Thursday, May 24, 2012

Turn Out the Lights, the Country's Over? Not So Fast

I found the following Electoral Map on the Huffington Post this evening. 

That's right, turn out the lights, the party's over... 



Yes, that's right - it's over.  The November Election is already being called for...  Who else?

Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama

The funny thing is that I don't even remember VOTING (five months in the future)...

Oh, sure, that's funny, but wait until you get a load of what's sitting on the same page as the graphic posted above. 

I'm going to copy and paste it 'intact' for your reading pleasure:

May 22, 2012, Huffington Post:

Obama Targeted By Protest Voters In Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries

WASHINGTON -- Some presidential primary voters in Kentucky and Arkansas are taking a swipe at President Barack Obama, denying the incumbent nearly 4 out of every 10 votes cast on the Democratic side.

In Kentucky's closed primary, about 42 percent of registered Democrats who voted selected "uncommitted."

In Arkansas' open primary, voters could select a ballot for either party. Early returns showed a Tennessee attorney, John Wolfe, drawing about 40 percent on the Democratic side.

The results in either state will not hamper Obama's effort to gain the party's nomination for a second term. Still, it's a bit embarrassing for the Democratic Party and highlights Obama's political weakness in Southern states.

Two weeks ago, a federal inmate in Texas earned 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia's Democratic primary. 


This is THAT man...




An incumbent President pitted against a convict, an attorney, or 'Anyone Other Than Obama' and getting 60% or LESS of the vote? 

How the heck do you explain that?


Enter - The Biden...
Joe Biden - A Single Heart Beat Away from...
Destiny!

“Look, I come from a household where whenever there’s a recession, somebody around my grandpop or my dad’s table lost their job – a brother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor,” Biden told Steubenville, Ohio-based WTOV-TV on Thursday when asked how he would explain the West Virginia vote.

“When you’re out of work, man, it’s a depression,” he continued. “And a lot of people are still hurt because of this God-awful recession we inherited, that cost 8.4 million jobs before we could really get going. And so, I don’t blame people. They’re frustrated. They’re angry.”


Yup, in 2012 people are frustrated and angry.

I wonder why that is Joe? 

Oh, that's right, it's because the of 'God-awful Recession' you inherited from Bush.

How could I forget? 

You guys tell us almost daily why it's not your fault -  so I wonder...


What are you and your boss doing to make it better? 

What has your administration done to make people less frustrated, less angry?


Let's review.

The Obama Administration has...

Declared war on the Catholic Church

Declared war on Wall Street

Instigated a war on women

Sided with Anarchists, Socialists, and OWS protesters as they destroy public (and private) property

Labeled veterans potential terrorists

Broadened racial divides for political purposes

Provided material support to radical Islamists in Egypt

Denied material support to protesters for change in Iran

Presided over the slowest 30 months of economic growth in US History

Swelled the ranks of the 'Disabled US Workers' by over five MILLION


Added an additional 50% to the National Debt in three years

Reduced the percentage of US Workers engaged in the work force to the lowest levels in US History


Joe 'Plugs' Biden, you want to know why Americans are frustrated, angry and divided? 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about using a Magic 8 Ball to predict the future. 

YOU, Joe, don't need a Magic 8 Ball.

You just need a freaking mirror.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can Small Words Convey Monumental, um, Big Ideas?



A variation of a theme... 

For the past several years I've held the opinion that folks writing television and film scripts are pretty much 'Out of Ideas'.  I would normally say that these card-carrying-union screenwriters are "Devoid of original thought", but this would not be in keeping with today's post. 

More on this in a moment.  

Hollywood's best and brightest (yes, these 'real' writers) re-hash frayed plot lines, release films based upon Hasboro Toys (from when I was a kid), and resurrect for the 'Big Screen' television shows from the 1980's with reckless abandon.  The main difference here, of course, is that the resurrected 'R-Rated' big-screen version of the original 1970 - 1980's era television show sports more profanity than Bob Beckel does on "Hannity".   

So what do Hollywood, New York, profanity, writers, and re-hashing of plots have to do with today's post?  Well, not much, other than the fact that these literary hacks, and current Progressives fall back on the same formula time after time.    

Please allow me a moment to elucidate my thoughts here, so that your thinking will be translucent, transparent, and transformed...  Like mine [evil laugh]

[This is your final warning - if you do NOT want to think as I do, stop reading this post NOW!]

THE ORIGINAL THEME:  As illustrated by the Newsweek cover above, the Media asks the question:  "Why are Obama's Critics So Dumb?" 


YESTERDAY'S VARIATION OF THE THEME:  "Is Congress Getting Dumber?"

Yes, this headline appeared online yesterday on news sites across the nation. 

And no, I'm not making it up.

Let's go there, shall we?


"Let the sun shine, let the sun shine in the sun..."

 
As reported, NPR, May 21, 2012:

Sophomoric? Members Of Congress Talk Like 10th-Graders, Analysis Shows

Every word members of Congress say on the floor of the House or Senate is documented in the Congressional Record. The Sunlight Foundation took the entire Congressional Record dating back to the 1990s and plugged it into a searchable database.

Lee Drutman, a political scientist at Sunlight, took all those speeches and ran them through an algorithm to determine the grade level of congressional discourse.

"We just kind of did it for fun, and I was kind of shocked when I plotted that data and I saw that, oh my God, there's been a real drop-off in the last several years," he says.

In 2005, Congress spoke at an 11.5 grade level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale. Now, it's 10.6. In other words, Congress dropped from talking like juniors to talking like sophomores.


Flesch-Kincaid equates higher grade levels with longer sentences and words with more syllables.

