Archive for the ‘Factoids’ Category

Who do you love?

February 5, 2007

Hi Brit,

Joy, oh joy!  It’s Federal Budget time!  Let’s see who the Government loves:

(as proposed by President Bush)

Health and Human Services: $699 billion
Social Security: $655.6 billion
Defense: $624.6 billion
Treasury: $525.9 billion
Other agencies: $148.7 billion
Agriculture: $90.9 billion
Veterans: $84.4 billion
Transportation: $67.4 billion
Education: $62.6 billion
Labor: $50.4 billion
State: $37.4 billion
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion
Justice: $23.3 billion
Energy: $21.7 billion
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion
Interior: $10.1 billion
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion
Commerce: $6.7 billion
Judiciary: $6.7 billion
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 
For a total of a bit over 2.9 TRILLION DOLLARS!  This is right at $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

After taking a few minutes to let that sink in, you may be wondering just what these departments are going to spend their share of the loot on, so (from their sites) here’s what they think they do:

Health and Human Services: $699 billion

THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

THE DEPARTMENT INCLUDES MORE THAN 300 PROGRAMS, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:

  • Health and social science research
  • Preventing disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Health information technology
  • Financial assistance and services for low-income families
  • Improving maternal and infant health
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Faith-based and community initiatives
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
  • Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.


Social Security: $655.6 billion

We pay retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families and administer the Supplemental Security Income program. We also issue Social Security numbers. 
Defense: $624.6 billion

With our military units tracing their roots to pre-Revolutionary times, you might say that we are America’s oldest company. And if you look at us in business terms, many would say we are not only America’s largest company, but its busiest and most successful. 
Treasury: $525.9 billion

The mission of the Department of the Treasury is to promote the conditions for prosperity and stability in the United States and encourage prosperity and stability in the rest of the world.
Other agencies: $148.7 billion

These are all the other agencies and departments that didn’t get enough funding to make the big list. 
Agriculture: $90.9 billion

 We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
Veterans: $84.4 billion

 Our goal is to provide excellence in patient care, veterans’ benefits and customer satisfaction. We have reformed our department internally and are striving for high quality, prompt and seamless service to veterans. Our department’s employees continue to offer their dedication and commitment to help veterans get the services they have earned. Our nation’s veterans deserve no less.
Transportation: $67.4 billion

 Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
Education: $62.6 billion

ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. Its original directive remains its mission today — to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. ED’s 4,500 employees and $71.5 billion budget are dedicated to:

• Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
• Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
• Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
• Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
Labor: $50.4 billion

The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
State: $37.4 billion

 Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion

 HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships–particularly with faith-based and community organizations–that leverage resources and improve HUD’s ability to be effective on the community level.
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion

 We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce.
Justice: $23.3 billion

 

To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Energy: $21.7 billion

Discovering the solutions to power and secure America’s future
 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion

We explore and discover
Interior: $10.1 billion

The Mission of the Department of the Interior is to protect and provide access to our Nation’s natural and cultural heritage and honor our trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes and our commitments to island communities.
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion

 The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
Commerce: $6.7 billion

 The historic mission of the Department is “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce” of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation’s economic development and technological advancement. The Department fulfills this mission by:

a. Participating with other Government agencies in the creation of national policy, through the President’s Cabinet and its subdivisions.

b. Promoting and assisting international trade.

c. Strengthening the international economic position of the United States.

d. Promoting progressive domestic business policies and growth.

e. Improving comprehension and uses of the physical environment and its oceanic life.

f. Ensuring effective use and growth of the Nation’s scientific and technical resources.

g. Acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating information regarding the Nation and the economy to help achieve increased social and economic benefit.

h. Assisting states, communities, and individuals with economic progress.
Judiciary: $6.7 billion

Funds the Federal Courts.
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion

Funds the Congress. 
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 

Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including: 

  • Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)
  • Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)
  • Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)

Today, as always, we stand ready… engineers, scientists, real estate specialists and administrators alike to meet national security, emergency and other national requirements.

While I have different concepts of the true purpose of some of these Departments and Agencies, that will have to wait until another day.  Now, don’t you feel better knowing a tiny bit about where your tax dollars are going?

the Grit

UK down the toilet

February 5, 2007

Hi Grit

I knew things were getting bad over here, but did not realise just how bad until I noticed this little bit of news, which reveals that every Briton flushes away 110 rolls of toilet paper each year (17.6 kilos). This is around 25 times the amount used in one of the baltic states and over 10% more than you in the US.

