Groups know the Bahamas for its sandy beaches and beautiful scenery – and now, vast new meeting venues – but as visitors are looking for cultural, experiential offerings from the places they visit, this destination is delivering in a major way. From …
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.
Faced with an unrelenting spread of invasive Burmese pythons that have mostly wiped out marsh rabbits, bobcats and other small mammals, Everglades National Park is doing something for the first time in its 70-year history: opening park borders to paid hunters.
On Thursday, Superintendent Pedro Ramos announced plans to team up with state wildlife officers who last year began hiring hunters to kill the voracious snakes.
“We’ve been chasing this problem trying to find a solution and frankly we ran up against a wall over and over again,” he told the Miami Herald. “That history requires us to be open-minded and flexible.”
Adding the park to territory already being patrolled by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and South Florida Water Management District hunters will open up the epicenter of the python invasion to hunters’ cross-hairs more than two decades after they first appeared.
But the move is not without controversy.
In 2015 when Ramos agreed to allow volunteer hunters into the park for the state’s popular Python Challenge, backlash from an environmental group prompted him to scale back participation to all but a few permitted trappers.
The National Park Service bans sport hunting in parks, but not managed removal of unwanted wildlife. Rock Creek Park, north of downtown Washington, has been holding a contentious hunt to cull deer since 2013 to save the park’s native plants. About 75 areas managed by the National Park Service covering more than 50 million acres allow hunting, which sometimes causes confusion over rules in parks.
The park has also allowed the Swamp Apes, a volunteer group of military vets, to trap snakes for about a decade.
But competition with paid programs for hunters appears to be driving down participation: In the last year just 70 or so snakes were caught inside the park compared to about 200 snakes during each of the previous two years, said chief biologist Tylan Dean.
After years of failed efforts — including snake-sniffing dogs and tagged Judas snakes — Ramos said it’s time for more aggressive tactics.
“This to us is clearly not hunting in a national park. This is a serious effort to bring people who want to help us with this problem get these things out of the park,” he said. “It is a program aimed at removing an exotic species that is having some very deep negative impacts on this landscape.”
It’s also an attempt to learn more about their habits, he said, and slow a spread that in 2016 reached the northern Florida Keys for the first time. The snakes are so difficult to detect, and marshes so impenetrable, that even determining their numbers remains difficult, said Kristin Sommers, the state’s exotic species coordinator.
“The low range would be tens of hundreds and the high range would be hundreds of thousands,” she said.
South Florida may never be free of the snakes, but managed hunts in recent years have shown promise. Last year, the wildlife commission and the University of Florida brought snake hunters from India for a month-long pilot project that bagged 14 pythons in two weeks, including a 16-foot female carrying dozens of eggs. The water management district’s paid hunt topped 1,000 last week.
Authorized hunters will be vetted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and need to meet a handful of qualifications including proof that they’ve legally bagged at least three pythons. Hunters will also earn the same rate paid to district hunters: minimum wage plus $50 for every four-foot snake and $25 for each additional foot.
They will be given access to almost every corner of the park at all hours, but will not be allowed near visitors including the Coe Visitor Center and Anhinga Trail, while the park is open.
The park hopes to get hunters started as early as July and eventually have up to 120, which would triple the number of volunteers now trapping snakes.
“Using current technology to eliminate pythons is impossible, so we’ll try to eliminate as many as we can,” Ramos said. “Maybe some day we’ll find a way to really get the upper hand.”
© 2018 Miami Herald
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The public ballot for tickets to Stephen Hawking’s thanksgiving service opened Saturday – with visitors from the future welcome to apply. The theoretical physicist who captured the imagination of millions around the world died on March 14 at the age of 76.
HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KOIN) — Visitors to Hood River’s waterfront will soon notice a change — a new parking fee in some areas. The Port of Hood River is implementing fees as the town continues to grow. Costs are rising and people are parking for longer than …
Edinburgh has made a clear signal that it wants to be the first city in the UK to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ for visitors who come and stay in the city. In a controversial move, the council would follow in the footsteps of tourism hotspots like Venice, Paris and Berlin who charge visitors who travel to the cities.