For example, just one sentence from the member of Congress with the highest grade ranking, Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican from California, goes on for 62 words. (That sentence: "This Justice Department, in my judgment, based on the experience I've had here in this Congress, 18 years, my years as the chief legal officer of the state of California and 35 or 40 years as a practicing attorney tells me that this administration has fundamentally failed in its obligation to attempt to faithfully carry out the laws of the United States.")

Lungren's grade level during this session of Congress: 20. Overall since 1996: 16.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Georgia Republican Rep. Rob Woodall registers the second-lowest grade level: 8.01.

An example of Woodall's speech: "What do they say about socialism, Mr. Speaker? It's a great plan until you run out of other people's money. Guess what? We've run out of other people's money. I just want to show you a chart."

That's five sentences, an average of about 7.5 words per sentence.

"My mother will probably be embarrassed to hear this news," Woodall says, "but I'm glad to know I'm not obfuscating our challenges with words that are too complicated."

Woodall is part of the large freshman class that came into Congress in 2010 — many of them backed by the Tea Party movement. Sunlight's Drutman says this infusion of new members looks to be part of the reason for the overall grade-level decline.

"Particularly among the newest members of Congress, as you move out from the center and toward either end of the political spectrum, the grade level goes down, and that pattern is particularly pronounced on the right," he says.

Of the 10 members speaking at the lowest grade level, all but two are freshmen, and every one is a Republican. For the record, though, Drutman isn't passing judgment about whether speaking at a lower grade level is a good thing or a bad thing...



According to this NPR Article, Freshmen Republicans are idiots, rubes, and they have a tendency to speak 'at the lowest grade level' of any who have ever had 'Congressman', or 'Senator' title preceding their names, right?

The funny thing is that this report appearing in the NPR article included a chart.  I copied this chart and added two lines.  

The first line, the BLUE line indicates when Congress first became 100% under control of the Democrats.  

The second line, the RED line, indicates when the Republicans were sworn in following the 2010 elections. 

Please note the direction of each line as it pertains to these two date-specific events:

Blue line = Democrat Rule = Continued lowering of grade-level of speech

Red line = Republican Rule (House only) = Increases in the grade-level of speech



If we take this chart at face value, we can say that according to the 'Flesch-Kincaid algorithm' (was this designed by 'Al Gore' by any chance?) that the Grade Level of 'speech' began its descent in 2005 under Republican rule of the House and Senate. 

This 'fall' continued until 2011, led by 100% leadership between the years 2007 - 2010 by... 

The Democrat Party.   


However, as noted above, the chart appears to indicate a rise is 'adult grade speech' once the Republicans took over the House again in early 2011.

But, hey, wait a second, isn't this almost the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the NPR author is attempting to convey to us their narrative?

I'll end the post with an excerpt from the actual report from the "Sunshine Foundation":


Does it matter? 

Earlier this year, the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics noted that Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address clocked in at an eighth-grade level for the third year in a row, and that Obama’s average grade level of 8.4 was well below the average of 10.7 for the previous 67 addresses. Fox News ran the story alongside the image of a child in a dunce cap, and right-wing blogs mocked the President’s intelligence.

 
[Moos Note:  See, it does NOT seem to matter, if it's the President speaking out loud, in public...]


Others pointed out that maybe speaking clearly was a good thing. After all, the SOTU speech was pretty much right at the level of the average American’s reading level. And writing gurus like George Orwell (“If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out”) and Strunk & White (“omit needless words”) famously advise simplicity.

[Moos Note:  It STILL does NOT matter, in fact, it's a GOOD thing to speak to Americans whose educational system has given them an average, 'dumbed down', reading level!]

 
But whether you see it as plain speak or you see it as a dumbing down, the data are clear: The overall complexity of speech in the Congressional Record has dropped almost a full grade level since 2005. And those on the political extremes, especially those on the far right, tend to be associated with the most simple speech patterns.

[Moos Note:  Oops, if you're a Conservative Republican it DOES matter, because, well, because you're a Conservative Republican!  How do YOU PEOPLE feed yourselves without biting off your own tongues?]


Yes, just another reason why YOU PEOPLE should never be in control of anything.  You'd probably spoof prior photos of the President and run covers like this:


Courtesy of 'ThePeoplesCube.com'

 
You are bad people.  You must be controlled.

You do not understand good things even when they happen to you.  

You are disloyal.  You are racist.  You are uneducated.  You are what 100 years of Progressive policies intended you to be.  Unworthy of an opinion and full of hate.

Have a nice day.  

No, wait, I take that back.  

Have another mediocre day in Year 3 of the Reign of Obama. 


Lastly, before I forget, I scored this post on the 'Flesch-Kincaid' algorithm.  

When I included the entire article (the above 'as is') it scored an 8.96 grade level result.  

When I removed the NPR and Sunshine Foundation excerpts above, this post's score rose to 9.57.  

One may 'infer' that I write at a higher level than the folks writing for either NPR or Sunshine Foundation.  I'm not saying that this actually MATTERS, but I find it interesting.

Have an interesting day yourself - see you around the blogyard!       

 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

CAFE Loco (a.k.a.: 'Hulk Crush')


You scratched your head when you read about it here first in "The CBO is Driven", March, 2011. 

You kicked your dog after reading about it again in "Driven", November, 2011. 

Well, get ready to punch that concrete wall in your garage, because just as surely as the "Marvel Avengers" sequel will be in theaters before you can say, "Hulk - Crush", it'll be back in the news again. 

Go ahead, make the great big green fist... 

And say it with me now:





Gee, that WAS fast.  Even I didn't see it coming this quickly...

Yes, ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time to once again turn our eyes towards our collective garages and ask ourselves the question:  "What WILL I be driving ten years from now?"

