No Stimulus Funds for Pastel Lights, Saunas, Blago

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TPM reports that Sen. Tom Coburn has introduced an amendment to the stimulus bill that would prevent any spending on “zero-gravity chairs,” “rotating pastel lights,” or “dry heat saunas.” This isn’t the first time the Oklahoma Republican has gone after such taxpayer-funded frivolities. In all the hullabaloo over earmarks, it’s worth remembering that members of Congress can also slip what might be called anti-earmarks into legislation. We recently collected some classic examples of these “inappropriations,” including Coburn’s earlier attempt to reign in an outbreak of relaxation at the CDC, which had blown money on the aforementioned zero-g chairs, pastel lights, and saunas. No doubt a few more proposals to restrict who gets stimulus dollars will surface before the Senate’s done. And one anti-earmark in the House version of the bill is now moot—the one barring Illinois from receiving a single cent until Rod Blagojevic is no longer governor. 

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THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

At least we hope they will, because that’s our approach to raising the $350,000 in online donations we need right now—during our high-stakes December fundraising push.

It’s the most important month of the year for our fundraising, with upward of 15 percent of our annual online total coming in during the final week—and there’s a lot to say about why Mother Jones’ journalism, and thus hitting that big number, matters tremendously right now.

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So we’re going to try making this as un-annoying as possible. In “Let the Facts Speak for Themselves” we give it our best shot, answering three questions that most any fundraising should try to speak to: Why us, why now, why does it matter?

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