Patterico's Pontifications

3/10/2013

Flashback: Obama’s Spendthrift Nature

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:04 pm

As we all know, the White House cancelled tours because the sequester required a $24 million cut in the White House budget:

Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that “detailed decisions” have yet to be made about how the administration would meet a projected $24 million reduction to the executive office budget, which may include furloughs of presidential aides and other employees.

Much criticism of the President’s decision has (quite appropriately) focused on other current ridiculous expenditures. Kimberly Strassel highlights some in the Wall Street Journal:

We’ve learned that the White House employs three calligraphers, who cumulatively earn $277,000 a year. The Environmental Protection Agency gave $141,000 to fund a Chinese study on swine manure. Part of a $325,000 National Science Foundation outlay went to building a robotic squirrel.

The government gave a $3,700 grant to build a miniature street in West Virginia—out of Legos. It shelled out $500,000 to support specialty shampoo products for cats and dogs. A San Diego outfit got $10,000 for trolley dancing. The feds last year held 894 conferences that each cost more than $100,000—$340 million altogether. But Mr. Obama is too broke to let American kids look around the White House.

Politico compiled numerous Obama claims about the sequester that were shot down by fact checkers (Google cache link to the honor the boycott). And the Pinocchios keep coming, with the latest lie being about vaccine statistics. Somehow John Boehner found a way to keep the Capitol open — but that’s because he wants to.

But let’s not forget Obama’s past profligacy. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane together, shall we?

Remember the Obamas’ date night in June 2009?


Awww!!

The L.A. Times gushed:

[T]he impossibly elegant Obamas — he was sleek and tie-less, she wore black — have only raised the bar with a third date night since Inauguration Day.

They flew to John F. Kennedy International Airport in a mini Air Force One, (who knew it came in mini?) helicoptered into Manhattan, ate organic in a chic Greenwich Village restaurant (known to elicit “ecstatic whispering about the quality of summer peas”) and saw a play that didn’t even have show tunes.

This opened a floodgate for detractors, mostly Republicans, who squawked that the First Couple’s motorcade had inconvenienced much of New York and blown a wad of taxpayer money just as General Motors was going belly up.

Damn squawking Republicans.

Then there are the vacations. One estimate puts the total cost of Obama’s vacations at $20 million.

Given that much of the cost involves transporting the First Family and its retinue, the Obamas could have saved taxpayers millions by doing what the vast majority of Americans do: taking either one trip a year, or none.

The Obamas get plenty of vacation. They have sojourned every summer in Martha’s Vineyard except for last year, when campaigning and pre-election concern about appearances got in the way. They often take a side trip somewhere else during the year, and Michelle goes skiing annually out West.

At the very least, they could spend their Christmas holidays at Camp David or at one of the many fine resorts outside of Washington, which would require only the use of the presidential helicopter to get them there.

Remember that Obama once said: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation.” Do as I say, not as I do.

This is a guy who played his 100th round of golf as President in June 2012 — an average of one six-hour round every 12 days.

Also, Obama’s first inauguration cost $170 million, and the latest one likely cost $180 million. (Some claim Bush’s 2005 inauguration cost almost as much in today’s dollars, but we weren’t in a horrible economic downturn then.) Maybe less lobster and grilled bison? Did there have to be 10 inauguration balls in 2009? Etc.

Obama celebrated his disgustingly porky stimulus package with Wagyu steak — which can cost as much as $50 for 100 grams (about 4 ounces). He told us that “[w]e can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times” — but then cranked up the thermostat in the Oval Office hot enough to grow orchids.

From the second he took office, he has lived it up like a king. And now that a piddling $24 million must come out of his budget, the kids who want to see the White House are the ones who have to suffer.

Appalling? Yes. Surprising? No.

160 Comments

  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:04 pm

  2. Racist

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:14 pm

  3. I remember somebody talking about having lunch with Bush (Limbaugh?) who said that he was given a nice yet modest choice of things and when lunch came W made himself a peanut butter sandwich or some such. Like having lunch at my house.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:21 pm

  4. He has spent less than any other modern President. It is true.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:39 pm

  5. For the evening repast with the loyal opposition the night of the filibuster, Dear Leader was escorted in a 22 vehicle motorcade 6 blocks from the WH to dinner.

    Putin would probably eschew such an imperial display.

    Of course, he actually likes Russia.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:51 pm

  6. Excellent post on His Excellency…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (ddd4da) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:51 pm

  7. President I me mine and his posse of t.v. butt wipes and journopricks will someday dread the day they decided to fluck with conservative Americans. Revenge is damn rewarding.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 3/10/2013 @ 6:56 pm

  8. yep… a million here
    a million there pretty soon
    talking real money

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (ddd4da) — 3/10/2013 @ 7:02 pm

  9. President Obama’s golf game was saved from the budget ax yesterday as word came from Martha’s Vineyard that the hacker-in-chief likely will return to the posh island fairways in August.

    The buzz on the Rock is that White House advance types have booked accommodations for the Secret Service for two weeks near the end of the summer.

    Priorities.

    Comment by Dana (292dcf) — 3/10/2013 @ 7:52 pm

  10. Dana – you cannot expected them to curtail their taxpayer funded lavish lifestyle due to some recalcitrant hyper partisan Rethuglikkkkanz wanting to start on the road to fiscal sanity.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 7:57 pm

  11. The Obamas are planning a big extravaganza for Michelle’s 50th birthday party, too. The entertainers won’t cost the taxpayers anything, but that’s probably all that we taxpayers won’t be paying for.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 3/10/2013 @ 7:57 pm

  12. JD,

    When the president doesn’t believe there is a spending problem to begin with, why would he consider tightening any belt?

    As a reminder, during the January fiscal cliff negotiations,

    “At one point several weeks ago,” Boehner told the Wall Street Journal, “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’

    When it comes to federal spending, Obama is like the alcoholic who says that the only drinking problem he has is when he can’t get a drink.

    Comment by Dana (292dcf) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:18 pm

  13. 2009 Obama spent a trilllllion more than any President in History.
    2010 ditto
    2011 ditto
    2013 ditto.
    Spend an extra trillllion, all of it BORROWED, but cannot cut 85/1000th of the EXCESS without lying, and sending out his lying liars to lie some more.
    The Efftard in Chief cannot cut 85 one thousandths of the EXCESS SPENDING.

    Comment by GUS (694db4) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:24 pm

  14. Maybe they could reopen the White House for tours, and cut the SECURITY costs in Benghazi Libya!

    Comment by GUS (694db4) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:25 pm

  15. Yeah! What’s manure good for, anyway? Stupid EPA.

    Comment by Leviticus (17b7a5) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:38 pm

  16. dailycaller.com: The annual salary for the director of the White House Visitors Office, Ellie S. Schafer, went from $70,000 in 2009 to $100,000 in 2012. According to annual reports to Congress on White House staff salaries, Schafer was paid $70,000 in 2009, $71,400 in 2010, $80,000 in 2011 and $100,000 in 2012.

