Madison County Opinion...

April 24, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 24, 2002

Frankly Speaking

Time to stop pork barrel
federal spending
Citizens Against Government Waste has released their annual Pigbook. The document list thousands of federal spending projects added to the federal budget by congressmen and senators and designed to enhance their chances of reelection. According to the report, Congress will spend over $20 billion on 8,341 local projects.
Among the strange requests being funded are $50,000 for tattoo removal in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and $400,000 to the Iowa Swine Research Center for the study of pig manure.
In Georgia, Congress proposes to fund 84 projects for a total of $1.44 billion. They include such proposals as $6 million to preserve the Peachtree Corridor, $1 million for a Savannah water ferry, another $1 million to buy buses for the Georgia Department of Transportation, and $490,000 for the Warner Robins Century of Flight Museum.
Many of the projects on the Georgia list are deserving and would be beneficial to our people. But there are two problems. First, the U.S. Constitution prohibits congress from spending money for purposes not listed in the Constitution, and I can find nothing in that document that authorizes any of these projects.
Secondly, every federal spending project I have ever studied in detail wasted 70 percent or more of the money on bureaucrats who write huge piles of needless reports, revisions, proposals and studies. We would be far better off if the federal government limited itself to those duties authorized in the Constitution and allow local governments and private groups to complete valuable local projects.
Just to show you how bad this problem is, the largest single pork project in Georgia is the construction of a Southeast Regional Archive Facility at a cost of $28,500,000. This massive, ridiculously expensive building is intended to store all those useless reports, revisions, proposals and studies generated by thousands of government bureaucrats.
Recently, I have been studying the Confederate Constitution. I found within that document several provisions that we desperately need in the U.S. Constitution. First, it prohibits congress from appropriating any federal funds for infrastructure except for ports. The majority of federal pork involves infrastructure. It requires that every bill passed by congress be limited to a single topic. The pork projects are routinely attached to other bills to assure their passage. Finally, the Confederate Constitution gave the President full rights to a line item veto.
If these provisions of the Confederate Constitution were added to the U.S. Constitution, they would eliminate virtually all pork spending projects such as the ones listed above.
Local problems are the responsibility of local and state governments. Federal pork projects are not only wasteful; they violate the basic principles of the American Revolution and the resulting Constitution. The pervasive presence of federal pork is more evidence that we need a general house cleaning in Washington.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

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Guest Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
April 24, 2002

A Moment With Margie

Pet cloning? Give me
a break!
Nobody loves animals more than I do. Not just my pets - all animals.
But a recent article in a magazine and several TV news stories have really gotten my dander up - the subject is pet cloning.
Don’t get me wrong - I love the sweet little kitten (CC for ‘Carbon Copy’) that scientists have cloned. Exactly why they have cloned CC escapes me, but there he (or she) is and should certainly be taken care of.
But now it seems you can go to a website (www.savingsandclone.com) and register to clone your favorite pet.
The price? It starts at $20 grand. Now it seems, if you’ve got enough money, you can bring Fido “back to life.”
Then again, maybe not Fido exactly beause even though the clones have the same genes, they are not replicas. Even CC doesn’t look like her predecessor.
According to one expert, what you get is a completely new animal with none of your pet’s memories, but with the exact same genetic makeup.
And apparently some people are willing to pay thousands of dollars to get an animal “genetically identical” to the one they lost.
Now that really makes me angry.
Do you know how many animals these supposed animals lovers’ $20,000 could save?
If they want “a completely new animal” they can get one - at their local humane society or animal shelter - or if they live some place like Madison County they can usually find any number of abandoned dogs and cats off the side of any dirt road.
What is it about humans that can make us so incredibly selfish and tunnel-visioned sometimes?
Publicize a particular case of abuse or cruelty (human or animal) and you’ll get any number of responses; people will give money, write letters, make speeches, offer to adopt, etc. etc. etc.
But the fact is for every publicized case, there are thousands more cases that need help of some kind - and get none.
Iwould say to be potential pet cloners - take your love for your beloved pet, and your money, and put it to good use.
Help to save the millions of animals that starve, are hit by cars, or are euthanized each year for lack of someone to love them.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.

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