INTRODUCTION to The 2009 Congressional "Pig Book"summary! From the Web-site "Citizens Against Government Waste" please visit them to Tell Congress and Sign the Earmark Reform Pledge!
The outrage of millions of taxpayers following the $700 billion bank bailout and the $787 billion stimulus bill did not stop Congress from passing and President Obama from signing a bloated $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations Act in March. With the subsequent approval of the President’s budget, the national debt will triple over the next 10 years. That leaves plenty of opportunities for pork to remain pervasive in the nation’s capital.
The fiscal year 2009 appropriations process was unique as three of the appropriations bills (Defense, Homeland Security and Military Construction) were passed and signed on September 30, 2008 under a different Congress and President. But the change in control in the White House did not change the culture of corruption that surrounds pork-barrel spending.
Among the many story lines that played out during the crafting and eventual passing of the Omnibus Act was that former Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) had his name eliminated from the nine appropriations bills in the Omnibus, yet a deceased member, former members, and Cabinet members remained. If the new Congress had time to scrub Sen. Stevens’ name from the Omnibus, they surely had plenty of time to scrub the bill of all earmarks.
The latest installment of Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) 19-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes $3,800,000 for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy; $1,900,000 for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service project; and $1,791,000 for swine odor and manure management research.
In fiscal year 2009, Congress stuffed 10,160 projects into the 12 appropriations bills worth $19.6 billion. The projects represent a 12.5 percent decrease from the 11,610 projects in fiscal year 2008. The $19.6 billion is a 14 percent increase over the fiscal year 2008 total of $17.2 billion, belying claims of reduced spending. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $290 billion.
Alaska once again led the nation with $322 per capita ($221 million). The runners up were Hawaii with $235 per capita ($302 million) and North Dakota with $222 per capita ($142 million).
Although this is the second year of so-called transparency, which requires every earmark to be identified with the requesting member of Congress, the Defense Appropriations Act demonstrated that there is still ample opportunity for spending shenanigans. There were 142 anonymous projects worth $6.4 billion in the defense bill, which was 6.6 percent of the projects and 57 percent of the cost.
In total, out of the 10,160 projects in the 2009 Congressional Pig Book there were 9,939 requested projects worth $11.8 billion and 221 anonymous projects worth $7.8 billion.
The 341 projects, totaling $4.2 billion, in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
Unable to completely resist those delicious earmarks, appropriators loaded up on less agriculture pork this year. The number of projects decreased by 23.9 percent, from 614 in fiscal year 2008 to 467 in fiscal year 2009, while the cost decreased by 9.6 percent, from $388 million in fiscal year 2008 to $351.1 million in fiscal year 2009.
$4,545,000 for wood utilization research in 10 states by 19 senators and 10 representatives. This research has cost taxpayers $95.3 million since 1985. One would think that after 24 years of research all the purposes for one of the world’s most basic construction materials would have been discovered.
$2,192,000 by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), then-House appropriator JamesWalsh (R-N.Y.), and Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.) for the Center for Grape Genetics in Geneva. New York’s wine and grape industries generate $6 billion annually in sales. Taxpayers should not have been soaked for this money. $1,791,000 by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member TomHarkin (D-Iowa) for swine odor and manure management research in Ames. According to the Agriculture Research Service’s website, the purpose of the research is to “generate and integrate knowledge for evaluation and development of new management practices that minimize nutrient excretion, malodorous emissions, and the release of pathogens into the environment as well as have a positive impact on animal health.” In an effort to defend his earmark on the Senate floor, Sen. Harkin summed up its ridiculous nature succinctly: “I’m sure that David Letterman will probably be talking about it and Jay Leno will be talking about it, we’ve got $1.8 million to study why pigs smell.”
$1,762,000 by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), House appropriator Chet Edwards (D-Texas), and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) for a honey bee lab in Weslaco. $866,000 by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) for stable fly control in Lincoln. $469,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) for a fruit fly facility in Hawaii. $413,000 by Senate appropriator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), then-Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) for tri-state joint peanut research. Since 1997, CAGW has uncovered nine earmarks worth $4,460,975 for peanut research.
$303,000 by then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for wild rice in St. Paul. Five projects worth $815,725 have been earmarked for Minnesota’s state grain since 1999.
$254,000 by Senate appropriator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for the Montana Sheep Institute. According to the organization’s website, “The Montana Sheep Institute (MSI) is a cooperative project betweenMontanaWool GrowersAssociation
$245,000 by Senate appropriator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), House appropriator NormDicks (D-Wash.), and Reps. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) for Aegilops cylindrica, or jointed goat grass, in Idaho and Washington. According to the farming reference website Oneplan.org, jointed goat grass is native to southern Europe and western Asia and is similar to wheat.
$243,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) andMazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) for floriculture. According to an July 9, 2008 Pacific Business News article, “Hawaii’s floriculture and nursery products industry continued to grow in 2007, bringing in $105.9 million, nearly $5 million more than the record set in 2005.” With recent record-setting sales, surely the industry could do without federal earmarks. Since 1995, CAGWhas exposed 22 earmarks worth $12,324,841 for floriculture.
$206,000 for wool research in three states (Montana, Texas, and Wyoming) by Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas). Since 1995, CAGW has uncovered 13 earmarks worth $3,417,453 for wool research, always in the same three states. While 47 states have figured out that wool can be best used to make a warm sweater, Montana, Texas, and Wyoming apparently are still trying to work out its practical utilizations. $173,000 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), then-Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine), and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) for lowbush blueberry research. According to an August 10, 2008 article on Newsday.com, Maine produces 99 percent of the nation’s lowbush blueberries; the research should be funded solely by the state. Since 1995, 14 projects worth $3,174,705 have been earmarked for such research.
$139,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Senate appropriator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) for the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC). According to its website, the ISSC was formed in 1982 to “foster and promote shellfish sanitation through the cooperation of state and federal control agencies, the shellfish industry, and the academic community.”
In fiscal year 2008 the number of projects in the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Act decreased by 13 percent while the cost dropped 47 percent. This year, the number and total cost of projects fell again. The number of projects decreased by 10.6 percent, from 1,731 in fiscal year 2008 to 1,548 in fiscal year 2009. The cost was down by 7.1 percent, from $1 billion to $936.8 million.
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, administered by the Department of Justice, accounted for 37.8 percent of the total number of projects (585) and 23.5 percent of the cost ($220.1 million). In fiscal year 2008, the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool gave the COPS program a “results not demonstrated” rating, which “indicates that a program has not been able to develop acceptable performance goals or collect data to determine whether it is performing.”
$80,655,000 for 86 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), including: $900,000 for fish management at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab; $800,000 for the University of South Alabama for oyster rehabilitation in Mobile; $500,000 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for public education in Mobile; $500,000 for NOAA for the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile for education exhibits; $475,000 for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville for missions systems recording, archival, and retrieval; $400,000 for the McWane Science Center in Birmingham for education and science literacy programs; and $100,000 under the COPS program for the Talladega County Commission to make radio upgrades.
$41,065,000 for 26 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), including: $1,000,000 for the University of Maryland College Park for its Advanced Study Institute for Environmental Prediction to study climate impacts and adaptation in the Mid-Atlantic region; $1,000,000 for Coppin State University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute to partner on a program to increase the number and quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers in the region's public schools; $550,000 for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office for blue crab research; $500,000 for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office for a network of environmental observation platforms; and $500,000 to Charles County public schools for a digital classroom project.
$32,950,000 for 17 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $7,100,000 for NOAA for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtle populations; $2,600,000 for NOAA for the conservation and recovery of the critically endangered monk seal population and conservation of Pacific crustaceans; $2,000,000 for the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii for the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii; $1,750,000 for the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii to conduct systematic and reliable climatographic research of the Pacific region; $1,500,000 for NOAA to create and implement an integrated system-wide ocean science education program piloted in Hawaii’s schools; $1,250,000 for the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii to conduct research on open ocean fisheries in the Pacific Ocean; and $700,000 for NOAA for the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative at the University of Hawaii to support monitoring and research activities on Hawaii’s coral reefs.
$11,655,000 for 23 projects by House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), including: $1,750,000 for the West Virginia University Environmental Center in Morgantown; $750,000 for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources for a stream restoration program; $300,000 for the National Youth Science Foundation for the Youth Science Discovery Experience and Science Camp Curriculum; $250,000 for the World Vision Appalachia at-risk youth programming; and $75,000 each under the COPS Law Enforcement Technology Program for police departments in Benwood (population: 1,446), Bridgeport (population: 7,782), Cameron (population: 1,093), Chester (population: 2,346), Glen Dale (population: 1,417), Glenville (population: 1,465), Grafton (population: 5,311), Kingwood (population: 2,942), Mannington (population: 2,089), McMechen (population: 1,750), New Martinsville (population: 5,585), and St. Mary’s (population: 1,900). Based on those 2007 Census population estimates, that is $900,000 for 35,126 West Virginia residents, or $25.62 per capita.
$8,350,000 for 15 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), including: $1,000,000 for the Burlington Technical Center to upgrade and improve the post-secondary aviation program; $500,000 for the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center for Informed Decision-Making and Design to develop intelligent systems design and adaptive robotics; $400,000 for the Vermont Global Trade Partnership in Montpelier to help small businesses participate in trade missions (despite Sen. Leahy’s continued votes against free trade agreements, including the Peru Free Trade Agreement in 2007); and $200,000 for Rutland COPS technology funding.
$6,700,000 for 11 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) including: $750,000 for law enforcement research and development at the University of New Hampshire; $350,000 for the Appalachian Mountain Club Climate Change and Air Pollutant Impacts to New England’s Rare Alpine Zone; $300,000 for the University of New Hampshire for weather and air quality research; $200,000 for continued weather technology and observation at Plymouth State University; $150,000 for the Nashua Police Department Athletic League’s Youth Safe Haven program; $100,000 to continue efforts to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for Lake Winnipesaukee; and $100,000 for the New Hampshire Lakes Association to prevent the spread of exotic aquatic weeds, such as milfoil, in the state’s lakes.
$5,750,000 for nine projects by House appropriator Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), including: $1,100,000 for the Drew University Environmental Science Initiative; $300,000 for the Fairleigh Dickinson University Law Enforcement Distance Education Project; $200,000 for the County College of Morris planetarium; and $150,000 for traffic safety improvements in the town of Bridgewater. This spring, the Drew University Department of Environmental Studies hosted an “Environmental Film Festival” (“Fast Food Nation” premiered on March 2). On March 26, the department hosted spoken word artist George Watsky who, according to the department’s website, “is deeply involved in the sustainability movement and whose work highlights both the frustrations and humor of modern life.” In one of Watsky’s spoken word performances, he blames Hurricane Katrina on global warming and says we are “driving ourselves off a cliff with a bag of money in the trunk.”
$3,000,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to help make data received from NASA satellite images more accessible to the public. Apparently the two senators have not heard of NASA TV. According to the NASA website, “The NASA TV Public and Educational channels are ‘free-to-air,’ meaning your cable or satellite service provider can carry them at no cost.” Interested viewers should contact their local cable or satellite service provider to get NASA TV, and ask the senators for a rebate of their share of that $3 million.
$2,000,000 for textile research by House appropriator David Price (D-N.C.): $1,000,000 for the Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation in Cary and $1,000,000 for North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
$1,200,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), for equipment for at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Pell Library and Undersea Exploration Center. According to the Providence Journal, URI broke ground on the Undersea Exploration Center in 2007 after the state’s voters approved a $14 million bond measure for the project (at least Rhode Island taxpayers got to vote on whether or not to give money to the Exploration Center). The total cost of the Exploration Center was to be $15 million with the “remaining $1 million of the projected cost … secured through private donations.” Apparently, “private” means “taxpayers.”
$900,000 by Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), and then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) for equipment for the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago. In a March 13, 2009 article in the Chicago Tribune jabs were exchanged in reference to the project when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) referred to the project as an overhead projector. According to the article, “The machine is actually a sophisticated $3 million to $5 million light-projection system that beams images of the stars, planets and galaxies onto the ceiling. The museum wants to spend millions to update its original, 78-year-old domed Sky Theater auditorium, including replacement of the huge, 40-year-old Zeiss planetarium projection system, which is falling into disrepair. The Zeiss machine is so old that the German manufacturer longer has employees who know how to fix it. … Most of the funding will come from private and corporate donations.” The Adler Planetarium’s 2007 tax return showed a fund balance of $31 million; the $900,000 taxpayer “contribution” represents less than 3 percent of that amount.
$850,000 by Senate appropriator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for a research initiative at Iowa State University to improve understanding of surface winds and their damaging effects.
