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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: I Did It Don Young's Way

“As we all know.. Hurricane Katrina was a massive disaster that has devastated the people and the economy of several southern states. The government is helping out to fix that using massive spending bills that are to be used to rebuild the region, but that money has to come from somewhere, right?”

“Pressure is growing to help pay for Hurricane Katrina’s costs by getting members of Congress to give up the pet spending projects they inserted into legislation for their districts.
Some top lawmakers are decidedly unenthusiastic.
‘Kiss my ear!’ Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, told a Fairbanks newspaper reporter when asked whether he would return the $223 million he ‘earmarked’ for a bridge so that residents of Ketchikan won’t have to pay $6 to ride a ferry to get to the airport. Young is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Earmarks are projects that have neither been requested by the administration nor deemed worthy by a congressional committee. This year’s transportation bill had 4,373. Last year’s catchall appropriations bill, which wrapped together seven of the 13 annual spending bills, contained 8,000 earmarks totaling $10 billion.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, scoffed at the suggestion that he give up his earmarks, saying that highway projects in his district contributed to economic growth.
Still, as pressure grows to reduce Katrina’s bite from the federal budget, many lawmakers are being forced to take a second look at their appetites for federal money.”
-Knight-Ridder News Service, September 21, 2005

“Hey, that bridge is important to literally thousands of people. A worthy use of a quarter of a billion dollars (and hey, the Gravina Island project only comes to about $28,000 each for every person in the two cities involved).”

“Millions for bridges, not a penny for defense: President Bush signed the $286.5 billion transportation bill this week and critics were horrified by the number of pork-laden local road projects. The two most notable bacon-soaked items are $223 million for the Gravina Island bridge and another $229 million for the Knik Arm Bridge. Both projects are in the Alaska district of Don Young, the chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee. The Gravina Island project will link the 8,000 residents of the city of Ketchikan with the 50 people on Gravina Island. Also on Gravina Island: Ketchikan Airport, which offers a dozen scheduled flights a day and is currently linked to the city by a 7-minute ferry ride. As currently planned, the 2-mile-long Gravina span will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and higher than the Brooklyn Bridge. The Knik Arm Bridge would link Anchorage with Port MacKenzie, which has just one tenant. In contrast to Young's $452 million bridges, the nation has spent a total of $115 million on mass-transit security since 9/11. Mass-transit systems in the United States carry an estimated 14 million riders a day.”
-USA Today, August 22, 2005

“But our Commander in Chief swore that he’d stop this kind of thing. He promised he’d veto if Congress spent too much.”

“Fast-forward to 2005. Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. Early on a Saturday morning in August — the day of the week, and the month of the year, least likely to attract media attention — President Bush signed into law a highway bill passed by his own party with more than 6,000 earmarked projects.
Bush signed the bill after sternly telling his party he'd veto any highway bill that spent more than $256 billion. He promptly "adjusted" that figure to $284 billion after complaints from party leaders. The bill Bush ultimately signed came at a price of $286 billion, $295 billion if you count a few provisions disguised to make the bill look cheaper than it actually is. Not exactly holding the line.
What continues to amaze, however, is the sheer arrogance and hubris with which the Republicans have chosen to govern. As Congressman Jeff Flake — one of the few principled Republicans in Washington — told the Washington Post, ‘Republicans don't even pretend anymore.’”
-FOX News, August 25, 2005

“Please notice, that report came from FOX News. When FOX thinks that the Republicans are filled with ‘sheer arrogance and hubris’ they are in deep sh*t.”

“Meanwhile, the country's worst natural disaster has forced Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress to think about the unthinkable: raising taxes.
Democrats have pushed to let Republican tax cuts expire. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among those who favor saving $70 billion by repealing the capital gains and dividends tax cuts, which expire in 2008. Democrats also say money could be found by closing corporate tax loopholes and cracking down on waste and fraud.
Although Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., has said he won't rule out raising taxes, most Republicans reject that approach.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Wednesday, ‘Everything is on the table.’
Well, not quite.
Hastert didn't match House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's offer to give up $70 million in transportation projects in her California district — but he said the offer was ‘very gracious.’"
-USA Today, September 21, 2005

“That isn’t to say that some Republicans haven’t been great about doing what they can to help. They honestly have, and I’ve been very glad to see it. I just hope that all of this generosity is used wisely.”

“A division of Fluor, a California firm awarded a housing contract worth up to $100 million, has paid millions of dollars to settle federal government lawsuits — including one that accused it of overbilling for 1989 hurricane cleanup work.

The Shaw Group, a Louisiana firm that won housing and engineering contracts worth up to $200 million, has disclosed that it is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm is also a defendant in federal securities class-action cases.”
-USA Today, September 14, 2005

“FEMA spokesman Widomski said his agency had been unaware of both the SEC matter and the securities class-action lawsuits involving the Shaw Group.

‘Right now, there isn't a place for the federal government to get a history of a company's business background,’ she said. ‘There should be one place where they can look.’"
-USA Today, September 14, 2005

“There isn’t a questionnaire? No form that asks whether or not the company is under investigation before we give them hundreds of millions of dollars? Sweet Jeebus, the South is going to fall again.”


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