Philadelphia middle schools is not clear.

The following is from the National Science Foundation website:

NSA’s Division of Undergraduate Education
Award Abstract #1758345
Preparing Mathematics and Science Teachers for Middle School
Award Number: 1758345
Award Instrument: Continuing grant
Start Date: June 15, 2018
End Date: May 31, 2023 (Estimated)
Award Amount to Date: $1,009,762.00

The project’s “principal investigator” and “co-investigators” are all Drexel University faculty:


1. Sheila Vaidya, Professor of Education
2. Mary Jo Grdina, Clinical Professor of Education
3. Shari Moskow, Professor of Arts & Science
4. Donald McEachron, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

 

Below is the NSF’s gobbledygook jargonese “Abstract” describing the $1.009 million grant:

The project will use recent scientific, mathematical, and educational knowledge to prepare and support the twenty-four pre-service teacher candidates with an emphasis on understanding the culture and life experiences of students in high-need schools. The project intends to promote social justice teaching, which emphasizes connecting science, mathematics, and engineering instruction to students’ personal experiences and culture. This connection can leverage the funds of knowledge that each student brings to learning. Inquiry-based instruction supports this approach as it opens communication among students by establishing a learning community of shared knowledge and experience. Seminars related to mindfulness and developing emotional intelligence will augment the Scholars’ coursework. The latter will be scaffolded to develop the following behaviors: professionalism, growth mindset, commitment to serving all students well, and cultural competency. Essential skills that will be developed through the coursework include understanding students’ cultural communities as a foundation for classroom culture and building strong relationships, taking ownership of student learning and professional growth, setting and maintaining high behavioral expectations, leading rigorous and aligned content instruction, and demonstrating content expertise and pedagogical content knowledge. These essential skills and core competencies will be demonstrated in the context of teaching mathematics and science to middle-grades students in high-need schools. Early experiences consisting of linking content knowledge with appropriate pedagogical and content knowledge with pre-residency and residency experiences are intended to strengthen the Scholars’ content and pedagogical knowledge while supporting first steps into the world of teaching. Rubrics to assess the attainment of the core competencies and essential skills will be used to collect data related to the Scholars’ proficiency in these aspects. It is anticipated that the documentation of project activities and identification of learnings from project implementation will be disseminated to the education community through conference presentations, a project website, and professional publications. The long-term and far-reaching benefits to society of this project are the potential to document and share sustainable approaches, steeped in the context of social-justice, for recruiting and preparing STEM majors to provide success in learning mathematics and science for all middle-grades students in a high-need school district.

The National Science Foundation’s manager of the “social justice math and science” program is Kathleen B. Bergin (kbergin@nsf.gov).

France A. Córdova is the director of the National Science Foundation, appointed by Barack Obama. Please ask President Trump @realDonaldTrump to fire her and appoint another.

H/t Washington Free Beacon

~Eowyn

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US foreign aid agency spent $89.7M finding jobs for 55 Afghan women

This is how government wastes your hard-earned tax dollars.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is a federal government agency that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and assistance to “developing” countries.  With a budget of over $27 billion, USAID is one of the largest official aid agencies in the world, and accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistance (which in absolute dollar terms is the highest in the world).

Elizabeth Harrington reports for Washington Free Beacon, Sept. 13, 2018, that USAID spent over $200 million on the Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Program (aka Promote) to “empower” 75,000 women in in Afghanistan, but only found jobs for 55 women.

USAID trumpeted the program as part of building a “brighter future for Afghanistan” by empowering its women:

In the Transformation Decade (2015-2024), a new generation of Afghan leaders—both men and women—will emerge who are equipped with the education, skills, and desire to build a brighter future for Afghanistan. Promote is a joint commitment by the U.S. and Afghan Governments that will work to empower 75,000 women between the ages of 18-30 and help ensure these women are included among a new generation of Afghan political, business, and civil society leaders.

Promote aims to empower women to become leaders alongside their male counterparts, and ensure they have the skills, experience, knowledge, and networks to succeed. USAID has committed $216 million to fund the program, making it the largest women’s empowerment project in the U.S. Government’s history. Other international donors are able to contribute an additional $200 million to help expand the program.

