Total recall…. Wisconsin style.

At least $63 million wasted. That’s good money that could have been used to create jobs, open businesses, invest, but instead it was flushed down the proverbial toilet.

I’ll go ahead and skip to the end today.  I’m talking about the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Not only did he defeat the recall vote, he actually increased his percentage of winning from the 2010 gubernatorial election. On November 5, 2010, Scott Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Burnett by 52% to 47%.  Yesterday, Walker won by a margin of 53% to 46%. While that seems insignificant, it is actually a really big deal.  More on that later.

Real quick…  The intrepid reporters here at CentsToChange do believe in the freedom to recall an elected official.  That is the ultimate check and balance within a representative Republic. It is also the belief of this organization that regular elections occur often enough for a bad politician (I know, redundant) to be booted from office.  Therefore, a recall should be held in case of criminal activity or complete, outright mismanagement. Disagreement with a platform or legislation is not just cause for a recall.

But I digress…..

On January 3, 2011, Scott Walker was inaugurated as the Governor of Wisconsin. A month later, February for those keeping score at home, Gov. Walker outlined his plan to get Wisconsin finances in the black and out from at $3.6 billion shortfall.

It’s at this point that I share a little history with you.  In 1959, Wisconsin became the first state to unionize public employees. The typical union mantra is that it takes a union to speak for the individuals.  That’s really at the core of unionization.  Individuals will never be able to get a fair deal and only through the collective will the worker be compensated properly.  Now, we could argue the need for unions in today’s society all day long.  I believe that in the early 20th century, unions gave workers the confidence to stand up for themselves. Once the individual believed they had a choice in their own future, the economy of the USA skyrocketed. As did personal wealth and standard of living.

Unions are no longer necessary.  Period. Everywhere unions have a strong presence, you will find higher costs, lower standards of living, and less ingenuity. You see, from a social aspect, modern unions have completely undone all the good they did initially. Unions of today have made the “members” believe that they are worthless without the union; that outside of the union umbrella of protection, they cannot achieve a fair deal.

I put “membership” in quotes because, generally speaking, when someone is a member of something, it’s voluntary.  I am a member of several organizations because I choose to be a member.  In a lot of states, union membership is required by law.  In Wisconsin, union membership was required to the tune of $1,100 a year.

Back to Gov. Walker….

He recognizes that unions are crippling the government of Wisconsin. He also recognized that the benefits package for public employees was way out of line compared to private industry. Additionally, Walker saw that collective bargaining was stifling local districts from making decisions that were in the district’s best interest. Lastly, he found it wrong that a teacher was required to join the union through the force of law and have union dues taken out of their paycheck even before taxes..

You got to wake up really early to beat the taxman to a paycheck withholding…  Really early….

So what doe Gov. Walker do?

He outlines a plan where government union (redundant) employees will actually contribute to their own pension.  Up until now, a pension was simply a benefit given based on years of service.  He asked that the employee put some skin in the game to the tune of 3%.  Keep in mind that very few, if any, private companies provide pensions anymore. In the “real world” people are required to plan their own long term investment strategy.  So the mere fact that they get a pension at all is a benefit way beyond private industry.

If you get a wild hair, do some searching on pension fraud and double dipping.  You’ll see that it is not uncommon for people to work to a certain point, retire for a day, get full state pension, and start working in a new position racking up a new pension.  Seriously…

Gov. Walker also saw health care as a possible way to save money.  State employees only had to pay 3% of their insurance premiums.  Not 3% of their health care bills, 3 points on the insurance premium.  That’s a sweet deal… Gov. Walker proposed making that 6%.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH      THE HORROR OF IT ALL!!!!!

Actually making people pay for things….  Remember to cue the “teachers are never paid enough” song in the background…  I’d say full pension and pretty much free health care adds quite a bit to what is already a decent salary.  The average salary for a teacher n Wisconsin is between $45,000 and $50,000.  Add in the pension and free health care and that turns into a pretty generous compensation package.

