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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boucher's 2010 Earmarks

I thought, since Congressman Rick Boucher no longer posts his appropriation earmarks to his website - as he's required by Congress to do - I'd publish them for all to see for him.

Here are they are.* 

You decide how valuable the expenditures are.  It's your money he's spending:

COST DESCRIPTION APPROPRIATION HOUSE SENATE
$485,000.00 Sustainable Engineered Materials from Renewable Sources (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants) AG Boucher   Warner; Webb  
$868,000.00 Biodesign and Processing Research Center (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants) AG Boucher   Warner; Webb  
$400,000.00 Inland Marine Aquaculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants) AG Boucher   Warner; Webb  
$250,000.00 Blacksburg Police Department, Blacksburg, New River Valley Emergency System (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology) COM Boucher    
$265,000.00 Lee County, Jonesville, Law Enforcement Technology Grant for Lee County (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology) COM Boucher    
$235,000.00 Smyth County, Marion, Local Law Enforcement Technology for Smyth County (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology) COM Boucher    
$4,000,000.00 Center for Injury Biomechanics (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation - Army) DEF Boucher     Warner; Webb    
$500,000.00 Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (Department of Energy: Fossil Energy R&D) ENERGY Boucher; Moran (VA)   Warner; Webb  
$4,000,000.00 Levisa and Tug Forks and Upper Cumberland River, WV, VA & KY (Corps of Engineers: Construction) ENERGY Boucher   Webb; Warner  
$81,000.00 New River, Claytor Lake (Corps of Engineers: General Investigation) ENERGY Boucher   Webb  
$90,000.00 Clinch River watershed (Corps of Engineers: General Investigation) ENERGY Boucher   Webb; Warner  
$150,000.00 University of Virginia, Wise, VA for installation of a Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone system and demonstration activities through its Emerging Technologies Learning Center (Education: Higher Education) LABHHS Boucher    
$150,000.00 Jacksonville Center for the Arts, Floyd, VA for workforce training (Labor - Employment and Training Administration) LABHHS Boucher    
$400,000.00 Southwest Virginia Community College, Richlands, VA for green jobs training in rural communities (Labor - Employment and Training Administration) LABHHS Boucher    
$500,000.00 Twin County Airport obstruction removal and runway safety improvement (Airport Improvement Program) TRANS Boucher    
$500,000.00 Virginia Tech Airport runway rehabilitation (Airport Improvement Program) TRANS Boucher  

A couple of thoughts to consider:

1) Boucher, when asked about his penchant for producing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of earmarks, said rather famously:

"I frankly think the members of Congress are far better situated to understand the priorities of their districts."

A good line.  But is he right or wrong?  Is Boucher - a lawyer by trade - best suited (or "better situated") to decide whether the four million bucks (this year alone) he's dished out to the Center for Injury Biomechanics at Virginia Tech, for example, is worth the expenditure?  Or is an expert in the field of biomechanics in the Army's Development and Engineering Command at the Defense Department more capable of making such a determination?  It is, in the America outside of the Democratically-controlled Congress, appropriate for those who will be utilizing the expenditure to determine the need, and the effectiveness of the outlay, rather than some small-town lawyer who thinks he knows best.

But Boucher thinks otherwise.  Or at least that's what he says.

2) If Boucher is responsible for the disbursal of funds through his earmark process, what oversight does he apply to the expenditures?  Does he receive regular updates on the achievements - breakthroughs - that organizations like the Center for Injury Biomechanics bring to the marketplace?  Or does he write a check and move on to his reelection campaign, with no afterthought given to where that $4,000,000 of your money went?  And - see above - would he know a breakthrough if it hit him upside the head?

I don't know about you but I see this as having the potential for widespread abuse.  Is the Center for Injury Biomechanics nothing more than another "bridge to nowhere"?  Probably not.  But next time you write a check for $4,000,000 and the recipient tells you it's probably going to be money well spent, I'd hope you'd pause and consider the response.

3) Who can argue with Boucher writing a check to Lee County law enforcement in the amount of $265,000?  After all, it's law enforcement.  Well, I can.  If Lee County needed the money maybe Lee County should have secured the necessary tax revenue to fund Lee County priorities, including its law enforcement obligations.  Here you have a situation where tax revenue is drawn from the people, including those in Lee County, sent off to Washington where a portion is siphoned off to pay for the (very expensive) overhead there as well as for the handling of the revenue and the expenditure, and what's left is sent back down to Lee County.  Maybe it should have stayed in Lee County in the first place.

