Okay, I've gone through and found another group of lovingly stupid selections our congress has foisted on us, courtesy of Sen. Tom Coburn's Wastebook. I might add here that I have seen several selections where he has added, "President Obama/Bush/both has called for the elimination of this program." Obviously they aren't calling loud enough.
#80- This is our #1 "that's rich!" selection. $425,642 to a program which teaches local lawmakers in INDIA (who holds about $40 bil of our national debt) how to use communications to improve at their job. Can you imagine anyone from OUR government passing that on with a straight face?
#84- "That's rich!" runner-up: $306,000 to bring students from Denmark, France, Germany, and the UK here to give them college-level classes on "civic activism and environmental leadership." Hello? Does anyone remember the French Revolution? The fall of the Berlin Wall? GREENPEACE??? I think they have these issues covered. If not, just send them the pamphlet on Targeted Sheep Grazing.
#79- the Air Force spends $51,474 to make a pagan worship site for the .07% of cadets that are Wiccan or what have you. Yes, that's three out of 4300. And it's basically a ring of thirteen boulders with a wishing-well looking altar-thingee in the middle and an outer ring of boulders.
Martin Savings: 120 large boulders (more than enough) can be had for $10,800- $3,000 more for comparable faux boulders. The wishing well can be had for $670. Dump 'em off, suggest a little DIY, and voila! You can do the whole thing for $11,470, a savings of $40,004.
#76- Third place on our "That's rich!" segment. The San Francisco International Film Festival gets $50,000 from the NEA (yeah, don't go there). Not so bad- UNTIL you do a little digging and find out that corporate sponsorship ALREADY IN PLACE totals $2.179 MILLION. That 50 K could have CERTAINLY been used more wisely here:
#73- Our good friends at USAID decided to commemorate their own 50th anniversary- with parties in Afghanistan (bet that one was lively), Albania, Bosnia/Herzegovina, "East Africa", El Salvador, Kosovo (another favorite "duck and cover" tourist destination), the Phillipines, and South Africa (which unlike "East Africa is a place you can find on a map). Total cost: $156, 273. $97,000 of that went to the Phillipines, with a banquet, a school painting contest (don't know if that means schoolkids painted, or schools got painted), videos, and a presentation on environmental awareness(?). They also blew $12,000 of it in the anomolous East Africa, including a dinner and a banner featuring USAID. Which left $7900 each for everyone else.
Martin Savings: With catering for a two-meat banquet running $11 per person, they came out pretty good, until you factor in delivery. Not sure how much a powerpoint presentation on Environmental awareness would cost, but I did find a blog that estimates that UK companies waste the equivalent of $12.16 billion on powerpoint presentations per year. I can't imagine we take a back seat there. And that poster, depending on where in East Africa you are in, would need to at least be in English, French, Portugese, Swahili, and Amharic. If you'd have done all parties like the ones the "lower six " got, you could have done them for $63,200- a savings of $93,073. But then schools/kids wouldn't have painted/been painted, and the children of powerpoint consultants would have starved.