SOLAR ENERGY—THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE TOTAL HYPE

Anyone who has been awake for the past several years has at least heard of all the “Green” construction, jobs and such being promoted by the government. This has become a major fad in the construction and product industries so people feel obligated to comply whether or not they have a clue as to what is going on.

It should be noted that there is a “Green Party” in politics which is in essence (and admittedly) a self appointed Communist party. That essentially means that it and its members and followers are anti capitalist and essentially anti free enterprise and anti freedom.

The similarity between the “Green Party” and the “Green movement” in construction, products and other hype should be apparent but to most it is not. Following is a very good example based on an absolutely true situation that occurred recently:

As an architect specializing in the commercial area I have been exposed to people touting the laurels of solar energy for decades and to a much larger extent in recent years. In analyzing these systems, even including all of the various tax credits, “writeoffs” and the like the length of time it takes to do no more than amortize (have the savings pay for) the system’s cost far exceeds anything a normal astute business person would engage in as a business venture, much less spend his personal funds.
I talked recently to a solar energy company who touted that their system would pay for itself in six years. As a self employed business person that time frame starts to make a bit of sense so I asked for more information. Long story short, they came up with a proposal which included six solar panels at a price of a bit over $11,000 installed. At first this sounded pretty good if indeed the savings in my power bill would recoup the $11,000 investment in 6 years………

In the analysis and explanation, a significant tax credit (Federal) was discussed and we bemoaned the fact that our State tax credit has already been used up by other folks trying to do the same thing. In any case, the relative bottom line cost when the Federal tax credit came into play became something over $7,000 (a nice drop)….

Then the other shoe fell……The actual savings in our power bill was projected to be less than $21.00 per month or, $252 per year. Even without a calculator handy I could be quite sure that it would take more than 6 years to recoup the cost……(try 28 years).

Some of the conversation then turned to the possibility of the State having another tax credit which would help(?) AND factoring in depreciation to “massage” the bottom line to an even lower figure.
Lets now look at a few factors from the stage of reality:

1. Assuming that the savings in power bills was correct, the system would have to cost no more than $1,512.00 for the savings to pay for the system in 6 years.

2. If I took the original figure of $11,000 and invested it in anything (savings, T-bills, bonds, etc.) with a return of 2 ½ % or more I would make more money per year than I would save by having the system up, running and fully paid for.

So where does all this lead? It is really simple…..the whole energy conservation movement is pure hype promoted and backed by the mental giants running the Federal government and by the media they control. Granted, there are Federal grants, tax credits and the like as incentives which is why some companies and manufacturers are involved with this fiasco. In reality it requires our government to fund these systems in some way in order for them to make any kind of economic sense at all, even if that economic sense is superficial and totally false. Guess whose money the government uses to fund these grants and credits……..(This isn’t rocket science…..it’s OUR tax money!)

From my standpoint, even if I could get enough government credits, grants or anything else to fully pay for the system and its installation the hassle would not be worth the $21.00 per month savings. If I were to install a large enough system to cover my entire power bill the cost would likely be $176,000 (based on factoring the total number of panels required for the whole house with the original 6 panel quote). Of course there isn’t enough room for this sort of installation but it’s a nice math challenge. Given this information and if I could do it my savings would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 per month on average. It doesn’t take a PhD in mathematics to see that it would still take well over 30 years to recoup that investment.
We are getting sucked in to the black hole of total government control including the control of how or if we think…..Wake up people!

Everyone gather round…

More from the management.

The main focus of this blog is to cast a spotlight on government waste and insipid government spending. When I set this site up, I wanted a topic that would provide new and fresh material in perpetuity. Writing about government waste is like writing about the sunset; it happens every day.

*actual sunset photo taken by the author

In reality, this blog is about two basic thoughts…

1. An avenue for my frustration at the overbearing and insane beast that is government.  I get so frustrated seeing a $2,700 sign telling me that they are spending my money.

*sign

You see, if I don’t get this out of my system, then my wife has to listen to me complain. And I like my wife. I like her a lot more when she’s in a good mood.  She’s never in a good mood when I’m complaining about government waste. Ergo, I blog.

2. To educate myself for when people ask, “I don’t see government waste, what are you talking about?” I can regale them with Wiccan chapels at the Air Force Academy, teaching Thai prostitutes the dangers of alcohol consumption, and putting televisions in remote villages in Vietnam.

Now, I often get the complaint that sometimes that amount of money wasted is such a small drop in a big ocean that it won’t help any to cut out the stupid stuff discussed here at CentsToChanges.com. Agreed, $3.4 million to build a turtle tunnel isn’t the reason this country is so in debt.  But it is a symptom of a much greater disease.

*no caption required

During the Great Depression, a subtle change happened in Washington. A change in philosophy that has caused the greatest free nation in the history of civilization to be $15,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. That subtle change was simple: Government spending fixed problems.

Let me repeat that:

Government spending fixed problems.

Well, it didn’t.  Only made things worse. Before the Great Depression, people were largely self supportive.  Flocks of immigrants rushed to the land of opportunity. Think about this, if a family was willing to uproot from their homeland, travel to an unknown country, without money, assets, or knowing the language, there must have been a pretty compelling reason.  That reason was freedom.  Free to make their own lives.  Free to escape the oppressive yoke of a fixed and permanent social structure and caste.  Free to make a life their own.

Enter the Great Depression and the Alphabet Administration of FDR. Government solutions to everything. Government spending everywhere.  High taxation. Miserable lives.  Interesting fact:  By Spring of 1930, before the government ”fixes” were in place, unemployment was still below 10% and the stock market was back up to pre-crash levels. Enter the Imperial Government.  Unemployment went to 25%.  Sure we got some dams and roads, but the Depression lasted 10 years longer than it should thanks to IG intervention.

