The Fifth Horseman: Congressional Pork and Cindy Sheehan

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Congressional Pork and Cindy Sheehan

I have two topics I'd like to talk about today: Cindy Sheehan and the new highway bill. First, let's talk about the highway bill.

As you may or may not know, Dubya officially signed the massive, new $286.4 billion highway bill into law today. That, in itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, spending money to improve our highway system is, in my book, actually a good thing. However, the billions of dollars devoted to Congressional special projects is a bad thing. Highway improvement was far from the only thing on the law signed yesterday: the massive bill was fraught with rampant pork from both sides of the aisle. Just for amusement's sake, I am going to list some of the more extreme examples of irresponsible spending on the bill:

$600,000--Horse riding facilities in Virginia
$5.9 million--A snowmobile trail in Vermont
$8 million--Parking for New York's Harlem Hospital
$532,000--A bicycle and pedestrian trail in Tennessee
$1.25 million--A daycare center and park-and-ride facility in Illinois
$3 million--Dust control mitigation for rural Arkansas
$2.75 million--The National Packard Museum in Ohio
$200,000--A historical trolley project in Washington
$2.3 million--Landscaping on the Ronald Reagan Freeway in California

Come on guys, this is ridiculous. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a liberal, so I'm not rabidly opposed to government spending. In fact, I think that government spending is a good thing, as long as it's done responsibly. What do I mean by "responsible"?

I mean spending money on projects that will benefit the common good and improve the lives of everyone, not just special interest groups. This new Highway Bill is clearly not an example of responsible spending.

Now, on to my second topic: Cindy Sheehan. Those of you with a high pain tolerance may have noticed a prevalent trend in the conservative media lately: bashing Cindy Sheehan.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen: right-wing crazies have been rallying in a multi-media attack against Cindy Sheehan on all fronts: television, print, internet, and talk-radio. For amusement's sake, let's examine some of the right-wing's recent attacks against Cindy:

"I think Cindy Sheehan is being used by far left elements who object
to our way of life."
--Bill O'Reilly

"I can’t imagine that Casey Sheehan would approve of such behavior."

"Like the second prostitute in I Kings 3:16-27, once her
child was dead, Cindy Sheehan, didn't care about the deaths of other
mother's sons. Her child is dead, and damn all others that would stand
between her and her revenge."
--The Confederate Yankee (

"[Cindy is] a liar being pimped out to the media by another

Interesting. Very interesting. What does all this right-wing anger mean?

This means good news for all of us principled-left wingers. This heated reaction from the right-wing means that Cindy's vigil is doing some serious damage to the Administration Chickenhawks. The right-wing is, basically, giving Cindy and the pro-peace movement free PR. In their efforts to discredit Cindy, the right-wingers are only adding momentum to her story.

This pleases me. Now all we need is some renewed coverage of Karl Rove and Treasongate to make things almost perfect.

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