Today, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) unveiled the first winner of the “Silver Fleece” Award for government waste profiled in “Wastebook on Facebook,” a joint initiative of Senators Kirk and Tom Coburn (R-OK). On Wastebook, thousands across the country voted to give the Silver Fleece award to a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) of $998,000 to provide poetry for signs in zoos.
The Silver Fleece award pays homage to Senator William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece” award given for government waste between 1975 and 1988. “We named our award the ‘Silver’ Fleece because in these times of austerity and we can no longer afford a Golden Fleece award. I started the Wastebook on Facebook’s Silver Fleece Award with the intention of highlighting examples of Washington “fleecing” American taxpayers,” said Senator Kirk.
As Congress reviews the White House budget proposal for 2012, Wastebook on Facebook will continue to profile government waste. With 1,087 votes (63%), the first Silver Fleece Award goes to a $998,000 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for signs with poetry in zoos. A $615,000 grant to build a Grateful Dead archive got 412 votes (24%). In last place with 217 votes (13%) was a $456,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to Stanford University for a study of online dating and why political figures were vague on social networking sites.
In the next round of Wastebook on Facebook, fans will vote on giving the Silver Fleece award to one of the following items:
1- $460,00 for the National Science Foundation to investigate why people lie in text messages
2- $150,000 for Monkton, Vermont to put up “critter crossing” signs warning drivers not to run over salamanders, frogs and other amphibians
3- $508,253 from the National Science Foundation to the Minnesota Zoo to create a vide game called “WolfQuest”
Senator Kirk’s Wastebook on Facebook page will host regular guest choices by other Senators and Congressmen to pick monthly Silver Fleece Award winners while also posting regular Op/Ed pieces, news stories and videos that expose Washington’s wasteful ways.
To view Wastebook, visit here: Wastebook on Facebook
Attached are further details on the Poetry in Zoos project.
The signs for poetry in zoos grant was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through their National Leadership Grant project. The recipient was "Poets House and Public Libraries" in New York. Poets House in turn sent the money out through its "Language of Conservation" project, which is described here: http://poetshouse.org/librarieszoos.htm.