With consumption expected to rise by around 40% in the next few years, this means that we will increase our usage from just over two rolls a week to nearly 3. One roll every two and a bit days is a staggering amount of loo rolls.

I wonder what is scaring the **** out of us over here?

the Brit

Are you ready for some football, ads!

January 28, 2007

Hi Brit,

Just a factoid about this years Super Bowl, the price for a 30 second commercial is … wait for it … $2.6 million.  That, in case you are interested, is $86,667 per second of air time.  With up to 60 ads being shown during the game, that comes to $156 million in revenue just from commercials.  Go Colts!

the Grit

The world of the unusual

January 28, 2007

Hi Grit

I thought I would share a few stories that I came across this morning.

Crime of the day. It could only happen in Ireland. A convict on weekend release from prison, when faced with delays in returning within his deadline, relied upon his experience to solve the problem. He stole a car and drove it back to the jail. He received a suspended sentence for the act.

Monty Python. It seems that in Malaysia they have a shortage of Guard Dogs for their fruit orchards. This could have something to do with a large python, who recently swallowed eleven of these dogs. The snake must have one gigantic appetite.

Abandon Train. I guess this could only happen in the UK. During the recent small incidence of snow a train got stuck (nothing unusual there you might think.) However, in this case the train driver and crew obviously decided they had had enough, so they got off the train and ordered a taxi to take them home, leaving the passengers stranded. I can’t say that I have noticed this option in the Customer Care manual.

the Brit   

ALERT! Political Correctness Update!

January 25, 2007

Hi Brit,

Sorry, but I have to break in with an update to the Big Book of Political Correctness.  As of right now, it is no longer PC to refer to first term Congresspeople as “Freshman.”  The new term is “newly elected.”  The punishment for using the old term has yet to be announced, but, rest assured, it will be swift and harsh.  Reference: Overlooked: Dems Stop Smoking From The Verve Pipe?

We now return to our regular blogging.

the Grit

Factoids

January 19, 2007

I thought I would update you all with a little offbeat news.

1) Pigeon’s cigarette fetish blamed for fire. It appears that a fire that burned the roof off a US office block, was started by pigeons. Their penchant for picking up smouldering cigarette ends from the street, and returning to their nests with them resulted in a slow burn that wasn’t noticed until it was too late.

Could someone supply the pigeons with harmless nest warmers or nicotine patches?

2) Don’t stress the Romanian medics. One man, whose surgeon became stressed whilst performing corrective testicle surgery, lost his penis, which was cut off and chopped into pieces. The doctor claimed “he became stressed” when the operation went wrong. He was ordered to pay £30,000 compensation.

Gives a new meaning to the term, putting your (love) life in a doctors hands, don’t you think?

3) Careful what you call someone in Spain. A columbian woman who wanted to acquire citizenship in Spain has been told that she can only do so if she changes her name. Her name is “Darling.” Apparently, Spanish laws will not allow people to be called a name that might become the subject of ridicule.

Guess that is why, during my time in Spain, I never heard one male refer to his partner as “darling.”

the brit

Factiods

January 15, 2007

Hey Grit

A few interesting facts I found today.

 1) The only reason that firehouses (stations) have round staircases is because, in the days when they were horsedrawn, the horses, stabled on the ground floor, learned how to walk up straight stairs.

2) One for you my friend. Did you know that Michigan was the first state to have roadside picnic tables?

3) The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law, which stated that you could not beat your wife anything wider than your thumb.

4) More people are killed by donkey’s each year than die in air crashes.

the Brit

Just in case y’all drop by the States for a visit…

January 11, 2007

Hi Brit,

I happened across this, What every Brit should know about jaywalking, and figured I’d better point it out to you in case you make it across the pond.  It’s difficult to believe that y’all don’t have a law against jaywalking.  Doesn’t it interfere with traffic?  I know it’s illegal in Canada, since my wife got a ticket for it.  Not just a casual, he police happened to notice, ticket either; the local law had an officer staking out that particular crossing specifically to catch jaywalkers.

Of course, the story does contain what, I suspect, is the key determination in the difference in our legal views on this subject,  “where it is considered a personal responsibility to cross the road safely.”  Personal responsibility is something our Government is trying to wean us off of.

the Grit

Factoids – News

January 11, 2007

Hi Grit

Just to prove that the world is a place gone mad, I thought I would share these weird facts with you.

1) Smoking ban – as we have feared in the UK there are moves to ban people smoking in their own home. A couple in Wales have received a letter from their council stating they are being investigated after a neighbour complained about the smell of their smoking. It could lead to a smoking ban on their own house. Guess we need to find odour-free ciggies.