Just for grins, let’s do some simple math…  A general rule of thumb for saving is 10% of your gross.  If you do that, you will have a comfortable self financed pension. So let’s say the pension benefit is $4,500 per year.  A typical family health care insurance policy can run $1,000 a month.  I know. So that’s another $12,000 per year.  Add it all together and your salary is now $61,500 to $67,000.  Add in the fact that you only work 9 months out of the year and that prorates to $82,000 to $90,000.  Not to shabby for a profession that has the easiest major in college.

As far as the collective bargain goes, Gov. Walker saw that individual districts should be able to make decisions for themselves; that the local school boards know what’s best for their schools, not the union goons in Madison.  Think about like this…  You have a school, K-12, all under one roof.  The principal make a decision for the curriculum for the entire school, every grade.  These classes and material are taught irrespective to the age and knowledge level of the individual grades.

That’s how things were in Wisconsin under the goon based collective bargaining agreement.  Now each grade is allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to class material, schedules, and how to interact with the students.  Put the decision power in the hands of the people involved on a daily basis.  Makes too much sense….

Now…  I saved the best and most important reform for last.  Voluntary vs. compulsory union membership. This got the least attention, but is by far the most important reform when it comes to union membership…  By far…

Here’s how it works.  Every single teacher in the Wisconsin school system is a forced member. It costs $1,100 per year to be a member of this exclusive organization.  According to TeacherPortal.com there are 59,552 teachers in Wisconsin.  That means that every January 1st, the union goons count on $65,507,200.00 in their bank account.  They turn right around and donate huge percentages of that money to liberal and democrat causes because it’s the left that always gives unions more power.

Follow the money….

If teachers are allowed to opt out of the union, that’s $1,100 per member the union loses.  Read this op ed piece from a teacher in Wisconsin.  Pretty revealing.

Why this teacher chose the non-union option

So those are the reforms Gov. Walker proposed. As expected, Armageddon was predicted by the left. Union goons organized protests.  Teachers walked out of classrooms. And the Democrats ran away to Illinois to hide. Classy.

Remember all the while that Wisconsin voters elected a Tea Party candidate that ran on a platform of fiscal reform. And won.  Handily.

So, Gov. Walker simply does what he said he would do and the left goes nuts.  I mean, hide in Illinois?  Really?  To avoid a vote?  And how old are you?

My elementary school age son acts more adult than that…  Really.

The left predicts a financial implosion and that all learning will cease and children will die in the streets begging for knowledge.  Well, maybe not that far.  But pretty close….

So the left does what the left does best; organize….  In June of 2011, a federal lawsuit is filed against Gov. Walker for his collective bargaining reform.

The left continues to whine and formally announces a recall effort in November 2011. Now, let’s put this in historical perspective…  Since the formation of our good ole United Sates of America there have only been two gubernatorial recall elections. Two. In 1921, Lynn Frazier was booted out of the governor’s office in North Dakota, just like Gray Davis of California in 2003.  Think about how many governors there have been and only two were so bad that they deemed a recall attempt.

So the left organized and this is where union goons showed what makes them union goons…..  The petition effort was enormous.  By January 2012, enough signatures had been collected.  Democrat leaders claim that one million signatures had been collected. I have no idea of the actual amount.  You are welcome to count them yourself here: Wisconsin GAO. My gut says that the same accounting firm was hired for the recall petition signature count as was hired to count the participants in the Million Man March.

Regardless, there were enough for a recall vote.

The entire Wisconsin world was put on hold and the media descended like a flock of vultures (not seagulls, Dennis) for the recall election on June 5. Actually, that would be a venue of vultures. Sorry. So the state of Wisconsin was really a state of limbo as is the case in an election year.

Enter in usual politics…  Mud is slung, truths and half-truths told…  Dire predictions and empty promises…  Oh, and Gov. Scott Walker campaigned as well as the Democrats.

Tuesday was the big day.  National political pundits went on record as claiming victory before the first ballot had been cast.  The same pundits also said that this election will be a foreshadow of the general election in November.  Other pundits said it has no bearing on November. Everybody picked a winner.  Now it’s time for the voters to choose their elected officials.  Again…

The recall efforts for the Governor and Lt. Governor failed, along with three of the four State Senate seats.  The fourth is still being counted and may result in a runoff.