$700,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green to complete a monitoring system that will collect real-time weather observations through a statewide grid of stations in Kentucky. Apparently the Weather Channel is not sufficient.
$500,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) for the Newark Museum for an interactive platform for education of astronomy, space, and planetary science.
$500,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) for the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation in Houston to create “a virtual space community for students.”
$500,000 by House appropriator Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) for the Nature Conservancy of Middletown, Conn. and Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. for the southern New England seagrass research and restoration project.
$250,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House appropriator Sam Farr (D-Calif.) for the bluefin tuna tagging and research program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
$200,000 by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) for the Providence Holy Cross Foundation tattoo removal violence prevention program in Mission Hills. In fiscal 2002 there was a $50,000 earmark for a tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo, in the district of Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). It is now time for a pork removal program.
$150,000 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), then-Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine), and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) for the Maine Department of Natural Resources to conduct lobster research. The Heritage Foundation noted that, “According to the State of Maine, the ‘Lobster Program’ has collected statistics on the commercial and natural population of lobsters along the Maine coast for 30 years.”
$115,000 by House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Mike Honda (D-Calif.) for a program at San Jose State University to train the next generation of weather forecasters.
$100,000 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and then-Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine) for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation to provide economic relief to Maine lobstermen. Although lobster prices are falling, The New York Times noted on September 1, 2008 that, “lobster fishermen are hauling in larger catches than ever.”
$50,000 by House appropriator Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) for the Pulaski County Sheriff Department for helicopter improvements.
On the strength of an extremely expensive collection of “anonymous” projects, which do not contain the name of any representative or senator, dollar amounts in the 2009 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act skyrocketed by 53.5 percent, from $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $11.2 billion in fiscal year 2009. The absence of such information violates congressional rules and contradicts repeated claims of more transparency in the appropriations process. Since the number of projects increased by only 1.1 percent, from 2,108 in fiscal year 2008 to 2,131 in fiscal year 2009, it would not have been too much work to fill in the blanks. The DOD Appropriations Act proved yet again that given the opportunity members of Congress would rather fund parochial projects instead of the Pentagon’s defense priorities.
$6,430,414,000 for 142 anonymous projects. This accounted for 6.6 percent of the earmarks and 57 percent of the cost in the bill. There were several big-ticket items, including: $523,000,000 for advance procurement for 20 F-22A’s; $200,000,000 for advance procurement of the DDG-51 Naval Ship (the DDG-51 program received two earmarks worth $10,300,000 in fiscal year 2008); $88,000,000 for one C-40 aircraft; and $70,230,000 for one C-37B aircraft.
$465,000,000 for the continued development of the F-136 engine as an alternative engine in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The JSF is $55 billion over its budgeted cost, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Congress has added funding for an additional engine in order to supposedly increase competition and flexibility for pilots. However, according to a February 24, 2009 United Press International article, the money was allotted, “despite the fact that the winning engine had already prevailed in half a dozen public and private competitions and despite the fact that no other part of the plane would be competed once production commenced.” CBS News reported on July 30, 2007 that the Air Force and two independent panels concluded that the second engine is “not necessary and not affordable” and that the professed savings from competition “will never be achieved.” No wonder that all 435 representatives and 100 senators refused to be identified with this massive waste of tax dollars.
$204,400,000 for 34 projects by then-Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: four projects totaling $34,600,000 for the Joint National Training Capability-Red Flag/Northern Edge Training Range, $16,000,000 for a C-17 assault landing zone, and $2,000,000 for hibernation genomics.
Sen. Stevens has long been known as a preeminent porker. Since 1995, a whopping 1,489 projects worth $3.6 billion were added to appropriations bills for the state of Alaska in the Senate or by Sen. Stevens himself during his time in Congress. While his projects still appear in the three appropriations bills passed in 2008 (Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction), Sen. Stevens’ name was removed from any projects in the appropriations bills included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act which passed the Senate on March 10, 2009. It is not clear why the Appropriations Committee removed Sen. Stevens’ name from the Omnibus Act, other than distinguishing among a deceased member, defeated members, and Cabinet members, all of whom were identified as receiving earmarks in the legislation. Prior to his defeat last November, Sen. Stevens had been the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, having held the seat for 40 years. CAGW will always fondly remember Sen. Stevens for his kind words regarding the organization, which he stated in an Associated Press article on December 26, 1999: “All they are is a bunch of psychopaths.”
$190,000,000 for 33 projects by Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $23,000,000 for the Hawaii Federal Healthcare Network, $9,900,000 for the U.S.S. Missouri (which costs $16 for an adult to tour and receives 100,000 annual visitors), and $3,600,000 for intelligent decision exploration. That is something many members of Congress should be doing.
$186,440,000 for 45 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $32,600,000 for a light utility helicopter, $8,000,000 for the Extremely Large, Domestic Expendable and Reusable Structures Manufacturing Center, and $4,400,000 for the Army Center of Excellence in Acoustics.
$151,760,000 for 31 projects by then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $38,000,000 for the ABL Restoration Plan, $20,000,000 for records digitization and repository modernization at the AFIP/Joint Pathology Center, and $7,000,000 for the Institute of Advanced Flexible Manufacturing Systems. On November 7, 2008 Sen. Byrd resigned from his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He was replaced by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the former second-ranking Democrat. The longest serving senator in history, Sen. Byrd helped to make the Appropriations Committee what it is today the congressional epicenter of earmarks.
$114,800,000 for 53 projects by House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Young (R-Fla.), including: $4,500,000 for comprehensive maritime domain awareness, $2,400,000 for the Air Warrior-Joint Service Vacuum Packed Life Raft, and four projects for $4,200,000 for a Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team in Florida.
$102,800,000 for 27 projects by House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.), including $24,500,000 for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Last year, Rep. Murtha earmarked $23,000,000 for the NDIC, which is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ). However, the DOJ has asked Congress to shut the NDIC down because its operations are duplicative. In addition, prior to the center’s opening in August of 1993, the GAO stated it was a waste of money and redundant of efforts to combat drugs in Washington as well as a center on the Mexican border. In November 2008, FBI agents raided the offices of the PMA Group, a lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Murtha. Founded by Paul Magliochetti, a former appropriations staffer for Rep. Murtha, PMA specializes in directing defense earmarks to its clients, many of which have been requested by the Pennsylvania Democrat. PMA is the second lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Murtha to be raided in recent months; in January 2009, agents from the FBI, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and Internal Revenue Service raided the offices of Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems. According to a January 23, 2009 Politico article, Kuchera and its employees have donated more than $65,000 to Rep. Murtha’s election campaign and political action committee.
$101,840,000 for 48 projects by Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), including: $3,000,000 for the Northeast Counterdrug Training Center, $1,600,000 for conversion of municipal solid waste to renewable diesel fuel, and $800,000 for the Delaware Valley Continuing Education Initiative for the National Guard and Reserve.
$101,660,000 for 43 projects by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), including: $4,000,000 for the Center for Autonomous Solar Power, $1,600,000 for an advanced steam turbine, and $1,600,000 for the Future Fuel Non-Tactical Vehicle Initiative.
$94,610,000 for 34 projects by Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), including: $5,000,000 for the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center, $4,750,000 for Project SOAR, and $3,000,000 for Special Olympics International. In the event that the Special Olympics makes a profit, they should refund this money.
$89,020,000 for 42 projects by Senate appropriator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), including: $2,400,000 for a green armaments/rangesafe program, $1,600,000 for conversion of municipal solid waste to renewable diesel fuel, and $800,000 for Malaria and Dengue Fever mosquito born disease prevention, which is not a problem in New Jersey.
$2,000,000 by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) for the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP). According to the Central Intelligence Agency, PRISP “provides monetary incentive to college students who pursue studies in critical language specialties, area studies, and technical and scientific specialties.” A 2005 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education noted that, “[t]he Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program is seen by some observers as a long-overdue effort to remedy the federal government's collective ignorance about foreign lands. Other scholars, however, view the semisecret program as a profound threat to universities’ integrity and to the ethical norms of social science.” Sen. Roberts earmarked $1.6 million for PRISP in fiscal year 2008.
$1,280,000 by House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) for the Puget Sound Navy Museum in Bremerton, Washington. Dedicated to “collecting, preserving, and interpreting the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and general public,” admission to the Puget Sound Navy Museum is free. Rep. Dicks directed $1 million to the museum in fiscal year 2008.
$1,240,000 for two projects for Brown Tree Snakes control and interdiction in Guam by Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam). Since 1996, 14 projects worth $14.6 million have been earmarked in Hawaii and Guam for interdiction of Brown Tree Snakes, which are still slithering through the appropriations bill.
There is some relatively good news in the fiscal year Energy and Water Appropriations Act: earmarks in the bill are back down to their fiscal year 2006 levels after climbing sharply in fiscal year 2008. The number of projects decreased by 46.3 percent, from 1,782 in fiscal year 2008 to 957 in fiscal year 2009. The total cost of the projects was 42.5 percent less than in fiscal year 2008, falling from $3.8 billion to $2.2 billion.
$87,025,702 for 28 projects by then-Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), including: $18,000,000 for middle Rio Grande restoration; $4,757,500 for climate change modeling capability; $3,828,000 for New Mexico environmental infrastructure; $1,914,000 for Army Corps of Engineers construction of the Acequias irrigation system; $1,903,000 for the La Samilla Solar Through Storage Project; $1,903,000 for the Center of Excellence and Hazardous Materials; and $200,000 for the middle Rio Grande endangered species collaborative program.
$70,705,675 for 53 projects by Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), including: $8,000,000 for the Bay Area regional water recycling program; $2,871,000 for San Ramon Valley recycled water; $2,677,000 for Army Corps of Engineers investigations on the South San Francisco shoreline; $885,000 for deepening the main channel and the Port of Los Angeles; $670,000 for abandoned mine restoration; $239,000 for a Carpinteria shoreline study; $110,000 for Coyote Dam; and $96,000 for the Malibu Creek watershed.
$65,081,778 for 17 projects by Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), including: $17,048,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers Lake Sakakawea construction project; $10,000,000 for environmental infrastructure in N.D.; $4,757,500 for the Center for Nanoscale Energy; $2,188,450 for the Bismarck State College Center for Excellence Laboratories; $2,000,053 for biomass utilization at the Energy and Environmental Research Center; and $380,600 for Red River Valley Research Corridor technology development.
$35,260,250 for 24 projects by Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Mary Landrieu (D-La.), including: $1,903,000 with scandal-plagued then-Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) for a clean power energy research consortium; $735,000 for Livingston Parish; $478,000 for the Port of Iberia; $400,000 for East Baton Rouge Parish; $287,000 for Spring Bayou; $254,000 for the city of Gretna; $229,000 for Cross Lake; $119,000 for ecosystem restoration of the Amite River and its tributaries; $191,000 for Bossier Parish; and $155,000 for the Calcasieu River and pass navigation.
$25,581,500 for 16 projects by then-House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member David Hobson (R-Ohio), including: $2,000,000 for environmental infrastructure at Springfield Hospital; $1,427,250 for Wilberforce University; $1,000,000 for Ohio environmental infrastructure along Route 41 in Prime; $951,500 for the biorefining for energy security project at Ohio University-Lancaster; $951,500 for science education facility renovations at Ohio Christian University; and $500,000 for Ohio environmental infrastructure in Upper Hocking.
$18,304,125 for 33 projects by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), including the following Army Corps of Engineers investigations projects: $297,000 for Jamaica Bay; $191,000 for Montauk Point; $119,000 for the Forge River Watershed on Long Island; $119,000 for Hashamomuck Cove in Southold; $119,000 for Lake Montauk Harbor; $96,000 for the Upper Delaware River Watershed; $96,000 for the South Shore of Staten Island; $96,000 for Westchester County streams; $96,000 each for the North Shore of Long Island in Asharoken and Bayville; and $24,000 for the Ten Mile River Watershed in Dutchess and Litchfield counties.
$20,422,414 for 11 projects by House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), including: $4,000,000 for Army Corps of Engineers construction in the Calumet region; $2,000,000 for Army Corps of Engineers construction along the Lake Michigan waterfront; $1,600,000 for Indiana shoreline erosion; $1,450,000 for the small boat harbor on Burns Waterway; and $951,500 for the Purdue Calumet Inland Water Institute.
$10,000,000 for the Denali Commission. Even though the Denali Commission was established by then-Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in 1999, funding still continues.
$6,422,625 for six projects for clients of a lobbying firm under federal investigation for making campaign donations in exchange for political favors for the firm’s clients, including: $1,189,375 for Solar Energy Windows and Smart IR Switchable Building Technologies in Pennsylvania, by Senate appropriator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Michael Doyle (D-Pa.); $951,500 for DIRECT Methanol Fuel Cell in Indiana, by House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.); and $951,500 for Adaptive Liquid Crystal Windows in Ohio, by House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an amendment to strip these earmarks from the Omnibus Appropriations Act, but the effort failed by a vote of 43 to 52.