The second, less obvious question, of course, will be:  "When I'm 60+, will I still be fit enough to ride my bike?"

The third question (for me), from a post several weeks ago, "Where will I get the trading cards to clothes-pin onto the spokes to make that 'Thwacka, thwacka, thwacka' sound I loved so much on my 70's Schwinn Banana Bike?"

Well, like I said, THAT's just me.

And the rest of this post?  Well, it's all about US.


From the May 3rd, 2012, Detroit News Online:

New fuel rules will cost feds, driversAnalysis finds cars that sip gas siphon tax funds for roads

Washington —Rising fuel-efficiency standards will cut gas tax revenue by $57 billion through 2025, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Wednesday.
 

The government should consider hiking the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax — which hasn't been increased since 1993 — or cutting spending on road repairs or paying for repairs through the general budget, the report said.
 

The Obama administration reached a deal with 13 major automakers in July to hike fuel standards to 54.5 mpg between 2017 and 2025.
 

The report says that the higher efficiency standards — including the 2012-16 rules — will cut the Highway Trust Fund 13 percent over 11 years through 2025.
 

The new rules are to be finalized by late July.

The Congressional Budget Office says a 5 cent per gallon gas tax increase would be necessary to offset the reduction in revenue. The estimate includes a small reduction in fuel use attributable to the higher fuel tax.
 

Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents a dozen automakers, including those from Detroit, said the study showed the new rules have costs. "There are always policy trade-offs for CAFE standards. Adding more technology hurts affordability. Smaller cars raise safety concerns. And gas-sipping vehicles take revenues out of federal and state coffers. That's why we need a balancing act, where we have the maximum fuel economy without adverse effects on jobs or revenues."

The rules will cost the auto industry $157.3 billion, the Obama administration says. In total, drivers will save $1.7 trillion at the pump, including the 2012-16 mileage increases that were finalized in 2010.
 

The Congressional Budget Office also said the government should consider a tax on miles traveled. Several states are considering adopting a tax to collect revenue from electric vehicles for road repairs.


Okay, let me make sure that I've got this straight:

1.  New CAFE standards will require that the 'average vehicle' get 54.5 MPG by 2025
        -  This 'average' includes minivans and pick-up trucks
        -  This means that your 'average' 2025 car MUST get 60+ MPG, right?

2.  New CAFE standards will increase the cost of all 'average vehicles' sold by $157.3 BILLION by 2025 (the auto industry incurs the cost in R&D, but, you ultimately pay for it)

3.  IF the 'auto industry' passes along these CAFE-related research and development costs on to you over the next twelve years, your additional 'average' vehicle cost will be approximately $13.11 BILLION per year ($157.3 billion / 12 years)

4.  IF you, the 'consumer' continue to purchase roughly 13 MILLION new vehicles per year, you'll buy 156 MILLION new vehicles total, over the next twelve year period

5.  IF you divide the total cost of 12 years of this estimated R&D into the total number of vehicles sold over the same 12 year period you can calculate the additional CAFE-mandated cost per vehicle as:  $ 1,008 (additional - per vehicle sold)

6.  Additionally, since your new 'uber-green' vehicle gets so much BETTER mileage, the Feds will collect less revenue (a.k.a.:  Tax $'s) from you (and everyone else driving 'greenly')...  So, the CBO is looking for an additional five-cent per gallon tax increase.  If you drive 15,000 miles per year in a vehicle which gets an 'average' of 54.5 MPG, you'll pay an additional $ 13.76 in gasoline sales tax annually (15,000/54.5 = 275 gallons x .05 = $13.76). 

7.  But wait, that's just YOU, there are about a quarter of a billion other vehicles out there driving too.  So when you think $13.76 additional per year 'ain't that bad' multiply that amount by three (because no one else is getting 50+ MPG besides you and 12.999 million new car buying Americans) and then by 254,212,610 to figure out what the actual increase annually would be.  I'd do it, but I'm 'Math-Maxed-Out' at the moment (and I'm wearing socks, so higher Math is NOT possible currently)

8.  But wait, there's more!  The CBO is also considering a 'mileage tax' which would bill you per mile driven.   How this mileage tax would be calculated is up for debate, but current suggestions include the following three possibilities: 

a.)  A 'black box' which would track your vehicle usage via a built-in integrated GPS (yes, you'll pay for this, too),

b.)  A friendly government employee who will travel with you (we have to do SOMETHING with all those Under-Employed Americans currently receiving Unemployment), jotting down your mileage as you go,

or, my personal favorite,

c.)  A 'Magic Feather' mounted to your vehicle's antenna so that your vehicle can be tracked by highly-efficient 'Predator drones'.  These drones will not only monitor where you went, but they will also photograph what you did when you got there.  This will greatly enhance Homeland Security accountability, aid in national-threat-removal efforts, and allow you to purchase 8x10 color photographs of yourself enjoying Disney World's 'Runaway Train' at a greatly discounted rate over current Frontier Land Gift Shop pricing!

9.  State governments are devising ways to bill 'gas-equivalent taxes' on EV (Electric Vehicles) to replace state fuel surcharges NOT being billed at the pump due to those fabulously-fuel-efficient fire-starters like the Chevrolet Volt and Karma Fisker

10.  There is no Number 10, but I hate ending on an odd-number


So there you have it:  Once again the government mandates 'something', YOU pay for it (via R&D costs + ongoing higher taxes), then when they get the results they wish for (i.e.:  increased fuel economy) they figure out ways to tax you differently because... 

They got the desired results they were looking for in the first place.  This, of course, makes way for 'new, different, and imaginative' ways of getting additional tax dollars!

A appreciative tip of the hat to the nice folks at Detroit News for picking up on this story... 

