multiple agencies have quietly commissioned artists to paint official portraits of Cabinet secretaries and other top appointees — an expenditure often seen when officials are on the way out the door or already gone.
The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $40,000 on a portrait of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, while a painting of Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley will cost $41,200, according to federal purchasing records. The price tag for a 3-by-4-foot oil portrait of Agriculture Department Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack: $22,500.
$40,000 for a portrait of an EPA administrator. That's only about what the average family in America makes IN A YEAR.
This isn’t something that’s been widely covered because most media lost interest after the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December of 2011.
At least $8 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds has been wasted because of contracting abuses and mismanagement, according to the final report released by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). The transitional watchdog has published hundreds of scathing reports over the years and this month released the grand finale, a painful 186-page exposé that includes many examples of the corruption that’s plagued U.S.-funded Iraq reconstruction efforts.
Congress appropriated a whopping $51.4 billion to help the country recover from the war by, among other things, training local police, building schools, hospitals and transportation systems, but much of the money has literally vanished.
Over the years probes have revealed that lucrative contracts never got finished, weapons and sophisticated communication equipment can’t be accounted for and that an unused police housing camp with an Olympic-sized pool and lavish trailers still sits empty in Iraq.
A few years ago the Pentagon admitted that lost 6.6 billion in cash that had been flown into Iraq in turboprop military cargo planes for post-invasion reconstruction! The money was bundled in chunks of $100 bills with each aircraft carrying about $2.4 billion. The inspector general referred to it as “the largest theft of funds in national history.”
Last edited by Deusxmachina; 03-21-2013 at 08:48 PM..
In other words, defense spending will increase in every year, even with sequestration cuts.
But assume that U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan does end in the next year or so, and that war spending goes down or even disappears altogether. Even in that scenario, defense spending is scheduled to increase in every year except one, even with sequestration cuts.
So under a scenario of continued war in Afghanistan and under a scenario of no war in Afghanistan, and everything in between, defense spending is scheduled to rise steadily in the next decade, even with sequestration cuts.
Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.
Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?
Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.
Do the division, and you find that the low bid came in at a mere $35 million per mile.
And that doesn’t include the cost of rolling stock (that’s engines and cars to the normal among us). Nor does it include the cost of electrifying the route. Does it at least include the cost of land acquisition? No, it does not.
Lefties, who generally support the high speed rail project, are probably a bit flummoxed by this news because they have railed (nice pun, huh?) against Blum and Feinstein for what they call criminal collusion in the granting of defense contracts.
“The companies are embroiled in an 11 – year legal battle over $16 million in extra costs on a Los Angeles subway job.”
Engineering contacts say Tutor-Perini is noted for bidding low, targeting program inadequacies and writing change orders as fast as a waitress writing breakfast orders at a truck stop- fast and furious.
No doubt the rail authority project will be easy pickings for this kind of situation since their design specs were not much further along than a 15% design level while standard practice is at or above 30%. Think about it, how do the bidding companies know what they are bidding on if the project isn’t fleshed out enough?
And now (on April 18) the LA Times broke the story that the Authority personnel did not follow the bid process that was outlined in the March, 2012 Board Meeting.
MS. SCHENK: So you are the lead attorney for us on all this in coordinating all the --
MR. FELLENZ: Yes.
MS. SCHENK: Okay. Because I want to know who to blame.
The Internal Revenue Service sent 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 to “unauthorized” alien workers who all used the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
That was not the only Atlanta address theoretically occupied by thousands of “unauthorized” alien workers receiving millions in federal tax refunds in 2011. The IRS sent 11,284 refunds worth a combined $2,164,976 to unauthorized alien workers at a second Atlanta address; 3,608 worth $2,691,448 to a third; and 2,386 worth $1,232,943 to a fourth.
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