*IG solutions

Since then, IG spending is the solution to everything.  And this is apolitical.  Every party in power has done everything they can to spend more money. Thanks to LBJ and his War on Poverty, we have spent $15 trillion on anti-poverty with no measurable success. It has to stop sometime.

Private citizens can, and always, do better than the government. I am convinced that if private citizens had decided to build a turtle tunnel it would have cost a lot less than $3.4 million.  I also know that a group of concerned citizens could have easily raised the money through voluntary donations and done a better job than the IG.

Perfect example.  A bridge in Kauai to Polihale State Park had been closed due to severe flooding.  The IG estimated that the cost would be $4 million to repair.  In a rare instance of fiscal restraint, the IG dragged their heels and never got to fixing the bridge. The bridge is a lifeline to many of the local residents and businesses whose economy is based on tourism associated with the state park. So what did they do? They volunteered their time and resources and fixed the bridge in eight  (8) days for free.  That’s right, free.  Didn’t cost the IG one red cent. Yes, it cost in terms of labor and equipment expenses, but those expenses were freely donated by the local community.  It wasn’t $4 million stolen at the point of a gun through force.

I love this quote:

“We shouldn’t have to do this, but when it gets to a state level, it just gets so bureaucratic, something that took us eight days would have taken them years,” said Troy Martin of Martin Steel, who donated machinery and steel for the repairs. “So we got together — the community — and we got it done.” 

*yes, CentsToChange.com would have written about this bridge costing $4 million

Private citizens acting on their own freewill always do better than the IG.

So we, as a country, need to realize two things…

1. Government spending will not solve fiscal problems. The IG cannot spend their way out of debt.

2. Government spending results in bigger problems.

There is a demotivational from www.Despair.com that says it best:

*If you think the problems we create are bad,
just wait until you see our solutions.

Is it realistic to lobby for zero IG spending?  No.  Don’t be stupid.  The Constitution clearly allows the IG to spend money. What we can do, is be pessimistic about IG spending. By casting a spotlight on the stupidity, it slowly erodes the credibility of our elected officials. And hopefully more people will start to ask questions and not just take politicians at their word.

Yes, we need to take big chunks off our budget to make an appreciable dent in our debt.  We here at CentsToChange.com get that.  But….  When you have two parties that fight a position simply because the other guy that said it first, you have to find common ground. And there is plenty of common ground.  Like the nearly $1 million spent by the GSA on a conference in Vegas that awarded some tool for making a video mocking how little fiscal oversight they had. This is common ground. Once you have some agreement, any agreement, it makes moving forward a lot easier. The key to any negotiation is starting with something on which both sides agree.

We need to solve the problem of Social Security and other entitlement programs.  Yes we can eliminate $15 billion (initially) by canceling one aircraft carrier. We currently have 10 active aircraft carriers with two in construction. The rest of the world has 10 combined with two in retrofit and four in construction. While I am a huge believer in “peace through superior firepower” I think we are ok with carriers. I’d rather put that $15 billion back into the economy through tax cuts.

”If you want peace, prepare for war.”
— Latin proverb

We will never solve big issues without coming to agreement on small ones. Just like a family budget that is in the red, you pick the low-lying fruit first and eliminate stupid spending. Dropping Netflix only saves me $8 per month, but it is a start. Dropping cable saves me another $30 (I have the super cheap cable).  Getting rid of my expensive cell phone and going with a low-cost provider (I love MetroPCS) saves me more.  Before you know it, I’ve culled away several hundred dollars a month and I am that much closer to being in the black.

Here’s the secret.  Saving money is contagious. Just get it started.  Once you see there is hope of positive change, you are more emboldened to save more. You realize that you didn’t die and wither away when you cut cable TV; you still ate well despite cooking yourself and not ordering pizza four times a week. You sell your two cars that cost $400 per month in payments, and buy two older, less attractive, less comfortable cars in cash.

You realized that the things you counted on as necessary for existence were simply luxuries.

And while we are talking about cars, I know a thing or two in this area.  I had one car for almost 18 years.  Paid it off a year early. It didn’t even have power windows or a cup holder. Did I want a new car with fancy stuff? Sure. Did I get where I was going. Yep. How much money did I save over the long haul?  Well…  Considering $400 / month in payments for 14 years, that works out to $67,200.00 in savings. Because I took good care of my car, maintenance costs were really low.  repairs outside of normal, routine maintenance cost me less than $3000 over the life of the car.

So it is possible to live with less and still be happy. If your happiness is based on material things, then you will never be happy.  But that is for a different rant and a different time.

So, if we become educated and hold our elected officials accountable, then we can make real change. Then again, all I really care about is making my wife happy.

What comes before anything.  What have I always said is the most important thing?

Breakfast.

Family.

Oh, I thought you meant of things you eat.

Ghost in the machine.

1927.  An accident begins one of the greatest and long lasting pranks in history.  It began when William “Ed” Smith received his application to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Also know at GA Tech, GT, or simply the North Avenue Trade School.  Thanks to a strange twist of fate, Ed received two applications instead of one.  Being a jokester, Ed promptly filled out both applications, one for himself and one for a fictional person, George P. Burdell.

*At GT, physics is like cowbell.  Always need more.

At first, Ed was going to enroll his high school principal George P. Butler, a staunch UGA (sic) graduate, but got cold feet and wrote Burdell as the last name.  George P. Burdell was accepted to GT and Ed enrolled him in the same classes.  Throughout his career at Tech, Ed would turn in two homework assignments, take two tests, and in 1930, both Ed and George P. Burdell graduated.