Fourteen months after we discussed it here.

Way to go.  Wish I got paid for writing this stuff (yeah, yeah, I know, you wish you got paid for READING it...)

In an effort to help out the Detroit News stay current, I offer the following: 

In other late-breaking news, the War ended, the North won, and Dumbo wants his feather back...


Must go now, my Federally-mandated-ride-along-buddy, Ernie, is watching me this week.  He tracks my mileage for the CBO and sometimes helps out with at-home car repair projects. 

He's pretty handy in the garage - he even works on my home theater system from time to time. 




He's a really nice guy; he used to sell for Avon back before President Obama 'prevented the Depression' of 2009 and created or saved 3.6 MILLION jobs.

Only two problems with Ernie:  His breath is terrible and he keeps leaving oil stains wherever he sits in my car.

Darn big oil - just another reason to hate them...  Because in 2012, it's ALL about hate, isn't it?

Except for you. 

Nothin' but love for you...

Have a nice week! 

Moos

Friday, May 18, 2012

More Bad Karma...



Not to be outdone by the Smokin' Hot Chevrolet Volt - the Federally-Subsidized Fisker Karma is also making a name for itself...


With local Fire Departments


You may be wondering:

Are local 'men (and women) in red suspenders' purchasing the vehicles for their personal rides?

Are local hose companies using Fisker Karmas for their Fire Department race team vehicles?

Are local paid, and volunteer fire organizations selling 'chances' on the Karma to raise funds for needed fire-fighting equipment?


Um, no. 

No self-respecting fire fighter would take a 'chance' on a spiffy new Fisker Karma 'EV' (Electric Vehicle) in any of the three scenarios above.

Why not?

Oh, I dunno...



But, Automotive News does. 

Reported AutomotiveNews.com, May 14, 2012:

 

A Texas whodunit: The case of the fried Fisker

More bad news for battery-powered vehicles, or just a false alarm?

Well, the fire alarm was real enough. A house blaze in suburban Houston destroyed a new Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid car last week. But did the Fisker start the fire?
 

"Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don't know at this time," said Robert Baker, the local county's chief fire inspector, told Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 

Fisker, which dispatched engineers to the site, thinks the finger-pointing may be premature.

"Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma's lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident," according to a company statement.

Fisker said fireworks were found in the garage, and an electrical panel was next to the vehicle.

But, says Baker, "This looks just like golf cart fires we have down here." The suburban Houston area has about 50 golf cart fires a year, he said.

Baker said that the Karma was purchased in April, and that there were two other vehicles in the garage, a Mercedes-Benz SUV and an Acura NSX.

Insurance and fire investigators swung into action.

"I've worked homicide scenes with less secrecy," he said. "There have to be about 15 engineers down here working on this one."


Pay particular attention to that last line... 

"I've worked homicide scenes with less secrecy..."


Huh, I wonder why THAT is?

Perhaps because tax payer money was moved to a 'foreign country' as start-up capital for the Fisker project?

Perhaps because 'EVs' burning up in your driveway, garage, or beneath your home while you sleep is NOT what President Obama meant when he said that the "Electric vehicle technology is HOT"?  (Okay, he didn't actually say this, but whenever he talks about 'alternative energy vehicles' his eyes mist up...)

Perhaps it's because the US Government has given $529 Million of your taxes to Fisker and taxpayers might be asking 'Why'?

At last count, Fisker has 'delivered' fewer than 200 Karma vehicles to US owners.  With a 'burn rate' of 1 car per 200, if airlines provided this type of certainty that you'd arrive alive, we'd all be driving across country.  

Yes, I'm sure that there were a couple of Model A's that lit the night sky when Henry Ford was first building his fledgling company, but I'm pretty sure he did it without a hand out from a few million of his closest friends paying part of his R&D.  

For more on the 'federally-partnered' Karma, please revisit the post from January 2012:  Meet the Fisker Karma!  

For more on the 'Smokin Hot Chevy Volt', well, here's my favorite:  Two Birds - One Stone

It looks like it could be a Hot Summer for YOUR Federally-Subsidized electric vehicle.  Just, please, don't park anywhere near me - okay?

p.s.:  On behalf of the OWS bunch, I'm happy to report that the 'Green Fisker Karma' also took a Mercedes SUV AND an Acura NSX to a fiery grave with it.  Yeah, that'll teach the richest 1%!!!

These 1%'s, though, it appear are the only ones who can buy these Earth Friendly EV's - so, should Liberal folks be happy, or sad? 

Man, it's HARD to be them...  Trying to figure out who they should hate more?  Rich People or Earth Killers?

Have  a nice weekend!  Oh, and keep your car away from open flames (i.e.:  Chevy Volts, or Fisker Karmas).

Mike

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Here, Let Me Hold Your Wallet and We'll Talk About Whatever Pops Up..."

Photo Credit: The Peoples Cube

Ah, spring returns once again to the northeast.  Backyard hostas reclaim their place above the soil round ye olde maple tree, the snow turns to rain, and yet another story of wasted 'Stimulus Spending' blinks its way into the light of day.  The cycle restarts, the circle of life begins anew, and as yet another garden rock is moved, revealing the slimy / wiggly white things which live beneath it.

Just another spring day.  Just another morning.  Just another story of mis-placed government 'stimulus'.  Just be careful that you don't get 'all excited' about it, okay?

Yes, today is ALL about stimulus.  Just HOW stimulatin' will it get? 

We'll get there, I promise.

Remember 'back in the day' when we were told that we had to spend a lot of money to keep from going bankrupt?  Well, I do.  And remember when the long-term survival of our Nation was contingent upon our ability to create shovel-ready jobs?  And remember when we were told that "Joanie loved Chachi"? 

