There’s a $483,000 rock sculpture that’s layered into cubes outside the mental health center at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., that’s meant to evoke “a sense of transformation, rebuilding and self-investigation,” according to designers. It’s part of a renovated $1.3 million courtyard.
There’s an art installation on the side of a parking garage that displays quotes by Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt in Morse code, at a cost of $285,000. It lights up.
Altogether, VA Palo Alto Health Care System has spent at least $6.3 million on art and consulting services. The costs come to $4,190,356 at the Palo Alto Medical Center, $1,879,521 at the Monterey Health Care Center and $280,000 in other budgeted projects.
Listen, we shouldn’t really be too hard on the V.A., everyone. After all, they have an exemplary record of timely service and care to the veterans they are supposed to serve, and are great stewards of tax money. They totally don’t have people literally dying while waiting for an appointment, or a GODAWFUL online system, or enormous cost overruns when it comes to building a hospital.
I’m kidding, of course. This is standard operating procedure for government employees. The agency responsible for these lavish pieces is none other than the notorious General Services Administration. You remember them, right?
This all becomes much clearer if you understand the motivation behind these purchases. These facilities are not really designed and built for you, they are built for the people who work there. And those people would like to work in a comfortable environment. Hence the building of lavish offices, beautiful artwork, and unnecessary sculptures. It isn’t just the VA, all of the government agencies pull this crap.
This same mentality infects many contemporary institutions. It’s been going on in higher education for decades. Food on campus used to suck. Have you been to a college campus lately? THE OPTIONS. My God, the options. Long gone are the days of the cafeteria churning out pans of mystery meat by surly lunch ladies freshly paroled from the local jail on a work-release program. Now it’s lobster bakes and table-side service. It’s practically a hate crime to not have an all-organic salad bar.
Back to the V.A. Look, I’m not saying that it has to be plain gray cinderblock gulag. Although, if it was a choice between that, coupled with timely, efficient care, and a PALACE that you could never get an appointment in, I’d take the gulag every time. But sure, hang some art. Even I, with my blackened, shriveled heart can appreciate a nice oil painting or sculpture.
HALF A MIL ONE-POINT-THREE MIL on a stupid rock sculpture? COME ON. (It cost another 800K for “site prep,” whatever that means.) I mean, shop around a little bit. If you absolutely have to have a little art, I’m pretty sure you could find thousands of art pieces by members of the starving art community for a lot less than that. Not to mention the prestige of having their work at the V.A. where thousands of people can see it.
You want some art? You give me 50 grand and I’ll get you some art. Hell, I’ll go one better. Here’s a picture I took with an iPhone under the Ocean Beach pier. You can blow it up and hang it on the wall of the San Diego VA for FREE. You’re welcome. I have a bunch more. See, I’m an ARTIST.
Oh, let’s not overlook the $285,000 quotation in Morse code on the parking garage (!!!), either. So you spend a shitload of money on a quotation that 99.9 percent of the public can’t even read, and slap it on a parking garage wall? BUT OH HEY IT LIGHTS UP. Cool, we can all stare at the indecipherable colored light gibberish as we go in to sit and wait to hopefully see someone hours after our appointment time has passed. Are they insane?
As for the Washington Post, I’m glad they did the article, don’t get me wrong. But they titled it, “VA spent $6.3 million on sculptures and fountains for their hospitals.” Well, yes. BUT, this is only for ONE VA health system—the one in Palo Alto. The article headline makes it sound like this was the bill for the entire nationwide system. God knows what that tab is for that.
They’ve got tons of money. And instead of directing it toward better care for veterans, they direct it toward making their office hours as pleasant as possible. That money could have easily paid for a new wing, LOTS of new equipment, or more staff. This is completely unacceptable. Jerks.
The Obama administration is taking a new tack of sorts on the war in Syria, announcing Friday the end of the failed program to build an army out of local rebel fighters and instead focusing on enabling existing forces already operating on the ground and loosening the parameters for whom the U.S. will provide with arms.
File this in the “what could possibly go wrong?” file.
“What we’re really trying to do here is build on what’s worked for us,” Christine Wormuth, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy, said Friday.
What’s that, exactly?
The Pentagon’s efforts to train a projected 5,400 Syrian infantrymen by the end of this year languished in complications over who could participate, and ultimately yielded a force of fewer than 60, most of whom were immediately captured or voluntarily surrendered their U.S.-provided equipment to extremist groups.