The amazing feet in all this, is Ed doing everything twice.  Anyone familiar with Ma Tech knows the impossibility of this accomplishment.

*The Shaft

Since then, George P. Burdell has shown up all over the place. He was credited with 12 bombing missions over Europe in World War II.  He was leading the Time Man of the Year vote in 2001, until Time magazine took his name off the list.

George P. Burdell is a regular fixture on class rolls at GT.  I can tell you from personal experience the enjoyment of having a first time professor read through the class roll on the first day only to hear them read out George P. Burdell.  The quiet chuckle from the class until someone responds “here.”  In 1969, GT went to all computerized registration and thought George P. Burdell was a thing of the past. Of course he was enrolled in every class at the Institute.  Over 3,000 credit hours.  The Institute put in fail safe methods only to see George P. Burdell enroll in every class again in 1975 and 1980.

George P. Burdell served on the Board of Directors for Mad Magazine from 1969 to 1981, and was recently listed as a Production Assistant for the TV show, South Park.  I still remember fondly, receiving a rebate check and having it signed by George P. Burdell. He has his own Facebook page and Twitter account.  For all intents and purposes, George P. Burdell is a living, real human being.

Apparently he also went to school in Arizona. But I will get to that in a minute.

Since the beginning of time, the first words out of any public educator’s mouth is, “more funding.”  I don’t care what the question is, the answer is more funding. I remember growing up and hearing the argument that teachers are not paid enough. That local school systems need more money to attract good teachers. To which my young mind would question, “If we need money to attract good teachers, then the teachers we have must be bad.” Following a chain of logic only understood by a unioned government worker, the answer was always, “No, being paid more will make our teachers better.”

I still don’t understand that.  You are either a good teacher or not.  The amount of money you earn should not dictate the quality of job you perform.  But anyway…

So schools are always complaining about needing more money. In 1980, the Department of Education spent $14 billion.  Our president has requested $69 billion to spend in 2013. That is a 490% increase in spending over the last 32 years. If the price of milk followed the same curve, a gallon would cost $7.88.

*actual milk (not to scale)

We have thrown money at education.  Copious amounts.  Teacher student ratios have dropped.  Technology in the classroom has increased.  Teacher salaries have all gone up. Teacher’s Union benefits have skyrocketed. Every single category of education has gotten better, save one….  Student scores.  We have spared no expense when it comes to education spending and still our students are stupid.  Really, really, really stupid.

At best, American students are average. Globally, the US of A ranks 17th on the OECD PISA rankings. Behind Poland.

In Other News of the Ironic, jokes in Warsaw begin, “An American locked her keys in the car…”

*hair color changed to protect her identity

Let me get this straight…  We increase spending 490% and still can only muster average. Of course if you are a government employee, then average is better than you can hope.

At this point, you are ready for the big reveal on government waste.  This is where we go back to Arizona and tie together George P. Burdell and education spending.  You see, George P. Burdell was nothing more than a ghost that frequents the GA Tech campus. And apparently the state of Arizona has their own George P. Burdell.  Except they have 13,500.

Those ghosts cost Arizona taxpayers $125 million in 2009-2010.

Yep.  Due to the record keeping rules in Arizona, $125 million was spent on students that don’t exist.  It’s like this….  When a new student shows up at school, the district is able to request funds in near real time. Yet when a student leaves a school, they have a year to report the departure.

So here’s what happens. George P. Burdell is enrolled at Wile E. Coyote Primary School in Acme County School District.  Wile E. Coyote Primary School receives money from the state to pay for George’s education.  Makes sense.  During the year, a string of incidents involving rockets, roller skates, and dynamite forces George P. Burdell to transfer to The Roadrunner Academy, also of Acme County.  The Roadrunner Academy informs the state immediately of George’s attendance and receives funds.  Meanwhile, Wile E. Coyote Primary School does not inform the state and continues to receive funds.  Therefore Acme County School District is being paid twice for the same student.

This happened 13,500 for a grand total of $125 million in over payments. Theoretically, every student in a school can transfer out the first day of school, and the school would continue to receive full funding for an empty school.

So next time you hear about how we have to increase sales tax for the children, remember the 13,500 that Arizona paid for that don’t exist…  Besides, we’ve thrown enough money, when will we see results? How about giving families school choice? How about more charter schools?  How about banning teachers unions. How about focusing on the quality of education and not worrying about hurting feelings and celebrating each student and their own skills and talents.

*An “A” gets you ice cream.

I like at the bottom of the page, the author declares the program a success.  Not because of what it does for the students, but the fact that the administration worked together with the staff.

Life has winners and losers.  In the immortal words of the great philosopher Dr. Denis Leary, “Life sucks.  Get a *#$%ing helmet.”

*not a real doctor

So next time you hear about some teacher’s union crying about more money, just ask them what they did with the $125 million they were paid for students that don’t exist.

Besides, what would you do with $125 million?

-author’s notes: Police references intentionally omitted

The War on Intelligence

stu·pid

adj \ˈstü-pəd, ˈstyü-\

Definition of STUPID

1
a : slow of mind : obtuseb : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless mannerc : lacking intelligence or reason : brutish
2
: dulled in feeling or sensation : torpid <still stupid from the sedative>
3
: marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting :senseless <a stupid decision>
4
a : lacking interest or point <a stupid event>b : vexatiousexasperating <the stupid car won’t start>
— stu·pid·ly adverb
— stu·pid·ness noun
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

 

Blogging is easy when you copy/paste. No pictures today. Heavy stuff.

