The Politics of Products

It’s not often a product makes its way into presidential politics, unless it is a nuclear weapon or a handgun. Which is why we were so intrigued by this, spoken by John McCain during the last presidential debate:

While we were working to eliminate these pork barrel earmarks he (Senator Obama) voted for nearly $1 billion in pork barrel earmark projects. Including $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?

An overhead projector? You mean, like those ones used in the 1970s and early 1980s? Someone paid $3m for one of those? That is ridiculous.

But as it turns out, the “overhead projector” is really a pretty nifty planetarium projector that would have replaced a 40-year-old projector. Here’s the Adler Planetarium press release.

The bill apparently got scuttled, so the new projector was never installed, alas. For comparison, $3m is about 30 minutes worth of the Iraq war. And that, my friends, says a lot about our politics and our priorities.

(via Gearlog and Gizmodo)