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100 Worst Stimulus Projects



August 03, 2010 – Comments (21)

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

Full Presentation (takes a while to load)

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.

21 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 03, 2010 at 12:56 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Another good one

74. There’s an App for That: Stimulus Funds for iPods (Salt Lake City, UT) - $1 million

About 1,600 students at Kearns High School in Utah will get iPod touches next school year, thanks to a federal stimulus Enhancing Education Through Technology grant.” (456) They will use the devices during class, take them home after school, and according to one student, get to keep them if they graduate ontime. (457) “I think that will be the coolest thing ever,” said a student. “I think that might be a little initiative for those who are thinking of not graduating to graduate, kind of a going-away present.” (458) “[T]eachers will be trained to use the iPods to engage students so their attention doesn’t wander.” (459)

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#2) On August 03, 2010 at 1:02 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Last one, I promise. I don't want to ruin all your fun, but some of these are just two funny.  (Btw, I looked it up and McCain and Coburn did vote No on the stimulus. Sue me.)

David in Qatar

39. Research: Marketing Video Games to the Elderly (Raleigh, NC and Atlanta, GA) - $1.2 million

North Carolina State University and Georgia Institute of Technology research scientists received $770,856 and $427,824, respectively, in stimulus grants from the National Science Foundation for collaborative research into how video games, such as Nintendo Wii’s Boom Blox, (276) can help improve mental health for the elderly. (277) “Results will aid designers who currently have little knowledge of the interface and game-play needs of older players.” (278) According to the overseers of the study, “One of our main goals is to produce guidelines for producing games for older adults.” (279)

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#3) On August 03, 2010 at 1:09 PM, dargus (80.33) wrote:

Oh boy, the Senator from my state. The best thing I can say about Coburn is that he isn't Imhoff.

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#4) On August 03, 2010 at 1:15 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


Coburn now says it's probably a mistake we went into Iraq. Probably? 

Well, I don't want this to be about Coburn and McInsane, especially since there is no way either one of them did any of the research and presentation for this project.  I just really enjoyed it and wanted to share.

David in Qatar 

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#5) On August 03, 2010 at 1:18 PM, eldemonio (97.53) wrote:

It's a smart move to continue funding for the monkeys.  Imagine what would happen if those coked-out primates were cut off and somehow escaped.

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#6) On August 03, 2010 at 1:33 PM, lh100 (21.78) wrote:



I think the problem here is not the projects themselves, but the fact that they were paid by the stimulus funds. I actually like some of these ideas, but the money was not supposed to be used for those experiments.

It's not big amounts really, but i think the idea that money that was supposed to create jobs were given for an experiment for monkeys to go try coke is ridiculous!


IF that money had to given somewhere, where else could it go to create jobs? Obviously not spending it is probably your #1 choice, but other than that, i'm curious where you would spend billions in.

I would spend it in updating the technology for government systems to improve productivity and efficiency, but in the end that won't create jobs. That's the weird thing : technology is actually killing human jobs.





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#7) On August 03, 2010 at 1:34 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


LOL, although I would argue that hiring ravenous-monkey-catchers would create more jobs than the current plan :)

David in Qatar

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#8) On August 03, 2010 at 1:40 PM, eldemonio (97.53) wrote:


Either way, you need some kind of funding.  I'm thinking that since less than half of the money is going to the official project, the other half must be going to some kind of security, maybe a doorman or bouncer to Club Monkey-Tweaker.

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#9) On August 03, 2010 at 1:50 PM, Option1307 (30.65) wrote:

Glad to see my tax dollars are being well spent;)

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#10) On August 03, 2010 at 1:53 PM, Option1307 (30.65) wrote:

and when I say "my tax dollars" I of course me the debt that those nice friendly Chinese keep on buying from us. Or was it from the FED's magic printer... I forget, anyhow, how nice of them!

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#11) On August 03, 2010 at 2:36 PM, ag77840 (23.39) wrote:

I believe the monkey experiment may be useful... it is a great way to model the behavior of politicans during a recession, or any crisis for that matter. 

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#12) On August 03, 2010 at 3:51 PM, Dow3000 (< 20) wrote:

Proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm "free"  (????)

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#13) On August 03, 2010 at 5:09 PM, devoish (65.60) wrote:

Nice talking pionts.

Are you absolutely sure you are giving a balanced perspective of these projects?