Alas, the international donors turned out to be a pie-in-the-sky dream.

According to a new report released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), no other country or organization has donated to the program, other than the United States:

As of January 2018, no international donors had contributed funding to Promote. Officials from five of the seven donor countries SIGAR spoke to said they cannot financially contribute to the Promote program or that USAID’s assumption that foreign donors would contribute $200 million for the program was an unrealistic goal.

The report says the Promote program is a five-year $216 million effort. Three years into the program, however, USAID has spent $89.7 million but “has not demonstrated whether the program has made progress” toward its goals. The goal was to find new or better jobs for 2,100 women. As of September 2017, only 55 women or 2.6% found employment — which comes to $1.5 million per woman. The report concludes, “It is unclear whether the agency can deliver the opportunities it promised the women of Afghanistan.”

In addition to falling well below its job targets, the future of the program is also in doubt, as Afghanistan is unlikely to continue the program without the United States. The report points out that “This raises questions about whether Promote is sustainable at all and could put USAID’s investment in the program in jeopardy.”

The report recommends USAID should reevaluate the program before spending its remaining taxpayer-funded budget:

Given that the program has expended $89.7 of its potential $216 million, USAID has an opportunity to reassess and adjust the program and take steps to enhance its sustainability now, rather than waiting until the program is over in 2020 or 2021.

Stephen Frank of California Political Review observes:

At a cost of $1.5 million per person, the U.S. government got 55 Afghan women jobs. Any wonder we are laughed at by the rest of the world. For about $50,000 a piece they [the women] could get a college education or vocational training. But, the more that is “spent” on the women, the more jobs for U.S. government workers there is to go around.

~Eowyn

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$6 BILLION missing from State Department

Hillary for prison

Brianna Ehley reports for The Fiscal Times, April 4, 2014, that the State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors, just the latest example of the federal government’s continued struggle with oversight over its outside contractors.

In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned that “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.” The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk. It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”

IG Linick detailed “repeated examples of poor contract file administration,” including:

  • For instance, a recent investigation of the closeout process for contracts supporting the “mission” (war) in Iraq, showed that Auditors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 contract files, totaling about $2.1 billion. Of the remaining 82 files, 48 contained insufficient documents required by federal law.
  • The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement issued a $1 billion contract in Afghanistan that was deemed “incomplete.”

The auditor recommended that the State Department establish a centralized system to track, maintain and retain contract files.

The department responded and said it concurred with the recommendations to address the “vulnerability” in its contracting process.

Before Linick took office last fall, the State Department had been without an inspector general position for five years—the longest IG vacancy in the government’s history, as noted in The Washington Post.

Contact your Congress critters and demand that there be a hearing on this fiasco.

Since Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State and, therefore, the head of the State Department, for 4 of the 6 years, she should be hauled before the hearing to account for the missing $6 billion.

No doubt, just as she did about Benghazi, she’ll once again airily dismiss the missing billions with “What does it matter?”

See also:

~Eowyn

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2 million Brazilians protest against gov’t corruption, spending, and taxes

Imagine the entire population of Hawaii — every man, woman, child, and transgender — showing up for a violent protest.

How about the entire population of Hawaii (pop. in 2012: 1,392,313) AND Washington, D.C. (pop. 632,323)?

That’s how many people demonstrated last Thursday night in 80 cities across Brazil.

And yet, did you see this on the alphabet TV news?

Huge crowds of demonstrators march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Huge crowds of demonstrators march in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features

Jonathan Watts reports for the UK’s The Guardian, June 21, 2013:

Brazil‘s president, Dilma Rousseff, and key ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Friday following a night of protests that saw Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities echo with percussion grenades and swirl with teargas as riot police scattered the biggest demonstrations in more than two decades.

The protests were sparked last week by opposition to rising bus fares, but they have spread rapidly to encompass a range of grievances, as was evident from the placards. “Stop corruption. Change Brazil”; “Halt evictions”; “Come to the street. It’s the only place we don’t pay taxes“; “Government failure to understand education will lead to revolution”.

