Stimulus, erectile dysfunction…the jokes write themselves. But this isn’t funny:
The NBC Investigative Unit has raised questions about two grants totaling nearly $1.5 million dollars distributed to the University of California San Francisco. The money was part of the federal stimulus program and went to studies into the erectile dysfunction of overweight middle aged men and the accurate reporting of someone’s sexual history.
Of course it’s in San Fransicko. Where the h3ll else would it be?
Our elected (almost said “erected”) leaders thought it would be a good use of money forcibly removed from the producers of society in order to study sexual history and flaccid schlongs. Because that’s clearly a federal role, right?
How else would Joe Biden explain this?
President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda hit another roadblock in the Senate on Thursday night, as the two parties remained locked in a bitter stalemate with the economy sputtering and tens of millions looking for work.
In their first attempt to advance individual pieces of the president’s sprawling American Jobs Act, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward a $35 billion package for states and localities to hire and prevent the layoffs of teachers and first responders.
A united GOP Conference, along with three members of the Senate Democratic Caucus — Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) — voted 50-50 to block a debate on the package, which would have been funded by a 0.5 percent surtax on those earning more than $1 million.
Bipartisan. Right? I mean, whenever any RINOs get peeled away into voting for Democrat legislation, we’re told the legislation was “bipartisan”. So this is bipartisan opposition to B.O.’s
rape prevention jobs bill, right?
Why are Republicans (plus the two Senate Dems who voted against Porkulus II) in favor of rape? From The Weekly Standard:
“In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city,” Biden said. “In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”
The vice president also seemed to suggest that the Obama administration’s first stimulus is the reason rapes and murders were not even higher in 2010 and 2011.” And God only knows what that number would have been had we not been able to get a little bit of help,” Biden said.
Ho. Ly. Shiite.
So building more roads, bridges, and pork projects, plus raising taxes on millionaires, will…um…prevent rapes in Flint, Michigan? Seriously? That’s the greyhound you’re betting on, champ?
Reid: I’m dead serious about deficit reduction, except the federal funding of the “cowboy poetry festival” in NV
Now if this isn’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind for an appropriate federal role, I don’t know what is!
Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed the Republicans’ budget proposal on Tuesday as ‘mean-spirited’ and complained it would eliminate money for a cowboy poetry festival that brings tens of thousands of tourists to Nevada.
“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting,” said Reid in a floor speech. “It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.” (People wouldn’t exist if there were no cowboy poetry festival? So the subsidies keep people alive? – CL)
The Republican plan would slash $57 billion from the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. That budget is likely to face a vote in the Senate on Tuesday evening.
I’m guessing Babs Boxer is going to decry the GOP “vendetta” against cowboys.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal just called to say how gay a “cowboy poetry” shindig sounds. How does a “cowboy poem” sound? “There once was a cowpoke from Nantucket…”
Nice job, NV, for sending this #sshat back to DC to represent you.
I’m pretty sure he said that. Or something like that. I’m paraphrasing, natch. Details:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday became the third newly elected Republican governor to reject the Obama administration’s $53 billion plan to build a nationwide high-speed rail network.
In declining more than $2 billion in federal funds for the proposed Orlando-to-Tampa line, Scott said federal government’s ridership and revenue estimates are too optimistic, meaning that Florida taxpayers would have to subsidize the line. He also suggested that cost overruns could leave Florida taxpayers having to foot a $3 billion bill.
“The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers, and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits,” Scott said.
Kudos to Governor Scott for not being swayed by the lure of “free” federal money, which as he observes, only puts us Floridians on the hook if there are tax overruns. I know, I know, since when has the federal government totally blown it on guesstimations of costs? Oh, I dunno…
At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $ 12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was a supposedly “conservative” estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion.
The Biggest Loser was interrupted by Obama’s speech. Savor the irony. 😆
He said “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” Sweet Lord, I pray not. Sputnik failed the first time, and there were subsequent failures.
His vow: “If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.” This promise is not to be confused with his 2009 statement that “Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination.” Every bill that has had earmarks over the last two years has been signed into law by him.
A rather shameless lie: “Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today.” He fought extending the Bush tax rates tooth and nail, surrendering only when it became clear he couldn’t win. And now he wants credit for caving in on tax rates that he said were harming our economy?
According to the AP‘s fact check, Chairman O’s plans to decrease the deficit by increasing spending (he and his party prefer to use the term “investments”) don’t really add up. Go figure.
