The Obama team has made much of the fact that the stimulus bill will not contain any earmarks. But the prohibitions are getting weirder by the minute, as Tim Carney points out at Culture 11:
But the bill currently doesn't have earmarks in it. That means individual projects like this bridge or that museum are not specified to receive stimulus money -- those decisions will be left up the agencies and cabinet departments. So, when you hear about specific projects, like the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, those are merely requests submitted by mayors to the Obama transition team. House Democrats have said they will not stick earmarks into the bill, but until we see a final version, we won't know if they live up to this pledge.
The restrictions within the bill are interesting. The only broad restriction covering the entire bill is that "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool." You got it, a city or federal agency can use this money for a jungle gym but not a swimming pool, a croquet court but not a golf course, a football stadium but not a casino, a museum full of dead lions and fish but not a zoo full of live ones. Everyone knows aquaria are utterly unstimulating, or something.
An interesting restriction on how states can use the money seems to cut against the whole building-stuff-is-good-for-
the-economytone of the Democrats' stimulus talk. If a state dedicates stimulus money to state universities, the bill prohibits the state from using the money to increase its endowment or for "construction, renovation, or facility repair."