Wall Street Journal:
A case in point is the HHS-Education spending bill, which so far contains 1,867 earmarks at a cost of just under $500 million. Members tell us the bill has caused a mini-rebellion because two of the three largest earmarkers are Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who walks away with $7.9 million worth of goodies, and David Obey, the ranking Democrat on Appropriations who receives $6.8 million for his Wisconsin district. This is the same Ms. Pelosi who earlier this session pledged to give up her pork to help balance the budget.
The House GOP leadership finally seems to comprehend the stakes in this pre-election budget fight. Majority Leader John Boehner calls the anti-earmarking bill “must-pass legislation,” and has agreed to separate it from a bottled-up lobbying-reform bill. All that can block this from passing now are the spend-happy Republicans on Appropriations. If they succeed, they will have inflicted a far greater wound on their majority than the Democrats ever could.
I’ve not heard back from Tammy Baldwin regarding her views on earmarks [see "Spreading the Love"].
Robert Reich says earmarks must go:
The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has ballooned to the point there are over 60 of them for every single member of Congress. And they spent $2.4 billion last year. What do you think the lobbyists bought with that money?
A lot of it’s called “earmarks” — special spending that’s stuck into pieces of legislation to benefit particular constituents, like that Alaskan bridge to nowhere in last year’s highway bill, and the special casino licenses that got lobbyist Jack Abramoff into trouble.
Ten years ago there were about 3,000 earmarks. Last year there were over 14,000, costing taxpayers over $47 billion according to the Congressional Research Service.
Last January, after the Jack Abramoff scandal had spread to staffers of former House Whip Tom DeLay and Ohio Republican Bob Ney, and after FBI agents found an unexplained $90,000 cash in the freezer of Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson, and after former California Republican Duke Cunningham pleaded guilty to bribery — after all that — it seemed like the House was so embarrassed it would clean itself up. At least that’s what Speaker Dennis Hastert promised.
Kevin Marks raises some great issues in his review of Apple’s iTV announcement:
Reading Paul Boutin’s coverage of Apple’s video announcements today, There are several questions that come to mind (and I know Jobs prefers not to answer questions).
In other words, will it play HD content made by independents cleanly, or will it require broadcast flag handshakes?
I don’t know where to start. This primary today is the third election that I have worked as an election judge. The last two elections were in 2004, and I was in a small precinct in Timonium, MD. This time, I was in my home precinct about 1/2 a mile from my house. We had 12 machines, over 1,000 voters and 16 judges. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and was at the precinct before 6:00. It is now 10:18 pm, and I just got home a few minutes ago. As I have made it my custom, I sat down right away to write about my experience while everything was still fresh. In anticipation of this, I took some careful notes throughout the day.
The biggest change over the 2004 election was the introduction of electronic poll books that we used to check in voters. I was introduced to these in election judge training a few weeks ago. These are basically little touchscreen computers that are connected to an Ethernet hub. They each contain a full database of the registered voters in the county, and information about whether or not each voter has already voted, in addition to all of the voter registration information. The system is designed so that the machines constantly sync with each other so that if a voter signs in on one of them and then goes to another one, that voter will already be flagged as having voted. That was the theory anyway. These poll books turned out to be a disaster, but more on that later.
Madison could use more poll workers. Contact the City Clerk for more information.
I listen to 91.7 (www.wsum.org streaming online) periodically, including yesterday – catching a pleasant Massive Attack piece.. Their musical depth and breadth continues to impress – in what is largely a sea of sameness, playing the Police and others over and over and over.