In other words, nada.  Nothing.  Zero change.  And yet $63 million (at least) spent.  And that, my friend, is the true definition of the word waste.  To expend effort and energy with zero change.

The Democrats thought this was a slam dunk based on the number of signatures they collected. Yet they lost.  Here’s a little explanation…  You see, the petitions were collected in person.  Someone with a clipboard told you that you needed to sign this petition to recall a herd of politicians.  Or is that a gaggle? Never can remember. Regardless, you are making a declaration at the direction and under the eye of someone else.  If you are a teacher or other public employee, you sign just to prevent the backlash of not signing.

Then…..  In the privacy of a voting both, with no one watching, you share your true feelings.  You vote your conscience.  This is why we must keep union formation elections secret ballot.  If it were up to petitions alone, then strong arm tactics would win.  If unions are really good for a group of people, then it will pass in a secret ballot.  If not, it will fail.

Back to a comment I alluded to in my opening paragraphs.  The margin of victory.  This is a big deal.  When Walker first ran against Burnett, it was a general election.  Your run of the mill, every four years deciding on a obstinancy of politicians.  Or is that a battery?  I still can’t remember.  I guess you’ll have to look here and decide for yourself.

But anyway… The recall, was a mandate from the irate masses.  Voter turnout is what wins elections. You have three kinds of voters:

  • Always vote regardless
  • Vote when they are passionate
  • Never vote regardless

It’s the middle that change the course of elections.  If one side is very passionate about a cause, they will turnout in much higher numbers than those that see it as a typical vote.  No big deal.  It’s all about voter turnout.

In a case such as this, with as many signatures as was collected, you would think the passionate side would win handily.  Yet they lost.  And by a wider margin than when they lost in the general election. The left, so rabid about removing this awful man from office, lost ground to the side that put him there in the first place.

Very interesting.

In Other News of the Ironic, if a teacher opts out of the union, and spends the union dues on the added pension and health insurance premiums, they still have a net gain and more disposable income.

Interestingly enough, the reforms put in place by Gov. Walker are already working.  The Milwaukee School District is already forecasting an $11 million surplus thanks to the reforms. Of course, Walker was challenged by Burnett, a former Mayor of Milwaukee.

Lastly, the city of Madison, a very heavy left-leaning district, is reporting (unsubstantiated at this time) a voter turnout of 119%.  That’s odd because if every eligible voter voted, it would have been 100% turnout; which has never happened. I bet if they checked for identification the numbers would be a lot more believable.  Except there is no such thing as voter fraud, so there’s no need to check ID.  I forgot.

Anyway….  $63,000,000.00 wasted on a recall attempt that failed.  A state deadlocked into inaction.  Tens of thousands of man-hours wasted because the union goons got their panties in a bunch.

Here is my biggest fear and my biggest hope resulting from this recall attempt.  My fear is that we will have a never ending stream of elections.  When one side loses an election, they will promptly begin petitions for recall.  That will completely cripple the government.  Which, really isn’t a bad thing.  hmmmm. My hope is that when a group talks of recall, they think twice.  They really remember, or recall if I may, this attempt and base the effort on a real, substantiated just cause. And not simply on the grounds of disagreement.

What would you do with $63 million?

 

Those who can, can…

Those who can’t, teach.  Those who can’t teach go into politics, and those who know where the bodies are buried, become lobbyists.

Education is often the sign of a higher form of civilization. Those who control the education, control the masses.  Look at North Korea.  While they have one of the lowest standards of living outside of sub-Saharan Africa they have a fanatical loyalty to those who keep them enslave.

*talk about being in the dark…

Speaking of North Korea, I highly recommend the National Geographic special on North Korea. As a matter of fact, my wife made our children watch this expose on North Korea.

But that’s not what we are here to talk about…  We are here to talk about education and job training.  The idea being, the more highly skilled the workforce, the more valuable and productive they will be.  That generally makes sense.  Until the Imperial Government gets involved. Then all logic goes out the window.

Here’s the situation.  The recession led to extremely high unemployment rates.  At over 10% of the work force categorized as “unemployed,” this country was in deep doo-doo. Technically speaking.

Check out current unemployment rates here.