Kerry: Reading 2000 pages in this bill is a waste of time, when we could be doing more productive things like PASSING this 2000-page bill
And to think this jack#ss was Ohio away from the presidency.
“Lets just chew up the time of the United States Senate keeping everybody up all night reading a bill rather than working on it,” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said sarcastically of the idea of reading the entire omnibus bill before passing it.
Video clip here.
So he wants to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in the bill. Pelosi just called to say “See? That’s what I’m saying!”
Fortunately, the omnipork bill is dead.
Washington comPost lauds story of stimulus success by pointing to report authored by…I’m not kidding…Joe Biden!
Here’s the summary: A report that just so happened to find nothing but praises of and success items in the Obama-Biden Porkulus was authored by the Vice Plagiarist himself. “Hey, I checked into our work, and as luck would have it, my research shows that we’re pretty friggin’ awesome!”
What’s crazier than that? How about that the Washington comPost and their leftist brethren in the MSM would take Biden’s attaboy report and go “Wow, that stimulus thing really worked, huh?” Uncritically. Unfazed by the notion that maybe the author of the report had a compelling interest in representing the outcome a certain way. Unapologetically. That’s the comPost for you:
The massive economic stimulus package President Obama pushed through Congress last year is coming in on time and under budget – and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse (I thought the point of the “stimulus” was the presence of new jobs, not the absence of fraud? – CL)– according to a White House report to be released Friday.
Coming barely a month before November’s midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress, the report challenges public perceptions of the stimulus aid as slow-moving and wasteful – an image that has fueled voter anger with the dominant party. Even some former skeptics who predicted that the money would lead to rampant abuse now acknowledge that the program could serve as a model for improving efficiency in government.
The report, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Post, is one in a series of assessments prepared by Vice President Biden.
According to a report to be released Friday, Crush Liberalism is the hottest blog on Al Gore’s invention, and its host was voted the hottest AND wittiest blogger in the universe. Skeptics of these claims were won over after the report was presented by…Crush Liberalism.
Nope…no liberal media bias!
I watched a campaign commercial for the FL governor’s race this morning, where Republican Rick Scott played a video clip of Alex Sink stating her undying belief that Obama’s got “right message” and the “right economic plan” to get us moving forward. Since President Steve Urkel took office, Florida’s economy has taken a hit worse than most states.
Add this to the growing pile of evidence that Sink’s judgment about B.O. is a little off, to say the least:
The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenly sensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W. Bush’s much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina…
Among all the contracts, perhaps none is more striking than the Coast Guard’s decision to pay $9,000 per month for two months to John Brooks Rice of New Orleans, an on-call worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under a no-bid contract to monitor media coverage from late May through July.
Rice told the AP that he compiled print and video news stories and offered his subjective appraisal of the tone of the coverage. “From reading and watching the media I would create reports,” he said. “I reported either positive coverage, negative coverage, misinformation coverage.”
$18k for two months of work, creating reports? Man, propaganda sure is expensive!
Here’s another expenditure that I couldn’t make up even if I worked for Dan Rather:
Yet the government’s new contracting data includes errors and vague entries that make it difficult to identify wasteful spending. It spent $52,000 on a boat charter described merely as “marine charter for things,” with no further explanation.
A. Marine. Charter. For. “Things“. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
President Kick#ss has no grasp on basic economic principles whatsoever, yet he wants to adopt a central planning command approach. This November, we can stop him dead in his tracks.
Normally, a politician jumps on pork to please the constituents back home. In this case, there are no voters (legal, anyway) in the Virgin Islands. Details from Moonbattery:
Where do the $trillions stolen from our future go? William La Jeunesse has tracked down $50 million to the Castle Nugent National Historic Park:
It’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands, about a thousand miles from Miami and an expensive jet ride to get there.
Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.
According to the FNC article linked within Moonbattery’s post…
“This is a beautiful and important natural and cultural resource that is in danger of being lost forever,” Virgin Island delegate, Donna Christiansen, told House colleagues in January. …
The land is currently used as a cattle ranch. It includes an estate house and two row houses where the owners kept slaves that worked on the plantation. Most of the land is owned by the Gasperi family, who bought the land in the 1950’s and approached the U.S. Government about four years ago about buying it.
“It’s beautiful, it’s lush, it’s green,” Mauro Gasperi said. “It contains a beautiful reef in front that we want to maintain as clean and as pristine as when we first bought it.”
