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Fritz Feds

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sen. Proxmire, R.I.P.

Former Senator Bill Proxmire, from my home state of Wisconsin, has passed away.
From the article:
Proxmire became a household name for his monthly Golden Fleece awards, started in 1975, to highlight "the biggest or most ridiculous or most ironic example of government waste." The ceremony, as such, was a speech on the Senate floor.
Proxmire's awards went to studies that used public money to explore the effects of booze on fish, why prisoners like to escape from jail and the shapeliness of airplane stewardesses.
He gave the Army Corps of Engineers the 1976 award of the year for "the worst record of cost overruns in the entire federal government -- 47 percent of Corps current projects had cost overruns of 100 percent or more."
The award backfired in 1976, when Proxmire gave the prize to a Michigan researcher for studying aggressiveness in monkeys. The scientist sued for libel and later settled out of court with the senator. Proxmire, criticized because the Senate paid his $124,000 legal bill, helped repay the money.


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