Associated Press File Photo / Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, recently released his annual Festivus list of wasteful government spending, including research on whether we'd be willing to eat ground-up bugs.

Paul's Festivus list released

If you knew your taxpayer money was going to support a research program that involves lizards walking on treadmills, what would you think?

Well, start thinking, because the federal government has spent part of your hard-earned money doing just that, according to the annual Festivus list compiled and published last week by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.

His annual list of wasteful government expenses, named after a suggested holiday on the former "Seinfeld" TV show, totals $54 million.

We'll admit there may be some overweight lizards out there, but we're not sure how many can afford gym memberships.

Other expenses we're ponying up for are more than $1.3 million for a grant to determine if we'll eat ground-up bugs. Rumor has it some fast-food restaurants are already using them, but it's just a rumor.

A huge chunk of our money — $37.5 million to be exact — also is going to help the United States Agency for International Development figure out how to deal with truant Filipino youth. We hope if they figure it out, they'll share it with U.S. officials.

And in this social media age, the National Institutes of Health got nearly $3.5 million to see if social media messages from moms will help keep their daughters from using indoor tanning salons. Big Tech, whose bias against President Donald Trump has been evident during the past four years, might match the amount if the messages from moms say the tanning salons will make their daughters the orange-y color of the president's complexion.


Be gone from this place

It would, no doubt, be a symbolic gesture, but restaurant owners in New York City are considering banning Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo from their establishments if indoor dining shutdowns aren't ended.

The idea has gained some traction on the Facebook site "NYC Restaurants Open," which was created in March as a space for restaurant owners to communicate.

The city's most recent restrictions forbid indoor dining during the winter months. The business owners also say shifting rules have been confusing and that they have had to survive with little help from the state and city.

Michael Quinn, whose family owns Coney Island's famous Feltman's hot dog brand, told Fox News restaurants want to give "a taste of their own medicine" to politicians who have put in place rules that go against science.

Fewer than 2% of cases can be traced to indoor dining, according to New York State figures, compared to the 70% that can be traced to households and small gatherings.

"I came up with this motto — if we can't feed our families, we certainly won't feed yours," Quinn said. "These people need to survive, and they spend thousands of dollars doing what they need to do. They're just not going to make it. And it's not about politics at this point ... . It's economic Darwinism at this point. It's survival of the fittest."

He reiterated the effort wasn't begun to be political. He said he is a liberal Democrat who voted for Cuomo, but things have gone too far.


Nominee quick to falsely accuse

The woman President-elect Joe Biden has selected to head the Department of the Interior was the one of the first to jump on the false media reports that a Kentucky Covington Catholic High School student in 2019 had mocked a Native American man following a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C.

"This Veteran put his life on the line for our country," tweeted U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, of Nathan Phillips, an activist who confronted the students. "The students' display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration."

It turned out the student, Nick Sandmann, had done no such thing and that Phillips had not served in Vietnam. Though a defamation lawsuit by the students against Haaland was dropped, Sandmann reached out-of-court settlements against CNN and The Washington Post for their role in spreading the false information.

And we should feel good about her nomination why?


Fed up

Detroit, a city whose residents are 77.3% Black, has sued the Black Lives Matter organization for "civil conspiracy" following the violent protests and destruction of property fomented by the organization in the late spring and early summer.

The lawsuit claims the protests "have repeatedly turned violent, endangering the lives of police and the public." The organization's activists who participated in the conspiracy, the suit says, also "defamed" the mayor and police. The city, it says, should be awarded damages.

Detroit, according to reports outlining the suit, cites four particular protests that it says resulted in injuries to police officers that included "cracked vertebrae, lacerations, and concussions."

We hope other cities where the organization encouraged violence this year will consider similar suits.