2) Tongue licking good – If you want to send someone a memory of chinese food you need to buy a stamp. In China they have just produced stamps, which when you lick them, taste of sweet and sour pork. If this is the case, I am surprised that our postal service has not got round to selling curry stamps!

3) A flush of excitement – In a UK town called Salisbury, a thief has just handed himself in to the police. His crime? He stole a pub urinal. No doubt he found it to be a load of C**p.

4) Bra the bullet – Over there recently a lady of 45 was saved from serious injury when her bra deflected a bullet. Strangely enough it was a 45 calibre bullet as well. However, my complaint is about equality. Why should it only be the ladies that have this protection?

the Brit 

And now for something completely disturbing

January 10, 2007

Hi Brit,

If this story doesn’t doesn’t conjure up some seriously disturbing mental images, you’re not taking the right drugs, Gere dances with Indian sex workers in AIDS fight.  Beyond the wild and frightening visualization of Gere doing a conga line down a mud covered street with thousands of Sari clad Indian whores chanting about condoms, just the fact that there are 600,000 women of the night in that area is enough to make one cringe.  Mumbai is thought to have 13 million people, so five percent of the population are hookers?  Even assuming that some are commuting just for the chance to grab Richard Gere’s ass, this offers some astonishing insight into what is wrong with India; they’re sex obsessed savages.  No wonder y’all can afford food, you’re spending all your money on nookie.  This might also explain why your country is rapidly reaching standing room only status.  Fellas, for everyones’ sake, try keeping it in your pants for a few years.

the Grit

Polonium-210, not a condiment!

January 7, 2007

Hi Brit,

I saw this story, Polonium-210 found in restaurant, and thought I’d drop you a note to make sure you know Polonium-210 is not a condiment.  So, if you notice a bottle of it in with the ketchup, mustard, and salsa leave it alone.  It’s not some new kind of hot sauce, at least not in the traditional sense.

the Grit

Yea Haw! The US wins again!

January 7, 2007

Hi Brit,

I was reading this, World Prison Populations, and was happy to see y’all are the regional champs, and thought you might even give us a run for our money.  That is, until I clicked over to the world figures.  Y’all aren’t even close.  Although, I suspect those numbers include the illegal aliens we have incarcerated, which is somewhere around %10 of our prison population, but even if you subtract them, we’re still world champs.

the Grit

Memphis needs some of this.

January 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

You may not know that Memphis, Tennessee (which I live on the outskirts of) is on an earthquake fault, which is why this, Quake-prone Istanbul awaits disaster, hit home.  Most people around here, and in a line stretching a few hundred miles up to St. Lewis, either never knew or forget that the New Madrid fault runs along the west side of the Mississippi river.  It’s name comes from the town of New Madrid, which sank into the river last time we had a big quake.  That was also the jolt which formed Reel Foot lake, the only natural lake in Tennessee.  Reports from people in the area at the time say that the Mississippi ran backward for three days while the sunken area filled up.  The geology here is a worst case scenario for earthquake damage, mostly being several hundred feet of sediment with a high water table.  When we get the next big shake, it’ll make Katrina seem like fun times.  Oh, and the last big one was in 1811 – 1812, so the next should be any time now, like in 2012?

Details on our impending disaster at:

The New Madrid Fault Zone (NMFZ)

the Grit

Another men’s club falls!

January 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

Well, this one held out longer than most: Female Beefeater: towering milestone for women?  Of course, considering the Tower of London is a fortress, and prison, it’s not surprising that it took feminists over 50 decades to force their way in.  Although, as I recall, several women were incarcerated inside the Tower over the years, but I guess that doesn’t count as being gender integrated.  So, I tip my derby to the Yopeople for marching proudly into the present.  Now, let’s talk about the uniform…

the Grit

Liquor helps your ticker

January 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just found this bit of good news, Drink lowers blood pressure risks.  And here I thought there wasn’t an up side to having high blood pressure 🙂  Of course, I’ve already sipped enough Scotch to be protected until some time in the next decade.

the Grit

Luck for the new year

January 2, 2007

Hi Brit,

It just occurred to me that having black eyed peas and cornbread on New Years Day for luck, might not be a universal tradition.  Does it at least carry over to England?

the Grit

A little light reading?

