The faculty government at California Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution to cap the amount the university will pay for security at speaking events at $5,000. The Cal Poly College Republicans say the bill is …
The Truman Scholarship-which was created by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation-honors college students who are very involved in civic engagement and display academic excellence, the news outlet writes. Students who are selected receive up to $30,000 to pursue their graduate degrees, priority admission to the school of their choice, internships within the federal government, and ongoing mentorship and training.
Palestinian protestors are sending flaming helium balloons into Israeli territory during the “March of Return” protests in Gaza, following similar stories last month of burning “incendiary kites” being flown and injuring protestors.
The tactic has resulted in thousands of acres of valuable farm land and nature preserves being burned, the Times of Israel reported.
The helium balloons outfitted with flaming material attached to a long string have been used for at least the last month and a half, but the tactic has more recently picked up traction. Approximately 4,300 acres of land have already been burned as a result of more than 250 fires during the last two months from both balloons and kites.
For now, the Israeli military says that it has yet to come up with a way to combat the threat of the flaming objects. Originally, a pilot program utilizing drones to shoot down the objects was in practice, but ultimately deemed a failure, Israel’s Kan TV said. Instead, Israel must resort to preparedness and a rapid response when fires do break out.
The biggest problem, authorities said, is that the fires have destroyed valuable farm land along with more than half of Isreal’s nature reserves. Farmers are tasked with digging out borders surrounding the fires in order to starve the flames out and save some of the land, and around 2,470 acres of parks and natural reserves have also been destroyed just in the last few weeks.
On Saturday, some 74 acres of the Carmia nature reserve burned in one of the largest individual fires since the start of the protests. The damage claimed one-third of the park’s total land area, and Israel’s Hadashot news reported that the blaze was likely started by a fire balloon.
Approximately 620 acres of Jewish National Fund forests have also burned, according to a spokesperson for the organization.
The fires will likely cost Israel millions of dollars in damages, with the Tax Authority estimating that the farmland alone will need more than $1.4 million to recover. The money will be paid out from the government’s fund for damage caused by terrorist activity.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced that the government would withhold funds from the Palestinian Authority to cover the costs. The decision was met with some criticism by analysts who pointed out that the PA does not control the Gaza Strip, and punishing the PA for Hamas’ actions would likely encourage Hamas to continue with its fire-enduing tactics rather than stopping them.
A Massachusetts town order for a business to take down its “excessive” American flags sparked an act of civil disobedience instead.
When a Chelmsford business placed 200 flags on its property to honor America’s veterans for Memorial Day, the last thing it expected was the unpatriotic notice from the town’s building department, WBZ-TV reported.
“On Saturday we came out and we lined this with 200 flags in support of our deceased veterans and all the people who have served,” Laer Reality employee Jon Crandall told WBZ-TV.
When he showed up to work Friday, Crandall said there was a note on the door slapping the business with a violation by the town which cited a statute saying flags cannot be used for “commercial promotion.”
“This is a commercial establishment located at a busy intersection. It was in the front lawn of that particular property, and in the opinion of our code enforcement officer, the building commissioner, it was a violation,” Michael McCall, Chelmsford’s Assistant Town Manager, told WBZ-TV.
But Laer Realty not only did not comply by removing the “excessive” flags, the business doubled down and added another 300 to the display.
“We feel this is a patriotic act. It’s not about our business. It’s about supporting our troops, supporting veterans,” Crandall said. “I think the flags speak for themselves. I don’t think we need to get into a fight with city hall.”
This is not the first year that the flags have been placed, but it is the first time the business said they had a complaint.
The town government not only got a defiant response from Laer Reality, but residents showed their support by adding flags of their own, tripling the original amount.
Emelie Primeau was one of the residents who was upset by the citation.
“I went to the store and I bought some flags because I believe in what they’re doing,” she told WBZ-TV.
“It was beautiful, but it certainly was not excessive. I don’t think you could have 2,000 out there and it would look excessive,” Crandall said on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.
Stacey Alcorn, Laer Realty’s CEO, decided to “dig our heels in” when she heard of the town’s order.
