2016 “Spendy” Award Winner Announced!

It’s time to announce the 2016 “Spendy” award, bestowed upon the federal agency with the most extensive record of incompetence and contempt for the taxpayer. Bonus points are awarded to agencies performing a function completely absent from the Constitution and better left to the private sector.

100-bill-toilet-paperSpendy winners are characterized by cabinet secretaries who condescend to attend congressional hearings, where hours are spent detailing the mismanagement, waste, theft, and general uselessness found in their kingdom. After which the secretary looks the committee chairman straight in the eye and blames all his troubles on Russian hackers.

Who was in the running this year? Well, we had last year’s winner the US Dept. of Agriculture and the runner–up Veterans Administration, along with perennial contender, the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Then there was the Pentagon, which is always in a class of its own.

So how did I pick a winner among these unworthies and who was it? You know the drill. Click on the link below and be whisked to my Newsmax Insider column where all will be revealed.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/congress-pentagon-usda-va/2016/12/29/id/766070/

 

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USDA = Busywork at Taxpayer’s Expense

The United States Department of Agriculture (Motto: Let’s Pay Farmers for What They Used to Do for Free!) is the 2015 Spendy Award defending champion and at the rate it’s going this year, the USDA could be a repeat winner.

Sponge Bob Grocery ListFor those who missed last December’s ceremony, the Spendy is awarded to the federal agency with the most extensive record of incompetence and contempt for the taxpayer over the past year. Bonus points are awarded to federal agencies performing a function completely absent from the Constitution and better left to the private sector.

Spendy winners are characterized by cabinet secretaries who gamely attend congressional hearings — where hours are spent detailing the mismanagement, waste, theft and general uselessness found in their kingdom — and then arrogantly assure Congress that if it would just pour more money down their rathole of an agency, all would be well.

Unfortunately, all is not well and will never be well at an agency that should be abolished by President Trump, but don’t hold your breath. Now the minions there are spending your tax dollars teaching Americans how to compose a grocery list.

If you feel insecure regarding your list abilities or just want to be up–to–date on the latest waste, please click on the hyperlink below:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/USDA-food-grocery-lists/2016/05/20/id/729929/

Ever-Vigilant USDA Oversees Thanksgiving

While you were giving gluttony a bad name on Thanksgiving Day, six federal employees were be sitting by the phone like the Maytag man, hoping it would ring so the United States Dept. of Agriculture can spring into action and aid “people who need help preparing their Thanksgiving dinner.”

And on line #2 the National Institute of Health was ready to help Americans digest their dinner.

Copyright — and a reluctance to step on my own jokes — prevents me from writing any more about this stirring saga here, but you can get all the facts, outrage and laughs by clicking on the link below, which will take you to my Newsmax column.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/thanksgiving-turkey-government/2015/11/27/id/703708/

 

Why Mr. Ed Gives Better Lifestyle Advice than the Media

Mr Ed Gives AdviceParaphrasing William F. Buckley, I’d rather take lifestyle direction from 200 randomly selected people in the phone book than follow the advice found in the 200 most prominent media outlets. Reporters are fad–conscious professionals at the expense of common sense. If they can identify a trend first, they become media experts and their journalistic prestige — if there is such a thing today — increases among their peers.

Since the media has the attention span of Joe Biden, it doesn’t matter if the trend makes sense or even exists outside a few malcontent exhibitionists. What matters is novelty. Putting the story in context could only take the luster off a scoop, so it’s rarely done.

I fell prey to this as a freelance writer in the 70’s. Some eastern media outlet, where I desperately wanted to work, ran a story on a decline in coffee drinkers. The tyranny of the young was making itself known by switching from coffee to carbonated drinks. (What an innocent age. Now the young drink powdered alcohol.)

Consequently coffee beans rotted in the warehouse, cocaine production was looking better and better and Mrs. Olsen was considering switching from Folgers to Metamucil.

Eagerly trend–surfing I contacted a coffee distributor, interviewed the owner of a well–known diner and talked to random customers sitting behind a coffee mug.

I would soon be Oklahoma’s caffeine–conversion expert. Only I didn’t know Starbucks had opened about three years earlier and was gaining fast on the Bunn complex. Soon a cuppa Joe would be an “Espresso Macchiato,” and the trend cycle would resume with carbonated beverages replacing coffee as the liquid on the decline.

A trendy Wall Street Journal story concerning high–end steakhouses is another cycle entry.

You may recall steakhouses, and meat for that matter, were dead just a few years ago as the Kale Revolution swept America. Food that had heretofore only been fit for rabbits was now appearing in the White House as youth (those wretches) traded flavor for regular bowel movements. Since it was a trend other businesses, with superficial easily stampeded management, had to hop aboard or be thought uncool.