$951,500 by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and House appropriator Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) for downtown Detroit energy efficient street lighting. That’s the least of the city’s problems.
$713,625 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) for a renewable energy research project at the Miami Science Museum.
$475,750 by then-Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) for the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR). According to NCCAR’s website, “NCCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the demanding research and testing challenges of the automotive industry.” A March 11, 2009 Charlotte Observer article noted that Concord, N.C.-based Speedway Motorsports, which owns seven major tracks, “reported a 2008 profit of about $80 million, more than double its 2007 profit of $38.4 million. Its fourth-quarter loss was about $4.9 million, compared with a $20.2 million loss a year earlier.”
$475,750 by Senate appropriator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for research into long term environmental and economic impacts of the development of a coal liquefaction sector in China.
$47,575 by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) for the Harlem United supportive housing fund wind power project. While the organization’s website claims to serve an important need in the community, there is no mention of why they need money from the Department of Energy for wind power.
While totals are down in most appropriations bills, there was a substantial increase in pork in the fiscal year 2009 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The number of projects increased by 22.8 percent, from 215 in fiscal year 2008 to 264 in fiscal year 2009, while dollar amounts increased by 47.9 percent, from $98.7 million in fiscal year 2008 to $145.9 million in fiscal year 2009. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has long been a bastion for pork, and this trend continued in fiscal year 2009.
$41,500,000 for three projects funding presidential libraries: $22,000,000 by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts; $17,500,000 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York; and $2,000,000 by Senate appropriator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) for the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. All three of these libraries received funding last year, bringing their combined two-year earmark total to $54,010,000. In addition, each library receives an annual operating subsidy from the National Archives and Records Administration; the JFK Library receives $3,883,000 annually, the LBJ Library receives $2,935,000 annually (and is the only presidential library that does not charge admission), and the FDR Library receives $1,640,000 annually.
$2,135,000 for six projects for trade centers funded through the SBA by Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee member Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Senate appropriator Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), House appropriator Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.), and Reps. David Dreier (R-Calif.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) in six states (California, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Utah).
$245,643 by House appropriator Marion Berry (D-Ark.) for the Arkansas Commercial Driver Training Institute at Arkansas State University-Newport, funded through the SBA. According to a February 27, 2009 press release on Rep. Berry’s website, the Commercial Driver Training Institute “is a national leader in entry-level and enhanced commercial driver training for the over-the-road sector of the transportation industry. Funds will be utilized to improve ASU-Newport’s Driver Skills Training Range.”
$98,257 by House appropriator James Moran (D-Va.) in SBA money for the Georgetown Metro Connection, a bus service that runs from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to the neighborhood of Dupont Circle in D.C. and to Rosslyn, Virginia, conveniently located in Rep. Moran’s district.
The amount of taxpayers’ money wasted on Homeland Security pork has continued its decline over the past two years from its peak in fiscal year 2007 at $2.4 billion. The number of projects in this year’s Homeland Security Appropriations Act decreased 8.9 percent, from 124 in fiscal year 2008 to 113 in fiscal year 2009, while the dollar amount decreased 22.1 percent, from $294.8 million in fiscal year 2008 to $229.6 million in fiscal year 2009.
$39,700,000 by then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), for the Advanced Training Center. Sen. Byrd also allotted $39,700,000 for the Advanced Training Center in fiscal year 2008, bringing the two-year total of funding to $79,400,000. A July 7, 2006 CongressDaily article cited the duplicative nature of the center: “But now at least one senior House Republican wants the expansion of the center stopped, saying it is not needed and is creating redundancies to training provided at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is headquartered in Glynco, Ga. … Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., whose district includes the Glynco headquarters, said in an interview he will work to remove funding for the Advanced Training Center expansion. ‘If it survived the Senate, we would work hard to get it killed in conference committee,’ said Kingston, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. Kingston has been a staunch supporter of FLETC and said he is confident it can handle the training needs for CBP. ‘I don’t see any need for this advanced training center,’ he said.”
$27,000,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), then-Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for the Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI) in Tennessee. The SERRI website says it “is a ground breaking program managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the US Department of Homeland Security to assist local, state and tribal leaders in developing the tools and methods required to anticipate and forestall terrorist events and to enhance disaster response. SERRI combines science and technology with validated operational approaches to address regionally unique requirements and suggest regional solutions with potential national implications.” DHS apparently does not believe SERRI is critical as there was no budget request for the program.
$24,807,728 for 51 projects for FEMA Predisaster Mitigation by 65 members of Congress in 27 states, including towns such as Rainbow City, Alabama (population 8,428), and Taylorsville, Kentucky (population 1,208). The Predisaster Mitigation Program provides competitively awarded funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, communities, and universities for hazard mitigation planning. While members of Congress have criticized FEMA for its mismanagement, they are making the agency’s job even harder by usurping its authority and forcing it to administer grants that may not meet the program’s criteria.
$22,345,000 for 33 projects for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) State and Local Programs by 67 members of Congress, spread among 22 states, including towns such as Poynette, Wisconsin (population 2,520), and Bellerose, New York (population 1,120).
After falling by 40 percent in fiscal year 2008, the cost of Interior appropriations is on the rise. Fiscal year 2009 Interior Appropriations Act earmarks will set taxpayers back $433.7 million, up 7.4 percent from $403.8 million in fiscal year 2008. The number of projects in the bill decreased by 2.3 percent, from 556 in fiscal year 2008 to 543 in fiscal year 2009.
The Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program is still a prime spot for pork. Fifty-five earmarks totaling $10 million are included in the fiscal year 2009 bill. According to the SAT website, in 2008 there were 40 grants totaling $10.5 million that were competitively awarded. An additional $13.6 million, or 56 percent of the $24.1 million was “awarded” through congressional earmarks.
On a positive note, there are no projects for opera houses in the fiscal year 2008 Interior Appropriations Act. However, with projects for lighthouses, museums, and historic post offices, there is still more tragedy in the bill than taxpayers should have to bear.
$73,690,000 for 35 projects by Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), including: $5,600,000 for two projects at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; $5,000,000 for San Francisco Bay restoration grants; $1,250,000 for the Angel Island Immigration Station; $800,000 for a tunnel at Yosemite National Park; and $460,000 for the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. In November 2008, Whiskeytown participated in the National Park Service’s Artists-in-Residence Program. Participants include sculptors, painters, land-artists, and video artists, who get to spend up to four weeks in an “artist’s cabin … to produce new works.”
$22,905,000 for 18 projects by Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $2,446,000 for three earmarks for Monongahela National Forest trails, roads, and facilities; $2,250,000 for the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge; $2,000,000 for Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park; $1,500,000 for telecommunications and roads at the National Conservation Training Center; $1,000,000 for the Ohio River Sanitation Commission for organic detection system improvements; and $125,000 for Fisherman’s Hall in Charles Town, which, “Since its construction in the 1880s, … has been used by a variety of benevolent societies, including the Grand United Order of Galilean Fishermen.”
$21,600,000 for 12 projects by Senate appropriator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), including: $3,500,000 for the Glatfelter Tree Farm; $1,000,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; $500,000 for a wastewater improvement project in Reading and $200,000 for a wastewater improvement project in Milford.
$16,000,000 for eight projects by then-Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Larry Craig (R-Idaho), including: $2,000,000 for Henry’s Lake; $350,000 for the Minidoka National Historic Site; and $250,000 for the Idaho Sage Grouse. According to Greg Thomas in the Tight Lines Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Forecast, Henry’s Lake is thriving. Thomas calls Henry’s Lake “one of the most productive trout waters on the planet” and quotes Dan Garren of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, who said, “The fish are phenomenal … It’s just freakin’ incredible how fast they are growing. At age three our hybrids are 17 inches long and the cutthroats are 16 inches. Our brook trout are 20 inches by age 5. You can catch a 5- to 7-pound hybrid in this lake without much trouble.” They are also good at catching the taxpayers’ money.
$13,650,000 for nine projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $7,000,000 for the James Campbell Wildlife Refuge; $750,000 for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology; $500,000 for the Native Hawaiian culture and arts program; and $300,000 for the Royal Mausoleum (Mauna ‘Ala), the final resting place for most of Hawaiian royalty. According to several online resources, Mauna ‘Ala is the only place in Hawaii where the state flag flies alone without the U.S. flag.
$12,610,000 for 10 projects by then-Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), including four projects with President Obama’s new Interior Secretary, then-Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.): $2,500,000 for Snow Mountain Ranch; $1,250,000 for Uncompahgre National Forest; $800,000 for water quality in Eagle County; and $500,000 for wastewater infrastructure in Pueblo. It will be difficult for President Obama to make good on his promise to cut wasteful spending and earmarks with committed pork-barrelers at his side.
$11,120,000 for eight projects by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), including: $5,000,000 for lighthouse improvements at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; $2,000,000 for the CheQuamegon-Nicolet National Forest; $1,250,000 for two projects along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail; and $45,000 for the Medford Carnegie Library.
$6,863,000 for 12 projects by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), including: $1,500,000 for exhibits, trails, and the amphitheater at the California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center; $250,000 for the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout; and $150,000 for the St. Augustine Church in Austin, Nev. According to Preservation magazine, Jan Morrison purchased St. Augustine Church, the state’s oldest Roman Catholic church, in 2004 from the Reno Diocese for $26,000. After restoration is complete, Morrison wants to use the church for “conferences, art performances, weddings, family reunions and other events.”
$4,850,000 for 13 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $500,000 for the Mississippi Forest Legacy Program; $350,000 for Hawkins Field in Jackson; and $100,000 for the West Point Historic Post Office. The Mississippi Forest Legacy Program seems like nothing more than an effort to prevent progress and development. According to the Mississippi Forestry Commission, 80 percent of Mississippi forests are owned by private, non-industry landowners and are “potentially threatened by conversion from urban and suburban growth or other threats.” Therefore, the commission recommends that these areas “be designated as Forest Legacy Areas so that willing landowners may nominate their property as a possible Forest Legacy Tract.”
$4,270,000 for six projects by House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including: $800,000 for the Gig Harbor Fish Passage; $500,000 for the Tacoma-Seattle Urban Forest; $270,000 for the Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Study; and $200,000 for Mason County Courthouse restoration.
$2,900,000 for five projects by House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), including $200,000 for the Glendale Historic Entryway. The funding will go toward the preservation of historic buildings at the site. In the midst of an economic downturn, it was impossible for Rep. Pastor to defend these projects on economic terms. Instead, on February 25, 2009, the States News Service reported that Rep. Pastor simply said, “These projects are important to the people and communities of Arizona.”
$1,250,000 for two projects by Senate appropriator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and House appropriator Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), including $750,000 for the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
$1,100,000 for three projects by House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), including $300,000 for the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center. Perhaps next year, if the park and Rep. Lewis still haven’t found (all the money they’re) lookin’ for, they could ask Bono and U-2 for help instead of the taxpayers.
$500,000 by then-House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Udall (D-N.M.) for the Galisteo Basin Archeological sites. The Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act, which designated 24 sites in New Mexico as archaeological protection sites, was signed into law in 2004. Two years earlier, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill “could affect direct spending” but “any such effects would be negligible.” Only in Washington, D.C. is $500,000 “negligible.”
$400,000 by Senate appropriator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) under the Save America’s Treasures program for the Salisbury House, the 1920s home of cosmetics pioneer Carl Weeks, in Des Moines. Some of the Salisbury House’s most popular events throughout the year include the Salisbury Automobile Classic, Shakespeare on the Lawn, and the Gatsby Gala.
$350,000 by Senate appropriator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) under the Save America’s Treasures program for Magnolia Grove in Greensboro. The two-story Greek Revival antebellum mansion, set upon 15 acres, was the boyhood home of Rear Admiral Richmond Pearson Hobson, a hero in the Spanish-American War.
$240,000 by then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for the Shubert Performing Arts Center in Minneapolis. The Shubert (tagline: “Because Everybody Dances”) promises to “elevate and showcase” Minneapolis’s dance community and give “them a permanent and affordable home where audiences experience the best of this dynamic art form for years to come.”
$175,000 by Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) under the Save America’s Treasures program for the Winnsboro Historic Clock Building. On March 5, 2008, Rep. Spratt led his fellow House Budget Committee Democrats in voting unanimously to defeat a Republican amendment to place a moratorium on earmarks for the 110 Congress.
$150,000 by House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member John Olver (D-Mass.) for the Ashley Barn in historic Deerfield, Mass.
$100,000 by House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member James Moran (D-Va.) for Fairfax, Va. for the Historic Huntley Estate. The fact that Fairfax County had the second-highest per capita income in the U.S. in 2007 didn’t stop it from begging at the trough.
