in Alaska, fish is pork.

Half a million dollars of Federal tax money used to paint a billboard on a plane!


A local nonprofit agency, the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board, gave Alaska Airlines a $500,000 grant to paint the jet. The money came out of about $29 million in federal funding U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and his congressional colleagues have appropriated to the marketing board, created in 2003, to promote and enhance the value of Alaska seafood. The senator's son, state Sen. Ben Stevens, is chairman of the agency's board of directors.

(Previously. Also.)

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27 Responses:

  1. vxo says:

    Remember kids, Watch Out For Snakes... ON A PLANE!

    I bet TSA never saw THAT ONE coming.

    But seriously, I think it would be most amusing if that thing started air-dropping fish. (I wish I could find a picture, or better yet, video...)

  2. belgand says:

    Sometimes I wonder how much we would get if instead of idiotic, pointless pork barrel legislation done under the guise of making constituents happy they just decided to give us the money back. We'd probably have a balanced budget for one thing (why in the hell do we even have a budget if we refuse to stick to it? Am I unimaginably archaic for thinking that money is a finite resource and I can only spend as much as I actually have? Must be un-American of me).

    • baconmonkey says:

      Has anyone compared our recent Military Spending with the assorted pork-barrel lists? from what I understand, we spend an absolutely absurd percentage of our budget on the military, something like several orders of magnitude more than any other country.

      this site claims that nearly half of tax dollars go toward military spending.

      • jurph says:

        That pie chart doesn't include the $0.32 out of each dollar that goes toward paying down the debt. If we weren't saddled with all that debt, we could maintain the current levels of military spending and possibly even raise social programs.

        ...or, you know, cut the military down to a smaller size.

        • baconmonkey says:

          General Government, $261B: Legislative, Justice, State Dept., International Affairs, Treasury, Gov't. Personnel, 20% interest on national debt, NASA (50%), Homeland Security (25%)

          I wasn't aware that there were any attempts at paying down the debt, just paying interest.

        • baconmonkey says:

          Though I wonder if part of the reason for such excessive military spending in an era with no traditional military threats is quite simply to make it unwise for anyone to make too much noise about us actually paying back any of that debt. You know, like the paranoid redneck nation that we half are, we keep big guns to scare off the bill collectors.

          • harryh says:

            we keep big guns to scare off the bill collectors

            The US has never even come close to defaulting on any of its debt, do this isn't really an issue. US Savings bonds are considered thee safest debt in the entire world (hence their low intrest rate).

          • lars_larsen says:

            "We want our money back!"
            "We don't have it right now, sorry"
            "Well what did you spend it on then!?!?!?"
            "Ummm... these intercontinental thermonuclear weapons here."
            "Oh never mind, we don't need it back right now"

      • Don't forget that a large part of what is called "foreign aid" is a actually pork for military contractors. For example, Israel is required to spend a large percentage of the money we give it on US military equipment. And since US taxpayers usually fund the R&D costs of these weapons, these sales are particularly profitable.

    • Sometimes I wonder how much we would get if instead of idiotic, pointless pork barrel legislation done under the guise of making constituents happy they just decided to give us the money back.

      Or built, you know, decent levees.

    • harryh says:

      We'd probably have a balanced budget for one thing

      You drastically overestimate the amount we spend on pork and underestimate the budget deficit.

  3. jurph says:

    I was over in the Senate Commerce Committee offices earlier this week, and every room in the place has Alaska Airlines posters, Alaska satellite maps, Alaska trout paintings, Alaska this, Alaska that. As my dad always said, "that home cookin' sure do taste good."

  4. hochi666 says:

    Well, it may be inappropriate spending of government resources, but it really looks cool. I'd love to see flying in the air from the ground.

    • nyankolove says:

      ditto. the first thing i thought was that it was f--kin' awesome. i would approve of spending half a million dollars on this, reason or no reason, if i could just look up and see this thing flying around one day. i would feel like i stumbled into a monty python movie. everyone needs a little whimsy sometimes...

      • jwz says:

        It's cute, but you know what would be even cuter? The billionaire corporation spending their own damned money on it.

  5. smackfu says:

    Just think of it as federal funding for the arts.

  6. myth says:

    Oh no not my taxes!!

  7. kyronfive says:


  8. deni_zen says:

    I painted a salmon 3.5" x 2.5"

    By my calculation the average length of a commercial liner is 33m (1314"). So maybe I should hit up the State of Alaska for $1331.81.

    Oh. but it doesn't fly (that makes all the difference)

    • lars_larsen says:

      Painting an airplane, even a single solid color, is a very difficult task, that requires a lot of expensive and specialized equipment, and talented technicians. For one thing, it must still be perfectly weighted and balanced. They actually put the plane on a giant scale to measure its CG and weight.

      Painting even the smallest private planes costs a fortune.

      Add an artist? And it goes up from there.

      • deni_zen says:

        Thanks for the info. I didn't realize it was such an intricate operation that's for sure.
        But it makes sense as I have an experience to relate it to.
        I used to work at a local radio statio that specialized in traffic reports.
        Their plane was undecorated, completely devoid of even the station's logo.
        There used to be quite abit of resentment of the rival traffic radio statio which had a special helicopter painted in the stations colors, with logo and call letters.
        I always wondered why the station I worked at wouldn't pay to have our traffic plane (fondly referred to as the Banana Republic airliner) to be painted. Your insight has shed light on the probable situation.

        • lars_larsen says:

          Yeah, they just dont repaint airplanes. In fact, some airlines leave the metal polished.

        • lars_larsen says:

          Paint weighs so much, thats why the space shuttle no longer has a white main fuel tank. They realized the paint was a waste of weight. It weighed something like several thousand pounds.

  9. It's nice to see they've got their priorities straight. "To hell with the Red Cross we need a plane that looks like a fish!"

  10. I lived in Alaska 43 years and left because of the bad governing by Stevens, Murkowski and Young. Term limits NOW. take care ~~ Cathy Harris