    Schafer is listed by the White House on each report as the director of the Visitors Office for each year, but was also named a special assistant to the president in 2012. Special assistants to the president are the lowest rung of commissioned White House officers, and enjoy significant perks that lower-level staffers do not, such as mess privileges and better parking.

    The White House said on Tuesday that it is canceling all White House public tours due to the automatic spending cuts passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

    To all those who complain: “Let them eat cake.”

    Comment by Mark (1713de) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:41 pm

  17. I know that’s not the point, but still.

    Comment by Leviticus (17b7a5) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:41 pm

  18. I still think that the fact that the President’s own budget proposal for FY 13 cut the CDC by $50 million was OK, but the sequester’s cut of $30 million is a crisis is pretty illustrative of the fundamental dishonesty of the administration.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:46 pm

  19. Exactly, Leviticus. Lumping scientific research in with these extravagances only serves to discredit the whole case. When I made my complaint on the previous thread about this, I thought I’d have the consensus here on my side; instead I was disappointed to find that nobody else here had any problem with calling such valuable research nonsense, and yet they complain when Republicans are called the “anti-science” party. Really, in this crowd one could almost think the infamous William Proxmire was a hero. One could even almost think he was a Republican!

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:50 pm

  20. Shrimp on a treadmill. Hilarious.

    Bugger off, Milhouse. That you intentionally choose to conflate the complaint, that this should be funded by private dollars, not public dollars, is a failing of yours. Nobody is complaining about the science, the complaint is who is paying for it.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:56 pm

  21. Robotic squirrels chasing shrimp on a treadmill would be so cool.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:57 pm

  22. SPQR, as near as I can sort out the claims, 0bama’s request for a cut to the CDC was based on an assumption that demand would drop; when this assumption turned out to be as bogus as all of 0bamacare’s numbers, he would presumably have asked for an increase. OTOH the sequester is not optional, and doesn’t care that the demand for vaccines has not dropped; they have to do without the money no matter what the demand is. “Straw is not being supplied to your slaves, and bricks they tell us ‘make’.”

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:58 pm

  23. When I was young there was a term for someone who blew their paycheck on payday and lived on borrowed money until the next payday. I think of that when I think of obama and also think, “how appropriate!”

    You old timers will remember and young people may too. Times haven’t changed all that much. N….r rich. I am sure you heard it too.

    Comment by Jim (ba6a58) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:59 pm

  24. JD, you are outright lying. Patterico and several commenters disparaged the research itself.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:00 pm

  25. I think you again missed the point, Milhouse. The CDC Dir said they were able to find a work around for the 50,000,000 cuts, but were not sure how they would be able to do so with the sequester cuts. The video was posted previously. It is quite clear.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:01 pm

  26. Making fun of the idea of shrimp running on a treadmill is really easy to do. Were you to have a sense of humor …

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:02 pm

  27. Milhouse, seemingly you think that shifting the focus of Obama’s dishonesty re: the CDC budget rebuts my point. I fail to see that.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:04 pm

  28. Lumping scientific research in with these extravagances only serves to discredit the whole case.

    It’s also heartless because China, among other nations, is so destitute, so deserving of our largesse, so deserving of our research funds. The lack of compassion and kindness in today’s America is horrible! Horrible, I say!

    dailycaller.com, September 2012:

    In a Tuesday Energy commerce hearing on Capitol Hill, Republicans in the House Energy and Commerce Committee attacked the EPA for awarding grants to foreign countries under the Clean Air Act.

    “There is nothing in the Clean Air Act directing the EPA to send tax dollars abroad, and the American people would not be pleased to know we are subsidizing foreign projects at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and the National Debt just eclipsed $16 trillion,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said in his opening statement.

    According to Upton’s testimony, the EPA has doubled the money it hands out to foreign countries with nearly $12 million dollars in foreign grants given out in 2009. Almost $22 million was given in 2010 and a further $28 million was handed out in 2011.

    Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky said that $50 million in foreign grants were given in 2010 and 2011 alone.
    “The American people sent us to Washington to clean things up and this is just one example of where we can all agree — that this money should be spent here at home rather than in China or Indonesia,” Whitfield said in his opening statement.

    Some of the projects outlined by the committee include a grant $141,450 to China to study swine manure. Another $305,849 to the Science and Technology center in the Ukraine to retrain former Newly Independent States (NIS) weapons scientists. Over $400,000 was given to Indonesia for the “Breathe Easy Jakarta” program for urban air quality management and a further $1,226,841 to the United Nations for clean fuel promotion.

    “We can’t maintain our roads, bridges and domestic programs, but yet we have money to give China to study swine manure,” Whitfield said. “Something doesn’t smell right in this situation.”

    Some of the grants were given to countries that were among the largest holders of U.S. Treasury securities, including China, Russia, and Brazil. China is the largest foreign holder of Treasury securities, holding more than $1.1 trillion. Brazil holds nearly $243 billion and Russia holds nearly $158 billion.

    But I do have to say that grants given to entities that at least are of domestic origin, such as, for example, Solyndra, make lots of sense. So we’re not so unkind, heartless and stingy after all.

    I feel better now.

    Comment by Mark (1713de) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:09 pm

  29. Shrimp on a treadmill

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:10 pm

  30. Making fun of the idea of shrimp running on a treadmill is really easy to do. Were you to have a sense of humor …

    And yet you claim not to be anti-science. Do you doubt that the shrimp in question did walk on the treadmill?

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:12 pm

  31. JD, you are outright lying. Patterico and several commenters disparaged the research itself.

    I am more than a little tired of your overaggressive attitude, Milhouse. You see everything in utterly black and white terms and fail to see that good people are often making an argument more subtle than you are willing to give them credit for.

    In short, don’t call JD a liar. Especially when the topic is something I know something about, because you’re talking about something that I said. And he’s not lying.

    Now.

    What I recall, and you are free to go back and find a quote that proves me wrong, because I am going from memory here, but — what I recall is disparaging the research AS SOMETHING THAT TAXPAYERS MUST PAY FOR.

