Lots of Erections at the Pentagon

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The unfortunate part of government spending is taxpayers don’t get to know what is being spent until it gets spent. CBS News uncovered some “dysfunctional” spending from the pentagon in a recent report:

According to the Military Times, data from the Defense Health Agency indicate the U.S. Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra and $84.24 million total on drugs for erectile dysfunction in 2014.

Since 2011, the bill for covering drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra for active and retired military personnel and eligible family members totalled $294 million — nearly as much as four U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, says the Military Times.

The DoD first began covering the cost of Viagra prescriptions in 2012, and currently another seven types of erectile dysfunction medications are paid for under the federal agency’s health plan. Of the 1.18 million prescriptions filled in 2014, 905,083 were for Viagra, at a cost of $41.6 million. Cialis was the second most commonly prescribed ED drug, with 185,841 prescriptions totaling $22.82 million. Revatio, the priciest ED drug, was prescribed the least with 1,699 prescriptions in 2014 for a total cost of $2.24 million.

You can read the rest of the article here.

The Marijuana Spin is Mind Boggling To Watch

Smoking marijuana is a big topic of the day. While the use of this product doesn’t offend me the talking points are downright absurd. I have more respect for people if they just say they want to use it to get high than some of the things I’ll comment down below.

My [Insert Person I Know] Got Multiple Years in Prison for Just Having Marijuana

This is the most common thing I hear in the legalization of marijuana debate. I can tell you from my past and current experience in the law enforcement arena that having a small quantity of marijuana never puts someone in prison for 50 years. In the year 2000 I was a rookie cop and riding along with my FTO. We pulled a car over and smelled marijuana with the driver fully intoxicated from marijuana. (LEGAL NOTE, marijuana field tests were evolving by the minute during this time period) I asked if they had been smoking and they said yes. Upon search of the person we found two marijuana joints. I looked at my FTO in trying to judge how we were to precede. He told the driver to put both joints on the ground and stomp on them. The guy obliged. We had him call for a ride and had his vehicle towed. Please note we didn’t send him to a maximum security prison. I asked my FTO why we didn’t make an arrest. He explained the courts were already swamped with wife beaters and bad check writers, a judge wouldn’t want to deal with “two joints”.
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I do come across the stories of people knowing someone who went to prison over marijuana. The stories are compelling and usually critical parts are left out. Most of the time it takes a very basic search of someone’s criminal past to understand why they went to prison for just having marijuana. “But my uncle having marijuana is a non-violent crime and now he sits in a prison”. Well, after looking up your uncle I found he also did multiple stints in prison for robbery, car theft and selling drugs within a school area. I guess the whole “following your parole/probation criteria” is thrown out because selling weed is a non-violent crime.

Marijuana Will Bring in Tax Revenue

Bringing tax revenue to the church of government absolves a lot of sin in American society. When the marijuana debate took off and Colorado instituted legalization, the tax revenue claims were touted by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper of $100 Million year tax revenue (read “COLORADO’S POT REVENUE GOES UP IN SMOKE”) colorado governor

Some would see this as just a financial prediction, but it really was a societal claim that all the marijuana smokers would come out of the shadows and purchase weed in a proficient way. Through many conversations I had with people who believed this I emphatically stated that if you’re currently getting good weed from Frank the dope dealer, what would compel you to drop him and go to a marijuana shop to purchase it at a higher price?

Marijuana supporters usually come back with a defensive posture of some tax revenue is better than none, even if the financial analysis is way off. So be it, but just remember, government doesn’t make tax revenue projections for nothing. They usually make the projection and already spend the money and let the chips fall for when revenue actually comes in (surplus or deficits).

MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS

These guys are the main players of supplying most of the drugs in America. They control the entire country of Mexico, have supply routes that make UPS and FedEx blush and are deliberately let in on a constant basis by the United States Federal Government through lax border security. So how does this relate to the legalization of marijuana? Because many Americans believe once you legalize, these drug cartels will simply disappear. No they won’t and will only get more brutal and switch to different drugs (heroin is going into Chicago and being dealt right here in Indiana). The cartels operate in almost 1,300 cities and in sworn testimony September 2014 the DEA said Colorado legalizing only make them send more drugs. The cartels sent more weed there because the black market on marijuana would grow due to prices skyrocketing in legally approved shops. Cartels are also beginning to shakedown shop owners. Just like a scene out of Sopranos collecting neighborhood taxes, the cartels are walking into the shops and saying, “Monthly fee will keep the fires away”. Mexican-gang-and-drug-cartel-routes

What is the solution? Marijuana activists should become friends real quick with the philosophy of the US Military enforcing the border. You set up an aggressive strategy of the military standing on the border and you cut off easily 80% of all drugs coming from Mexico and South America. State and federal governments are coming with regulations on the selling and chemical makeup of marijuana, once this happens legal marijuana sellers will be undersold by the cartels. They are much more organized than Johnny the dope dealer with a permit. Only way to give legal sellers a chance to survive and lessening violence law enforcement see with cartels will be closing off the border.

