Covid Testing Company Got $165M for Faulty Tests
July 4, 2022
When state and local governments were scrambling to find testing providers in the midst of the pandemic, the Chicago-based Northshore Clinical Labs was contracted to help with free testing programs, which they assured localities would be billed to the federal government. After collecting more than $165 million from the federal government, it turns out their tests didn’t work.
According to an investigation from ProPublica, Northshore aggressively marketed to governments in Nevada.
One of many who contracted with Northshore was a school district in Nevada that needed to test its athletes with rapid tests before scheduled games. But parents and students questioned their test results, since more accurate PCR tests often showed a different result, ProPublica reported.
State public health officials now believe these tests missed 96 percent of positive cases, but have never publicly released those findings. ProPublica uncovered this information from internal emails via an open records request.
These tests were likely flawed from the start.
“As evidence mounted that Northshore was telling infected people that they had tested negative for the virus, government managers in Nevada ignored their own scientists’ warnings and expanded the lab’s testing beyond schools to the general public,” ProPublica wrote.
Despite their tests being inaccurate, Northshore raked in $165 million from federal programs to reimburse testing providers that test uninsured individuals and ranked 11 out of over 28,000 companies in collecting money for testing uninsured people.
Northshore got its laboratory license application thanks to political connections, including contracting with the sons of a close friend to the governor of Illinois, ProPublica reported. It also ran unlicensed labs in Nevada, which were only uncovered by a review after months of operation.
Sadly, this is only one of many cases where companies used the pandemic to dupe consumers and defraud the government.
NYC Transit Authority Spent $30M on a Staircase
July 5, 2022
New York City’s subways are disgustingly dirty, with cars often found to have urine, feces, vomit, and blood. The stations and trains are a haven for homeless to gather. That’s to say nothing about the trains themselves, which are old.
So, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it was adding a new entrance and stairs to the Times Square subway station, straphangers applauded.
Until the agency announced it cost $30 million, according to the New York Post.
MTA CEO Janno Lieber said the “stunning… first class” 15-foot-wide staircase would give tourists and straphangers a clear path in and out of the “Crossroads of the World.”
While the new staircase at Broadway Plaza at 43rd Street is larger than its predecessor, a narrow entryway that squeezed crowds into a small space, the project is way overpriced.
Taxpayers and riders are paying for the $30 million to replace the staircase, a street-level canopy, and expanded turnstile area, 18 new close-caption surveillance cameras, and a mosaic by the artist Nick Cave, officials said.
The Post reported that international experts have put New York’s transit projects at among the most expensive in the world. At least it will have a mosaic.
As BLM Encouraged Looting Businesses, It Received SBA Funding
July 6, 2022
Black Lives Matter, an organization whose leaders encouraged its supporters to riot and loot small businesses, received $30,000 from the Small Business Administration in 2020.
When the riots and looting occurred around the country after George Floyd’s police custody death, a Black Lives Matter leader in Chicago defended the looting as “reparations.”
In August 2020, as shops were devastated, Ariel Atkins said, “That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance. They're going to get their money back. My people aren't getting anything.”
The New York Post highlighted a small convenience store that was looted twice in 40 days in Chicago and may have to close for good.
Atkins doubled down and said that calling someone a “criminal” is a form of racism, the New York Post reported.
“The whole idea of criminality is based on racism anyway,” she told NPR station WBEZ. “Because criminality is punishing people for things that they have needed to do to survive or just the way that society has affected them with white supremacist BS.”
That’s as at least 13 police were injured and 100 people arrested in violent clashes during a BLM march in Chicago in August.
So why did Black Lives Matter receive $19,000 in grants from the SBA and $11,300 in forgivable SBA loans in 2020 as its leaders were encouraging its supporters to destroy small businesses?
Later it became public that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors used donor funds to purchase a $6 million mansion in Las Angeles in 2020.
BLM said the property was purchased to serve as a meeting venue and campus but Cullors later admitted to using it to host personal parties.
An organization whose leaders encourage its members to commit crimes should never be eligible for federal funds.
Throwback Thursday: In 1987, NSF Spent Almost $10K to Study Spanish Bullfighting
July 7, 2022
In 1987, the National Science Foundation spent $9,992 – more than $25,000 in 2022 dollars – to study bullfighting in Spain for a year.
Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave the NSF his Golden Fleece Award for this ridiculous study, “Bullfights and Ideology of the Nation in Spain.”
The purpose of this study was, “to examine the dialectical relationship between the categories ‘nation’ and ‘region’ in Spain as these are manifested through the polemical spectacles known as ‘national fiesta,’ the Spanish bullfights in their several formats.”
The research included descriptions and comparisons of the local versus national bullfighting formats, as well as interviews with people to determine whether they identified with or rejected the various forms of bullfighting.
The budget request included $500 for a camera and accessories, while the rest went mostly to fund the researcher’s living expenses for about a year’s worth of research.
While Proxmire conceded that the researcher is qualified and the amount requested is relatively modest, he pointed out that there are many other studies that likely would produce more useful and important results. He also noted that there are many other ways to study Spanish culture for a much lower price tag, such as reading authors like Ernest Hemingway or examining primary sources.
Each dollar that went to this project could have gone to cancer research, national defense, or education.
As Proxmire said, “It’s time for the NSF to grab the bull by the horns and get their priorities straight.”
State Department Sends $200K To Malaysia to Develop Games
July 8, 2022
The State Department will send up to $200,000 to Malaysia to develop games for social change, according to a recent grant notice.
The funds will go to create a workshop for “designing games that drive social change, to be held in Malaysia (Penang or Kuala Lumpur).”
The workshop will introduce young game developers to the concept of designing games for social change.
It hopes to teach them technical and narrative skill sets “to design compelling interactive experiences … to help them to better advocate for their causes and tell their story.”
The workshop should bring 60-70 students and professionals together for a four-day program, including a two-day workshop taught by American and local professionals, and a two-game “game jam” where students can collaborate with others on their game idea. The workshop will end with a final pitch and select games will be funded so they can be developed.
Potential topics of these games can include climate change, human trafficking, disinformation, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion.
The State Department chose this region to host this workshop because of its “burgeoning gaming industry,” as well as its 126 million gamers who they hope to reach with these interactive games.
This project means hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be flowing out of America in an effort to fix other countries, while Americans have yet to find answers to issues like climate change, disinformation, and civic engagement at home.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.