Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 17 71_WOTD_week_17

June 11, 2021 10:28 AM



Georgetown Received $7 Million in Federal Grants for New Space Alien Detection Techniques | June 7, 2021


If you have ever wondered whether there’s life outside Earth, a recent $7 million award given to study such possible life might bring scientists one step closer.

That’s right — NASA awarded Georgetown biology professor Sarah Stewart Johnson, a visiting professor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, almost $7 million to create a new life-detection system in 2019.

The funding from NASA’s astrobiology program will fund Johnson and her team as they look for evidence of things like “chemical complexity” and “energy transfer” in space.

The grant description states: “We will bring together theoreticians and experimentalists as an incubator for new agnostic life detection approaches; create a common training set of biotic and abiotic test substrates; establish likelihoods and thresholds with probabilistic models; and develop a broader formulation of the ladder of life. In the process we will merge the broad and narrow ends of the life detection spectrum into a collective dialogue one that will help us synthesize prioritize evaluate and strengthen the search for life on future space missions.”

Over the years, federal agencies spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on trying to discover extra-terrestrial life. So, far it has been without success.

However, our scientists might be getting closer to announcing a breakthrough. Recently, NASA funded a $1 million proposal to “prepare the nations religions for the discovery of extra-terrestrial life.”



Which Is It? Feds Provide Purchase Credits for Wood Burners – And Grants for Removing Them | June 8, 2021


Duplication nation. Thoughtful and careful legislating is a thing of past. Simultaneously giving tax credits to install wood-burning devices and grants to replace them (to save the environment) is a great example of congressional insanity.

Look no further than the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress for the latest example of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

The EPA is funding $2.1 million in grants to replace residential wood-burning stoves and fireplaces with electric heat pumps in the San Francisco Bay Area, as reported by

The project seeks to reduce harmful particulate matter emissions, especially for low-income residents in “environmental justice communities” in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.

The EPA is working with Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is kicking in $205,000 toward the program.

The EPA’s funding is part of its larger Targeted Airshed Grant Program to reduce air pollution, which has spent tens of millions of dollars in the last several years.

This is as Congress passed the $900 billion Covid-19 relief package that Pelosi helped shepherd through in December.

Inside the aid bill are tax credits to people who install home heating and hot water systems that use wood pellets, chips and cordwood.

It is a great example: Congress has created a maze of bureaucracy and overlap. The duplicative programs cost taxpayers billions of dollars.



Pasadena, Texas City Attorney Cashed $913,277 During Final Year Before Retirement | June 9, 2021


Does paying $913,277 to the city attorney for the City of Pasadena, Texas — where the median household income is $55,039 — sound like a joke?

It’s not a joke.

That is what Foy Lee Clark took home 2020 as city attorney for the municipality’s approximately 150,000 population, according to city payroll records.

The long-time employee retired, so the total includes pay for unused vacation and sick time, which had no cap when he was hired and has since been capped, a city spokesperson said.

Clark made far and above what the rest of the city’s 1,244 employees did last year, with the second highest paid employee pulling in $223,016. That person, James G. Rodriguez, was then-chief of staff to Mayor Jeff Wagner, who made $163,796.

For context, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earned $153,750 last year.

In Pasadena, Texas, the average pay for a city employee was almost $65,000, and the total payroll was $81 million. More than half — 634 of 1,244 employees – were paid above the median household income for Pasadena. Twenty-two percent — 273 people — earned $100,000 or more.

In this Texas town, $100,000 goes a lot further than in coastal and other expensive cities. The median value of owner-occupied homes was $124,200 and median rent was $963 — hardly considered part of the high-rent district.



$300,000 Spent by National Science Foundation: Is Recycling Manly? | June 10, 2021


Throwback Thursday! 

The National Science Foundation gave the Penn State researchers $300,000 to complete these and other studies. The study organizers had 960 people participate in the three studies, the first two of which included reading fictional summaries “of a person’s daily activities, which included either feminine, masculine or neutral pro-environmental behaviors.”

The study participants then rated whether the person had masculine or feminine traits and guessed what their sexual orientation might be.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the researchers found that people whose behaviors conformed to their gender were seen as more heterosexual than those whose behaviors did not conform to their gender’s stereotypes.

A third study looked at whether people avoided other people based on their pro-environmental behavior preferences, asking participants whether they preferred talking to a woman or a man who wanted to discuss gender-conforming behaviors, or a woman or a man who preferred gender-nonconforming behaviors.

They found that people mostly preferred to talk to people who conformed to gender stereotypes for feminine behaviors and masculine behaviors.

Conclusion: If you care about how your sexuality is perceived, see who’s around before recycling and composting.



Hookers for Jesus Received $530,190 For Anti-Human Trafficking Programs | June 11, 2021


The Department of Justice giving anti-human trafficking grants to an organization running a safehouse program for sex-trafficking victims and women who want to leave sex work may sound like noble work. But the details are somewhat questionable.

Hookers for Jesus in Las Vegas received $530,190 over three years for its operations. The organization, though, possibly violated federal anti-discrimination laws. In question is the organization’s previous staff manual with its stated opinions on homosexuality and alleged rules on mandatory church attendance.

Furthermore, critics question why Hookers for Jesus aid was prioritized ahead of more established and reputable anti-human trafficking organizations. Two examples of such organizations are the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach and Chicanos Por La Causa of Phoenix.

However, according to Reuters, this isn’t the first time the group received federal money. In 2017, Nevada announced it was giving the group nearly $300,000 through the federal Victims of Crime Act. 

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

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