Rousseff’s office said she had cancelled a trip to Japan next week.

A former student radical herself, Rousseff has tried to mollify the protesters by praising their peaceful and democratic spirit. Partly at her prompting, Rio, São Paulo and other cities have reversed the increase in public transport fares, but this has failed to quell the unrest.

A vast crowd – estimated by the authorities at 300,000 and more than a million by participants – filled Rio’s streets, one of a wave of huge nationwide marches against corruption, police brutality, poor public services and excessive spending on the World Cup.

A minority of protesters threw stones, torched cars and pulled down lamp-posts. Police responded by firing volleys of pepper spray and rubber bullets into the crowd and up onto overpasses where car drivers and bus passengers were stuck in traffic jams. At least 40 people were injured in the city and many more elsewhere.

Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout that may have been close to 2 million. An estimated 110,000 marched in São Paulo, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Clashes were reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, Porto Alegre in the south, Campinas north of São Paulo and Salvador.

Thirty-five people were injured in the capital Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets. In São Paulo, one man was killed when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people, including many journalists, were hit by rubber bullets.

The vast majority of those involved were peaceful. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks, emulating the global Occupy campaign. Others donned red noses – a symbol of a common complaint that people are fed up being treated as clowns.

Rio de Janeiro protests An Anonymous mask stands out in the crowd. Photograph: Pedro Koeler/Corbis

“There are no politicians who speak for us,” said Jamaime Schmitt, an engineer. “This is not just about bus fares any more. We pay high taxes and we are a rich country, but we can’t see this in our schools, hospitals and roads.” Many in the mostly young, middle class crowd were experiencing their first large protest.

Matheus Bizarria, who works for the NGO Action Aid, said people had reached the limit of their tolerance about longstanding problems that the Confederations Cup and World Cup have brought into focus because of the billions of reals spent on new stadiums rather than public services. Rio is also due to host a papal visit to World Youth Day next month, and the Olympics in 2016.

“It’s totally connected to the mega-events,” Bizarria said. “People have had enough, but last year only 100 people marched against a bus price rise. There were 1,000 last week and 100,000 on Monday. Now we hope for a million.”

Initially the mood in Rio was peaceful. When a handful of people began tearing down posters for the Confederations Cup, the rest of the crowd sat down around them and shamed them with shouts of “no violence” and “no vandalism”.

But later protesters pulled down security cameras, smashed bus stops and torched cars. Every hoarding that advertised the Confederations Cup was destroyed.

Police had increased their numbers more than 10-fold from Monday, and were quickly on the offensive.

After a confrontation near the city hall, they drove back the protesters, who fled coughing and with tears streaming down their cheeks. At least one person was hit by rubber bullets, and showed the bruise on his leg where he was hit.

Some were furious that the police action seemed indiscriminate. “Where we had been tranquil, then suddenly they started firing gas into the crowd. People were scared and appalled,” said Alessandra Sampaio, one of the protesters. “They are cowards. They wanted to disperse the crowd never mind who it was. I’m very angry. It was a real abuse of power.”

Victor Bezerra, a law student, said the police action was like something from the dictatorship era. “These are bad days for Brazil. The police were acting just like they did 30 years ago.”

The crowd were driven into side streets and back towards the central station by lines of police backed by officers carrying shotguns on horseback and motorbikes.

“Look at this. It’s hard to believe. Terrible!”, said Ellie Lopes, a 22-year-old passerby, as she surveyed the debris and flames.

Riot police eventually cleared the entire central area, but they were still dispersing gatherings in the Lapa music and bar district late into the night. As helicopters buzzed overhead, they fired teargas into the crowded square next to a concert by the band Cannibal Corpse. Hotdog kiosk vendors found themselves with sore and streaming eyes, inadvertently pushed onto a moving frontline.

Despite the crackdown, many said they would return to the streets for the next demonstration, planned for Saturday [that’s today].

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCzdULyGk7M]

Political corruption. Wasteful government spending. Oppressive taxes. Public Government schools that aren’t working. A president who’s a former student radical.

