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08 Feb 2012 10:01


Politics: Must-read of the week: The Washington Post’s “Capital Assets” series

  • In case you haven’t seen this, the Post’s coverage of how members of Congress are directing spending to places where it benefits them personally is pretty impressive. Examples: Sen. Richard Shelby helped push more than $100 million in earmarks to help rebuild Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and much of that money went to nicen up an area directly around an office building he owns in the city, which has risen in property value as development has increased. (Watch the video; it syncs up with a map of Tuscaloosa.) He’s not alone. Congressmen around the country directly or indirectly benefited from millions in spending that, at the very least, might give them a nicer view around their property — or in other cases, benefited their family members. The Post did a lot of great work on this piece, and it shows. source

25 Jan 2011 22:00


Politics: Earmarks: Obama promises to veto all pork

  • NO Obama won’t sign any bills with earmarks in ’em source

16 Dec 2010 20:33


Politics: Harry Reid kills omnibus spending bill over earmarks non-issue

  • what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s killing the Senate’s huge, trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill, which would keep the government running through September, in favor of a smaller one.
  • why Complaints about $8.3 billion in earmarks – which we pointed out last night are not a big deal – may make it hard for the bill to pass. It needs to pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. source
  • » Our point still stands: The problem with the bill was not the earmarks. The problem was that it was a trillion dollars, but a few senators have made earmarks the issue, which sucks, because the earmarks are a tiny part of the plan and if they would’ve gone to some random bureaucracy had they not been earmarked for the states.

15 Dec 2010 21:43


Politics: Tom Coburn making big deal out of relatively small earmark issue

  • $2.2
    the amount Senator Tom Coburn – the guy who held up the food safety bill – says Senate leaders are putting aside in earmarks; Politico dug these numbers out of his database
  • $1.1 
    the size of the total omnibus spending bill the Democrats are trying to push through; just pointing out for comparison’s sake, because it’s good to note source
  • » OK, Tom, you’ve made your point: Democratic and Republican leaders alike in the Senate are taking a lot of federal money and giving it to the states. But you’re trying to deceive us. Here’s why; see, a trillion dollars is a thousand billion by our last count. And Tom, who’s anti-earmark, is pointing out how wrong it is for Senate leaders to throw roughly two-thousandths of the entire spending bill back to the states, $2.2 billion which would get spent by the federal government otherwise. (The total amount, $8.3 billion, is still absurdly tiny in comparison to the entire spending bill.) To put it another way, Tommy Boy’s trying to make hay out of an issue that’s actually needle-sized. You know what the real problem is? The hay. Not the needle. (And in case you’re wondering, these earmarks were made earlier this year, before the current anti-earmark vibe hit.)

16 Nov 2010 10:29


Politics: Mitch McConnell flip-flops on earmarks, making the GOP happy

  • Make no mistake, I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. … [but] unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell • Agreeing to support an anti-earmarks moratorium. This is a big deal because just a few days ago, he came out against it. His support shows that the GOP is willing to bend to Tea Party interests. Obama in particular supports McConnell’s decision. “I welcome Senator McConnell’s decision to join me and members of both parties who support cracking down on wasteful earmark spending, which we can’t afford during these tough economic times,” he said. In other news, Robert Byrd is rolling in his earmarked grave. source

10 Nov 2010 10:36


Politics: Republicans fight amongst themselves over killing earmarks

  • agree House Republican leaders want a moratorium on earmarks in the next Congressional cycle. Jim “started the recession” DeMint and other Senators also want them.
  • disagree Many Republicans, however, disagree, arguing that it wouldn’t actually save money. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of those guys. source

10 Aug 2010 21:34


U.S.: Alaskan legacy: Why Ted Stevens was the Robert Byrd of Alaska

  • From frozen tundra, we built airports, roads, ports, water and sewer systems, hospitals, clinics, communications networks, research labs and much, much more.
  • Former Sen. Ted Stevens • Speaking during his unsuccessful 2008 Senate campaign. Stevens, perhaps the most well-known politician in Alaska until Sarah Palin came along, was a tireless advocate for his state. While the many earmarks were controversial, it earned him some high marks amongst the people in his home state. He defended the earmarks in part because the state was relatively new, the government owned most of it, and there were numerous strategic reasons for modernizing Alaska. The state legislature responded by making him the “Alaskan of the Century” back in 2000. The scandals and flub-ups he faced late in his career (including the embarrassing “series of tubes” incident) put a negative mark on a popular politician, but ultimately, he was cleared of the ethics charges against him, leaving his reputation relatively in check. Still, a sad end for an iconic senator. source

11 Feb 2010 20:44


U.S.: The incredible shrinking jobs bill: $70 billion goes *poof*

  • $85
    cost of the jobs bill this morning, which had bipartisan support due to unrelated earmarks
  • $15
    cost of the jobs bill right now, after Harry Reid took a chainsaw to it and pissed off GOP members source

13 Dec 2009 21:45


U.S.: Republicans ticked about Dems’ spending bill; Dems pass it anyway

  • It is business as usual, spending money like a drunken sailor, and the bar is still open.
  • Sen. John McCain • On the latest spending bill passed tonight. The Senate pushed it through with little Republican support and lots of Republican whining. The $447 billion omnibus spending bill, with lots of Democratic earmarks, hits Obama’s desk next, but not without lots of political ammo for the GOP to bring into the 2010 election season. source