Al Sharpton Paid $48,000 as “Guest Lecturer” by Tennessee State University | September 27, 2021
Rev. Al Sharpton, the firebrand Baptist preacher who made his name as a racial justice activist, taught political science grounded in social justice at Tennessee State University.
OpenTheBooks.com obtained a copy of his contract with the historically Black university via a Freedom of Information request, showing he was paid up to $48,000 between Jan. 25 and May 3 this year to teach students as a distinguished guest lecturer.
The contract is with National Action Network, “acting through the Rev. Al Sharpton,” the organization he founded. In 2014, the organization and the reverend himself, owed payroll taxes, according to The New York Times.
Sharpton had forgone paying taxes, rent, and other bills, at one time owing more than $4.5 million in state and federal tax liens, The Times reported.
But the activist preacher leading racial protests is what makes him particularly questionable choice for guest lecturer.
Sharpton has been known to inflame tensions between Blacks and whites — including with Jews in the 1991 Crown Heights riots — exacerbating racially-tense situations by accusing people of being racist when there are other factors at play.
Coretta Scott King, widow of the late Martin Luther King Jr., once told Sharpton, "Sometimes you are tempted to speak to the applause of the crowd rather than the heights of the cause, and you will say cheap things to get cheap applause rather than do high things to raise the nation higher.”
Should a state university use taxpayer money and tuition dollars to pay for such a professor?
California Lawmakers Use Loophole to Toss Extra $500 Million to State Prison Guards | September 28, 2021
State prison guards in California will get a more than $500 million pay raise in the next budget after Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature used a loophole in the law to avoid going through the proper procedure.
In June, the politicians quietly gave the increase to the guards using a 1981 loophole in state code, according to good government organization Govern for California. Govern for California describes itself as a network of about “1,000 political philanthropists whose mission is to liberate the California State Legislature to govern for the benefit of citizens instead of special interests.”
Subsection (c) of Section 19826 requires the state to submit a study on “the salaries of employees in comparable occupations in private industry and other governmental agencies” before it awards a new contract.
However, subsection d allows bargaining units and the state to bypass that requirement, leading to a $500 million increase with no questions asked.
Seeing the pay raise as unwarranted, Govern for California is crafting legislation to eliminate the loophole. The organization is also penning a bill that would ban political donations from corporations, unions and associations that receive money from the state.
When it comes to protecting California taxpayers’ money, the fox is guarding the henhouse.
Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Earned $500K Last Year – Including $307,389 in Overtime | September 29, 2021
A battalion chief for California’s Oakland Fire Department made $530,756 in 2020, even as the department was facing severe cuts.
Battalion Chief Demond Simmons earned a base salary of $185,336, a $38,032 bonus and an enormous $307,389 in overtime, OpenTheBooks.com confirmed with the City of Oakland.
Simmons is also an instructor at the National Fire Academy, an EMS/fire science instructor at the University of Cincinnati, and an EMT instructor and program director at Peralta Community College, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In early 2021, Oakland Fire Department sustained cuts, but about $800,000 was used from $192 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to fully restore fire services, the East Bay Times reported.
To save about $5 million, the department had planned to close three stations at a time from January through June. But both residents and firefighters complained about the danger of doing so after years of catastrophic wildfires, so the city planned to close one fire station at a time, on a rotating basis.
After the cuts were restored, the fire department planned to be fully staffed, according to an internal email that East Bay Times obtained.
The Oakland FD has 509 personnel for fire suppression and emergency response, 25 fire stations, 24 fire engines, seven aerial apparatus, a hazardous materials response team, a technical rescue team, an airport rescue company, a water rescue team and a specialized wild land response apparatus, all responding to more than 70,000 calls annually, of which 80% are for emergency medical services, according to the 2019-2021 budget.
That budget funded fire prevention and emergency services with $17.5 million.
When chiefs earn more in overtime than they make in base salary, the allocation of city resources must be questioned.
$1 Million Study by University of Kentucky: Japanese Quail Did Coke, Had Risky Sex | September 30, 2021
While unemployment checks seem to magically appear in bank accounts every month for millions of Americans collecting the benefits, that money comes with major strings attached for the states funding them.
Ten states and U.S. Virgin Islands owe the federal government $45.6 billion for unemployment funds — at an interest rate of 2.3 percent.
When Japanese quail are coked up, they engage in risky sexual behavior.
Those are the findings of a years-long study at The University of Kentucky, spending $874,503 between 2010 and 2016 — just under $1 million when adjusted for inflation.
The late Sen. Tom Coburn first pointed out this wasteful spending in his 2011 “Wastebook,” and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently reminded his social media followers of the spending, calling it a federal grant “that perfectly encapsulate everything broken with the federal scientific research subsidization industry.”
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, the study looked at the relationship between cocaine abuse and risky sexual behavior in Japanese quail.
The study was initially given $356,993 in 2011, but the research continued for several years, and another half a million dollars.
What’s most wasteful about the spending is that the researchers were already operating with “preliminary evidence in male Japanese quail that preexposure to cocaine enhances sexual motivation,” according to the NIH’s project information page.
The study was building on previous clinical studies showing “a correlation between cocaine use and risky sexual practices in humans.”
Researchers already had a hypothesis that there is a positive correlation between type of sexual behavior and the amount of cocaine to which the quails were exposed and the frequency of exposure, and yet they felt the need for $1 million worth of additional research on the topic.
Trump’s Kids, Former Officials Received Extra Secret Service Costing Taxpayers $1.7 Million
| October 1, 2021
Former presidents and their spouses are given Secret Service protection for life, and rightly so.
Once leaving office, the president doesn’t stop being a public figure and a possible target of violence.
Children of a former president who are under 16 years of age are also given protection.
But former President Donald Trump took it a step further when he left office, giving six months of Secret Service protection to his adult children, their spouses and three former officials, The Washington Post reported.
Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush did order agents to protect college-aged children for a short time after leaving office, WaPo reported.
But Trump took the unprecedented step of extending Secret Service protection for former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien, as well as his adult children.
Mnuchin visited Israel in June “to scout investments for his new company, then flew to Qatar for a conference,” WaPo reported.
The agents followed Mnuchin across the Middle East, with taxpayers picking up the tab for the $3,000-each plane tickets, and $11,000 for rooms at Qatar’s luxe St. Regis Doha.
The coverage for “a multimillionaire on a business trip” as WaPo put it, cost taxpayers more than $52,000.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.