Arthur Nelson Ream acknowledges that he raped a teenage hitchhiker in the 1970s, had sex with underage girls and buried 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki in an unmarked grave.
But he denies killing Zarzycki or anyone else, and he says he deserves an apology from Warren police who have called him a suspected serial killer.
Police say Ream could be responsible for four to six murders and they spent several days earlier this month digging unsuccessfully for bones on property near the intersection of 23 Mile and North Avenue in Macomb Township. The missing girls range in age from 12 to 17 and disappeared between 1970 and 1982.
“I’ve never had anything to do with any of them,” Ream told the Free Press on Thursday in an hour-long telephone interview from prison. “There’s absolutely no connection between me and them at all.”
Ream said police should apologize to taxpayers for the money spent on the search and to the families of the missing girls.
“He owes them a big apology for getting their hopes up in this case,” he said. “He owes Cindy Zarzycki’s family a big apology for bringing up bad memories. And he owes me an apology for just getting me dragged into this..”
Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said “there is no apology forthcoming.”
“If anybody owes an apology, it’s him and that’s why he’s in prison for life for murder and rape,” Dwyer said. “Why would law enforcement — the Warren Police Department, the FBI, the Michigan State Police — apologize to him? This was a task force. We all believe we have the probable cause. I said our suspect. I always used the word suspect. I never used his name.”
Dwyer said investigators make every effort to keep down costs, which he described as “minimal” but he couldn’t say how much has been spent thus far.
“We don’t go by cost when you’re trying to bring closure to the family of victims,” Dwyer said. “How can you put a cost on bringing closure to families that have suffered for 35 years for an investigation that is really our responsibility and our obligation to do?”
Ream, 69, was transferred last week from a prison in Muskegon Heights to the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia.
“Due to the amount of media attention his case has received, we felt it was best for his safety and the safety of others, that he be moved,” said prison spokesman Chris Gautz.
Word of the dig in Macomb Township reached Ream in prison.
“To be honest with ya, on one hand I was laughing my ass off and on the other hand, I was pissed off,” Ream said. “So, you take it for what it is. There’s no bodies there that I know of.”
Police said they began the search in Macomb Township after talking to Ream’s fellow inmates, reviewing his FBI profile and watching him fail a polygraph test.
What’s more, Ream had a history with that property. It was there that he buried 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki in 1986. Twenty-two years later, he was convicted of murdering her and he led investigators there to recover her remains.
But Ream also has a history of mind games, toying with investigators in a game of cat and mouse.
In the Zarzycki case, Ream offered to lead investigators to her grave if they reduced his first-degree murder charge to second-degree, which would allow him a shot at parole after 20 years.
Ream said he backed out of his offer, figuring he’d never qualify for parole because of two rape convictions.
Prosecutor Eric Smith said Ream’s offer was rejected. He said when Ream offered to show them where Zarzycki’s body was for a plea agreement “this man was the lowest form of human life that he would bargain with a dead 13-year-old’s body.” Smith said he wasn’t going to take it or “cut him any breaks at all.”
The jury convicted Ream of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
Before sentencing, he finally led investigators to the Macomb property.
Asked last week about his reputation for mind games, Ream admitted it.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, why not? You know, I mean, I don’t hurt anybody with it. I don’t get carried away,” Ream said.
Ream said that when he learned police suspected him of killing multiple girls, he toyed with the idea of drawing phony maps to send them on a wild goose chase.
“With Cindy, I drew a map, telling them where she was,” Ream said. “I was so mad at this detective, I drew some maps up and I was going to give them to him. I was just going to have him go dig, willy-nilly, someplace that I knew.”
Ream said he decided against providing the bogus maps because he thought he’d get in deeper trouble for doing it. But he suspects the idea of the maps could be the reason that he failed the polygraph test.
Ream said that when the detective gave him the polygraph test, he asked whether Ream was going to be truthful about three other missing girls.
“I says, ‘yes,’ and, in reality, I wasn’t going to be because I was going to give the detective the maps,” Ream said. “So, that’s probably why I failed it. Now it might not be why, but that’s the only reason I can think.”