$90,000 by Senate appropriator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) for construction at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
$50,000 by House appropriator Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) for tree replacement in River Rouge. According to the 2000 Census, River Rouge had a population of less than 10,000 people.
The number of earmarks and dollar total in the fiscal year Labor/HHS Appropriations Act remained remarkably consistent. In fiscal year 2008, there were 2,244 projects totaling $1 billion. In fiscal year 2009, there were 2,153 projects costing $1 billion a 4.1 percent decrease in the total number of projects. The bill continued to show that leadership has its privileges. Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) accounted for 12.5 percent of the total number of projects and 17 percent of the total cost. Interestingly, 139 of Sen. Specter’s 186 earmarks, or 75 percent, were for $95,000 projects. It seems likely that the senator did not take the time to evaluate these programs and just doled out $95,000 checks.
$132,729,000 for 84 programs by Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), including: $5,471,000 for the Iowa Department of Education to continue the Harkin Grant Program and $381,000 for the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra’s residency program. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed an amendment to eliminate funding for the Harkin Grant Program, which failed by a vote of 43-61. On the floor of the Senate on March 4, 2009, Sen. Harkin defended the earmarking process: “I basically disagree with sort of the underlying premise that somehow executive branch employees, all those bureaucrats, have a much better understanding of where and how Federal funds should be spent most effectively … over the years we have permitted that to happen, but we, through our oversight functions, can look at how that money is being spent … I am proud of both of those earmarks or congressionally directed spending, and I stand behind them.” If Sen. Harkin knows it all, just get rid of those pesky bureaucrats and earmark every penny of the budget.
$111,872,000 for 28 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $33,315,000 for education for Native Hawaiians; $238,000 for the Henry Kuualoha Giugni Archives at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu for cultural education; $238,000 for the University of Hawaii School of Law in Honolulu for a health policy center; $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Honolulu, for educational programs; and $190,000 for educational programs at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. A Bizjournal.com article noted that a 2009 grant to the museum of $1.7 million from the Howard K. L. Castle Foundation was “sorely needed.” A peek at the museum’s 2007 tax return showed a fund balance of $74.9 million. Sen. Inouye’s haul represented more than 10 percent of the total cost of the Labor/HHS earmarks.
$37,479,000 for 186 projects by Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), including: $95,000 each for Mount Aloysius Community College for college preparatory exams; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for renovations and equipment; Washington and Jefferson College in Washington for science education outreach programs. In an amendment proposed during the Senate debate on the Omnibus Appropriations Act, Sen. Coburn targeted the three earmarks outlined here, which were obtained by a lobbying firm under federal investigation for making campaign donations in exchange for political favors for the firm’s clients. The vote on that amendment failed 43-52. No surprise: Sen. Specter voted against the amendment.
$23,702,000 for 14 projects by then-House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member James Walsh (R-N.Y.), including: $238,000 for the Girls Scouts of the USA for their “Fair Play” initiative, which seeks to engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and math; $238,000 for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in Waterford for exhibits for its historic education and interpretation project; $143,000 for technology upgrades at the Onondaga Free Library (apparently not free for taxpayers); and $95,000 for the National Kidney Foundation in Syracuse.
$3,140,000 for nine projects by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), including: $856,000 for after school programs in Chippewa Falls; $476,000 each for after school programs in Turtle Lake and Ashland; and $95,000 for after school programs in Tomahawk.
$476,000 by Senate appropriator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for educational programming at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton. The museum, which helps children learn how to fly, has some high-flying corporate partners, including Boeing and Northup Grumman.
$428,000 by House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee member Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) for the Latino Veterans Oral History Project at the University of Texas Libraries.
$238,000 by Senate appropriator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for the Alaska PTA in Anchorage to “train parents in their roles and responsibilities under the No Child left Behind Act.”
$167,000 by House appropriator David Price (D-N.C.) for the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill for a digitization project. The Center is currently planning a renovation and expansion so, on March 3, the planetarium’s Director of External Relations Jeff Hill tried to argue for funding for the project, saying it could create jobs. Hill wrote, “This project could result in jobs today as well as support science education across the state that could result in jobs tomorrow. … We’re sensitive to the economic situation, appreciative of the support that we receive from all quarters and ready to put people to work if and when this capital project receives funding.” While there is much skepticism that the expansion will create many jobs, a digitization project will be temporary and create fewer jobs.
$167,000 by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), House appropriator Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Reps. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) for exhibits at the Autry National Center for the American West in Los Angeles. Rep. Schiff, with his Gun Owners of America rating of F minus, may want to know the museum recently showcased an exhibit called “Pistols: Dazzling Firearms.”
$152,000 for two library projects by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.): $95,000 to the city of Chula Vista for library service and collection materials and $57,000 to the city of Imperial for the same purpose.
$143,000 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to expand educational programs at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.
$143,000 by House appropriator Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) for exhibits and educational programs at the Greater New Haven Labor History Association. According to its website, the association’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and share the history of working people in the Greater New Haven Area. … retired and active trade unionists and students and teachers interested in labor history make up the executive board. Among the association’s achievements: held a reunion of Garment Workers in 1990 which attracted over 300 retirees; interviewed more than 20 retired union members on videotape and audiotape; published, with the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the Labor Almanac: New Haven’s Unions in the 1990s; and completed surveys of the records of 26 union locals and individuals in the Greater New Haven area.”
$95,000 by then-House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Udall (D-N.M.) for services at the Embudo Valley library.
$95,000 by then-House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee member Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) for the Canton Symphony Orchestra Association for teacher training and curriculum development. According to the orchestra’s website, its mission is to “Perform and present at the highest possible artistic level live orchestral music to enrich, entertain, educate, and challenge diverse audiences in a variety of settings. In doing so, we will serve our community, manage our resources responsibly, and be accountable to our donors, audiences, employees and volunteers.” If the orchestra manages its resources responsibly and is accountable to its donors that would be a big step up from most members of Congress; but the orchestra should do it at its own expense.
$95,000 by then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) for education programs at the Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago. Exhibits at the museum include “doll day care,” where children can change diapers; face paint; and a discovery maze, a “colorful labyrinth of interconnected pods.” The Obama White House, with Emanuel at the helm, shrugged off the Omnibus Appropriations Act earmarks, calling them “last year’s business.”
$71,000 by Rep. Nydia Valezquez (D-N.Y.) for Dance Theater Etcetera in Brooklyn for its Tolerance through Arts initiative. One of the group’s ongoing projects is Angels and Accordions, which according to its website is, “A site-specific performance/walking tour of Green-Wood Cemetery. Produced by Dance Theatre Etcetera and the Green-Wood Historic Fund, in conjunction with openhousenewyork. A cast of 30 angels, 10 accordions and a classical music ensemble guide visitors through Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery.” Perhaps that is where the taxpayers’ money is buried.
There is a common saying in theater that “there are no small parts, just small actors.” Earmarks in the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act confirm that there is no appropriations bill too small to earmark. While the scant number of earmarks in this bill do not usually grab much media attention, any earmark is one too many. The number of projects decreased by 25 percent, from 4 in fiscal year 2008 to 3 in fiscal year 2009. The amount of pork dropped by 5 percent, from $400,000 in fiscal year 2008 to $380,000 in fiscal year 2009.
$190,000 by Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for digitization of the New York Historical Society Collection. According to the group’s website, corporate sponsors of $30,000 or more are entitled to “Free admission to the Historical Society (includes special exhibitions) for all employees and up to 3 guests each and a 10% discount at the Historical Society gift shop; Fifty (50) free admission passes to the New York Historical Society for clients/guests (each pass good for up to 2 individuals) and includes all special exhibitions; Twenty five (25) complimentary tickets to Society evening public programs; Discounted tickets to the annual Strawberry Festival luncheon; Discounted tickets to the annual History Makers Gala Benefit; Two (2) invitations to a ‘Dinner with History’; these intimate dinners for 12-15 guests feature an eminent historian and New York Historical Society President Louise Mirrer; and Invitations to annual pre-Thanksgiving balloon inflation viewing event and reception; and a Listing in Annual Report and donor listing on website.” Taxpayers receive historic deficits and debt. At the end of 2006, the Society had a fund balance of $58 million; $190,000 represents .3 percent of that amount, or 6.1 corporate sponsors.
$95,000 by House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in Participatory Citizenship. According to the group’s website, “The Graham Center for Public Service currently offers a Certificate in Public Leadership, open to undergraduate students in a wide range of majors who aspire to be effective and ethical leaders in the public and private sectors. … The Graham Center’s future plans include a BA in Public Policy and an MA in Public Policy and Administration. These programs are unavailable at this time. Currently, the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida offers an M.A. in Political Science with a Certificate in Public Affairs.” The first course offered in the future BA and MA programs should be how to eliminate earmarks.
X. Military Construction
While there were big changes in other appropriations bills, the fiscal year 2009 Military Construction, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act was fairly similar to the fiscal year 2008 version. Fiscal year 2009 saw a decrease of 7.9 percent in projects, from 191 in fiscal year 2008 to 176, while the dollar amount increased by 6.7 percent, from $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2009.
$44,230,000 for six projects funding chapels: $17,500,000 by House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Chet Edwards (D-Texas) and House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member John Carter (R-Texas) for a chapel with an education center at Fort Hood; $11,600,000 by Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) for a chapel at Fort Bragg; $6,800,000 by then-Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) for a chapel center at Fort Rucker; $4,200,000 by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and then-Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) for Phase Two of a chapel complex at Fort Leavenworth; $3,500,000 by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) for a chapel complex at Fort Leonard Wood; and $630,000 by Senate appropriators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), House appropriator Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), and Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.) for a chapel center in Fort Campbell.
$30,000,000 by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) for Phase Five of an access road at Pohakuloa Training Area. Since 2002, the Pohakuloa Training Area has received six earmarks worth $74.4 million.
$27,820,000 for three projects funding fitness centers: $11,580,000 by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas) for a fitness center at Naval Air Station Kingsville; $9,900,000 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) for a physical fitness center at Shaw Air Force Base; and $6,340,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Rep. Charles “Chip” Pickering (R-Miss.) for a fitness center at Meridian Naval Air Station. The YMCA in Sumter, South Carolina, near Shaw Air Force Base charges $46.13 per month for an adult fitness membership, while an unlimited membership at Rec World in Meridian costs $50 per month.
$9,000,000 by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) for a dining facility/community center at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
$500,000 by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) for the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-La-Coquette, France. Established in 1930, the Lafayette Escadrille is a monument dedicated to the U.S. pilots who flew for France prior to America’s entry in World War I.
XI. State and Foreign Operations
Once again the House and Senate certified this appropriations bill as “earmark free.” Unfortunately for taxpayers, there were 16 earmarks and they weren’t free they cost $256 million. This is a 60 percent increase in projects from fiscal year 2008, when there were 10 projects, and a 235.6 percent increase in dollars from the $76.3 million in fiscal year 2008.
$15,000,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). Established in 1986, IFI’s objectives are to “promote economic and social advance and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland.” Projects funded by IFI in the past have included building a replica of the Jeanie Johnson (a Canadian ship that once ferried famine victims across the Atlantic), and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream stores. In his review of a glowing book about IFI released in January 2009, Sean Donlon stated, “While the fund will continue its work for the next couple of years it would be unreasonable to expect external support thereafter, especially in the current relatively stable political and security situation in Northern Ireland.” CAGW has identified $264 million for this project since 1995.
$11,000,000 for the East-West Center in Hawaii. In a moment of rare candor, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) admitted in 2007, after receiving an award from the East-West Center, that there were no congressional hearings before it was created in 1960. The State Department, which was given the responsibility and funding for establishing the East-West Center, knew nothing about it, the senator said, and for years tried to kill it by putting no funding for the center into its budget.
$7,925,000 for the International Fisheries Commissions, which is comprised of 16 marine conservation organizations and commissions, including: $6,060,000 for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; $1,200,000 for the International Pacific Halibut Commission; $264,000 for the Pacific Salmon Commission; and $109,294 for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
$150,000 for salaries and expenses for the United States Senate-China Interparliamentary Group. According to Title 22, Chapter 7, Section 276n of the U.S. Code, “There is authorized within the contingent fund of the Senate under the appropriation account ‘miscellaneous items’ $75,000 for fiscal year 2004 to assist in meeting the official expenses of the United States Senate-China Interparliamentary Group including conference room expenses, hospitality expenses, and food and food-related expenses.” This project smells like moo shu pork.
