Federal Grant Funds Soft-Core Porn — Naked Women Pics from Burlesque Hall of Fame
December 12, 2022
If you can’t afford a trip to the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, fret not. The museum is now posting some of its exhibits online, thanks to a federal grant.
The organization received $32,445 during the Covid-19 pandemic to create high-quality scans of its collection to post more content online.
Its slogan is “Spectacular, Erotic, and Slightly Shocking, A Timeline of Burlesque History.” The museum calls itself a “growing testament to the power and social impact of the art of the tease.”
The new online database of museum objects includes photos of topless and almost-naked women posing. Signed photographs are scrawled with special messages, including one dedicated to “the exotic dancers league Hall of Fame, love and luck always” from a naked Blaze Starr, and others from people like Dixie Evans, “the Marilyn Monroe of burlesque.”
Costume pieces like clothing, jewelry, shoes, and gloves are exhibited, but also more risqué objects, like “pasties” and underwear.
“We’ve been hard at work digitizing and cataloguing material in our collection – since we implemented our new software, we’ve added over 1300 pieces to the catalogue!” a message on the website states. “We will add more as time goes by – our goal is eventually to have a significant part of the collection available to view online, and to be able to offer researchers access to specific elements as needed.”
Freedom of expression and adults’ ability to enjoy bawdy entertainment is part of what makes America interesting, but it should be limited to private funds — softcore pornography shouldn’t be funded with taxpayer dollars.
Nashville’s Double-Dippers Collect Pension, Pay
December 13, 2022
It pays — twice — to be a recently retired employee of Metro Nashville.
The local government is paying about 200 people both for part-time work and monthly pensions, with double-dippers collecting up to $13 million from taxpayers.
Metro is paying $5.8 million every year in pensions to almost 200 people who are also being paid to work part time, up to another $7 million, according to 2021 pension records provided to OpenTheBooks.com and Metro 2022 payroll recordsposted on its website.
Of the 197 part-time workers collecting pensions, 74 work for the police department, collecting an average pension of $35,352 and $38,602 pay, or $73,954 average total, according to Metro payroll records.
Terry Lee Miller has the largest pension at $89,220, on top of $41,309 as a part-time “technical specialist 2,” taking home $130,529.
Another 58 people work for the sheriff’s office, collecting an average pension of $22,956 and about $33,774 pay, or $56,730 average total, according to the records.
Metro payroll records show that the highest paid sheriff’s office employee, John F. Taylor, Jr., is making about $76,000 as a part-time program coordinator, while collecting $65,388 in annual pension checks, a hefty total at $141,388.
Davidson County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jonathan Adams said employees collecting both a pension and part-time pay are part of a program called STEP, or Start Enjoying your Pension, that lets workers to take their pensions and continue working up to 19.5 hours/week at their hourly rate.
“The program is a win-win-win for all involved,” Adams said. “The pensioner doesn’t lose their identity and half their salary taking retirement, while the agency keeps the institutional knowledge and continued return on investment for that employee. The taxpayers benefit/save from transferring half the cost of the salary and all benefit cost (which has already been earned/funded) to the pension fund. The STEP program saves our operating budget over five million dollars annually, and is a fantastic use of resources.”
However, this comment completely disregards the massive taxpayer cost of funding such a lucrative retirement pension for Metro employees – that allows a young, fully functioning employee – at the peak of their career – to retire on a golden parachute.
Think about the absurdity:
200 city employees double-dip the pay and pension systems. They retire on a full pension and get hired back part-time – at their full-time wage scale. Therefore, they get a pay raise to retire – with many making more working half-time in ‘retirement’ than they did at any point in their full-time career!
The mayor, city agencies, and city council need to examine their processes for negotiating public union contracts, and work to ensure proper allocation of taxpayer funded spending.
Law, Accounting Firms Get $1.4B in PPP Funds
December 14, 2022
Pricey and prestigious law and accounting firms collected $1.4 billion in forgiven “loans” during the Covid-19 pandemic, even as many of the firms continued to bring in hundreds of millions in revenue from their clients, demonstrating no need to receive taxpayer funds.
The federal Paycheck Protection Program implemented by the Small Business Administration during the pandemic was created to help businesses keep their staff employed and receiving paychecks while shutdowns prevented many from actually working.