Did we ever stop to ask 'Why'?  No, we didn't, because we trusted Joe Biden, President Obama (well, some did, at least), and we trusted the people who thought a "Happy Days" spin-off with Erin Moran would ACTUALLY be a good idea.  (Seriously, what were they thinking?)  

Oh well, ancient history right?  Well, maybe not...

As reported today at 6:17am EST (you may want to buy a Lottery ticket today as this story was posted by NBC - yes, there's something special about this day):

May 16, 2012, NBC Online:   The NBC Investigative Unit has raised questions about two grants totaling nearly $1.5 million dollars distributed to the University of California San Francisco. The money was part of the federal stimulus program and went to studies into the erectile dysfunction of overweight middle aged men and the accurate reporting of someone's sexual history.

This is part of our ongoing series of investigations by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit into who got federal stimulus dollars, and why some projects did not break ground more than two years after receiving the grant.

The Investigative Unit looked closely at the federal government's decision to spend nearly $1.5 million dollars of taxpayer money, money that came here to California. Grant number 1R01HD056950-01A2 was among the thousands of grants funded, receiving $1.2 million dollars. This grant studied how to improve the accuracy of how people responded to questions about their sexual history.

"If you honestly report on your sexual activity and number of partners?" Scott Amey with asked with a sigh. "That's a good one."

...

NBC Bay Area talked to the University of California San Francisco, the institution that received the grant. "Does it make you wonder a little bit, stimulus money for a study like this?" Kovaleski asked Jeff Sheehy, who works at the UCSF Aids Research Center. "No it doesn't," he answered. "Because to my mind we save money if we get better health outcomes."

According to the grant, a good portion of the study will "Improve the accuracy of responses to questions," specifically questions about a person's sexual behavior. "Playing devil's advocate," Kovaleski said to Sheehy, "Do taxpayers need to spend $1.2 million dollars to figure this out?"

"The judgment wasn't one that I was asked," Sheehy replied.
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit discovered that for $1.2 million dollars, taxpayers funded a study that included 200 videotaped interviews at $6,000 per interview. Kovaleski asked Sheehy to justify the spending. "I think the average person is going to look at $1.2 million dollars to interview 200 people and say Wow!" Sheehy defended the study. "I understand people could look at it and have issues but this is research," he said.

Kovaleski then asked about jobs. "How many jobs did this $1.26 million dollars create?" "Well I can't really say," Sheehy said. "There were eleven researchers hired on the job, two consultants. Well I can't say. This has not been evaluated for job creation."

The number Sheehy quoted during an interview with NBC Bay Area did not match information on recovery.gov, the government's website for stimulus funds. According to the site, the grant produced 0.85 jobs. "It does make you scratch your head and wonder," Amey said, "Wait a second taxpayer dollars went to a sex study that barely funded less than one person."

Amey was also left questioning another UCSF grant. When asked by an NBC reporter about a study into erectile dysfunction involving overweight middle aged men he replied, "Oh boy."

The grant totaled more than a quarter million dollars. Although UCSF was willing to discuss our questions about the sexual history grant, the University declined to provide an expert to talk with the NBC Investigative Unit about the erectile dysfunction grant.

In a written statement provided they said in part, "Obesity related health issues currently cost $147 Billion per year in direct medical costs in the United States..... Health providers therefore continue to search for incentives to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle, to benefit both individuals and society.... Preliminary analysis indicates that is is feasible to enroll men in this type of research, they successfully lose the expected weight over a 12-week period, and they see an improvement in ED symptoms..."


There's more, of course, but you can read the entire text at the story linked above. 

As for me, I have a couple of thoughts:

Thought 1:  For less than $100, I would have told researchers what they wanted to know on behalf of ALL men (and women?  Maybe...). 

In response to the question:  "How many people have you been, ahem, 'Intimate' with?   AND have you ever lied about it?"  For $97.85 I could have told them what you and I already know. 

People lie.  And, people lie for either one of two reasons.

  Reason 1a:  They want people to think that they're a 'player' making up stuff which never happened about people they never knew. 

Or,

  Reason 1b:  They don't want people to think that they're a 'slut', a 'whore', a 'trollop', or 'Sandra Fluke' (oh, THAT felt good to get one more shot at Sandra in here)...

Thought 2:  They're asking the WRONG Question. 

The correct question is:  "So, now that you're here, participating in our study, have you ever cheated on your taxes?  And if so, in which Tax Years?"

If the respondent answers THIS question 'honestly', we'll collect a whole LOT of money through IRS audits and pay for MORE stupid projects (like this one) yielding a whopping .85 jobs each. 

The problem, of course, is that most people, when asked hard questions will...  Not exactly be truthful with you (a.k.a.:  'Lie') or just make stuff up on the spot. 

You know, just like people do when you ask them how many 'partners' they've had - people will lie. 

Or, if you ask the President how many jobs his stimulus package actually created, and when.

Have a stimulating day!

Somebody owes me $  97.85.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hot In Cleveland

"The Obama Administration announced the appointment of five new Czars today..."
Oops, wrong post - sorry.

May 7, 2012, Newsnet5.com,  CLEVELAND - Dozens of members of Occupy Cleveland showed up at a Cleveland courthouse to support the five people charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up a northeast Ohio bridge.

The five suspects -- 21-year-old Connor Stevens, 24-year-old Joshua Stafford (aka “Skully”), 26-year-old Douglas Wright (aka “Cyco), 20-year-old Brandon Baxter (aka “Skabby”) and 37-year-old Anthony Hayne (aka “Tony” & “Billy”) – pleaded not guilty during their arraignment Monday morning.

