The Corpus Callosum

Looting the Treasury


That graphic is only a teaser, it is only peripherally related to theis
post, and is not scientifically valid.  Still, it is nice to
see.  It is from an article on, Spying,
the Constitution — and the ‘I-word’
.  The
article is from 2005.  It used to link to an online poll.
 The link in the article is gone, but the poll is
still live
.  Every once and a while some
pro-impeachment citizen links to it, so the results have gotten wildly

This post is about an awful thing, that does not rise
sink to the level of an impeachable offense.  The Department
of Justice is giving away grants, with the stated purpose of funding
programs that reduce teen crime and recidivism.  

Some people are alleging that these grants are going to programs that
have political connections, as opposed to those with merit.

I wonder what gave them that idea?  

This photo is from one of the winners…


Nah, no political connection there.  

It is a program that supposedly gets teens to turn away from the gang
life, by getting them interested in golf.  The Founding
Corporate Sponsor
is the Shell Oil Company.  Their honorary
is George Herbert Walker Bush. The program is The
First Tee
.  They got a half-million dollars.
 (As though Shell couldn’t afford to spend another 0.6%
of their daily net profit
on the program.)

Department Official Awards $500,000 Grant to Golf Group

Former Staffer Tells ABC News Anti-Crime Funds Given to
Programs With The “Right” Connections.


June 9, 2008

A senior Justice Department official says a $500,000 federal grant to
the World Golf Foundation is an appropriate use of money designed to
deal with juvenile crime in America.

“We need something really attractive to engage the gangs and the street
kids, golf is the hook,” said J. Robert Flores, the administrator of
the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

The Justice Department, in a decision by Flores, gave the money to the
World Golf Foundation’s First Tee program, even though Justice
Department staffers had rated the program 47th on a list of 104
applicants. The allegations were first reported earlier this year by
the trade journal Youth Today. [link]

“I don’t know why people insist on denigrating it, it’s a sound
program,” Flores told ABC News.

Yeah, every time I go golfing*, I seen a ton of gang kids out there.
 And they usually stop off at the clubhouse and read the Wall
Street Journal
while drinking some nice, cold milk.
 Most of them were enthusiastic about having met George Bush,
too.  The Secret Service doesn’t mind it a bit.  All
of those kids gladly exchange their 9-millimeter pistols for 9-irons.

9mm pistol, on Flickr, photo
by bibliocone, (not a gang member)
Some rights

9-iron, on Flickr, photo
by chrisheuer, (not a gang member)
AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike
Some rights

Murray Waas provides some perspective on this:

story I worked on out tonight: Fund suicide prevention programs for
teens or teach them Golf?

The story is about a quarter of a billion program run out of an obscure
office in the Department of Justice known as the Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention. That office is supposed to fund
these like training for corrections officers to prevent locked up kids
from being sexually abused or harmed. One of its primary missions of
OJJDP is also supposed to fund efforts to remove kids from adult jails-
where the kids not only are sexually assaulted, beaten and killed by
adult inmates, but kids are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than
when they are jailed with other juveniles.

So where is the funding going instead? Golf. The World Golf Association
got a $500,000 grant from OJJDP to promote golf…

To be clear, I have nothing against the First Tee program.  If
Shell wants to fund it, that’s fine.  But the problem becomes
apparent when you look at the Request for Proposals (RFP) as noted in
the Youth Today article:

[T]he purpose was to fund “programs that have a
national scope and national impact on combating juvenile delinquency,
reducing the victimization of children and improving the juvenile
justice system.”

Playing golf has, at best, only a peripheral relationship to the stated

Is there any evidence of fincal responsibility?  To the

Congress might have taken a respite from earmarks,
but OJJDP did not. As with other federal agencies, OJJDP routinely
gives discretionary funds to favored organizations without competitive

Her in the USA, we often heap scorn on third-world countries, whose
leaders reward their buddies with government funds.  And
rightly so: it is a despicable process.  It’s just that it is
not limited to developing nations.

Just in case you are steaming about this looting of the Treasury, be
aware that it really is small potatoes.  Try $23 billion of
unaccounted-for funds that supposedly went to the war effort

*Actually, I’ve never golfed in my entire life.