Sound familiar?

I wonder when the American people finally will have had enough . . . .

H/t FOTM’s Sunny

~Eowyn

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What's the difference between Obama's IRS and Hitler's Gestapo?

Answer:
Hitler’s Gestapo did the goosestep, but President Lucifer’s IRS does line-dancing!
On taxpayers’ dollars!
WooHoo! What fun!
StrawberryPineapplePurpleBananaMuffinDancingShitChilliCheeseCarrotAppleDancingShit
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd8fFw_kvac]
From FoxNews:

The video of the IRS workers practicing their dance moves, which lasts just under three minutes, comes weeks after it was revealed that agency workers produced two other videos parodying the “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” TV shows.

All three videos were given to Congress on Friday [May 31, 2013] in response to a request issued by Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, after learning that the videos were recorded at IRS offices in New Carrollton, Md., outside Washington, D.C.

The latest recording cost about $1,600 and was produced to be shown at the end of a 2010 training and leadership conference held in Anaheim, Calif., said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge. At a time when most government agencies are coping with across-the-board spending cuts by furloughing workers and finding other savings, that conference has become the target of a report a Treasury inspector general plans to release next week.

The report, called “Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses,” will be the subject of a hearing Thursday [June 6, 2013] by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that panel said Friday.

“Whether it is the tens of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars spent to produce frivolous entertainment for agency bureaucrats, or the IRS’s own admission that it targeted the American people based on their personal beliefs, the outrage toward the IRS is only growing stronger,” Boustany said in a statement.

Clearly this is an agency where abuse and waste is the norm and not the exception. It is clear that this is a broken agency that is empowered by a broken tax code”

And this is what the POS thinks of you:

H/t my friend Robert K. Wilcox.
~Eowyn

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Govt spends $1.5M to study why lesbians are fat

Our national debt is now $16.686 trillion — and increasing by the second. But the POS will not agree with House Republicans on much needed spending cuts, which means “sequestration” — automatic spending cuts to the federal budget will soon kick into effect.
Anticipating painful cuts to the U.S. military budget, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos is urging our Marines to preserve ammunition and gasoline: “Save every round, every gallon of gas.”
At the same time, the POS and the White House behave like they don’t have a care in the world, with 20 WH staffers making the maximum $172,200 a year salary. Underneath them are dozens of “deputy” assistants and “special”  assistants to the president, including “climate change” advisers, who also draw six-figure salaries of $100,000 or more.
Having the White House as a role model, the bureaucracies in the Executive Branch also throw taxpayers’ money around like there is no tomorrow. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) just awarded $1.5 million of taxpayers’ hard earned dollars to a Boston hospital to find out why lesbians are fat.

rosieodonnell$1.5 million to find out why Rosie O’Donnell is fat

Elizabeth Harrington reports for CNSNews, March 11, 2013, that Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, has received two grants administered by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study the biological and social factors for why “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not.”
The grant reads:
“Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today. Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention. [H]owever, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities. It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”
The investigators say there has been “almost no” research devoted to this disparity, and they have set out to find the biological, psychological, and social factors behind it. The researchers claim the subject is one of “high public-health significance.”
The project is being led by S. Bryn Austin, Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Austin is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, and an Associate Epidemiologist at BWH.
BWH first received a $778,622 grant for the study in 2011, followed by a $741,378 grant in 2012, totaling $1,520,000. The project has the potential to be a five-year study. The grants list a “project end date” and a “budget end date” of June 30, 2016.
Without a research budget of $1.5 million, I can tell the NIH why lesbians (or anyone) is fat:

They eat too much!!!

~Eowyn

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DoD wastes $100,000 on workshop if Jesus died also for Klingons

America’s national debt is now over $16.3 TRILLION, but the Department of Defense (DoD) is oblivious and behaving like the gravy train is still choo-chooing along.
A workshop funded by the DoD’s Defense Advances Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to the tune of nearly $100,000, included a session on the earthshaking problem of whether Jesus had died for Klingons.
Yes, Klingons.
The wholly fictitious species who inhabit the wholly fictitious TV program “Star Trek” and its spinoffs.

