Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Shame of Pork (As in Barrel)

Paul Campos, in the Rocky Mountain News this morning, provides a good read on the "business as usual" mentality of the U.S. Congress.

Paul provides, in part, that:

This is the story of two pieces of pork. The first is a sausage that Merlene Maten, a 73-year- old grandmother and church deaconess, is accused of stealing from a deli in a New Orleans suburb the day after Katrina struck.

The second piece of pork is in the process of being looted from the U.S. treasury. It's a $231 million slice of taxpayer money, which is going to be used to build Ketchikan, Alaska's infamous Bridge to Nowhere - a structure that will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, and several hundred times less busy.

Ketchikan is a small town (pop. 8,000), with a tiny airport that handles seven commercial flights per day. The airport is on an island that's now reached by a seven-minute ferry ride. Ketchikan is also in the district of U.S. Rep. Don Young, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, which this summer spit out a $285 billion highway bill, packed with more than 6,000 "earmarked projects," some of which are just as outrageous as building a $300 million suspension bridge that will be used by a couple of hundred people daily (if users of the bridge were charged fees that covered its cost, they would have to pay more than $100 per trip. The ferry ride costs $6).

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