In Other News of the Ironic, Nancy Pelosi is happy that unemployment is at 9%. Here’s the irony… On November 3, 2006, Pelosi said this:

“the worst jobs record since the Great Depression,”

when the unemployment rate was 4.4%.

*Person in photo is apparently not a mathlete. Even redneck puppy knuckledraggers know that 9 is more than 4.4

So what does our amazing IG do to help slow/decrease unemployment.  Why, train the unemployed, I tell you.  The reason they don’t have a job is obviously because they don’t have the right skills.  If they had the skills, they would have a job.  That makes perfect sense.

I opine that the reason they weren’t employed is because THERE WEREN’T ANY JOBS….. I don’t care how trained up, educated, and or productive a person is, if there isn’t a job for that highly skilled person, they are still unemployed. Besides, if I am an employer and I have my choice of a person who has experience in the industry and a person who just completed a government sponsored and paid for training class who do you think I will select.  The person who chose to enter into a field and took their own initiative to learn a trade or the person who selected that particular government sponsored class because it was free and didn’t conflict with Jersey Shores and American Idol.

Back to the story.

So the IG, in it’s infinite wisdom, realizes that the problem is not a lack of jobs, but skilled workers. Now, the IG has always has job training programs.  I believe that the only federally sponsored training program should be the military. But that is a different rant for a different time. As the spending on IG training programs increased, so did the ire of Sen. Tom Coburn.

And for the record, Sen. Coburn is a hero among the CentsToChange newsroom in the bowels of the International Worldwide Headquarters (IWH).  We don’t care about his party affiliation, we love his annual Wastebook which casts a spotlight on stupid government waste and spending.

Here is where the many facets of this complex story intertwine. By that I mean IG spending on training and Sen. Coburn’s never ending crusade against government waste.

Sen. Coburn teamed up with Sen. Enzi and requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate possible redundancies, waste, and failed programs regarding IG jobs training. In January of 2011, the GAO issued a report titled:

“MULTIPLE EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING PROGRAMS

Providing Information on Colocating Services and Consolidating Administrative Structures Could Promote Efficiencies”

Not even the GAO understands the concept of brevity.  But I digress…..

Just in case you feel like reading all 108 pages, I have secured a copy and stored it here on the super secure datacenter here in the IWH.

*simulated screen

Feel free to read the report in it’s entirety here. In case you don’t believe us, here is a link to the GAO page.

Since I doubt you have a lot of better things to do than read an IG report with 17 words in the title alone, I will be happy to extract some interesting tidbits.

In 2003, the GAO did a similar study and found 44 programs that spent $13,000,000,000.00.  In 2009, thanks to the Stimulus Package the GAO reported that 9 different agencies had 47 programs that spent $18,000,000,000.00.  An increase of 3 programs and $5 billion.

Two other interesting factoids…

“Almost all federal employment and training programs, including those with broader missions such as multipurpose block grants, overlap with at least one other program in that they provide similar services to similar populations.”

And neither one doing it with any level of success.  Remember, unemployment is still above 8%, even though we were promised that it would never be as HIGH as 8%.

Here’s the other thing that stunned me, then it didn’t when I remembered this was an IG series of programs.

“Nearly all programs track multiple outcome measures, but only five programs have had an impact study completed since 2004 to assess whether outcomes resulted from the program and not some other cause.”

So…  We spend $18 billion (which is more than the cost to construct an aircraft carrier) and there is no attempt to measure if that money is actually helping anyone find a job.  None whatsoever.  Here is the success or failure as decided by the idiots in office:

Harry Reid: “We would be a lot worse trouble if we weren’t around.

Really?  That’s all? So the plans and programs and government waste and over taxation is working because things would be worse if they weren’t there to do all these things?

And people vote for this guy.

So we have $18 billion spent in 2009, on 47 training programs that all intertwine with another IG training programs without any way to measure the true success and, here’s the best part, the majority of the money was spent on administering the programs, not teaching people new trades.

So if you want to work for an IG training program in any of the 9 agencies, where do you go to get trained?  Hmmm…

$18 billion on ineffective training that does very little good, if any and we are paying interest on the loans to fund these programs that spend more money hiring people to run the program than to tech workers useful skills.  Sounds good to me.