Star Trek's Klingon Lt. Commander Worf

Star Trek’s Klingon Lt. Commander Worf


Jaci Greggs reports for Breitbart.com, Dec. 5, 2012, that Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) latest report on spending by the Department of Defense shows, among other things, defense spending used for a lecture series last year involving fictional alien species, called “Did Jesus Die for Klingons too?”
The Klingon session was one of the sessions at a recent workshop funded by DARPA — a strategy planning workshop on the 100 Year Starship project. The session featured philosophy professor Christian Weidemann of Germany’s Ruhr-Univeristy Bochum. Weidemann pondered the theological conflict to Christianity if intelligent life was found on other planets. (See page 17 of Sen. Coburn’s report.)
At another DoD-funded gathering, the brainstorming sessions covered topics such as how to make deep space travel most efficient, how scientists would go about creating a “warp bubble,” and whether or not humans would need to wear clothing during space travel. This event even featured actors from the famous “Star Trek” TV series as special guests.
This was in conjunction with the 100 Year Starship project, the goal of which is to “foster a rebirth of a sense of wonder” to “make interstellar space travel practicable and feasible.” So far, the 100 Year Project has consumed more than $1 million.
H/t California Political News and Views.
~Eowyn

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Ridiculous road sign wastes taxpayers' money

This is just one tiny example of how our government — national, state, local — wastes taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b2xnWYx8YK8]
My friend, Mark S. McGrew, who wrote the first “birther” exposés back in 2008, sent me this video. He is running for El Paso County Sheriff in Texas. This video exemplifies one of the problems in El Paso which Mark, if elected sheriff, will rectify!
Check out his campaign website, HERE!
~Eowyn

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Obama's Dog and Lover Fly In Own Jet

The Obama reelection campaign won’t debate substance because of his sorry record for the past 3+ years as POTUS, so the campaign has gone to the dogs, literally.
On Tuesday, Obama’s chief campaign strategist and senior advisor David Axelrod tweeted a picture of his boss and his dog, Bo, in a presidential limo, with this message:

“How loving owners transport their dog.”

The message was an obvious jab at Romney, whose wife Ann had told a family anecdote about how the Romneys took a roadtrip to Canada in the 1980s with their dog Seamus in a kennel strapped to the roof of the car.
Conservative bloggers and talk-show hosts have fought back, noting that Obama wrote in one of his autobiographies that, as a child in Indonesia, he had eaten dog meat. But the real story, forgotten by conservatives, is this:

In July 2010, when the Obamas flew to Maine for a vacation, Bo the dog was flown in a separate plane, thereby wasting thousands of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

Below is a post I wrote on this at the time, on July 18, 2010, as a reminder of the real scandalous dog story in this election year.
~Eowyn

Bo, the most pampered dog in U.S. history — at taxpayers’ expense

As Rome burned, Emperor Nero played the fiddle.
As of 4:43 am, west coast time, Sunday, July 18, 2010, the U.S. national debt was $13,204,759,696,170 and increasing by the second. Debt per citizen was $42,628 and increasing by the second. Debt per taxpayer was $119,360 and increasing by the second.
But Obama and family flew to Bar Harbor, Maine, for their THIRD vacation since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded on April 20.
Arriving at the airport before the Obamas were first dog Bo and Obama’s “special assistant/personal aidegay lover, the aptly named Reggie Love in their own small jet plane.
This is how Wikipedia describes Love: “As Obama’s aide, he has to anticipate any and all of Obama’s needs.”
Yes, we can! — and we’re footing the bill! That is, the 60% of Americans who actually pay federal income taxes.

