Pet projects

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Congress has been working diligently to get us out of our economic mess by passing the president's proposed $410 billion omnibus spending bill. There's just one slight problem: 9,000 earmarks.

Wow! My God, 9,000 earmarks - Congress only has 1,070 ears.

That is a ton of earmarks, but at least they're going to worthy causes.

"Unfortunately for all of us humans out there, a good part of this money is going to animals and insects," Fox News reported.

What, animals with disposable income? It's going to be like the '80s all over again. We will never be able to stop them!

I remember back in 1984, when I first moved to New York, I was at The Palladium and I saw a coked-up blue jay making out with Bianca Jagger in the stairwell. He then flew off to break the sound barrier. That is a true story.

Let the parade of ridiculousness begin:

* $7.1 million for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtles

* $1.79 million for swine odor and manure management

* $254,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute

* $469,000 to control fruit flies in Hawaii

* $1.8 million for honey bees

* $1 million for Mormon crickets

OK, first of all - Mormon crickets? I believe they prefer to be called the Osmonds.

Actually the Mormon cricket is a fearsome agricultural pest, a plague of which wiped out the fledgling Mormon colony of Salt Lake City in 1848.

But the point is not whether the earmark is useful, or valid, or can protect our delicious food supply, because earmarks are bad says earmark fighter Lindsey Graham. "We do need earmark reform," Sen. Graham said. "I wish he would veto the bill and get back together to come up with an earmark reform process."

Graham is John McCain's anti-earmark wingman. They are like Goose and Maverick, Tango and Cash, or Cagney and Lacey. (I won't say who's who.)

Yet, Sen. McCain is giving his wingman a hard time on Twitter by putting at number six on his top-10 list of pork-barrel spending the $950,000 for a convention center in Myrtle Beach, in Graham's home state of South Carolina.

So, how does Graham feel about earmarks now?

"I voted to take all earmarks out, but I will come back in the new process and put that back in," said Graham. See, it's not pork when it's a project in your home state.

This bill is nothing but a porked-up pork chop of pig pork and bacon pork. Give it to me straight: How much of this bill do these earmarks take up?

Wait, we're talking about less than two percent? That's why they're against the bill? That's like walking out of 99-cent store because something costs $1.01.

Just to give you an idea of a two-percent figure the government is OK with: The FDA allows up to "two percent of insect filth in canned apricots."

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