- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Welcome to the long hot summer of “recovery.” Republicans are vexed that some states have spent $20 million in economic stimulus funds on roadside signs touting local Recovery Act improvement projects. The towering signs are emblazoned with the motto, “putting America to work” in neon red, and are built to last.

“The Obama administration’s supposed dedication to transparency does not extend to the cost of these signs, but reports indicate tens of millions of dollars may have been spent. On what planet is this a good use of taxpayer money?” asks Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, who calls the signage “stimulus propaganda.”

Other Republicans have joined in the hue and cry. Rep. Darrell Issa of California already has called for an investigation while Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois - which has spent $650,000 on signs - proposed that funding for promotional signage for stimulus projects be prohibited. It was defeated by a vote of 232-184, despite 11 Democrats siding with a unanimous Republican Conference eager for spending cuts.

“Look, I’m glad that Republicans have noticed the nearly 11,000 road projects that are under way this summer. We have encouraged states to let people know how their tax money is being spent. Some post signs, some don’t,” explains White house spokesman Robert Gibbs. “I believe that as a matter of spending, those signs account for about 3 cents out of every $100 that is spent on the recovery.”

A STRONG BREW

They’ve thought about it for a few days. Now the National Tea Party Federation, among the largest coalition of “tea party” activists, collectively rejects the recent NAACP claim that the movement is racist.

“As an African-American, I expect the NAACP to condemn the violent crimes in our neighborhoods, the genocide of millions of unborn black babies, and the high dropout rate among our black youth,” says Gilbert Wilkerson, a board member of the Richmond Tea Party.

“Instead, the NAACP steps over the weightier matters to condemn the tea party for unproven racial slurs and a few offensive posters about the president - which the tea party itself has condemned. Is this how the many black supporters of the NAACP want their money used?” Mr. Wilkerson asks.

“A false charge of racism is itself, racist,” says David Webb, co-founder of New York’s TeaParty365.

“Our group is comprised of at least 90 percent Hispanics/Latinos. We embrace anyone regardless of color, race, religion, gender or political affiliation, unlike the NAACP,” notes Marion G. Santiago, co-chairwoman of the Laredo Tea Party Patriots in Texas.

Tea party sympathizer Andrew Breitbart, founder of BigHollywood.com, detects greater political damage.

“The NAACP - like the Democratic Party which it now exclusively serves - is in search of a desperate play to protect the party from November electoral losses,” Mr. Breitbart insists. “People’s eyes are now wide open to the complicity of the once-respected civil rights organization and once-respected Democratic Party.”

THE CHELSEA STATS

July 31: Date of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to investment banker Mark Mezvinsky.

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