Reggie and Barry


Reporting from scenic Bar Harbor, Maine, reporter Rebekah Metzler of the Morning Sentinet writes on July 17, 2010:

Earlier Friday, the Obamas were greeted by Gov. John Baldacci and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, when they arrived in Trenton about 12:25 p.m.
The president was the first to walk onto the tarmac, dressed casually in a pale blue Oxford shirt and khakis. A few minutes later, the first lady, dressed in black capris, a tank-top and sandals, walked onto the runway. Shortly afterward, Malia and Sasha joined their parents.
Baldacci and his wife, Karen, presented the family with gift bags full of Maine-made goodies, including baskets made by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, popcorn from Little Lad’s Bakery in East Corinth, iconic L.L. Bean bags, University of Maine ice hockey hats, and an assortment of other Maine foods and books. Karen Baldacci said the bags for Malia and Sasha contained one loon toy and one chickadee toy that sound their natural calls.

Arriving in a small jet before the Obamas was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love, who chatted with Baldacci. “We’re ready. We’re going to do it all,” Love said with a big smile.
Air traffic at the small Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton was shut down for the presidential arrival. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter patrolled the air in anticipation of the first family’s touchdown, and a pair of local fire and rescue trucks stood ready on an otherwise empty tarmac at the private air hangar.
The Obamas then traveled onto Mount Desert Island in a motorcade of at least 16 vehicles. It was led by two Maine State Police cruisers and included five black Chevrolet Suburbans.

H/t beloved Fellows tina and Anon!
~Eowyn

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Ever Wondered Why Chimps Throw Poop?

Me neither, but somebody in the federal government must have really had a knot in their boxers wanting to know, as last year they spent $592,000 of our money in an effort to find out why.
Via moneymorning.com:
Why Chimps Throw Poop… And 17 Other Examples of Government Waste
February 22, 2012
By David Zeiler, Associate Editor, Money Morning
Never mind the $15 trillion national debt; the government blew $592,000 on a study last year to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop.
That’s just one example of government waste described in a recent book by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. His “Wastebook 2011” features 100 examples of needless or ill-advised government spending.
It adds up to $6.9 billion that America can’t afford. And while such waste is just a fraction of the federal government’s $3.8 trillion budget, a country that needs to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spends should not be throwing money away on non-essential research.
Like why chimps throw poop.
Here are 17 other things the government wasted tax dollars on last year:
17 Ways Government Wastes Your Money
1. Exporting Elmo: The U.S. Agency for International Development provided $10 million to a Pakistani arts organization to adapt “Sesame Street” for Pakistani toddlers. The money will also help pay for the creation of 130 episodes of the show.
2. Dragon Robots for Preschoolers: The National Science Foundation spent $131,000 on robot dragons designed to mimic human responses to help teach preschoolers language skills. Apparently interaction with real humans was deemed inadequate.
3. Virtual Mummies: Thanks to a $25,000 federal grant, visitors to the Milwaukee Public Museum will now be able to experience a “3-D high-definition, full-color true holographic or holographic-like exhibit of a virtual mummy unwrapping.”
4. Dead Man’s Party: Those who complain federal employment benefits are already too generous won’t be pleased to learn that many government workers keep receiving payments long after they’ve died. The Inspector General for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management says “the amount of post-death improper payments is consistently $100-$150 million annually, totaling over $601 million in the last five years.”
5. Cowboy Poetry: It’s hard to recall John Wayne reciting verse in any of the many Westerns he made, but cowboy poetry is a big enough phenomenon to have its own annual celebration. And this year taxpayers helped pay for it courtesy of a $50,000 contribution from the U.S. government.
6. Promiscuous Quail: The National Institute of Health gave the University of Kentucky $176,000 to determine if Japanese quail are more likely to have sex when high on cocaine. The study is scheduled to last through 2015.
7. Happiness is … Social Media: Another National Science Foundation grant for $198,000 paid for a University of California-Riverside study of “motivations, expectations and goal pursuit in social media.” Among the questions the study seeks to answer: “Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?”
[…]
16. Chinese Puzzle: The Chinese economy is second only to that of the United States. And China holds billions of dollars in U.S. debt. So the U.S. government sent $17.8 million in aid to China last year to improve the Asian giant’s social services and clean up its environment. That makes sense, right?
You will find the rest of the list here.
And we wonder why we are spinning in the bottom of the financial toilet bowl as a nation, as you can be sure the eighteen things listed here are not even scratching the surface.
-Dave 

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