What would you do with $18 billion?  I’d buy an aircraft carrier. Then sail it to the French coast.  Just to watch them surrender.  It’s their national pastime.

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

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?

 

A very weighty issue….

Everything about our fine country is overweight.  Everything.  From the bloated and obese Imperial Government (IG) to the idiotic hype over so-called reality TV, to the average American’s BMI.  BMI being the Body Mass Index; a simple ratio to height and weight that gives you a rough indication of your level of obesity.  Go check you BMI.

Obesity is a huge problem here in the States.  People are just plain fat.  And I don’t mean a little beer belly or that last post-baby 10 pounds, I mean disgustingly obese. So much so that airlines have standard policies for what happens if you can’t fit in your seat. Standard policies….. The shear volume of morbidly obese people actually acts as a justification for being that fat.  It’s like this….  If you wear something like this (photo below) to a Rotary Meeting you may cause a few raised eyebrows.  Maybe a polite, “What are you doing here?” from the Rotary President-elect all the way to free bracelets courtesy of the local police department.

*DISCLAIMER* The author is not responsible for what happens if you click the photo for a closer look.  Don’t do it.  Just walk away…. There is not enough mind bleach….

Yet, the exact same outfit at Comic Con and you win awards and are the talk of the town.

So here’s my point.  It’s all relative. Not to be confused with a singles bar in Alabama. Einstein had it all figured out with his Theory of Relativity. The concept of relativity carries into societal issues with the phrase, “When in Rome….”

<tangent> The phrase, “When in Rome…” is the number one justification for doing stupid things.  Just because you are in Bangkok, away from your family, doesn’t mean you can live it up like a drunken sailor. Simply being in a different environment doesn’t give you a free pass to be someone other than yourself. Unless of course you are a drunken sailor, in which case carry on. </tangent>

Here’s how social relativity ties into obesity….

The woman pictured above was confident enough to choose that outfit, put it on, travel somewhere while wearing it, and stood like a fashion model for this photo (not taken by me) because she knew that she would fit in with the rest of the crowd.  So instead of being disgusted at the idea of wearing something so hideous, she was encouraged to be even more extreme due to her surrounding.

Fat people do the same thing. The more fat people you are around, the less you notice you own obesity.  Let me repeat this….

THE MORE FAT PEOPLE YOU ARE AROUND, THE LESS YOU NOTICE YOUR OWN OBESITY.

Then it becomes ok that your are so flippin’ fat.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not the model of physical perfection. Recently my BMI placed me in the obese category. Since early Spring I’ve shed a good amount of weight and I’m not that far from my goal.  So I understand this whole being obese thing. I know what I’m talking about. *END DISCLAIMER*

I’m not fat, I’m big boned.

Actually, you are both.  Big bones covered with immense layers of fat.

There are a lot of reasons why people are fat.  I get this.  Not everyone’s bodies are the same. I understand that everybody has a different metabolism.  Righto. I also understand that there are a million rationalizations for accepting your fat as something out of your control. I have friends that could live at the Golden Corral (The Trough) and never gain a pound and others that gain a pound simply looking at jelly donuts.  I get it.  It’s not fair.  And contrary to what our sitting president (I say sitting because that’s really all he does, sits and occupies space.  Hmm.. Occupy White House…..) LIFE IS NOT FAIR. There is no fair.  There is justice, but no fairness. So deal with it.

Your own weight is entirely under your control. And in reality, it’s not weight that is important, but physical fitness.  While I have lost a lot of fat, I’ve also gained muscle weight due to exercise. Even though my net loss isn’t as great as I would like it to be, my level of fitness is considerably higher.

If you really want to see just how fat Americans are, visit a foreign country.  Go spend a week in Argentina (visiting Tiendos Belgrano and having the beef medallions with a pitcher of Sangria) and just look around.  Even though I am close to my healthy target weight, I was one of the fattest people I saw in three weeks. You will see more obese people in 5 minutes walking through Wal-Mart than you will see in a month in Thailand. (Highly recommend the Phi Phi Island Resort. Simply stunning)

So how does this fit, or not fit, into my usual rant on government waste.

