the show: 08-31-06

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Transcript

Are the new viewers gone yet? (Ze winks.)


(Video: A Cowboy) Yeehaw! Whoo!

(Ze, laughing) It's a cowboy!


(Video: Blonde young woman -- Bonny from Noodlescar.com videoblog) Good morning Sports Racers, this is Ze Frank - your not-friend!

(Ze) You're not Ze Frank, I am! But you're my first not-friend. I can't wait 'til we not hang out.


(Video: little kid shouts unintelligibly)

(Ze) I'm sorry, what? I don't speak baby.

(Video: same little kid) This is my power move. (Kid spins around)

(Ze) Why is this baby shouting at me?

(Video: same little kid again) This is my POWER move. (Caption: POWER MOVE)

(Ze) Oh, it's a power move. I thought your baby was just freakin' out. I name you Pigeon Chaser!

Man, my demographics are all screwed up.


So Pigeon Chaser, let me tell you a little bedtime story. It's called the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

Once upon a time, and by that I mean now, there was a growing dissatisfaction among taxpayers. People felt that politicians were leveraging loopholes in the political process and as a result, there was a whole bunch of wasteful government spending.

That's bad!

What made it worse is that there was no centralized easy to use accounting mechanism that would essentially let the public audit the Government's spendings. So these four Senators Coburn, Obama, Carper, and McCain put together a bill. And they called it the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

The bill called for the creation of a website where the public could find easily information on any entity that received federal funding.

This information included the description of the purpose of each funding action, as well as an itemized breakdown of each transaction.

Hence, transparency, and therefore accountability. You with me, Pigeon Chaser?

So then, a long time ago, and by that I mean last month, the bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. And that meant that the bill could be considered on the floor of the Senate.

But just when things were looking up, something mysterious happened.

The bill was magically blocked!

It turns out that Senate rules allow any senator to anonymously block a bill for consideration, thereby effectively killing that bill.

The story might have ended here except for the fact that this subject pisses a lot of people off. The fact that Senate rules allow for anonymity made it hard for those people to hold the senator that blocked the bill accountable.

Since the senator who blocked the bill wouldn't 'fess up, a group of people on the Internet tried a different tactic.

A website called Porkbusters.org and their readers decided to contact senators directly and asked them to go on record denying that they had placed the hold.

Within twenty-four hours, Porkbusters had narrowed down the list of possible anonymous blockers to four senators.

And the very next day due to mounting pressure, the secret senator was revealed! The dude who blocked the bill turned out to be Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska.

Last year, Stevens backed a proposal to build a $223,000,000 bridge that would connect an island with fifty people on it to the Alaskan mainland.

Stevens' spokesperson said that the senator placed the anonymous hold because "He wants a cost/benefit analysis to make sure it doesn't create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and not meet its purpose.

Right. You want to do a cost/benefit analysis on a site that lets the public do a cost/benefit analysis on you!

(Gruff voice) But websites can be expensive! I mean, what if the web designer wants a plane? And everyone knows you can't land a plane without one of them airports.

Anyway, Pigeon Chaser... sleep tight.


I'm going to take a vacation. I'll be back on Tuesday.

But check the site over the weekend. There might be a little surprise.

(Singing) Happy day after your birthday day, happy day after your birthday day. All your friends have gone home, and you're all alone. Happy day after your birthday day.

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