Let Them Eat Pork


Last night the Senate passed a 1,000+ page spending package that lays to rest any worries that Washington will stop meeting the people's most important needs in these tough fiscal times.

USA Today gives some examples.

Among the items in the Senate's measure is the grant to North Dakota State University's Advanced Traffic Analysis Center. It was added by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. Despite what some might think, Dorgan spokesman Barry Piatt says, Fargo (pop. 90,600) has "horrendous traffic problems." Bismarck (pop. 55,500) and Grand Forks (pop. 49,300) have "significant" traffic jams, too, Piatt says. [Price tag: $1 million]…

Among the most expensive local projects in the bill is $15 million for a pumping system to drain water from cotton cropland in the Mississippi Delta. The money is a down payment on the Yazoo Pumps Project, which eventually will cost $181 million. Environmentalists say the Army Corps of Engineers project will destroy 200,000 acres of valuable wetlands in order to grow more cotton, a federally subsidized crop whose prices already are falling because of overproduction.

Backers of the project, including Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., say it is needed to alleviate flooding in a large area where water accumulates when a levee system is sealed off during times of high water on the Mississippi River.

And 2002's Porker of the Year hasn't lost his touch. Today's New York Times reports:

Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, successfully inserted a measure providing more than $150,000 for the office of Senate president pro tem emeritus, a ceremonial job he now holds. Senate Republicans pushed Mr. Byrd, an elder statesman of the Senate, out of his elegant suite on the first floor of the Capitol, but have agreed to build him a new office.