The Gasperi family maintains it wants to sell the land to the U.S. government in order to protect it from developers. …
Um, I don’t know how to break it to these geniuses, but nothing requires the landowners to sell it to developers! As the land owners, they kinda sorta have a smidgeon of say-so as to how the land is used. Imbeciles.
By the way, no Republican voted for it, and all but four Dems voted for it.
Predictably, the amendment failed, 53-46. There were seven Dem senators who voted for DeMint’s amendment.
The most hilarious Dem vote? Ben Nelson!
Since the amendment would not have applied to the current health care bill and would have instead applied to future bills, Nelson was in essence saying “I’ll take the pork payoff now, but I promise I won’t take anymore later.”
Senator DeMint’s reaction to Nelson’s vote?
Senator Nelson, unfortunately, is trying to have it both ways, he was for trading his vote for earmarks before he was against it.
Ho. Ly. Shiite.
Well, if you’re gonna make stuff up about how many jobs the Porkulus bill has “saved or created”, you might as well jump in with both feet and make up the Congressional districts these purported jobs are in, no? Details:
Here’s a stimulus success story: In Arizona’s 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that’s what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.
There’s one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc, who chairs the powerful House appropriations Committee, issued a paper statement demanding that the recovery.gov Web site be updated.
“The inaccuracies on recovery.gov that have come to light are outrageous and the Administration owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes.”
The reporting problems are not limited to Arizona, ABC News found.
In Oklahoma, recovery.gov lists more than $19 million in spending — and 15 jobs created — in yet more congressional districts that don’t exist.
In Iowa, it shows $10.6 million spent – and 39 jobs created — in nonexistent districts.
In Connecticut’s 42nd district (which also does not exist), the Web site claims 25 jobs created with zero stimulus dollars.
The list of spending and job creation in fictional congressional districts extends to U.S. territories as well.
$68.3 million spent and 72.2 million spent in the 1st congressional district of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
$8.4 million spent and 40.3 jobs created in the 99th congressional district of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
$1.5 million spent and .3 jobs created in the 69th district and $35 million for 142 jobs in the 99th district of the Northern Mariana Islands.
$47.7 million spent and 291 jobs created in Puerto Rico’s 99th congressional district. …
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands? Wow, this Spendulus thing is so hot, it’s gone global! And at least 99 districts in these places? Shouldn’t the House have about 300-400 more members, then?
You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this administration is just pulling numbers and data out of their collective Marxist backsides! Of course, they blamed the error on Porkulus recipients.
Exit question: Did any of you think that we would ever have a president who could trump Bubba on the Lie-O-Meter? And to think, it’s only been 11 months, and B.O. has already lied more often than BJC did in eight years!
You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that the left has no knowledge whatsoever of all matters related to economics.
The Gaffe Machine from DE may want to drink a piping hot mug of STFU about the Bridge to Nowhere. From (believe it or not) CNN:
GRIFFIN: But hold on Senator Biden. Keeping him honest, we decided to check on 116 reasons in Delaware that one Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska may not be such a good Democratic talking point, because 116 is the number of earmarks Senator Biden asked for this year alone. The total bill to taxpayers more than $342 million. He told our American Morning they are all justified.
BIDEN: Everyone has seen them and we have no Lawrence Welk Museums, we have no Bridges to Nowhere in Delaware. It’s all straight up.
GRIFFIN: Straight up? We went to Delaware to see for ourselves. True, there is no Lawrence Welk Museum, but Biden does want a million dollars for a children’s museum, another million dollars for opera house renovations, hundreds of thousands for this tiny waterfront park, and believe it or not, there’s also a bridge, maybe not to nowhere, but after the tourists have gone this time of year, the Indian River Inlet Bridge can seem like a bridge between two nowheres.
GRIFFIN: Now the real twist in this story. Senator Biden must really like bridges, because not only does he want you to help pay to replace this bridge here in Delaware, despite what he’s been saying on the campaign trail, he actually voted for Alaska’s Bridge to Nowhere. Twice. That’s right. He and Senator Barack Obama were among the 93 Senators who voted for the massive 2005 Transportation Bill funding the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere and thousands of other projects across the country. And when another Senator tried to divert the Bridge to Nowhere money to fix a bridge to New Orleans damaged by Katrina, Senators Biden and Obama and 80 other Senators present voted against the amendment.
