Friday, May 08, 2009

Cruising Argentinian Gay Bars on the U.S. Taxpayer Tab

If this expenditure doesn't raise the ire of taxpayers, let alone provide endless comic fodder, then we're doomed.

Seriously, WTF?
Government researchers are spending more than $400,000 in taxpayer money to hit the bars in Argentina.

The National Institutes of Health are paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk -- and just what can be done about it.
Uhhh, it's not as if this isn't going on in American gay bars. Why the need to go to Argentina? Let's see now, maybe being drunk has something to do with it?
Though public health officials say that HIV/AIDS rates are higher in Washington, D.C., than in some parts of West Africa, U.S. government funds are going to help curb dangerous liaisons in Argentina's capital.

The study began in September 2008, according to an online abstract, and has already cost taxpayers $198,776, NIH documents show.

"Targeting public venues in Buenos Aires where men meet, alcohol is consumed and sexual behavior occurs," the project's overview explains, "the goal of this 2-year exploratory study is to understand the various factors that contribute to the creation of a high risk sexual space."
Hmm, what could those factors be?
That means NIH researchers will have as many as 730 nights on the town for careful observation and interaction.
I bet they're very excited.

Remarkably, they're actually spending more money to glean information that could easily be found with a 10-minute interview with Jim McGreevey or Barney Frank than the White spent on Scare Force One, for which Louis Caldera is now playing the patsy.

Can you say Friday night news dump, boys and girls?
A top White House aide resigned today for his role in Air Force One's $328,835 photo-op flyover above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. His resignation was made public at the same time the photo of the flyover was released by the White House.

Louis Caldera said the controversy had made it impossible for him to effectively lead the White House Military Office. "Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president," Caldera said in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama.

The sight of the huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane flying past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets on April 27. Obama said it would not happen again.

Caldera's office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835.

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