The Grand High Exalted Mystic I am Going To Choose the Second One Since IT Drew The Most Comments and Learn Somertthing About It Since You Did Not, King Devoish

PS. The Third one you mention seems like typical low level Government paybacks along the lines of Randel and Blogoyovich. They will get charged and arrested since they are not protected by being multinational corporations.

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#14) On August 03, 2010 at 6:09 PM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

There must be a lot of traffic on that site now, I can't get it to load.

The tea-pot mueseum is still my favorite though.

I think the arrow subsidy was needed because when people decide to take matters into their own hands there will be a run on ammo.

Yeah right devoish, poloticians are defenseless compared to those evil corporations from where all the jobs come from. Maybe if the politicians could create more jobs themselves, they would be less vulnerable.

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#15) On August 03, 2010 at 6:20 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

Hey, I would support the video game thing for old people if they could teach them not to drive 20 miles with their left-turn signal on, or driving 15mph below the posted speed in the passing lane.  I am thinking of a variation of GTA, lol.

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#16) On August 03, 2010 at 9:00 PM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

10. Town Replaces New Sidewalks With Newer SidewalksThat Lead to Ditch (Boynton, OK) - $89,298 One longtime resident of Boynton, RayAllen, said the project “had been the talkof the town recently, and none of itpositive,” because it is “100 percent awaste of money.”98 Another resident,Mike Lance, noted that “the bestindication of the absurdity of the project iswhat the contractor did with a section ofsidewalk at the north end of town – onethat fronts no homes or businesses, andleads directly into a ditch.”99 Meanwhile, many local residents have focused on a more pressing financial problem—namely thepossible shuttering of Boynton-Moton Public School, which educates 97 prekindergarten through 12thgrade students.101 As an illustration of just how strapped for cash the school system has become,Superintendent Dr. Shelbie Williams had been struggling to scrape together just $9,300 to pay theschool’s gas and electric bills.102  OK! Now I am officially ticked off! You would think that I would be immune to the total lunacy that is our government by now! What is wrong with you people!I mean seriously!  What is it going to take until more people figure out that we are on a downhill slide that is going to end in disaster. If just one moron comes out here and tries to spin this as a good thing, I may just go postal! $90,000 for a sidewalk with no frontage that leads to a ditch when that same $90,000 could have paid the local schools utility bills for 10 months! Great job creation! Create a few short term jobs to replace a brand new sidewalk that should have cost $2,200 in the first place. Let a dozen or so teachers go un-employed because you can't pay the freakin light bill! Someone will defend this! One of you morons will defend this! Bring it on! I'm ready for some blood! And for those that don't have an opinion, you are just a bunch of sheep following bridges to nowhere! That's right, I'm ready to rile up everybody's feathers in this one post! 2 kinds of idiots allow things like this to happen! The Idiots selling stupid and the even bigger idiots that are buying! /end rant ( I won't really end the rant I'll be driving the rest of my family nuts with this for at least a good week).        

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#17) On August 03, 2010 at 9:40 PM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

I'm not sure what happened to the formatting in the above post.

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#18) On August 04, 2010 at 7:45 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

It's ok you were angry.

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#19) On August 04, 2010 at 9:51 AM, Gemini846 (34.11) wrote:

I'll defend it. Public schools are a waste of taxpayer money and should be shut down. Put the 12 year olds that can't get into a secondary school on merit in the workforce doing low paying jobs that are currently done by imigrants. I know this is extreme but consider the following:

At least then they would have 5-6 years to learn how to make change for a dollar. Why do we try to teach students algebra who can't even add and subtract?

One of the stores I worked for was actually considering buying a cash register that told how many of each coin to give out.

Advanced college degrees shouldn't be necessary to obtain entry level office jobs. (More waste of money). Students should graduate high school with these skills.

Stop giving out so many student loans and people will go to colleges they can afford or colleges will reduce tuition.

With all that said, the sidewalk to nowhere was likely just as useless.

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#20) On August 06, 2010 at 9:33 AM, mike3m (< 20) wrote:

 A lot of these 'research' projects are wasteful, for sure, but I am surprised how exercised people get over $800,000 of taxpayers money.

The military just lost $8,000,000,000 and has not a clue where it went and there is no outrage or condemnation.

That would pay for 10,000 of these projects (or something more useful).  I think our congressmen want us to follow the pennies not the big bucks.

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#21) On August 06, 2010 at 10:03 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


Agreed, and I would add that the number of $$$ wasted on Project Muslim Subjugation is closer to the trillions.

David in Qatar

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