Under the new program, the U.S. will now only vet commanders of existing units fighting the Islamic State group, not each individual fighter as before, to ensure their goals align with America’s. Wormuth said Friday the U.S. would provide these forces with less sophisticated equipment than what it had planned to give the troops it was training to, as she says, “mitigate the risk.” She referenced unspecified procedures in place to monitor this equipment to ensure it does not fall into enemy hands.
It’s cool, everybody. They have unspecified procedures in place to monitor equipment. So absolutely nothing can go wrong. After all, the United States government has a long and distinguished history of monitoring equipment to ensure that it doesn’t fall into enemy hands.
President Obama has never wanted to be involved in the Middle East. Don’t take my word for it, listen to one of his former assistants:
President Obama has been consistent on Syria. Even when I was in the administration, the president made clear that he did not want to get dragged into the conflict there.
The legacy of Iraq weighed heavily on him. He was elected to get us out of Middle East wars, not into them. He was not going to get involved in “someone else’s civil war.”
Indeed. And in a way, I can certainly sympathize with that outlook. We’ve spent decades in the region, expanding enormous amounts of blood and treasure, and for…what, exactly? So that one group of religious nuts can take over from another group of religious nuts? Maybe this is Obama’s way out. Maybe he’s thinking, “Thank God, now I have an excuse to get the hell out of there.” Honestly? Can’t say I blame him.
BUT: We also need to examine this from a geopolitical perspective. We’ve spent the last decade or so trying to establish relationships with people over there. Alliances have been fostered. Promises have been made. And now, Putin the Crazy Russian comes in and starts bombing the hell out of the place. He may be ineffective and full of crap, but he looks DECISIVE. Believe me, that machismo garbage counts in the Middle East. And we look indecisive; we look like we don’t really have any stomach for this. We look like we can’t be counted on. The whole thing is a mess. I don’t envy Obama on this one.
I love fast food..But I don't eat it all day long like the fatties.Take away my in and out burger and I'll cut you. https://t.co/luqKkrLzHS
— BK (@BKactual) October 8, 2015
Navy veteran Sean Mace was visiting San Francisco during Fleet Week last October and had gotten what he thought was a great view to see the Blue Angels soaring across the sky.
He got to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at the Fort Mason Center early to secure his spot hours before the show. He read a book. And he fell asleep.
He woke up – the next day in a hospital – after a 16-pound pine cone, or seed pod, fell from a tree at the park, crushing his skull and causing him to have permanent brain damage, short-term memory loss and other cognitive issues.
“He still has a tremendous degree of anxiety,” Mace’s San Francisco attorney, Scott Johnson, told NBC Bay Area on Thursday. “He’s in constant fear of getting hit on the head. It’s like a bowling ball falling from the sky and hitting you on the head.”
I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I first read this. I thought, this is one of those guys who is just trying to get a pay day. He was probably doing something stupid; the pine cone wasn’t that big, etc. It’s a pine cone, right? How big could it be? And then I saw a picture of one:
HOLY HELL. The moral of the story here is, never go outside or do anything. It’s way too dangerous.
Here comes yet another body blow for the reeling auto industry. Toyota has been put on the spot by the US government, which has asked the Japanese car maker to explain just how Islamic State has got hold of hundreds of its four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The Toyota Hilux pickup — a model similar to the Toyota Tacoma sold in the US — and Toyota Land Cruisers have become fixtures in the terror group’s propaganda videos, according to media reports late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said one former US ambassador to the UN, Mark Wallace, quoted in an ABC News report.
Wallace is currently chief executive for the Counter Extremism Project, which aims to expose terrorists’ financial networks. “I don’t think Toyota’s trying to intentionally profit from it, but they are on notice now and they should do more,” Wallace added.
I’m in full agreement with ISIS on this one. As a proud owner of one of the world’s best cars, a beautiful 2003 Toyota AWD 4Runner Limited, I can’t really hate on them for this. I even sprung for the hard-to-find model with the legendary 2UZ-FE V8 engine. This truck will outlast me. It’s great for camping, road trips, and fighting the infidels.
I had to laugh at the government drone up there talking about Toyota’s responsibility here. Quick, what’s a number less than zero? Because that’s how many fucks Toyota gives that ISIS is using its trucks overseas.
I’m sure the guy would rather be tortured to death than admit it, but don’t you think that the CEO of Toyota is secretly kind of proud that his truck is the vehicle of choice when it comes to ruthless terrorists? Like, these are the hardest dudes in the world, and they’re using MY COMPANY’S TRUCK. I bet he is. I bet he brags about it at conventions after he’s had a few Sake bombs.