“This had nothing to do with our business. It was us as a community just honoring our veterans and those who serve for us,” Alcorn said, pointing out how the display has “grown significantly” because of the community coming out to support the message they are sending.
“Whether they fine or don’t fine us, those flags are staying up, at least through Flag Day and the Fourth of July,” Alcorn said.
The federal government is no stranger to out-of-control spending. The national debt has now reached a startling $21 trillion!
That’s not all: Congress recently passed an omnibus spending package that will cost $1.3 trillion. But wasteful federal spending doesn’t stop there.
The federal government has misused your money on various pet projects, both large and small, over the years. It’s time to expose this waste.
Read on to discover five more absurd examples of government waste, as described in Sen. Jeff Flake’s 2017 Wastebook report.
$1.5 Million Spent Studying Fish on Treadmills
University of California – San Diego study spent a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to measure the endurance of mudskipper and bluegill fish on a treadmill.
Sounds like a fishy use of taxpayer funds!
While the National Science Foundation regularly gives grants to universities for research purposes, that taxpayer-funded research is best when it has some tangible benefit for the American people who pay for it.
$1.7 Million Spent on a Comedy Club Featuring Dead Comedian Holograms
The U.S. Department of Commerce spent $1.7 million to help construct a comedy museum in Jamestown, New York that will “resurrect” dead comedians – from Lucille Ball to George Carlin – in the form of holograms.
The holograms will perform in a basement bar for visitors of the National Comedy Center, as a way to attract tourists to Jamestown.
While tourists might chuckle at the holographic comedians, the $1.7 million bill for the project on the taxpayer’s dime is no laughing matter.
$3 Million Spent Studying the Jaws Theme and People’s Perception of Sharks
In 2016, taxpayers funded a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to study the public’s fear of sharks in relation to the Jaws theme song and music played during documentaries.
Researches noted, “this study specifically highlights the need to raise the public’s awareness of the effect of background music in shark documentaries in hope that it would decrease the extent by which they are affected by it.”
With federal debt soaring, the feds should work to be better stewards of our tax dollars and ensure that every research project funded is a worthwhile use of those dollars. Spending $3 million to study the Jaws theme’s impact on shark perception is not.
The Department of Defense Spent $2.4 Million to Learn How to Get More “Likes” on Social Media
The Department of Defense funded a $2.4 million study to “counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information,” as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Social Media in Strategic Communications program.
The researchers examined 1.1 randomly selected photos on Instagram and analyzed numbers of follower on social media accounts.
More than $2 million is a hefty price tag for taxpayers to spend on research that could (and has) easily been done by private groups.
$3.4 Million Spent on Hamster Cage Matches
Over the past twenty years, the National Institutes of Health has spent $3.4 million studying aggression and anxiety in more than 1,000 male hamsters.
The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, involves pitting juvenile male hamsters against each other at Northeastern University in Boston.
Much like a hamster wheel, our national debt continues to spin out of control. It’s time for the federal government to stop wasteful spending on pet projects and use our hard-earned tax dollars in a more responsible manner.
While many of these examples may seem funny, wasteful spending is no joke.
The federal government has spent millions of your hard-earned tax dollars over the years on pointless projects, and the cost borne by current and future taxpayers only continues to grow.
The post Five Outrageous Ways the Federal Government Has Wasted Your Money (Pt. II) appeared first on Americans for Prosperity.
Italy’s new government is setting out a euroskeptic policy agenda in a country where public frustration with the European Union has supplanted once-broad support.
A Baltimore-based money management firm has settled a U.S. Department of Justice probe of an affiliate that managed investments for the Libyan government, which was then led by Moammar Gadhafi. The Baltimore Sun reports that Legg Mason sent a letter to shareholders Monday announcing that it expects to pay $71 million as part of the settlement with the Justice Department.
America is a generous country. Taxpayers can take pride in the fact that, under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, they will send more than $2 billion worth of food to needy countries this year. Thanks to these aid programs, more than 50 million people in 51 countries will be fed by U.S. foreign aid. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that these programs are rife with cronyism that make them more expensive and less effective than they should be.