Dwyer said investigators are well-versed in Ream’s history.
“We know the history and how he’s played people,” Dwyer said, adding it was part of Ream’s profile. “We understood that. He has that reputation. We knew that going in.”
Dwyer said he remains confident in the investigation.
“Our position is that we still believe that we are on the right track as far as our investigation,” Dwyer said. “As far as him playin’ anybody, I’m not gonna comment on that.”
‘Rough time with women’
Ream grew up in Warren in the 1950s when much of it was still undeveloped. He said he quit school in seventh grade and left home at 13 because his father beat him. He denies being sexually abused.
He learned to install carpet and eventually opened his own flooring business. But his personal life featured constant chaos and an eye for underage girls.
“I’ve had a rough time with women,” Ream told the Free Press.
The first of his four marriages came in 1969 when he was 20. It ended in 1978 after he was convicted of raping a 15-year-old hitchhiker in Shelby Township.
Court records show Ream and his brother-in-law abducted the girl in July 1974. Ream was 26 at the time and his brother-in-law was 15.
The brother-in-law later testified that Ream pulled a switchblade on the girl and told the brother-in-law to use duct tape to blindfold the girl before raping her. Ream ignored the girl’s pleas to stop.
The next day, a detective called Ream about the attack.
“The comment he made was if ‘I ever do this again, I’ll kill the next victim,’ ” the brother-in-law testified in a later case.
Under 1970s laws, Ream was charged with statutory rape, a life offense. The charge was later reduced to indecent liberties with a minor female child, a 10-year felony.
“We picked up a hitchhiker and molested her. I don’t know how more to say about it,” Ream said. “He said, ‘let’s do it,’ I did it. Stupidity. That, in my life, was the worst screw-up so far in my lifetime.”
Ream was convicted and sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, which he began serving in August 1975. Two months later, he wrote to Judge George Deneweth asking for a reduced sentence.
“I have done a lot of thinking here in prison,” Ream wrote. “I want to tell the truth and have a second chance to prove that I will never be in trouble with the law again. I value my family too much to ever risk losing them again.”
While he was in prison, Ream’s wife filed for divorce. He tried to salvage the marriage, but she wanted out, claiming he’d beaten her repeatedly in front of their children and carried on affairs, including one with their 15-year-old babysitter.
“This apparently went on for two years while Mrs. Ream was at work,” his wife’s lawyer wrote in a letter to the judge.
“My first wife, I screwed that up pretty bad,” Ream said “It was my fault.”
In the early 1970s, Ream also abused a teenage niece, plying her with alcohol and taking advantage of her, according to Macomb County prosecutors who sought to admit evidence of those crimes in a later case.
Ream’s first divorce was final in February 1978. By then, he’d been granted early parole and the following month, he married again in what he termed “an arranged marriage.” It lasted eight months and they divorced in January 1979.
In December 1979, Ream married for a third time. That marriage lasted until 1986, when his wife divorced him, accusing him of physically abusing her.
“My third marriage, I don’t even know how to explain that. That was crazy,” Ream said. “I shouldn’t have stayed with her as long as I did.”
During that time, prosecutors said, Ream abused two other young girls with whom he was close. One was a 12-year-old niece, the other was a 13-year-old family friend. Both girls were given alcohol and assaulted.
Ream displayed a “common scheme and plan to sexually assault young females: He gains their trust, isolates them, and then rapes them,” Macomb County prosecutors wrote in their request to introduce his history as part of a later case.
Ream married for a final time in 1992, when he said he “found my true love.”
That marriage lasted until 1998, when his wife accused him of physical abuse.
By then, he’d also been accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, for whom he served as legal guardian. Investigators said the pattern was familiar: The girl was given alcohol and raped.
Ream acknowledged pleading guilty but said the sex was consensual, which wouldn’t matter because she was only 15. Ream said he had custody of the girl because her mom was having trouble with her. Ream lived in Roseville at the time, but owned property in Gladwin, where the rape occurred.
“We just went up there for the weekend,” Ream said. “She ended up getting into some liquor that my nephew left in one of the cabins and we ended up having sex. I don’t know how to explain it.”
