Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Sum of All Pork, on its way to ME


Back when the Food Network first came on the air, Chef Emeril Legasse was it’s charismatic ‘star,’ with a fun cooking show on for an hour every weekday.  Foodies that we are, it was appointment TV for us.  Born in Fall River, MA, Emeril quickly made his way to New Orleans, a foodie mecca if there ever was one.

In the late 90’s, business frquently took us there, and we were fortunate to dine at Emeril’s eponymous restaurant.  We still consider that meal to be the best we’ve ever had in a restaurant, and can give you the details of each course even now, 20 years later.  Including how superb the classic Martini was.

Two months ago, Mr. and Mrs. Side traveled to ‘Nawlins’ with good friends, and the four of us dined at that restaurant, still going strong, and one of his other places in town.  All meals were spectacular, but especially memorable were the exceptional service and general ambience of both.


On his cooking shows, one of Emeril’s axioms has always been ‘pork fat rules.’  We never suspected it referred to anything but cooking; all you have to do is think of bacon to get your taste buds on full alert.


But he might as well have been talking about politics as well, because in this day and age, nothing says ‘who you gonna love, baby?’ like a big juicy, fatty load of pork, fresh from the Washington D.C. meat locker.


‘Bringing home the bacon,’ wrapped around various and sundry other forms of pork, is something all elected federal officials quickly learn in the hot kitchens of congressional budget manipulation.

Debt Clock July 12 2008

Which is why the federal debt has grown from $10.4 Trillion eight years ago on this date to nearly twice that today:


In our view, it’s because Washington’s fiscal policy can be thought of as The Sum of All Pork.  It’s really that simple.  The nation’s capitol is one giant pork processing and packing plant.  Even if they first get to Washington with plans not to do so, each and every one of our elected ruling class, and the monstrous shadow government that surrounds them in the form of lobbyists and tens of thousands of others, quickly discovers that the most fun you can have, and the way to your constituents hearts, is by keeping their bellies full of pork.

Occasional outrage may be expressed by a loose cannon or two from time to time, but eventually, all learn to leave others’ pork shipment alone if they’ll leave yours alone.  Which is why we end up with “The Sum of All Pork,” from snout to tail.  And why 40% or so of every dollar being spent is borrowed or printed.

A recent news item exemplifies the concept:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and Senator Angus King, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a total of $7,151,182 in funding to two airports in Maine.  The funding is awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency within the DOT.

“Maine’s airports are vital pieces of our state’s transportation system that bolster our economy and connect our communities,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “This funding will strengthen our transportation infrastructure and help ensure these airports can continue to support the regions they serve.”

The funding will be awarded as follows:

  • Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque Isle will receive $4,698,682 to fund the reconstruction of approximately 3,950 feet of the existing taxiway pavement that has reached the end of its use.
  • Brunswick Executive Airport will receive $2,452,500 to fund the rehabilitation of Hanger 4 to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act and code compliance requirements.


Above is Hangar 4, nicely accompanied by two sleek looking private jets.  Oh, they may show up from time to time, but based on our eyeball experience drving by the facility, and our eardrum experience hearing them, it ain’t very typical.  On our visits, we’ve typically seen 2 or 3 small single engine aircraft tied down, and no moving personnel or aircraft.

While we’re not experts in such matters, we normally think of “ADA compliance” as referring to handicapped accessible rest rooms and entry and exit doors that are wheel-chair or equivalent compatible.  We’d be shocked if those weren’t in the existing baseline, but even if they’re not, how much can it cost to provide them?  Oops…..sorry; I forgot this is the government we’re talking about.

So, let’s say $100,000 in round numbers for the doors and restrooms, which leaves $2,352,500 for ‘code compliance.’  You know what we think?  We think this is a total boondoggle, and that ‘code compliance’ is a euphemism for a make work program with no details and no real need.  But there’ll be some happy local contractors getting $2 million plus in business without even trying, and with virtually no oversight or accountability or competitive bidding or justification in the first place.

In other words, this project is the essence of pork, and it’s a ‘prime cut.’  Oh sure;  ‘it’s important to our economy;’ at least the economy of a few contractors anyway.

We don’t know squat about the Presque Isle airport, but we’d be willing to bet that unless you’re a direct stake holder, nearly $5 million for less than a mile of ‘taxiway’ won’t pass muster.  But that’s the nice thing about pork; passing muster is not part of the equation.

Compare this sum to the pittance Brunswick spends on road resurfacing annually in our little town of Perfect.  And ask yourself how the same thing happening everywhere in this country can result in anything but a runaway debt clock as shown above?  If you were asked, would you vote yea or nay on spending $2.3 million for ‘code compliance’ on an insignificant building in Brunswick, Maine?

We’re going to see if we can have that “Pork Cuts” graphic just above revised so the bottom line says “ASK YOUR SENATORS – THEY’RE THE EXPERTS.’'

In the meantime, please make sure to pay all your taxes on time, so there’s plenty of swill to slop the pigs with.


You know the old saying: “if you don’t feed the pigs, you won’t be eatin’ no bacon!’

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