Just how much cronyism is there? Enough that another 8 to 10 million people could be fed at no added cost just by removing two unnecessary regulations.
What do these regulations do? The first requires that nearly all U.S. food aid be sourced from American farmers. The logic is that American food aid can combine generosity with national self-interest, stabilizing U.S. agricultural markets while providing aid.
But that self-interest has a cost, and a significant one. Namely, there is often more than enough food nearby that could be purchased and transported at a far lower cost and with far less waste than by shipping American food across the ocean. Even Africa, the continent most commonly associated with hunger crises, produces more than enough food to feed itself — as does the world as a whole, for that matter. In light of this fact, requiring that food aid be sourced in the United States no longer makes sense.
It’s a bizarre case where the costs of cronyism so outweigh the benefits that even one of the primary beneficiaries, the American Farm Bureau Federation, supports reform. The problem is that this regulation is a relic of a different era, one in which food aid was a meaningful portion of American agricultural exports and in which local food production in hunger-stricken areas was rarely sufficient to meet local demand. That is no longer the case — food aid today accounts for less than 1 percent of agricultural exports and less than 0.1 percent of food production in the country. The times have changed, but our rules have not.
The other regulation mandates that at least half of all U.S. food aid be carried on U.S.-flag vessels, known as the Cargo Preference for Food Aid (CPFA). The Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied the effects of the CPFA, and found that the costs were significant. Overall, the GAO estimated that the CFPA increased costs of shipping by 23 percent between 2011 and 2014, making up over $107 million of the total $456 million cost.
This time, the original intent behind the rule was based on national security concerns rather than economic ones. Lawmakers intended to use the food aid program to subsidize a merchant marine that could be called upon in times of war. Yet again, the organization that the regulation is intended to benefit, the Department of Defense, supports reform. The vast majority of U.S. vessels carrying food aid do not meet minimum standards for reform, and the DoD has stated that elimination of the regulation would not impact America’s maritime readiness in the case of war.
It is an unfortunate fact that as much as 60 percent of the food aid budget is spent on items that have nothing to do with food — such as transportation costs for the American food that we’re sending halfway around the world on more expensive American ships. And it’s why simple reform, such as the bipartisan Food for Peace Reform Act of 2018, would free up nearly $300 million simply by reducing the requirement for U.S.-sourced food to 25 percent.
It’s rare that cronyism is so egregious and outdated that its beneficiaries support reform. When they do, lawmakers should take the hint, and support reform as well.
Part of a market is informing the public about what is going on. Here we see two big time crony companies coming together to make genetically modified crony babies. (Not human babies. At least not yet. Muhahahaha!) Monsanto, after perhaps Goldman Sachs is the cronyist non-defense company out there. (There are a bunch that challenge for this position though.)
Saying this, the gist of the attached article is that farmers (who are big time crony players themselves, just look at what gets through the Farm Bill every 2 years) are going to see higher prices. On this point we have little sympathy. This happens from time to time. Also farming is a giant ball of crony capitalism where the market is so warped it’s very difficult to see who is right and who is wrong.
We just know that taxpayer funded subsidies, cushy government defined deals, and predatory regulation are wrong and everyone’s to blame here.
(From The Business Insider)
A blockbuster deal between Bayer and Monsanto is moving ahead.
Under a proposed settlement filed on Tuesday, Bayer agreed to sell its seed and herbicide businesses to German chemical company BASF — a move the US Department of Justice required for the deal’s approval.
Bayer and Monsanto first announced the $60 billion deal in September 2016, saying the move would boost agriculture research and innovation.
“By the time 2050 rolls around, the world will have 10 billion people, and the demand for food will double,” Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s outgoing chief technology officer, told Business Insider last year. “The whole point here is that the business combination between Monsanto and Bayer will allow the companies to invest in and create more innovation, and it’s going to take a huge amount of innovation in order to double the world’s food supply.”
A bill authored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that would require the federal government to balance the budget each year was soundly defeated last week in the Senate. Even Paul admitted he thought the bill had no chance, but he told the Washington Post his …