from the only solid Red State
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
At a time when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is asking Congress for an additional $1.3 billion for additional funds for armored vehicles to protect our troops, Dr. Coburn is asking Secretary Gates to help him identify wasteful congressional earmarks that, in many cases, do nothing to protect our troops.
From: Foster, Roland (Coburn)
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 11:19 AM
Subject: Senator Coburn Asks Pentagon for Review of Each and Every Defense Earmark
Senator Coburn sent the attached letter to the Secretary of Defense today requesting a critique of whether or not each earmark carved out of the Pentagon’s budget “is useful and cost effective in advancing the goals of the Department” as well as “an analysis of the impact of the unnecessary earmarks on the Department’s budget priorities.” The letter notes “since most members of Congress are not experts on defense systems and military hardware, guidance from military experts is needed to ensure defense dollars are wisely allocated.”
The letter is a result of the extreme difficulty faced by this office in obtaining meaningful information about the over 300 earmarks contained within the DoD authorization bill debated by the Senate this week from the sponsors or the recipients of those earmarks.
July 19, 2007
Dr. Robert M. Gates
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Gates,
With Congress now routinely passing emergency Defense supplemental appropriations bills costing upwards of $100 billion every year, there is no justification for Congress to misspend defense dollars on frivolous and wasteful pork projects. This is especially true since guaranteeing that our troops have the best armor, weapons, and medical care should be the highest priority of Congress, rather than securing earmarks for wealthy defense contractors and campaign donors.
The total amount spent on Congressional pork projects, known as “earmarks,” in Defense appropriations over the past five fiscal years has cost taxpayers approximately $55 billion. The House Fiscal Year 2008 Defense authorization bill committee report includes 13 pages of charts with 458 individual projects totaling $7.7 billion. The Senate Defense authorization bill discloses 309 earmarks costing a total of $5.6 billion. An analysis completed by Taxpayers for Common Sense, however, claims that the bill contains 90 additional undisclosed earmarks at a cost of $8 billion.
This is an overwhelming number of projects and since most members of Congress are not experts on defense systems and military hardware, guidance from military experts is needed to ensure defense dollars are wisely allocated.
Last year, the Senate twice overwhelmingly approved an earmark “report card” that would have directed the Pentagon to determine the cost effectiveness of Congressional pork projects. Both times, the language was stripped during closed door conference meetings with the House of Representatives. The only reason to oppose this analysis, of course, is to hide from taxpayers the fact that many Congressional pork projects costing tens of millions of dollars are unjustifiable and wasteful.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has previously issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) asking Congress not to fund unnecessary or wasteful projects. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), for example, has “proven ineffective in achieving its assigned mission, and the Administration believes closure of NDIC and reassignment of its missions to other organizations represents a step towards more efficient coordination and management of counter-drug intelligence activities,” according to OMB. Yet, Congress has earmarked nearly $240 million for the NDIC over the past five fiscal years.
There are plenty of other examples.
Last year, the Washington Post published an article titled “The Project That Wouldn’t Die; Using earmarks, members of Congress kept money flowing to a local company that got $37 million for technology the military couldn’t use.” Vibration & Sound Solutions Ltd., a Virginia defense contractor, has received a steady flow of federal funds for various purposes and, according to the Post, “all the applications have one thing in common: The Pentagon hasn’t wanted them.”
The DP-2 aircraft has received $63 million in taxpayer funds-- entirely through earmarks-- despite a series of Pentagon and NASA studies that from the beginning found fault with the project. More than $40 million has been earmarked to 21st Century Systems Inc. (21CSI) for the development of military software yet only one piece of that software has been used-- in a single Marine camp in Iraq-- and it is no longer in use.
This year, nearly $1.7 million was earmarked for Arcadia Biosciences, based in Seattle to improve the shelf life of vegetables. The funding would help “establish and evaluate variant populations of bell pepper, cantaloupe and strawberry.”
These are just a few examples of the wasteful earmarks funded through the Pentagon that have siphoned away funds from our national defense budget.