With all the talk about the supposed lack of spending on infrastructure and economic development during the 2009 stimulus debate, taxpayers might think the federal government hasn’t spent a dime on roads, bridges, bikeways, or economic development. But Pig Book readers know that in the last two fiscal years for which individual appropriations bills were passed (2006 and 2008), CAGW identified 4,738 THUD earmarks costing more than $5.2 billion. While the bill is larded up this year with 1,789 earmarks totaling $1.5 billion, that is a 11.9 percent decrease in the number of earmarks from fiscal year 2008 and a 3.1 percent decrease in cost.
$60,092,725 for 63 projects by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), including: $2,351,250 for the Pierce Transit Peninsula park and ride; $1,045,000 for Squaxin Island access improvement; $950,000 for the Vashon Island passenger ferry; $475,000 for the Washington State ferry system; $475,000 for plastic and composite vehicle research; $475,000 for new ferry boat construction; $475,000 for the Woodland trail project; $475,000 for the Freight Transportation Policy Institute; $237,500 for the King County hybrid bus program; and $237,500 for a downtown waterfront redevelopment project in Vancouver.
$46,756,750 for 38 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $950,000 for Audubon Mississippi for a nature-based education facility; $950,000 for Downtown Jackson Plaza, Inc. for construction of a civic gathering place; $475,000 for the JATRAN light rail feasibility study; $427,500 for Natchez riverfront trails; and $380,000 for renovation of Jackson’s Thalia Mara Performing Arts Center. In March, patrons of the Thalia Mara Performing Arts Center could enjoy a rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” In April, the Arts Center will present, “Bob the Builder: Live.” Tickets range from $15 to $36.50.
$30,019,991 for 28 projects by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Kit Bond (R-Mo.), including: $950,000 for ferry service for Route 240 bridge improvements; $950,000 for the Missouri Transportation Institute; $950,000 for downtown revitalization in Joplin; and $475,000 for the planning and design of the Lemay Community Center. According to a November 2008 Joplin city press release, the town began “its emphasis on downtown redevelopment in July 2005” and focuses on streetscaping; parking and transportation considerations; structures; and amenities, including the “enhancement of appearance” to bring people to the area.
$18,335,000 for 17 projects by House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Olver (D-Mass.), including: $1,900,000 for parking at the North Leominster commuter station; $950,000 for the National Council of La Raza for community redevelopment activities; $308,750 for a one-stop enrollment center at Holyoke Community College; $285,000 for a landscape connectivity study for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; and $285,000 for renovation, equipment, construction, and buildout of facilities at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. There was a heated debate on whether to include funding for groups like La Raza in the 2008 housing bill, but that didn’t stop Rep. Olver from finding money for the group elsewhere.
$9,500,000 by Senate appropriator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for Corridor H. A perennial pork-barrel project inserted by Sen. Byrd, Corridor H has been under scrutiny by taxpayer and environmental groups for decades. And according to a March 2009 investigation by CNN, “Corridor H has been billed as a way to promote economic development in the impoverished state. But most of it remains on the drawing board. It’s not projected to be complete until 2035 -- and neighboring Virginia says it has no plans to add on to the eastern end of the highway, meaning the road will end in West Virginia, 10 miles from the state line. … Paul Turman, West Virginia’s assistant transportation secretary, said the $21 million in stimulus money will connect two unfinished stretches of the superhighway at the midpoint of the route. The State Division of Highways said the money will create 60 jobs lasting between 18 and 24 months, which works out to $175,000 in taxpayer dollars a year for each job created.”
$9,452,500 for 14 projects for bike paths and trails, including: $2,850,000 by Senate appropriator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) for pedestrian and bicycling trail improvements in Illinois; $950,000 by Senate appropriator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the Western Kentucky University community-university bikeway project; $950,000 by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) for the Starkweather Creek Parkway bike path; $475,000 by Senate appropriator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and House appropriator Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) for the Blackstone River Bikeway; $475,000 by House appropriator Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) for bike and pedestrian trails in the city of Whiting; $475,000 by then-House appropriator Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) for a pedestrian/bicycle recreation trail over the Tuscarwaras River and along the Ohio and Erie Canalway Recreation Trails in Stark County; and $332,500 by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and House appropriator Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) for the Ohio Greenway bike trail in Warren.
$8,051,250 for 26 projects for YMCAs, YWCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs, including: $285,000 by Senate appropriator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) for renovation and expansion of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua; $285,000 by House appropriator Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) for the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA to refurbish trails, construction, and “other site work;” and
$3,800,000 by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy for preservation and redevelopment of a public park and related business activities in the Corktown Neighborhood. Michael LaFaive, a fiscal analyst with the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, summed up the project’s problems in a Detroit Free Press article on January 27, 2009: “It’s not only irresponsible to redirect these precious resources to saving Tiger Stadium … it’s unfair to everyone with no voluntary connection to the stadium whatsoever. And that comes in the form of people who don't like baseball, people who don’t go to the city of Detroit, people who have no desire to see what remains of the old stadium because of this rescue.”
$2,351,250 for six projects by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), including: $142,500 for the Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission in McCalla for a park welcome center, restroom facilities, and security office; $118,750 for walking trails, lighting, landscaping, a pavilion, and other amenities to make Cosby Lake in Clay into a public park; and $95,000 for the Shelby Arts Council in Columbiana for architectural drawings needed to build a performing arts facility. Without a hint of irony and just before the Omnibus spending bill was revealed, Rep. Bachus issued a press release condemning President Obama’s stimulus package, noting, “Rather than focusing on job-creating tax cuts, this bill has turned into a grab-bag that will cost every American household almost $7,000. Across-the-board tax cuts will allow small businesses and working families to spend, save, and invest more of their own money. This is a far better way to stimulate the economy and create jobs than increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts …”
$1,900,000 by then-Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service project. In 1996, a fire destroyed a bridge providing access to the beach, near Bridgeport and Stratford. Although patrons can still walk to the beach from Stratford or row to it from Bridgeport, some community activists say a water taxi is needed. Stratford mayor James Miron doesn’t think so. He told the Stratford Star there’s no support for the bridge and the local government’s priority should be Bridgeport schools.
$912,000 by then-House appropriator Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), now President Obama’s Transportation Secretary, for four projects, including $95,000 for the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences in Peoria to plan and construct a building to “highlight the achievement and skills of art, history, science, and achievement.”
$380,000 by Senate appropriator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for construction of a recreation and fairgrounds area in Kotzebue. That works out to $123.30 for each of Kotzebue’s 3,082 residents. Perhaps the town should have used the approximately $350,000 it spent on lobbying since 2000 for the fairgrounds, saving federal taxpayers a bundle. Even the Anchorage Daily News was outraged by the project: “The federal dollar that the stimulus might have spent on recreation projects is no different from the federal dollar spent on recreation in the pending appropriations bill. It all comes from the same pot of borrowed money.”
$237,500 by then-Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) for restoration of the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois. Referred to as the “Jewel of Joliet” the Rialto’s schedule in March featured “An Evening with Groucho” and Larry the Cable Guy. Say the magic word (pork) and get a prize.
$237,500 by House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) to acquire the remaining 62 acres of Keil Farm, a park in Toledo. Kaptur told the Toledo Business Journal, “We must showcase our hidden assets such as Keil Farm, continue to enhance them, and market our quality of life. I see Toledo as a ‘city in a garden.’ Creating a green hub in our urban environment will help raise an awareness about the importance of productive land and its adjacent water resources.”
$190,000 by House appropriator Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to turn the Fruitvale Masonic Temple in Oakland into a cultural and performing arts center.
$190,000 by then-Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for Port of Gold Beach for rebuilding the high dock. According to the town’s website, “For a little port in a little town a lot happens in the Port of Gold Beach. At the Port you can: Launch your boat; Arrange a river or ocean fishing charter; Eat at a restaurant or purchase fresh seafood to take home; Browse an art gallery and enjoy coffee; Arrange a jet boat ride; Tour either of two museums; Stroll, photograph, relax.” All at the taxpayer’s expense.
$190,000 by then-Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) for construction of a youth sports complex in Carlsbad.
$190,000 by then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) for construction of the Delaware Children’s Museum, as part of a plan to redevelop brownfields along the Christina Waterfront in Wilmington. In February, the theatre finished a run of “Pinnochio,” that classic story about a little boy whose nose grows when he tells a lie. Vice President Biden beware: taxpayers will be watching your snout the next time the new Administration promises to cut earmarks.
$190,000 for Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) for the revitalization of the Pierre downtown area and waterfront development.
$142,500 by House appropriator Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) for renovation and buildout of the Pregones Theater in the Bronx.
$118,750 by Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.) for the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul, Illinois. In a March 11, 2009 article on The News-Gazzette.com website Rep. Johnson claimed, “I was happy to advocate for this appropriation to help keep a small but vital part of our military aviation history alive. … Not everybody can travel to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Hopefully, this money will help generate more interest in a museum in our own backyard, run by volunteers, in the town of Rantoul that has suffered more than its share of economic setbacks in recent months.” With this logic there should be an aerospace museum in every district.
$80,750 by then-House appropriator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) for site improvements and a new facility for the Santa Fe Teen Arts Center, Warehouse21, in Santa Fe.
This booklet was written by David E. Williams, vice president, policy, Sean Kennedy, research associate, and Kerrie Rushton, visiting fellow. It was edited by Thomas A. Schatz, president.
HERE'S A GREAT VISUALIZATION ON THE AMERICAN DEBT!
Issues that matter
- ► March (9)
- ▼ April (3)
- ► 2010 (32)
- ► January (7)
- ► March (10)
- ► November (11)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
In the United States, the term progressive emerged in the late 19th century into the 20th century in reference to a more general response to the vast changes brought by industrialization: an alternative to both the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues and to the various more radical streams of socialism and anarchism which opposed them. Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
In India, progressivism refers to the United Progressive Alliance, which comprises government parties and external support from four main leftist parties.
Despite being associated with left-wing politcs, the term "progressive" has also been used by groups not particularly left-wing. The Progressive Democrats of Ireland have taken the name "progressivism" despite being considered right-wing, it all depends what you believe real change should be. The European Progressive Democrats was a mainly heterogeneous political group in the European Union. Progressivism is a political and social term that refers to ideologies and movements favoring or advocating progress, changes, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are.
In the United States, the term progressive emerged in the late 19th century into the 20th century in reference to a more general response to the vast changes brought by industrialization: an alternative to both the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues and to the various more radical streams of socialism and anarchism which opposed them. Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
In India, progressivism refers to the United Progressive Alliance, which comprises government parties and external support from four main leftist parties.
Despite being associated with left-wing politcs, the term "progressive" has also been used by groups not particularly left-wing. The Progressive Democrats of Ireland have taken the name "progressivism" despite being considered right-wing. The European Progressive Democrats was a mainly heterogeneous political group in the European Union.
Here is an article from March 30, 2004 by Peter Levine
"what's wrong with the left, and what we can do about it"
Click here for the original
I've reorganized and expanded my previous comments about how to revitalize the Left and have turned them into a single continuous essay, which begins below. I argue that the left suffers from a lack of positive vision that will probably cost the Democrats the 2004 election--and will certainly deny them a mandate, even if they manage to win. I then propose some alternatives for progressives to consider.
The system isn't tilted against Democrats and liberals
I know a lot of people who think that Republicans play the political game more skillfully and roughly than Democrats do. Republicans also seem to enjoy unfair advantages, such as about $100 million more in cash (in the 2002 cycle), gerrymandered districts, and Fox News. Thus, my friends say, Democrats need the progressive equivalents of Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and Tom DeLay. They need ideologues with mass audiences, brilliant and ruthless tacticians, and enforcers of party discipline.
I find this vision disturbing, because it would damage an already fragile civic culture. The last thing we need in the face of complex, persistent social problems is simpler and more divisive "messages" from the Left to combat the incessant barrage from the Right.
What's more, I don't think that Democrats can win by playing harder, smarter, or meaner. Some aspects of the system are indeed tilted against them: for instance, Republicans took about 54% of the campaign donations in 2002, leaving Democrats with only 46%, and the gap will surely increase in 2004, when George W. Bush is on the ballot. It is also possible (although not clear to me) that conservatives predominate in the mass media.
However, imagine that liberal leaders were granted two hours of Americans' time, unfiltered and uncensored. Then they couldn't complain that the political process was stacked against them. Instead, they would have to proclaim ideas that Americans might believe and find deeply inspiring. What would those ideas be?
To be sure, progressive leaders could take some fair shots at the incumbent administration, which has bought economic growth at the price of huge deficits that we will have to pay off with interest. Critiques of Republican fiscal policy--plus complaints about ham-handed diplomacy, bad planning in Iraq, missing weapons of mass destruction, Enron, and No Child Left Behind--may even win the 2004 election for the Democrats. That will depend on the dominant news stories between now and next November. But winning an election by criticizing the Bush administration will not build a mandate for truly progressive change.
