Speed Reads

Government efficiency

Government spent $10k to literally watch grass grow

For the last five years, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has released the Wastebook, an annual illustrated compendium of "the 100 most outlandish government expenditures this year." Coburn is retiring from Congress after this year, so he released Wastebook 2014 a little early — and, yes, our government spent $10,000 to watch grass grow.

Wastebook 2014 also features $387,000 spent to give rabbits Swedish massages with machines, $171,000 spent to teach monkeys to play games to "unlock the secrets of free will," and — most troubling — $1 billion spent by the Pentagon to destroy $16 billion of unused ammunition. Other lowlights include:

* State department tweets @ terrorists: $3 million

* Mountain lions on a treadmill: $856,000

* Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys: $50,000

* Studying "hangry" spouses stabbing voodoo dolls: $331,000

* Promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists: $90 million

Coburn's project has successfully resulted in the cancellation of at least one silly spending project so far: "$5,210 that the State Department tried to spend on a blowup, human-size foosball field for an embassy in Belize."