The suspects had the charges -- conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce -- read to them in open court.

In all, about 50 members of the Occupy Cleveland group went into courthouse. After the arrests were made, Occupy Cleveland said the five suspects were associated with the group, but they were “in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland.”

...

The city of Cleveland decided to not renew the group’s permit a day after the arrests, but did not say if the decision was related to the bomb plot.

The FBI said the five self-proclaimed anarchists came up with a plan to blow up the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga National Forest in Brecksville. They were arrested after allegedly pushing a button they thought would detonate a C4 bomb placed at the base of the bridge on April 30.

An undercover informant working with the FBI had provided the group with an inert bomb.


Oh those wacky kids!  What they need is for someone to give them each a great big hug!!!  They are so misunderstood.  Well, if these friendly (and, I might add, well-groomed) waifs are going to get charged with attempting to blow up the Route 82 bridge, at least they're getting the moral support they need from their 'buds' in 'Occupy Cleveland'...

Yes, that's right, the nice folks I began writing about last October (remember back then when I said the Occupy Groups were mostly 'Socialists', 'Anarchists', 'Communists', and 'Union Labor'?  Oh, and remember when a some of you said that I was NUTS?  Yes, SOME of you said that out loud AND in print - didn't cha?) 

Okay, whose wittle cheeks are chock-full of NUTs now, huh?  Whose little face is 'packin' nuts' of every shape and size making they little cheeks so they's fixin' to bust???

Hmmm?






Oh yeah, da's right.  YOU...   Who's nutty now?  (Read to the tune of 'Who's Sorry Now' by Connie Francis)

No, not me, I'm officially NOT nuts any more as I nailed it last October in:  Fringe (A Little More 'Red' Sauce Please...)

And you, you few who doubted me?  You are so BUSTED. 

Yeah, it feels good to be me right about now...


Except, well, maybe, it doesn't. 

Because, if I was right about the groups working behind the scenes of the 'Occupy' movement, we are closer to the cliff than I thought.  When you have 'Political Party Leaders' (a.k.a.:  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Religious Leaders and Employee Unions) spurring on the folks (Communist Party USA, Anarchists, and the US Nazi Party come to mind) who want to push America into Anarchy - well, we've got trouble - heap big trouble.

There hasn't been much said nationally about the 50+ Occupy Cincinnati members who showed up in court two days ago to express solidarity with five idiots who wanted to blow up a bridge, to send dozens, or perhaps hundreds of people into a river.  To what? To give them a thrill ride? 

No, you blow up a bridge to make people (who just happen to be on the bridge when you blow it up...)  DIE.   

So, I guess I need to ask this question:  Why am I thinking about this?  Why is some guy in his PJ's drafting a post about it when the Alphabet Soup Corp of Reporters didn't find it noteworthy at all?

Either one of two things is going on:

1.  The Associated Press is withholding all media coverage so that the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security can work stealthily behind the scenes to uncover the 'Rest of the Story' and assure that the responsible parties are punished to the fullest extent of the law,

or,

2.  Johnny Depp was on the 'Ellen' Show announcing that he would rather swallow a 'bag of hair' rather than do this
 

The Answer, of course, is Option 2.  The Professional Media in American has its priorities.  You can find the Johnny Depp clip everywhere, but not so much as a peep about 'Occupy' folks plotting to blow stuff (and people) up posted anywhere outside of Cleveland (a.k.a.: Ground Zero - MidWest Edition). 

If it weren't so terribly sad - it'd be funny. 


But, hey, what do I know?  Like I said, I'm just a guy in his PJ's typing this as my wife watches TV in the other room. 

I think I'll join her for the remainder of the evening in order to catch up with the real news of the day.  Perhaps I'll find out why 'America is OBSESSED with Pippa Middleton'

Or maybe I'll find out why America is NOT obsessed with the going's on IN America?

The enemy is not at the door.

The enemy is in Your House.

Excerpted from the Weekly Standard, October, 2011In an interview that will be aired tonight on ABC News, President Obama continues to express his commitment to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
 

“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Obama tells ABC News.

“And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.” 

Your House.

Your choice.

Choose wisely.


But choose quickly, you ,know, while you still can...




or,


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When the End Comes... It'll be Bush's Fault



It was only a matter of time.  I hoped that it would not happen.  I thought I was the only one connecting ALL the dots.  And I was TRYING to keep it a secret.

Dang.

May 7, 2012, WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a major new climate finding, researchers have calculated that dinosaur flatulence could have put enough methane into the atmosphere to warm the planet during the hot, wet Mesozoic era.

Like gigantic, long-necked, prehistoric cows, sauropod dinosaurs roamed widely around the Earth 150 million years ago, scientists reported in the journal Current Biology on Monday.

And just like big cows, their plant digestion was aided by methane-producing microbes.
"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," researcher Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University said in a statement.

...

"Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together," Wilkinson said.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with as much as 25 times the climate-warming potential as carbon dioxide.

This gas is enough of a factor in modern global warming that scientists have worked to figure out how much methane is emitted by cows, sheep and other plant-eating animals.

Calculating methane emissions from modern animals depends only on the total mass of the animals in question. A mid-sized sauropod probably weighed about 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilos), and there were a few dozen of them per square mile (kilometre), the researchers found.

They reckoned that global methane emissions from sauropods were about 520 million tons per year, comparable to all modern methane emissions. Unlike emissions of carbon dioxide, which come from natural sources but also from the burning of fossil fuels, methane emissions have decreased substantially since the start of the Industrial Revolution some 150 years ago.

Before the fossil-fuel intensive Industrial Revolution took off, methane emissions were roughly 200 million tons annually; modern ruminants, including cows, goats, giraffes and other animals, emit between 50 million and 100 million tons of methane a year.