The Left lacks vision
In my view, Democrats and progressives face much deeper problems than Fox News and Karl Rove--problems that also frustrate the Left in Europe; problems that have produced a long, slow decline over two generations. Their crisis is intellectual, not just tactical. It was painfully evident in the primary campaign, when we heard no serious proposals for such change from anyone on the Democratic side.
Three months ago, it looked as if Bush was a prohibitive favorite to win, so Democrats had the incentive to develop new visions and new directions. They failed to do so. Now it appears that John Kerry can win the presidency if the economy continues to sputter and if he plays conventional hardball politics better than the incumbent. That kind of campaign may win the White House, but it will not generate new policies or broad new ideas; and if Kerry wins, he will have no mandate other than to preserve what is left of FDR's welfare state and the multinational organizations that were founded in the same era.
Political candidates are not the only ones who develop new political visions. In 2004, the most exciting new participants in the political debate have been independent bloggers. But the major bloggers on the Left--people like Josh Marshall, Calpundit's Kevin Drum, and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the Daily Kos--strike me as strictly tactical thinkers. That is, they assume that the goal is to defeat George W. Bush, and they look for ways to score points against him. He is hypocritical one day, misguided the next. I thoroughly agree, yet I don't see any basis for a new direction in American politics. Their strategy is to make the president look bad, elect a replacement, and hope that he comes up with new ideas. If there are more creative leftish thinkers in the "blogosphere," I don't know who they are. This void suggests to me that the Left is weak today because of a lack of tough and creative thinking, not because good "progressive" ideas are being suppressed by the mass media.
Republican ideology--and its flaws
Conservatives win elections today, I believe, not because they play mean or exploit unfair advantages, but because they have broad, coherent, and rather radical principles, which boil down to this: "Families use their discretionary income to buy things that make them happy, to exercise their freedom, and to enrich their spiritual lives if they so choose. Therefore, we should maximize the aggregate disposable income of American families. Government does not create income but tends to waste it, so its size should be minimized."
This position is deeply flawed. Government creates wealth by providing necessary public goods such as universal education, research, and transportation. Moreover, maximizing aggregate wealth doesn't always help most people. The median American family earns only about 20 percent more real income today than in 1970, although our national income, adjusted for inflation, has increased by about nine-fold since then. This is a classic case of growth that doesn't benefit average people.
The Left can say, furthermore, that we should care about the prosperity of future generations, not about short-term growth, and therefore we should not increase the debt by cutting taxes. Some progressives will add that maximizing aggregate wealth is not sustainable, anyway, because human consumption degrades the environment. Nor is rapid growth always compatible with preserving traditional human cultures and cultural diversity.
There are also moral objections to conservative economics, which seems to value only disposable income (in other words, consumption), instead of the safety, availability, and dignity of work. Besides, private goods are not the only important things; nature, science, and art also matter, and they require public support. One can even appeal to the conservative value of hard work. Over time, unregulated capitalism tends to create a class of wealthy and lazy heirs.
Finally, there are political arguments against free-market policies. All wealth circulates through households, but it most of it also passes through corporations. Large firms have great power and are not accountable to citizens unless regulated by the state.
These are sensible criticisms, but they are somewhat at odds with each other, and each appeals to a different set of Democratic constituencies. What's worse, Democrats and progressives no longer believe in the traditional alternatives to markets. Hence, they find themselves in the position of defending old institutions that they are also the first to criticize.
For example, liberals favor increased support for public schools, yet they have been saying for generations that schools are alienating and dehumanizing as well as unfair to vulnerable minorities. They do have plans for school reform, but past reforms have always run aground. They support regulation, yet the most powerful and trenchant criticisms of expert-driven, centralized regulation have come from the Left. They defend the welfare state, yet they have been arguing for 50 years that welfare systems dehumanize "clients." They defend unions, yet unions violate modern progressive values by being hierarchical and disciplined (and often corrupt, to boot).
Democrats are the real conservatives
Thus, at their most effective, today's "progressives" are actually conservatives, staving off radical change and defending old institutions as preferable to the market alternatives promoted by Republicans. Bill Clinton is a progressive hero not because of what he built, but because of the proposals he vetoed.
Today's progressives are not only conservative about New Deal institutions. They are eager to conserve natural ecosystems and minority cultures (especially poor, indigenous ones). They are more fiscally conservative than Republicans. They are also more resistant to scientific innovation: witness their response to genetically engineered crops. They have adopted traditional conservative priorities by objecting to federal power in the areas of law enforcement (the USA Patriot Act) and education (No Child Left Behind). And they are the biggest defenders of institutions, such as public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Humanities, that promote the high culture of the past.
The same dynamic applies in global affairs. As E.J. Dionne has written, "Our foreign policy debate right now pits radicals against conservatives. Republicans are the radicals. Democrats are the conservatives." Republicans want to remake the world to match abstract ideals; Democrats are concerned about traditional alliances and institutions, unintended consequences, and appropriate limits on national power.
There are certainly some issues on which self-described "conservatives" are more conservative than liberals are. (The public role of religion would be one.) However, I think we should recognize the deep conservatism of the modern Left--in Europe as well as America--for this partly explains the present political situation.
In defense of the Democrats' conservatism
Actually, there are good arguments for conservatism as preached by today's Left. The great English philosopher and parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, taught that we should hesitate to overturn interrelated social systems that have evolved over generations; they embody the experience of the people who have learned to live with them. It is easy to prove that their design is inefficient or inequitable, compared to some chalkboard alternative. But radical changes often go awry.
On these grounds, Burke rightly preferred the Old Regime in France, for all its arbitrary, wasteful, unjust features, to the revolutionary system that fell apart after it had cost millions of lives. Similarly, there are reasons to think that flawed public schools, unions, and welfare programs are better than the radical market alternatives suggested by economic theory. The most consistent and influential Burkean in modern America was a Democrat, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Why this left-conservatism loses elections
The problem with this kind of conservative "progressivism" is not that it is wrong. Rather, it is politically and rhetorically weak, because it lacks a broad, coherent, forward-looking agenda. School systems, unions, and welfare programs are unworthy of more than half-hearted endorsement, yet no political movement can win by half-heartedly defending the recent past.
As long as Democrats held a national majority and controlled the House, their leaders didn't have to develop a coherent, positive philosophy. Instead, they could fight over the spoils of their regular victories. The House (with its 435 independently elected members) rewarded horse-trading and the aggregation of interest groups. But now, with Congress out of the Democrats' control, a comprehensive positive vision is essential for the Left. In the primary, all the Democratic primary candidates invoked a better past (either the sixties or the nineties), criticized the Bush administration for changing America too fast, and struggled to develop compelling visions for the future. Their most radical idea--universal health insurance, has itself been an unfulfilled promise since 1948 (not exactly a novel concept).
What the Left needs are new models, new institutional arrangements. The best of these, alas, are still in a nascent, experimental, R&D stage. If that is our problem, then we will get nowhere by playing politics Texas-style.
At best, we are now at the beginning of a long, slow process of developing a workable alternative to laissez-faire economics. In the meantime, I believe that progressives could choose among four options for relatively broad platforms. If they managed to win an election with any of these platforms (which I think is possible), then they would have a mandate for significant change.
More important, these platforms would create some breathing space. While a left-of-center president acts as I describe below, other Americans of both parties can develop truly progressive new ideas. With a progressive in office, the national debt will not rise, nor will voter turnout and trust in government decline so far as to destroy the constituency for social justice.
Idea # 1: Develop the Stewardship Theme
I have argued that Democrats cannot win merely by protecting and defending a hodgepodge of inherited programs. But perhaps they could develop the idea of "stewardship" enough to build a compelling program. Their rhetoric would go like this:
"In the last century, we finally developed a set of humane policies. We said that people didn't have to survive on their own meagre savings or their children's earnings when they could no longer work; we'd give everyone a pension and call it Social Security. We said that you could get some medical care even if you were poor; and we called that Medicaid. We said that not every acre of America could be paved or strip-mined; we'd have national parks.
"At the same time, we also created a set of wasteful and burdensome programs. We now realize that big, centralized, government programs have major drawbacks. However, no one has figured out better approaches than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment Insurance. Unfortunately, each of these crucial programs is threatened today by changes in demographics and economics, and by mistakes and misplaced priorities since 2000. We Democrats do not intend to expand government programs, but we do promise to protect and preserve the major elements of the system that we created in the last century by being fiscally prudent. Let's not mince words: we're going to have to raise taxes, because we can't balance the budget sufficiently by cutting expenditures. The major entitlement programs absorb most federal domestic spending. We will raise taxes, but only for people in the top 20 percent.
"The same philosophy of conservation and stewardship also compels us to fight for the environment. In addition to strong environmental regulations, we need visionary policies to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. Finally, we want to conserve the best of our traditional communities by controlling sprawl, by promoting sensitive development of older cities, and by supporting the fine arts."
I admit that this is the weakest idea, but it would be the easiest to articulate and would be fully consistent with any of the next three proposals.
Idea # 2 "Bold, Persistent Experimentation"
This was a phrase that Franklin Roosevelt often used. Out of his New Deal experiments came many durable and highly beneficial institutions, from Social Security to the FDIC. Again in our time there are numerous progressive ideas that deserve to be tried on relatively small scales and rigorously assessed.
In the spirit of experimentation, we shouldn't believe it when proponents merely claim that a new approach works. Instead, we should rigorously compare people enrolled in a new program with statistically similar groups who are not. Whenever possible, we should randomly assign people to "treatment" and "control" groups, in order to see the real effects of programs. We should then weed out all the weak projects or ones that are not cost-effective, and spend our limited public money on the few really effective ones.
Many progressives are skeptical of such rigorous evaluation, seeing it as an effort to kill public programs by holding them to impossible standards. Indeed, we are very inconsistent about what we test. Every school in America now has to demonstrate "adequate yearly progress" or else risk losing its paltry federal funding. Meanwhile, Congress increased corporate tax subsidies by $178 billion in fiscal 2002-2004, according to Citizens for Tax Justice--without asking any of the beneficiaries to prove that these subsidies had any public value. In short, the only programs that are tested today are low priorities. However, progressives who are committed to experimentation should demand that corporate tax breaks and other conservative priorities pass the same tough tests that liberal programs face.
Meanwhile, they would rigorously test the most promising progressive ideas to find the ones that are worth expanding. In education, they would evaluate small schools that embody powerful community norms. They would also look carefully at service-learning programs: combinations of community service with structured academic learning. For "at-risk" youth, they could test programs that treat them as economic assets and provide them with meaningful work (Youth Build is an example).
In economics, they could try much easier methods of organizing labor, such as recognizing a union as soon as more than fifty percent of a workforce files cards in support of an organizing drive. In poor communities, they could try giving micro-loans to start very small businesses. They could assess a system of universal, publicly funded daycare in some jurisdictions to see how it worked.
They could also try substantial increases in the minimum wage within particular localities, paired with comparable jurisdictions where there is no such increase. This experiment would build on the famous research by David Card and Alan B. Krueger, who found that an increase in the minimum wage did not increase unemployment. Their finding remains controversial and needs to be tested in other contexts.
In the environmental field, there are highly promising approaches to "smart growth" that use combinations of zoning, transportation, and tax policy to concentrate new development near mass transit lines.
Experimenting with these ideas would be consistent with a generally Clintonite fiscal policy of fighting deficits and making the tax code moderately more progressive. Fiscal conservatism is important because government debt is tremendously wasteful and prevents the state from expanding public expenditures if (but only if) we can find programs that really work.
Idea # 3 A strong "good government" program.
There is a substantial bloc of Americans whose primary concern is not with any economic or social issue, but with the process of government. They want our political system to be more democratic, transparent, accountable, civil, and dignified. These are the people who voted for Ross Perot, John McCain, and Bill Bradley, but they did not turn out for Al Gore in 2000. Exit polls showed that George W. Bush attracted 64% of past Perot voters and 59% of McCain supporters, even though Bush's positions on campaign finance reform and balanced budgets were weaker than Al Gore's.
Now that they are in opposition and have no corrupt advantages to protect, Democrats could address these people, saying (in effect):
"We don't know what the best policies are in many areas. We admit that a lot of traditional progressive institutions no longer work well. However, we clearly see that our political system is broken: not just unfair to us, but unfair and unseemly for all citizens. We trust that a fairer and more deliberative process would generate better results.
"Therefore, we favor public financing (or at least free broadcast time) for political candidates and parties. Politicians always circumvent limits on campaign spending, but direct subsidies can make politics accessible to newcomers and increase competition. Public financing is already available in several states and major cities. We want to provide it for federal candidates.
