Entries Tagged 'COOL' ↓

Today’s champion of open government: Fox News?!?!?

 

Actually Fox Business Network.

The network filed a FOIA request to see where exactly our tax dollars (and our kids’ and our grandkids’) are going. Due to a little heal dragging on the part of the Treasury Department, Fox sued them to force them to release the data, including details such as what “toxic” assets were purchased, any collateral involved, and any restrictions put on the use of the money.

Kevin Magee, Executive Vice President, FOX News commented, “The Treasury has repeatedly ignored our requests for information on how the government is allocating money to these troubled institutions. In a critical time like this amidst mounting corruptions and an economic crisis, we as a news organization feel it’s more important than ever to hold the government accountable.”

So there you have it. The journalistic crusaders at Fox have shown today that every once in a while,  they do something right. Here’s hoping they win.

Bored this weekend?

Here is a fun project – H/T – Hanten

Just don’t let the neighborhood teens find out.

He’s a bad mutha..SHUT YO MOUTH!

I’m just talking about Obama….

South Dacola Music Club with The Flaming Lips

If you’re into weird, eclectic music, then the Flaming Lips are your perfect musical companion.

From their biography on Rolling Stone.com:

Rock has produced few stranger or more daring bands in the last 20 years than Oklahoma City’s Flaming Lips, who embrace everything from merry prankster psychedelia to orchestral pop. At the outset, the Lips tried to bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between Butthole Surfers-style dementia and bubblegum pop, with mixed results. Their early albums are jumbles of ideas, the weirdness genuine, the songs expansive and sometimes giddily incoherent. They’re as much a response to hardcore punk’s inflexible pithiness as to mainstream rock’s polish.

With In a Priest Driven Ambulance, a coherent vision starts to peek through the chaos. It comes courtesy of an irony-free cover of the standard “(What a) Wonderful World,” sung with wobbly conviction by Wayne Coyne. For all its disorienting ugliness and alienating strangeness, the world really is a wonderful place, the Lips insist — an unfashionable stance that the band would continue to explore with increasingly plangent results.

 

 

Lead singer Wayne Coyne goes crowd surfing in a big plastic ball

Lead singer Wayne Coyne goes crowd surfing in a big plastic ball

 

 

 

Another interesting article about them from Rolling Stone called “Okies From Outer Space“:

Wayne Coyne has not taken any drugs since his early twenties. This fact often comes as a shock to fans of his band, the Flaming Lips. The group has been making increasingly trippy and, to the surprise of even the band, increasingly popular psychedelic-rock albums since 1984, and its music, coupled with Coyne’s surreal cover paintings and bent lyrical aesthetic — song titles include “Jesus Shootin’ Heroin,” “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion,” “Pilot Can at the Queer of God,” “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)” and, my personal favorite, “They Punctured My Yolk” — have led reasonable people to make certain assumptions.

If you haven’t heard them yet, check ’em out.

I wonder if this will happen here too…

The red light cameras in Minneapolis are coming down. I’ve long said red light cameras are borderline illegal. This gives precident to sue the city for any money lost due to red-light tickets as well as increased insurance premiums. Hopefully, the days when the city can just set one of these things up and watch the money roll in are over.

On a related note, if you intend to park dowtown in the forseeable future, make sure you keep feeding the meter. Studies have shown that parking ticket enforcement increases as other city revenue decreases. The same can be said for the ratio of warnings to citations issued for minor traffic infractions.

Who knew law enforcement couild be so profitable?

A Blast of Cheer from MSM to start your day out right.

2012 is going to be a great year!

I hope it happens while I am in Belize.

“I’m not going to make it to work for the rest of the year, the Sun Gods are angry.”

Top That!

Thanks to Kenneth of 30 Rock for reminding me of this gem.

Is the Sioux Falls Department of Parks & Recreation a monstrosity?

I compared apples to apples and all I can say is, damn right it is!

I first want to say that Sioux Falls has an amazing park system. But is it all useful? We continue to build new parks when we are not using the current parks we have to capacity. Take Yankton Trail for instance. Rumor has it the city only allows the park for competition, not to be used as a practice facility. Why is that? I have even heard stories of police intimidation if you are using certain parks just for recreation instead of competition. What Up?!

