Monday, February 2, 2009

19.24 Billion

That is the amount of money that has been considered pork by several Republicans in this upcoming 900 Billion stimulus package. Here is a list from Senator Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma.

  • $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient
  • $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film
  • $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program
  • $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)
  • $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters
  • $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees
  • $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD's
  • $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs
  • $125 million for the Washington, D.C. sewer system
  • $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion
  • $75 million for "smoking cessation activities"
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges
  • $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI
  • $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction
  • $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas
  • $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings
  • $500 million for state and local fire stations
  • $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands
  • $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities
  • $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs
  • $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service
  • $412 million for CDC buildings and property
  • $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
  • $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the VA "National Cemetery Administration"
  • $850 million for Amtrak
  • $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint
  • $75M to construct a new "security training" facility for State Dept Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
  • $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems
  • $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Its a good thing the democrats in congress are looking out for us right now...

Change 2009?

Being without power in Fayetteville for 5 days was rough. But, last Saturday afternoon power was restored to my area. It's good to know that after having power back for 54 hours, SWEPCO decided to go ahead and cut power off to half my apartment complex this evening.

The ice storm labeled "Jan 27 Ice Storm" by many utility companies really wasn't that bad. Only 3/4 to 1 inch of ice in most places. However, falling trees knocked out power lines to much of the NWA area. But these were not trees that have been around generations. Most of these trees were small ones, no older than 10-15 years. These trees were protected by the city because it wanted to be known as a tree-friendly city. They prevent trees from being trimmed around power lines because it exposes lines and it makes for ugly trees. 

The city of Fayetteville, has been a member of "Tree City USA" for 13 years and has only strengthened the grip of conversationalists on this area. To cut down a tree in your own yard, you are required to ask the Urban Forestry department permission. This department is made up of people who oppose growth, push for pointless higher taxes (Fayetteville, when including state/county taxes, has a 11.25% sales tax on hotels, motels, and restaurants), and push for "beautification projects" on the outskirts of town. 

Power companies recommend that small trees are placed no closer than 15 feet from utility lines, medium 30, large 40. By driving around this city you can clearly see, that the city of Fayetteville, does not abide by these recommendations.

In the aftermath of this storm, one thing has become clear; Fayetteville, AR, USA will not be included in the annual listings for Tree City USA. What a shame.  

Just so you know, I don't like to make up my facts. So for your viewing pleasure The City of Fayetteville, Landscape Manual.pdf

It is always good to know that events like the recent ice storm can be drasitically avoided when following proper guidelines given to us by our ultility companies.

And knowing is half the battle.