John McCaslin

"That's what Will Rogers did in his era," Mr. Haught said yesterday of Oklahoma's favorite son, who the book points out observed during the 1930s, "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."

Who's in charge?

The "urban farmers of Manhattan" are being looked upon as examples of federal taxpayer dollars getting funneled where they don't belong.

In 2005, the last year for which complete data is available, more than 300 New York dwellers received farm subsidies from the Agriculture Department, according to Republican Reps. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, who have urged their colleagues to prioritize funding those for whom the money was originally intended to assist.

Among the urbanites highlighted by the lawmakers as receiving the farm subsidies "are at least two billionaires, a former CEO of Seagrams, and numerous Wall Street power brokers. For example, a member of the prestigious Rockefeller family has received $228,000 in subsidies over the last five years and a New York venture capitalist received a payment of nearly $75,000 in 2005."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.