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.

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!

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 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….

 

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.

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…….

 

The Emperor’s new low-income housing

Florida and land deals go way back.  Historically, very few investments have been as solid as real estate in Florida.  Now, with the housing market crash that is not as much the case anymore, but there are still great and easy ways to make a ton of money in Florida.

Take Crest Capital, LLC for example. Located in the Tampa area, they offered to build low-income town houses on an 18 acre tract of land. Since the project was dubbed “low income” that means, of course, free government stuff….  So the partners at Crest Capital contacted Anthony Jones, the Director, Pinellas County Community Development Department. Mr. Jones thought this was a great idea and quickly gave Crest $3.4 million.

Speaking of huge tracts of land, I still am amazed that Walt Disney was able to make the land grab he did to build Disney World. That is one huge tract of land. 47 square miles….

monty_python_holy_grail_script_130_lancelot_father_herb

But I digress….

That was 2004 when Mr. Jones approved the $3.4 million. Now, I personally know how slow developers can be.  I know how long it takes for a construction project to to be completed.  Once you have a site, there are geological tests, environmental impact studies, land use permits, land disturbance permits, neighbor disturbance permits, disturbed neighbor permits, and the list goes on.

Random sidetrack.  How long would it take to construct the Pentagon today with all of the regulations and red-tape bureaucrats in the way?  The Pentagon is 6.5 million square feet.  Whereas the average home is 2,000. Funds were released August 14, 1941 and ground breaking was September 11, 1941. It was dedicated January 15, 1943.  Almost 16 months to the day…

Back to our story of how a caring and socially responsible development company, Crest Capital, is “doing the right thing” and building low-income housing for unfortunate Tampa area residents.

So here we are in 2012 and how does the project look? Let’s look at some recent photos….

And…

And…

Awesome.

Nothing.

Nada.

Zip.

In 2011 the Pinellas County’s Division of Inspector General investigated the deal and found that Anthony Jones chose Crest Capital who had “no assets and little to no experience in construction.”

Wow.

Nick Kotaiche of the former Crest Capital (After an exhaustive search I can’t find a website or other information on Crest at this time. And by “exhaustive search” I mean a half dozen Google searches while watching an Epic Rap Battle of History on the YouTubes in another browser window and drinking a cup of coffee) blames the failure on the bad economy.

But it was low income housing…..  There are plenty of government subsidies to pay the rent.  And there are plenty of low income people DUE to the bad economy.  Luckily Crest Capital was able to give Pinellas County and Anthony Jones their money back since the project went bust. Oh wait, they didn’t.  The money is gone.  Forever. Vanished. Never to be seen again.

The Pinellas County Commissioner Nancy Bostock stated that Anthony Jones didn’t properly do his due diligence.  Really?  Let’s role play this initial sales pitch…

Mr. Kotaiche: Anthony, I have a great idea for that 18 acres.  Build low-income housing.

Mr. Jones: Great idea! What do you need.

Mr. Kotaiche: How about $3.4 million to get started.

Mr. Jones: Sure, but I have to ask you a few questions.

Mr.Kotaiche: Shoot.

Mr. Jones: What assets do you have to back this project and how much construction experience does Crest Capital or yourself have?

Mr. Kotaiche: None and none.

Mr. Jones: No big deal.  You’re doing this for the right social reasons, which is the most important thing.  Who do I make the check out to?

And that’s how Crest Capital made $3.4 million in a terrible real estate market. I sure could think of a lot of things I could do with $3.4 million.