Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Wastebook’ highlights lows of Congress

james column sig

By
From page A10 | December 22, 2013 | 4 Comments

We’re just a few days away from Christmas and it seems everyone is in the spirit of giving. That’s usually a good thing, but when it’s Congress giving money away at taxpayer expense, that’s not necessarily what I deem the holiday spirit.

This past week, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, released his annual report, called “Wastebook,” which highlights some of the most egregious examples of government waste during the current 113th Congress. The report made its way onto the Internet and onto the pages of The Fiscal Times, an online publication that looks at business, politics and the economy.

Coburn identified nearly $30 billion in government waste, a third of what sequester cuts cost the American taxpayer when essential programs and military spending were slashed this past summer. These wasteful programs were left untouched while things like Head Start, valuable research programs and food assistance programs affecting 47 million Americans were hit hard, according to the Fiscal Times report.

Here are some samples of Coburn’s findings:

  • Yale University received a grant of $400,000 to study the oddity of the duck penis. I’m sure the Robertson family of A&E’s popular Duck Dynasty cable television show would have given a similar report for nothing.
  • A group of indie rock executives were handed $200,000 to travel the world to “discover” new music.
  • Some very wealthy people were recipients of $500 million awarded by the Department of Agriculture so people could buy homes in rural areas. Among those receiving money were more than 100 well-heeled individuals and families who received loan guarantees to buy beach property in Hawaii. The government protected banks in case these property owners defaulted on the loans. According the Times’ report, nearly $500 million was paid by the government in lost claims last year alone.
  • The Army failed in an attempt to build a monster-sized blimp after a three-year, $300 million project. The blimp was supposed to handle continuous surveillance over Afghanistan, but cost overruns and mistakes eventually scuttled the program.
  • Even though NASA has no manned-spaceflight program currently in place, it spent $360,000 so that 20 people could lie around for 70 days while scientists studied how these “simulated” astronauts’ bodies would change in space flight. This all went on without interruption during the sequester.
  • Here’s a whopper. Because NASA’s space program has pretty much been leveled, it is now looking for intelligent life on Earth. It chose to study the inner workings of Congress. The cost: $3 million. Isn’t that an oxymoron – intelligent life in Congress?
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities received $914,000 to help fund The Popular Romance Project, which aims to explore the “fascinating, often contradictory origins of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and Internet fan fiction.” This project includes a documentary on super heroes, promotion of a Green Ninja character to teach children about climate change and a video game with a zombie theme.

There are others, like $321 million on duplicate IT systems for Homeland Security, $500 million to spruce up a one-block area of a Kansas town, Rossville, population 1,150 people, and $4 million in refund money for a botched print job on new $100 bills.

One of the most disturbing outlays of cash was the $65 million the government spent on promoting tourism in the New York and New Jersey areas after Hurricane Sandy devastated the area. Instead of getting more money to those hammered by the storm, media outlets and ad agencies pocketed millions of dollars with the hope people would still make trips to the coastal communities, to see the devastation, I guess.

I read somewhere recently that Congress has its lowest approval rating of all time and is looked upon less favorably than root canals, cockroaches and commuter traffic.

With such a dismal record by this Congress that Coburn exposes in his annual report, it is no wonder. I suggest each lawmaker receive a lump of coal in his or her stocking this Christmas. And maybe a one-way ticket home at election time.

Bill James is a former editor and publisher of the Daily Republic, now living in Meridian, Idaho, a suburb of Boise.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PatriotDecember 22, 2013 - 5:48 am

    Waste? I believe it is criminal and the folks that brought this forward and the ones that voted on it should be prosecuted. Ducks penis? We have morons in all levels of government. Special interest groups wine and dine them and get big bucks. (Our tax dollars) as we head to 20 trillion in debt. Vote all out in 2014 and 2016.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Taxed Enough AlreadyDecember 22, 2013 - 6:32 am

    But, but.....Jack Batson and his fellow Tax and Spenders want to tax us more and more so we can spend more and more on this kind of waste. Unless and until government spending is under control, one should fight back on any proposals to increase taxes. We are Taxed Enough Already!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalDecember 22, 2013 - 8:31 am

    Yep. It's a spending problem not a revenue problem.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill JamesDecember 22, 2013 - 7:42 am

    My bad. The amount awarded Rossville, the small Kansas town, was $500,000 -- a half million. Still, a considerable amount of money that should have come from local funds, not people as far away as Maine or Hawaii.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 12 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7