The United States Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery has issued a warning about “male privilege” and is teaching ways to combat it.
The agency has issued two charts, the “Power and Control Wheel” and the “Equality Wheel,” in a new document posted on the Navy’s website.
The narrative document lists these stereotypical examples of “male privilege:”
- “He refuses to pick up milk on his way home because it’s ‘women’s work.’”
- “When he came home yesterday, he was driving a brand new truck. I told him we needed something the whole family could fit in, but he didn’t listen to me.”
- “He doesn’t mind his friends being at the house at all hours of the night, but he says my Sunday brunch friends talk too much and are no longer welcome.”
Hmmm. I’m not sure about the first one. I like milk. But the other two, yeah, pretty much every guy thinks that. He doesn’t want to hear about you needing a minivan, he’s going for the Ford Raptor, which is epic. And obviously he’s going to have fun drinking all night with his buddies in the man cave. And while he’s nursing his hangover the next day, do ya really think he’s ready to hear his wife and her friends shrieking over their mimosas?
Tactivate is proud to be supporting Jimmy Petrolia, former USAF Pararescueman on his world record attempt to raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF). SOWF is an initiative which supports the children and families of fallen Special Operations Veterans for education and personal development.
Jimmy and his team on Veterans Day are going to attemp to break two skydiving world records.
The FAA is collaborating and de- conflicting airspace to enable Jimmy and his team to make their record attempts and to provide Tactivate invitees with a once in a lifetime chance to train alongside Special Operations Veterans.
Full oxygen facemask, flight-helmet and World-Class jump partner required! You will be stepping out of an aircraft from an altitude of 30,000’, the same altitude commercial airliners cruise at. With over two minutes of free fall this, is not an average civilian skydive, but a rare opportunity to experience a HALO jump usually only conducted in the military by Special Operations Forces.
This sounds pretty awesome. Not too many people get to skydive from 30,000 feet. Think of all of those other lame charity dinners, where a couple grand gets you a terrible chicken dish and maybe a picture with some has-been celebrity. For the same price, you could go full operator instead.
The only think I wish they would have talked about more in the press release is what the world records that Jimmy is attempting ARE. It doesn’t say. It just says, “two world records.” In WHAT? Speed? Horizontal distance traveled? Testicle weight? No idea.
I wasn’t able to reach out to Jimmy in time to post. Hopefully we get some sweet video of his jump to see what exactly he does. Stay tuned.
A Rhode Island man who weighs almost 800 pounds was kicked out of a hospital after ordering a pizza and is now being forced to live out of his father’s SUV.
Steven Assanti, 33, from Cranston, was getting the help he desperately needed to combat his ‘eating addiction’ at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
Over the past few months there, he had managed to lose 20 pounds. But when he broke the rules of his care plan by ordering the takeout meal, Assanti – who weighs 778 pounds – was told he could no longer stay.
Guy: You’re 780 pounds and you were only able to lose 20 over the course of several months? Ridiculous. At that weight, your crotch sweat every day probably weighs twenty pounds. You should be able to lose that just rolling out of bed and walking to the bathroom every morning. Well, I’m sure he’s recognizing the danger and taking full, personal responsibility for this:
He told NBC10: ‘It’s an addiction and I realize that. And it’s a disease.’
AAAAAAAAND you’ve lost me.
I love this. “It’s a DISEASE,” he said. No, you fat tub of goo, it’s not a disease. My brother woke up at the age of 27 to find out he had cancer growing in his liver. THAT’S A DISEASE. Your inability to stop stuffing HoHos into your fat mouth is not a disease. You know why? Because if you ever stopped, BAM! Instant disease cure!
Assanti explained that he was supposed to remain at the hospital until his weight dropped to 550 pounds, at which point he could undergo gastric bypass surgery.
If you can’t get motivated to lose weight so you can undergo life-saving surgery, it’s over. You’re done. Take some responsibility for yourself, man. And where was dad his whole life, anyway? How did he get to 800 freaking pounds? Don’t you start getting concerned if you’re the parent around, I don’t know, 350 pounds or so?
I know what you’re thinking. I’m being too hard on the guy, right? Wait, there’s more:
The video, which Steven Assanti himself filmed back in 2012, shows him harassing a nurse at a hospital after growing agitated that a machine was beeping and would not stop.
“What the ‘f’ is going on here? Nurse, nurse, nurse,” Mr Assanti can be heard screaming at the top of his lungs in the footage.