Lee Countians can't afford it, you say?  Impoverished Lee County?  Well, who can?  Rich Californians?  With their $20 billion deficit?  Wealthy New York with its looming $12 billion imbalance?  We've robbed from Peter to pay Paul so much that now both Peter and Paul are dirt poor.  Where's the money to come from?  The Chinese?  For how long?

Anyway, now that I'm completely depressed, there are Boucher's latest earmarks.  Enjoy.

Until he's driven from office expect more of the same next year.  And the year after.  And ...

Until there is no more money.

* Source: Citizens Against Government Waste.

If You Think That's Bad ...

Congressman Rick Boucher, according to the Citizens Against Government Waste, earmarked a total of $12,874,000 for projects he alone deemed worthy.

But Tom Perriello, Democrat, District 5, Southside Virginia, to show that rookies can hang with the big dogs, allocated an even greater $15,672,000.  Included are expenditures for museums, hiking trails, "environmental education," internet service for fabulously wealthy Liberty University, the obligatory Democrat "youth program," and on and on and on.

 Santa Claus.  We should call him Santa Claus.  Because that's what he thinks of himself.

And people wonder why the Tea Party movement is sweeping the land.

And With Their Earmarks In Mind ...

See Rick Boucher's here and Tom Perriello's here ...

... is it a shock to read this?
Pew poll: Rage against government
By Tim Alberta, Politico

Three out of four Americans are either “frustrated” or “angry” with the federal government – and nearly a third of the public views government as a “threat to their personal freedom,” according to a new survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

The survey shows an increasing number of Americans are distrustful both of Washington and the elected officials who populate it. Only 22 percent of those polled said they can trust the federal government “almost always” or “most of the time,” which Pew says is “among the lowest measures in more than half a century.” Moreover, 65 percent hold an unfavorable view of Congress – the worst congressional approval rating Pew has seen in a quarter-century. The last year has seen public approval of Congress plummet from 50 percent in April 2009 to 26 percent this month.

While the public’s view of the GOP has been fairly steady since President Obama’s inauguration, Democrats have seen a startling drop in the party’s favorability ratings: 62 percent of Americans held a favorable view of the Democratic Party in January 2009, but that number has crashed to 38 percent, “the lowest in nearly two decades of Pew Research Center polling.” When asked if they would like to see most representatives get another term, 45 percent of Democrats answered yes – dwarfing the 18 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of independents who answered that way. [link] [emphasis mine]
We need for some expert to explain that last stat.  When have you ever seen a poll that shows independents to be more disgusted with the way things are than either Democrats or Republicans?  This, it seems to me, is both startling and unprecedented.

But it is a fact in this the year of our Lord, 2010.

I guess we can thank Obama and his ilk for that.

The ilk including both Perriello and Boucher of course.

Gambling Is Good ...

... when it benefits the state.

Gambling is bad ...

... when the state gets no piece of the action.

I'll bet there's a moral to this story.

Bill Clinton Goes After Waco Perpetrators

Oh.  Wait.  Bill Clinton and his doofus-of-an-attorney general were responsible for the slaughter of 49 women and children at the Koresh compound in 1993.

So ...

Bill Clinton goes after the Tea Party movement for being responsible for the blowing up - some day - of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

Lest we forget, the liberals in this country love the man for all the great things he did.

We're In The Best Of Hands

I sleep really well when I read things like this:


Not imprisoned?

Shucks.

It Depends On Your Perspective

Is this a good thing?

Or a bad thing?


Hmm.

I wonder if they consider the biggest toilet in the country to be one toilet or one million toilets.

In any case ...

...yuck.

Maybe This Will Get Mr. Wonderful's Attention

Barack Obama doesn't seem to care that Iran is fast gaining access to a nuclear weapon and will, if not stopped, likely use it on Israel.

That's only Israel, after all, and, as Reverend Jeremiah Wright might say, there are too many Jews in the world anyway.  Right, Barack?

But does this change anything?

Iranian missile may be able to hit U.S. by 2015

Probably not.

As Reverend Jeremiah Wright might say, the U.S. of K.K.K. deserves it.

Right, Barack?