Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

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Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by CarolinaHound on Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:35 pm

I’m posting this thread based on some info I found about N.C. because it’s my home state. Naturally I’m more inclined to be interested in the state that I live, as I’m sure most of you are inclined to seek information on the state you live in. Why should what happens in N.C. be of any concern to someone who lives in other states, say Massachusetts, Wyoming, California, or any of the other states? Because these, in my opinion, moronic; if not moronic, certainly less important projects are funded with federal stimulus money.

Perhaps this may provoke you to look into some of the federally funded projects in your state that are saving or creating so many jobs, and riding to the rescue of our troubled economy like Don Quixote who battles the windmills. Is it any wonder our country is broke?

The following is a dreaded copy and paste from the following site in which the writer lists 10 things funded by federal stimulus funds. I really can’t add anymore comment than what the author writes other than, “What a bunch of crooks, idiots, and losers we send to represent us.”

http://www.jwpcivitasinstitute.org/media/publication-archive/policy-brief/hot-flashes-dead-bugs-and-cocaine-monkeys-10-worst-federal-st

The Civitas Institute poured through the federal website charged with tracking stimulus spending, and created the following list – The 10 Worst Federal Stimulus Projects in North Carolina.

1. Study of monkeys using cocaine: $71,623
Wake Forest University was granted money to “study the effects of self-administering cocaine on the glutamate system on monkeys.” Well, at least the monkeys will be stimulated.

2. North Carolina Dance Theatre: $50,000
This grant is used to retain four professional dancers from the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s second company. Nice for them, but why are tax dollars financing what should be a privately-funded philanthropic organization?

3. Reducing hot flashes through yoga: $147,694
Funds granted to Wake Forest University to study “preliminary data on the efficacy of integral yoga for reducing menopausal hot flashes.” The President warned us that the stimulus plan was needed to avoid an economic “catastrophe.” How does this study help revive the economy?

4. Collecting, researching and reporting on the stimulus act: $115,000; $150,000; $227,940
Total: $492,940
Nearly half a million taxpayer dollars will go toward funding more propaganda selling the “benefits” of the stimulus plan. The federal government created the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, while North Carolina established the Office of Economic Recovery & Investment for these very purposes. Apparently, that’s just not enough propaganda.

5. Create interactive dance performance technology: $762,372
This grant to UNC-Charlotte will fund the development of computer technology to digitally record the dance moves of performers. The recorded movements can then be reviewed and manipulated by a computer program. Although creating virtual-reality type technology for dance movements may be interesting to those involved, how does this serve to “protect the education of our children”? At an average salary of roughly $47,000, this money could have saved 16 North Carolina teacher jobs.

6. American Dance Festival, Inc.: $50,000
A graphic designer and archivist will retain their jobs thanks to this grant. The American Dance Festival hosts dance classes, workshops and engages in other charitable activities to help support dancers. How will this help reverse a major international financial crisis, exactly?

7. Construction of a new Town Hall in Bladenboro: $200,000; $100,000
Total: $300,000
Why are taxpayers from across the country forced to finance construction of a local government office? This is a classic case of earmark pork spending.

8. North Carolina Folk Life Institute:$25,000
With the help of this grant, the Institute was able to retain its executive director. Will this help “provide relief to North Carolina’s families”?

9. Preservation of an insect collection at North Carolina State: $253,123
We were promised that the stimulus was going to “save jobs.” We were never told it would also help preserve dead bugs.

10. Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: $50,000
These funds are used to retain the GSO’s director of marketing and education manager. More bailouts of what should be a privately-funded organization.

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by HotParadox on Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:46 pm

An awful lot to read here, but at least go the the link and watch the video:


http://www.necn.com/pages/landing?blockID=163714&tagID=22431



NECIR: Regulation violators receive stimulus contracts


(NECN: Joe Bergantino) - So far this year, Massachusetts has handed out almost $162 million in transportation contracts paid for with federal stimulus funds. It turns out several companies have gotten those contracts despite a record of violating various laws and regulations. One of dozens of transportation projects in Massachusetts paid for with federal stimulus dollars is the repaving of the highway that runs along the Cape Cod Canal. The contractor is P.A. Landers -- a company that's been awarded $4.4 million in stimulus contracts this year in Massachusetts alone. Some history: just two years ago, P.A. Lander's and its president Preston Landers were convicted of defrauding the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars by overbilling for asphalt on several road projects. "If it were up to me, if a company is caught red-handed with their hands in the till, ripping off taxpayers, I wouldn't let them do business again," Massachusetts Inspector General Greg Sullivan said. But P.A. Landers is getting government contracts and so is Aggregate Industries. Two years ago, Aggregate was convicted of defrauding taxpayers by supplying thousands of truckloads of substandard concrete to the big dig project. The firm agreed to pay $50 million in fines. This past summer, six of the company's former managers pleaded guilty or were convicted of defrauding the government in the same case. Aggregate has two stimulus contracts, totaling $8.9 million for road work in several Massachusetts towns. NECIR's investigation has found that millions in federal stimulus dollars for transportation projects in Massachusetts are ending up in the pockets of companies with a history of trouble. They include not only contracting firms that have committed serious crimes, but also many others that have violated state and federal environmental laws as well as workplace safety regulations. Overall 13 of the 21 firms awarded stimulus contracts as of September 30th have a history of violating laws and regulations and several of those companies have failed to disclose their records to state officials despite the risk of committing perjury. In the case of P.A. Landers, the Administrator of the State Highway Division says she wanted to permanently bar the company from doing business with the state. "I wanted in the worst way to find the maximum punishment for them," Luisa Paiewonsky said. "I asked our general counsel and our lawyers, can we do that? The answer was no, we could not put them out of business." Instead, the Highway Division banned both Landers and Aggregate from bidding on state contracts for a period of time-aggregate for just less than four months; P.A. Landers for two and a half years. "When the length of the suspension was served, we had no other legal means of punishing them." The Highway Division's lawyers decided permanently banning any company from state contracts would be unconstitutional and so the two companies can now bid on the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stimulus contracts pouring into Massachusetts. But that's not the only problem when it comes to who is getting stimulus contracts. The state uses information contractors supply in this application to decide whether a firm is qualified or unqualified to bid on government projects. Take a look at question 22. It requires contractors to list any civil, criminal or administrative proceedings they've been involved in over the past three years. The state says that would include violations of workplace safety and environmental laws. "Any violation of a law or state or regulation is something we would take seriously," Paiewonsky said. To find out if stimulus contractors are telling the truth about their records we checked the websites of several federal and state agencies and poured through numerous government documents. At least seven companies with a history of polluting the environment have received stimulus contracts. They include: Aggregate Industries: In April 2008- a $587,000 fine for air pollution at its facitilites around Massachusetts. In October 2006, a $13,000 fine for other air pollution violations. "It does appear that they were not truthful and they signed this contract under pains and penalties of perjury," Paiewonsky said. Aggregate says it was confused about what it had to report. Two other companies getting stimulus contracts also failed to tell the state about the pollution fines they paid out. When asked if it troubled her, Paiewonsky said, "It certainly does -- it does appear very troubling to me." "The government ought not be contracting with companies who show a disregard for employee safety and health," Paiewonsky said. But it appears that may be happening. At least ten companies with a prior record of workplace safety violations have received stimulus contracts. Among them, Lidell Brothers of Halifax, Massachusetts. It has a $2.6 million stimulus contract for sign and traffic signal replacement along a portion of Interstate 95. On the website of OSHA -- the federal agency that monitors workplace safety -- NECIR found Liddell had paid about $47,000 in fines for several violations. OSHA cited the company for failing -- four separate times -- to provide cave-in protection for workers in trenches deeper than five feet. In announcing one of those fines, OSHA said, "The potenital for death or serious injury was real and present." Liddell did not report those OSHA violations to the state highway department. The company says it didn't think it had to. "We need to have that info when we are making our decisions," Paiewonsky said. Including deciding whether Liddell is qualified to bid on stimulus contracts. The state admits it rarely verifies the information submitted by contractors. "If we don't have enough staff doing it now, then we need to add staff to do it," Paiewonsky said. The State Highway Division is asking each of the companies that failed to report their record of violations for a written response explaining why. The state will then decide what action, if any, it wil take. In the meantime, companies with a history of law breaking continue to get millions in stimulus contracts. And consider this irony: P.A. Landers and Aggregate Industries have had the option of using money they've made on those contracts --taxpayer dollars -- to pay the millions in fines they've been asssesed for essentially cheating taxpayers.. P.A. Landers still owes $1 million of its $3-million fine for defrauding the state. Aggregate owes $16 million of its $50 million fine. P.A. Landers' former president, Preston Landers, remains behind bars. The company has two former federal law enforcement officials monitoring its operations and it did report pollution violations to the state as required. Aggregate Industries says it has new owners, new top management and a stringent compliance program. The New England Center For Investigative Reporting at Boston University is an investigative reporting collaborative that includes NECN, the Boston Globe, WBUR and El Planeta.
The New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University is an investigative reporting collaborative co-directed by Joe Bergantino and Maggie Mulvihill.
Student contributors to this story include Sydney Lupkin, Ben Ezickson, Sarah Favot, Andrew McFarland and Jason Marder. Other NECIR partners include WBUR, New England Cable News, the Warren Group, New England Ethnic News and El Planeta.

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by HotParadox on Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:49 pm

In Massachusetts, a notable portion of the “stimulus” money has gone to bee research. Suspect

9.3 million is headed to Harvard for a project called "Robobees," to artificially mimic the behavior of a bee colony.

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/jborowski/stimulus-continues-to-fund-strange-wasteful-projec

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by CarolinaHound on Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:08 pm

Dang HP, I thought we had some screwed up spending.

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by HotParadox on Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:33 pm

Yeah, my state takes the cake. I mean you should see some of the other crap:


I-Team: Where Is The Stimulus Money Going?

BOSTON (WBZ) ―

How does the study of bee pollen in northern Iceland during the Viking age create jobs and stimulate the local economy? That's one question the I-Team is asking after reviewing where federal stimulus money is being spent in Massachusetts.

