Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pork Hall of Fame: Let's Rock

NYT reports today that Congress's new omnibus spending bill has made major cuts in the National Science Foundation (you know the folks that helped bring us browsers, Google and some other things less important like bioinformatics, mathematical research, etc.). The budget is down $105 million from last year and $272 million less than even President (Creation) Science requested.

But not all the news was bad. Congress did find money for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and bathhouses in Hot Springs, Ark., among other worthwhile projects. Some of this will take up the slack left by the cuts at NSF, a major funder of science education in the US. For example,
Todd C. Mesek, a spokesman for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is receiving $350,000, said the money would be well spent on education programs to teach children about language, the mathematics of music and geography ("cities where rock and roll was fostered"). Some of the money, Mr. Meek said, will be used for "toddler rock," a music therapy program.
Hey, I'm only passing on the information.

Update: From today's Christian Science Monitor:
Despite a surge in pork, Congress is sending President Bush the leanest nondefense spending bill in nearly a decade. Overall nondefense spending dropped to $401.8 billion - the first aggregate decline since 1995. Affordable housing programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development took a $378 million hit. The Environmental Protection Agency faces a $278 million reduction from 2004, mainly affecting state and local water projects.
At the same time, in addition to the Hall of Fame items noted above,
lawmakers found $1 million for the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Miss.; $250,000 to repair a gymnasium in Caribou, Maine; and $250,000 for a new firetruck for Tijeras, N.M.
The record 13,000 "pork" projects were estimated to cost a total of "at least" $24 billion in FY 2005, not exactly a tunafish sandwich.