The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $466,642 grant last week for the study, which will examine whether social skills have an impact on why obese girls have fewer dating experiences than their less obese counterparts.
Mark Steyn looks at the insane priorities of our progressive-run Federal Government, who will let infected people from Third World countries into the USA… no problem… but will seize bagpipes, chocolate Easter Eggs and nail clippers as a threat to society.
To function, institutions have to be able to prioritize – even big, bloated, money-no-object SWAT-teams-for-every-penpusher institutions like the US Government. You can’t crack down on Kinder eggs, bagpipes and Ebola: At a certain point, you have to choose. My line with the Homeland Security guys is a simple one: every 20 minutes you spend on me, or my kids’ chocolate eggs, or Cameron Webster’s bagpipe is 20 minutes you’re not spending on the guy with Ebola, or Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The price of bagpipe scrutiny is a big hole blown in the lives of American families attending the Boston Marathon, or a bunch of schoolkids in Dallas having to be quarantined for a vicious, ravaging disease with a high fatality rate.
They will use SWAT Teams to raid Amish dairy farmers for selling milk, while spreading children infected with Enterovirus all over the country.
Update and Bump: George Will comments:
You asked “can we trust the government to do its job?” What isn’t its job these days? I’ve just made a list. It’s fine-tuning the curriculum of our students k-12, monitoring sex on campuses, deciding how much ethanol we should put in our gas tanks, it’s designed our lightbulbs, and it’s worried sick over the name of the Washington football team. Now this is a government that doesn’t know when to stop.”
In the comments to my recent post On Deflation (and “too-low inflation”), a commenter expressed a frequently-heard belief, that a negative “example of deflation is Japan from 1990 to the present.”
I appreciate all comments and, without picking on the person, I wanted to examine the claim. Is it true? Here is a chart (from tradingeconomics.com) that shows Japan’s consumer prices since 1990:
Points that stand out:
- Japan’s CPI today is over 10% higher than it was in 1990.
- It’s true that from 1998 to 2013, Japan had a slight CPI decline; perhaps 5% total, over the 15 years.
- Japan’s CPI is now shooting up again.
Clearly, Japan has not had a large deflation. But perhaps the commenter’s (restated) point might be that Japan has had basically-stable prices since 1990, and the stable prices have done nothing to help Japan’s moribund economy. Here’s how I would answer that.
Japan has long had a relatively government-planned economy. And, over the period shown above, Japan has pursued inflationary, “stimulus” policies of government spending, deficits, expanded national debt, and money-printing. How has it worked out for them?
It hasn’t worked out well. As we see above, Japan’s inflationary policies may have prevented a large-scale deflation (not that that is necessarily good; see my other post). The inflationary policies also seem to have done nothing to fix Japan’s multi-decades of a debt-burdened economy.
In the midst of a 20-year lame economy, stable consumer prices have been a saving grace for Japanese households. But now that Japanese CPI inflation is on the rise in 2014, real living standards in Japan are dropping and “Abenomics” is gaining well-deserved unpopularity among the Japanese.
Japan is not an example of the failure of pro-freedom and sound-money policies, because Japan didn’t try them. Japan is an example, rather, of the failure of what they did try: Big Government, pro-debt, inflationary policies.
UPDATE: David Stockman tells the story of Japan, with charts. RTWT. They inflated massive stock, debt and real estate bubbles in the late 1980s; the bubbles burst; and ever since, they’ve piled up more debt and money-printing in trying to re-inflate their bubbles. Like we’re doing – with no better results.
If inflation is about rising consumer prices, deflation means falling prices. If you have watched CNBC or any financial TV these last few years, you have seen people often raising the bogeymen of either deflation or his new buddy, “too-low inflation”. (A printed example here.)
The people raising these bogeymen are there to help Big Government and Big Banking. They gain from pro-inflation policies – such as high government spending and deficits, zero percent interest rates, massive money-printing (to cover the government’s deficits and boost the financial markets).
Who loses from such policies? You, the person with a productive job. Each year, the dollars you get from your wages, salary, pension or savings hardly go up – and buy you less than the year before. You’re the sucker at the poker game, and they frighten you into going along.
In reality, falling prices – or the steady, stable prices of “too-low inflation” – are a help to consumers in good times and bad. What sane person doesn’t benefit from (and desire) everyday low prices?