    If private industry pays for it, I am happy to hear about its benefits. If private industry pays for it, that is an indication that it is either worthwhile, or that the company that pays for it will pay a price for funding research that is not worthwhile. Either way, the market will take care of it, and I am a happy man.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:12 pm

  32. Don’t forget the Million-Dollar+ golf lesson/weekend with Tiger Woods recently, while Michelle and the girls were skiing it up in CO (what did that cost – those lift-tickets are expensive)?
    But, that’s all right, the Government doesn’t have a spending problem, it’s those damn greedy businessmen who just won’t pay enough taxes to keep the Obama’s retinue in the style that they’d like to become accustomed.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:13 pm

  33. Video of shrimp on a treadmill

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:13 pm

  34. Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:14 pm

  35. JD, you’re putting in an extra http:// in every link. I fixed the last two.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:15 pm

  36. JD’s is shrimp running to the William Tell Overture, mine is to the Benny Hill theme song. Both videos are horribly anti-science.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:16 pm

  37. And yet you claim not to be anti-science. Do you doubt that the shrimp in question did walk on the treadmill?

    Good Allah. I explained quite clearly, multiple times that I have no issue with the science, my issue is the source of funding, ie public vs private. Apparently you will continue to ignore that. And seem intent on proving you have no sense of humor.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:16 pm

  38. Sorry

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:17 pm

  39. There is a difference between something being a Good Thing and something being a thing that government should pay for.

    The sooner the public is able to make this distinction the better. Faster please.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:17 pm

  40. Knowledge is knowledge, no matter where it’s discovered. Everyone benefits from it equally. If the study was already being done in China, why duplicate it here? It’s far more sensible to just subsidise the Chinese one.

    The Solyndra subsidy had nothing to do with research or science, so why are you bringing it up? It was purely a way of funneling government money into the 0bama campaign.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:18 pm

  41. Which, incidentally, is my problem with comments like: “Yeah! What’s manure good for, anyway? Stupid EPA.”

    The underlying assumption seems to be: this is a Good Thing, ergo, government should be paying for it. Thus, I should mock those who criticize the government for paying for it.

    Am I wrong about that being the underlying assumption? Because, if I’m right, that’s a pretty lazy assumption.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:20 pm

  42. Patterico, here are your words: “Even $100 spent on such nonsense would be $100 too much.”

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:21 pm

  43. Milhouse:

    What was the context of that comment? Was it a discussion about government spending or private spending?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:22 pm

  44. Here is the link to the post, so people can read it and determine for themselves whether I was talking about government spending.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:24 pm

  45. Which, incidentally, is my problem with comments like: “Yeah! What’s manure good for, anyway? Stupid EPA.”

    The underlying assumption seems to be: this is a Good Thing, ergo, government should be paying for it. Thus, I should mock those who criticize the government for paying for it.

    Part of the EPA’s job is to conduct research on environmental problems. Now I don’t think the EPA should exist. Maybe you agree with me. But you can’t criticize it for doing its job. Pig manure is a major environmental problem in pig farming areas, and the EPA spends a lot of time and money regulating it and cracking down on farms that produce it. Subsidising studies on the problem and ways of mitigating it is not only sensible, but is likely to save money.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:27 pm

  46. It’s far more sensible to just subsidise the Chinese one.

    Yes, because I’m sure the PRC desperately — desperately! — needs our financial assistance. Moreover, it’s 100% guaranteed that the researchers thousands of miles away in China are as reliable, credible and worthy as, say, the folks who managed Solyndra.

    Comment by Mark (1713de) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:29 pm

  47. What was the context of that comment? Was it a discussion about government spending or private spending?

    That doesn’t matter; whether something is nonsense doesn’t depend on who’s paying for it. When you call it nonsense you expose yourself as anti-science.

    And if you think, as I do, that the government shouldn’t be paying for any research, then why focus on $1000 for a shrimp treadmill, and not on the billions spent on cancer, AIDS, and other medical research? Government shouldn’t be paying for those either, should it?

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:29 pm

  48. Mark, why do you keep bringing up Solyndra? What has it got to do with this?

    The manure study was being done in China. We’re interested in having it done. So if the Chinese government didn’t fund it sufficiently, it makes sense to give it a subsidy, rather than starting a whole new project here.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:32 pm

  49. What was the context of that comment? Was it a discussion about government spending or private spending?

    That doesn’t matter

    That sums up a Milhouse argument quite nicely.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:32 pm

  50. JD, if you think shrimp on a treadmill is funny, have you got a better idea for how to measure how they cope with stress? Treadmills are how we measure this in humans, so why not in shrimp? It cost $1000 to build it, and they got valuable data from it.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:36 pm

  51. That sums up a Milhouse argument quite nicely.

    No, JD, it’s a typical dishonest distortion from you.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:36 pm

  52. If the manure is such a problem, then let’s just ban pig-farming…..bacon’s bad for you anyhow, just ask a Greenie.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:39 pm

  53. Just why do we NEED to know how shrimp deal with stress?

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:39 pm

  54. So if the Chinese government didn’t fund it sufficiently, it makes sense to give it a subsidy

    Milhouse, you sound like the type of person who’ll take seriously — and trust the sincerity of — a guy who wants to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge or swampland in Florida.

    Comment by Mark (1713de) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:40 pm

  55. By the way, who exactly should finance research into a national resource that doesn’t belong to any individual fisherman? The research benefits the entire industry; how do you make members of the industry pay for it, when they can just as easily let someone else finance it and benefit equally from the results? The radical libertarian answer is to privatize the resource, so the new owners will have an incentive to manage it, and to find out how to do so efficiently. But you usually reject such radical libertarian positions, so what’s your answer?

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:43 pm

  56. If the manure is such a problem, then let’s just ban pig-farming…..bacon’s bad for you anyhow, just ask a Greenie.

    I’m sure they’d love to, but they know they can’t. And pig manure is a problem. Ask anyone who lives near a pig mega-farm such as is typical nowadays with agribusiness.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:44 pm

  57. Just why do we NEED to know how shrimp deal with stress?

    Um, because we don’t want to find out the hard way when they start dying off?

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:46 pm

  58. I quoted you. That is dishonest? So, you can take Patterico’s quote, devoid of context, and claim it proves your point. But, taking your words in the exact same manner is dishonest?

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:47 pm

  59. If you can watch that video of the shrimp on a treadmill, and not even chuckle, then you have issues.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:47 pm

  60. Part of the EPA’s job is to conduct research on environmental problems. Now I don’t think the EPA should exist. Maybe you agree with me. But you can’t criticize it for doing its job.

    Um, if I think it shouldn’t exist, then why would anyone say I “can’t” criticize it for doing things I don’t think government should be doing? That literally makes no sense.

    That doesn’t matter; whether something is nonsense doesn’t depend on who’s paying for it. When you call it nonsense you expose yourself as anti-science.

    Absolutely it depends on who’s paying for it. Absolutely it does. Can’t you get that through your head? Expenditures that are just fine if private people are paying for them become intolerable nonsense if taxpayers must pay for them.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:51 pm

  61. If the fishing industry needs to know how susceptible shrimp are to stress-induced illness and/or death, I’m sure there is an industry group that can fund the research – just as other industry groups fund research that is vital to their respective industries, even ones where the resource they are exploiting is universal and not proprietary.
    This thinking that only the government can do this is what has gotten us into this Spending Problem that will be the ruin of us all.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:53 pm

  62. Just because some research is certified as SCIENCE THAT IS NOT SILLY does not mean that I have to think that government should pay for it.

