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Young not even close to "king of pork' title

Rep. C.W. Bill Young has brought lots of goodies to Florida, but Citizens Against Government Waste says he's still a minor-leaguer in the congressional game of pork.

The group's latest Pig Book singles out Sens. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, as being the kings of pork. But it gives only a passing mention to Young, the Largo Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

Every year, the group picks the most egregious examples of congressional pork and then ranks the states where the money goes. Alaska, Hawaii and Mississippi were at the top of the list. Florida, despite Young's powerful position, comes in 33rd.

However, the group's 13-page list of Florida pork lists many Young projects, including:

$10-million for an Armed Forces Reserve Center in St. Petersburg;

$10-million for improvements on U.S. 19;

$10-million for Clearwater Memorial Bridge;

$15-million for a reservoir for the Tampa Bay area;

$17-million for an Army aviation support facility at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport;

$3.3-million for improvements in St. Petersburg Harbor;

$1.2-million for Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg;

$1-million for improvements to Clam Bayou in St. Petersburg.

Young said the local projects were worthy of federal money.

"I'm pretty careful about all of the Florida projects to make sure there is some reasonable justification for them being included,' Young said. "I try to be realistic about what the needs are and what the projects are going to produce."

Young said one of his responsibilities in Congress is to make sure local needs are met.

"Part of my job is to represent my district and my state," he said. "I have to have the proper balance (of local and national interests) _ and I think I do."

Expert: Amazon.com has

lesson for ballot designers

David Woods says Florida elections officials could learn a few things from Amazon.com.

Woods, a professor at the Institute for Ergonomics at Ohio State University, says the bookseller's Web site is well-designed because it provides lots of feedback.

"They keep echoing back your choices," said Woods, who spoke at a seminar for congressional staffers on Friday. Amazon customers can verify what they are ordering and correct any mistakes.

Ballots should provide the same kind of feedback, Woods said.

"In a good human-machine interaction, the machine should echo back, "This is what you choose,' and people could say, "Wait a minute, I didn't vote for Pat Buchanan.' "

Woods, who has studied the many ways humans make mistakes with machines, says Florida officials should test new balloting equipment to make sure it doesn't confuse voters.

"Smashmouth lawmaking'

the next D.C. sport?

C-SPAN better watch out.

The satirical newspaper the Onion reports that Vince McMahon, co-founder of the XFL, the struggling new football league, is starting a cable channel called X-SPAN.

The Onion (remember, this is all satire), says the 24-hour channel promises "in-your-face, X-treme lawmaking coverage that puts C-SPAN to shame."

The lawmakers on X-SPAN will be known as X-Senators and X-Representatives and will compete in the Bicameraldome. They will introduce bills into the "Big Bad House of Pain." Those that pass by a simple majority will have to go through a third house of Congress known as the Gauntlet of Warriors.

To attract viewers to the new TV network, the lawmakers will be encouraged to date the female pages, who will be known as GLOSS - the Gorgeous Ladies of Senatorial Service.

McMahon says, "Get ready for bone-crunching, smashmouth 21st Century lawmaking. C-SPAN is for wimps."

_ Compiled by staff writer Bill Adair.

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