"We also demand fair districting procedures. One of the worst scandals of modern politics is the way parties have drawn electoral districts. There truly is no point to voting if you live in one of the 385 congressional districts where one party is overwhelmingly dominant. What's more, there is never a high-profile debate about federal policy in these districts, and as a result citizens are often woefully uninformed. On the other hand, Iowa's nonpartisan districting commission shows that it is possible to draw fair lines that promote competition.
"Going beyond the campaign system itself, we seek radical tax simplification. A tax system of baroque complexity is inevitably unfair, because it rewards well-placed special interests. Also, it is dangerous to spend money through tax cuts, because then citizens cannot see how much each program is costing their government. Thus we ought to oppose targeted tax breaks in principle. On a revenue-neutral basis, taxes could be dramatically simplified so that the tax form became a single page for everyone. The fairness of the system would improve dramatically if this were done right.
"We also seek alternatives to standard methods of federal regulation. Administrative agencies generate malleable, complex, and inconsistent bodies of law that are always full of loopholes and inefficiencies and impossible to understand. Agencies always get 'captured' by special interests. Fortunately, there are alternatives to rule-making by administrative agencies. Sometimes, Congress can replace an elaborate system of rules with vouchers or other simple payments to consumers. Sometimes, Congress can codify the important parts of a body of existing regulations into a sweeping new statute. And sometimes, administrative agencies can use new methods of rule-making, such as citizen juries or Deliberative Polls. [The overall theme would be a criticism of both regulation and unregulated corporate behavior.]
"In the media area, we could favor aggressive efforts to promote diversity, competition, and localism, including support for low-powered radio; aggressive antitrust enforcement in the media industry; higher subsides for public television and radio; and laws requiring providers of Internet connections to offer neutral services so that their customers may freely explore the World Wide Web and easily post their own material.
"Finally, we could support civic education and voluntary service, to increase the capacity of the next generation to play an active role in politics and community life."
Idea # 4 "Everyone a Creator"
Most classic progressive policies are redistributive; they transfer wealth from the rich to the poor. Redistribution can increase aggregate happiness and opportunity, since an extra dollar makes much more of a difference to a poor person than to a rich one. Also, there is some evidence that equality increases health and longevity (regardless of the total amount of wealth in the society).
Nevertheless, I think that aiming for more redistribution is now politically foolish. While the median household income has only barely outpaced inflation since 1970, it has reached $50,000 for an average household of three people. That is an extraordinary level of affluence by historical and global standards, and it means that more than half of Americans feel capable of managing most aspects of their lives without government assistance. They do need help with retirement and education, but they suspect that other programs will benefit the poor at their expense.
Even some of those who might benefit from redistribution consider it undesirable. It's coercive, it's divisive, it may be economically inefficient, and it makes the recipient feel beholden and dependent.
Unfortunately, not everyone can manage without state assistance, for there are still about 50 million Americans living close to or below the poverty line. Yet they can be helped without resort to more redistribution. Instead, government can strive to increase everyone's opportunities to become creators of wealth.
There could be two parts to this agenda. First, we could strive to lower barriers to entrepreneurship. This is a Republican goal, identified especially with Jack Kemp (who has done good work). The problem is the standard Republican solution, which boils down to tax cuts. Cutting taxes does nothing to increase opportunities for people who don�t have much money to start with.
The Hope Street Group, an organization of business executives, is working on much more serious ideas for expanding real economic opportunity. Equality of opportunity in a high-growth economy" is their slogan; it draws nicely from the right ("high-growth") and the left ("equality"), while subtly disparaging the Green idea that growth itself is bad. "Opportunity" here means a chance to create wealth, to build a business, to develop an idea. There has been a lot of such opportunity in the United States, but we've always left a large segment of our population with little chance to be creative and entrepreneurial, because they've lacked access to capital and education. The Hope Street Group recommends, among other policies, subsidies for low-income home-buyers, much greater transparency in capital markets, and transferability of pensions from one job to another.
While helping more everyone to contribute to the market economy, we could also increase citizens' opportunities to make public goods. To do this, we would encourage public service by expanding (rather than brutally cutting) Americorps; by opening new routes into professions such as teaching and nursing; and by making such professions more desirable and satisfying. Meanwhile, we could increase public contributions to the government itself, for instance by asking citizens to collect GIS data on environmental issues, or by assigning important regulatory issues to citizen juries.
Not all public goods are created in the state sector. For example, the "digital commons" is composed of the protocols, the open-source software, and the free webpages of the Internet--collectively worth billions of dollars. The Internet was built by volunteers, including teenagers and poor immigrants; by nonprofit associations; by the government; by profit-seeking entrepreneurs; and by major corporations. All these players were doing what the University of Minnesota's Harry Boyte calls "public work": they were working together to build an accessible public good. The Internet commons is now in grave danger from several directions (spammers and virus-makers, corporate monopolists, government censors). However, we could use federal law to expand and protect the Internet and other public assets.
1) Fox News: 260
2) Wall Street Journal: 383
3) The Drudge Report: 748
4) New York Post: 888
5) WorldNetDaily: 2,692
6) Newsmax: 3,264
7) Free Republic: 3,988
8) The Washington Times: 4,717
9) TownHall: 5,986
10) The Rush Limbaugh Show: 7,624
11) Real Clear Politics: 7,957
12) National Review: 10,346
13) Hot Air: 11,517
14) Michelle Malkin: 12,871
15) Glenn Beck: 13,153
16) Human Events Online: 17,538
17) The Heritage Foundation: 20,746
18) Newsbusters: 21,452
19) Lew Rockwell: 24,677
20) The Weekly Standard: 25,565
21) News With Views: 27,352
22) Sean Hannity: 28,086
23) Pajamas Media 28,969
24) The Ludwig von Mises Institute: 29,116
25) Atlas Shrugs: 29,548
26) The American Thinker: 29,980
27) Cybercast News Service: 32,348
28) Neal Boortz: 32,857
29) Reason: 33,254
30) Lucianne: 34,135
31) Ann Coulter 36,864
32) The Cato Journal: 39,187
33) Daily Paul: 41,465
34) The Volokh Conspiracy: 42,021
35) Bill O'Reilly: 42,533
36) Redstate: 42,655
37) Conservapedia: 43,866
38) Power Line: 44,542
39) Jewish World Review: 44,765
40) Front Page Magazine: 48,645
41) Daniel Pipes: 49,692
42) Little Green Footballs: 49,844
43) Campaign for Liberty: 50,638
44) The American Spectator: 52,377
45) Commentary: 55,447
46) GOPUSA: 58,771
47) James Lileks': 60,536
48) Right Wing News: 63,097
49) Wizbang: 63,427
50) Day by Day: 63,455
10 bonus websites for you
51) Moonbattery: 67,850
52) Life News: 69,493
53) Vdare: 70,866
54) Debbie Schlussel: 73,543
55) Republican National Committee: 73,599
56) Lifesitenews: 73,823
57) Dick Morris: 77,187
58) Blackfive: 83,031
59) Outside the Beltway: 83,455
60) American Conservative: 90,579
Update #1: Jihad Watch emailed to note that they're at 29,887. That would put them at #26. Sorry, I missed you, guys!
Update #2: Canada Free Press is at 73,555 which would put them at #55 on the original list.
Update #3: The great thing I have found about doing these lists is that if you miss a site, by the end of the day, someone will be sure to let you know about it =D Here a handful of other websites that were missed.
The Ron Paul Forums is at 29,341, which means they would have come in at #25 on the original list.
Onenewsnow ranks at 9,388, which would have put it at #12.
PS: I've had a couple people suggest that Infowars should be on the list, but I consider that to be a loony, anti-authority conspiracy site more than a conservative website. Others may disagree.
Update #4: The Business & Media Institutecomes in at 79,500, which would have put it at #58.
Putting all these policies together, we would have a movement whose goal would be to make everyone a creator of wealth.
Here are a FEW of the groups that believe these things to one degree or another but are considered progressive in thought. After reading this article you can see why the left has become less conservative and more socialist and Just a fair reading of the content on these sites will confirm just how LEFT leaning they all are, so there is no doubt they advacate more of the same politics we've seen since its inception.
(as of June 30, 2004)
(as of June 30, 2004)
|Village Voice|| |
|Daily Kos|| |
|The Nation|| |
|Fahrenheit 9/11|| |
|Amnesty International|| |
|Planet Out|| |
|Washington Monthly|| |
|Center for American Progress|| |
|Human Rights Watch|| |
Of course I am, so why can't I then list Congress as my DEPENDENTS and DEDUCT THEM?
THE I.R.S. IS THE GREATEST DECEPTIVE ARM OF THE GOVERNMENT...THERE IS NO LAW THAT SAYS YOU HAVE TO PAY AN INCOME TAX, ITS AN ILLEGAL CORPORATE LAW NOT AN INDIVIDUAL LAW!
Is the INCOME TAX legal? NO, NO, NO....It's Illegal at the core!
Learn about the Dangers to America!!!
- 1791 The Original Blueprint American made Clothes!
- Glenn Beck .com
- GBTV.com Learn Something substantial!
- The Faith and Freedom Coalition
- Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) , one of the most prestigious law firms in the country.
- ACT! for America is a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice.
- Obsession - Radical Islam's War Against the West - Itamar Marcus.
- David Horowitz started the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (now the David Horowitz Freedom Center) in 1988. Over the next 18 years, he attracted 50,000 contributing supporters and established programs such as The Wednesday Morning Club, the Individual Rights Foundation, Students for Academic Freedom, and FrontPage Magazine, the Center’s online journal of news and political commentary.
- Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
- Big Government
- Secure Freedom Radio is pre-recorded and airs week days at 9 PM on 1260 AM WRC in Washington, DC. SFR is characterized by its high caliber guests in leading military and policy making positions.
- Muslims are torn between radicalism and reform. A new book by Irshad Manji illuminates the path of hope—offering faithful dissent against a suffocating orthodoxy.
- M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
- America At Risk, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich, vividly demonstrates the dangers facing America, one decade after the attacks on 9/11.
- Barnabus Fund pages on apostasy.
- Rifqa Bary – Webpage for teenage apostate Rifqa Bary.
- Apostates of Islam on facebook – Apostates of Islam’s facebook page.
- Former Muslims’ forum – Online community forum for former Muslims.
- CEMB forum – Online community forum for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.
- Ex-Muslims twitter feed – Twitter account for Ex-Muslims.
- Faith Freedom – Echoes the voice of ex-Muslims who want to stop the spread of Islam, expose its violent nature, and help Muslims to understand it and leave it. We believe in the oneness of humanity and oppose Islam for inciting hatred against non Muslims. Muhammad instructed his follower to conquer the world by the sword and to rule it with terror. We are determined to not let that happen.
- Answering Islam – An encyclopedic resource, with many articles, books, mirror sites in other languages etc. – an international resource.
- Centralradet for Ex-Muslimer i Skandinavien – Scandinavian Ex-Muslim page.
- Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain – British Ex-Muslim page.
- Zentralrat der Ex-Muslime – German Ex-Muslim page.
- Allied Apostates of Islam – Group that tells the individual stories of apostates.
- Muslims for Christ – Group of Muslims who have converted to Christianity.
- Apostates of Islam – Online community for ex-Muslims.
- Former Muslims United was formed in September, 2009 by a group of leading American apostates from Islam.
- Palestinian Media Watch is an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society from a broad range of perspectives.
- The Middle East Media Research Institute.
John Adams said:
"We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands: we have a check upon two branches of the legislature, as each branch has upon the other two; the power I mean of electing at stated periods, one branch, which branch has the power of electing another.
It becomes necessary to every subject then, to be in some degree a statesman: and to examine and judge for himself of the tendencies of political principles and measures."
Need to know what your Gas Prices ARE now?
Middle East Myths and Facts
1. Nationhood and Jerusalem - Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam.
2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 B.C.E. the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
4. Arabs have only had control of Israel twice - from 634 until the Crusader invasion in June 1099, and from 1292 until the year 1517 when they were dispelled by the Turks in their conquest.
5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.
6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran. There are vague references to Jerusalem in the Hadiths - stories about Mohammed - that he stopped his night journey (which the Koran explains took place in a dream!) at the "farther mosque" (or "distant place"). Muslims explain that this means "at the edge of the Temple mount", although no direct reference to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount is made.
7. King David established the city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.
8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Some Muslims (i.e. those between Israel and Saudi Arabia) pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.
9. Arab and Jewish Refugees - In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.
10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.
11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.
12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.
13. The Arab - Israeli Conflict - The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.
14. The P.L.O.'s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them with weapons.
15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
16. The U.N. Record on Israel and the Arabs - Of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.
17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.