    You are really leaving logic behind, Milhouse.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:54 pm

  63. Southern Shrimp Alliane

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:55 pm

  64. The point is that scientific research is always valuable. It’s never wasted money. It all pays off in the long run, often in ways that can’t be predicted in advance. Read Heinlein’s essay on this in Expanded Universe.

    That doesn’t mean the government should be doing it. On the contrary, because it’s so valuable, it’s too important to be entrusted to government. Government should only be doing things that by their nature can’t be done by anyone else, such as defense and law enforcement. But it’s wrong to lump it in with wasteful spending. Money spent on science, even by government, is not wasted.

    If you’re attacking government wastefulness rather than government per se, then don’t include genuine research in your list of spending, because it only discredits the rest of the list, much of which is wasteful, i.e. it doesn’t produce anything valuable. Paying official calligraphers is wasteful.

    Head Start is wasteful, because research has shown that it has no long-term effect. And by the way, would you call that research wasteful? Someone had to pay to do the study that found that the billions poured into Head Start achieve nothing. Don’t you think that’s valuable for us to know? Isn’t that knowledge that could save us billions of dollars, if only Congress would act on it?

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:57 pm

  65. It is like some people are hellbent on ignoring the difference between public funding and private funding.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 9:59 pm

  66. Milhouse has his talking points, please don’t confuse him with facts and logic as he’s confused enough.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:01 pm

  67. Um, if I think it shouldn’t exist, then why would anyone say I “can’t” criticize it for doing things I don’t think government should be doing? That literally makes no sense.

    Because so long as it exists it has to do its job. And because unlike most of what the EPA does, it’s actually helpful, not harmful. Punishing people for allegedly polluting their environment is destructive; sometimes it has to be done, but often it doesn’t. Increasing the store of human knowledge in how not to pollute the environment is always helpful.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:03 pm

  68. The point is that scientific research is always valuable. It’s never wasted money. It all pays off in the long run, often in ways that can’t be predicted in advance.

    It’s an investment!!!!

    And I will not stand by and let the Republicans cut investments, when the rich who are already doing just find could pay a little more blah blah blah.

    I don’t know whether it’s wasteful or not and I don’t care. You and I agree government shouldn’t be doing it. Let’s leave it at that.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:03 pm

  69. Because so long as it exists it has to do its job.

    And even if I think that job is stupid I am not allowed to criticize it, because a) you say so and b) the Law of Not Criticizing Stupid Government Jobs Because They Exist?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:05 pm

  70. There are quite a few “jobs” in the EPA’s quiver that they don’t do, but should.
    This is one of those things that they do, but shouldn’t.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:06 pm

  71. Absolutely it depends on who’s paying for it. Absolutely it does. Can’t you get that through your head? Expenditures that are just fine if private people are paying for them become intolerable nonsense if taxpayers must pay for them.

    No, I can’t “get that through my head”. Either an expenditure is valuable or it’s nonsense. Either it’s wise or it’s foolish. Who’s paying for it doesn’t affect that. If it’s foolish, then it would be just as foolish if a private person paid for it. If it’s wise, then it’s just as wise if the government pays for it. That the government shouldn’t make even wise expenditures if there’s someone else who can do them doesn’t change this.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:06 pm

  72. This thinking that only the government can do this is what has gotten us into this Spending Problem that will be the ruin of us all.

    I have not suggested that only the government can do this. Indeed, the government shouldn’t be doing any research at all. But that’s not the point. The point is that it is not nonsense, and it is not wasteful. It’s a valuable thing that someone else should be doing. The same applies to space exploration, and medical research, and vaccinating children, and all sorts of other valuable things that government should stay out of. Criticising them as wasteful, or calling them nonsense, only serves to discredit you.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:09 pm

  73. It is like some people are hellbent on ignoring the difference between public funding and private funding.

    I’m the last person who would ignore that difference, and the fact that you could say that shows that you’re either not paying attention or deliberately dishonest. But that difference does not affect the value of the object of the spending. Wise spending does not become foolish just because government improperly does it. Foolish spending does not become wise just because Bill Gates or George Soros or Ted Turner take it on.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:12 pm

  74. And even if I think that job is stupid I am not allowed to criticize it, because a) you say so and b) the Law of Not Criticizing Stupid Government Jobs Because They Exist?

    It’s legitimate to criticise the existence of the EPA. It’s not legitimate to single out this particular expenditure, this tiny percentage of its huge budget, for criticism as wasteful. Doing so means that its wasteful even by the standards of the rest of its expenditure, which it is not.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:15 pm

  75. It’s an investment!!!!

    And I will not stand by and let the Republicans cut investments, when the rich who are already doing just find could pay a little more blah blah blah.

    It is an investment. Government should not be making investments, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is one. And investments should be cut, eventually, but not before all actual waste has been cut first. Investments like this pay for themselves in the long run, so they’re not drains on the economy. Wasteful spending is a drain on the economy, so that has to go first.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:19 pm

  76. There are quite a few “jobs” in the EPA’s quiver that they don’t do, but should.
    This is one of those things that they do, but shouldn’t.

    On the contrary, this is one of the few valuable things they do.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:20 pm

  77. I’m the last person who would ignore that difference,

    Except you have ignored it, repeatedly, in more than one thread. My issue is that it is not an approprirate expenditure of taxpayer money. Whether or not it is good, or desirable, or helpful, or increases the worlds knowledge of shrimp endurance makes not a lick of difference to me. It is something appropriately funded by private dollars. At a time when 40% of all dollars spent are borrowed, there is no room for this. The Southern Shrimp Alliance could fund this vital research, or the importers, which account for over 90% of all shrimp consumed in the US.

    But I guess it is really that I am just anti-science.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:22 pm

  78. Except you have ignored it, repeatedly, in more than one thread.

    Again you lie. Show me one place where I have ignored it. Show me one place where I have defended such spending without noting that it’s still not a legitimate function of government.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:31 pm

  79. But I guess it is really that I am just anti-science.

    When you call it nonsense, and make fun of it, and include it in a list of wasteful expenditure, as if it too were money being poured down the toilet, then you are anti-science.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:33 pm

  80. It is something appropriately funded by private dollars.

    Tell me, is Head Start “something appropriately funded by private dollars”? If Ted Turner or Bill Gates were to fund it, would it suddenly stop being a waste of money? Of course it would be none of our business; it’s their money and they can waste it if they want to. But it would still be wasted.