Edited by SJ Himes

Lent Season Also Means Big Sales

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Lent season has kicked off for millions of Americans and in the food business world this means big dollars flowing as millions seek fish for their meals. Here some info I found at QSR Magazine:

Like most other quick-service chains, Long John Silver’s recognizes that Lent is a good season to leverage the attention on fish menu items, even as the brand’s core identity is built on year-round seafood. “During Lent, we see 25 percent to 40 percent increases in our weekly unit volumes,” St. Clair says. “The awareness that gets generated this time of year helps throughout the year.”

Since 2008, Arby’s has brought the wild Alaska Pollock fish sandwich back every year during Lent. Last year, Arby’s sold 11.8 million Reel Big Fillet sandwiches, compared with 8.7 million in 2012. “Our customers have come to expect it, and we are gaining more interest every year,” Metzler says.

New Name for Obamacare Tax

I filed my taxes this past weekend online through H&R Block and stumbled upon the Obamacare tax. The sly government gurus have gave it a warm fuzzy college theory name of “Shared Responsibility Payment”.

Remember, under collectivism, shared responsibility also involves shared misery.

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Metallica’s “Black” Album Still on Top

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They maybe old but their music lives on. In May 2014 it was reported that Metallica’s “Black” Album was still selling 3,000 copies per week. Not bad for an almost 25 year old heavy metal album.

Today I wandered over to BillBoard.com to see their Top 200 album weekly rankings and sure enough their album sales are still in the thousands per week:
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Here is the band in Russia in front of roughly 500,000 people.

U.S. Beef Herds Will Expand in 2015

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One area of economic data I follow is where corn is being sold to. Recent data has pointed to farmers raising cattle which means an expanding beef market. I did some research and found this forecast at FarmandDairy.com:

U.S. Department of Agriculture semiannual report that cattle numbers have increased by slightly more than 1 percent following seven years of decline.
The most significant expansion has been in beef cows, which were up 2 percent from the previous year, the USDA said.
There were 610,000 new beef cows added nationally. Hurt said the expansion is likely to continue through most of this decade.


One reason for the expansion is prices farmers are getting for beef:

“These were led by record-high cattle prices in 2014 with finished cattle averaging near $155 per live hundredweight and Oklahoma 500-550 pound steer calves averaging $250,” Hurt said.

Oil Rig Production Continues Plunge

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Oil rig production continues its plunge and gas prices are starting to show that. Here is the latest data on oil rigs:

The number of active U.S. land rigs plunged by 98 this week in one of the biggest declines in the past three decades as fallen oil prices continued to pummel the industry’s drilling ambitions.

Baker Hughes’ 71-year-old U.S. rig count, one of the industry’s go-to indicators of future oil production and demand for rigs, was down by 406 drilling units compared to Feb. 13, 2014. The last time the rig count fell by 98 was in January, 2009 – the two declines are tied for the biggest drops since 1987.

H/T Fuel Fix

Environmentalists Became Their Own Disaster

Entering the arena of “predictions” is tricky. When making a prediction you must have valid evidence that something is about to happen or is just happening along with a time frame. Environmentalist and their followers take it to another extreme. They had a nice run in the early to mid 2000’s but more and more evidence grows that a lot of the data they showered the public with was very manipulated.

The bloggers over at Economic Policy Journal put a post up having a little fun of the dire predictions from environmentalists over the dedcades. Here is the full write up but I’ll post some of the predictions below.

In 1971, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, said in a speech at the British Institute for Biology. “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,” he claimed. “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 and give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower quality than it is today.”

In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted in its global-warming report, that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change.”

In the years. 2007, 2008, and 2009, Gore publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.”

Inflation Alert: Toilet Paper

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Inflation is not just prices going up, but also the size of a product shrinking while staying the same price as before. Clark Howard who is a consumer watchdog on many levels in trying to save you money put out this alert for consumers:

When I talked about this a couple of years ago, there were a few companies reducing the size of packages by doing tricks like making the tubes fatter and putting less paper on the roll.

Now The Dallas Morning News reports the average square of toilet tissue has been reduced by 26%. So you’ve got 26% less paper in that square when you’re doing your business.

I was at Costco the other day and I wanted to see if this downgrade was universal. Turns out it is. It seems everybody has reduced their sheets to a 4.5 x 4 inch rectangle — down from a perfect 4.5 inch square just a few years ago.