Rep. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) weekly feature, the egregious earmark of the week:
This week’s egregious earmark: $1,529,000 to the Appalachian Fruit Lab in Kearneysville, West Virginia.
“So far, efforts to enact an earmark moratorium have been fruitless,” said Flake.
Spotlight an abuse consistently enough, and eventually something good is bound to happen. Both the House and Senate rejected an official earmark moratorium in votes this week, but it must count for something that 29 Senators and 157 House members were willing to forego all earmarks. When Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) first tried to abolish the Bridge to Nowhere, he received all of 15 votes. In the House, the typical Flake amendment to remove earmarks received between 60 and 100 votes last year.
UPDATE — From a longtime reader and proven wise guy, on the “Appalachian Fruit Lab”:
I googled it. No website, but several references, including this one from 1999. Among other things, [the lab] is dwarfing pear trees:
Why dwarf the pear trees? It would allow, for the first time, a high-density production system for pears not dependent on quince rootstocks that dwarf scions but aren’t well adapted to major U.S. production districts…
See? A perfectly justifiable use of taxpayer money. Unless you want us to be always and forever dependent on quince rootstocks. Do you? Hmm?