The Center for Public Integrity has put together this excellent if deeply depressing list of the many failures of the federal government. 128 of them, in fact. If you have had the sense that things just haven't been working right, here is some actual proof that you were right. (via Dan Froomkin)

It is worth noting that this is not a list of the usual bumbling government --this is flat-out malfeasance, some of it criminal, that has been enshrined by eight years of incompetence.

It isn't hard to come up with some glaring examples like a totally unnecessary and very costly war in Iraq or the wholesale decline of the American economy. But there are many, many others that bespeak a busted system. An example:

"The Bush Administration’s regulatory approach to toxic mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants was struck down by a federal court that concluded the government flouted health law in a manner reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. The National Academies’ National Research Council has found that some 60,000 newborns a year are at risk for neurological problems such as impaired motor function due to mercury—the largest source of which is coal-fired power plants. The Food and Drug Administration urges pregnant women to limit fish intake due to widespread contamination with mercury that made its way into the food chain. In its waning days, the Clinton administration listed mercury as a toxic substance subject to strict regulation as a health threat, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under President Bush, proposed a rule to reclassify mercury from coal-fired plants under a different section of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA’s rule would have set an overall limit on mercury, while giving coal plants flexibility to meet the goal or purchase “emissions rights” from other plants—known as a “cap-and-trade” program. The EPA said it would have cut the mercury being released in the air by 70 percent by 2018 — an improvement, but less strenuous than the 90 percent reduction by 2008 that was hoped for under the Clinton administration determination. In issuing the new rule and reclassifying coal plant mercury, the EPA used language lifted — in some cases verbatim — from utility industry law and lobby firm Latham & Watkins, as well as West Associates, a research and advocacy group. It was subsequently revealed that the EPA’s own air policy administrator was unaware of the private firms’ involvement, and that insertion of the language had actually been pushed by the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Energy. Critics, including the EPA’s own Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, said the plan could help create “hot spots” around power plants that would disproportionately hurt communities living in the shadow of smokestacks, because mercury emissions do not disperse evenly. Allowing dirtier power plants to purchase additional pollution credits would add to that burden. EPA’s own inspector general found that the agency’s approach “was compromised.”"


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