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OUTRAGED OWL  #2

UPDATE MAY 10, 2005

RATED: This is a long time coming, long time building, long time festering heavy duty outrage that began with me, somewhere back in the late 1960’s when I first read about a $120,000 Government Grant for the study of the sex habits of the Aardvark!


PICTURE PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL SWINE REGISTRY
Political Pig Feeding at the Nay Voter Trough.
http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/


     You see, people, these money allocations do not just appear under a pillow like some Tooth Fairy reward.  Now…everyone knows it is highly against the law to “buy votes” in elections and such.  So, handing some Representative or Senator some cash for his vote on a particular issue in a certain way is out, right? No! Wrong!

     Now it might be disguised as a mild mannered lobbyist or whatever, but various laws, bills and actions are passed not necessarily by their merit but by awarding certain voter participants a tacked on addendum to the primary “bill”.  This is to say for instance, a bill to Cut Taxes is being fought over.  It is quite “legal” regardless of how unethical it may appear or be, to gain a vote for the passage by allowing a certain voter to “add his/her” own little area monetary award to placate certain entities of their state who backed the politician’s election.

     So, you see, a lot of the earnest faces you see on TV being put forth by various politicos speaking how they are fighting for the American Taxpayer cause this or that is good or bad – simply ain’t so: they are fighting for it because they have their own stake involved; or they are fighting against because they don’t.

     Now, are these things out and out “payoffs or bribes”?  Well, I am not going to stick my feathered butt that far out on the limb – however, common sense ought to provide you the answer.  And if it doesn’t, then you look at some of the “grants” given below and you make up your own mind, if the monies actually went to where they were predicated to go.

    Its no wonder a Nation such as ours can go from a 2 Trillion surplus to a near 3 Trillion deficit in a blink of an eye.   And remember, the next time that you hear these arguments about for or against a Tax Cut for the American Taxpayer, figure out who is getting their piece of the pie and who is not.  And when you hear some politico bitching about the cost of an American President doing a great thing for The People and the most honorable service men and women by landing on an aircraft carrier: which nearly the entire nation applauded; yet you hear certain cranky old voices feebly raised in mock moral outrage then know, they are simply ticked off that they did not think of it first!

     Listed below are but a few of the politicians private agendas in various states, with probably hardly any of the state’s citizens in question knowing a thing about it and certainly not the average American citizen until at least the fact is over and done with.

     The facts and figures come from the National Heritage Foundation – the comments in parenthesis behind them come from me, and are free of charge! – Snow Owl

$44,239,000 – Tom Harkin (D) Iowa and Tom Latham (R) Iowa : this includes $33,000,000 for National Animal Disease Center ; $700,000 for Midwest Poultry Consortium; $280,000 for Iowa Vitality Center ; $235,000 for Dairy Education.

$29,904,000 – Thad Cochran (R) Mississippi : this includes $9,200,000 for Southern Horticulture Laboratory; $2,000,000 for plant propagation facility; $750,000 for ornamental crops research; $500,000 for catfish health in Stoneville; $350,000 for sweet potato research

$200,000 for a bilingual audio tour of the Fort Worth Cowgirl Museum in Rep. Kay Granger's (R-Texas) district, (Good, now they can be inane in two languages!

$250,000 for wine research at the University of California, Davis (The industry has no Research and Development cash?) 

$50,000 to study shiitake mushrooms in Booneville, Ark. (Ditto?) 

$750,000 for the Baseball Hall of Fame (Excuse me, but with the minimum ballplayer’s salary at the Pro Level being what it is, I shouldn’t think it would be much of a hardship for them to support an institution to put their gold-platted butts in after retiring with their mega-millions for playing a “game”.)

$180,000 for renovations to the Mercado Shopping Center in Guadalupe, Ariz.

$631,000 for research into alternative salmon projects, Alaska (C'mon, Senator Stevens (R-Alaska!) What in the world is an “alternative salmon project”?

$280,000 for asparagus technology and production in Washington. (Excuse me? How technological can an asparagus get?)

$202,500 for the National Cherry Festival in Michigan (Can't the cherry industry handle this?) 

$1 million for the automated nursery project in Mississippi 

$270,000 for the Garth Fagan Dance Studio in Rochester, N.Y., for construction of a new theater 

$7 million for exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners (Huh?)

$210,000 for hoop barns in Iowa (Is this how Larry Bird got his start?)

$200,000 for the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Alabama (Carter must have laughed his fanny off!)

$250,000 for the Vermont World Trade Center (Yeah, right…..)

$250,000 for the National Preschool Anger Management Project (Excuse me? How about a cheap tree switch like my mom taught me with?)

$500,000 for catfish health in Mississippi (Have you ever seen some of the water these fish THRIVE in? And someone is worried about their health?)

$600,000 for an oral history of the Nevada Test Site (Talk about a useless project – wonder where this money really ended up?)

$1 million for the Alaska Native Justice Center (I imagine the Natives wonder about this too!)

$300,000 to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections to purchase digital radios (This had better be for communication type radios!)

$400,000 for the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (Someone must be off their “trolley”.)

$800,000 for the Davenport (Iowa) Music History Museum 

$900,000 for the Denver Art Museum 

$1.8 million to renovate a library at Potomac State College (What? No alumnis?)

$1.8 million for the National Technology Transfer Center at Wheeling Jesuit University (Guess the Roman Catholic Church is broke, eh? And if it isn’t, now we know why!)

$2 million for a science hall at West Virginia Wesleyan College (Isn’t there something about separation between church and state?)

$50,000 A tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Come on! Check out the prices for this process – you are not gonna get a whole lot done for 50 grand). 