A nail gun blast is a measure of success at a construction site in Roslindale where recovery dollars are at work. Ten million federal stimulus dollars were pumped into the project to build affordable housing and create jobs.

"It's very important because before this job there was pretty much no job out there," said Pierre Calixte, who found work at the Roslindale site. "The stimulus money was given, that's when the jobs started coming out."

"It's real hard," echoed Gregory Ferdinand. "I'm from local 103. We have about 1,700 guys out of work."

WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING…

But the I-Team did some digging into the thousands of grants and the billions of dollars in stimulus funds that landed in the Bay State and discovered not all of that money is doing what it's supposed to be doing - creating and saving jobs.

* Almost $500,000 is buying a police boat and surveillance equipment;
* $25,000 is the cost for vertical blinds at a local college;
* $43,000 for a GPS boat identification system for a local tour boat company
* Almost $1.5 million to renovate a decommissioned lighthouse on Monomoy Island



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes the lighthouse project will ripple into the local economy by creating about 15 jobs, but the I-Team has learned the design went to a company out of state.

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH

There are millions of dollars going to research at local universities. At MIT, they're studying the modeling of rechargeable batteries for a price of $724,000 and $9.3 million is headed to Harvard for a project called "Robobees," to artificially mimic the behavior of a bee colony. And the list goes on and on.

A spokesperson for Harvard said faculty members are contributing significantly to get the economy back on its feet and helping to retain the country's scientific edge. He said the grants from stimulus money are bringing jobs to the state and increasing innovation, which will pay off in the future. Critics say there should be more scrutiny because the country can't afford to spend money where it's really not needed right now.

Officials at Harvard and MIT tell us the millions for research at their universities will help foster innovation and create jobs in whole new sectors for the long term, which is something President Obama specifically called on the scientific community to do.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Boston University economics professor Larry Kotlikoff says bottom line to a lot of this is waste.

"I think if we can't really direct the funds to create jobs we should not spend the money, period, because it's worrying the public about repaying it and that's keeping them from creating business and hiring people," Kotlikoff said.

Congressman Ed Markey wouldn't comment on the specifics the I-Team found, but said overall that the stimulus bill put many people in Massachusetts back to work.

"The overall preponderance of this money has saved the Massachusetts and U.S. economy from going over a cliff," Markey said. "Without the investment in biotech, energy and transportation projects the economy in Massachusetts would've turned into a catastrophic situation. A very small percentage of the money may not have been spent as well as it should have been, but the totality was in fact the central part of saving our economy from going off the cliff."

http://wbztv.com/local/stimulus.money.iteam.2.1546619.html

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by CarolinaHound on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:28 pm

Our government has really gone mad. Do they think we're that stupid?

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by HotParadox on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:04 am

CarolinaHound wrote:Our government has really gone mad. Do they think we're that stupid?
Yes they do think we're that stupid. Look at how that Kennedy kid flipped out on the media the other night, during a congressional session. He did that to divert our attention from the Dem from NY, Eric Massa, who the press had just outed, basically. So Kennedy goes psycho on the press and the media starts talking about that and drops the Massa scandal...
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/mar/10/eric-massa-denies-sexually-groped-staffer/

...when just days before, the press was all over Republican Roy Ashburn for basically the same thing:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/04/anti-gay-lawmaker-reportedly-gay-club-dui-arrest/

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by CarolinaHound on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:11 am

HotParadox wrote:
CarolinaHound wrote:Our government has really gone mad. Do they think we're that stupid?
Yes they do think we're that stupid. Look at how that Kennedy kid flipped out on the media the other night, during a congressional session. He did that to divert our attention from the Dem from NY, Eric Massa, who the press had just outed, basically. So Kennedy goes psycho on the press and the media starts talking about that and drops the Massa scandal...
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/mar/10/eric-massa-denies-sexually-groped-staffer/

...when just days before, the press was all over Republican Roy Ashburn for basically the same thing:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/04/anti-gay-lawmaker-reportedly-gay-club-dui-arrest/

I noticed that myself. But after all, it's completely normal for a grown man to have tickle fights with other grown men.

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by HotParadox on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:33 am

Yeah...they justified it, in other words?

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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by Tulip on Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:42 pm

After reading what is posted here it makes me wonder if our economy is in as bad of shape as they tell us. If not then some of these selected projects may warrant some Federal help but if we are really in as bad of shape as we are told someone and I think many responsible for this spending should feel ashamed. This looks to me to be wasteful spending and especially now when we have so many problems.

Spend the money wisely. I would think that would be of upmost importance right now.

What the heck are they thinking? The politicians make it look as though states just have money to be thrown away. I would imagine these Politicans are spedning so much money the amount that is being spent on these frivilous things seems unimportant to them. Like us buying a coke or candy bar for a snack. A little money here and a little money there.

They need to answer for why this stimulus money is being spent for these kind of things listed here. Right? Some honest answers.
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Re: Our Stimulus Money at Work in North Carolina

Post by Old Timer on Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:30 pm

The politicians of this country have reached a point where they now think that we have to answer to them instead of them having to answer to us. We really do need to find a way to wake them up.

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