Ronald McDonald was so eager to attract skinny herbivores it instituted a new “healthy” menu featuring the McCompost. In spite of McDonald’s subsequent sales decline, Subway felt the social pressure and hired a child molester to promote produce in a bun.

Steakhouses weren’t eager to serve malnutrition on a cracker, but it didn’t matter because a vile cabal of granola–heads and the USDA was busy ruining beef with another fad. Instead of corn–fed beef that produced tender, marbled steaks, anti–fat crusaders gulled beef producers into going back to “natural” grass–fed beef.

Now two generations of Americans have no idea how steak should taste. They try to masticate Florshiem–like steaks from cows that look like the herd in Lonesome Dove and think it’s a luxury.

When I was chasing the extinction of Juan Valdez diners could get a fork–tender steak at a mid–priced restaurant. No longer, today you must visit a den of one–percenters and contrary to past predictions, high–end steakhouses are prospering. The WSJ reported: “Eight of the top 15 highest-grossing restaurants among business diners in New York City are steakhouses.”

A popular dish — bulk food for bulky people — is the 40–ounce cowboy ribeye that sells for $59.95. This posse–sized meal of meat alone might be good enough for the late Cecil the Lion, but most diners want a side dish or two. Unfortunately all your $60 bucks gets is meat and utensils, everything else is a la carte.

It’s like buying a new car and discovering you have to pay extra for “options” the rational would consider basic. (Oh, you want tires with that?) Iceberg lettuce that Whole Foods hides in the Mitt Romney section at the back of the store sells for $9.00 a wedge.

These restaurants aren’t obsessed with attracting female customers, running contrary to other trends. Smith & Wollensky founder Alan Stillman explains in a quote that may indicate grammar ignorance is hereditary, ‘“I know a tremendous amount (sic) of women that love to go to our restaurants…but they’re the outliers.” By contrast, at Quality Meats (sic), developed by his son, around 45% of the customers are women, Mr. Stillman said.’

The moral is take any media lifestyle advice with a large grain of salt, if you’re still allowed to do that. As a wave of steakhouse trend stories begins to break over the nation, keep in mind fad stories are a blurry snapshot in time with about the predictive power and relevance of a political survey taken last year.

The Supreme Court & Robert’s Rules of Raisins

Evidently the philosophy of the Roberts’ Supreme Court is follow the Constitution when convenient, but if a decision strikes at the heart of the Big Government welfare state or would cause invitations from the Georgetown cocktail circuit to dry up, then the Constitution takes a backseat to the alliance of intellectuals and government dependents that rules our nation.

Fortunately for Marvin Horne, his case didn’t involve one of Obama’s signature initiatives like Obamacare. He was fighting a policy from our first socialist president: FDR’s Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 that fixed prices for farm products.

This meant Washington bureaucrats, whose only knowledge of soil and farming came when they cleaned the dirt from under their nails, arbitrarily set the price of farm products AND decided how much a farmer could grow. Just like the Soviet Union, except no gulag.

Marvin wasn’t going to take it anymore and he fought the law and the Horne won. Complete details in my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Supreme-Court-FDA-Raisins-subsidy/2015/06/26/id/652418/

 

Did You Know Farmers Used to Grow Food for Free?

One of the more brilliant Democrat ploys is getting consumers to pay for their groceries twice: Once in the form of tax dollars and then again at the grocery store. This scam has been going on for the past 80 years and now Republicans that don’t understand liberty or the Constitution are collaborating.

But that’s only true if you are a maker. If you are a taker then the USDA can help! We are now paying farmers to grow food and consumers to eat it. The government’s idea of an infinite loop.

Feel all the outrage in my Newsmax column at:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/National-Debt/2015/05/22/id/646376/

Don’t Worry if Your Cheese Is Older Than You

The USDA contends 36 pounds of food per person is wasted each month because easily frightened consumers are tossing groceries based on pessimistic expiration dates.
That’s probably a low estimate. I periodically have to go hands–on with my wife when she experiences a busy–body seizure and attempts to toss food that is merely gaining momentum in my refrigerator.
Learn the proper way to help cheese and milk celebrate its birthday in my Newsmax column:

Time to Put Farmers on A Glutton–Free Diet

Now that I’ve recovered from a bout of tryptophan poisoning, I’ve been giving some thought to the photos of this season’s Thanksgiving clemency ceremony. Do you think Obama’s executive order that pardoned an albino–white turkey is his idea of racial outreach in the wake of the Ferguson riots?

Are white turkeys executed in greater numbers during the ramp up to Thanksgiving than their proportion of the entire turkey population would warrant?

Is Eric Holder on this job, too?

My hope is, as the spirit of clemency wafts through DC, that maybe the taxpayer could be given a pardon in the New Year, starting with Thanksgiving dinner.

Complete details, insight and rollicking laughter in my Newsmax column at:

http://tinyurl.com/okjbuyt