Inflationists claim that if consumer prices decline (as in deflation) or fail to rise (as in too-low inflation), the economy will suffer, because people will postpone buying consumer goods. You should ask: Really? When has the prospect of next year’s stable-or-lower prices ever stopped people from buying what they need and desire now?
Prices have been stable-or-declining for years on computers, smartphones, flat screen TVs, eye LASIK operations, game consoles, and more. Have people stopped buying them? Quite the opposite. Or suppose that prices stayed the same, or even went down, for gasoline, food, rent, health care and education. Would that hurt you and your family, or help you?
Inflationists also claim that deflation (or too-low inflation) means economic depression. And we’ve had an occasional episode, such as the Great Depression, where deflation was *correlated* with depression.
But remember the saying, “correlation isn’t causation.” In the Great Depression, the deflation actually helped a lot of people. By making paychecks go farther, it kept the number of people who were turned out of homes, starved, etc. from being even larger than it was.
And we’ve all been carefully ‘educated’ to forget that deflation and/or low inflation are historically *more correlated with good times*. Via Zero Hedge and The Cobden Centre, here is a chart on that. It shows how deflation prevailed in America in the 19th century, which century overall was the greatest for economic growth in our history.
Cobden Centre gives the source, and further notes:
In their research article ‘Deflation and Depression: Is There an Empirical Link?’ of January 2004, Federal Reserve economists Andrew Atkeson and Patrick Kehoe found that “..the only episode in which we find evidence of a link between deflation and depression is the Great Depression (1929-1934). We find virtually no evidence of such a link in any other period.. What is striking is that nearly 90% of the episodes with deflation did not have depression. In a broad historical context, beyond the Great Depression, the notion that deflation and depression are linked virtually disappears.”
Which makes sense, because in the real world, economic progress means lower prices. As more things are produced with greater efficiency for lower costs, their prices drop – so that you can afford to buy them. It’s a good thing.
What frightens the inflationists is that if we stop the money-printing and other bad policies, they’re out of jobs. The government would have to balance its budget; so the government would probably have to cut spending (i.e., bureaucrats). Companies would have to cut unproductive consultants. Universities would have to cut economists, among others.
Interest rates would have to rise (to historically-normal levels). Real estate prices would come down (making homes more affordable). Stock and bond prices would come down (hurting Wall Street, but making retirement more affordable on Main Street). Bad investments would have to be liquidated (like some bad debts, or the craziest of the “green” or “dot-com 2.0″ companies).
And, to allow for real growth and recovery, government would have to restrain itself (removing its jackboot from the economy’s throat; which Europe and even Japan have still not done). But at the end of it, we’d have a healthy economy where the working person can make ends meet; their wages, salary, pension or savings will buy them a good life. Which we don’t have, today.
It’s no coincidence that pro-inflation policies are pro-debt, anti-freedom policies. What we have today is the debt-bloated, gasping economy that you get after decades of such policies. An economy where the TV commentators tell you with a straight face that fast-rising prices (which make YOUR life harder) are required and, if we don’t keep inflation up at 2% a year or more, the world will collapse.
They’re partly right; their world (built on decades of bad policies) might collapse. But yours wouldn’t. Always remember the difference between their interests, and yours. Or who gains from inflation – and who loses.
From Young Conservatroids.
A 350-pound mother of two claims the reason she is morbidly obese is because she needs more of taxpayers’ money to break her bad eating habits.
Christina Briggs, of Wigan, England, says she can only afford junk food and that she doesn’t exercise because she doesn’t have enough funds to join a gym, the Daily Mail reports.
“It’s not easy being overweight and on benefits,” the single mother told Closer Magazine. “If I was well off, I’d be able to buy fresh food and afford a gym membership.”
Granted, it does cost a little more to buy healthy food, but going from the picture, she seems to have plenty of money for hair dye, tattoos, and piercings. I also would not be surprised if she had a better phone than I do.
In the course of spending almost $3 Million to figure out why lesbians are fat, the Federal Government came upon this amazing, paradigm shifting discovery:
The researchers have been busier since last year, when the project had yielded only one paper. Those results concluded that gay and bisexual males had a “greater desire for toned muscles” than straight men.
Wow, that’s a real black swan right there. Thank Gaia Establishment Republicans abandoned the Sequester, totally caved to Obama, and gave him a blank check to spend as much money as he wants, however the Hell he wants to spend it.
