You ever have a monumentally crappy weekend, so to avoid thinking about it you spend a bunch of Internet time doing research on something having absolutely nothing to do with all the crappy things leading to your crappy weekend? While listening to opera?
Yeah, me too.
So I’m looking at the spiffy government spending sites, recovery.gov and USAspending.gov. Just the sort of nerd brain candy to mentally evade a crappy weekend. And clicking around I come across two interesting things, at least they were to me.
- Over at Recovery.gov, I find that some attorney in Valencia County is getting $111,000 of “Recovery and Reinvestment Act” funds from the Small Business Administration “to assist small business concerns by providing long-term financing through the sale of debentures to the private sector”. No specifics on whether this means the lawyer is getting the loan money, or is playing some role in facilitating that others get loans. Weird thing is, I look up the recipient firm, and it’s run by Elias Barela, who I find just happens to be New Mexico’s 8th District Representative, serving as a Democrat since 2007.
- Then over at USAspending.gov I do a little database checking and find that the 10 biggest New Mexico recipients of “Recovery Act” contracts so far are in the business of:
- #1 ($121 million) “Defense Environmental Cleanup”
- #2 ($63 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #3 ($51 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #4 ($12 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #5 ($10 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #6 ($4 million) “Defense Environmental Cleanup”
- #7 ($2.8 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #8 ($2.1 million) “Weapons Activities”
- #9 ($1.6 million) “Federal Buildings Fund”
- #10 ($1.3 million) “Isotope Production and Distribution”
That’s “URS Corporation” getting the $121 million to clean up the Defense and Energy Department’s messes, with “Los Alamos National Security LLC” accounting for most of the “weapons activities” (i.e. creating the messes).
Am I surprised that the “Recovery and Reinvestment Act” seems to suffer from the same corruption and moral bankruptcy as every other public and private enterprise in recent memory? No.
I am a bit surprised that having spiffy new websites like recovery.gov and USAspending.gov to quickly catch such questionable and unfortunate expenditures hasn’t seem to slow these practices down. Not at all.
Now I’m sure there’s somebody out there who can correct me on all this, and convince me that the award to Rep. Barela is not only completely above-board, but constitutes a vital supply of funds to maintain a vitally needed and all-around vital service. I’m also sure there’s an explanation about why so much “Recovery and Reinvestment Act” money is going to the same Military/Industrial jokers who have made a fabulous living off the government for decades.
Maybe those well-founded explanations will also help distract me from my monumentally crappy weekend. I look forward to hearing them. Until then, it’s back to “Rodelinda” and more crappy thoughts.
P.S.: What Frank Rich said. I know I’m already bugged, but this crap is bugging me. Good to see it’s bugging Mr. Rich as well. I wonder if he had a crappy weekend.