Ream pleaded guilty in that case, spent 10 years in prison and was preparing to be released when he was charged with Cindy Zarzycki’s murder.
Ream has an explanation for that case as well.
He said Cindy was dating his son Scott and they often hung out at a warehouse for Ream’s business.
“They were on some carpet, she fell, went backward down the elevator chute and died,” Ream said.
Ream said he was responsible for her death because he’d wired the gate to the freight elevate shaft in an open position, to avoid lifting it up and down constantly.
“If the gate was down where it was supposed to be, she would have never fallen,” Ream said. He claims his son called him and he panicked, because he didn’t have insurance, so he removed Cindy’s body and buried it in Macomb Township.
The jury didn’t buy the story and convicted him of first-degree murder, guaranteeing a life term.
Ream now lives in a single cell and passes his days playing cards and watching television. He likes “Big Bang Theory” and watches the new “Roseanne,” but considers the original series better.
One of his brothers visited him about five years ago, but he hasn’t had any visitors since.
Dwyer stands by the investigation, saying investigators have “worked diligently for decades to get to this point.”
Dwyer said no more digging is scheduled, but said the effort was worth doing in a “very, very difficult investigation.”
“We have a responsibility and with the information developed, we had cause to reason the bodies of several young girls were buried at 23 (Mile) and North,” Dwyer said.
Konnie Beyma, the sister of Kimberly King, one of the missing girls police hoped to find in Macomb, said she plans to write to Ream.
“I want him to hear from me directly, word for word,” she said. “I feel an obligation to my sister, Kimberly, to communicate with this man. If he is responsible, I owe it to her to do everything in my power to see if I can get him to share where her remains are located.”
“That’s all I want from him,” Beyma said of Ream. “I simply want Kimberly’s remains. That’s all I want.”
Beyma said that she thinks it’s obvious that Ream killed Zarzycki becayse he knew where her body was buried. She said if he failed a lie detector test on King’s whereabouts, “then he certainly knows something.”
She said even if law enforcement isn’t on the right track immediately in a case, the crime still has to be investigated.
“I don’t see why they’d have to owe anyone an apology for doing their job,” Beyma said.
Ream said that given his history, he knows the public is unlikely to trust him.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t a rapist because I did hurt that girl in the ’70s, so that made me a rapist,” Ream said. He claims his other encounters with young girls were consensual, though he acknowledged the girls were too young to legally consent.
But he insists he’s not a killer, let alone a serial killer.
“For the rest of my life and beyond, I’m going to be known as a serial killer,” he said. “It’s out there. It can never be taken away.”
© 2018 the Detroit Free Press
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The exhibit is free to all visitors. Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) occupies a unique place in American cultural history, as he became the principal storyteller of the Native American peoples and cultures. Motivated by his vocation to document Native …
A FALSE perception of high levels of crime is holding Bradford back, according to a survey of city centre businesses. More than 70 per cent of those who took part in a survey looking into the feasibility of establishing a Business Improvement District felt visitors to the city centre were put off by the idea that crime levels were high.
[These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years. Why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing it values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.]
Prince William and Katherine Middleton announced the name of their third child quite recently. It is Louis Arthur Charles, and he will be known as His Royal Highness, Prince Louis of Cambridge.
I noted that the actual birth of Prince Louis had been somewhat low-key, in comparison to previous royal births. It was a whole week before I knew he had been born. I believe the reason for this was that public world attention was being given to the plight of two year old Alfie Evans, who died under controversial circumstances in Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool very recently.
Public celebrations for the royal birth also seemed very minimal, and whilst we have delighted in viewing the beautiful photographs of the royal baby meeting his siblings, you could not help or fail to compare the images of privilege and happiness, against the many images of little Alfie, who at the same time, in his own vulnerability, appeared to many people to be in the hands of another authority who did not have his, or his parents, best interests at heart.
The controversy around a court decision to switch of vital life support and refuse his parents permission to seek further alternative help which was being offered to them raised a great amount of frustration for many British citizens who questioned the reason for this. What impact would that decision have on all vulnerable patients, who could possibly have a chance of life?
