Tim Carney: How Stimulating

Wondering who is in line to get their hands on that $825 billion in Pelosi/Obama federal stimulus cash? Let our old friend and venerable investigative reporter Tim Carney take you on a short tour. Here are a couple highlights:

» $75 million for “smoking cessation”

Ironically, because state governments are dependent on tobacco sales for billions in annual revenue, if this federal program worked, it would further deplete state coffers.


» $250 million for hidden NASA earmarks

Senators have directed a quarter-billion to be concentrated on repairing “NASA facilities damaged by Hurricane Ike” and improving “NASA’s supercomputing capabilities.” The only NASA spot hit by Ike was in the home state of Republican appropriator Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas, and NASA supercomputing is based in the home state of Democratic appropriator Sen. Barbara Boxer, California.


» $87.5 million for polar icebreakers

Senate appropriators have recommended $87.5 million for the design of a new icebreaker or the renovation of an existing polar icebreaker, together with icebreaker repair.


RESTRICTIONS: No casinos, golf courses, zoos, aquariums or foreign steel. The House bill has only a few plenary prohibitions: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.” Also, all construction projects funded by the bill must use only American-made iron and steel.

Good work, Tim. Left unanswered, however, is the question of why the House is displaying such a naked hostility to our nation’s zoo animals. Surely if creatures as lowly as subprime mortgage securities dealers have been helped out by the taxpayers, our nation’s majestic population of naked mole rats deserves a few million to chew on.