26 April 2009

Porkers in DC Really Have No Shame: Murtha's Ozymandias Airport

I drove by a freeway exit on I-77 today in West Virignia called "Robert Byrd Drive" near the town of Beckley. Jeez, I know the Senator and ex-Klansman is taking forever to kick the bucket, but aren't you supposed to wait until the obituary has been written before you name high schools, roads, and monuments after a person? It reminded of the opulent Norm Dicks Government Center (a congressman from WA) located in the working class city of Bremerton that I shuddered everytime I drove past on my way to the ferry. It also reminded me of Saddam commemorating himself with all sorts of crazy shit in Baghdad, but it's the weekend so I'll be polite and not compare DC politicians to the Ba'ath party in this post.

But, CDR Salamander draws our attention to an ABC report on an airport named after King of the BBQs, John Murtha. Of course the airport is federally subsidized and only has 20 passengers a day.

It's just like a modern version of the definitive poem on mankind's hubris: Ozymandias.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


subrookie said...

I'm a little torn by the media attention small airports get to subsidies. Alaska is generally known as a "welfare state" by the lower 48 because most, if not all, of it's interstate air travel is subsidized by the federal and state government. Not to mention you routinely fly through "Ted Stevens Int'n Airport". Although it is a major cargo hub.

The same program that subsidizes small airport service for Murtha subsidizes air travel from Seattle and Portland to the Tri-Cities, Eugene, Port Angeles, and Kenewick.

Alaska is a little different. Without air service there would be no fresh food to towns like Yakitat, Nome, Cordova or Petersburg. I remember sitting on a plane in Yakitat once watching them off load milk, eggs, butter, etc. One of my favorite Alaska stories is when the weather turned bad in Nome and the planes couldn't fly in a buddy of mine told me everyone was living off canned food, smoked salmon and frozen moose meat. Although not the same as Pennsylvania don't judge all of these programs by what Murtha is doing in Pennsylvania.

subrookie said...

I should have said intrastate sorry.

Grung_e_Gene said...

I thought Murtha said 'Thanks but no Thanks for that Airport to Nowhere!'

LT, you had a good post a while back pointing out the dichotomy of My Rep brings home money for jobs, Your Rep steals federal funds as Pork.

Government spending is considered good when it "saves" the New London, CT Naval Submarine Base from the evil BRAC, for instance, but bad when it comes to funding a High Speed Rail System...

Nixon said...


There's too much taxpayer dollars at stake these days, and I think that's why everything is so hyper-partisan.


THen why are Alaskans always getting checks from the state government?

subrookie said...

They get checks because the cost of living is about 50% higher than living in the lower 48. The last gallon of gas I bought in Cordova, AK cost $5.53 a gallon when Seattlites where spending around $3. To be honest the trust money Alaska residents receive is less than $2K a year, funded by oil taxes. It's more like rent for the giant pipeline they let go across the state.