18. The U.N was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.
19. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
20. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
For those of us who believe that the "Israeli Occupation" has been bad for the Palestinian people, these facts may change your perception. The "occupation" seems to have brought nothing but good to the Palestinians - we can only imagine how much worse they would be if Israel hadn't helped them!
1. During 20 years of Arab rule Palestinian male life expectancy grew from 42 to 44. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian male life expectancy grew from 44 to 63.
2. During 20 years of Arab rule Palestinian female life expectancy grew from 45 to 46. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian female life expectancy grew from 46 to 67.
3. During 20 years of Arab rule Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 200 per thousand to 170 per thousand. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 170 per thousand to 60 per thousand.
4. During 20 years of Arab rule Palestinian crude death rate decreased from 21 per thousand to 19 per thousand. During next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 19 per thousand to 6 per thousand.
5. Before 1967, when Israel's rule began, only 113 hospitals had been built in the territories. By the time of 1989 Israel had helped establish more than three times that number to 387.
6. Before 1967 only 23 Mother & Child Centers had been established. After 1989 about six times as many could be found. (135)
7. Malaria, which had existed in the territories before 1967 was finally eliminated during the Israeli rule.
8. Israel also more than tripled the number of Palestinian teachers and boosted the Palestinian educational system by establishing a number of universities.
Among those universities were the College of Scientists (Abu Dis) - est. 1982, the College of Social Welfare (El Bira) - est. 1979, the College of Religion (Beit Hanina) - est. 1978 and the Islamic College in Hebron- est.1971.
9. This was not the only effect Israeli rule had on the Palestinian education system and the Palestinian people.
Before 1967 the percentage of illiterates on average had been 27.8% among men and among women even higher at 65.1%. By 1983 Israel had helped reduce illiteracy to only 13.5% among men and 38.9% among women.
The Truth About the Mideast
Fourteen fundamental facts about Israel and Palestine
By David G. Littman
October 7, 2002
It's time to look back on 14 fundamental geographical, historical, and diplomatic facts from the last century relating to the Middle East. These basic facts and figures were stressed in recent statements to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and its subcommission, to the surprise of representatives of both states and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
1) After World War I Great Britain accepted the 1922 Mandate for Palestine, and then — with League of Nations approval — used its article 25 to create two distinct entities within the Mandate-designated area.
2) The territory lying between the Jordan River and the eastern desert boundary "of that part of Palestine which was known as Trans-Jordan" (nearly 78 percent) thus became the Emirate of Transjordan.
This new entity was put under the rule of Emir Abdullah, the eldest son of the Sharif of Mecca, as a recompense for his support in the war against the Turks, and of Ibn Saud's seizure of Arabia (Faisal, Abdullah's brother, later received the even vaster Mandate area of Iraq).
3) Turning a blind eye to article 15, Great Britain also decided that no Jews could reside or buy land in the newly created Emirate. This policy was ratified — after the emirate became a kingdom — by Jordan's law no. 6, sect. 3, on April 3, 1954, and reactivated in law no. 7, sect. 2, on April 1, 1963. It states that any person may become a citizen of Jordan unless he is a Jew. King Hussein made peace with Israel in 1994, but the Judenrein legislation remains valid today.
4) The remaining area west of the Jordan River (comprising about 22 percent of the original Mandate) was then officially designated "Palestine" by Great Britain. As stated in the 1937 Royal Commission Report, "the primary purpose of the Mandate, as expressed in its preamble and its articles, is to promote the establishment of the Jewish National Home." This was now greatly restricted.
5) U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 (November 29, 1947) authorized a Partition Plan in this area: for an Arab and a Jewish state — and for a corpus separatum for Jerusalem. The plan was rejected by both the Arab League and the Arab-Palestinian leadership. Aided and abetted by the neighboring Arab countries, local armed Arab Palestinian forces immediately began attacking Jews, who counterattacked. On May 15, 1948, the armies of five Arab League states joined these militias in the invasion of Israel, but their armies failed in their goal of eradicating the fledgling state.
6) The armistice boundaries (1949-1967) left Israel with roughly 16.5 percent, or 8,000 sq. miles, of the original 1922 Mandate area (about 48,000 sq. miles), while about five percent — less Gaza, which was occupied by the Egyptians — was conquered and occupied in 1948 by British General Glubb Pasha, the commander of Abdullah's Arab Legion. The historic regions of "Judea and Samaria" — their official names as indicated on all British mandate maps until 1948 — were annexed and became the "West Bank" of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1950. All the Jews were expelled from the area and from the Old City of Jerusalem; their synagogues, and even tombstones on the Mount of Olives, were destroyed.
7) Until King Hussein attacked Israel on June 6, 1967, Jordan's recognized de facto boundaries covered 83 percent of Palestine (78 percent east of the Jordan river, and five percent to the west). Following its military defeat in the Six Day War, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan lost the "West Bank," which it had illegally annexed 19 years earlier, retaining the huge "Transjordan" portion (78 percent) of the original League of Nations territory.
8) Of Jordan's current population of five million, about two-thirds (over three million) consider themselves "Arab Palestinians." They are the descendants either of the original Arab Palestinian inhabitants of the Trans-Jordan region, or of roughly 550,000 Arab refugees from west Palestine who lost their homes after the Arab League armies failed to eradicate Israel first in 1948, and again in 1967. Nearly two million Jordanian Bedouin citizens and others do not identify themselves as Palestinians.
9) After the 1967 disaster, an Arab League Summit Conference held in Khartoum that November reacted negatively to U.N. Security Council Resolution 247: "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no concessions on the questions of Palestinian national rights." This was also the determined position of the PLO. Apart from Egypt's 1981 peace treaty with Israel, there was little change, for the next two decades, in this refusal to negotiate according to U.N. Resolution 242.
10) In those "West Bank and Gaza" areas, designated by the Oslo Accords of 1994 to be placed under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (covering about 5.5 percent of the "Greater Palestine" area on both sides of the Jordan), there is now a population of over 3,200,000, of whom about 35,000 are Christians, but none are Jews.
11) The population of the Jewish state — a state envisaged in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate, and confirmed by the U.N.'s 1947 decision — is now roughly 6,500,000, of whom roughly 20 percent are Arabs (120,000 Christians), Druze, and Bedouin citizens of Israel. Of the more than five million Jewish citizens, about one-half are those Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and their descendants, who fled or left their ancient homeland when massacres, arrests, and ostracism made life impossible (a further 300,000 emigrated to Europe and the Americas, where they number over a million).
12) Today, a tiny, vulnerable Jewish remnant — scarcely 5,000 persons — remains in all the Arab world, less than half of one percent from the near million who were there in 1948 (this does not include the 50,000 in Turkey and Iran, left of about 200,000 in 1945). These are the forgotten Jewish refugees from Arab lands, from countries that will soon be totally judenrein just as Jordan has been since 1922.
13) The 22 Arab League countries cover a global surface of over six million square miles, over ten percent of the land surface on earth. Israel, by contrast, covers barely 8,000 sq. miles.
14) Security Council Resolution 242 has now become the panacea for Arab states, yet their interpretation of its key operative paragraph does not correspond to the English original, which version alone is binding. In March 2002, a Saudi "peace plan" was approved by the Arab League in Beirut, but behind it lurks the former 1981 "Fahd Plan" — with a facelift — that would leave Israel with impossible borders. After the Iraqi menace has been resolved one way or another, what is needed for the "Middle East peace process" is a concerted effort to support the Mitchell plan, which could one day lead to true peace and reconciliation for the whole region. But the Palestinian Authority will only become a genuine partner with Israel, alongside Jordan and Egypt, if there is a radical break with the past, and a new spirit of mutual acceptance prevails between the Arab world and Israel — with individual and collective security and dignity for all. This will only be feasible if democratic institutions and a respect for human rights and the rule of law become the norm, as they now are not. And it will only be feasible if the Arab world recognizes the inalienable legitimacy of Israel's existence in a part of its historical land.
— David G. Littman is a historian. Since 1986, he has been active on human-rights issues at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. His recent statements on this subject were made as a representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a nongovernmental organization.
James Madison - 4th U.S. President Said this:
"But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks--no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.James Madison - 4th U.S. President
What I believe as an American!
|1.||America Is Good.|
|2.||I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.|
|God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.|
|3.||I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.|
|Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington|
|4.||The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.|
|Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is know. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson|
|5.||If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.|
|Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson|
|6.||I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.|
|Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson|
|7.||I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.|
|Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington|
|8.||It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.|
|On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington|
|9.||The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.|
|Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson |
How the Banking system works....
The Fake Stimulus plan of Obama
Glenn Beck: Global Warming greatest scam in history
Shocking Video Unearthed: Democrats Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam !
Stimulus Package Protest - The People Speak
This is what the IRS Deserves from every American.......................................
I paid these taxes, accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gas tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city tax, school and county property tax up to 33% the last four years.
Real estate tax, Social Security tax, road use tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, sales franchise tax, state unemployment tax, federal excise tax, telephone tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle tax, registration tax, capital gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Mexico sales tax and many more I can't recall and I've run out of space and money.
When you do not receive my check April 15th, just know that it was an honest mistake.
Please treat me the same as the way you've treated Congressman Charlie Rangel, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, ex-congressman Tom Daschle and, of course, your boss, Timothy Geithner.
No penalties, no interest. PS, I'll make at least a partial payment as soon as I get my stimulus check." Ed Barnett, Wichita Falls.
- Before you look at the links below know this about me, I do not know everything about anything, I know only what God has revealed to me.
Proving God exists CANNOT be done for the person who is not open to hearing and seeing the evidence as God sees it. Faith is the KEY to releasing all the evidence contained in creation, in man's heart and his mind. Without FAITH no one can ever please God so to throw away faith as unimportant destroys our receptivity to the evidence!
I was a hypocrite, a sinner and a fool, sometimes even as a believer but as long as God is in control I'm forgiven and healed of every form of human shortcoming. Nothing can stand before the evidence contained in Faith.....NOTHING!
LEARN MORE ABOUT ME AND MY MINISTRY HERE!
The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.
A Real comparison to think about from Brian S. on Sodahead.com!!!
I made a comparison of the old USSR and the current state of the USA a while back and thought it was pretty interesting.
Only recently did the thought cross my mind to send the information to Washington, hope you find the information helpful.
Dear Senator _*+%$$@@#!!&***++
As there was no option for 'other' I had to choose the Deficit option.
It appears that nobody within the Washington political circles can see what is happening to this country, as they are too close to the situation.
Here is the comparison for the old USSR and USA.
-operated a State owned Auto Industry
-operated a State owned Banking Industry
-operated a State owned Aircraft Industry
-had armed military at their airports and train stations
-made every one of its citizens keep their 'travel papers' while going from place to place.
-created the Berlin Wall, which made it next to impossible to enter without going through official checkpoints.
-had total control over the media (as other countries still maintain that control)
-collapsed not too long after their failed invasion of Afghanistan (which the US supported)
-just bailed out the Auto Industry (except for Ford) and has a large amount of stock/control over GM. Interesting because the Amtrak has been losing money continuously year after year. How can Congress think that they can help manage an Auto manufacturer?
-bailed out numerous banks with almost $1 Trillion dollars of money created out of thin air. Now, the banks are essentially 'owned' in part by the Federal Govt until the loans are paid off.
-unless I'm mistaken the Aircraft Industry has not yet gotten a bailout, but there have been talks about them wanting one
-we have armed military at some of our airports after 9-11
-the REAL ID is set to go into effect on Dec 31, 2009.
(from the REAL ID web site) "Following the deadline of May 11, 2008, state driver's licenses and identification cards were not to be accepted for federal purposes unless the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined that a state was compliant with the REAL ID or a state had been approved for an extension by the Secretary of DHS.
All 56 U.S. jurisdictions have received an initial extension from the Secretary of the DHS. The initial extension is valid until December 31, 2009"
-the US is working to create the border between itself and Mexico with either a physical 'virtual' wall to try and slow down immigration.
I actually support this one, since our Congress cannot seem to get its act together and apparently wants to give the illegal immigrants extra rights, access to Social Security and welfare programs.
-is currently rebuilding Iraq (with tax dollars), fighting 'terrorism' in Afghanistan and crossing the border into Pakistan in a seemingly unending war.
-tried to pass a version of the 'Fairness Doctrine' which would require radio and television stations to give equal time to opposing views. As it currently stands, Conservative radio is unopposed by liberal radio stations. The Fairness Doctrine would reduce the amount of time allotted to Conservative talk shows, if not completely shut them down.
-is currently engaged in a war on drugs, yet is doing nothing about the poppy crops in Afghanistan, which is a major source of raw material in the drug war.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it appears to me that the US is on a road that is leading the wrong direction.
What we need is to reduce the overall Federal Government.
Once that starts, there will be a reduction in spending tax dollars on a useless bureaucracy.