Monday, September 26, 2005

disguising pork

There is a lot of talk about Louisiana politics being corrupt. So I guess mixing those politics with the U.S. Senate and a bunch of federal money is a tempting recipe for real corruption. Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu (D) and David Vitter (R), in a touching example of bipartisan cooperation, with the help of their House counterparts, have requested $40 billion in programs from the Army Corps of Engineers -- about 10 times the Corps' entire annual budget and 16 times what the Corps says it needs in Louisiana post-Katrina.

The Senators stuck it in the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act. They also want to create the "Pelican Commission," which would be 2/3 comprised of Louisiana residents, to decide how to spend the Corps dollars which will flow to the state for reconstruction.

This is pretty bad. I have no problem with Federal bucks helping to rebuild. But not with giving the Louisiana congressional delegation a blank check, and giving Louisianans essentially complete control of decision-making about Corps projects. Those are dollars from taxpayers in California and Texas and Wyoming and Rhode Island, not just Louisiana. And with all due respect, a lot of the programs the Louisianan delegates want to fund are ones that have been rejected before. How are THEY reconstruction projects?

Louisiana politics. Halliburton. No-bid contracts. The Army Corps of Engineers. What a brew. It isn't just the sewage in the streets of the lower 9th Ward that stinks.