Below the Fold for Nov. 9


Fish Story

Six guys in Austin, Texas have mastered the male-bonding ritual of hanging around a lake, fishing and chewing the fat. The shared time has drawn them closer -- as will the almost certain prospect of shared unemployment. It seems the guys were police officers, and were dropping lines and sinkers on work time. They were assigned to the Homeland Security (search) Defense Unit charged with protecting a power plant.

Nobody caught onto their little secret until someone spied them cleaning fish on the job. Five have been suspended for 30 days; one guy says he'll appeal.

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

John McCain (search) has ruffled feathers in the Senate by enumerating the so-called McCain rules for identifying pork barrel spending.

Among the rules: Don't spend anything not requested by the president, or approved by the relevant congressional committee. Don't lay in projects that will take more than five years to complete, and don't ask for stuff that doesn't appear in long-range spending plans.

This year's Defense Appropriations Bill includes $14.3 million to create a buffer zone around Luke Air Force Base. The project violates all the aforementioned McCain rules -- even though its sponsor is -- John McCain. This has amused senators who have experienced McCain's anti-pork rants and wrath.

Says McCain of the project: "It was my job to get it authorized. So I had no involvement after that."