Earmarks contained within Defense appropriations bills have been linked to a number of recent Congressional corruption and ethics probes. Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham resigned from the House of Representatives after he admitted to taking $2.4 million in bribes from two defense contractors. Federal investigators are examining whether Congressman Jerry Lewis, as the House Appropriations Chairman, abused his position by steering earmarks to his political allies and former employees. The Wall Street Journal notes that, “the Lewis episode underscores the link between Member-steered earmarks and the opportunity for corruption. Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff openly boasted that earmarks were his political currency and he called the Appropriations Committee that doles them out a ‘favor factory’ for lobbyists.”
Following last November’s elections, the incoming Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees promised “to restore an accountable, above-board, transparent process for funding decisions and put an end to the abuses that have harmed the credibility of Congress.” With no Senate earmark rules changes yet in effect, the Senate Appropriations Committee has apparently decided to abandon the pledge to “place a moratorium on all earmarks until a reformed process is put in place.”
It is obvious that taxpayers and policymakers can not count on Congress to provide transparency for how federal funds will be spent. We can only guess as to whether or not projects inserted into legislation are for necessary national security purposes or to satisfy the parochial self-interests of politicians and defense industry lobbyists.
I would, therefore, request that the Department provide a critique of each earmark contained within Defense appropriations and authorization bills within 48 hours of being reported out of the House and Senate committees. Specifically, I would like to know whether or not the Defense Department believes each earmark is useful and cost effective in advancing the goals of the Department and if not, why. Please also provide an analysis of the impact of the unnecessary earmarks on the Department’s budget priorities.
This will provide needed information to lawmakers about projects inserted into bills that have not had proper oversight, debate or discussion. It will also ensure that every member of Congress can cast a truly informed vote on how federal funds are to be spent and provide a better understanding of the impact of unnecessary earmarks on overall military preparedness, our national defense, and other defense-related priorities.
Thank you for your assistance with this request. I look forward to working with you to ensure our troops have the resources and support they need to win the war against terrorism and protect our nation.
Tom A. Coburn, M.D.
 Citizens Against Government Waste, “Pig Book, 2002- 2007 editions; http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_pigbook2007
 Statement of Administration Policy, “H.R. 2862, Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, FY2006,” September 8, 2005; http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/109-1/hr2862sap-s.pdf
 Charles R. Babcock. “The Project That Wouldn't Die,” Washington Post, page D1, June 19, 2006;
 Jerry Kammer and Paul M. Krawzak. “Pentagon rejected aircraft built by campaign donor,” San Diego Union Tribune/COPLEY NEWS SERVICE, June 13, 2007; http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20070613-9999-1n13airmark.html
 Paul Goodsell. “Firms count on Congress for funding,” Omaha World-Herald, April 29, 2007; http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=2374508
 “Murray and Cantwell Announce Senate Approval of nearly $57.5 million in Job-Creating Defense Contracts for Washington State,” press release, September 29, 2006
 “Earmarker in Chief,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2006, page A14; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115033555119580784.html
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Seeks to Harness Private Sector Innovation to Bring Down Cost of 2010 Census
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today issued a challenge to the private sector calling for proposals to address the rapidly rising cost of the 2010 Census. The challenge will go out to those in industry, academia, government and elsewhere who may have innovative ideas for bringing the cost down.
“The American people are far more innovative than their government in almost every respect. The Census Bureau’s reluctance to employ new methods and online tools goes against the grain of common sense. If we can collect taxes online from any tax filers, surely we can count every American quickly, inexpensively and accurately,” Dr. Coburn said.
At a hearing this afternoon of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management (FFM), the Census Bureau will announce that the most recent cost of the next census is estimated to be at least $11.5 billion. When broken down on a per household basis, it will cost more than $90 to count each household.
The Government Accountability Office has reported that the 2010 count is vulnerable to potentially fatal management and technical failures, as well as the massive cost over-runs that have characterized each Census in recent decades. The cost has gone from under a billion dollars in 1970, doubling by 1980 ($2.2 billion), increasing by 50 percent in 1990 ($3.3 billion), doubling again in 2000 to $6.6 billion and now doubling again to somewhere around a projected cost of $12 billion for 2010. The American population has not increased at a proportional rate. In fact, the per-household cost of the first census in 1790 was less than a penny. In 1970, it was under $2. Yet somehow, the cost today is at $90 per household. The Census Bureau has refused to provide an option to Americans to be counted online, despite the fact that more than 70 percent of American adults are online.
“It is time for out-of-the-box thinking to rein in costs, increase efficiency and still fulfill the Constitutional mandate to count every American,” Dr. Coburn said.
