Here’s hoping you have a merry, merry Christmas, and a blessed and fruitful 2014. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs.
Here’s an interesting illustration that points out the differences in these two social/political ideologies: North Korea has almost 25 million people, and this is how much light is generated there at night. For reasons that are a complete mystery to me, this is an economic system that lots of people in the United States would like to see in place. Do they really understand what it produces?
As the federal government grows in size and influence, its ability to intrude into our lives becomes greater – and more destructive. Now, they want to make sure magicians are properly licensed, and they have disaster plans written out for the rabbits in their magic hats. Do we really need magicians to be licensed? Are there real safety and environmental issues present in the practice of performing magic for some kid’s birthday party?
The point here is the government continues to grow unbridled. As it grows, it needs some justification for all those employees they take on, so they use them to create and enforce the thousands of burdensome and unneeded regulations that the bureaucrats have spent our tax dollars dreaming up.
Marty the Magician performed magic tricks for kids, including the traditional rabbit-out-of-a-hat. Then one day: “I was signing autographs and taking pictures with children and their parents,” he told me. “Suddenly, a badge was thrown into the mix, and an inspector said, ‘Let me see your license.'”
In “Harry Potter” books, a creepy Ministry of Magic controls young wizards. Now in the USA, government regulates stage magicians — one of the countless ways it makes life harder for the little guy.
Marty’s torment didn’t end with a demand for his license. “She said, from now on, you cannot use your rabbit until you fill out paperwork, pay the $40 license fee. We’ll have to inspect your home.”
Ten times since, regulators showed up unannounced at Marty’s house. At one point, an inspector he hadn’t seen before appeared. He hoped things had changed for the better.
“I got a new inspector and I said, oh, did my first one retire? She said, ‘No, good news! We’ve increased our budget and we have more inspectors now. So we’ll be able to visit you more often.'”
Here are your tax dollars at work.
The inspectors told Marty that the Animal Welfare Act required him to file paperwork demonstrating that he had “a comprehensive written disaster plan detailing everything I would do with my rabbit in the event of a fire, a flood, a tornado, an ice storm.”
This guy actually didn’t show up for work for 18 months (one of many absences), yet continued to receive salary and bonuses ($206,000 annually) that totaled more than the administrator of the EPA. Didn’t anyone notice -or care- that he wasn’t showing up? Are they that busy that they didn’t have time to deal with an employee who didn’t bother to show up for work, or did they just not care (I suspect it was the latter)?
The good part, I guess, is that while he was off doing something else, he wasn’t busy lumping new regulations on businesses.
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and top expert on climate change engaged in “crime of massive proportions” by pretending to be working as an undercover agent for the CIA so he could avoid doing his real job for years, according to federal prosecutors and the agency’s top investigator on the case. In a memorandum filed days before his sentencing in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, prosecutors asked that John C. Beale, 65, be sent to federal prison for at least 30 months for bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, and said his “historic” lies are “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.“With the help of his therapist,” wrote attorney John Kern, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”
Until he retired in April after learning he was under federal investigation, Beale, an NYU grad with a masters from Princeton, was earning a salary and bonuses of $206,000 a year, making him the highest paid official at the EPA. He earned more money than Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator and, for years, his immediate boss, according to agency documents. In September, Beale, who served as a “senior policy adviser” in the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, pled guilty to defrauding the U.S. government out of nearly $900,000 since 2000. Beale perpetrated his fraud largely by failing to show up at the EPA for months at a time, including one 18-month stretch starting in June 2011 when he did “absolutely no work,” as Kern, Beale’s lawyer, acknowledged in his court filing.
No one’s ever gotten sick from eating the sauce, but California has suddenly found it necessary to shut down shipments of Sriracha hot sauce.
Public health officials in California have taken the drastic step of ordering the maker of Sriracha chili sauce to cease selling the popular condiment in the green-topped squeeze bottle for a month even though no one has ever complained about any problems with the sauce.
The shipping hold, which could mean some store shelves will be empty until mid-January, turned a spotlight on one of America’s most unusual corporate success stories: the tale of an ethnic Chinese culinary entrepreneur whose success and company growth has suddenly – and, to some, oddly – run into regulatory roadblocks.
More immediately, the California Department of Public Health alarmed chefs, hot sauce fans, and foodies around the US when it ordered David Tran’s Rosemead, Calif.-based company, Huy Fong, to stop shipping its ubiquitous chili-sugar-vinegar concoction so the state can test whether sauce made at a new production facility is safe to splash on food.
Paula Swisher draws detailed and beautiful pictures of birds – on the pages of books.
Sure, it costs $7,000 and weighs 750 lbs. and it’s too big to put anywhere in my house, but I’d still love to have one of these. You can get yours at Restoration Hardware.