Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The "you kids get off my lawn!" Party (Updated)

Things aren't pretty when your political party is driven by a bunch of nasty old white guys. That bold Maverick McCain is concerned about "earmarks" again. At his Twitter account, he's been typing up some of the earmarking dangers to the Republic that apparently he thinks we should be worried about:

He has a little flair for drama, I guess, because he's posting them in David Letterman Top Ten List form, one in each Twitter post. So far he has:

Wasteful spending continues in Washington...so I've decided to resume the Top 10 earmarks of the day, starting w/ the DHS Appropriations Bill

#10. $250,000 to retrofit a senior center in Brigham City, UT

#9. $800,000 for a portable battery recharging system in Tucson, AZ

#8. $300,000 to build a pier at the Coast Guard Academy in CT

#7. $900,000 for the City of Whitefish Emergency Operations Center in Whitefish, MT (Population: 6700)

#6. $3.6 million for Coast Guard Operations Systems Center in West Virginia

#5. $4 million for the Fort Madison Bridge in Fort Madison, WI

#4. $200,000 to retrofit a college radio station in Athens, OH

#3. $130,000 to relocate the residents of 130 homes in DeKalb, IL

#2. $125,000 to replace a generator in La Grange Park, IL

#1. $325,000 to study seismic activity in Memphis, TN
Now I assume that Maverick thinks it's self-evident why these are "wasteful spending" and why we should be automatically outraged about them. Since we spent $250K in, what, every second for our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, why is it bad to retrofit a senior center for that amount? Why shouldn't the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut have a new pier? Does the Maverick hate our brave men and women serving in the Coast Guard?

Conservatives love to list out oddball-sounding programs to illustrate how them thar bureaucrats in Washington is wastin' our precious tax money on silly stuff. But more often than not, you can't tell from a few-word description whether it's silly or substantial. That "portable battery recharging system" is a good example. Is that a portable system to charge batteries? Or a system to charge portable batteries? And what is it being used for?

And isn't Arizona, where that battery charger thingie is going, the state McCain represents? And aren't both Senators from there rightwing Republicans? Who got it put in the bill in the first place?

And we could ask similar question about the rest. Does Montana never have emergencies? And whacking the Coast Guard again? Don't we need the Coast Guard to protect our shores from Al Qa'ida nuclear submarines? And wasn't there a bridge in Minnesota that just fell down with cars on it a couple of years ago? Now bridges are bad too?

And why does some college need to retrofit a radio station? For that matter, why does a college need a radio station at all? Cain't they just listen to Rush Limbaugh like normal people? And let them people in Illinois find a new place to live on their own! And what do them folks in La Grange need with some generator anyhow? If the hospital power goes down, they can light up some candles. Gee...

But the kicker is #1, the seismic study for Memphis. The New Madrid earthquake fault is one of the most high-risk earthquake points in the United States. The last time it had a major shake was during Thomas Jefferson's James Madison's administration. It was considerably bigger than the 1908 1906 San Francisco quake. And Memphis is the big city most vulnerable to its effects. Unless Memphis has done major, major seismic upgrades already that I haven't heard about, the next big New Madrid quake is likely to flatten large parts of the city. All of downtown Memphis, Peabody Hotel and Beale Street and all, will collapse into pieces. (Update: this Web site for CERI Public Awareness mention quakes in the 6.0+ range on the Richter scale since 1811-12.)

Why does the Maverick want to see Memphis fall off into the Mississippi River?

Ridiculing a seismic study for Memphis is one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard of.

But that's our Maverick! And just think, he had a good chance to have been our President right now.

Paul Krugman has a couple of other examples involving Limbaugh and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

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