    At a time when 40% of all dollars spent are borrowed, there is no room for this.

    At a time when 40% of all dollars spent are borrowed, is there room for cancer research? When you ignore the tens of billions spent on that, to criticise $700K spent on shrimp research, and in particular $1K spent on a treadmill for this research, you show that you don’t see them the same way.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:38 pm

  81. No, I can’t “get that through my head”. Either an expenditure is valuable or it’s nonsense. Either it’s wise or it’s foolish. Who’s paying for it doesn’t affect that.

    I think it does. I think it’s nonsense to spend taxpayer money to give to old people or to poor people. Does that mean I think it’s nonsense for charities to give money to poor people or to needy old people? Nope.

    But according to your logic, any spending — ANY spending — that I think is “wise” when done privately, I must needs think is “wise” when done by the government.

    Well, I don’t.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:51 pm

  82. When you call it nonsense, and make fun of it

    And when a person has full faith in the ability of government agencies and their pencil-pushing bureaucrats to truly know what studies need and deserve to be funded — particularly if that research is based in distant foreign lands — I call that a sign of quite a bit of naivete.

    But at least our beautiful government is able to figure out the complexity of time and the clock’s impact on human health (biorhythms) and energy usage. So under the wonders and joy of Daylight Saving Time — and not wanting to be even more droopy eyed tomorrow morning — I say “nightie night.”

    Comment by Mark (1713de) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:52 pm

  83. I didn’t originally call it “wasteful” by the way. I listed it as an example of something that could be cut before we cut air traffic controllers.

    But, Milhouse, you chose to DELIBERATELY LIE ABOUT WHAT I SAID.

    (I don’t really think that. I’m just applying Milhousian rhetoric for one comment, so you can see how much fun it is to be on the receiving end. Whee, right?)

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:54 pm

  84. Shrimp run on a treadmill to “Eye of the Tiger”:

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:55 pm

  85. DON’T YOU DARE LAUGH AT THAT

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 10:56 pm

  86. Again, let’s look at what you wrote:

    Even $100 spent on such nonsense would be $100 too much.

    In that sentence, “such nonsense” refers not to the expenditure itself, but to its object. And that object is either nonsense or it isn’t; it can’t be nonsense when one person funds it and wise when another does.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:00 pm

  87. And when a person has full faith in the ability of government agencies and their pencil-pushing bureaucrats to truly know what studies need and deserve to be funded — particularly if that research is based in distant foreign lands — I call that a sign of quite a bit of naivete.

    I don’t even have faith in the ability of government to do its legitimate and necessary functions efficiently. That’s why wastefulness in defense spending doesn’t shock me. The government is no better at running the armed forces than it is at running the Post Office. The difference is that it has to run the armed forces, because nobody else can, and it has to be done, so we just have to accept the inefficiency, and merely try to minimise it as best we can.

    But at the same time, what government spends money on useful things is not all wasted. What it spends on useless things is.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:07 pm

  88. On the contrary, this is one of the few valuable things they do.

    That says volumes!

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:22 pm

  89. In that sentence, “such nonsense” refers not to the expenditure itself, but to its object. And that object is either nonsense or it isn’t; it can’t be nonsense when one person funds it and wise when another does.

    I already addressed this argument.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:24 pm

  90. Hope everyone is well. Just wanted to drop by and say hello instead of just lurking now and then.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:25 pm

  91. Ahh.. Reading up the thread brings up some thoughts…You folks still haven’t learned that Milhouse is an expert on every topic and IS NOT TO BE DISPUTED!!!

    He conveniently lost Internet the last time I interacted with him. That was when he was supposed to apologize for calling me a liar. Hasn’t changed a bit.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:27 pm

  92. Is it a dramatic robotic squirrel, because I’d like to see that,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:27 pm

  93. Patterico – If you don’t agree with Milhouse you are ANTI-SCIENCE!!!!!

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:27 pm

  94. Stashiu3!!!!

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:28 pm

  95. Wassup!?!?

    ;)

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:29 pm

  96. If a research project does not meet the standards of private industry for funding, but loons in government find some way to justify shelling out bucks for it, DON’T YOU DARE CRITICIZE THE PROJECT because KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWLEDGE, I read it in a Heinlein book, which makes it true.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:33 pm

  97. I’ve read Heinlein extensively. He was not a big-government type who would endorse government paying for this research. All of his work endorses the rugged-individualist, not the nanny-state. The research may be valid and valuable. That doesn’t mean the taxpayers should foot the bill.

    Some people will never admit that.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:41 pm

  98. All requests for research money should be automatically approved, whether in the private sector or public sector because KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWLEDGE.

    This needs to be enshrined in a Constitutional Amendment.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/10/2013 @ 11:41 pm

  99. Stashiu!!!

    Yeah, wasn’t he going to come back and address that whole thing? Don’t remember him doing that. Now’s as good a time as any . . .

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/11/2013 @ 12:16 am

  100. I’d love to play hack obama in golf. Loser dies.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:55 am

  101. Thanks for the share of useful information.

    Comment by display homes (06dfd2) — 3/11/2013 @ 2:17 am

  102. Ahh.. Reading up the thread brings up some thoughts…You folks still haven’t learned that Milhouse is an expert on every topic and IS NOT TO BE DISPUTED!!!

    Garbage. I’ve never claimed to be an expert on every topic, or even on most topics. The way I avoid being wrong in a dispute like this is by avoiding taking a firm stand on topics where I don’t know that I’m right. “Teach your tongue to say ‘I don’t know’, lest you be proven wrong and be caught out.” Try it, it works.

    He conveniently lost Internet the last time I interacted with him. That was when he was supposed to apologize for calling me a liar. Hasn’t changed a bit.

    Um, as I recall you were supposed to apologise to me, not the other way around. I don’t generally call people liars unless they have lied.

    If this was around the end of January last year, my internet was out from 1-Feb until 6-Apr (and because I waited more than 30 days after service was restored before demanding compensation, Time Warner refused to do more than refund one month’s fees that they’d charged me but not provided any service).

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:31 am

  103. askeptic wrote:

    If the manure is such a problem, then let’s just ban pig-farming…..bacon’s bad for you anyhow, just ask a Greenie.

    Shut up! Mayor Bloomberg reads this site, and that’ll be the next thing he hits with his ban-hammer.

    Comment by The Dana who's glad he doesn't live in New York (3e4784) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:35 am

  104. Milhouse wrote:

    I have not suggested that only the government can do this. Indeed, the government shouldn’t be doing any research at all. But that’s not the point. The point is that it is not nonsense, and it is not wasteful. It’s a valuable thing that someone else should be doing. The same applies to space exploration, and medical research, and vaccinating children, and all sorts of other valuable things that government should stay out of. Criticising them as wasteful, or calling them nonsense, only serves to discredit you.

