The earmark lives. Despite much public clamoring about lawmakers loading up budgets with expensive pet projects, not much changed this year: The domestic and defense budgets contain more than 11,000 such earmarks, the Washington Post reports. "It would take leadership in both parties—and a lot more shame—to ever rein them in," said a watchdog group.
The number of earmarks is technically down, but critics say that's just because Congress reworked the definition—"like saying you’re meeting your weight-loss goal by not counting your backside.” One $20 million project funds an Alaskan “ferry to nowhere." Another gives $9 million to Kentucky for "rural domestic preparedness." President Bush yesterday threatened to cancel thousands of the earmarks.