January 1, 2007

Hi Brit,

In your copious spare time, I thought you might need something to read so, U.S. to declassify secrets aged 25 and older.  Apparently, there are at least 1,000,000,000 pages of newly available documents for you to peruse.  On the off chance that the Government let something interesting slip through, send me a copy if you would be so kind.

the Grit

Star light – star bright

December 31, 2006

Hi Gritstarlight.JPG

starlight-1.JPG

Just thought I would let you know that part of the Christmas gifts I bought for my partner Marlis, was two tickets (well I could not let her go alone, now could I?) to see the renowned musical “Starlight Express.”  The show is based around railways and performed by actors on roller skates.

In case you in the US are not familiar with this show, here are a few factoids from it.

1) The show opened in 1984 and has been produced in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan and Mexico.

2) In London there were over 7,400 performances before it closed in 2002, making it second only to “Cats” another Lloyd Webber Production.

3) An estimated 16 million people have seen the show worldwide and the estimated gross box office world-wide is £352 million.

4) The theatre ghost, who has been seen since the theatre was a cinema, sat in Row Q, sometimes during the evening performances.

5) 6 miles of timber, two and half acres of sheet wood and 60 tonnes of steel were used to construct the set.

6) There are 1,500 light bulbs on the set, 1,200 lanterns and 6,000 pea lights on the back wall of the set to create the star effect.

7) The top speed recorded by a skater was 40 mph during a rehearsal.

8 ) 20,000 pairs of skate laces, 25,000 skate wheels and 15,000 toe stops were used during the London run.

9) The London skaters got through 1,200,000 boxes of tissues and 12,000 gallon bottles of water. 2,000 pairs of false eyelashes, 8,000 tins of base make-up and 2,000 tubs of make-up remover have been applied.

10) Three generations of the Pearton family watched the Apollo Victoria show every week for the final four years. The grand-daughter had skating lessons every week.

11) Alan Newman, a postman from Kent, saw the show 750 times and estimates he spent £21,000.00. He always sat in the same seat – Stalls L23.

I would mention here that the first time we will see it will be on the evening of the 6th January 2007.

Let’s hope it lives up to expectations.

the brit

The last time this happened it changed the world.

December 30, 2006

Hi Brit,

This is most disturbing on several levels,

Strange But True: Komodo Dragons Show That “Virgin Births” Are Possible 

OK, I know I’m a bit of an alarmist, but the last time this happened it caused centuries of upheaval by starting two of the world’s big religions.  If this Komodo thing starts a new cult, and I have no doubt it will, things are going to get even stranger than they already are.  This is one of those times when research should be hidden for security and public safety reasons.  All the Komodo dragons should be rounded up, shipped to Area 51, and kept under lock and key just to be safe.  Obviously, I don’t need to mention that this is, indeed, yet another sign of the end of the world.  Oh, and since Area 51 is in Nevada, maybe Katie Rees could get a job tossing chunks of pig over the fence at feeding time.

the Grit

At least we drive on the right side of the road.

December 30, 2006

Hi Brit,

Even though y’all drive on the wrong side of the road, it seems like we have the worst traffic problems.  Animal parts, missile, cause top U.S. traffic headaches  Of course, for the sake of our non-British readers, I should point out that a “lorry” is a “truck.” 

However, it seems like the EU is trying to make up for lost time, European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs.  Which, I suspect, will be a very, very bad idea.  Oh, and I notice that one of the test cities is Ipswich, which, if I’m not mistaken is where your latest serial killer was haunting.  Could there be a connection?

 Plus, I just found this on StrangeVehicles.com (at http://www.strangevehicles.com/archive/eletter_item_223.html):

The following are a sampling of REAL answers received on exams given by the California Department of Transportation’s traffic school. YIKES!

Q: Do you yield when a blind pedestrian is crossing the road?
A: What for? He can’t see my license plate.

Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pick up truck with the gun rack and the bumper sticker saying, “Guns don’t kill people. I do.”

Q: What are the important safety tips to remember when backing your car?
A: Always wear a condom.

Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car.

Q: How can you reduce the possibility of having an accident?
A: Be too shit-faced to find your keys.

Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I’d probably lose my buzz a lot faster.

Q: What changes would occur in your lifestyle if you could no longer drive lawfully?
A: I would be forced to drive unlawfully.

Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color.

Q: How do you deal with heavy traffic?
A: Heavy psychedelics.

Q: What can you do to help ease a heavy traffic problem?
A: Carry loaded weapons.

Q: Why would it be difficult to be a police officer?
A: It would be tough to be a dickhead all day long.

I was going to say that it makes me glad I don’t drive in LA, but then I realized that, unlike Memphis, their idiots at least TRY to get a license.

the Grit