Ever since the election of the Best Left-Handed Shameless Gunner-in-Chief, America's relationship with basketball has strengthened. The sport has a mystique. America has been hypnotized into thinking Obama Election Day pick-up games are somehow more competitive than MJ's Bulls vs. Isiah's Pistons.
At least the Oval Office just plays pick-up. The Departments of Interior and Transportation have caught the basketball fever so bad, they've dropped more than $20K on rebounding machines. Several rebounding machines. Meanwhile, the most the Department of Education spends on hoops is time wasted on Arne Duncan rebounding POTUS air balls.
Now, DOI and DOT haven't spent their money on some run-of-the-mill rebounding machine. The Shoot-A-Way is a popular apparatus used by teams at all levels of basketball. In fact, two out of the final four use the Shoot-A-Way. Louisville,the favorite for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion, owns eight. Only the best for our most superflous government agencies.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs inside the Department of the Interior spent close to $15,000 for Shoot-A-Ways, in 2009 and in 2012. Salazar's 2012 order of a Shoot-A-Way was issued to Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Ok. That's $5,232 in U.S. tax dollars spent on teams in 2012-2013 that went 8-12 and 4-9.
And even in the face of the March 1 sequester that's resulted in up to 47,000 hard-working FAA employees being furloughed, outgoing Transportation secretary Ray LaHood rang up $6,386 on February 15, 2013, for a Shoot-A-Way that went to the Maritime Administration. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which the Maritime Administration oversees, has a better record than Riverside. The men's and women's teams hovered around .500 this year, thus proving, as in the case of California's High-Speed Rail system, that the Department of Transportation enjoys spending thousands of tax dollars on middling projects.
Five days after his Shoot-A-Way purchase, Secretary LaHood released this statement:
Sequestration will have a serious impact on the transportation services that are critical to the traveling public and the nation’s economy. At DOT we will need to cut nearly a billion dollars, which will affect dozens of our programs.
Over $600 million of those cuts will need to come from the Federal Aviation Administration – the agency that controls and manages our nation’s skies. As a result of these cuts, the vast majority of the FAA’s nearly 47,000 employees will be furloughed for approximately one day per pay period until the end of the fiscal year. In some cases it could be as many as two furlough days per pay period.
One service the sequester won't scratch: awful basketball at the White House.