ALLISON: Yes, they had a chance to vote specifically against the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, to redirect the money, and they chose not to. …
How dare I challenge The One’s claims that Gov. Palin is a porkmistress, while He is of unsoiled hands? Well, this might explain how:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama tried to direct more than $3 million in taxpayer funds to a Chicago museum whose chairman is one of the Illinois senator’s largest campaign fundraisers…
The planetarium’s chairman, then and still, is Frank Clark, chief executive of ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Energy. He has pledged to raise more than $200,000 for Mr. Obama’s run for the White House.
Moreover, the Adler Planetarium is represented by the lobbying firm National Group LLP, co-founded by William Oldaker, who helped launch Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s political action committee in 2005. Mr. Oldaker, a partner with the Delaware Democrat’s son in another Washington lobbying and law firm, is no longer involved with Mr. Biden’s PAC, Unite Our States…
Two years earlier, Mr. Obama sought $300,000 for the Adler in another unsuccessful earmark request.
I’m sure this was just a big ol’ coinkidink, right? Right??
Besides, what a difference a year makes, huh? Barry O decides to be a champion crusader against pork this year…a stark contrast of mere months ago. Nicely done, Uhhhhhhhhhbama.
Is this a line of attack that The One really wants to pursue? From Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC):
Mr. Obama delivered over $100 million in earmarks to Illinois last year and has requested nearly a billion dollars in pet projects since 2005. His running mate, Joe Biden, is still indulging in earmarks, securing over $90 million worth this year.
Mrs. Palin also killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in her own state. Yes, she once supported the project: But after witnessing the problems created by earmarks for her state and for the nation’s budget, she did what others like me have done: She changed her position and saved taxpayers millions. Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge.
When the Senate had its chance to stop the Bridge to Nowhere and transfer the money to Katrina rebuilding, Messrs. Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark, siding with the old boys’ club in the Senate. And to date, they still have not publicly renounced their support for the infamous earmark. …
It takes real chutzpah to attack someone for allegedly supporting something that you voted for!
Here’s something that ought to drive the Paultards nuttier than they already are: Ron Paul (R-TX) is endorsing Congressman Don Young (Porkster-AK) in an Alaskan GOP primary. For those of you who don’t recall, Don Young is the author of the quarter-billion-dollar “Bridge to Nowhere” pork proposal in Alaska, and is currently under federal investigation.
See, Ron Paul is a former big-L Libertarian but has been in Congress as a small-l libertarian Republican. One of Paul’s alleged pet peeves is pork. Supposedly, the libertarian in him despises pork with a bitter passion. Actually, that’s one of (if not the only) things I’ve liked about Paul. It’s been a staple of Paul’s public image, since he has voted against numerous bills and budgets that had more pork than a Rosie O’Donnell cookout.
Well, guess what? Paul’s a fraud! Though his anti-Semitism and his batshiite crazy ways may not have embarrassed Captain Kook’s supporters, one would think this just might do it.
In addition to his hypocrisy on pork via his support for Young, there’s also this:
By endorsing Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) for reelection over his principled conservative challenger, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has put “pork ahead of principle,” Richard A. Viguerie said.
Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said the endorsement is “completely inconsistent with everything Congressman Paul has said that he stands for. But, unfortunately, it is consistent with his record of pork-barrel spending for the folks back home in his district.”
Viguerie noted that, according to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, Paul “is trying to nab public money for 65 projects, such as marketing wild shrimp and renovating the old movie theater in Edna that closed in 1977 — neither of which is envisioned in the Constitution as an essential government function.“
All of Paul’s pork requests are here.
You drank the Kool-Aid, Paulnuts…you were Jim Jones’d real good.
Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end (more so than you already think I have), read this excerpt first:
The Senate has approved a measure requiring the Department of Justice to investigate the controversial Coconut Road earmark connected to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).
Senators voted 64-28 to add the amendment to a bill making technical corrections to the 2005 highway bill, despite opposition from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who on Thursday said the House ethics committee, and not Justice, should investigate the matter.
“I think that’s something the ethics committee should look at,” Pelosi told reporters.
The $10 million earmark for the Coconut Road interchange in Florida was placed in the massive 2005 highway bill after the House and Senate passed the bill but before it reached the president’s desk. The original language called only for improving and widening Interstate 75 in Ft. Myers, Fla. …
That is despicable! Congress votes on a bill to send to the president, and someone sneaks in and adds something to the bill that was never voted on! I’m not positive, but I really think that’s illegal. You’d think that a guy under investigation for bribery, extortion, and corruption would be a little more careful and keep his nose clean.