How would society ever survive without taxpayer-funded studies like this?
Which is, I believe, slightly less than what David Geffen spends annually, but anyway…
The federal government has awarded the University of California Los Angeles $193,989 in taxpayer funds to study skill-building as HIV prevention for male sex workers in Peru.
The grant was issued by the National Institute of Mental Health, a part of the National Institutes of Health, and proposes “a pilot study for a group that has been neglected in the Peruvian HIV epidemic, namely male sex workers (fletes).”
It’s not like medical science didn’t discover how to prevent the spread of AIDS back in 1984 or anything…
One anticipates that some will find the expenditure too trivial to be of concern. I think that’s actually part of the problem. This is but one of thousands of studies the Government has no business undertaking, but since each one is just a few hundred thousand or a few million, people dismiss the expenditure as too trivial to cut.
And then, they look at the truly massive mega-waste in Medicaid and other welfare programs and say, “We can’t cut those programs either, it would be political suicide.”
And so everything is either too small to cut, or too big to cut… and that’s why nothing ever gets cut, and Government grows out of control.
Government workers admit that they spend hours every week watching Pr0n on the internet; but they say it’s only because they’re bored and there isn’t enough work to do. (Warning, really frakking annoying autoplay at link)
For one Federal Communications Commission worker, his porn habit at work was easy to explain: Things were slow, he told investigators, so he perused it “out of boredom” — for up to eight hours each week.
Lack of work has emerged time and again in federal investigations, and it’s not just porn, nor is it confined to the FCC. Across government, employees caught wasting time at work say they simply didn’t have enough work to do, according to investigation records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
“He stated he is aware it is against government rules and regulations, but he often does not have enough work to do and has free time,” investigators wrote of another federal employee, this one at the Treasury Department, who viewed more than 13,000 pornographic images in a six-week span.
Investigations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commerce Department and the General Services Administration have turned up similar cases, though memos show the employees rarely face criminal prosecution for time and attendance fraud.
And yet the Democrats whine constantly that “austerity” is crippling the Federal Government because bureaucrats don’t have enough money to do whatever it is their jobs are.
Frankly, I prefer them watching Pr0n to doing more tyrannical things like SWAT-teaming homes to confiscate cars that the EPA thinks might… might… violate their precious emission standards and make the polar bears cry. (They let illegal immigrants run amok, but God help any American citizen that has a car that might be more polluty than the EPA allows.)
Because the economy is so good and the Government is so solvent, they can afford to spend money on stuff like this.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $237,750 grant to George Washington University to study whether the use of telemedicine can help overcome barriers to care for transgender women of color.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, sure… the transgendered women of color are taken care of, but what about the undocumented transgendered women of color. Has this regime no compassion?”
Get ready for the Regime to mandate shopping carts that will verbally nag you into making what they consider “healthy choices.”
The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer. …“You achieved a MyCart healthy shopping basket! Goody! Goody! for You!”
Because in a Nanny State, we all have to be treated like slow children.
Obama wants to spend $3.7 Billion dollars providing them legal aid and welfare (housing, food, transportation). [And a little bit for border security thrown in as window-dressing].
That works out to almost $65,000 per border-jumper.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to give them $10,000 in cash and send them home? $10K could get you a pretty good life in Honduras or Guatemala. Just make them offer, “You can take the money and go home, or you can stay here in a detention center until we relocate you to an inner city in a red or purple state.”
Can’t see the politicians going for this plan; it would be hard for them to vote Democrat from Honduras or Guatemala.
In Virginia, a Democrat candidate for Congress is asking his supporters to send him nude pictures of a teenage girl. [Warning, the link is to the Examiner, so don’t click on it unless you want your screen to be taken over by pop-up ads for several minutes.)
Mike Dickinson, the Virginia liberal Democrat seeking the House seat currently held by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., despite not being on the ballot, offered a $100,000 reward for nude photos and videos of Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader who recently made news with a series of hunting photos on her Facebook page.
“I have 100k to anyone who has nude photos or videos of #kendalljones at Texas tech (sic),” Dickinson tweeted. “She deserves to be a target.”