Yes, it's true.  Dinosaurs now rest deep below the Earth in gigantic pools of crude oil today, because... 

They made too much gas.

I would like to take exception to the author's comparison of dinosaurs to 'long-necked prehistoric cows'.  The only 'factual' comparison between a cow and a dinosaur is that it can be factually stated that both species would 'eat' and then 'toot'.  How come no one ever picks on elephants the way they pick on the friendly (and tasty) cow?   

Here's another MAJOR difference between dinosaurs and cows:  No one ever made a film about an island where kindly old scientists were cloning and raising prehistoric cows in secret (which, of course, escape from their barn yards, run amok, and 'gum' unsuspecting tourists to death).  No, Spielberg never went there.  Why?  Because cows are not scary, cows are kind, and cows are our friends. 

Stop the 'Cow Hate' Reuters!  

Find another species to lay your pent-up Racial hatred upon - leave the White / Brown / Black Bovines alone! 

In a related story, Michelle Obama, having read the article quoted above, is seeking to halt the sale of 'Baked Beans' across America in an effort to cut down on 'Man-Made Global Methane' Warming.  Effective immediately, all Beans are "Legumes Non Grata" and must be purged from your pantry under stiff penalty from the IRS. 

In a statement issued from the White House, Michelle Obama said, "Effective immediately and henceforth, all Americans will purge these methane-producing products from their daily diets.  For too long we have stood idly by as Americans 'pooted' recklessly into the atmosphere, creating a toxic-stew of pollutants and foul gaseous expulsions.  If we are to save the Earth, we must eliminate all those things which WILL kill you people.  And since most of you folks are too stupid to live, we'll do what we need to do to keep you from killing yourselves, and us, in the process."

In conclusion, IF the Earth does die from too much methane, as stated above...

Yes, it's all Bush's fault.

   

Yes, I connect ALL the dots (even the ones which aren't there).

Have a nice day, regardless...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Magic 8 [Ball] Tells All

Another Sunday morning.  While the sun is rising in the east, I find myself again in front of the laptop banging out semi-coherent thoughts, hoping to make sense of them in the next several hundred words.  This, like most mornings, I wake with a head full of questions. 

Questions of life, questions of politics, questions of economics, and questions of the things which, quite frankly, would drive a lesser man insane. 

Hard questions require hard answers - and I'm just the guy to find them.  Yes, I've looked for the answers online. I've watched the news for the past three nights - but the answers I'm looking for there, do not appear.  Join me as I search for truth using the time-tested tool of scholars passed down from generation to generation (since 1950!).

In desperation, I rummage through my sons' old toy box, dig down past the old Halloween masks, miscellaneous broken game remnants, and beneath a dog-earred copy of my oldest's Boy Scout handbook I find what I'm looking for.  

The Magic 8 Ball


I pull the Magic 8 Ball out from the toy box, walk to the kitchen, grab four paper towels, a bottle of Windex, and I proceed to remove almost a decade's worth of dust and neglect from my scratched black friend (ahem, this is NOT a Racist comment - it's a Magic 8 Ball, okay?  Don't go there!). 

A few sprays, a few wipes, then a few more sprays and a few more wipes, and Abracadabra - the Magic 8 Ball gleams anew!  My Portable Plastic Prophetical Orb stands by to answer my 'Hard Questions' on a Sunday morning:


I begin with the official Magic 8 Ball invocation (which I make up as I speak them aloud): 

"Mighty Magic 8 Ball, answer my questions as quick as you can, I've got questions, more than I can stand.  Answer them true, answer them now, answer them for the man they call 'The Cow'.  Answer my questions one, answer my questions all, answer my questions you wonderful Magical Ball."


Question 1:  "Magic 8 Ball, after being stashed in the toy box for 10+ years, is there any magic left in you?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:   "You may rely on it"

...
Question 2:  "Will the world end on December 21, 2012, as predicted by the Mayans?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "Ask again later"

...

Question 3:  "How much later, it's only 8 months away?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "Better not tell you now"

[Okay, so the thing IS working -- now, on to the hard questions]

...

Question 4:  "I keep reading that American workers are no longer looking for jobs, so even though new unemployment claims are HIGHER than the number of jobs created, unemployment continues to FALL.  Will the Bureau of Labor Statistics continue to cover up the actual percentage of the unemployed until there's a Republican in the White House?  Therefore making him / her look bad in comparison to Obama?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "Yes – definitely"

...

Question 5:  "Is it true that if the BLS used the number of workers in the work force in June of 2009 to calculate the true unemployment that the current rate of unemployment for April 2012 would be in excess of 11%, rather than the 8.1% figure released this week?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "It is decidedly so"

...


Question 6:  "I found this chart on Investors Business Daily which shows that 5.4 MILLION workers and families have been added to the ranks of the Disabled (receiving Disability benefits) since President Obama took office.  Also, that the rate of 'newly disabled' is TWICE the rate of new job creation in America.  Could this possibly be true?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "As I see it, yes"

...
Question 7:  "I mentioned in prior posts that no President (other than FDR) has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 7.2% (the rate at Reagan's re-election).  Do you believe that the fall in unemployment from 9+% to this week's 8.1% is politically calculated vs. factually-based?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "Signs point to yes"

...

Question 8:  "Will President Obama be re-elected for a second term?"

Magic 8 Ball Response:  "Cannot predict now"

...

The above represent the 8 main questions I wanted answered this morning.  My boys' Magic 8 Ball performed remarkably well for a toy which cost us less than $10 ten years ago.  As I was ready to re-open the toy box and toss the little black oracle back, another question came to me. 

