You've got to love that Barack Obama gave a speech denouncing earmarks the very same day he sighed (away from the cameras) a spending bill containing over 8,500 earmarks. Here's the Register's editorial on the occasion, which I think actually bent over backwards to be fair to the earmarkers. But of course it's way out of hand. And of course even now, although the Republicans claim to have gotten fiscal religion after eight years of backsliding under Bush, they received 40% of the earmarks, and most of the most vigorous seekers of earmarks were Republicans.
To be sure, earmarks are a tiny part of the massive federal budget -- 1-3% of discretionary spending -- but are still indicative of a spending system out of control.