I missed the debate last night because I had to get to bed early to be fresh for a class this morning, but I caught that McCain was pounding away at one of his oddly-chosen earmark pet peeves. In the first debate he was annoyed at money being spent on testing the DNA of grizzly bears, even though there’s a little thing called the Endangered Species Act that requires the monitoring of species — like bears — that are under threat. It’s hard to count bears directly, so you snag their fur and check the DNA. No big deal, but I can imagine how, taken out of context that could sound odd. McCain knows the context, I’m sure, but he does want to have his fun, trying to get us outraged at alleged wasteful government spending. (Of course there is such waste, but the example was just weird).
[Sen. Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?
Okay, you hear “overhead projector” and “$3 million” and “planetarium” and unless you have some cognitive processing deficits you’re hardly going to assume that this is something for PowerPoint presentations at the planetarium board meetings. Hmm. Let’s think. Projecting overhead. In a planetarium. What could that possible be about?
So on Flickr you can see the difference between an office OHP and a planetarium projector (and I bet that McCain is the first person ever to have confused the two).
As the Chicago Tribune points out:
McCain’s phrase suggests Obama spent $3 million on an old-fashioned piece of office equipment that projects charts and text on a wall screen. In fact, the money was for an overhaul of the theater system that projects images of stars and planets for educational shows
So let’s see. We have an educational tool. Possibly also a potential tourist attraction. And funding this is bad, why?
I can’t help but think that McCain is pro-stupidity in two ways:
1. He thinks we won’t connect the dots between “overhead projector” and “$3 million” and “planetarium.”
2. He doesn’t support science education.
Funny how both of the earmark examples have been about science.