Saturday, March 5, 2011


A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.

Good news: waste in government due to agency/bureaucratic overlap and redundancies probably even more than you would expect.

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending. The GAO didn't put a specific figure on the spending overlap.

George Will on Obama and choo-choos:

Generations hence, when the river of time has worn this presidency’s importance to a small, smooth pebble in the stream of history, people will still marvel that its defining trait was a mania for high-speed rail projects. This disorder illuminates the progressive mind.

Remarkably widespread derision has greeted the Obama administration’s damn-the-arithmetic-full-speed-ahead proposal to spend $53 billion more (after the $8 billion in stimulus money and $2.4 billion in enticements to 23 states) in the next six years pursuant to the president’s loopy goal of giving “80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.” “Access” and “high-speed” to be defined later.

Construction cost overruns and overly optimistic ridership projections are almost assured, so why?

It's simple: it gets you out of your car and the inherent freedom and individuality it contains and into their trip where you're standing on a train platform dancing to their tune.

Totally related: Consumer Reports pans the Chevy Volt:

Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.'s flagship vehicle makes economic "sense."The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine's annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.

"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."

And this:
But GM has noted that most Americans can avoid using gasoline for most regular commuting with the Volt, while its gasoline engine can allow the freedom to travel farther, if needed.
Ah, yes... freedom.

Also related: Mickey Kaus on how the GM bailout is coming along:

Q. GM’s recent sales surge–what’s their secret? Great new models? Superior quality? A: Heavy price-cutting to goose sales (at an inevitable cost in profits). … Maybe that’s why GM stock is plunging priced so realistically.
Follow the links at the link.

Awesome: Still some more of that "new civility" we've been hearing about.
Wisconsin Democrat To Republican Colleague: “You Are F***ing Dead

Why just 10 minutes? New study: Staring at breasts is good for your health.

Guys, listen up. A study says it is actually healthy to stare at a woman's breasts.

Five-hundred men participated in the German study. Half were told to refrain from looking at breasts for five years, the other half were told to ogle them daily.

The study found the men who stared at breasts more often showed lower rates of heart problems, a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

The authors of the study recommend that men stare at breasts for 10 minutes a day.

What a bunch of pseudo-science non-sense.

But why take any chances....

You're welcome. We're givers. That's what we do around here.

Michael Barone on political pundits and why voters don't always vote for their own best interests:

The recoil in 2010 against the Obama Democrats' vast expansion of the size and scope of government seems to have a cultural or a moral dimension as well. It was a vote, as my Washington Examiner colleague Timothy P. Carney wrote last week, expressing "anger at those unfairly getting rich -- at the taxpayer's expense."

Those include well-connected Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs that got bailed out and giant corporations like General Electric that shape legislation so they can profit. They include the public employee unions who have bribed politicians to grant them pensions and benefits unavailable to most Americans.

A government intertwined with the private sector inevitably picks winners and losers. It allows well-positioned insiders to game the system for private gain. It bails out the improvident and sticks those who made prudent decisions with the bill.

Modest-income Americans think this is wrong. They want it fixed more than they want a few more bucks in their paychecks.

Picking winners and losers, indeed.

Check out the article at the link and see if you buy Barone's argument that the great freak-out over stagnating middle income wages over the past 30-40 years is somewhat misleading.

H/T: W.C. Varones

Jonah Goldberg on Charlie Sheen:
It’s rare to see someone own his idiocy and self-destruction so completely, never mind so boldly. He makes it hard to look away.

Charlie Sheen's top 15 craziest quotes of the past couple of weeks.

Our faves:

On partying: "I mean, what's not to love? Especially when you see how I party man, it's epic. The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards, all of them, just look like droopy-eyed, armless children."

On his natural high: "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available. If you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body."

We forgot where we heard it but someone said of Sheen's recent behavior that he is living out his character from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Oh, yeah.

We now await our scolding for devoting so much time to such a cad.


tigerlily said...

Occasionally my spouse comes up behind me and cups my breasts. I was always suspicious when he told me doing this calmed him down. I guess I will have to rethink this.

B-Daddy said...

Dean, thanks for the cover.

Harrison said...

Funny, Sheen must be trying out for the sequel.

SarahB said...

Wish someone would do a study on overlapping agencies here in Cali...great ammo.

Who cares about the lousy mileage on the Volt...look at that crapy design.

I'm just bummed I had the stomach flu all week and didn't get to make a mint designing Charlie Sheen Warlock t-shirts for Cafe Press.

Off to do my part to improve the cardiac health of American men...