Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ironic

I saw a commercial today for a diet drug. The lady promoting it said some pretty interesting things, almost enough to convince me. She said her husband was a doctor so it couldn't be harmful, otherwise he wouldn't allow her to take the drugs. she also said some other pretty trivial information, but the real kicker was when she said she could trust it because, and get this, it was approved by the FDA. Now, I might be crazy, but when i was going to college, we had a specific tv channel that would play tons of commercials promoting lawyers that specialized in lawsuits dealing with FDA approved drugs.

To draw a vague conclusion, i might say that just because the FDA approves something, doesn't mean its safe. Case in point: Fen-Phen. Google it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cash Crisis Consuming California

California is having, what some might call, money problems. There is no doubt about that. The fact that they issued IOU's instead of money for tax returns, could be a small indicator that they don't have the funds that they used to.
[Quick side note. Isn't it frustrating how the State will most likely not be paying interest on the IOU's, even though if you were late on a payment to them, you'd have to pay interest. Hypocrisy is a frustrating thing.]

You're probably asking yourself at this point, "how on earth could California be in a worse financial crisis than other states? It's not like they're spending exorbitant amounts of money on wasteful programs". . . . . . . Hold on. I have to go get a mop. The sarcasm that oozed off the last statement has made somewhat of a mess on the floor and it's going to take me a bit to clean up. . . . . . . Ok. I'm back.
I'm going to admit that i am not really up to date on California's laws and what not, but i do have an understanding on one of the biggest wastes of money i've ever seen. Two words. . . . . Cal Fire. Cal Fire is a state run fire program, similar to the Forest Service and BLM, except several distinct differences.
  1. Cal Fire operates their crews on a 24 hour on/24 hour off shift, which seems pointless to do because crews rarely work 24 on. The most they work in the 24 hours shift they're getting paid for is probably 13 or 14 hours, maybe.
  2. The mismanagement of Cal Fire Teams is key to wasting money. Let me explain. Teams are basically a group of experienced people who come in and mismanage things when i fire starts burning out of control. For instance, having 8 Hotshot crews (elite firefighters) take care of what 2 hotshot crews could have done. Or like the previous day, have at least 2 hotshot crews sit and do nothing while there are things to do. That is mismanagement.
  3. They don't actually fight fires. On the same fire as mentioned above. I witnessed an extreme waste of money. As we were hiking to cut line with 7 other Hotshot crews, We noticed a puff of smoke about 50 yards behind an engine that was parked on this ridge. This engine was filled with at least 3 fully capable fire fighters that instead of doing something about it, were just sitting there, most likely listening to music. One person could have dealt with this smoke. Instead of dealing with it. I watched as two Type 1 helicopters dropped water it. Just an FYI, these type 1 helicopters, also known as skycranes are very very expensive. So not only did they put unnecessary risk on the pilots of those aircraft, but they wasted a very large amount of money, all because they didn't really feel like getting out of there engine.
These are a few very small examples of why california spends vast amounts of money on fires. The fact that there were hundreds of engines on that fire and, not kidding, probably none of them were doing anything makes me sick. Just to be fair, the Forest Service in California isn't doing well either. As of today, the Station fire has cost 90 million dollars. There were also big wastes on that, but i'm going to stop. I could complain for days, but i won't.