In between yelling “nurse” more than 30 times, Mr Assanti starts to play Britney Spears’ hit song Give Me More until a member of staff finally responds.
It’s far worse when you actually watch the video and hear him screaming. This fat piece of shit liked to upload videos and fancied himself a bit of celebrity. He’s playing for the camera the whole time. Watch this one, where he gleefully makes fun of all the taxpayers paying for his fat ass to be in the hospital:
You know what kills me? This turd gets the same number of votes that I do. HURRY AND DIE.
Germany is facing an influx of 1.5 million refugees this year, almost twice the official estimate, leaked government figures say as the EU struggles to find a solution to the migrant crisis.
The German authorities expect 920,000 new asylum-seekers to arrive in the country between October and December alone, according to the previously classified figures.
With each migrant having an estimated four to eight family members that could be permitted to enter, the total number resettled could ultimately top seven million.
The figure is drastically higher than the official estimate, that Germany will host 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, and could lead to further pressure on Angela Merkel over her refugee policy.
I’ll just point out this paragraph I wrote one more time, back in August. And then, I swear, I’ll stop. But I was right far faster than I ever imagined:
Look at what’s happening in Europe. Last year, 230,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to try and get in. This year, so far, it’s over 300,000. What if next year, it’s a million? And the year after that? Are the citizens of Europe to loudly cheer on their own bankruptcy? Their own displacement?
This is what insane person Angela Merkel has done. It’s over, Germany. The mosques will start being constructed in earnest very soon.
“Good morning, ma’am,” a member of the uniformed Secret Service once greeted Hillary Clinton.
“F— off,” she replied.
That exchange is one among many that active and retired Secret Service agents shared with Ronald Kessler, author of “First Family Detail,” a compelling look at the intrepid personnel who shield America’s presidents and their families — and those whom they guard.
Kessler writes flatteringly and critically about people in both parties. Regarding the Clintons, Kessler presents Chelsea as a model protectee who respected and appreciated her agents. He describes Bill as a difficult chief executive but an easygoing ex-president. And Kessler exposes Hillary as an epically abusive Arctic monster.
“When in public, Hillary smiles and acts graciously,” Kessler explains. “As soon as the cameras are gone, her angry personality, nastiness, and imperiousness become evident.”
Why yes, yes I do believe every word of this. I used to work for the State Department back in the day, and this was common knowledge.
A friend of mine had the distinct misfortune of having to be the driver when Resting Bitch Face deigned to come down from Mount Olympus and hobnob with us lowly rabble overseas once. He said that as soon as she got in the car, she started interrogating him, screaming, “ARE YOU A CONTRACTOR? I DON’T WANT TO BE DRIVEN BY ANY GODDAMN CONTRACTORS!”
He just ignored her while the poor sap of a State Department regional security officer lied and said that the driver had to concentrate on driving so he couldn’t talk. Hillary Clinton is an evil hag.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl shouldn’t face jail time or a punitive discharge from the military, according to a recommendation from an Army officer revealed late Friday in a filing from Sgt. Bergdahl’s defense team.
The full recommendation from Lt. Col. Mark Visger hasn’t yet been made public by the Army in the case of Sgt. Bergdahl, who faces desertion and other misconduct charges after he allegedly left his unit in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by insurgents.
An Army spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of Sgt. Bergdahl’s legal case.
Col. Visger presided over an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing, in Sgt. Bergdahl’s case last month. During that hearing, the lead military investigator in the case said he didn’t believe Sgt. Bergdahl should be jailed.
Who got to you, Visger? This is unbelievable. This has to have come down from the very top. A guy walks away from his unit in a combat zone and the lead investigator doesn’t even think he should get a dishonorable discharge. That is your military in 2015.
Clemson Dining’s “Maximum Mexican” night, has become a student favorite over the last several years, and this year was no different, at first.
Everything was going great. Students were loving the food and festivities. Except for two students, who took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the school’s decision to host such a “#CUlturallyInsensitive” event.
Clemson senior Austin Pendergist told Campus Reformhe felt the post-event uproar was “ridiculous.”
“This is something that Clemson Dining has done for years without any sort of backlash. People love the cultural nights in the dining halls,” Pendergist said. “What’s next? Are they going to take away all potato based food as to not offend students from Irish decent? Remove the stir fry station so Asian-American students don’t feel as if they are being misrepresented? When does it end?”
Good question. Where DOES it end? Is Taco Tuesday in danger? Because if it is, I’m going to war. NOBODY TOUCHES TACO TUESDAY.