I have to call it like I see it, and I see this as a quid pro quo between Don “$250 Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere” Young and developers in Florida who stand to gain from this pork project. I mean, the citizens and their elected leaders there don’t even want the interchange. If they did, I’m sure they could have gotten a Floridian in the House or Senate to take up the cause. But some FL developers pony up $41,000 to AK Young’s campaign, and as sheer luck would have it, the Alaskan works on a FL earmark.
Pelosi is more than likely just acting out of political spite instead of principled beliefs. Be that as it may, her motives are irrelvant in this matter, because she’s absolutely right: Young needs to be investigated by the House ethics committee.
I’m stunned they even bothered with the story, but they did throw Abscam Jack a bone and neglect to mention his political party. That’s odd, since a recent commenter here defended the MSM’s “Guess That Party” game by saying that they only need to mention the party affiliation of Congressmen and Senators. Now cut me some slack, since I did go to Florida State, but if my remedial History class there serves me well, I’m pretty sure that Abscam Jack Murtha is a Congressman…and a Democrat one, too.
Anywho, from NRO’s Corner:
This CBS News report ran on Friday regarding Rep. Jack Murtha’s earmark money-circle. It includes footage from the famous ABSCAM sting operation in which Murtha brags about his influence.
My favorite part, though, has to be the baffled expression on the face of Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Flake had just been told on the House floor that no one knew whether the Center from Instrumented Critical Infrastructure, recipient of a $1 million Murtha earmark, actually exists.
UPDATE: I had to watch the report again after I received the following e-mail from a reader:
A key word was missing from that CBS report. I’ll give you a hint, it starts with a “D”.
Indeed, it’s true. I just watched twice, and apparently there is no mention of his party affiliation whatsoever.
Nope…no liberal media bias!
I’m busier than Ted Kennedy trying to avoid a Kopechne family reunion, so here are some quick topics of discussion:
The junk science panel and co-winner of Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize for their work of science fiction, the IPCC, is on the “hot seat”, so to speak. It seems that their studies were fundamentally and fatally flawed, and they had ties to the since discredited “hockey stick” model inventor. Would it be too early to say “I told you so”?
Members of the Cuban Olympic soccer team have defected to the U.S. I’m still waiting for some pinko Castro apologist to show me where there is an exodus of people going from America into Cuba, since all I ever see is the opposite.
When she’s not falsely claiming credit for bringing peace to Ireland, she’s bragging about her role in creating the S-CHIP health program for kids. Question: how exactly do you brag about the nothing you did?
That Senate earmark ban that got shot down yesterday? McCain, Hilldawg, and Osamabama all voted for the ban on earmarks. Kudos to them…well, except for Obama. Sure, he voted for the earmark ban, but all that means is that he supported pork, before he didn’t. Turns out that Barry O requested a $1 million earmark for the University of Chicago hospital…where his wife works!
The more this asshat speaks, the more of a caricature he becomes. From The Hill:
“As we look back in history, the Founding Fathers would be cringing to hear people talking about eliminating earmarks,” Reid said, noting that the Founders dictated in the Constitution that all spending should originate in Congress, not the executive branch.
Yes, I’m sure that the original George W, as well as his homies Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, etc., thought that the proper role for the federal government was to pilfer taxpayer money to fund quarter-billion-dollar Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska or to confiscate darned near a million bucks of productive people’s fruits of labor to fund online courses for a NV community college. What federal purposes those serve, I have no idea, but Reid swears that we fought the Revolution for that purpose.
Citizens Against Government Waste found a quote from Jefferson that, as luck would have it, seems to contradict Reid:
Thomas Jefferson made a similar prediction in a letter to James Madison dated March 6, 1796, challenging Madison’s proposition for improvements to roads used in a system of national mail delivery. Jefferson wrote:
Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress & their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.
Then again, what does Jefferson know about what the Founding Fathers thought of pork? It’s not like Tommy J was one of the Founding Fath…oh, wait. Yeah, he was. OK, never mind.
Don’t take my word for it. From Roll Call:
… According to one senior GOP aide, despite the desire to unite around McCain, his positions on several big-ticket issues likely will mean the [GOP]Conference will not find common ground with their nominee.