I get flack from some of you when I write about what is considered to be a drop in the federal cesspool of spending. A million here, a few hundred thousand there, doesn’t make a big difference in the overall spending. So today I am going after a big one. Maybe you will stop complaining.

How about $15,200,000,000,000.00. That’s $15 trillion for those of you that got lost counting zeros. A lot of money. It works out to spending $9,902.53 every second for 48 years.

Every second.

Or $594,151.62 every minute….

For 48 years.

In 1959, 22.1% of Americans lived in poverty. Enter in LBJ’s famous “War on Poverty” in 1964. An admirable idea as no one wants to see anyone live in poverty. The Imperial Government felt that it was their responsibility to confiscate money from the remaining 77.9% and redistribute that wealth to the 22.1%.

By 1969, the poverty rate had dropped to 13.7%. So it must be working. The population in 1969 was 198,059,959 according the Census.gov. So 27,134,215 Americans were still living in poverty. But that is less than the 38,682,626 that were living in poverty in 1959.

Now, we could argue the definition of poverty and what other influences were involved in the decrease, but for the sake of brevity let’s give the IG the entire credit for the 8.4% decrease in percentage of population or the 11,548,412 fewer people living in poverty.

But that would be a stretch.

Since 1964, $15 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty means-based welfare. Means-based welfare is defined as meeting a certain criteria to qualify. That’s a lot of money.

In 2010, 15.1% of the population was considered living below the poverty line. So $15 trillion later we have increased the percentage of population by 1.4%. Now, that number is deceptive. Because the population has grown as well. In 1969, 13.7% of the population meant 27,134,215 people. In 2010, 15.1% of the population means 46,621,936 people are considered to be in poverty. So not only did we spend $15 trillion, but added 19,487,701 people to those already living in poverty.

I’d say we lost the war. It’s almost as if the United Nations Peacekeeping Force was responsible for planning and fighting this war. At least France surrenders. The UN simply loses.

Now is when we talk about the idea of “good money after bad.” We spent $15 trillion with no change. More people living in poverty then when we started regardless of how you look at the data. Simply throwing a lot of money at the problem is not doing anything positive. So what will?

Easy answer. Freedom. Remove the oppressive yoke of an over dominant and omnipowerful Imperial Government and teach the poor that their own success is in their hands; that they can be successful. Remove the glass ceiling of taxation from the poor and tax consumption, not productivity. See, here’s a nasty secret the IG doesn’t want you to know. At a certain income threshold, the disposable income goes down considerably. The poor are given thousands of dollars annually for being poor. Not only do they pay nothing in taxes, they actually get a check for being poor. Factor in all the free health care and you have a pretty substantial compensation package for doing nothing.

But……. Once they cross the poverty line, those welfare checks stop. The tax checks stop. AND they have to start PAYING taxes… Not to mention the fact that they have to start paying for their health care along with the health care of the people still poor.

Someone making $24,000 a year has more disposable income than someone making $60,000 a year after you factor in all the welfare. So where is the incentive? Let me get this straight, I do nothing all day. Live in free (or heavily subsidized) government housing, I get money automatically added to my WIC and foot stamp debit card, I get checks at tax time, and all I have to do is nothing? Why would I get a job? Why would I care….

Poverty will never be cured until the poor have incentive to be successful. And this country has spent $15 trillion in federal, state, and local taxes fighting a battle that it won’t win nor will ever win because the system encourages poverty.

Then again, promising poor people more free stuff or claiming “the other candidate” will take free stuff away is an easy way to keep in office. But that would be cynical of me.

What would you do with $15 trillion?

Links:

Poverty 2008-2010

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/people.html

Poverty 1959/1969

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/census/1960/index.html

20008 population

http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/2000s/vintage_2008/index.html

20008 population

http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/2000s/vintage_2009/index.html

2010 population

http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb10-cn93.html

The Parable of Fred’s Bank

I recently refinanced my mortgage.  Not because I was upside down or in trouble, but to pay it off sooner. By taking advantage of really low rates and mortgage companies looking for qualified buyers with high credit scores and 46% loan to value ratios, I was able to reduce the time left to pay off my mortgage by 30%.  That makes me happy.

This is good news all the way around as I will soon own my home outright and I’m saving a ton of money on interest.  That means more money back in my pocket, sooner. From a philosophical standpoint, I will no longer be a slave to debt. And uncontrolled borrowing is the #1 reason this country is in this ginormous pile of doo-doo. Technically speaking.

Freedom…  Free at last..  Talking about freedom..  Freeeeeeee….

*not on boat

 And no, this is not a column about swimming in debt.  That’s for a different time and place.  And a much longer read.

So my mortgage broker sold my loan to a real lender.  We’ll call them Fred’s Bank, where their slogan is, “Hi,I’m Fred,I have a bank. You got $1500? … ahhh, I’ll put it here …” Either that or Security First Trust and Federal Reserve. Thank you Steve Martin.

I’ll go with Fred’s Bank.  Less to type out each time I make a reference.

Now let me tell you a little about Fred’s Bank.  They are ruthless to their employees.  The management enjoys a lavish lifestyle while their employees live in abject poverty.  And I don’t mean the USA version of poverty where you only have last year’s iPhone, a 5 year-old car, and only basic cable.  I mean grass hut poverty. I’m talking work 80 hours a week for food and a roach infested room.  Once you are born into Fred’s Bank there’s no leaving.  You are there for life.  Trying to leave is punishable by death.

And it’s been like this for a while; over 60 years. Yet to the consumer, they are the best.,  Always gracious, always providing the lowest possible cost, and mass quantities…  Sometimes the quality suffers, but the costs are so cheap Fred’s Bank customers are willing to put up with a little lower quality occasionally….

