The 451-page bailout bill is loaded with earmarks. Earmarks are governmental gifts, either through the direct dispersal of funds or the granting of tax exemptions. Even our simplest bills are chock full of these little presents to companies, states, and groups of people.
In a more honest country, the insertion of earmarks would be seen for what it is: blackmail. A senator or representative says to his or her colleagues: “Gee, I’d really like to vote for the bill authorizing the funds needed to explode that asteroid hurtling towards Earth. But, golly, I can’t do so unless you let my friends in the toilet bowl industry get a tax break on their kids’ Halloween costumes.”
All of our congresspeople claim to despise earmarks. But the extortion continues. Why?
I think it's because references to earmarks permeate our culture. In the following quiz, for example, I’ve isolated ten products, services, places, or groups for whom earmarks were sneakily entered into the bailout bill. Your job is to correctly identify the earmark recipient in each quote. As an extra help, I’ve given the source of each item, plus the page number on which the earmark appears in the bill. (Warning: not all the earmarks in the bill are referred to in the exact same words I’ve used.)
Just one answer per comment, please. And no more than two answers in total per commenter.
- Bring me my earmarks of desire!
(William Blake – p. 300. Sec. 503)
- If such as came for earmark, sir, went home shorn,
Where is the wrong I did them?
(Robert Browning – p. 295, Sec. 325)
- De Camptown earmark five miles long
Oh doo dah day.
(Stephen Foster – p. 290, Sec. 317)
- There’s nought, no doubt, so much the spirit calms
As earmark and true religion.
(George Gordon, Lord Byron – p. 279, Sec. 308)
- No one ever went broke in earmark underestimating the intelligence of the public.
(Elsa Maxwell – p. 298, Sec. 502)
- In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a earmark
(Traditional – p. 280, Sec. 310 & 311)
- The earmark [2 words] is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking
(Edna St. Vincent Millay – p. 289, Sec. 316)
- I could never tell for sure whether I was in America or Earmark.
(Paul Theroux – p. 279, Sec. 309)
- One little, two little, three little earmarks
(Traditional Children’s Song – p. 288, Sec. 314 & 315)
- She stood in tears among the alien earmark
(John Keats – p. 182, Sec. 202)
[Update (as of 10/06/08, 1:15 p.m. EDT): Fictional Treats from the Federal Treasury for — Gareth McCaughan (#1); DB (#3); yinyang (#4); yunshui (#5); Chicken Girl (#6); yinyang (#8); 1minionsopinion (#9); Gareth McCaughan (#10)]