“We’re not going to back him on earmarks, or on climate change, or on immigration,” the aide said. … Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), who touted McCain’s positions on fiscal responsibility, climate change and immigration as a key to his ability to reach independent voters, acknowledged that those votes will put him in conflict with the GOP. “There will be some [conflict],” Alexander said Tuesday, noting that while “I’ve supported others in this primary contest, I’m very comfortable with Sen. McCain” as the nominee.
I can understand not backing him on amnesty and global “warming”, but fiscal responsibility? How pathetic that being against pork barrel spending is “in conflict” with the GOP! They haven’t learned a darned thing from 2006, have they?
When Democrats won control of Congress last year, one of their promises was to restore some semblance of fiscal responsibility. Those of us with brains knew they meant “raise taxes to pay for bloated big-government spending”, but others actually believed they would stop wasteful spending.
Instead, we’ve seen the Democrats thwart efforts at curbing earmarks (pork) and publicizing pork votes. It seems that regardless of who is in power, the thirst for taxpayer dollars for vote-buying pet projects is one that cannot be quenched. NRO has further evidence (as if you really need any):
Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R., S.C.) office is the first with a press release in my inbox:
- Earmarks: Instead of reducing the number of pork projects in the federal budget, the bill drives the number of earmarks up from last year. The bill contains over 8,000 earmarks, bringing the total for 2008 up to over 10,000 earmarks compared to just 2,658 in 2007.
- Spending Gimmicks: Instead of cutting wasteful spending out of the bill to bring its cost down to the President’s level, the bill uses budget tricks and gimmicks to hide at least $14 billion in extra domestic spending.
- Policy Riders: Instead of limiting the package to spending needed to fund government operations, the bill includes unrelated policy items. Many of these riders are backed by special interests, such as organized labor, and could not win passage on their own.
Cut spending? That’s just crazy talk!
From Seattlestan’s fishwrap:
Tucked away on Seattle’s Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years — save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.
The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.
Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?
Blame it on Sen. Patty Murray and Congressmen Norm Dicks and Brian Baird. All three exercised their political muscle to slip language into a 2002 spending bill to force the Navy to buy the boat from Edmonds shipbuilder Guardian Marine International.
Year after year, the Washington lawmakers did favors for the tiny company, inserting four “earmarks” into different bills to force the Navy and Coast Guard to buy boats they didn’t ask for — $17.65 million in all. None of the boats was used as Congress intended.
The congressional trio say they were helping Guardian Marine because it had a great product. But each has also received generous campaign donations from the company’s three executives, its sole employees: $14,277 to Baird, $15,000 to Murray, and $16,750 to Dicks.
Earmarks are federal dollars that members of Congress dole out to favor seekers — often campaign donors. In the process, lawmakers advocate for the companies, helping them bypass the normal system of evaluation and competition.
This can result in earmarks that are wasteful or potentially harmful.
For example, Murray directed $6 million to a Redmond company for high-tech battle gear that the Army had rejected as flawed for its armored-vehicle Stryker Brigade.
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., directed the Marines to buy $2 million of combat T-shirts from an Oregon company. But they couldn’t be used in battle in Iraq due to a subsequent ban on polyester garments that could melt under fire and badly burn the troops.
Until recently, the earmark process was secretive. Congress did not have to publicly reveal the names of companies getting the contracts or those of the sponsoring lawmakers.
The Seattle Times investigated the 2007 defense bill, examining the relationships between who got money in the bill and who gave to lawmakers’ campaign funds. Reporters were able to tie nearly half of the bill’s 2,700 earmarks to their sponsoring lawmakers.
Government waste and corruption at its finest.
The FBI and IRS have searched the home of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in a ski resort in Alaska as part of an investigation into his links with an oil-services company, officials said on Monday.
“The FBI and IRS are conducting a court-authorized search warrant in Girdwood, Alaska,” an FBI spokesman said in Washington, but gave no further details.
Stevens is the subject of a grand-jury investigation into his links with managers of VECO Corp., the state’s largest oil-services company, as well as numerous unrelated fisheries matters.
In May, Bill Allen, then the chief executive of VECO, along with a vice president, Rick Smith, pleaded guilty to several federal corruption charges. The two admitted paying over $400,000 to bribe Alaska lawmakers.
Allen had been a financial supporter of Stevens’ campaigns and a partner with him on a race horse. He also oversaw the a project to remodel Stevens’ Girdwood home in 2000, vetting bills and construction work.
