Thanks to the helpful Rachel McKnight, communications director in Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office, I'm a little closer to understanding the "earmarks" in what NPR has been calling the "umnibpiss" bill recently passed by Congress.
Leaving aside the philosophy of earmarks, and whether anti-earmark Republicans are hypocrites, and all that, here's how to look for earmarks by sponsor - and if the sponsor's from your state or Congressional District, see where the $$$ are going.
MacKnight nicely explained that this bill, though passed halfway through the year it is supposed to fund, applies to Oct. 2008-Oct. 2009. Man was I confused by all the arm-waving and shouting in DC. And I don't ever watch cable punditroids. Heck, I don't watch broadcast station pundrones.
So bear in mind that "Fiscal Years" in the Fed lexicon go from 10-1-xxxx to 9-30-xxxx+1. The DC gummint being what it is, it can put stuff off while gazing upon other shiny objects. By contrast my county would be locked up and on vacation if a balanced budget wasn't in place by July 1 every year. I can't picture how small and medium businesses would get along if they just decided not to budget until six months had passed.
She explained how to find the projects thusly:
Congressionally directed funding disclosure tables are under joint explanatory statement links for each division. You can use the search function to find each members’ name. That will lead you to specific projects.The page with the PDFs is:
Pick a PDF and then search it using your Adobe Reader.
She was also careful to point out that earmarks are scarcely 2 percent of government funding in this bill. I'd tend to agree with those who say this is another case of noisy misdirection, given the enormous sums directed elsewhere into chronically wasteful budgets.