Five Outrageous Ways the Federal Government Has Wasted Your Money (Pt. II)

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.

Tell Congress to stop wasting our hard-earned tax dollars and cut wasteful and egregious spending as they write the FY 2019 spending bills.

The post Five Outrageous Ways the Federal Government Has Wasted Your Money (Pt. II) appeared first on Americans for Prosperity.

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Many Universities Host Special Commencement Celebrations for Black Grads Only

Many universities across the nation this month and next will host graduation ceremonies dedicated to their black student populations.

The voluntary celebrations are held in addition to regular, mainstream commencements put on for all students. {snip}

Some of the universities hosting these ceremonies include Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, UT Austin, MSU of Denver, University of Washington, UC San Diego, Cal State Northridge, CU Boulder, Whittier College, UC Riverside, Cal State LA, and San Francisco State University, among many others.

snip}

“The Black Graduation Ceremony is a pre-commencement celebration to honor African and African American students who through unyielding determination have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from the University of Washington,” explains the UW website.

San Francisco State’s website notes that the “mission of the Black African Baccalaureate, Masters, and Doctorate Ceremony is an Afrocentric celebration of the scholarly achievements of Black, African and African American students.”

{snip}

Often, Kente cloth stoles are handed to the black grads during these special ceremonies. The stoles symbolize “very special occasions within African Culture. Graduates are encouraged to [wear] their Kente stoles during the college’s graduation ceremony,” MSU Denver’s website states.

{snip}

Other special identity groups that are often given extra-special graduation ceremonies include so-called lavender ceremonies for LGBTQ grads and Latinx ceremonies for Latino grads. Also on the list: Native Americans and undocumented students. {snip}

The celebrations are hosted under the guise of honoring diversity.

{snip}

“…Participants say the ceremonies are a way of celebrating their shared experience as a group, and not a rejection of official college graduations, which they also attend. Depending on one’s point of view, the ceremonies may also be reinforcing an image of the 21st-century campus as an incubator for identity politics.”

The post Many Universities Host Special Commencement Celebrations for Black Grads Only appeared first on American Renaissance.

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That Old Bat Magic — Finn Wins Hearts and Minds

My wife and I spent Memorial Week in Las Vegas. That’s right. Sin City, though I don’t suppose Las Vegas city fathers and mothers much like this old designation. They’ve tried to make the place more “family friendly.” This by necessity, as so many states have made so many ways to gamble at home available it’s no longer necessary to fly to the middle of the desert to give one’s money away. Walking the Vegas strip one is entitled to wonder which family the city’s marketers had in mind. People-watching on the ant-hill Las Vegas Boulevard always is can recall the bar scene from the original Star Wars movie.

But not to worry, gentle reader. We didn’t take the mortgage money with us. The purpose of the trip was to meet up with my computer-smart step-son and his delightful bride (she’s smart too). They live in nearby (as these things are reckoned in the West) Salt Lake City. None of us are gamblers. So we never ventured as much as a quarter in the thousands of available slots. And we only observed the poor souls shooting craps or grimly playing black-jack or poker. The most depressing were the quietly desperate $8 an hour folks sitting at the slots, smoking and trying to improve their lives. Of course their chances of doing so are roughly the chances that the San Diego Padres will win the World Series this year. All but the quantitatively feeble-minded realize that the only machine in Las Vegas that’s even money is the ATM in the hotel lobby.

Speaking of hotels, we breezed through all of the household names and found them as gaudy and over-the-top as we anticipated they would be. The themes are different, but there is a sameness to the kitsch and the pricey shops and the pricy restaurants (we ate in two that were pretty good). Of course there are things worth seeing. I don’t mean to sound too cranky. We liked the conservatory at the Bellagio, and the light and water show out front of same is, though a bit hokey, pleasant to watch. So there’s obviously a lot in Las Vegas that appeals to a lot of people. And to these folks I say, “God bless, and have a good time. Just don’t try to draw into an inside straight.”

Some of the best times of the week were the away from Las Vegas day trips, the first to Hoover Dam and the second to the beautiful Red Rock Canyon. This last could be called God’s layer cake. If you’re ever fortunate enough to see it, you’ll immediately see why.

Regular readers of this space will not be surprised to learn that while in Vegas we took in a baseball game. This entertaining contest was between the Las Vegas 51s (from Area 51, which has something to do with aliens from outer space, some of whom I think we saw on The Strip) and the Tacoma Rainiers of the AAA Pacific Coast League. The game, which took place in comfy Cashman Field between The Strip and the mountains that surround Las Vegas, went to the Rainiers 8-6.

One of the favorite 51s did not wear cleats or a number on his back. The big crowd favorite was Finn, a five-year-old black Lab bat-dog who ran out to retrieve the 51s’ bats and return them to the dugout. He also carried bottles of water in a small blue and white cooler to the umpires between innings. After these missions, which he clearly enjoys and for which he is lustily cheered, he sits on his red, plastic fire hydrant until duty calls again. In between innings Finn performs more complicated evolutions, including jumping chairs and running good routes to a Frisbee.

I was privileged to meet Finn and his trainer, the able Fred Hassen, and sit with them for the three innings that Finn worked. Finn could work the entire game. He may be five years old, but there’s still a lot of puppy in him, including inexhaustible energy and joie de vivre. But Fred, who played baseball through junior college, has a day job, so doesn’t wish to stay out too late. Thus the three-inning stints. The dog training business Hassen started, called Sit Means Sit, now has 130 locations across the country. If Finn is an example of Sit Means Sit graduates, he’s a fine advertisement for the company, and for Hassen’s skill as a trainer.

I asked Hassen if Finn reacted badly to his first taste of pine tar. Fred reminded me of the things dogs willingly eat, and the places their snouts visit. Of course I know this, so after a moment’s reflection I withdrew the question.

Speaking of questions, I’ll answer the obvious one. No, Finn doesn’t take off after the baseball when it’s in play, though you can tell he would really like to. He’s well trained and makes no rookie mistakes that his more than ample enthusiasm could lead to. He sticks to his business, at which he is fast and precise. What a joy to watch someone who is good at his work and so obviously loves it. So on this soft desert night, which already included the blessings of baseball, beer, and the company of loved ones, we had the bonus of the charming and most entertaining Finn. The Rainiers may have won the baseball game that night. But it was Finn who won our hearts.

The post That Old Bat Magic — Finn Wins Hearts and Minds appeared first on The American Spectator.

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