Friday, December 17, 2010

Earmarks, and Earmarks, and Earmarks. Oh, My!

I usually talk about how much I love Twitter, but every once in a while I see something there that sends me on a search for more information, and then my hair stands up on end, and then I get upset.

Yesterday I was nonchalantly perusing my stream of tweets and saw a little entry from Senator John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) that had a number in front of it, and the entry was "#3. $3 million for Chesapeake Bay Oyster restoration in Maryland."

Hmmm, I thought. Could that have something to do with earmarks on the 1,924 page spending bill I'd been hearing about? And if that's #3, what are the other items?

I clicked on the Senator's ID to go to his page and noticed yesterday's entry was the second list he had posted. Scrolling back to Tuesday, I began to read. This is where my hair started standing on end. I decided to share the experience with my fellow voters (while my friends in other countries can gasp or snicker or snort, whatever seems appropriate).

Here's the rest of the story:

Selected Tweets from John McCain on 12/14/10

"Stand by for the top 10 pork barrel projects from the 1,924 page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill

#10. $247,000 – Virus free wine grapes in Washington State

#9. $413,000 – Peanut research in Alabama

#8. $125,000 for fishery equipment for the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association, Hagatna, Guam.

#7. $349,000 – Swine waste management in North Carolina

Heading 2 the floor 2 talk about the $1.1 Trillion 1924 page omnibus spending bill that includes 6488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion

#6. $400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas

#5. $165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont

#4. $522,000 for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey

#3. $246,000 for bovine tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota

#2. $235,000 for noxious weed management in Nevada

And the #1 pork barrel project in the omnibus spending far is...

#1. $300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii


ALERT: $3.2 million for a street sweeper in NH - out of Defense Spending while we are in 2 wars

Wednesday's Top 10 Pork Barrel Projects #10. is a tie - $300,000 for the Iowa Orchestra & $106,000 for the Utah Symphony

#9. $1,500,000 for New England Multi-Species Surveys and Development in New Bedford, MA

#8. $300,000 for Groundfish research in Augusta, ME.

#7 $500,000 for highly migratory shark fishery research program in San Jose, CA

#6. $2,500,000 for the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Honolulu, HI

#5. $425,000 to restore the Boonville Hardware Building in Boonville, Mississippi - population 8,360!!

#4. $1 million to re-introduce upper floor housing in Des Moines, Iowa - what about the lower floor housing?

#3. $3 million for Chesapeake Bay Oyster restoration in Maryland.

#2. $500,000 for Blue Fin Tuna tagging and research in California
And the #1 tweet for today...drum roll please...

#1. $10,000,000 to the John P. Murtha Foundation - nuff said..."
I don't think it's being too political on this non-political blog to say I think this is just plain ridiculous.

I wonder how many of these earmarks are bribes to get a senator or representative to vote in favor of the bill.

I wonder how these earmarks will be funded.

And I wonder what the devil's in the air or water in Washington, D.C. that makes so many of our elected officials act like nitwits.

You probably wonder if I'm going to stop following people like Senator McCain because their tweets upset me. The answer is no. I prefer to know what's going on.

Even if it makes my hair stand on end.

How do we stop this nonsense?


Jenny said...

Ignorance is bliss, but it's also dangerous. It's better to know what's going on, even if it makes us crazy.

I don't know how to stop the nonsense.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't realize blueberry breeding was a problem...

Ann said...

Unbelievable! I am speechless.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you 100% that no matter what's actually going on and how much it upsets us, we need to do. An informed citizenry can make a difference and ignorance means the potential for being manipulated.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning, everyone. According to my local newspaper this morning, this spending (budget) bill was pulled off the table last night and they'll go back to the drawing board. Gee, I can hardly wait to see what they do next.

Hart Johnson said...

It sure does seem like there needs to be a better system. I know SOME of these items create jobs, but the projects chosen are surely those that have the best lobbyists or, as you say, the senators who need a nudge, which is WAY not cool. I also grew up in Idaho and get that there are a lot of state level projects that the poluation in a given state can't fund (in Idaho's case, because there are too few people) or projects that actually have NATIONAL benefit, even though they are located in a state... BUT the way these favors are divyed is problematic. I'd rather see fund written in for each state to hold a grant process with some money or something to distribute those federal funds to be spent at a state level. It's OUTRAGEOUS that projects are used to buy votes.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hart, you are so right. As the pundits like to tell us, these earmarks are a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of the total budget. But the drops are not distributed fairly to all Americans, and the process stinks.

The Golden Eagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Golden Eagle said...


It is frustrating that some people in Washington won't do anything without earmarks.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

This has left me lost for words.


Lydia K said...

Wow, seeing them all laid out like this is really something!

Helen Ginger said...

Senators and Representatives put the earmarks in because they can then go back to their states and brag about the money they brought to the state and thus get re-elected next time around. And as they become more senior, they get on more important committees. As they become more important, they have more lobbyists seeking them out to further the cause of the people the lobbyists represent. And the more lobbyists a politician has after their vote, the more money they're given by those lobbyists. And the politicians become rich and they already receive a pension from the second they take office, as well as healthcare. Which explains why someone would do and say anything to get elected.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hmmm. Helen, that sounds like a powerful argument in favor of term limits.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Helen took the words out of my mouth.
What is especially sad is that it is so universal.

Jemi Fraser said...

Politics in any country can make your hair stand on end. It's a vicious little cycle at times!