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Stimulating Minnesota

The Democrats’ $787billion dollar “stimulus” bill is one of the defining political events of 2009. Spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need is not usually thought to be constructive, but President Obama instructed us in the higher wisdom under which the Democrats are operating. Verum Serum has compiled a list of the top 10 most ridiculous uses of stimulus funds. It’s an impressive list.
As a Dartmouth alum, I swelled with pride to find number 9 on the list: a Dartmouth College laboratory study involving “sexual arousal in anesthetized female rats” ($9,870). Congratulations are surely in order, but it really goes to show how lame the government is. Everyone knows that fraternity row is where you go on campus for serious studies in sexual arousal in anesthetized females.
Our friends at the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota demonstrate that one can compile an impressive list of improvident government spending with a focus restricted to one state. In a press release sent out yesterday, the FFM has identified ridiculous “stimulus” projects in Minnesota:

A year-end review of the stimulus spending spree indicates Minnesota has been designated to receive $4,755,777,465 stimulus dollars, raising Minnesotans’ share of the national debt by $911 for every man, woman and child. And it’s not just bike paths and “socially conscious puppet shows” that taxpayers are bankrolling.
In the spirit of the season, the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota sorted through newly available data and compiled a last minute list of stimulating gifts presented through the generosity of current and future taxpayers. Tis the season!
Franconia – $50,000 for a sculpture park:
The public may get in for free to view “Spitting Bazookas” among other sculptures at the outdoor Franconia Sculpture Park, but not the taxpayers, who also help foot the bill for special events on Earth Day, Summer Solstice and World Peace Day.
Willmar – $48,394 for surveillance cameras:
The “Police” warned us about watching “every breath you take and every move you make” and evidently authorities in Willmar are in tune with them. County and local law enforcement received stimulus funding for a high tech video surveillance system to monitor risky public areas and at least “increase public perception of security” in this west central Minnesota community.
Cloquet – $16,486 to monitor a Hell’s Angels rally:
When Hell’s Angels targeted Cloquet last summer, it evidently became a national security issue. Local authorities monitoring the 2009 Hell’s Angels USA rally in Cloquet billed for stimulus funding for the cost of overtime.
University of Minnesota – $190,464 to study sex reversal in mice:
When taxpayers were promised that economic stimulus funds would be spent only on the most critical public projects, few would have predicted that one of those projects would involve sex reversal in mice. But that’s exactly what the University of Minnesota received nearly $200,000 to study.
University of Minnesota – $230,280 for stop smoking outreach to the homeless:
The University of Minnesota received more than $230,000 not to combat the serious problem of homelessness, but instead to stop homeless people from smoking. The university’s plan involves distributing nicotine patches, transit passes, and debit cards to participants. In order to enhance participation in this study, the university intends to produce “attractive intervention materials.”
Burnsville – $208, 900 to implement new Sustainability Guide Plan and convert holiday lights to LED lighting:
Burnsville’s Sustainability Guide Plan is the result of a year-long process involving ten teams of consultants. But the really pricey part of this greenprint is implementing it. The city has acknowledged that its best chance to fund this plan lies outside the city’s coffers. That’s why they’ve sought grants, public/private partnerships and, of course, federal stimulus funds. With the Sustainability Guide Plan, Burnsville is modifying an old maxim: Think globally, act locally, fund federally.
St. Cloud – $798,396 to improve “reliever” airport with no commercial flights:
The St. Cloud Regional Airport is a self-described “reliever airport” for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. But what’s to relieve? Though commercial airlines have curtailed daily passenger flights, civic leaders continue to go full throttle ahead in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus funding in hopes the airport takes off–someday.
Regency Beauty Institute – $4,573,458 for Pell grants:
An attractive financial package for qualifying students at beauty institutes administered by Twin Cities-based Regency Corporation in Minnesota and several other states.

The FFM press release comes with links to each of the projects it recognizes on its list. I can’t find a link to the press release on the FFM site, but i hope to update this post with it later today.
UPDATE: The FFM press release has been posted here, with links to the highlighted items.

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