Enter the National Institute of Health.  They love spending money. In 2009 the NIH spent $30,096,000,000, 2010, $31,089,000,000, and 2011, $$32,089,000,000.

*TWEET* Flag on the play. Overuse of commas in a single sentence. Roll clock *TWEET*

Check it out yourself.  Page 78 if the 2011 IG Budget.

Of that $32 billion spent in 2011 was $830 million to study obesity.  I just did that for free.  Why did we spend $830 million to study the obvious.

Quote:

Results from NIH-funded obesity-related research include:

  • Finding effective lifestyle changes that can be implemented in communities to reduce weight, lower risk factors for heart disease, and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes
  • Finding new targets and pathways for prevention and treatment of obesity, including the role of sleep, and how bacteria in the intestine may have an impact on obesity
  • Finding that exposure in the womb to maternal obesity or diabetes may increase the risk of obesity or diabetes in offspring, suggesting a critical period for intervention
  • Investigating genetic factors contributing to obesity and its complications.

End quote.

Let me boil this down…

1. Get off your butt. I don’t care how slim and sexy your World of Warcraft avatar is, you are still a fat pig.  Go outside.  Leave your parents basement.  Looking at a webcam of the great outdoors does not count.

2. Bacteria caused obesity? Really? How about, “Don’t eat so freakin’ much.  Worrying about bacteria caused obesity is like trying to sanitize Lake Huron with a gallon of bleach.  The easiest way to prevent obesity is to eat less, eat healthy, and exercise.

3. Maternal obesity? I would love to watch a snotty nose, academic from the NIH try and counsel a group of pregnant women about the potential risk to childhood obesity by being too fat during pregnancy. I would love to watch.  From a long way away.  Very, very, very, very long way away.

4. Genetic.  This is the vice grip of medical causes. You were born like this. Nothing you can do…  Sorry.  Or how about this…  Your parents are obese. Your parents made you.  There is a high chance of you being obese.  You will have to watch your food consumption and exercise more that kids from skinny parents.

*made in China

Yes, obesity is a big problem.  Any by big, I mean a lot of people have a BMI that looks more like the pollen count during Spring in Atlanta… But why did the IG feel the need to throw $830 million towards a study that is summed up in four bullet points that I could have done for free.  And did.

In Other News of the Ironic, Michelle Obama pushed for $4.5 BILLION in spending to feed more children because too many were “going to bed hungry.” Now their parents can spend more of their food stamps on Twinkies and Ho-Ho’s.

Whoops.

The only thing more bloated that the average American figure is the Imperial Government’s budget.

What would you do with $830 million?

Voting….

Let’s take a step back from government waste and talk about an interesting subject.  Since this is a general election year, voter rights/non-rights/eligibility issues will, as they always do, make headlines in the news.

Voting is an important privilege to those living in a representative republic. Quick civics lesson.  We do NOT live in a democracy.  We live in a representative republic. In a democracy, everything is put up for a general vote. Under a democracy, mob rule generally wins.  This is bad. When the mob (majority) rules, there is no place for the minority. And by minority, I mean any classification of people that is smaller than another.  When compared to checkers, chess players are in the minority. When compared to all scholars, Spelling Bee winners are in the minority.  According to the 2010 Census, women make up the majority of the US population. So men are the minority. Not that men have a voice anyway, now it would be even less…..

The USA is a representative republic.  That means that we elect people who we believe to be educated on the affairs of state and believe to have their constituents’ best interests in mind. At least that’s the plan. And like Virgil always says, “Nice plan.”

Every so often we, as the citizens, have an opportunity to decide whether or not the elected officials are acting in our best interest and the best interests of our city, state, and nation.  This is where voting comes into the conversation. If we don’t see an elected official acting in what we believe to be the best interests, we vote for another candidate. If enough people agree, then the old is tossed out and in comes the new.

So you can see that voting is critical to the check balance system established by the Founding Fathers. Voting is the citizens’ opportunity to fire elected officials who are not doing their job.

So now I get to the real point of this rant….  Voter eligibility.