$500,000 The Fort Union Trading Post Bike Trail in North Dakota (Now here’s a worthy cause for taxpayer money!) 

$1.5 million Statue of the Roman god Vulcan in Birmingham, Ala. (So much for the heart of the so-called Christian Bible belt, eh?) 

$1 million Intelligent Transportation grant for Moscow, Idaho--population 22,000 (Pardon me, I am still trying to figure this one out!) 

$4,600 Post-Sept. 11, 2001, airline aid to Las Vegas Helicopters, which perform airborne weddings officiated by Elvis Presley impersonators (Label it with 9/11 and you can get something for anything, it would seem.)

$270,000 An effort to combat "goth culture" in Blue Springs, Mo. (You figure this one out, while I sit here and shake my head for a while.)

$350,000 The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Basically, the same applies here as to the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

$90,000 The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame (I’m sure Dale Evans loved this.) 

$500,000 for the First Tee Program, whose goal is to "impact the lives of young people around the world by creating affordable and accessible golf facilities to primarily serve those who have not previously had exposure to the game and its positive values." (I sit here muttering, positive values – positive values, oh yeah, like how the “men” stood behind the recent Annika Sorenson venture, with such Positive Valued Support!)

"One can only begin to imagine," says Heritage, "what possessed a majority in Congress to believe that spending more than a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars to help a prosperous Kansas City suburb confront an infestation of alienated teenagers dressed in black and posing as spawns of Nosferatu is an essential responsibility of the national government." From National Heritage Foundation.

Pork Report: From IBM To Rock 'N' Roll
Ira Carnahan, 04.23.03, 10:30 AM ET
PLEASE NOTE–the emphasizing with red of certain passages is my doing–Snow Owl

WASHINGTON , D.C. - Feeling a little poor after paying your 2002 income taxes? You also may begin feeling a little angry when you hear where some of your tax dollars are going. Just out with an update is Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C.-based group that publishes an annual report known as the Congressional Pig Book.

Pork-barrel spending for fiscal 2003 reached a record $22.5 billion, according to CAGW, a 12% increase over last year. While just what counts as "pork" is of course open to debate--one man's pork being another's crucial government service--CAGW requires that pork meet at least one of seven criteria (it's not competitively awarded, not subject to congressional hearings, serves only a local or special interest, etc.). Much of the spending cited by the group is dubious indeed and takes place in the districts or states of powerful members of congressional appropriations committees. A few examples:

Overlapping such classic pork is the broader category of corporate welfare, which the Heritage Foundation estimates costs taxpayers more than $90 billion per year. A prime example: the Advanced Technology Program, which is supposed to help companies fund research and bring it to market.

Citizens Against Government Waste named Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) as its April 2003 Porker of the Month for
strapping on the feedbag and earmarking emergency wartime funds to pay for an agricultural facility in his home state.

The stated purpose of President Bush's request for supplemental war funding was to support the Department of Defense operations in Iraq and the Department of Homeland Security.  More specifically, "to provide our troops with the resources necessary to fight and win the war in Iraq, to respond to increased homeland security needs, and to strengthen the capabilities of our allies."

So how is it that the Ames , Iowa agricultural research station received a $98 million earmark in the supplemental war budget?  According to Senator Harkin, these funds are crucial in order to combat bioterrorism in the form of animal diseases.  He further went on to claim that the lab in Ames will be "one of the key elements in our national effort in the war on bioterrorism."

That's a bit of a stretch, Senator, and a disgrace as well.  At a time of war, the nation looks to elected officials to set an example of leadership and an unwavering commitment to our men and women risking their lives overseas.  Every dollar spent on pork barrel projects is a dollar that does not go to protect the nation and support our troops.

Now is not the time to squander precious resources on pork projects, particularly when the Ames facility received a $33 million earmark less than eight weeks ago in the fiscal 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Act.  Senator Harkin also secured a $50 million earmark for this project in last year's supplemental appropriations bill, which was also intended to help fight the war on terrorism.  Demonstrating the lack of need for more money, there was no request for any funds for this facility in the President's fiscal 2004 budget.

Enough is enough.  The wartime supplemental should not be loaded up with unrelated funding and extraneous items.  It should only fund those needs directly arising from the Iraqi conflict and the global war against terror.  Since September 11, the Congress's profligate spending habits have been more shameful than ever.  Now, it's time to support the troops and give the American taxpayer a break.

For placing parochial pork-barrel projects above the protection of the nation, Sen. Tom Harkin is April's Porker of the Month.

END OF PORK REPORT 

     And here are a couple more gems gathered from the National Heritage Foundation and CAGW:

$25,000,000:added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) in support of the Anglo-Irish Accord. This U.S. contribution to the fund is to be spent on “those projects that hold the greatest potential for job creation and equal opportunity for the Irish people.” Such projects have included building a replica of the Jeanie Johnson (a Canadian ship that once ferried famine victims across the Atlantic), a national water sports center used for coaching top-level athletes, golf videos, and exporting sweaters. Through war and peace, rain and shine, surplus and deficits, IFI receives funding, accumulating $421 million since 1986. (Job creation and equal opportunity?)

$4,000,000: for the International Fertilizer Development Center in the state of Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and the district of House appropriator Robert “Bud” Cramer (R-Ala.). (Something smells here alright and it ain’t the Fertilizer Plant!)

$500,000:added in conference for the International Coffee Organization (ICO). ICO is an intergovernmental body composed of countries that import and export coffee, and ICO “is committed to improving conditions in the world coffee economy.” (What…does…this…mean? Huh? Huh?)

HEYA!

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