Archive for October, 2012

Campaign Images

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Where political angst meets Photoshop (feel free to click on an image and grab the original – make yourself a bumper sticker or post to Facebook)….

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Romney v. Big Bird

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

People seem to be all excited about Romney’s pledge to cut funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  Perhaps he should have said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) which in turn helps fund PBS. Funding for PBS is rather tangled.  For example, much of its support comes from member stations which also receive funding from the federal government via other, less visible avenues.  I suspect Romney picked PBS because more viewers would understand what he was talking about.  But eliminating CPB would be a good start.  Why?  There are at least two reasons. 

First, there is no Constitutional warrant for the federal government to provide financial support for either the arts or journalism.  There are lots of really rich Americans who, according to Obama, are paying practically nothing in taxes.  They could easily increase their support for the arts; there is no need for the feds to be a part of it.  Besides, being generous and visible patrons of the arts might make the 1-percenters smaller targets in the class war Obama and the Democrats promote.

Government funding of journalism (or what passes for journalism in PBS-land) is a much more troubling than propping up Big Bird or Great Performances.  The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press because the Framers – wisely – didn’t trust government.  While they created a system of checks and balances within the government, the only check on the government as a whole was intended to be a free press.  It is obvious that a press beholden to government handouts is not free.  It is equally obvious to anyone who watches or listens that PBS and National Public Radio (NPR) know not to bite the hand that feeds them and the fail to act as watchdogs on the whole of government.

The second and much greater reason to get rid of CPB lies in the nature of the beast itself. CPB describes itself as “a private corporation funded by the America people”.  It should be obvious to even the most ardent supporters of Big Bird and Jim Lehrer that this is fundamentally wrong.  After all, what do you suppose they would say if the “private corporation funded by the America people” were Caterpillar or Shell Oil?

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