Where's the Pork?

What's in it for us

"President Obama railed against pork-barrel projects Wednesday," the Tribune reports. "Then he signed a massive spending bill stuffed with them."

Yes he did. And boatloads of that money is coming our way not just through the regular channels, but by dint of the infamous earmarks we've all heard so much about. Let's take a look at some of the highlights (you can see the whole list here) and see what we're getting for our money.

- $6 million for the Circle Line. "The Circle Line is a key component of the City's transportation strategy for the 2016 Olympics." Whoa! I thought the Olympic bid relied on our current CTA lines.

-  $900,000 for the Adler Planetarium. That doesn't seem like enough money to cover that $3 million overhead projector.

- $400,000 for a new water storage tank and well in Long Creek Township. Wouldn't they rather have a telescope?

- $300,000 for the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford "for improved science education for rural and underserved children through space and astronomy programming." Couldn't we just pay to drive them to the Adler?

- $250,000 to the Illinois Sheriff's Association "for public awareness around methamphetamine and to equip sheriffs around the state with technical and logistical assistance specific to controlling methamphetamine." So more of those grody billboards.

- $461,000 to Future Foods, Champaign-Urbana, "for research and outreach efforts at the University of Illinois to improve public health by identifying and utilizing healthy attributes in food products." I'm just wondering how that will compete against the $6 million subsidy Mayor Daley is giving MillerCoors.

- $475,750 to Dominican University in River Forest to research memory dysfunctions. Like when the president forgets he just signed a bill stuff with earmarks when he fulminates against earmarks.

- $48,000 to the Peoria River Front Development to "begin design efforts on lower islands." The ones they have now are too high.

- $665,000 to Springfield for their Edwin Watts Southwind Park. It's being called an "all people" recreation center - which must be why we all have to pay for it.

- $2.8 million for bike and pedestrian trails statewide. Because the way this economy is going, everyone's cars will be repossessed and the transit authorities will be out of money soon, Circle Line funding or no.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, which applied for earmarks but was told there was no money for websites named after bars this time around.

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