We could use a few million-dollar ideas to help fight juvenile crime.
How about a half-million-dollar idea?
The Justice Department gave $500,000 to the World Golf Foundation. The foundationâ€™s beneficiary program is calledÂ â€œFirst Tee.â€ Itâ€™s designed to get youngsters interested in that most civilized of sporting passions, golf.
Employees in the Justice Department had rated the program way down on their list. But the administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, J. Robert Flores, awarded the money anyway, ignoring programs that employees had ranked as much more effective.
â€œWe need something really attractive to engage the gangs and the street kids, golf is the hook,â€ said the questionable administrator in question.
Yeah, right. Remember the midnight basketball leagues, supported as a brainy idea by Bill Clinton? Well, at least lots of inner city kids like basketball. Golf seems something of a stretch.
ABC News interviewed a former Justice Department employee for Nightline. Obviously disgruntled, the ex-employee called the program aÂ â€œwaste.â€
It turns out that President Bush is the honorary chairman of First Tee. The clear implication? Thatâ€™s why this golf gig got money while many obviously more practical programs were left unfunded.
Chalk it up to pork envy. Congress canâ€™t have all the insider payola for itself.
Did somebody just yellÂ â€œFore!â€? Well, itâ€™s notÂ â€œfor(e) the children.â€
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.