A Bus Stop with Bells and Whistles

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Senator Theodore "Uncle Ted" Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has managed to appropriate $1.5 million for a bus stop in Anchorage. While the senator claims "it is supposed to be a lot more than a bus stop," it does not feed children or heal the sick; it is merely a place for buses to stop.

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  1. He is like the worst porker ever. Plus he gets a lot of federal money for his state.

  2. drawing not only more tourists to the museum

    Hell, if they’re spending that much of my money , I’d be inclined to visit solely to see the Taj Mahal of bus stops.

    That big ball of twine pales in comparison as a tourist attraction.

  3. Oooooooh! Bells and Whistles. Does it have those fancy Christmas lights that look like they’re moving in a circle on it, too? Mmmm….shiny.

  4. I thought the red states were bastions of self-reliance that eschewed federal welfare. Has my whole world just been turned upside down?

  5. At least the director of transportation is showing some consideration. I love the following passage :

    “We have a senator that gave us that money and I certainly won’t want to appear ungrateful,” he [Wilson] said. At the same time, he does not want the public to think the city is wasting the money. So “if it only takes us $500,000 to do it, that’s what we will spend.”

    No word on what happens to the extra $1M though if it does indeed cost only half a mil to get a bus stop and maybe some heated sidewalks for friggin Alaska

  6. I bet there will be enough money to fix the SS gap when Stevens retires. No one will be able to squeeze as much money from the feds as he has.

  7. “He is like the worst porker ever.”

    I’d like to see a study on that. I’d like to see a list of the top ten congressional porkers ever. I’d also like to see a list of the top ten Presidents in terms of pork.

    …and I’d like to see a list of the top porkers currently in congress.

    P.S. I know, I know–one man’s pork can be another man’s imperative defense outlay, and we could argue all day about whether Star Wars was pork, etc. So eliminate defense spending, social security and medicare outlays, and show me the piggy pork pork list.

  8. Thoreau,

    The right now subscribes to the “everyone’s doing it” argument.

    Because they can’t resist the argument themselves, they think they need to control “bad” things that everyone is doing, like having sex and watching TV. But “good” things, like the pork that helps their re-election so they can get power to control the “bad” things, are OK.

    They used to subscribe to the “if everyone jumped off a bridge” argument but I guess that wasn’t working for them. It required too much self-control and rock-ribbedness, the kind of thing that would allow them to resist the “everyone’s doing it” argument. Also, that argument certainly wouldn’t have gotten them a shiny, new, million-dollar bus station.

    QFMC cos. V

  9. Can’t we just cut our losses with that money pit of a state? Just give the whole damn thing back to Russia and be done with it already. Let Putin build them a bus stop.

  10. show me the piggy pork pork list

    Ken,

    That was the cutest thing you’ve ever said. I forsee that replacing the tired phrase, “Show me the money” in common parlance.

  11. I thought the “heated sidewalks” comment was a joke until I read the article. Christ. Why don’t they just enclose the whole damned thing in a crystal dome and have a rain forest in there stocked with endangered species?

  12. “it does not feed children or heal the sick;”

    Which is, we all agree, the function of federal government, in addition to raising the dead.

  13. Wow! I thought the bus stop in Albany (Washington Ave. and Lark St.) that was $350,000 (digital readout/radio transmitter buses/copper siding) was a boondoggle but Teddy’s Kubla Khan Bus shelter outshines that big time!

    Well, there’s all that money saved by cutting VA benefits to spend might as well send it up to the welfare state of alaska.

  14. Why don’t they just enclose the whole damned thing in a crystal dome and have a rain forest in there stocked with endangered species?

    You say that as a joke, but given half the chance you know that Ted Stevens will find funding for it.

  15. I wonder if old Uncle Ted ever considered asking Starbucks to open a store, complete with wifi access, heaters, plush chairs and couches, and oh yeah, coffee, at the location of the busstop? But of course, that would be unconservative of him to seek solutions through private industry.

