- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 8, 2009

Last week, the White House embraced congressional Democrats’ economic stimulus bill and pooh-poohed Republican objections to excessive spending in it.

A White House spokesman noted that excessive spending in the $885 billion legislation adds up to $699 million, or about “seven-hundredths of one percent.” That’s chump change in Washington.

I wish Washington would send a little of that chump change my way once in a while. I’d be glad to take seven-hundredths of one percent of it. That would be about $483,000, if my math is correct. That’s change I can believe in.

The thing about chump change in Washington is that I’m always the chump paying the change.

You know, the federal government’s attitude about excessive spending would make me think twice about it if it were an investment firm: “Yes, Mr. Bryant, we’re going to take your money and do big things with it — provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare. I don’t want to get all preambly on you. But it’s all for the future. Big-picture stuff.

“Of course, we’re going to lose quite a bit of your money. We won’t have any idea where it went. Fraud, waste, abuse — we just won’t know. That’s just how things work around here.

“Oh, and one other thing. You won’t get a direct say in how we use your money. And we won’t tell you how we’ve used all your money — the part we can keep track of, that is. OK, that’s two things. Numbers confuse me.”


Did you hear about NASA’s robotic rover on Mars? It is refusing to work.

The rover, dubbed Spirit, was designed to last only 90 days, but it has been transmitting data for five years. It stopped last weekend.

In order to determine its location, scientists ordered Spirit to orient its cameras to the sun. Spirit said it couldn’t find the sun.

“We don’t have a good explanation yet for the way Spirit has been acting for the past few days,” a NASA representative said.

I do: Martian takeover!

This is kinda like that scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey” where the spacewalking astronaut tells the computer that controls his ship, “Open the pod bay doors, HAL,” and the computer says quietly, “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.” Only this is creepier.

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