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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    More Taxpayer support of religious groups

    In theory, it was simple: Congress gave two decommissioned Coast Guard cutters to a faith-based group in California, directing that the ships be used only to provide medical services to islands in the South Pacific.

    Coast Guard records show that the ships have been providing those services in the South Pacific since the medical mission took possession of them in 1999.

    In reality, the ships never got any closer to the South Pacific islands than the San Francisco Bay. The mission group quickly sold one to a maritime equipment company, which sold it for substantially more to a pig farmer who uses it as a commercial ferry off Nicaragua. The group sold the other ship to a Bay Area couple who rent it for eco-tours and marine research.

    The gift of the two cutters was one of almost 900 grants Congress has made to faith-based organizations since 1987 through the use of provisions, called earmarks, that are tucked into bills to bypass normal government review and bidding procedures.

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