Fred’s Bank has so much money as a result, they they lend lots of money out.  To other banks, to people like me with my home mortgage, auto financing, etc…  Yet their employees still live a substandard lifestyle and are constantly malnourished, disease ridden, and without any rights as human beings. Despite all the profits of the bank.

So what do I do…  I’m already paying a ton of money on the interest to borrow the money, but as a concerned citizen of the world I can’t take a blind eye to the blight of Fred’s Bank employees. Just not right….

I will tell you what I did…  I took out a bigger mortgage loan than I needed and used the extra money to send to agencies that were helping provide the basic necessities of the poverty stricken Fred’s Bank employees. So now I am mortgaged for more than the value of my home and I’ve done the right thing and sent that money to Fred’s Bank employees.

Except it’s not enough.  They need more.  It’s not like they can eat once. They eat every day.  It’s not like they only need medicine once, they need it a lot since they are in such poor health.

Besides, now that I am sending a lot of money to Fred’s Bank employees, I don’t have enough to meet my own bills, so I call my handy dandy Fred’s Bank customer service representative and listen carefully because the menu choices have been recently changed:

press “6″ for English

“3″ for borrow money

“1″ for time share

crap, wrong selection

“9″ for previous menu

“2″ for add to existing loan

“#” to repeat menu, none of those sounded like what I want

“#” repeat again

“0″ for the operator

punch in my loan number

punch in my maternal great-grandfather’s high school mascot, The Fighting Wheels

Thank you.  Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received, your current wait time is approximately October. Thank you for holding

Yea… I’m here.  My account number?  I just punched it in. Oh, to verify that I’m still the same person.  I was on hold quite a while and I have grown emotionally, so I guess I’m not the same…  Huh? Ignore that, here’s my account number.  993948374757829959482671685902-009389487583B. Huh? What was after 9? 93948374757829959482671685902-009389487583B. no..  B.  Not C.  As in Bravo. No, that’s a D.  Where did you get M?  No..  It’s B, as in Bieber.  Got it?  OK..  I want to add more to my mortgage.  How much?  Just make it a bunch.  I’m sure I’ll need it. Am I good for it?  Of course I am.  When will the funds be available?  Great.  I can go ahead and start writing checks.  No, thank you very much.

So now I am flush with new cash and what do I do?  Pay my bills? Certainly not.  I send more money to the Fred’s Bank employees.  Because they really need it.

Rinse and repeat until your debt equals $15,700,000,000,000.00 and counting.

So how does this parable tie into the CentsToChange mission of exposing Imperial Government waste?  Simple…

Let’s replace Fred’s Bank with, um, how about China.  Yea, that will work. And we replace the horrible working conditions with a Communist state. For instance, The People’s Republic of China.

Not to be confused with THE Ohio State University.  I can’t imagine why that is a big deal.  I was born in Ohio, but couldn’t wait to leave. It doesn’t make sense why more than one university would care about that title.  It’s like watching a mule and a donkey fight over an apple.  No one cares.

End digression.

Currently, the IG owes Communist China $1,200,000,000,000.00, yet since 2008, the kind and generous US of A has given China $114.6 million in aid money.  Given.  And guess where we got that money?  CHINA

Really.

So..  We can’t afford to pay our own bills. On September 30, 2000, our debt was $5,674,178,209,886.86.  Right now? $15.7 trillion and counting….  It took us 224 years to amass $5 trillion in debt, and 12 years to add $10 trillion.

Spending is out of control.

Yet we still find the money to give $114.6 million to our biggest debtor…  How often do you include a crisp $100 bill with your mortgage payment to be given to the employees of your mortgage lender?

And that is exactly what we, the taxpayers, are doing with China.

What would you do with $114.6 million?

 

The answer my friend, is not blowing in the wind….

Here at CentsToChange we believe that the Global Warming Super Cooling Climate Catastrophe is a bunch of garbage.  The “scientists” who have been pushing this sociopolitical agenda for the last 40 years have proven to be frauds.  That’s why Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace with a PhD in Ecology, resigned from said environmental organization saying this:

“around the mid-80s, after 15 years in the leadership of Greenpeace, [he] found [himself, being] one of five international directors, the only one with any formal science education. Basically, Greenpeace was hijacked by political and social activists… who began adopting extremist positions on a number of issues. I saw the writing on the wall.”

Time after time, reports of falsifying data, peer reviewing their own work, and the same group of researchers referencing each others work in an endless circle has become the norm for the Global Warming Super Cooling Climate Catastrophe crowd.  I finished reading The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for he World’s Top Climate Expert, by Donna Laframboise not too long ago and it frightened me to see the innerworking of how the IPCC generates their climate reports and how quickly the reports are considered the gold standard for environmental studies.  When you realize that grad students with no experience outside of academia are writing major sections of the report, you have to wonder why some kid is writing about weather patterns 200 years from now when they haven’t even experienced 30 years of weather themselves…

*buy this book

But…………

To say that we at CentsToChange don’t believe in the environmental left using baby seals and stranded polar bears as a way to guilt society into a Utopian civilization by their design does not mean we are against alternatives to fossil burning power generation.  On the contrary…. As stated before on this blog, power coupled with clean water is the fuel to modernize any society.  The biggest problem with fossil burning fuel is infrastructure.  So the goal is to find a way to generate power (because with power you can have water well pumps) locally with minimal or zero infrastructure needs.