One that I thought I already knew the answer to, but I asked, nonetheless...

Question 9:  "Magic 8 Ball, what will the core focus of President Obama's re-election campaign be?  Will he talk about his achievements in the Economy, in Health Care, in National Security?  What will he base his campaign on?"

I gave the ball a quick flip, angled the little dark window towards me, and read the following as it floated into view:


Magic 8 Ball Response:  "It's George Bush's fault"

...

Best $10 we ever spent on those kids...

Now if I could find one that gave stock advice, I'd have it made.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So You're Graduating from College...


Date:   May 15, 2013
.
To:      Graduating Class of 2013
.
From:  Mike / Moos
.
Re:      Your Life Post-Graduation
.

Dear Graduate,
.
Congratulations to you and your family on the completion of your college degree!  Your commitment, determination, and the amount of effort required to attain this goal is admirable.  A heartfelt, "Well done" to you and to your family!  Take the week following graduation off to unwind, re-group, and, then, as quickly as you can... get back to work.
.
You have survived sixteen (or more) grueling years of 'Education', provided to you by the men and women of Academia committed to a singular goal: 
.
Teaching you how to pass their tests 
.
However, you now enter another phase of your life, a period in which tests do not appear on computer-readable scoring sheets.  You are now a graduate.  You're moving on.  You've proven that you have mastered the "Fill in the bubble completely, make no stray marks on the test sheet" period of your life.
.
Now real testing begins.  This is why I write this note today at somewhere shy of 5 a.m. - because I want you to succeed in your life, I want you to be happy, and I want you to know that I, and millions of others, want you to be financially secure, and incredibly prosperous in your post-collegiate life.
.
I am writing to you to tell you things your parents may not have told you.  I am writing to tell you things I wish someone had told me.  I am here to tell you things which I learned after college - when learning truly began for me.  I am writing this to help you transition from your life as 'full-time student' to that of 'full-time taxpayer'. 
.
I wish I could do more for you.  I really do.  But I'll do what I can in the limited space which follows.
.
Okay, having rambled on longer than I planned, I want to share a couple of things I've learned so you can get a jump on 'life':
.
1.  Thank your parents (and understand that they love you more than anyone else on Earth ever will)
.
2.  Believe in yourself
.
3.  Be careful who(m) you trust (basic rule of thumb here:  If someone wants you to do something that you wouldn't 'knowingly do' with your parents in the room, it's probably a BAD idea)
.
4.  Believe in the goodness of others.  I continue to be amazed by acts of kindness done to my benefit, most of which were without my asking for help and sometimes by people I didn't even know
..
5.  Reserve at least one night per week to wander into your back-yard, your patio, or into the street (yes, look for cars first) on a clear night, look up to the sky and understand that of all the beings who exist on the planet - that there is only one of 'you'
..
6.  Focus your efforts to exploring your possibilities vs. your limitations - there will be plenty of people lining up to explain your limitations to you as you attempt to grow older (wiser?)
..
7.  Take a job because you love it, not because it "Pays lots of money, man.  Yeah, stupid, crazy, BIG money" -- typically jobs with this type of pay-schedule end up with jail-time and an orange jumpsuit
.
8.  If you cannot find a job (85% of graduating college students are moving back in with Mom and Dad), start a business, employ yourself as opposed to being an employee of someone who doesn't 'like you' as much as you... 'like yourself'
..
9.  If you feel as if you cannot handle the stress associated with 'life', print out this list, and then go back up top and begin reading at Number 1 through Number 8 again - no skipping steps to save time - trust me
.
I was originally going to post something completely different regarding the real challenges college graduates will face this year in light of the economy, employment, and social stuff going on in our Nation.  Only problem is that after re-reading my post from yesterday about most of the news being 'bad', I decided to take my own advice and lighten up.
.
All in all, I'm happier with the way this turns out than if I had gone the route I began to pursue at the onset.  I think this may become one of those posts I toss up annually into the old blogyard, hoping that someone will find some use of it as they graduate from their place of 'Higher Learning'.    
.
p.s.:  But wait, there's more!!!  
.
A DEEP THOUGHT: 
.
One limitation of the human mind is that it cannot focus on the 'opposite of something'. 
.
For Example:  I remember when I was a kid riding a bike down the shoulder of the road and a car would come up behind me - I'd tell myself, "Don't ride off the edge of the road - you'll fall". 
.
Then, of course, I often DID fall.  Because all my brain heard was the 'ride off the edge of the road' part of the conversation.  It also heard, "When you DO fall, fall onto the grass on the right, because if you fall to the left they're going to clean you off the street with a garden hose."   
.
No one told me that I should have been telling myself, "Stay close to the shoulder, but stay on the road."  For those of you still reading, please feel free to learn from this as well as items 1-9 above. 
.
I guess this is every one's challenge, regardless of his / her age: 
.
Focus on the road, remain upright, and keep pedalling until you get to where you want to be.  
.
With a bit of practice, a few skinned knees, and a healthy heap of humility earned from the required number of falls, you'll get to where you want / need to be.  The necessary thing, of course, is to keep your hands firmly on the handle bar and you keep your legs keep moving up and down.
.
Yes, we're all pedalling together - as best as we can. 
.
Yup, I'm pedalling too. 
.
I'm the guy right behind you who put those baseball cards into the spokes of the tires of my Schwinn 'Banana Bike' to make that "Thwacka, thwacka, thwacka..." noise as I pedal.   
.
Sorry.  I thought it sounded cool when I first put them in there 43 years ago...
.
Too bad I'm not cool enough for the Wham-O! Wheelie Bar - it sure would make a fine addition to my cards.
.

Above all else...  Enjoy the ride.

Don't stop pedalling.