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Archive for July, 2009

HamEarlier this week I wrote a silly little story poking fun at the federal government’s taxpayer funded website Recovery.gov. The point I was attempting to make was that anything the government tries to do, the private free-market can accomplish more quickly, at higher quality, and at far less cost to society. I didn’t really go into what information can actually be found at Recovery.gov, but now I think I will. Yes indeed, the following real report is just a little, er, taste of President Obama’s idea of “accountability and transparency”. By the way, do you like ham?

Take a good hard look at this contract report from Recovery.gov. Pay special attention to the parts I have highlighted in red.

Contracts – Recipient Summary
CLOUGHERTY PACKING, LLC
Clarification of Codes

Award Overview
Agency Name- Department of Agriculture, Project Location- LOS ANGELES
Contract Number- AG3J14120297196, Project Location – State CA

Funding Amount- $1,191,200, Project Location – Zip Code 90058-1800
Completion Date- 2009-06-30, Congressional District- CA-34

Recipient Information (Award)
Recipient Name- CLOUGHERTY PACKING, LLC, Recipient Address- 3049 E VERNON AVE
Recipient City- LOS ANGELES, Recipient State- CALIFORNIA
Recipient Zip Code- 90058-1800, Congressional District- CALIFORNIA-34

Description of Work/Service performed-
2 POUND FROZEN HAM SLICED

That’s right, this is a real report from Recovery.gov. An extremely large amount of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $1,191,200 to be exact, was used by our government to purchase two pounds of sliced frozen ham.

I don’t even know what to say. I wonder how long it will be before this report mysteriously disappears?

Kudos to American Thinker.

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I think YouTube is one of the best tools to come along in years. I routinely search for videos on how to perform certain tasks that I am not quite sure about and usually someone on YouTube comes through for me. Of course you have to critically evaluate each video, but you can almost always find something that can help you.

I was looking for a review of a certain firearm some time ago, and I came across a prolific YouTube producer called Nutnfancy. He takes his YouTubing very seriously, calling his excellent series of videos “The Nutnfancy Project” or “TNP” for short. If you are into knives, guns, backpacking, mountaineering, survival, or just general outdoorsmanship, you should definitely check him out. Anyway, occasionally Nutnfancy gets political and philosophical. He released the following video called “Dangerous Things” a couple of days ago, and I thought it was especially excellent and worth re-posting here. It outlines the following philosophy:

dangerous things + proper skill set + personal responsibility = safe society

The first couple of minutes is Nutnfancy driving his car around, so you can skip to about 2:30 if you want. By the way, if you are a whiny nanny-state kind of person, don’t even bother watching.

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A ¬ A

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scifiA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there spun a blue planet populated by a species called Zorgs. A particularly lucky group of Zorgs, eventually around 300 million of them, got together to form a nation they named Freeland. The Freelanders enjoyed a relatively peaceful and prosperous 233 years, interrupted only occasionally by wars, famines, and natural disasters. The prosperity of Freeland, as every Zorg kindergartner knew, was directly attributable to the Freelandish free enterprise economy. Zorgs of every stripe, regardless of their place of birth, were allowed to come and go and buy and sell as they saw fit. This system led the Freelandish way of life to be the envy of the entire Zorg planet.

As time went on, many Freelanders forgot what had made their nation grow and prosper. They stopped trading freely amongst themselves and began to depend more and more on the Freeland government officials to give them food, clothing, and huts to live in. Some Zorgs even forgot how to think for themselves and depended on the Freeland government and media to do their thinking for them. Each group of Freelanders attempted to convince their government officials that their small disadvantaged sub-race of Zorg was superior to all others and deserved special treatment. As a result of this downturn in personal initiative and intellect, the economy of Freeland, after many prosperous if over-leveraged years, began to slide into disarray. Many Freelanders found themselves out of work and even more dependent on the government to sustain them. The Freeland economic crash was so severe that it sent the entire economy of the Zorg planet into a tailspin.

Many Freelanders who remembered the old way of doing things hoped that the other Zorgs would come to their senses and stop their ridiculous dependence on the government. Unfortunately this was not to be. The Freelanders elected a group of government officials who immediately began to steal money from them and recklessly attempt to use it to “revive the economy”. The new government promised that it would tell the Zorgs how the money was being spent, so it used a great deal of the stolen money to launch the website www.recovery.gov, where any Zorg could look at how their stolen money was being wasted.eagle-nebula Unfortunately, the website didn’t show very much other than flashy nonsense and outdated information. A group of enterprising Zorgs called the Onvia Corporation launched a similar website, www.recovery.org, to track what the government was doing without using any stolen money and employing only ancient Freelandish free enterprise principles. Not surprisingly, the free-market website was vastly superior in the informativeness, timeliness, and usefulness of the data it provided to the Zorgs who used it. In fact, the recovery.org site revealed just how inefficient and ridiculous the Freeland government actually was. Zorgs who loved freedom cheered and celebrated. Private free market ingenuity had once again demonstrated its superiority over government bureaucracy. Unfortunately the Freelanders who had grown dependent on the government were too busy feeling sad and powerful to notice.

And so the economies of Freeland and the Zorg planet continued to decline into chaos, proving once and for all that the Zorgs were actually too lazy and stupid to make a go of it.

The End

[By the by, if you don’t care for science fiction, please make the following substitutions:

Zorg = human
Freeland = United States of America

These minor changes make the story 100% non-fictitious.]

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I passed this sign on my run this morning. It is funny (and sad) on so many levels.

IMG00051

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flag
The battle’s been lost, the war is not won
An addled Republic, a bitter refund
The business first flat-earthers licking their wounds
The verdict is dire, the country’s in ruins.

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done?

As we’ve written our stories to entertain
These notions of glory and bull market gain
The teleprompt flutters, the power surge brings
An easy speed message falls into routine.

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done?

A voice whispers “Son,
The blessed vision comes.”
What have I done?

So hold tight your babies and your guns
Forgive us our trespasses, Father and Son.

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done?

–Buck, Mills, Stipe
Listen.

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seatbeltI now officially live in a nanny state. I was proud that I lived in one of the 24 states that did not have mandatory seat belt legislation, but that all changed on June 30 when Arkansas residents became subject to a new primary seat belt law. Police officers are now allowed to stop drivers and issue citations for no other reason than failure to buckle a seat belt.

This is wrong. Anyone who knows a little physics knows what happens when an object the size of an automobile stops suddenly: the passengers inside will continue traveling at the same speed until they too are stopped by something, be it a seat belt or the windshield. This is called inertia. Anyone with any intelligence will choose to have their inertia curtailed by a seat belt rather than the windshield. However, your state government does not believe you have the capacity for this simple practice of self-preservation in your stupid little head. Therefore they saw fit to pass a law that forces you into compliance, wasting your state tax dollars in the process. It is not the government’s place to forcibly legislate intelligent decisions. It is not a public safety issue; those who choose not to buckle up endanger no one but themselves. It is an issue of your government wanting and getting more control over your life.

I wonder why our state government didn’t legislate that my hands must be at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel while they were at it. This would make me much safer, and I don’t really have any business deciding the position of my own hands anyway. Maybe I’ll call Representative Betts and suggest a 10 and 2 law. After all, none of you stupid Arkansans would have thought to keep your hands on the wheel yourselves.

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