I personally believe the answer is hydrogen.  It’s the most plentiful element in the universe and what fuels the sun.  Yea.  The sun. Interestingly enough, the byproduct of hydrogen fuel cells is pure water.  Power and water.  So we develop hydrogen fuel cells in a box that uses solar power as the catalyst, drop them into a village in Africa and you have instant sustainable, clean power and clean water. Honda is really close to solving this problem…

*I want one, although my aircraft carrier will still be nuclear powered

So I’m thinking..  Hmmm…  The US military have bases in remote regions of the world.  Like Alaska. And maybe they would be better off by providing locally generated power through renewable resources that don’t require any infrastructure.  What a brilliant idea…

Apparently I’m not alone.  In 2008, the Air Force erected a wind turbine in Tin City, AK.

*not as remote as Gilligan, but pretty close. I wonder if the Harlem Globetrotters accidentally stumbled on Tin City…

Anyway…

The wind turbine was constructed without the benefit of a prolonged wind study.  Not even a single 4th grader and a kite.  Zip. A study of wind patterns would have found that the area is extremely turbulent when it comes to wind conditions. As a result, an Inspector General report of the facility found that it produced “sporadic, unusable power.”

More from the Inspector General about Tin City:

“As of July 29, 2011, the wind turbine was still not operational and continued to incur costs. DoD cannot quantify actual cost savings generated from the wind turbine until the contractor completes all modifications to power production and 611th CES personnel measure overall operational performance.”

Over $3 million was spent on this turbine. But this isn’t the Imperial Government waste I’m talking about today.  Just the back story….

Enter 2009.  The year the IG spending floodgates opened wide and every politician stood at the door competing to see who could get the most.  Not surprisingly, California won by a wide margin.  Wyoming got the least.  Check it out at Recovery.gov.

*California is the big line on the left

So we have a wind turbine in Tin City, AK that provides sporadic and unusable power at best, continues to cost unreasonable amounts of money to maintain, constructed on a site without a single feasibility study, built on a premise that “it gets windy sometimes, maybe we should have a wind turbine.”  Awesome.

Those are perfect reasons to build three more.  Yep…. Stimulus award number FA3002-08-D-0005 commissioned the construction of three more wind turbines using Tin City as the case study in other remote locations in Alaska.

Side note…  If you look at the Recovery.gov listing for this project you’ll see that under “Funding Agency” it says: “Department of Defense (except military departments)” Huh?  I though the DoD was one big military department…  Anyway..

So $14,087,078.00 was confiscated from the hard working taxpayers of this great country to build wind turbines in a regions when they don’t work or generate consistent, usable electricity. Awesome.

In Other News of the Ironic, Alaska is one of the few remote locations where fossil fuel is readily available, nearby, and not that expensive.  You could buy 3.4 million gallons of gas in Alaska for the same $14 million.  And that’s at gas station prices, not direct from a refinery.  Of which three are located in Alaska.

*proof that we care about baby seals

As expected, construction costs quickly exceeded those budgeted on two of the proposed sites by $1 million.  On the third site, the project was cancelled altogether. Each facility is currently estimated to coast $5.7 million.  So if they canceled one of the three and two cost $5.7 million each, then there should be $2,687,078.00 of the Stimulus money not being used and therefore returned.  One would think…. Yet the Pentagon has said that the unused money won’t go back to the Treasury but, “spent on additional, appropriate project(s) yet to be identified.” Sure…  I believe you….. Just like the GSA spent money on appropriate projects…

Doesn’t this just make you sick?  We spend over $14 million on a project destined to fail because it was based on a pilot project that failed only to have unused funds absorbed into a project to be named later….

Adding insult to injury, Recovery.gov reported that this Stimulus money generated 1.3 jobs.  Wow…

What would you do with $14,087,078.00?

Message from the management

Time for you to subscribe to CentsToChange!  It’s free.  And you will never miss a new post.  Ever.

Here’s what won’t happen…

1. Receive SPAM mail from me.

2. Sell your e-mail address.  Even for a microphone.

3. Politicians getting serious about the reduction of government spending.

4. Me going vegan.

5. You agreeing with everything the crack CentsToChange staff reporters write.

6. Rule 6

7. A CentsToChange sponsored trip to Disney

8. Boredom.

So go ahead and sign up.  I recommend you ask for immediate notification.  That way you only receive an e-mail when one of the many should-be Pulitizer Prize nominated reporters here in the CentsToChange newsroom in the bowels of the International Worldwide Headquarters (IWH) posts another brilliant missive.

Now for the threat…

If I don’t receive the minimum amount of subscriptions, I will post a photo of Nancy Pelosi in every post. I know this is in the 8th Amendment gray area, but so are a lot of things. Like the DMV, reality TV, WNBA, and anything relating to Justin Bieber.

*this is just for you Bieber-boy Daniel, and not the tall, bald Daniel

Unless of course it’s this: Epic Rap Battle of History

I think Beetohoven won.  Hands down.

So join CentsToChange.  It makes good sense….

 

Sex and lies

And now for something completely different…..

*needs no caption

San Francisco has a lot of problems. I spent a week there in January and saw a lot of them first hand.  Although I greatly enjoyed the Golden Gate Bridge State Park.  Tolls are a problem.  I got tired of paying just to cross a bridge.  Of course I’ve also driven from Boston to Maine so I know tolls.  But still…  Why is it so stupid expensive just to cross a stupid bridge?

And then there is this problem:

*worse than pink nightmare

Sorry about that.  Mind Bleach is on aisle 8.  Get the name brand stuff, it works faster than the generic and only costs a few cents more per dose.  No, look further down the aisle…  On the right….  About knee high…  So you’re tall..  Knee high on an average height person…  5′-9″ is average…  There you go..  I don’t know how big of a bottle…  You can’t ever have too much… Just get a big one…  Besides, you will want to apply liberally.