So, not only does he want nude pictures of her, he wants them so that others will be encouraged to stalk her. #WarOnWomen much? [And apologists will argue that he’s not really a candidate and doesn’t represent the Democrat party at all, unlike that troll in Oklahoma who supposedly wanted to stone teh gheys who totes represents all Republicans.]
Also, in Virginia, the police want to give a 17 year old boy an erection and take pictures of it. (Does the Safe Schools Czar know about this?)
The authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, are pursuing child pornography charges against a 17 year old who exchanged nude picture texts with his 15-year-old girlfriend. The police have even filed a warrant that would permit them to take the teen to the hospital, give him an erection-producing injection, and photograph his penis. Prosecutors want to compare this photograph to the one the teen sent to his girlfriend, establishing that they depict the same thing.
First of all, it’s utterly nonsensical to use child pronography laws to prosecute idiot teenagers who sext each other; because idiot teenagers sexting each other is not the same as child pr0nography to any reasoning person with a functioning brain. But I guess aside from waxing their new MRAPs, the cops just don’t have a lot to do these days.
Frankly, the whole thing reminds me of that scene in Porky’s, a movie that seems quaint and wholesome by today’s degenerate standards.
Former Reagan budget director, David Stockman, has been blogging up a storm these last few years. I have mixed feelings about his work. It’s packed with emotion and (let’s say) definite conclusions. Sometimes I’ll cluck my tongue at the run-on sentences, typos, excess of adverbs, wandering, exaggerations, inaccuracies and other signs of ranting that mar Stockman’s work. On the other hand, Stockman is a free-market, balanced-budget guy and often I admire him for saying what needs to be said.
In that spirit I note his recent piece, Good Riddance To Rep. Eric Cantor: Bagman For Wall Street And The War Party. The gist is that Cantor could give a nice free-market speech, but in practice, Cantor stood for venture socialism and Washington business-as-usual. Cantor was a key factor in the GOP supporting the 2008-9 TARP and GM bailouts, the Export-Import Bank (long cited as an example of corporate welfare), unexamined Defense spending, and so forth.
Stockman gives details and he ties Cantor to Paul Ryan, whose wonderful budget plans really mean little change to Washington in practice (Ryan’s plans are merely not as insane as the Democrats’ budget plans). And, however all that might be, Stockman as usual gets near to the heart of what ails us:
…financial repression, ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen “put” under the stock market and risk assets generally are not just a major policy mistake; they are a full-throttle assault on the heart and soul of conservative economics.
You can not expect to have fiscal rectitude in a modern democracy, for example, when the central bank since the year 2000 has monetized nearly $4 trillion of public debt…Indeed, financial repression makes the carry cost of the public debt so painless—-that is, probably about $400 billion per year less than it would be under a regime of free market interest rates—that not one in a hundred politicians can see they virtue of fall[ing] on the fiscal sword in the here and now [o]n behalf of unborn generations of taxpayers who will carry the burden of today’s fiscal folly…
So Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.
Private sector employees who have watched their wages stagnate and their benefits erode under Obama, veterans who’ve seen their benefits cut and the VA mired in scandal and incompetence, as well as the future generations whose economic prospects will be crippled by Obama’s crushing legacy of debt… may be comforted to know how well unionized Government bureaucrats (the new Mandarin Class)… are taken care of in this “Age of Austerity” politicians claim we are living in it.
The labor union representing employees at the National Weather Service is demanding major upgrades to a new water resources facility at the University of Alabama, including that each employee have a soundproof office, receive a pay increase, and have access to a community garden.
The National Water Center will soon open on the University campus in Tuscaloosa, after construction was completed in December 2013. The National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) has submitted a list of demands to add to the $18.8 million facility before they begin their work.
A list of “National Water Center Proposals” submitted on May 28, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, reveal the extravagant demands made by the union.
“Cubicles will not be used in the building, each person will have their own office,” the union has demanded. The office walls will be a minimum of 3 inches thick and “insulated with ‘Quiet Batt 30 Soundproofing Insulation.’”
The offices will also be furnished with a desk from the Kathy Ireland Southampton Onyx Collection, have a “Freedom Task Chair with Headrest,” and a 51 inch Samsung television, with a cable package that includes all available news and weather channels.
Common areas will be painted the shade “marine” and all office areas will be painted in the shade “beeswax,” according to the document. The NWSEO also wants all artwork to be from “local artists within a 50 mile radius” of Tuscaloosa and the art is required to have a “water theme.”