    If we accept your position as stated, “It’s a valuable thing that someone else should be doing,” is it your position that if nobody else is doing these valuable things, the government should or must do them?

    That, to me, is the problem with government spending: virtually everything can be justified as having some value, by someone, somewhere, and I doubt that there’s a single government program in which there isn’t somebody who’s livelihood is dependent upon such program. I would argue that every government program cut means that someone is getting laid off.

    Can we ever choose not to do a thing in which someone can justify some value simply because we don’t have the money?

    Comment by The laissez faire Dana (3e4784) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:43 am

  105. Dana – why are you so virulently anti-science?

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:05 am

  106. Good to see your presence, Stashiu3!

    - Once upon a time I was more of a basic science person, and I still think there is a lot of basic science research that will eventually be “useful”, but might be hard for a CEO to justify to shareholders.
    - Once upon a time I think it was Bell Labs that did a lot of physics research that was breakthrough and lead to commercial importance, but then Bell labs was broken up by the feds anti-trust people. (At least that is I remember it).
    - For a while I liked Proxmire back in the day, but then I thought he was more interested in making headlines and would mock things that had more utility than he wanted to acknowledge.

    - I am willing to taste test the shrimp after the treadmill for free.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:05 am

  107. Maybe McCartney needs to do a video of “Shrimp on the Run” to pay for the research.

    If it was people on a treadmill after eating shrimp Jackson Browns could do “Running on Shrimp”.

    Or if it was trying to teach shrimp to dance, it could be Bob Seger and “Shrimp Moves”.

    Yes, I am done now.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:10 am

  108. Brownse

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:11 am

  109. Um, as I recall you were supposed to apologise to me, not the other way around. I don’t generally call people liars unless they have lied.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:31 am

    (For anyone who is bored by internet spats, ignore this please. Especially the links… it’s tedious.)

    You call people liars all the time just for disagreeing with you, including JD and Patterico just this weekend. The conversation started here, I made a (very) small error in a statement (I thought you had lied, but later agreed you may have just misunderstood) and did apologize for it here, you clearly lied in a reply here because you referenced a comment that you claimed you hadn’t seen before replying to it, and Patterico gave you a chance to reconsider your statements about me here. All this while you claimed I lie and comment in bad faith, as well as throwing in an “F you too” for good measure. The fact that you “recall” I was supposed to apologize to you… remarkable to say the least.

    You’re still an arrogant bully, an internet tough guy. Sad. You can go back to my very first comment here and look at every one since. I have never lied or sad anything in bad faith. You just can’t admit when you’re wrong. I didn’t think waiting a year would make a difference and I was right. You will never change.

    By the way, I don’t call you a liar for claiming no internet between 1 Feb and 6 Apr, even though you were commenting on the 11th of February. You see, not everything is black and white. I am able to infer that you connected through a source other than your own home. I doubt you would give someone else the same consideration.

    Patterico, He’s never going to admit he was wrong, apologize, or do anything except what he always does. I think it was Simon Jester who said something like “Milhouse always doubles-down.”, or words to that effect. Maybe you can stomach him easier than I can. If so, I tip my cap to you. ;)

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:40 am

  110. Yeah, except the vacations are estimated to have cost the taxpayers $1.4 BILLION.

    Comment by Wildwood15 (c8c1a9) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:44 am

  111. My cable service is still out, and the wifi from next door cuts in and out, mostly out. And tomorrow I’m traveling much of the day. But I will get back to y’all. (emphasis mine)
    Comment by Milhouse (843f71) — 2/15/2012 @ 7:50 pm

    But he never did. Wonder what he would call that if someone else said/did it? Would he accept an explanation? Give fair consideration to circumstance? Or would he be his usual hyper-literal self (when it suits him) and declare it a falsehood and the individual a “bald-faced liar”? I know which way I would wager.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 5:55 am

  112. Stashiu3: long time. good to see you. *wave* :)

    Comment by aphrael (4fdd37) — 3/11/2013 @ 6:17 am

  113. Um, as I recall you were supposed to apologise to me, not the other way around. I don’t generally call people liars unless they have lied.

    Why don’t you be more specific about what you mean by “supposed to” in that sentence? Stashiu was “supposed to” apologize to you, in your mind?

    Might as well hash this out now. Make your best case that Stashiu lied, or apologize for calling him a liar when you had not clearly established a knowing falsehood on his part. There’s no Internet outage to blame.

    Consider your words carefully. They may be your last on this site.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/11/2013 @ 6:59 am

  114. Its a shame because Milhouse can at times contribute to conversations, but he has a tendency to decide to argue with someone in ever tightening circles. I’ve found myself in that situation with him – ending up wondering what the hell the argument was about. Often he’s most vociferous toward those ostensibly nearest him in position.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:14 am

  115. 113. Consider your words carefully. They may be your last on this site.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 3/11/2013 @ 6:59 am

    Spartans have their reputation to consider.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:23 am

  116. > Often he’s most vociferous toward those ostensibly nearest him in position.

    It’s surprising how often that pattern crops up in online discussions – or in activist groups – in general. It’s much easier to fight with your allies for not being sufficiently pure.

    Comment by aphrael (c41e1e) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:25 am

  117. My 2 cents
    Ya’ll can hash this out if you want, and at times it is necessary, but I think Stashiu3′s history makes it unnecessary for him to defend a claim of lying.
    I agree with SPQR that Milhouse seems to have a lot of informative things to say, but too often it rapidly becomes dogmatic and argumentative rather than collaborative.

    Just sayin’ sometimes one needs to make a point, other times a person’s reputation is sufficient. Stashiu3, DRJ, Patterico and some others have a staunch record of good faith discussion that they don’t have to defend.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:28 am

  118. MD: I’d second that. I’ve been on the receiving end of a very … tough … conversation with Stashiu, in which he made some unwarranted assumptions about my position … and when I stood toe to toe with him on it, he backed down and *publically apologized*. Which is a rare enough thing in internet debate that I remember it strongly years later.

    I have to admit this causes me to trust things he says more than the average anonymous internet friend. :)

    Comment by aphrael (c41e1e) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:31 am

  119. Always good to see Stashiu and Aphrael.

    Watching spats now embarrasses me for when I could get ugly about stupid political disagreement (And as aphrael notes, with people who are mostly allies).

    I agree with MD 100%.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:40 am

  120. Bad news. As long as you can use your EBT card at strip clubs there’s going to be a huge swath of people who don’t care about Obama’s spending habits.

    I conducted a brief survey down at “Naughty & Nice” last night/this morning.

    Where, by the way, the serve the best cup of coffee in town although Whole Foods is a close second.