  16. “I thought the red states were bastions of self-reliance that eschewed federal welfare.”

    Not as long as the welfare comes courtesy of the blue states.

    I wonder how much of that 10 mil it would cost to put bus schedules up at the bus stops around Boston?

  17. Brian:

    Alaska residents don’t pay sales tax, because oil sales revenues finance the whole state government, even allowing each resident to collect an annual oil dividend check of about $1000.

    Another thing: Alaska has excellent state financed health care coverage for citizens who lack health insurance.

    And Alaska is reliably Republican. Go figure.

  18. Stevens is the Robert Byrd of Alaska. No surprise that he keeps getting re-elected. Nobody actually believes that Republicans are for limited government, do they?

  19. I’d like to see a study on that. I’d like to see a list of the top ten congressional porkers ever.

    You can get it somewhat from CAGW. They don’t have them ranked, but you can look up each individual Senator and House member, and even see their vote totals. I’m sure everyone will be surprised to find that Tom Daschle is one of the lowest rated. Link here

  20. Doc,

    My favorite Lark St boondoggle was the annoying paving stones they put in to stop people from driving to fast and running over pedestrians on Lark. But they were so slick that if you slammed on the brakes, you would just slide right over them.

  21. trainwreck-

    I’m surprised that joe doesn’t hold Alaska up as a (supposedly) shining example of how well a welfare state can function.

  22. I would love for some Libertarian to explain why this public land-public trust fund idea is a bad system for the citizens of Alaska. The state is not based upon a free market, private property model.

    Maybe it works because it’s so uniquely huge, unpopulated, and new.

  23. trainwreck-

    Well, I’m sure that libertarians with purity scores higher than mine could explain why it’s a morally bad idea. As to practicalities, I will make 2 conjectures:

    1) I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that the public authority administering the oil is less efficient than a private firm. Still, one could say that inefficiency isn’t a problem if the system nets enough money to free the citizens from taxes and still kick some back to them.

    Which brings me to my second conjecture:

    2) It might be the sort of thing that works great if the ratio of people to oil is small enough, and the place is sufficiently inhospitable that nobody’s going to move there just for the free health care and annual check. But if it were implemented on a larger scale, and in a place that people are willing to move to, it might collapse.

    But that’s purely conjecture.

    Finally, I wonder if the Alaskan state government could still get by without taxes if the feds didn’t also send them a bunch of money.

  24. jbk,

    They should have used concrete pavers. They look like bricks, but are slightly larger, and have the texture of concrete. Stone only works if you’re willing to go whole hog and put up with the bumpity bump of a cobblestone street.

  25. It may not feed the hungry or heal the sick, but if I were a homeless Alaskan, that’s where I’d want to sleep!

  26. This is the same Sen. Stevens that wants the FCC to be able to lord it over cable, satellite TV and XM & Sirius radio, so as far as I’m concerned, the good Senator can self-fornicate with a piece of rusty steel pipe.

    Damn, now he’ll want to give government the power to regulate internet opinion postings…

  27. Given that Stevens has been ranked #1 in the Senate for pork, would it be safe to conclude that this is one issue where Kerry is not worse?

  28. where Kerry is not worse?

    Only because Kerry’s not the App. Chair.

    Then again, I don’t believe the final tally is in on the Big Dig. Stay tuned.

  29. Of course. The Republicans may do worse in practice, but we can be sure that deep down in their dark hearts the Dems are all pure evil.

    Good point on The Big Dig, however.

  30. I wonder if the Alaskan state government could still get by without taxes if the feds didn’t also send them a bunch of money…Thoreau

    T, I’ll make you a deal: Get the feds to turn over the half of the state they own (way more than 10 miles square)to us and, by golly, I bet we could get along without ’em.

    In the meantime, consider Steven’s pork as rent receipts.

  31. That’s funny Lou, I had the mistaken assumption that the US bought the state from the Russians. So now we have to pay rent too?

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