The objectives of the Census Challenge will be:
· To receive numerous proposals from successful businesses, technology and logistics experts and creative citizens throughout America for innovative ideas for ways to conduct the census for less than $90 a household and still maintain high data quality.
· To collect the proposals and to present them to the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of the Census Bureau for their consideration and comment.
· To consider the possibility of legislative remedies that may assist the Census Bureau in conducting a more efficient and effective decennial census.
To submit proposals, visit the FFM Web site at
. Yellow Hills Tiny Chapel pictured here
A day...a glorious day is coming!
and all heaven shall soon resound with the triumphant song, "Thou art worthy...for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood" (Rev 5:9).
The shameful Cross will be followed by a glorious crown, and "every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"Mighty Victor, reign for ever,
Wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall Thy people, never
Cease to sing what Thou hast done.
Thou hast fought Thy people's foes;
Thou wilt heal Thy people's woes!"
It is well with my soul..
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The ultimate determinate in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas - a trial of spiritual resolve; the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideas to which we are dedicated -- Ronald Reagan
Reagan is gone to his good reward but the spiritual battle continues with the first US Representive taking the oath on the Koran and a US Senator who is a former(?) Muslim both from a religion whose basic tenat is taking over the world. The Muslims have bombed the twin trade towers in New York City, believed involved in the OKC bombing and are demanding nationwide that we observe their myraid rules of behavior. The Muslim percentage of the population is estimated to be over 1% of the population scattered evenly accross our country. 83% of Americans polled by ABC News recently indentified themselves as Christain. We must reasert our Christain hertige and affrim that the laws we have are Judeo/Christian based and not allow the encrochment of principles that are determental to our civilization. 2007/01/06jdm
Don't Tread on My Flag
We must be very concerned about who we elect as President and Commander in Chief...They must be willing to affirm the Christian roots of this country and the heritage of free enterprise and religious freedom. The must disavow any connection to any other world opinion than one that puts American interests first! They must pledge to never be the instrument of American submission to any authority that subverts the High Law of the Constitution of the United States.At the very least as a potential Commander In Chief of United States Armed Forces they must be able pass and receive a personal Top Secret Clearance background check that we demand of our defenders.God Bless the USA Keep us Free!
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You're nobody til 51 percent cares
You may be Senator
You may possess the lobeyists and all their gold
But gold won't bring you a happy election
Why ...you are already old
The world still is the same, you will never change it
As sure as the stars shine above
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Hey Senator you missed the boat by being a fake conservative. Palin for President in 10
The world still is the same, you never change it
As sure as the stars shine above
Well, you're nobody til 51 percent loves you
So find yourself somevoters to love<
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I write here in Oklahoma Opinion my heartfelt opinions some inherited from my father and grandfathers and codified along my 71 year journey from Bromide, Oklahoma to Newcastle, Oklahoma. Read my words, make up your own mind and love your nieghbors and your country.
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Tracks of a friend in the snow
I have lain on the path of bone chilling fear ... watched as the death angel hovered near ... Midnight I rode the trail where black lion stalked ... my steed snorting his course stayed.. balked ... I lost my seat and the moon swirled around ... my head was the first to kiss frozen ground ... My body bounced down the Arbuckles crag ... the earth drank my blood and there I laid ... and dreamed the dream of death’s opening door ... of life unlived and path’s untracked with joy untasted ... my future my claim on living gone as I lay wasted ... but awareness came as light chased away the night ... My companion grazed close by had kept the cat away ... snow tracks around my death bed testified to his stay ... my shirt red soaked with life’s precious fluid staining the ground ... I drug my pain racked body to the saddle and started down ... past the still waiting mountain lion eyes peering from thick weeds ... the smell of my blood kept him waiting to quench his savage needs ... I looked back as he smelled my blood spilled in the snow where I lay ... then followed us for awhile before turning to find unguarded prey ... Danpatch went to equine heaven during the next season’s winter strife ... But in my dreams I still count the tracks of my friend who saved my life.
. . jdm10/23/2006 based on a true occurrence with some literary license applied...My dad was a cowboy and Danpatch had been his favorite horse until he was retired to be my horse. At the time of the poem Danpatch was over twenty years old and I was 12. Gosh I miss him!