100 Worst Stimulus Projects
Even I'm surprised by the waste and corruption.
Here are lowlights from the report compiled by two "it's only wasteful if Democrats are doing it" Republican Senators - well somebody compiled it for them
(I don't think McCain knows how to turn a computer on.)
(And didn't these two RINOs vote for the stimulus?).
This is just a few of the ones that stood at as rather corny and just plain retarded, but there's a whole bunch more that are way more disgusting and expensive. Well, kowledge is good, as Emil Faber said, right?
David in Qatar
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18. Jamming for Dollars (Atlanta, GA) - $762,372
A Georgia Tech assistant professor of music will receive $762,372 to study improvised music.(173) The project will apparently involve the professor jamming with “world-renowned musicians” to “hopefully also create satisfying works of art.” (174) The project “seek[s] to understand, model, and support improvisation, or real-time collaborative creativity, in the context of jazz, Indian classical, and avantgarde art music,” (175) according to the project description. “They will also conduct systematic evaluation of formal models in realistic performance contexts, and use brain imaging of improvising musicians to gain insight into highly creative mental activity.” (176) How will this help pull the United States out of an historic economic slump? “We are putting money into the local economy that is supporting local jobs,” the project’s principal, Parag Chordia, an accomplished classical Indian music performer, told a reporter. “We are creating the intellectual capital to support future growth.” (177)
28. Monkeys Get High for Science (Winston-Salem, NC) - $144,541
Researchers at Wake Forest University think that, in at least one case, it is good to monkey around with stimulus dollars. The Department of Health and Human Services has sent $71,623 to the Winston-Salem college to see how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine. The project,
titled “Effect of Cocaine Self-Administration on Metabotropic Glutamate Systems,” would have the monkeys self-administer the drugs while researchers monitor and study their glutamate levels. (224) When asked how studying drugcrazed primates would improve the national economy, a Wake Forest University Medical School Spokesman said, “It's actually the continuation of a job that might not still be there if it hadn't been for the stimulus funding. And it’s a good job.” He added, “It’s also very worthwhile research.” (225)
33. Contractor Convicted of Public Corruption Gets Public Money for Sidewalk Contract
(Monroe, LA) - $211,468
A former director of community affairs for the City of Monroe, Louisiana, who was convicted twice for taking financial kickbacks from contractors, has received $211,468 (243) in stimulus funds to build a sidewalk.(244) Interestingly, Andy Jackson, owner of Jackson-Fontenot Construction, obtained the contract to build the South Third Street sidewalk project despite not being the lowest bidder.(245) As a public official, Jackson was previously accused of taking kickbacks in exchange for favors and big contracts. In 2001, he was convicted of fraud and bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery. (246) Jackson was sentenced to six and half years in federal prison and served 15 months. (247) Carnell Person, who is currently a vice president at Jackson-Fontenot, also happens to be the city superintendant of streets. The city ethics attorney told the local newspapers that Mr. Person is not necessarily in violation of ethics rules because he might be in a different ‘agency’ than the one advertising the bids. (248) Some local residents have raised other concerns about the project. One neighbor was concerned that the sidewalk would give drug dealers, “more property closer to my house. I don't feel safe now, and I would feel less safe” (249)
36. Scientist Attempts to Create Joke Machine (Evanston, IL) - $712,883 (264)
Conan O’Brien vs. Jay Leno was nothing. Competition among late night television hosts is about to get very interesting. That’s because researchers at Northwestern University are using stimulus money to develop “machine-generated humor.”(265) And nothing is funnier than a robot repeating someone else’s jokes. The lead designer plans to use artificial intelligence to create a “comedic performance agent” that “will be funny no matter what it is talking about.”(266) Computer systems will mine jokes from the Internet and then use them to create hilarious presentations that mimic real-life comedians.(267) The lead designer hopes to model his new creation off of News at Seven, (268) a web-based “entertainment oriented system that combines clips from CSPAN with topics [sic] humor and comments pulled from Twitter to create a Daily Show-like experience.” (269)
64. Are Viewers Primed by Prime-Time Politics? (Princeton, NJ & Ann Arbor, MI) -$317,216
By changing the criteria voters use to evaluate their political candidates and politics, the media
undoubtedly affect mass preferences. Now scholars at the University of Michigan (413) and Princeton University (414) will use stimulus funds to study the ways that the “media priming effect” can be measured. “In particular, results will bear on how, when, and why campaigns affect candidate evaluations and policy opinion.” (415) While quantifying the effects of media priming might be valuable to politicians trying to get elected or those trying to manipulate media consumers, most Americans would probably just rather change the channel.