The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, August 18, 2005

...and we'll have a pork barrel of fun.

So, you probably already know all about the hideous transportation bill, which came with hundreds of millions of dollars in pork for Bush-friendly legislators. Wait. Hundreds of millions for just one project-- the notorious bridge in Alaska that links an island with a population of fifty to the mainland. Very handy.

I once was a passenger in a single-engine plane flying into a little town in western Wisconsin late at night and as we descended, the pilot clicked a button on the control stick and suddenly the runway below lit up like a video game, an enormous strip of fresh asphalt outlined in bright light, and we landed and taxied to the hangars where I saw about 30 planes like ours parked. For 30 hobbyists, the federal government had installed a state-of-the-art night-landing system, and if you weren't a pilot, you might never be aware of it. You might live two miles away, with your kids in a school where music education and foreign languages have been cut from the curriculum for lack of funds, but anybody who wants to land a Cessna at 2 a.m. in an unmanned airport can do so, no problem, which must be a godsend to dope smugglers, but never mind.

Garrison Keillor chimes in on the issue in his usual Will Rogers style. Maybe more Democratic hopefuls should be listening to 'Prairie Home Companion.' It's probably an asset that he focuses on one project and really drives the point home, rather than doing what I'd do-- cut loose with a stream of numbers that wouldn't have the same impact. After all, there were scores of pork projects in the bill.