Some people were very vocal about the treatment of Alfie Evans and his parents, and also against Alder Hey Hospital. There were accusations directed at the demonstrators being insulting to staff and visitors outside of the hospital. Staff staff spoke of genuine fear!
But not everyone was critical about the decisions being made about Alder Hey Hospital and Alfie Evans.
The Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, was very ‘supportive’ of the decisions made by Alder Hey Hospital, but emphasized they were praying for Alfie’s parents. [Link]
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, showed sympathy towards the case but respected the ‘difficult’ decisions made by clinicians, and it is reported believes that clinicians should decide on a child’s life, and not parents. [Link]
Unfortunately, it appears The Church of England, which belongs to The State of England, and answers to the government have said very little. Her Majesty the Queen is the supreme governor of The Church of England.
Therefore, some people have stayed silently watching. Sympathetic, but silent.
Merseyside Police, who are the police force for the Liverpool area had also issued a statement in relation to criticism against Alder Hey Hospital.
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said:
“Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
“I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”
Somewhere in that silence, where some people have the authority to speak up and make their voices known, and some people are being silenced; and amidst the celebration of new life and a sentence of death for a baby, hangs the truth, staring back at you.
What exactly is going on when parents and children are held in hospitals against their will, and all offers of alternative medical help are rejected? That is the question?
What’s it All About?
The divide between people who used the words of compassion and dignity to excuse the decision made upon Alfie’s life, against those who saw the spirit of arrogance and dictatorship staring right back at them and laying down its law, was tangible. It could not have been more evident. The aftermath of that decision is still hanging in the air. It has left a stale taste and many un-answered questions for those who rely on a National Health Service, and also for some of those who work in the National Health Service.
An establishment which once preserved and fought for human life at all costs, seems to have become infiltrated with a culture of death and decision making which goes against reason. Whilst the public greatly appreciate our medical services, there are also decisions being made which the public and many members of the medical profession are also at odds against. They support the Hippocratic tradition.
Alder Hay Hospital in particular, has already received many bad reviews and has a very dark history which involved organ retention and organ harvesting from children’s bodies without permission from parents. During the period from 1988 – 1995 more than 2,000 pots containing body parts from 850 infants were uncovered.
In 1999, the public had been unaware that Alder Hey and other hospitals were retaining patient’s organs without their consent.
The Alder Hey report (known as Redfern Report) was published in 2001.
Dutch pathologist Dick van Velzen had ordered the illegal stripping of every organ during a post mortem from every child during his time at the hospital.
The report also revealed that Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Alder Hey Hospital gave thymus glands removed from live children during heart surgery to a pharmaceutical company for research in return for donations.
This is the reason why people should not stay silent or be silenced on such important ethical issues in healthcare. [Link]
When Alfie’s life support was removed on the 23rd April, at the final instruction of the High Court, and he breathed on his own, showing signs of recognition and normality, not only did a population cheer for this little human life, but thousands of medical staff did too.
Many staff who wanted to sustain Alfie’s life and give him every conceivable chance was also being over-ruled by senior medical staff and a court system, who it is reported, had refused to consider any appeal by the parents.
It appears they also refused to listen to citizens who pay for the National Health Service, and they also refused to listen to an appeal from Pope Francis in Rome who had granted the child Italian citizenship to be treated in Italy, with absolutely no cost to Britain. On the 23rd April, the day Alder Hay Hospital switched off his life support machine, a military air ambulance fully equipped to take Alfie to Bambino Gesu Hospital was already waiting.
The anguish, knowing about that offer of hope for some chance of life, which must have been experienced by his parents, was felt by thousands.
Alfie died on the 28th April.
Today, Monday 14th May it is his funeral.
We honor his short life. Thank you Alfie for showing us your trust and your vulnerability in this harsh world and from your silent and peaceful world at least alerting us once more to our responsibility in protecting and valuing human life.
“If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace the truth the truth revealed by God.”
To be continued……..
© 2018 Shirley Edwards – All Rights Reserved
E-Mail Shirley Edwards: [email protected]