Monday, July 2, 2007


...or should I say 'WHEN PIGS FLY." When Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) was asked about his earmark request for a $231,000 SBA grant he said that he "would not request any Federal funding for the airport." Perhaps he should have just said "Oh you mean THAT Abraham Lincoln Airport." You see there is Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport in Springfield, Illinois, which is served by United and American Airlines among others. But Jackson's earmark was for Abraham Lincoln National Airport in University Park which is served by, well nobody. Because it doesn't actually exist. Not only does it not exist but there are currently no plans to build it. Maybe that is why Jackson is only requesting $231,000 "to promote minority hiring and contracting" or as his spokeman said "to study how best transition this rural area into an airport economy." I am guessing the first step in the transition would be to move the cows and build an airport. Maybe Jackson realized that earmarking nearly a quarter million dollars for "bovine relocation assistance" wouldn't have made much sense in a Financial Services Committee Appropriations conference report. But I don't think building the airport was ever really the point. You see the Lincoln Airport Commission's Executive Director is a friend of Jackson's. Well more than a friend. Actually Richard Bryant is a full-time paid staffer in Jackson's regional office. So as taxpayers we get to pay for Bryant's Airport Commission as well as his staff salary. One has to wonder how he possibly has time to devote to these two vital jobs. Okay, maybe being the Executive Director of an Airport that doesn't exist doesn't take up all that much time. But his job as a waiter in the airport lounge must keep him hopping.

As an additional note, I found the $231,000 amount of the grant iteresting. The first time I ran into that number was reading the analysis of the Financial Services Committee Approriations Bill over at www.taxpayer.net and I was struck by how many SBA grants were for exactly $231,000. Initially I thought maybe there was a program with that dollar amount limit for individual grants. Researching further I found out that it was the maximum dollar amount that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) the sub-committee chairman allocated to all the members of the Approriations Committee for their pet pork projects.