Dr. Shmuckburn, Senator from Oklahoma

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

We like our doctors. We trust our doctors. They are highly trained and they know what is good for us, what makes us feel better. So Dr. Tom Coburn, a family practitioner who specializes in obstetrics and allergy treatment in Muskogee, Oklahoma, must be right when he called the Fort Collins Bike Library, which lets people check out bikes for free for up to five days, one of the most wasteful projects of the year.


Wrong, Dr. Shmuckburn.

In a time when Americans are getting fatter and fatter and the globe is getting warmer and warmer, any effort to get people's butts out of their cars and onto a bike seat is an admirable one, especially since it only cost $66,000 in 2008 -- or about the cost of a single Cadillac SUV.

Unfortunately, Dr. Coburn is also a Republican U.S. Senator, and the author of "2008: Worst Waste of the Year," which highlights what he calls "absurd federal spending from beltway bureaucrats and elected officials."

In addition to a number of other bicycle-related projects, the good doctor also lambastes a $300,000 skate park; a $517,000 program that teaches troubled teenagers in Cleveland how to grow vegetables and turn their crops into salsa that they sell; and a measly $15,000 grant to give homeless people in Ohio access to voicemail (which could help them find a job or health care).

In fact, most of the projects the Okie from Muskogee, M.D. doesn't like involve funding for the revitalization of public venues, scenic trails, art, museums and other cultural facilities, scientific studies, or things that help kids and teenagers.

The Fort Collins Bike Library, for its part, was the recipient of a federal clean air grant. It lets anyone with a credit card check out a bike. Since it opened last April, it has signed up 1,965 different people, with customers riding more than 21,000 miles on their bikes, according to a story in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Seems like Dr. Shmuckburn should go back to school. Take two of that and call us in the morning.

For previous Shmucks, see our Shmuck of the Week archive.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.