Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake began looking into the Defense Department's spending of taxpayer dollars on military tributes in June after they discovered the New Jersey Army National Guard paid the New York Jets $115,000 to recognize soldiers at home games.
The 145-page report released Wednesday dives deeper, revealing that 72 of the 122 professional sports contracts analyzed contained items deemed "paid patriotism" -- the payment of taxpayer or Defense funds to teams in exchange for tributes like NFL's "Salute to Service." Honors paid for by the DOD were found not only in the NFL, but also the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS. They included on-field color guard ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, and ceremonial first pitches and puck drops. [...]
The senators note in the report that while the DOD and NFL said the purpose is to boost recruiting, the Pentagon has no measurement on whether the activities paid for are in fact contributing to recruiting.
"Even if we accept the DOD's assurances that the young men and women watching these games may be sufficiently inspired to military service by a half-time reenlistment ceremony, some of the displays funded in these contracts defy explanation as a legitimate recruiting purpose and may be little more than a taxpayer-funded boondoggle," the report states.
Oil may be king of the commodities, but its physical form is tough to come by for a retail investor. Mom and pop can buy gold and silver. They can gather aluminum cans, grow soybeans, and strip copper wiring, if they choose, but oil remains elusive -- and for very good reason. Oil, as I would soon discover, is practically useless in its unrefined form. It is also highly toxic, very difficult to store, and it smells bad. [...]
"Could a barrel of crude really kill me?" I asked a petrochemical engineer captive to my persistent, doubtlessly annoying questions. It absolutely can, he said. Hydrogen sulfide gas -- H2S, for short -- has a terrible propensity to evaporate from crude, knock out your olfactory capabilities, and slowly suffocate you to death. [...] "If you inhale ethyl alcohol vapors in a concentration of 1,000 ppm (0.1 percent by volume) for eight hours, you may get drunk. If you inhale hydrogen sulfide in a concentration of 1,000 ppm (0.1 percent by volume) for only a few seconds, you will be dead." [...]
"That [is] all good and well until you learn it's not Bakken but Kurdish oil, under strict embargo. Well done [for] supporting ISIS," the consultant replied by e-mail. Adding insult, the consultant informed me that the glass bottle was worth more than the oil inside it, anyway.
The new app, RatsEyes, gives driving directions to your destination while also shouting knowledge gained from the relentless work ethic of Rollins' legendary hardcore group, Black Flag. The band's groundbreaking and hard touring schedule often took them on very nontraditional routes across the country, as the app will frequently remind you.
While trying to drive from Los Angeles to Tucson, one user was directed to "Drive five miles to 7-11. Locate the nearest payphone and call Steve. Hopefully he'll pick up and let you know where you need to be. Otherwise it's just another overnight with Watt arguing about whatever bullshit he's got up his ass this time."
Noticeably absent from the app is a mute feature; any attempt to silence the app only makes the Rollins narration more irritated. Also, RatsEyes features long-winded talks from the former Black Flag frontman that can extend up to 20 minutes after you arrive at your destination. Some users with Wifi-enabled cars have reported a glitch where the car locks until the stories are over.
"I initially downloaded the app because I am a Rollins fan and the price was right," said Amy Fuller. "But I ended up almost running out of gas because the app just told a 30-minute story about fighting skinheads at a nearby all ages venue that closed down in 1993."
In what is becoming a tragic pattern, SFPD has once again blamed a cyclist for his own death. Simultaneously, the city has refused to release video that may shine light on the circumstances that resulted in the October 11th crash and death of 47-year-old Mark Heryer.
Police have determined that Heryer was riding westbound on Market Street when, allegedly attempting to pass a bus, he lost control of his bicycle after his wheel got caught in a Muni track. Heryer then is said to have fallen under the passing 38-Geary bus to the right. He died at the scene.
KQED News reports that police have now officially blamed Heryer for his own death, saying that vehicle code states he should have been riding in the bike lane. There's just one problem: That area of Market Street does not have bike lanes.
Video from the Muni bus that ran over Heryer does exist, but the city will not release it -- even to a lawyer representing Heryer's family.