The Anchorage Daily News has reported that contractors who worked on the remodeling of Stevens’ home had their records subpoenaed by the federal grand jury.
Don’t get so giddy, Dems. Your side’s hands aren’t exactly clean these days, either:
From Jack Murtha’s lips to God’s ear. Take your pick: Tom Coburn’s snazzy multicolored chart or N.Z. Bear’s bullet points of death. Despite the unusually bipartisan blogospheric coverage of the secret hold last year, despite the numerous unflattering stories since about Democrats not doing enough to trim pork, despite Murtha’s embarrassing threat against Mike Rogers and the subsequent “lost earmark,” despite all the windage about their allegedly exacting ethical standards, despite a public approval rating that’s in the toilet and circling the drain, they felt comfortable enough to take one of their few genuine legislative accomplishments and tear it to pieces. Why? Because this isn’t a “sexy” issue and they know the public won’t pay attention to it, blog and (cursory) media coverage notwithstanding. Same as with the bankruptcy bill last year.
Just in case they want to escape scrutiny should they ever decide to do what Stevens did?
UPDATE (7/31/2007 – 6:14 P.M. EST): Rush asks an excellent question, in light of the Ted Stevens raid:
The only thing I’m waiting for out there is, when is the raid on Searchlight, Nevada? There’s a prominent US Senator that lives there, and there have been countless stories in the Los Angeles Times about shady land deals with his sons who are lobbyists and so forth. We are speaking here, of course, of the exalted Dingy Harry. So while they’re raiding Ted Stevens, where’s the raid in Searchlight, Nevada?
Anyone tired yet of the “culture of corruption” hypocrisy? Me too. From Politico:
What’s a paltry one million dollars to a member of Congress?
Well, apparently not enough to know if an organization about to receive that big block of cash actually exists.
Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the fiscal crusader who’s never met an earmark he likes, questioned Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana on the House floor Tuesday about whether the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure actually exists – since, hey, it’s getting like a million bucks or something.
Visclosky, who chairs the spending subcommittee responsible for the project, had to admit that, well, he didn’t have a clue.
After a lengthy back-and-forth, Flake, complaining that his staff couldn’t find a website for the center, asked Visclosky, “Does the center currently exist?”
“At this time, I do not know,” the Indiana Democrat replied. “But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough…
And who could possibly be the sponsor of such an earmark? Yes, you guessed it, the man Republicans love to hate, Pennsylvania Democrat John P. Murtha.
Despite the money’s uncertain destination, the House rejected Flake’s measure to strike the funds, 326-98. And the Visclosky bill also sailed through, 312-112.
As I said, what’s one million dollars to a member of Congress?
UPDATE: I failed to report last night that a certificate filed with the requested funds says the money is actually earmarked to Concurrent Technologies Corporation, a nonprofit technological consulting firm. A brief search of campaign finance records shows CTC President and CEO Daniel R. DeVos, of alternately Central City and Johnstown, Pa. has contributed $7,000 to Murtha’s reelection campaign since April 2002.
Abscam Jack, still crazy after all these years. Quite a deal for Abscam Jack and DeVos, wouldn’t you say? DeVos gives Jack $7k for his re-election campaign, and gets a nice cool million (not a dime of which is out of Abscam Jack’s pocket) as a return on his investment. I guess it’s a good thing we’ve got those principled, uncorrupted Dems running the show now, huh?
Rep. Don Young attacked his fellow Republicans on the House floor Wednesday, as he defended education funds allocated to his home-state of Alaska.
“You want my money, my money,” Young stridently declared before warning conservatives that, “Those who bite me will be bitten back.”
Young took extreme exception to an amendment by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.
And lest we forget, Young, who used to chair the House Transportation Committee, is responsible for the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” a proposed span connecting Ketchikan, Alaska, with the tiny island of Gravina that would have cost $315 million – and eventually came to symbolize profligate spending under Republican rule.
Oh, and he has spent more than $250,000 on legal fees so far this year at the same time that federal investigators probe some of his campaign’s biggest contributors.
Garrett refrained from asking for an official reprimand, but he and other conservative Republicans took after Young’s declaration that the funds in question represented his money. The assembled conservatives then launched into a general attack on earmarked spending.
“We legally steal,” argued Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), defending her colleague from New Jersey. (Finally, some refreshing honesty from DC! – Ed.)