    “Holly,” 24, unmarried mother of 3 and recently promoted to Sergeant in the Army Reserves, tells me that the stripping industry did fall on hard times after the housing bubble collapsed but had recently seen an uptick now that the clubs had figured out a way to convert public benefits into “funny money.”

    “Jesse,” a regular customer who refused to provide me with further details about his background but was sporting an impressive array of prison tats (“The Brand”) professed to have no guilt at all about using his EBT card to pay for lap dances. He cited Nancy Pelosi and informed me it was the most stimulative spending there was.

    “Star,” who is currently collaborating on an autobiography with the commander of NORAD now that she’s off meth and has lost the custody battle for her 4 children, said she thought the President should spend as much money as he wants on recreation given the fact that it’s public funds and therefore “it’s free money!” She merely expressed sadness that he wasn’t into naked girls.

    “Demetrius” refused to talk to me because he thought I might be five-O. I did notice he dropped six or seven EBT cards conservatively worth $40k when he tipped the valet who fetched his Bentley.

    “Julio” told me public benefits were the least we could give him considering we gringos stole the one part of Mexico with decent roads and an electrical grid.

    “Flower,” 26, who played a pivotal role in Pope Benedict XVI’s recent resignation when the VatiLeaks scandal exposed the fact the pair had exchanged 50,000 inappropriate emails, summed up the consensus of the assembled crowd of strippers and customers alike when she opined to thunderous applause that the main problem is “cheap bastards” who won’t spend money on them.

    “Mona,” 32, an amateur body builder and semi-pro dominatrix, concluded that the rich who won’t pay their fair share are the real problem. In her view they needed to be “punished” and that if she were in charge she could guarantee they wouldn’t enjoy it.

    There, in brief, is an overview of this Obamanation.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:55 am

  121. I’m sorry stashiu had to come back and address a spat.

    Comment by EPWJ (590d06) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:56 am

  122. I should point out that there were dissenters.

    “Indigo,” 28 and who is proud of the fact that she has slept with every single designated liberty risk aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, did admit she thought the government had a spending problem.

    Then she drove off with the double gin and tonic on the roof of her ’78 Firebird.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:03 am

  123. Steve57, hilarious.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:07 am

  124. Looks like the NIH has more money than it needs for real science grants.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:10 am

  125. SPQR…regarding your comments about Milhouse. What is the name of the mythical bird that flies in ever decreasing circles until it flies up its own fundament?

    I have never, ever understood “Purity of Essence” fighting, when the *real* opponent needs defeating.

    But that’s me.

    Comment by Simon Jester (c8876d) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:16 am

  126. Oh, and one more thing, about SPQR’s link regarding the NIH. I have repeated, over and over again, the dangers of politics getting involved with science. This is a great example. It’s shameful, and it gives science a bad name…much more so than shrimp on underwater treadmills.

    Comment by Simon Jester (c8876d) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:17 am

  127. SPQR, at times like these you either have to laugh or cry.

    I’m not big on crying, so…

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:20 am

  128. I don’t think Milhouse does his act out of a purity of essence style of argumentation. I think he just gets wrapped up in angels dancing on the head of a pin.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:21 am

  129. But the business with Stashiu3 irritates the heck out of me. I want more Stashiu3, and less shouts of “liar.”

    Comment by Simon Jester (c8876d) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:21 am

  130. Maybe they could reopen the White House for tours, and cut the SECURITY costs in Benghazi Libya!

    Comment by GUS (694db4) — 3/10/2013 @ 8:25 pm

    For that to happen there would actually have to be some security in Benghazi.

    Milhouse, I can’t make up my mind whether you are hopelessly doctrinaire or deliberately obtuse. Either way, reading your comments today reminds me why I have been avoiding this blog. Reading Patrick’s reminds me why I shouldn’t.

    Comment by creeper (f53367) — 3/11/2013 @ 9:44 am

  131. It appears that I’m late to the thread, but I’ll say this:

    1. Like aphrael, I have also experienced a public apology from Stash when he made an honest mistake. He is not one to forgo apology for the sake of ego.

    2. “The underlying assumption seems to be: this is a Good Thing, ergo, government should be paying for it. Thus, I should mock those who criticize the government for paying for it.” (Patterico)

    I assume you think there are some good things the government should subsidize, and some things it shouldn’t. I also think there are some good things the government should subsidize, and some that it shouldn’t. So we agree on that. We might disagree on which good things the government should subsidize. I think subsidizing scientific research is a good thing. I don’t think it’s a ridiculous thing.

    The only thing I mock is lumping in scientific research with Obama’s ham-handed patrician extravagance.

    Comment by Leviticus (17b7a5) — 3/11/2013 @ 10:13 am

  132. Comment by aphrael (c41e1e) — 3/11/2013 @ 7:25 am

    It is the fatal Libertarian disease.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 3/11/2013 @ 10:41 am

  133. [T]he impossibly elegant Obamas — he was sleek and tie-less, she wore black — have only raised the bar with a third date night since Inauguration Day.

    It’s easy to be elegant when you are blowing a million bucks on one “date night”. It’s easy for them to be “impossibly elegant” when they are pretty much the only people in the world who never see the bill from their elegant prancings around Manhattan.

    Let’s also remember that this is the same President who trashed people who purchase Gulfstream jets. It would appear that he, like all good socialists, is not angry at the accumulation and expenditure of wealth; he just does not like that a capitalist system, which requires him to spend less than he is capable of producing, does not put him on top.

    Comment by bridget (55e4a2) — 3/11/2013 @ 11:01 am

  134. Dayton Daily News: Local chaplain played vital role in war

    SPRINGFIELD —

    After the accidental burning last year of Qurans by U.S. troops in Afghanistan sparked deadly rioting, an Air National Guard chaplain from Springfield stepped in and potentially saved countless American lives.

    For his effort, Lt. Col. Jon Trainer received the prestigious Bronze Star — a medal given for heroic or meritorious achievement in connection with operations against an armed enemy.

    And he did it with a PowerPoint presentation.

    Trainer, who’s now in the running to be named Chaplain of the Year for the entire Air Guard, was in the third month of his voluntary deployment to Afghanistan last February when U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield mistakenly burned copies of the Muslim holy book.

    The ensuing outrage claimed more than 30 lives, including two U.S. troops and two U.S. military advisers.

    Within 48 hours, Trainer developed a PowerPoint presentation on the proper handling and disposal of Islamic religious material that was seen by every American — military and civilian alike — in Afghanistan. The presentation then was distributed to the U.S. for use in all pre-deployment training.

    Winning hearts and minds, and Bronze Stars, one PowerPoint presentation at a time.

    I’ll be down at “Naughty & Nice” or “Cheetahs” getting schooled on how right all this is.

    Plus I won’t be justifying my own murder by showing the soles of my shoes or otherwise being culturally insensitive to Muslims like the troops are all the time.