But these firms continued to work for and bill clients, in many cases increasing their revenues in 2020 and 2021 over the pre-pandemic 2019 revenues.
Of the top 300 largest law firms in the country, 126 received $808.9 million in forgiven PPP loans – $6.5 million per firm on average.
For example, Boies Schiller Flexner, a law firm that billed clients $480 million during the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, received the largest forgiven PPP loan, $10.14 million.
In those pandemic years, the firm’s equity partners earned $4.5 million each in profit compensation.
Kasowitz Benson Torres saw its revenues grow from $216.8 million in 2019, to $219.4 million in 2020 and then $238.4 million in 2021. In April 2020, the firm received a $10.13 million PPP loan that was later forgiven.
Of the top 300 accounting firms, OpenTheBooks.com found that 237 firms received $635 million in forgiven PPP loans, with firms receiving $2.6 million on average.
WithumSmith Brown, P.C. collected a $10 million forgiven loan, while the company’s revenue grew throughout the pandemic. Its 2021 net revenue was $425.3 million, way up from $257 million in 2020 and $223 million in 2019.
While these large, successful firms were technically eligible for taxpayer-funded PPP forgiven loans, it was the millions of mom-and-pop businesses on Main Street who were shut down during lockdowns that were the target of these funds.
Throwback Thursday: Federal Highway Admin. Creates Flawed System for Driving Directions
December 15, 2022
In 1980, the Federal Highway Administration spent $241,764 — $874,375 in 2022 dollars — to create a computerized system that gives driving directions to tourist who refuse or are unable to read maps.
For this, Sen. William Proxmire gave the FHA a Golden Fleece Award in December of that year.
Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave awards to wasteful and nonsensical spending, eventually handing out 168 Golden Fleece Awards between 1975 and 1988.
“While the system is intended to aid lost motorists and save gasoline, it helps those who need it least,” Proxmire said then. “In order to use it, you have to know where you are and where you’re going. If you have that much information, you can use a map.”
The cost to replace a simple and readily available tool — a map — with an overly complex and expensive system is wasteful and nonsensical, the senator argued.
“The system throws up many road blocks between the hapless, map-less and their ultimate destinations,” he said. “To operate it, the user is presented with a list of 16 instructions, each with its own potential detours.”
It involves contacting the computer by phone, entering codes for current and desired location, other codes for commands like “Yes,” “No,” “Stop,” and “Go.”
“The process takes several steps to complete, and may require many more where instructions are complicated,” Proxmire said. “Of course each additional step increases the chance of making an error.”
He argues that drivers who can’t or won’t read maps aren’t likely to benefit from this system either.
“While I appreciate the motives that would lead the Federal Highway Administration to spare us the frustration of being lost, I am sure the American taxpayers will be more frustrated by the loss of the $240,000 the study cost them,” the senator said.
Las Vegas City Staff See $100,000 Pay Packages
December 16, 2022
It’s not only gamblers who lose their money in Sin City – taxpayers are on the hook for large compensation packages for public employees.
There were 2,037 city employees collecting at least $100,000 each in 2021, costing taxpayers $314 million, OpenTheBooks.com reported.
“While 30-percent of residents were unemployed during the pandemic, and, today, inflation decimates private-sector paychecks, the Las Vegas city employee class is living the good life,” OpenTheBooks found.
Two city managers alone cost $768,598.
The first city manager, Scott Adams left the position in November 2020 after being paid $443,622 – $243,079 in base salary; $117,740 in severance pay; and $82,803 in perks, health insurance, and pension benefits.
Then new city manager Jorge Cervantes earned $324,976 – $227,278 in base pay, plus $97,698 in perks, health insurance, and pension benefits.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s pay and benefits total $215,705 — $156,205 in base pay, plus $45,690 in pension and $13,810 in health insurance benefits.
Each of the six city council members cost taxpayers an average of $122,000 each – including $25,000 in taxpayer-paid pension benefits.
Even seemingly low-paid employees made out with high salaries. Parking enforcement officers collected up to $110,000; motor sweeper operators cleaned up with $124,000; painters and plumbers were paid $140,000; animal control supervisors got $158,000; and corrections officers cost taxpayers up to $212,434.
Part of the city employee largess is due to overtime, OpenTheBooks.com auditors found.
There were 614 Las Vegas public employees who took home between $10,000 and $120,000 in overtime alone in 2021.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.