There's been a lot of news coverage on all the "wasteful" government spending in the stimulus package - thanks to the Republicans' ability to sell their message, the media's lack of interest in anything remotely resembling research, and our MIA Democratic leaders.
Why the Washington Mall spending was attacked is beyond me. By all accounts, the Mall is a national disgrace. Fixing it up would mean hiring workers, buying landscaping supplies, sweeping, repairing/replacing public bathrooms, etc. This is spending. People get hired. Supplies get bought. And the result is a necessary improvement of a national monument. Yes, it does mean spending money in D.C., which may be the real problem, but unemployment there is high, so why not?
Buying hybrid cars for government employees? Yes, it benefits those terrible government civil servants. But the Detroit 3 are bleeding. January sales were even worse than the worst expectations. I don't think Detroit cares who buys the cars and they sure have cars to sell.
Finally, let's be brutally honest here: the Federal government could spend 40 million dollars buying dog food and handing it out to dog owners around the country and that would be stimulative. It would help not only the producers and sellers of dog food but would relieve dog owners, temporarily, of an expense - and they could spend that savings elsewhere.
In an economic disaster like this one, with a deflationary spiral a real threat, there is no such thing as bad government spending. Yes, ideally, the money should be spent on projects (like the Washington Mall or repairing school buildings) that will have long-term benefits, but in this environment, even Washington pork isn't all that bad.