In my state, Georgia, there are pretty specific rules and laws to voter eligibility.  You can find them here: Georgia Voter Eligibility

Here is a quick rundown of the highlights:

To register to vote in the state of Georgia, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • A legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you wish to vote.
  • At least 17 1/2 years of age.

Also, you may not register to vote if you are currently:

  • Serving any sentence imposed by the conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.
  • Judicially determined to be mentally incompetent.
So. You have to be a citizen of the US and actually live in the precinct where the vote is taking place.   That’s the law. Pretty simple.  And important.  Important enough that you would think that ensuring voter laws would be important.
Well…  Not so much if you are on The Left.  See, they do everything to stifle the enforcement voter laws by opposing voter identification laws.
I really don’t understand why this is even an issue.  Valid identification is the easiest and simplest way to ensure that only eligible voters are voting. Yet the left continually fights against any form of voter identification other than saying, “I promise that’s me.”
And yes.  This is a problem.  Not too long ago and undercover reporter reported himself as Eric Holder, our current Attorney General, and was given a ballot.  No questions asked. Interestingly enough, neither Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton were eligible for the Indiana Democrat Primary.
So why oppose enforcement of voter standards?  The Left has several reasons why voter identification verification is wrong:
  • it’s racist
  • it’s discriminating against the poor
  • it’s discriminating against the elderly
  • voter fraud isn’t a problem
  • I thought Republicans were against government regulations.  Hypocrite.
  • This was a real comment I received from a usually intelligent friend: “I moved a while back, registered to vote in my new precinct, but have not updated my driver’s license.  I might be turned away.”
Really.  That was a reason my friend is 100% any voter identification verification. His vote might not count because the address on his driver’s license doesn’t match the address in the voter roll.
Let’s continue with the conversation:
Me: Then how did you register?
Friend: By bringing a utility bill when I registered.
Me: So take a utility bill with you to vote to prove you live in that precinct.
Friend: They may not accept that.
Me: Why?
Friend: Because voter id laws are meant to stifle the vote from non-Republicans.
Me: Makes a lot of sense to me.
In Other News of the Ironic, the statistics on low voter fraud quoted by The Left are low because there is little to no ability for poll workers to detect voter fraud since we don’t ask people to identify themselves.
And just in case you forgot and still don’t believe there is anything fraudulent with voting and voter registration, just remember ACORN.
So…..  I’ve compiled an interesting list of things that require you to present some form of identification.  Granted, id’s are not always checked in these situations, but they are required, in some cases by law,  to be checked.
  • Drive a car
  • Buy alcohol
  • Buy cigarettes
  • Enter a casino
  • Buy a lottery ticket
  • Cash a lottery ticket over $600 (two forms of ID required)
  • Compete in American Idol
  • Receive medical assistance at Planned Parenthood
  • Apply for government housing
  • Apply for Medicare
  • Buy spray paint
  • Cash a check
  • Apply for a job
  • Fly on an airplane
  • Go to a bar
  • Get a library card
  • Rent a car, bike, canoe, etc.
  • See an R rated movie
  • Get married
  • Rent a hotel room
  • Buy real estate
  • Rent a video game with an MA rating
  • Buy over the counter allergy medicine
  • Pick up your children from school
  • Buy a gun
  • Test drive a car
  • Pay a cable bill
  • Buy a cel phone
  • Pick up a package from FedEx or UPS

 

And this is a small list.

Yet, it’s racist, hate speak, anti-American, extremist Right-Wing, vote stifling when I simply want someone to identify themselves as an eligible voter when they choose the elected officials that determine the fate of my country. Why is that so difficult?  What is so wrong with enforcing the law?

And don’t even get me started with the whole “get out the vote” drives.  If someone doesn’t know that it’s important for them to vote and doesn’t take the initiative to get registered, nor finds a way to get to a polling precinct or cast an absentee ballot, then I don’t want them voting.  Chances are they are really stupid, uneducated, and incapable of making an intelligent decision based on the facts of which candidate to choose.  I’ll even go so far as to mentally categorize these people as lower on the human being food chain than my puppy lovin’ rednecks from Athens.

Yep.  That low.