Long way to go, but I got there…  Anyway…

Apparently San Francisco has a sexual problem as well. And not this guy…

*not on boat

San Francisco also has a truth problem.  That is to say, they can’t tell the truth. That’s pretty obvious as shown by their chosen Congress Person.  When you combine the two, you end up with lying about sex. Apparently that’s a pretty big problem in San Francisco.

So big, that in August of 2009, the Imperial Government included $1,260,717.00 in funding to the University of California, San Francisco to develop new and better ways of collecting sexual information during surveys.

That’s right…  Reliability of sexual data in surveys….

Let me quote from the grant abstract:

Research findings of sex surveys provide abundant empirical evidence that the reliability and validity of self-reported sexual behavior is a major problem, particularly when assessing behavior among those with multiple partners and sexually risky behaviors.

You can read the whole thing here….  Grant 1R01HD056950-01A2

In Other News of the Ironic, this grant was part of the Stimulus package.  I didn’t know Obama was literal when he was selling a package to stimulate.

Some interesting statistics, aside from the $1,260,717.00 price tag.

50%: As reported on Recovery.org (see oxymoron) the project is only half complete.  It’s been almost three years. I guess they just can’t finish properly…

.78: The number of jobs reported to have been created or saved.  So $1.2 million to compensate one person for 30 hours a week.  I would love that gig.

So there you have it.  $1.2 million to try and find ways of getting San Franciscans to tell the truth when participating in a sex survey.  Why in the world am I paying for this?  Why is this so important that it trumps the 10th Amendment?  Besides, how about a 6 pack of Zima or wine coolers?  Wouldn’t that be easier to get people to talk about sex? And a lot cheaper.

*Mike, thanks for the photo, hope you and your seven friends didn’t have a hangover

In a nutshell, the problem is that when people fill out a survey by themselves, they lie. The know-it-all college academics opine:

We propose to conduct an experiment to test an innovative method of administering a survey interview–conversational interviewing–that has shown remarkable improvements in respondents’ understanding of survey questions and in the accuracy of their responses when compared to administering it using the standardized interviewing method.

So they think that people will be ore honest when talking to a live person than on an anonymous survey form..  Hmm…

Regardless, I can still think of better ways to spend $1,2,260,717.00…  Can’t you?

 

I hope Santa can swim

This is a long one. CentsToChange is easy to read on a tablet or e-reader (The Kindle Fire is the single greatest piece of technology, ever) so cozy up on the couch, get a cup of coffee, and enjoy.

Dire warnings from the Great White North.  To quote a NOAA Monthly Weather Review:

The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen [an island 12 degrees south of the North Pole – ed.] and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that the favorable ice conditions will continue for some time.

Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecognizable. Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they have entirely disappeared. The change in temperature has also brought about great change in the flora and fauna of the Arctic. There were few [white fish and] seal in Spitzbergen waters this year, and last winter the ocean did not freeze over even on the north coast. With the disappearance of white fish and seal has come other life in these waters. This year herring in great shoals were found along the west coast. Shoals of smelt were also met with.

*I practice catch-and-release when smelt fishing

This is bad news.  Maybe Al Gore was right.  Maybe by powering a 14,000 sf home where he rarely stays while flying private jets around the world and driving big SUV’s followed by flocks of Secret Service, he is saving us from the impending collapse of a climate catastrophe due to carbon pollution. Yes, Al Gore has the carbon footprint of Mt. Pinatubo.

*not Al Gore

Vocabulary lesson:

Open Minded: Having strong convictions or beliefs yet willing to seek out opposing viewpoints with the intellectual honesty to change your view should you encounter evidence to counter your conviction.

I consider myself a very open minded person.  I have changed my views, opinions, beliefs, or convictions without remorse when confronted with new and enlightening information.  Ask Mark about the whole red light camera thing.

For years I have studied, read, discussed, sought, explained, and meditated on the whole climate thing. In 2001, I actually read the entire Kyoto Treaty, you know the global climate tax that was defeated unanimously during the Bill Clinton and Al Gore administration? Regardless of what I find,  I keep arriving back at my original hypothesis:

The Earth exists to serve human beings.  It is our responsibility to be good stewards of our home. The Earth is much bigger and more resilient that we can ever imagine. Soccer mom’s driving SUV’s will not change our global climate.  Coal fired power plants will not destroy the environment.  I would like to see cleaner and cheaper ways of generating electricity as power (combined with clean water) is the fuel to bring any society out of huts and into prosperity. Finally, history shows that climate alarmists are social engineers that use dire and impossible to prove predictions to manipulate society into their form of utopia.

There is more science in Scientology than in climate science.

*an actual Scientologist

But maybe I am wrong.  The quote above is pretty damaging evidence to the shrinking polar cap and the onset of global heating that may be irreversible. We may have found the silver bullet to the climate debate.  Looks like the skeptics were wrong and all the people at the IPCC, East Anglia University, Michael Mann and his Hockey Stick Chart, were right….

*neither Al Gore nor a Scientologist.  I believe his name is Phil

Whoops. My bad…..  I just looked at the date of the NOAA report and it was November, 1922. A full 90 years ago this Fall. You can read the original report here on the NOAA site. So maybe I am still correct in my assessment of the climate movement.

The climate movement is so convinced of mankind’s effect on our atmosphere that they look for any and every possible way to connect the two.  Even when it doesn’t make any sense.  Like this story about tracking the carbon footprint of wasted milk.  Really.  Wasted milk.

In Other News of the Ironic, our crack reporters did exhaustive investigative research and discovered that  the same people worrying about the carbon footprint of wasted milk were, in fact, crying.

*not the actual spilled milk, this image is from a reenactment of the event for the purposes of this blog.

