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Monday, September 26, 2011

How Gov't Justifies Itself

It hires consultants.  At great expense.  To come up with totally ridiculous justifications for its spending habits.

Case in point:
Southwest Virginia airports land big bucks
By Jeff Sturgeon, Roanoke Times

Air travel, air cargo and associated aviation activities such as flight instruction are busy exchange points for money in this part of Southwest Virginia, contributing more than $230 million to the state's economy, a new report says.

Officials at the Virginia Department of Aviation were troubled last year by a sense that people did not understand the economic benefits of airports. They hired consultants to count all the dollars that change hands as a result of the state's 66 aviation facilities.

The total was $28.8 billion in 2010, according to the study released in August.

Three Southwest Virginia airports - those in Roanoke, Blacksburg and Dublin - are churning out $231.5 million in economic activity just by themselves, the report said.

To get the big picture, consultants ranged outside the borders of the aviation field, counting not only plane tickets and jet fuel, but also visitor spending on hotels and entertainment if those visitors arrived by plane. As a result, they counted some of the same dollars, say, that are tallied in the annual accounting of tourism spending. Still, the report captures aviation's significant economic footprint.

Virginia Tech-Montgomery Executive Airport in Blacksburg, where 42 aircraft are based and 14,000 aircraft landed and took off last year, is described as a hotbed of monetary activity.

The single-runway airport itself employs nine people, but its presence supports a total of 70 jobs that pay nearly $2 million. All told, the public airport contributes $9.4 million statewide, the study said. [link]
I want to use the word fabulous at this point, to describe this story.  Fabulous!  But not in its most often thought of sense.  But fabulous as in "barely credible" and "lacking factual basis or historical validity."

This is such bullshit on its face that I'll not even take the time to hunt up the details and destroy them with an injection of reality.  I'll simply ask that readers turn to my assessment of the last government-funded study that attempted to do the same thing - justify tax dollar expenditures with skewed historical data - see "'Tourism' Ain't What It Used To Be" - and let the subterfuge that goes into such studies speak for itself.

I'll simply ask a question, leaving the hysterical numbers aside:  Since the three airports studied - in Roanoke, Dublin, and Blacksburg - are every bit of 35 miles apart, each located conveniently off of Interstate 81, which means a person wanting to hop a flight out of any one of the three would be little more than half an hour from each, what would the detrimental effect be on that tremendous economic activity if two of the three airports were closed and the redundancy quashed, saving the Virginia taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars each year?

Let me answer my own question: Squat.

Nothing would change.  Because we have three airports in an area that only calls for one.

Yet there they are.

And there they'll stay.

As long as (a) local and state politicians continue to come up with taxpayers' hard-earned income to support them, and (b) as long as fabulous studies are conjured that justify their existence.

- - -

* Why did the study stop there?  Why wasn't the airport in Bluefield mentioned?   And the one in Tazewell?  And in Hillsville?  And Rural Retreat?  And Abingdon?  And Martinsville?  And Wise?  And across the border in Johnson City?  How many billions of dollars are those eight taxpayer-supported airports bringing in, one wonders.

**  Another couple of questions: Regarding the statement that "Virginia Tech-Montgomery Executive Airport in Blacksburg, where 42 aircraft are based and 14,000 aircraft landed and took off last year ...," how many of those 14,000 takeoffs involved planes with a seating capacity of four or less?  Most?  And how many of those involved flight instruction?  Half?  More than half?  Get us to $9.4 million with that.

A Thought Upon Which To Expand

If those writing such thoughts weren't so close-minded and had the capacity to expand them:

Maybe light speed isn't the max: The possibility that neutrinos traveled faster than light reminds us why science is so cool.

How about that?  Here the science regarding the speed of light was so "settled."

And now it's not.

What other settled theory might be next to become ... unsettled?

(I wonder ...)

Perhaps They Should Read The Constitution ...

... before making fools of themselves.

The New York Times in an editorial ("An Indefensible Punishment") this morning:

"It is time Americans acknowledged that the death penalty cannot be made to comply with the Constitution and is in every way indefensible."

Earth to New York Times: The Constitution specifically acknowledges the use of capital punishment and provides the conditions under which it is to be administered.

Specifically. See The Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. [emphasis mine]
No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.

Argue that it's immoral.

Argue that it's ineffective.

Argue that it's arbitrarily applied.

Argue that its application is subject to human error.

But don't tell us that its not Constitutionally defensible.

'Global Warming' Giggle of the Day

How does a true believer in global warming climate change react to the news that global atmospheric temperatures haven't risen at all since 1998?

Well, if that person is a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, he'd say he knew it was part of the global warming plan all along. Didn't everyone?  Temperatures rise until they don't.  And then they'll start rising again.  At some point.

And shut up.

Too funny.


Obama's FY 2011 Debt Bigger Than Nixon's Entire Government

All We Ever Wanted Was 'Fair & Balanced'

There is a business model here crying out to TV news executives and producers.  Not that any of them will pay attention to it.  They seem to prefer ideology over job security and return on investors' equity.

Pew: Fox News Channel America’s No.1 Source for TV News
By Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News

The Fox News Channel beat out local television and CNN as Americans' number one source of television news on national and international issues, according to a survey published Thursday by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press.

In the survey, which was conducted July 20-24, Pew asked 1,501 American adults whether they got most of their television news on national and international issues from local television, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, or if television was not a main source of news for them.

Fox came out on top with 19 percent saying they got most of their TV news there. That was followed by local television at 16 percent, CNN at 15 percent, NBC at 10 percent, ABC at 8 percent, CBS at 7 percent, and MSNBC at 6 percent.

Thirty-four percent said that television was not a main source of news for them.

Pew has been asking Americans where they get most of their television news since January 2002. Back then, CNN led with 28 percent followed by Fox News with 16 percent and local television with 16 percent. [link]
In graph form, it looks like this:

I think most fair-minded people in this country would agree with me that the least biased news reporting on television today comes from Fox and the local news outlets.  The Pew study is a reflection of that fact.

When do you suppose the other networks will wise up and tone down the liberal attitude?

I Don't Get It

This is what you call being stuck on stupid:


And who is it that he demands that they march against?

The Man.

And who's The Man?