This summer I rode my bike to work almost every day on the bike trail. I found the trail to be well maintained and frequently used, I also found our parks are over manicured, watered, mowed, and maintained (what’s the point of mowing ½” of grass!?).

Why does the parks department and budget continue to grow at such a rapid rate, and what is the solution to slow it down a bit to an acceptable inflationary level? I suggest we stop building new parks for at least two years and do an extensive study on how much our parks are used by monitoring their usages throughout the week and seasons. If certain parks have little usage – we sell off the land. I also suggest we build smaller parks that are easier and less expensive to maintain. I also think we should reduce the size of some of our larger parks. One thing I observed this summer is that smaller parks are more populated. Not sure why? Maybe people feel safer?

I decided to look at another city similar to ours in climate, size and growth. Billings, Montana is two-thirds the size in population to Sioux Falls.

Billings spends $5,714 a year per developed acre of parkland.

Sioux Falls spends $11,546 a year per developed acre of parkland.

Can you imagine if it cost you that much to maintain your lawn every year! Even if you feritlized, watered and paid a lawn service for an acre of land you are still looking at about $2,200

You must also remember, the $33 Million is the 2009 operating budget ONLY! This does not include building and developing new park land, that is in a separate budget called the CIP.

Sioux Falls maintains 4.8 times more parkland than Billings and even if you adjust for the population difference Sioux Falls still maintains 3.22 times more parkland than Billings. Sioux Falls budget is 9.78 times larger than Billings and 6.52 times larger when you adjust for population – Holy Crap! This is pretty amazing considering the similarities between Sioux Falls and Billings. If you go to Billings Parks and Recreation page you will see that they also offer as many activities as Sioux Falls. In Sioux Falls defense we charge visitors a tax to buy stuff here to help fund our parks. In Billings they are not so lucky, they only have a state income tax to work with. Not only does Billings maintain developed acres on such a small budget they also maintain over 2,000 acres of undeveloped parks but they also irrigate their parks like we do, from the river. When I spoke to one of the park’s directors about his operating budget, he said they were underfunded (well duh) but when I told him our budget, he was dumbfounded, as was I when I heard his budget.

What is the problem? My guess is Sioux Falls is paying too much for outside services and over-maintaining. It’s not like Billings is a couple bucks short of us on funding, they are millions and millions of dollars shorter than us. It tells me that Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation is in a constant state of overspending. We can have all the same things we have now, we just need to start shopping at the dollar store.

How has the Parks budget grown to such a massive level without some oversight? That’s just it, there is no oversight or accountability. The Parks board meetings are not televised or broadcast on the city website. The other problem is that the Parks board is all volunteer. I think they need to be elected officials. With a $33 million dollar operating budget a year, they operate almost as a separate entity from the city. In fact, up until a few years ago, the Parks and Rec department made their own decisions on public art, not consulting the Mayor, Council or Visual Arts Commission before placing public art. Kinda takes the word ‘Public’ out of ‘Public Art’.

Once we ask for accountability from our Parks and Rec department not only will you see incredible savings to taxpayers, you will see more CITIZEN friendly parks.

The coolest kitchen gadget of all time

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the device you see here will revolutionize the kitchens of beer lovers the world over. It is a totally self-contained, self-cleaning brewery inside a kitchen cabinet. It does the entire process of brewing beer from sterilization of the equipment all the way to the taps at the other end. It includes two 7.5 gallon containers under the taps so you can have two brews at the same time – make your own black and tan!

This is just the sort of device we’ll need to bring ourselves out of this recession.

What would Tyler Durden drive?

 

A doctor has tapped into a huge source of renewable fuel to power his car – human lard. According to this article from Forbes, a liposuction doctor in LA used the love handles and lard-asses of his patients to power two SUVs.

Unfortunately, the doctor is under investigation for removing too much fat from some patients and allowing unlicensed assistants to perform some procedures.

If this practice were to go on, however, I see it killing two birds with one stone: use the obesity problem to temporarily solve the energy crisis. According to the article, one gallon of animal fat gives one gallon of fuel. So, thoretically, most americans could drive around for a week just on their own fuel reserves! I wonder what equipment one would need to do this at home…