Piercing the Earmarks

The House defense bill passed out of subcommittee on Wednesday, and there are 1,776 earmarks contained therein. 1776? That Congress is so patriotic.

Porkbusters has a list of all the requests, and the House member making the request.

Below are some actual earmarks in the appropriations bill that I’ve taken the liberty of translating from “expense justification” language into English for your convenience.:

–Cold Weather Layering System = Jackets

–Extended Cold Weather Clothing Hand Protection System = Gloves

–Remote Environmental Monitoring and Diagnostics in the Perishables Supply Chain = Portable refrigerators

–Rapid Response Force Protection System = Guard towers & fences

–High-Power Microwave System for Vehicle Immobilization = Car blower-upper and popcorn maker

–Nano-Crystalline Cement for High Strength, Rapid Curing Concrete with Improved Blast Resistance = Somebody’s about to get a new driveway

–Ceramic Manufacturing Technology for Helicopter Rotor Blade Erosion Protection = 100,000 cans of Rustoleum

–C-130 Active Noise Cancellation = Huge muffler

–Mission Hospital Computer Physician Order Entry Initiative = Hire a couple of typists

–Man Overboard Identification (MOBI) System = Toe tags

–Contextual Arabic Blog and Slang Analysis Program = How to tell if someone’s calling you an asshole in Farsi

–Dual-Stage Ultra-Reliable Water Filtration Technology Development = Brita awarded gov’t contract thanks to huge campaign donation to Rep. Peter Visclosky

–Assessment of Alternative Energy for Aircraft Ground Equipment = Hybrid gas trucks

–Inertia Reel Restraint System Retrofit = New seat belts

–Unmanned Threat Emitter Modernization = New sirens

–Ballistic Missile Range Safety Technology = “Do not enter: Ballistic missile testing range” signs

–Environmental Bioterrorism Detection Program = Parakeet, cage

–Vibration Management Enhancement Program = Shock absorbers

–Heavy Duty Hybrid Vehicle = Fortified Prius

–Spherical Airship R&D = Making frisbees

–Active Combustion Control System for Military Aircraft = In-flight fire extinguishers

–76mm Super Rapid Medium Caliber Gun System Explosives Safety Review = $5.5 million study to determine if bullets are dangerous

–Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Structures for Improved Survivability and Performance = New tires

–Advanced Photovoltaic Material Integration Development = Solar panels

–Counterinsurgency Biometrics Tactical Census Authentication Enrollment and Identification System = I.D. cards

–Mac Dill Air Force Base Online Technology Program = Computers

–Green Product Evaluation and Implementation Program = War zone carbon credits

–Expendable Airdrop Delivery Systems = Dropping stuff out of a plane without a parachute

–Full Spectrum Active Protection Close-In Layered Shield for Thin-Skinned Vehicles = Kevlar car cozy

–Space Situational Awareness = Coffee vs. no coffee

–Kinetic Hydropower System Turbine = Water wheel

–Urban Warfare Analysis Center = New government office in the country near a golf course

–Fully Integrated Solar Powered Interior Lighting Technology = Sun roof

Here are the rest of the earmarks and who requested them.

Wow, that was a lot of bureaucrat-speak to decipher. I could really use a Bottomed Cylindrical De-Apertured Dihydrogen Monoxide Repository (glass of water) I’m parched.

Update: Somebody, who I presume is or has been a member of the military, wrote and said that “Expendable Airdrop Delivery Systems” are in fact new pallets. “Currently we have to recover the Aluminum ones. I wouldn’t want to go into hostile territory for a couple pallets.”

That’s exactly my point — What’s the difference between “expendable airdrop delivery systems” and “pallets”? I’m guessing several million dollars.

It’s important to keep in mind that “earmarks” are supposed to be items that were left out — either on purpose or accidentally — from the original budget, and do not themselves make up the budget.

So when I see some of these rather large earmarks that are basic safety items for our troops, such as helmet inserts, it makes me wonder 1) why the hell they weren’t in the original defense budget, and/or 2) is it an unnecessary redundancy being provided just to get some fat cat Congressman some pork votes.

Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. MichelleMalkin.com alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: WriteDoug@Live.com.