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Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) earned his status as longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate by keeping not only his home renovator well-fed from the pork barrel, but his constituents as well. As former head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he perfected his legendary ability to bring home federal dollars. Among the several senior committee positions Stevens relinquished yesterday after being indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges was ranking membership of the defense appropriations subcommittee, where he helped mark up the mammoth defense appropriations bill…
Taxpayers reports that Stevens “sponsored 159 defense earmarks worth $1.3 billion in the last four years.” Among the highlights:
Four earmarks for the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), “originally designed to capture energy from the aurora borealis.”
Three earmarks for Hibernation Genomics, a “program that aims to ‘hibernate’ people by slowing down their metabolisms while keeping them alive long enough to treat illnesses.”
Multiple earmarks for the Alaska Land Mobile Radio, which an Alaskan state audit criticized for “cost overruns, shoddy accounting and budget planning.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. “Happiness will conquer the embittered,” he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”