The smell of swine in the budget
Congress went on a pork-a-palooza yesterday, approving a massive spending bill with big bucks for Hawaiian canoe trips, research into pig smells, and tattoo removal - all while the nation faces an economic crisis.Perhaps they hope this research will be helpful to Congress in its desire to hide the stench of pork in its budget.
Among the recipients of federal largesse is the Polynesian Voyaging Society of Honolulu, which got a $238,000 "earmark" in the bill.
The group organizes sea voyages in ancient-style sailing canoes like the ones that first brought settlers to Hawaii.
The sailing club has a powerful wind at its back in the person of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The bill also has a whopping 8 percent increase over last year for the numerous federal agencies it funds.
New York got its share of earmarks, among them $475,000 to "improve and expand" the Italian American Museum in Little Italy.
The project was pushed by New York Reps. Gary Ackerman and Jerrold Nadler. The latter touted it, among other earmarks, on his Web site.
Nadler also announced $4.5 million for new park development in Manhattan.
Uncle Sam's generosity extends upstate, where there's $950,000 to convert a railroad bridge over the Hudson River into a walkway in Poughkeepsie.
Earmarks totaled at least $3.8 billion - a figure used by the House Appropriations Committee.
The swine research center, at Iowa State University in Ames, got funds through the Agricultural Research Service, and aims to improve the smell of animals and the lagoons where waste is stored.