A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke of efforts by Philly city council members to rename the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (a facility founded in 1776) after recently deceased Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). What a great idea. We should name even more things after people who spend a large chunk of their time swirling wine at K Street lobbyist affairs.
I tried to think of a connection between John Murtha who represented western Pennsylvania and the fair city of Philadelphia but I could only come up with one, a history of political greed and corruption. Murtha already has a famously underused airport named after him. Shouldn’t the naming rights to one $200 million boondoggle be enough?
When I take Amtrak through New Jersey I am amazed by the immense train station in Secaucus that has an obnoxiously large sign declaring it to be the “Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station” (Can’t forget that “R.” in the middle.)
I wondered, since it has become common for stadiums and other public areas to sell their naming rights, did Mr. Lautenberg (D-NJ) reach into his famously deep pockets to build the good citizens of New Jersey a train station? Of course not. He reached into OUR already frayed pockets to build a monument to himself.
Since these were federal funds, people in Hawaii and Idaho also got to help pay for it. I hope that someday they travel to the Garden State to see what they bought with their hard-earned money.
This type of ego massaging is not limited to one side of the aisle. There must be something about airports:
That’s not all that is happening in Mississippi. There is a move to name a new federal courthouse after one of Mississippi’s pioneering black lawyers, the late R. Jess Brown. The widely respected Brown had defended civil-rights leader Medgar Evers and helped James Meredith in his efforts to integrate the University of Mississippi.
But former Sen. Lott (R-MS) had his own plan. He wanted to name the $122 million courthouse after his colleague Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). After all, it was Cochran who squeezed the money (our money) out of Congress. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. The so far unnamed courthouse is due to open this year. It’s already being called the ugliest building in the state. In this case, maybe the family of R. Jess Brown might not want their family name on it after all.
It is often pointed out that John Murtha served his country in war and I do respect that. But so did millions of other brave Americans, many of whom did not make it home. Let’s remember them instead. When I was a child a nearby park was named for a soldier that had been killed in Vietnam. What ever happened to naming things after our real heroes instead of greedy politicians?
It would be gratifying to see Congress pass a law banning the naming of taxpayer-funded projects for politicians. I wonder who they’d name the bill after.