Break rooms will also be furnished with Samsung TVs, a refrigerator, stove and oven, microwave, and an eating table that is “at least 18 square feet” as well as “10 Wynwood Garden Walk Arm Chairs.”
A lefty progressive homeowner in Austin, TX can’t figure out how her taxes have gotten so darn high.
“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.
“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of "irate homeowners"]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.“
The Federal Government — which Democrats insist is operating at peak efficiency and can’t be cut by even one dollar — is spending nearly $200K to find out how transgenderoids use Facebook.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending nearly $200,000 to study how transgender women use social networking sites like Facebook and how their use affects their chances of getting HIV.
The Friends Research Institute, based in Maryland, received $194,788 last month to begin the project operating on the premise that due to “transphobia” transgendered women are forced to use social media as an outlet, often leading to risky sexual behaviors.
Apparently, even though it’s been known and taught for the last thirty years how not to catch the HIV, Uncle Sugar is still a sucker for a liberal researcher with an HIV sob story.
[The Institute's Lead Researcher, Dr. Cathy] Reback was one of the first researchers to discover that gay men engage in sexually risky behaviors while high on methamphetamine.
Whoa! Take that Crick and Watson!
This goes to the essence of mainstream economic theory: Spend money to build houses, spend money to tear them down, spend money to build them, spend money to tear them down…and let it all be counted in the GDP numbers as “growth” and “jobs”:
One of the question haunting Detroit, as it works to extricate itself from bankruptcy, is how to address the reality of the city’s shrinking population…Today, a much-anticipated report from the city’s Blight Removal Task Force says that more than one in five structures is in some state of disrepair—and that about half of these should be torn down immediately…
It can take as little as three hours to demolish a house, but the process can be more consuming if properties contain asbestos or lead, thereby requiring extra care. Tearing down homes by the tens of thousands, which hasn’t been done before, could cost about $800 million, the report says. While the city has already obtained some blight-reduction funding from federal and state sources, it still needs at least a further $400 million. (That doesn’t include the additional $1 billion or so Detroit will need to address commercial and industrial eyesores.)
It’s astounding that, in a nation where homes are unaffordable for many people and the home ownership rate is declining, Detroit is still so unlivable and badly-run a place that they have vast numbers of homes to tear down.
The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CBFP) — a regulatory office created by that Abomination known as Dodd-Frank — has decided it will no longer have employee evaluations and will simply rate all of their employees as awesome.
The CFPB, which oversees transactions in the financial sector for the federal government, decided to no longer conduct employee reviews because there were just too many apparent “significant disparities” between the races, ages, and locations of its employees.
According to American Banker, this new policy is set to cost over $5 million dollars, as it will now pay employees as if they received the highest evaluation score. The previous system ranked staff on their performance from a scale ranging from one to five, with five being the best score a CFPB staffer could receive after a review of their work on the job.
What happens when a billionaire gives $100 Million to a corrupt, self-serving bureaucracy? Answer: Bureaucrats and their buddies in the consulting business got to buy vacation homes.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a splash by announcing his plan to give $100million to help turn around Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in an appearance on Oprah in 2010.
But nearly four years later, Zuckerberg’s money has run out, having been spent mostly on labor contracts and consulting fees with no noticeable improvement in student performance, a report in the New Yorker reveals.
Zuckerberg’s money has mostly gone into the early stages of overhaul, paying consultants upwards of $1,000 a day to find solutions to Newark public schools’ problems.
According to the report, between 2010 and 2012 ‘more than twenty million dollars of Zuckerberg’s gift and matching donations went to consulting firms and various specialities: public relations, human resources, communications, data analysis, [and] teacher evaluations.’
The bureaucrats and consultants got richer; and the kids got nada.
My utter lack of faith in Government, vindicated once again.
Rather than completely plagiarize Jonah’s recent post at NRO, I’ll simply post his best quote, and leave it to you to read the rest. The VA is:
the one institution and/or constituency that enjoys huge bipartisan support. The VA, rhetorically and politically, is more sacrosanct and less controversial than Medicare, Social Security, road building, the NIH, or public schools. We are constantly told that we could get so many wonderful, super-fantastic things done if only both sides would lay down their ideological blah blah blah blah and work together for yada yada yada. Well, welcome to the VA. How’s that working out for you?
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)