From the environs of Cincinnati, whose immediate financial situation and long-term prognosis is every bit as craptacular as the city's own sports teams (who have been bilking taxpayers and fans for decades now):
As the Enquirer reported Sunday, Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis will ask county commissioners on Wednesday to sign off on his using federal grant money to buy a sport cabin boat to be used to patrol potential terrorist targets on the Ohio River.
Leis argues that the money for the 25-foot boat is coming from a federal Homeland Security grant—not from county coffers—so the spending should not be an issue.
County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said this week that he will vote against the expenditure. He has been questioning all items that have come before the commissioners recently in which county departments ask for new vehicles, saying that the county should not be making such expenditures when the county is in such a severe budget crunch that it has closed a jail and laid off hundreds of employees.
This sort of scenario is doubtless playing out across the small towns and the hamlets and roaring big counties of the republic and its rolling green fields of debt-ridden sub-state-level governmental units where every public servant just needs new equipment, dagnab it, to do their job properly and be taken seriously, even if this is a downturn, isn't the whole point of the stimulus to spend as much as we can from every source because that's what's not only patriotic but good government too, what with all the terrorists and pirates and stuff around us. It's a dangerous world out there, and I don't have to tell you that we take very seriously every threat that might mean we can get more money and cool toys.
And please, Dad and Mom, it's really a gift from my uncle anyway, so it's not like it'll cost any money to you and I'll take care of it and wash it and clean it and feed it and that won't cost very much and I'll work on the weekends and shake down drug dealers and take their stuff and use that to pay for it, come on, please, come on, you know I don't even really need to be asking you, you know…
For old time's sake, here's a video (sadly, already outdated in terms of actual numbers) that graphically explains how we got into the current self-stimulatory mess at the national level, which is every bit as much an act of autoerotic asphyxiation as Michael Hutchence's finale ultimo: