politics and the blues

c.n. cnevitt@HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 30 08:33:42 EST 2004

Who says politics don't have anything to do with the blues...read
this article from Nov 24th's Jackson Ms Clarion-Ledger, and you find
out "their" assertion was wrong. (did Trent Lott push to get the BB
King Museum the $1,000,000 of taxpayer dollars, or was it someone else)?
I don't know if this 388BillionDollar spending bill is indicative of this
Congress's taste in music--but BB got twice as much as much as the Country
Music Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame combined! Well, better
blues than bombs, I reckon.

November 24, 2004
Funding approved for medical mall, roads

Millions for Miss. in $388 billion federal spending bill

By Ana Radelat
Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau


WASHINGTON — Congress has approved millions in new spending for
Mississippi, including $5 million for the Jackson Medical Mall and $6
million for a new I-55 interchange to improve access to the Nissan North
American manufacturing plant.

A massive spending bill approved last weekend also includes $1 million to
begin work on a B.B. King Museum in Indianola and $12 million for the
controversial Yazoo Pumps project that aims to prevent flooding in the
Delta. The project is opposed by environmentalists.

"As in each year's federal appropriations process, Mississippi's interests
are well represented in this funding bill," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.,
who sponsored many of the earmarks.


Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Appropriations
Committee, also hailed local projects in the bill. "Mississippi
communities, school districts, research centers and universities will
benefit from the federal funds contained in this bill," Cochran said.

The Mississippi projects are contained in a $388 billion spending bill
that President Bush is expected to sign soon.


$5 million for the Jackson Medical Mall.

$1.75 million for the Jackson International Airport.

$2.75 million for the Pearl-Richland Intermodal Connector.

$2 million to continue work on the new Trent Lott National Center for
Excellence in Economic Development on the University of South Mississippi

$750,000 for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

$3.55 million for a series of projects for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw

$6 million for the Delta Regional Authority.

$4 million for the Stennis Space Center's commercial technology program.

Nearly $30 million for a series of projects at Mississippi State
University, including $496,000 for the Institute for Furniture
Manufacturing and Management, $521,000 for aquaculture research and
$900,000 to study cattle and nutrient management in stream crossings.

The bill was approved on a 344-51 vote in the House and a 65-30 vote in
the Senate.

All members of Mississippi's congressional delegation voted for the bill,
except Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who said lawmakers were not given enough
time to debate the bill's provisions. He said the measure was filled with
wasteful spending, such as $100,000 for the Tiger Woods Foundation and
$80,000 for the San Diego Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community

"I'm not willing to take a lot of garbage for a few good things," Taylor

House and Senate leaders said they held the line on special projects this
year. But the bill still contains more than 11,000 earmarks worth about
$15.8 billion.

Every Mississippi lawmaker, including Taylor, had pet projects.

Rep. Roger Wicker, R-1st District, for example, used his clout on a House
appropriations subcommittee with oversight over the Department of Health
and Human Services to funnel millions in medical research money to the
state, including nearly $4 million to build an imaging center at the
Arthur Guyton Laboratory Research Complex in Jackson.

Anti-spending groups took aim at the earmarks.

Keith Ashdown, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, included
funding for the B.B. King Museum on his list of wasteful "pork."

"The thrill is gone when you're paying $1 million for Mr. King's museum,"
Ashdown said.

But Allan Hammons, an advertising executive and executive director of the
B.B. King Museum Foundation, said he was grateful for the money.

Groundbreaking on the museum, which also will be financed with individual
and corporate donations, is scheduled for June. Hammons said it would take
12 to 18 months to complete the project.

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