If Conservatives Cannot Define Pork How Can They Be Against Pork

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Arizona Antique Landscape wallpaper. The photo is only a few years old, it is the processing that adds the antique look.

Hopeful Blue Skies wallpaper

The Modesto Bee had a story up on a omnibus spending bill pending in Congress, but the link has gone down.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

“We need earmark reform,” Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. “And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

President Barack Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot this week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that’s riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The link to the pdf of the 345 page bill. Michele Malkin and the tea party set are outraged citing some examples – with no explanation as to why we should be outraged: 9,000 earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill: Gang tattoo removal, Maine lobster, La Raza & more

* $200,000 for “Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program,” pg. 283;

*Maine lobster earmark in the omnibus, pg. 173;

*$5.8 million earmark for the “Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate…for the planning and design of a building & an endowment,” pg. 232;

I have day dreams about Americans actually downloading pdfs of spending bills, doing a little research and forming an opinion on the pros and cons of each spending item. It will probably never be more then the number of people that watch C-Span. Back four years ago, a Republican Congress with Blue Dog Democrats plus an MBA president named George passed 2,208 earmarks into law an increase over 2002 earmarks of 56%. Not all earmarks are automatically pork – aid to Israel is done through earmarks. Now what I just wrote has little chance of penetrating the ring of hardened kool-aid that encases the average Conservatives brain. Malkin can’t post subtleties like that because it distracts from the kind of misleading sound-bite quasi-journalism she practices. Subsidizing lobster fishermen may seem like pork to a school principle in New Mexico that needs more desks, but considering the dreadful state of the lobster fishery, residents in Maine might have a legitimate disagreement. National Journal took an in depth look at earmarks from 2004. The list included,

Alaska InvestNet/Technology Venture Center and Tech Ranch in Montana     $1,590,000
Bioinformatics Institute for Model Plant Species for agriculture genome bioinformatics     540,000
Business incubator at Western Kentucky University     100,000
Center for crop-based health genomics (NY)     3,870,000
Center for Women and Enterprise for infrastructure development (RI)     1,000,000
Computer networking capabilities (MD)     225,000
Cooperative agreement with the University of Wisconsin for conservation tech transfer     300,000
Database of North Carolina’s agricultural industry for rapid response to terrorism     300,000

Economic Growth Connection for a paperless procurement program (PA) 200,000

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to archive aviation materials (AZ)     1,000,000

Mildly interesting that one earmark is from the home state of the presidential candidate that Malkin supported and another is for the state of the VP candidate that Malkin supported. Earmarks certainly, but whether they were pork then or now is debatable. I could have pulled a Malkin and just noted that McCain and Palin’s states received earmarks – yelled hypocrisy and left it at that. Earmarks are a questionable practice – they have some value in moving things forward in a Congress that would otherwise be bogged down in debate about every dollar spent. On the other hand maybe we have needed more careful deliberation for years. On page 3 of the current spending bill which so rankles the Right,

The bill includes $83,676,000 for the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), ‘which is $500,000 above the budget request. Ofthe amount provided, $14,767,000 is for inspections and other activities related to national security, and $2,385,000 is for program enhanc~ments and new initiatives that will advance BIS’ export control and enforcement activities.

Three months ago it would been a safe bet that any Democrat opposed to such national security spending would have been labeled an anti-American terrorist sympathizer. Now that the tables have turned can we start questioning the Right’s patriotism when Democrats try to keep America safe.

Remember the media is librul – CBS News Pick Claimed Democrats are Bad People

Palin: Media sought to seek, destroy

“Obviously something big took place in the media,” she added. It is “very frightening, I think, what the media was able to get away with, this go around.”

Palin suggested that unbalanced media coverage posed a threat to democracy.

There was battle of ideas and yes, images. Palin and McCin lost both battles. They had no ideas and their own behavior lost them the image battle, Palin: Obama “palling around with terrorists”

“Our opponent … is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” she said,

She tried to win an election for a post for which she was clearly unqualified by destroying the reputation of Barack Obama. To date Palin has not produced one verifiable example in which the “media” “attacked” her and she is on record attacking a decent man and his family with the lowest of smears. When the going gets tough you can always count on Cons to play the poor beleaguered victim.


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