You know this is all theater, right? Now, when these mini controversies erupt, it’s not because anyone is actually offended. No, it’s because proclaiming one’s offense is now considered a virtue. You’re showing everyone on social media how GOOD you are. And then you lay back after feverishly typing away on Twitter and wait for the accolades of approval.
I know what you’re thinking. “BK, come on! Nobody is stupid or dimwitted enough to actually fall for this!” Ah, but you forget that this is an American university we’re dealing with here, an institution that not only indulges the stupid and insane, it actually celebrates them. Behold:
The university, however, took a different position. Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Clemson University’s Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs apologized for the event’s “flattened cultural view of Mexican culture.”
“It is the mission of University Housing & Dining to create supportive and challenging environments that enrich and nourish lives. We failed to live out our mission yesterday, and we sincerely apologize,” Hallenbeck said.
Hallenbeck, I say this with all sincerity: You are too stupid to live. It’s a good thing you are in academia, because your dimwitted-ness (is that a word? I like it.) is amazing to behold.
Let me help you out, Hallenbeck. See, this was your chance to influence these idiots who are dumb enough to attend your school. You could patiently explain to them how your diversity cult actually means sharing and celebrating other cultures, like food. Here, allow me to demonstrate:
Stupid Idiot Student: “That’s Racist and Offensive!”
Chancellor/Lord Of All He Surveys BK: “Talk to me again and I’ll kill you.”
What? So I’m not cut out to be an academic.
A young Irvine mother and former pageant queen was behind bars Thursday after admitting to creating and distributing child pornography of a 4-year-old female relative for a Southern California Marine, officials said.
Meghan Breanna Alt, 25, was taken into custody around noon Wednesday during a traffic stop in San Diego County on suspicion of state crimes of producing and distributing child pornography, as well as lascivious conduct with a child.
Officials said Alt sent pornographic images of the 4-year-old relative to a Southern California-stationed Marine, which were found by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigators.
This is rare indeed. It’s almost ALWAYS creepy guys doing this.
She was named 2014 Mrs. Orange County in June of that year and competed in the 2014 Mrs. California pageant.
Meh. I guess. She doesn’t look that great to me. Maybe with enough makeup caked on, she’s better. There’s more than just producing child porn, though:
Investigators suspect she advertised herself on Craigslist, creating interactions that would result in exchanges of sex for money. At least one of these exchanges happened with her young children present, sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
SO GROSS. With the kids around? This chick is cray as hell.
A witness has spoken to PEOPLE about the stabbing assault on Spencer Stone that took place Thursday on the streets of Sacramento – leaving the French train attack hero in hospital with serious injuries.
While doctors say Stone is expected to make a full recovery, authorities are continuing to piece together what led to the attack.
Eric Cain, who works at a liquor store near the scene of the fight, says Stone behaved heroically as he tried to help a girl in trouble moments before he was stabbed.
“A big group was walking down the street and they went into the intersection,” Cain tells PEOPLE. “One of the guys hit one of the girls and the guy who turned out to be Spencer Stone went after that guy. It happened really quickly.”
Spencer. Bub. You know I love ya, brother. But I think it’s time you stopped involving yourself in these situations. There are way too many crazy people. The first one, I get. You were stopping jihad, which is a good and noble thing. But this is a domestic dispute in a crowded bar. Don’t get involved, bro. Ah, well. I hope he at least got a little action from the adoring damsel in distress?
“They were all walking together from the direction of Badlands [a nightclub in the area],” he says. “Then the argument happened. The strange thing was that Spencer stuck up for the girl after she got hit and then that girl left with them [the men the police are going after].”
Yeah. Don’t get involved.
AUSTIN — A naked man carrying a disposable lighter, multiple ID cards that didn’t belong to him and a pair of women’s underwear was arrested and charged with arson after allegedly setting a grass fire in the 500 block of Middle Lane Monday afternoon.
Police said Austin firefighters were dispatched to the fire Monday and found it burning in a 20-by-50-foot area of grass and trees with flames up to 10 feet high. While firefighters were being dispatched, a 911 caller said that a naked Hispanic man was seen running from the area near the fire.
Solis was taken to North Austin Medical Center and allegedly told officers that he was naked because he had burned his clothes. Police said they tried to interview Solis again but he still was not completely coherent because he was still under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Huge bonus points for having to be strapped into a backboard during your mugshot. That’s when you know you’ve made it, kids. Send your angry letters to @BKactual.
(Featured image courtesy of theweek.com)