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PORK Neal Mulligan neal The president-elect may be getting all the attention on Capitol Hill these days, but his onetime rival for the Republican nomination, Sen. John McCain, is back to business, issuing a press release denouncing a pork-laden spending bill supported by most of his Republican colleagues. McCain spotlights more than $24 billion in what he calls pork-barrel spending. He asks his colleagues:

Who among us will ever forget the 1.5 million taxpayer dollars we've already approved to restore "a 56-foot iron rendition of the Roman god of fire and metalworking, Vulcan"?

the $1.5 million for sunflower research?
the $400,000 for the Southside Sportsman Club?
the $250,000 to develop improved varieties of potatoes?
the $100,000 for the "Trees Forever Program"?
the $176,00 for the Reindeer Herders Association?
Or the $5 million for insect rearing?
. . . There's more to come in this year-end budget deal, which has at least $1.9 billion in pork. For instance, in the Conference Report for the Commerce, State, and Justice Appropriations bill, some examples of earmarks having never undergone the appropriate merit-review process include:

$3 million for Red Snapper research
$1 million for Hawaiian coral reef monitoring
$500,000 for the California Ozone study
$200,000 for the Kotzebue Sound test fishery for king crab and sea snail
$600,000 for fall chinook rearing for the Columbia River hatcheries program
$750,000 for bottle-nosed dolphins
$3,338,000 for sea turtles
$1 million for winter pollack survey in Alaska
$1 million for the implementation of the National Height Modernization (NHM) system in North Carolina

$300,000 for research on the Charleston bump
$150,000 for lobster sampling

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