    Win, win!

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 11:48 am

  135. Just to make clear, you now get the Bronze Star for coming up with sensitivity training.

    My head hurts. Maybe somebody should give me a hug and a Purple Heart.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 12:08 pm

  136. He was a LTC. I think his contribution was valuable, but a deployed LTC can get a Bronze Star for almost anything these days. Awards are very watered-down compared to previous conflicts. I know nurses who got Bronze Stars for a routine deployment. It’s the “meritorious” part that turns the trick. You don’t have to do anything exceptional.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 12:58 pm

  137. I still regret the mistakes with aphrael and Leviticus. I am grateful they accepted my apologies at the time and value their friendship. I’ve questioned my own assumptions more than once because of their comments.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:04 pm

  138. Stashiu3 – It is good to see you stop in for a bit. Here’s another memory jogger.

    “I don’t know why it seems you’re eager to stir up arguments these days.

    I’m not eager to stir up arguments; people are just making stupid statements, like this one that a presidential candidate ought to carry his own state. Someone, I’m not sure whether it was ian, even proposed that the constitution be amended to disqualify any candidate who doesn’t carry his own state. That’s just stupid.

    It’s not my fault that there are some very stupid people here who insist on challenging me.

    Comment by Milhouse — 9/10/2011 @ 10:30 pm”

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:23 pm

  139. Yes, Stashiu3, I realize they’re now handing out Bronze Stars to whomever sells the most squadron t-shirts at the Kabul air show.

    I still want my Purple Heart for the hurt feelings.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:28 pm

  140. I realize DoD has instituted a new program in which it offers the service member the choice of a medal or a care bear, but I want the medal.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:30 pm

  141. Hey daleyrocks!

    I’m hoping to be around a lot more. It seems they may have finally figured out what was causing some medical problems and I have more energy than I’ve had for a long time. Of course, getting injections in the stomach every two weeks (and maybe more often soon) is no picnic, but I consider it a small price to pay for how I’m feeling now. Modern medicine… and TRICARE. Who’da thunk it? ;)

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:31 pm

  142. “Modern medicine” and “Tricare” are not words that belong in the same sentence.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:33 pm

  143. And, if we’re going to have a recap of Milhouse’s most arrogant quotes, I guess I will need to hit the tip jar because bandwidth costs are about to boom. Heh.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:33 pm

  144. Steve57,

    Exactly my point. Stopped clock maybe? It took a while, but I think they’ve got it now.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (1680c0) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:35 pm

  145. That is such excellent news.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:43 pm

  146. Stashiu3 – Great to hear you’re feeling better!

    Not to worry, I’m planning on taking it easy on dumping “Milhouse the Magnificent” quotes into the thread, although there is a more than ample supply.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/11/2013 @ 1:52 pm

  147. The SEC charged the State of Illinois with securities fraud over its concealment of its pension problems while selling bonds … and settles with a “no wrongdoing” wrist slap.

    Pathetic.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:49 pm

  148. It’s easy to be elegant when you are blowing a million bucks on one “date night”.
    Comment by bridget (55e4a2) — 3/11/2013 @ 11:01 am

    So that’s my problem. ;-)

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/11/2013 @ 6:21 pm

  149. I look at that “date night” picture and the one thought that keeps running through my head is, “Who wears heels on a lawn? Unless you’re trying to aerate it.”

    The pic reminded me to buys some lawn aerator sandals, so I guess the Obama administration has finally done me a service.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/11/2013 @ 6:42 pm

  150. 128. Second.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 3/11/2013 @ 8:20 pm

  151. 147.Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/11/2013 @ 4:49 pm

    The SEC charged the State of Illinois with securities fraud over its concealment of its pension problems while selling bonds … and settles with a “no wrongdoing” wrist slap.

    Pathetic.

    Either:

    A) the State of Illinois is Too Big to Fail

    B) The state of Illinois had never committed itself to following Governmental Accounting Standards as set by the GASB. They would have to prove common law fraud.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 3/12/2013 @ 1:57 pm

  152. Sammy, you didn’t read even what you quoted.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:05 pm

  153. And that revelation is new?

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:11 pm

  154. The State of Illinois was charged with fraud, but it wasn’t pursued. I said it might be there was a legal defense in that the state of Illinois had never committed itself to following GASB. The SEC would have to argue common law fraud, which is hard to prove.

    This is the Wall Street Journal story I had read:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578354370478104256.html

    Most states comply with governmental accounting standards, which “Illinois did not follow,” Elaine Greenberg, head of the SEC’s municipal securities and public pensions unit, said in an interview. “But the SEC cannot order a state to follow any particularly methodology.”

    That’s why I said they had never committed themselves to GASB and the SEC would have had ti prove common law fraud.

    This is the New York Times story:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/business/sec-accuses-illinois-of-securities-fraud.html?hp&_r=0

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:16 pm

  155. It’s one thing to make a charge – it’s another thing to win the case.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:17 pm

  156. “That’s why I said they had never committed themselves to GASB and the SEC would have had ti prove common law fraud.”

    Sammy – She is saying that if Illinois had been correctly following GASB they would have made the appropriate pension disclosures to investors.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:42 pm

  157. daley, clearly Sammy is right. It’s just flat wrong to accuse the state of Illinois of fraud because Illinois quite clearly never committed to telling investors the truth in the first place.

    Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/12/2013 @ 2:48 pm

  158. Steve57 – You are right. Investors in public securities don’t need to know anything about the risks of the securities they are buying. The SEC has no business forcing issuers to disclose any such risks.

    From the SEC:

    “An SEC investigation revealed that Illinois failed to inform investors about the impact of problems with its pension funding schedule as the state offered and sold more than $2.2 billion worth of municipal bonds from 2005 to early 2009. Illinois failed to disclose that its statutory plan significantly underfunded the state’s pension obligations and increased the risk to its overall financial condition. The state also misled investors about the effect of changes to its statutory plan.

    Illinois, which implemented a number of remedial actions and issued corrective disclosures beginning in 2009, agreed to settle the SEC’s charges.

    “Municipal investors are no less entitled to truthful risk disclosures than other investors,” said George S. Canellos, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Time after time, Illinois failed to inform its bond investors about the risk to its financial condition posed by the structural underfunding of its pension system.””

    http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2013/2013-37.htm

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 3/12/2013 @ 3:12 pm

  159. Stashiu: from my perspective, at any rate, you have no reason to regret. We hashed it out then, and it was settled, and there are no hard feelings.

    I bring it up here only to provide context for the praise I’m giving you. :)

    Comment by aphrael (4fdd37) — 3/13/2013 @ 9:19 am

  160. Since Abe Lincoln moved on to other venues, truth in Springfield has been an alien concept.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 3/13/2013 @ 9:23 am

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