Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wasteful spending, why I'm wrong, and midcentury I can live with.

Quite the mishmash of things bouncing around in my world. Well, what else is new.Now that Domino is dead (let's take a moment for a heavy sigh) Desire to Inspire has become my new favorite place for interior enlightenment. It's heavy on the mid century look, which I normally don't gravitate to, but this gorgeous green room I can live with- probably because of how traditional the sofa and tailored ottoman are. I love the X-desk just like I love little X-benches/ottomans, and the beautiful half-moon door frame reminds me of my favorite college apartment and, well, I'll bare my nerdiness, Bag End, home of Bilbo Baggins in Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings- I warned you, giant nerd).This room below has such a cool Moroccan vibe, and I love the leather-like finish on the walls. The richly colored walls and bright white upholstery remind me of Capri- its a very Mediterranean, breezy, ocean-view-while-its stifling-hot feel.
Secondly, this stimulus package is turning into a giant mess. Senate Republicans have just released this GOP Leaders' Waste List which notes all the projects currently in the stimulus package that they think are ridiculous pork pet projects, and certainly aren't going to create the kind of jobs Americans need to get back on their feet.

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.
• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
• $500 million for state and local fire stations.
• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
• $850 million for Amtrak.
• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Which of these are wasteful, and which are useful?
Finally, a story that illustrates how my judgments are flawed, all the time:
I take the DART train to work every day. This is awesome, because its green and free; my office foots the bill. It is, however, also dangerous, and that point was driven home to me last week when one of my fellow female coworkers witnessed a brutal beating/robbery by gang members last week in broad daylight, ON THE TRAIN not the station platform, all over a stupid little Ipod. So I've been extra cautious this week, over and above my usual paranoid state while on the train.
Yesterday morning I am late, and underdressed for the cold, and the train is full. I am standing by the doors, where I have been warned not to stand because it is easier for a theif to grab your purse when the train is stopped and run out the doors and get away.
Two really rough looking young men are sitting a few seats in front of me. When I get on one turns around and stares at me. I return his glare with a really mean look (this is a thing I do on the train....). He turns around again a few seconds later, and again, and again. I am now holding my keys in my pocket, getting alarmed. Then he nudges his friend, and makes a gesture toward me, and a shock of adrenaline goes through me as he starts to stand up, and I am certain he something is about to go down, and I am preparing myself to make a scene.
He comes toward me, and then he speaks: "Maam, would you like my seat?"
And I am so ashamed of myself, and I say "No, thank you."
Where is the balance between being crazy and being smart? Where do I get to hold onto my prejudice because they might save your life (or just your cell phone, or your wedding ring) on public transportation where robberies and attacks are real, and where am I required to see people as Jesus sees them? Am I a Christian, or am I a small woman by herself? Is it that black and white?
All I am sure of is that the DART makes me think about these things, confront the feelings and judgments I have on that train about strangers every morning and evening, and for that reason alone I am certain that riding it is good for me.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

What a wonderful post! This is the katie wilhoit...err...kilpatrick that I love! Decorating inspirations, current events, nerdy references and ending with a thought provoking sociological question (left unanswered intentionally to encourage your readers to think!)

I love it! and love you!