Remember, it was in Chicago, home of our sitting President, that the phrase was coined, “Vote early and often.”

I’m just saying…….

 

If you can’t take the heat….

For this post I’ll go ahead and let you know that I have no clue how much money was wasted on this specific government project.  I really don’t.  And in some ways, I don’t want to know. I want to remain blissful…

*BREAKING NEWS*

PEACHTREE CITY, GA (AP) – The National Weather Service (NWS) in Peachtree City, GA, has issued a dire report that once again, “Summer” is approaching. Recognized by many as the hottest time of the year, Summer is the result of Global Warming Anti-Cooling Continental Calamity Axial Rotation.

The NWS predicts the beginning of Summer to occur on June 20 of this year.

“We were surprised at the occurrence of Summer this year. Yet not totally shocked. Some of our computer models predicted that Summer would happen again,” said Ms. Lane E. Ous, PhD of the NWS.

Historically speaking, Summer has happened every year in recent memory, mostly due to soccer moms driving SUV’s.

Ms. Ous said in a press release yesterday, “Summer will continue to occur unless drastic measures are taken.”

Summer is widely regarded as the leading cause of higher temperatures that can fluctuate based on specific geographic locations. In other words, it may be hotter in some regions than others.  Interestingly enough, on the bottom of the globe thingy, it actually gets colder.

The downside to Summer is that it can get hot if you are not in a conditioned environment. Tens of people throughout the country die as a result of this extreme and unpredictable heat resulting from Summer. To combat these catastrophic and pandemic possibilities, the United States Department of Labor has spent untold amounts of money through their subsidiary department, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) warning people who spend time outdoors of the imminent dangers of Summer. Link to life saving information.

Undocumented worker Manuel was quoted as saying, “El gobierno federal salvó mi vida diciéndome que podría ser caliente afuera.” A quick translation says, “Buster? I’m not sure I know who you are.” But we at the AP believe he may have been saying something out how hot something is because an intern recognized the word “caliente.” This is neither confirmed nor denied by anyone nearby.

While the entire respected global scientific community are in 100% agreement that GWACCCAR is the absolute cause of Summer, two self-appoint climate scientists, know as Skeptics, living in Bangladesh, opine that the “Sun,” the continuous nuclear reactor at the center of our solar system with a mass of 1.989e+30 that releases 5 million tons of pure energy each second by collapsing four hydrogen molecules into a single helium molecule, combined with the so-called predictable tilt of the Earth is more the cause of “Summer.”

No one in particular with some random, unnamed UN agency says, “Global Warming Anti-Cooling Continental Calamity Axial Rotation will not go away on its own.  We must act now by taking all the money from rich nations and giving them to poor nations.  That is the only way to determine if Global Warming Anti-Cooling Continental Calamity Axial Rotation can be stopped.”

This reporter painstakingly interviewed Dan Rather for the facts contained within and Dan swears that it’s all true.

*END BREAKING NEWS*

So there you have it.  Our Imperial Government felt so inclined to warn migrant workers, illegal aliens, and others that it can get hot during summer. That the cure is water, rest, and shade.

Awesome.

When is OSHA going to build a website on breathing? Oh wait…  They did:

“Human beings must breathe oxygen . . . to survive, and begin to suffer adverse health effects when the oxygen level of their breathing air drops…” For real…

In Other News of the Ironic, I love the blatant disrespect for farm workers on the main page of the OSHA website: “The work can’t get done without them”

Wow.

Notice every single photo is of a Latino. Even the foreman with the cowboy hat and giant belt buckle in the background. So in other words, only Latinos work outside during the summer. This accordingly to the Department of Labor.

In case you can’t tell if it’s hot outside, the DOL has also spent a stupid amount of money on a mobile app. Heat Safety Tool

And by stupid amount, I mean $643,997.60. 

Congratulations!  The free republic that our fore fathers created by standing up against the largest global power of that era has been relegated to telling us when it’s hot and what to do in case someone outside overheats.

How much of our tax dollars are spent on describing the obvious?

Author’s note: Any reference to people named “Summer” is completely coincidental. Including, but not limited to,  family members who are incredibly adorable and otherwise too cute for words.