So there you have it.  1922 predicted the end of the polar ice caps and a global warming that would cripple civilization.  All before the onslaught of SUV’s and the evil soccer mom’s who drive them.  (For the record, well intended environmental supporters drive SUV’s because they have too and therefore don’t make as big of an impact as the people who chose to drive those evil monstrosities).

I think it’s time for all the world’s climate scientist to gather in Bali for another meeting about reducing everybody else’s carbon footprint.  Or Bangkok. Or Bonn. Or Accra.  I guess climate scientist have never heard of GoTo Meeting.  I wonder if there needs to be a panel to put together a report of the carbon footprint of the people traveling to talk about carbon footprints..  Much like the study study study study from earlier..  Hmmm….

It works like this.  The Earth is a lot older than us.  We can debate exactly how much older, but regardless it is older.  Does it have naturally occurring weather and climate patterns that shift over time?  Yes. Can we really stop the Earth from changing over time?  Not a chance.

In Other New of the Ironic Part Deux, the very same scientists who say that The Theory of Evolution is the only way the Earth, all life, and the entire universe was created argue against the Earth naturally changing over time.  And that any changes to the Earth are man made… So on one hand, everything ever created was the result of random chance and natural evolution (changing over time), but any changes here on Earth are the result of a greater being forcing the environment to be altered.  Makes perfect sense.

Back to my thought.

Does mankind have an effect on the environment.  Yes.  The very first caveman fart did that. *side note* Those in the Cents To Change newsroom deep in the bowels of the International Worldwide Headquarters (IWH) often accuse this author of having the single largest carbon footprint, due to flatulence.  This author opines that (a) he who smelt it, dealt it, and (b) everybody likes their own brand.

*still not as bad as pink nightmare from earlier in the week

All of this climate studying is extremely expensive.  And never ending.  Let’s look at Michael Mann, the chief propagandist.  For years he has toured the globe drumming up support for the global warming cooling climate catastrophe. He was the author of the 1999 report that debuted the famous Hockey Stick Chart showing global temperatures sharply rising in the 20th century.  Of course he has yet to release his source data or the computer code for the models he ran. He later became a pivotal figure with the IPCC and was responsible for reviewing the data included into the IPCC Climate Reports, including his own research.  No bias there.

So the big question is simple…  What would he (much less all the self appointed climate experts and Al Gore) do for a living without a catastrophic  global climate prediction? I took a recent poll and here are my findings:

1. Fry cook

2. Barista regaling customers with tales of the good ole’ days when he was king of the climate world

3. Set designer for the smash Broadway hit “River Dance on Ice”

4. Chuck E Cheese impersonator in an off-strip Vegas casino

5. Unemployable

Please remember, that Mann is considered the world’s foremost expert on climate.  Let’s look at his bio:

“Dr. Michael E. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University.”

<sarcasm> Lot’s of degrees dealing with the weather and atmospheric sciences. </sarcasm>   I’m sure his qualifications as a climate scientist stem from watching the news at 6 and 11.  They talk about weather.

So, in the often heard screams of the liberal environmental left, follow the money.  And it all leads back to the people who are claiming that something has to be done.  And by “something” they mean keep writing big checks to their research departments…

Really quick, back to the topic of volcanoes…  Read this, then come back.

NASA Volcano Report

*still not Al Gore

Two very interesting things jumped out.

1. According to Al Gore, the debate on man-caused climate change is over and done.  Without questions. Like here. Yet NASA reports that the effect of VOLCANOES on the climate:

“Volcanic eruptions [1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption] of this magnitude can impact global climate, reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, lowering temperatures in the troposphere, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns. The extent to which this occurs is an ongoing debate.”

So, it is 100% science that soccer mom’s are destroying the atmosphere, but we’re not sure if volcanoes have any affect.

2. Later in the article we accidentally see the truth in the climate left research. Read this:

“Man-made, or “anthropogenic” emissions can make the consequences of volcanic eruptions on the global climate system more severe, Stenchikov says…

“While we have no observations, the 1963 Agung eruption on the island of Bali probably did not deplete ozone as there was little atmospheric chlorine in the stratosphere. In 1991 after the Pinatubo eruption, when the amount of CFCs in the stratosphere increased, the ozone content in the mid-latitudes decreased by 5 percent to 8 percent, affecting highly populated regions,” says Stenchikov.”

So they are claiming fact, man-made emissions make volcanic eruptions worse, and then use a 1963 eruption as the control in their testing.  Yet they admit that have no observations, records, calculations, data, or accounts of any kind, but assume that the eruption probably didn’t have an effect.

 

In 2011, the Imperial Government spent at least $2,481,000,000.00 on climate research in no less than seven different departments.  With no results.  Nothing to show for the effort.  Nada.  And there never will.  Think about this… IF there is an actual problem then a solution will need to be found.  Once that solution is enacted the problem will be solved.  As long as the problem continually changes, there can’t ever be a real solution.  Thus never ending research that nets the tax payers nothing at all.  At least the space race gave us velcro and Tang.

And by nothing, I mean Solyndra.  But you can read all about that in a soon to be published post.

What would you do with $2,,481,000,000.00?

Redaction.

I made an error with a quote and I am intellectually honest enough to publicly apologize and print a correction.

In a post a few days ago, I quoted Virgil as saying, “Nice plan.”  In reality Virgil says, “Good plan.”  While the correction does not change the context or meaning, I sincerely apologize to Virgil and the other person who complained about the misquote.

Someone please wake Virgil and let him know a Matlock marathon is on and that the Golden Corral will hold his usual “Estelle Getty Memorial Table” for him and still let him have the Early Bird Special even though he won’t be there until 4:15.

That is all.