Just a projector, McCain?

During last night’s debate, McCain talked, during one of his trademark rants on pork barrel spending, about Obama earmarking $3 million for a projector for “the city of Chicago.”

What McCain failed to mention is that the projector in question is the giant-ass projector at the Adler Planetarium, the one that shows the sky projections for students and groups. The Adler Planetarium is a national treasure. It was the first planetarium built in the Western hemisphere, and it is the oldest one still in existence. The projector in use is 40 years old, so old that it can’t be repaired. The parts aren’t made anymore. So, when a part of it breaks, it just stays broken. The earmark was to buy a new projector for the Sky Theater as well as renovate the ceiling and seats.

To add insult to injury, the bill with the earmark never went through. Adler still doesn’t have the funding.

Senator McCain, join me over here on camera three. Your own running mate got funding for her state for $233 million for a bridge that would have, at best, helped 12,000 people in the course of a year. (It matters not to me that she decided to blow the money on something else once the earmark was removed.) Adler Planetarium draws, at worst, a million visitors each year. So, Senator McCain, your running mate blew $19,416 per person with potential benefit. Senator Obama asked for (but did not receive) $3 per person with potential benefit. I understand that political games are games, but, Senator McCain, is our nation’s proud history (and future) of scientific achievement really something you would toss aside so easily? Is it something you and your staff scoff at? Did you guys sit around a table and say, “Man, I wish we could get this Obama guy on some kind of frivolous spending. Hey look, his town would have gotten $3 million for this earmark. Oh, it’s for a planetarium. Well, no mind, we’ll call it JUST A PROJECTOR.”

That little quip of McCain’s happens to be one of the few moments of the debate that I managed to watch before leaving for work this morning. More grr. More argh.

Reference: McCain and the Adler Planetarium at Chicagoist

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