Members of the conservative Republican Study Committee gave Garrett a standing ovation later in the day during the group’s weekly meeting, an aide to one conservative member said.
Get it through your head, dipsh#t: my money from Florida sure as hell does NOT belong to you in Alaska! Tax money is the people’s money, you corrupt self-serving piece of caribou crap, and don’t you ever freakin’ forget it!
I hate to do this, but I must give CNN props for doing this to the “most ethical Congress in history” (via Newsbusters):
ANDERSON COOPER: Drew, it’s just amazing that nothing has changed. What happened to all those promises about transparency, about having this whole process be open? I can’t believe you had all those interns calling for days and some 330 lawmakers said they just wouldn’t even give out the information.
GRIFFIN: Anderson it’s mind-boggling. One congressional aide even sent us an e-mail saying, listen, my congressman is an advocate of the open process and at the same time said we’re not going to release our earmark requests.
It’s just been an eye-opening experience, but quite frankly the more we’re doing this, the more we’re keeping them honest and other groups are, the more open they are grudgingly becoming so tonight we have posted at cnn.com the results of our surveys. We’re going to show you who did send us the earmarks and their earmark requests, who said no, who wouldn’t respond and even, Anderson, who was rude to those poor little interns when they called asking what Congress wants to do with our money.
COOPER: The fact that people would be rude, that is really annoying, you know. This is — this is, A, what journalists are supposed to be doing but it’s also what citizens should be able to do, you know, to the people who represent them.
GRIFFIN: Clearly it’s annoying to them. They don’t like to be called on the carpet, especially, I mean, I hate to get political here, but have you to. The Democrats promised in December open, transparent process. Now they are being called to come up with that open, transparent process and it’s been difficult because for so many years and decades, quite frankly, business as usual has been slipped in those earmark requests and we’ll continue to pay for them.
I’m sure CNN will do something to tick me off in the next day or two, but I have to give credit where it is due.
From the San Franistan fishwrap:
For the second straight day, minority House Republicans ground the House to a standstill Wednesday as they drove home their objections to a Democratic plan to deny a floor vote on lawmakers’ thousands of pet projects.
Public anger over the surging number of special member projects called earmarks — derided as pork barrel spending — was a factor in the Republicans’ loss of House control last November, GOP members concede, and now they say they’ve gotten religion on the need for openness in government.
Charges of hypocrisy flew in floor speeches as House leaders huddled behind closed doors to seek a way out of a dispute that Republicans said showed Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi had backed down on promises of openness and disclosure made when they took power last January.
Democrats had hoped this week to pass four of the 12 annual bills that pay for federal operations beginning Oct. 1. Instead, Republicans have offered 116 amendments to a $37.4 billion Homeland Security spending bill — the first of the bills on the floor — in a bid to stall it. And on Tuesday they offered repeated motions to adjourn the House, each requiring a vote, keeping a wary House in session until 2:10 a.m. Wednesday.
Democrats argued Republicans were engaging in partisan attacks to try to embarrass Pelosi (yeah, like THAT would be tough to do! – Ed.). They charged the GOP lawmakers lacked credibility on earmarks, the number of which exploded during their 12 years of House rule.
The GOP does indeed lack credibility when it comes to earmarks. However…
“The new majority ran on a policy of openness, honesty and candor, and I suggest this is a policy that hardly promotes openness, honesty or candor,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
When Democrats took over the House last January, they passed rules saying that members behind all earmarks had to be identified, and that earmarks on all spending bills would be identified “before members are asked to vote on them,” as Rules Committee Chairwoman Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., told the House.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, an outside watchdog group, said earmarks must be disclosed early in the process.
“Taxpayers have the fundamental right to know about all earmarks. Both congressional and administration projects should be disclosed in legislation before the full House casts a single vote,” the group’s president, Ryan Alexander, said in a statement.
Congressman “Prostitution Ring” decided to chime in:
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., heaped scorn on the Republicans. “What’s funny is that many of the Republicans who are fighting for the right to vote against earmarks … never met an earmark they didn’t like,” he said.
Correct, Ms. Franks, your Republican counterparts were fond of earmarks when they held the purse strings. However, you guys vowed to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, right? Then you passed rules in the House that basically demand openness when it comes to pork projects, and now that you’ve been exposed as hypocrites, your only defense is “Yeah, well, the Republicans are hypocrites, too”? As if that makes your behavior somehow more palatable?
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