Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Will Stand?

As of right now, craven scumbags voted into office by ignorant cretins and hyper-religious nutcases Republican Congressmen still riding the "Tea Party" wave are digging into their favorite "to-do" item NOT involving bestowing personhood on petri-dishes: Defunding PBS, NPR and other entities of "Public Broadcasting." The last time they got this close to gutting the CPB was right at the beginning, during the Nixon administration. Back then, Fred Rogers - one of the last "Men of God" who can really be said to have deserved the title in my estimation - took to the U.S. Senate to defend the medium. If you've never seen it, here's the video of his testimony:



Who, if anyone, will be the hero this time? Or do we simply not have those anymore?

46 comments:

Smashmatt202 said...

That video reminds me why I miss Mr. Rogers so much...

Won't anyone stand up to defend PBS like he did?

Smpoza said...

In all fairness, the congressmen want to label what is IN the petri dishes as human, not the dishes themselves.

Although...

Robert said...

I have always wondered why PBS have the best television shows, while Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows are 90% garbage.

Matt said...

You know, PBS needs to stay, though lord knows it could use some new management. Still, we can't ever let something as time honored and american as PBS go away, even if it is starting to grow stale like the majority of TV.

NPR? Fuck them! They lost any right to bitch with the Juan Williams fiasco.

rob said...

Ofcourse there will not be a hero now. The republicans get paid to do this so that commercial broadcasters earn more money. And the democrats have their heads up their ass and aren't doing squat.

Elessar said...

First off, while I agree with you 100 percent about the Republicans defunding public broadcasting, is it bad that the first thought I got in my head was that one bit from Airplane!
'I need someone who knows that Congress inside and out and won't crack under pressure.'
'How 'bout Mr. Rogers?"

Secondly, I imagine someone will stand up to them. Celebrities like to appear like they care and testifying, Steven Colbert style, would be a good way to boost one's public good will. Too bad George Carlin isn't available...maybe we can get Robin Williams?

Ezenwa said...

I don't know who will stand. But, darn it, someone should. I know the quality might have dwindled, if not by a little, it's free television with some of the best stuff I've seen in children's television. It's so sad that this is what we've come to.

Tom said...

Robert Krulwich is coming to my university tomorrow. Maybe we should ask him?

Anyone who doubts the awesome of NPR needs to listen to: RadioLab, This American Life, L.A. Theatreworks, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, and Selected Shorts. You will be hard pressed to find as much well-produced and educationally-minded entertainment elsewhere. Never mind that their news coverage is more substantive and even headed than anything you'll find on network or cable television.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Maybe if NPR wasn't toting the flag for one party over antoher, it might be different, Bob. But in what fantasy world do you tolerate funding an entity who actively hates you and everything you stand for?

Maybe they should have thought about this before deciding their jobs involved picking a side, when no sides needed to be picked in their job as supposedly "unbiased" journalists. Tell Jaun WIlliams how unbiased NPR is.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

As much as I respect the late Mr. Rogers, I never really understood why government funded television needed to exist. Can't PBS keep itself afloat with advertising and merchandising they same way everyone else does? I mean, shit, Sesame Street merchandise ALONE should be more than enough to fund the whole operation (on top of all the other potentially highly profitable children's shows they run). And were Nova on Science or Discovery Channel, there's no doubt in my mind that it would pull in plenty of advertising money.

And, if they can't pull together the money that way, doesn't that essentially say that we just don't watch or care about it? Why should the government be funding something nobody watches or cares about?

Adam said...

I'd have to second what TheAlmightyNarf said. I used to listen to NPR and remember their telethons that they held to raise money to keep them on the air. They claimed that the majority of their funding did come from the public donations. That being the case if the public decides that it just isn't worth paying for it then maybe they do need to cut back at the very least. Public broadcasting is about as nice an idea as public anything is but it still costs money, and we just don't have a lot of it these days.

Matt said...

Don't you know Bob? Public broadcasting is for Communist countries, like Britain or Canada!

America doesn't need socialist propaganda like Sesame Street or jazz music!

Andy said...

Two programs that fully validate PBS: The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and Frontline. In a landscape of yelling pundits and holographic Wil.I.Ams, they are bastions of reason.

The Tickle Phantom said...

@ Reverend:
I don't know if you'v ever actually listened to NPR but there is narry ever a mention of hating everything that the republicans stand for. The news is very balanced (and often from foreign correspondents.) I have never witnessed any 'spin' when the news was on, but that is only a small portion of what is broadcast. Anyone who listens to the station is treated to educational editorials and interesting stories from people's lives. Great interviews and really well produced radio shows. I'm not saying that the station doesn't lean to the left, because i know it does, but it does it with far more grace than fox or anything glenn beck does leaning to the right.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Matt

I understand Canada is actually considering making cuts to the CBC as well. Something along the lines of dropping the actual network and just syndicating out the shows.

Arman said...

Tickle phantom,

Cause "How to speak Tea bag" never happened?

I don't understand this. In a time when the Federal Government is running over a trillion dollar deficit, how can any sane individual justify PBS's and NPR's continued funding! There is no money people! We are broke! You can either except that now and try to remedy the problem, or you can accept it later when the government implodes.

Let me make this clear, anybody who argues that cutting funding to groups like PBS, NPR and Planned Parenthood will result in no more PBS, NPR, or Planned Parenthood is LYING. If Sesame Street is as valuable to America as these people claim it is, it'll survive on its own in the Free Market. If not, then it DESERVED to die. If NPR is truly a worthwhile radio station, then it should have no issue finding private doners.

Nevermind the implications of government funded media. Nevermind the conflict of interest it causes between the government and the people tasked with reporting on the government. Never mind that it essentially singles out a station to get the "Government Seal of Approval".

We're broke! We have to cut back! Get used to it, because this is NOTHING. This is the easy stuff. If that makes me a "craven scumbag", then so be it. Engage in the ad hominem, but I'll be the adult cause god knows someone has got to be.

For crying out loud. I'm reminded of a petulant child that throws a tantrum after his broke father says no to that new toy. Grow up.

Joe said...

Mr. Rogers could make any place he entered into his neighbourhood.

I believe the idea behind public broadcasting is that the airwaves belong to the citizens, and that some bandwidth should be set aside for broadcasting in the public interest. Much like most real estate is privately held but some is set aside for things like roads, schools, etc.

@AlmightyNarf,

Every Conservative government in Canada threatens to eliminate the CBC (while Liberal governments actually manage to cut funding). But it always manages to survive.

Interestingly, the CBC is more popular now than it has been in decades, selling some popular Made-in-Canada shows to foreign markets and through an effective web presence. There hasn't been any serious talk of cuts since the economic downturn in 2009, and even if there were, pundits are taking bets the next federal budget won't survive a confidence vote.

Arturo said...

Well put, neighbor

untra said...

@Arman

Actually, its more like a petulant child throwing a tantrum after his broke father says no, and then goes back to washing his $200 billion dollar collection of tanks.

Just saying.

Kiefziel said...

@Arman

Except that without government funding, NPR, PBS, and Planned Parenthood would fall. It's already happened with ACORN, or rather, EXACTLY what happened with ACORN, right down to the fake"guerrilla reporting" and the over-the-top pundit rage.

And you complain about the money being gone after the Republicans gave several BILLION dollars in free tax cuts to the people who need it the least, the top 1% wealthiest in the country.

As for NPR's left-leaning bias...that's left leaning? It's a testament to how far right America has gone that government-funded radio is further left than privatly-owned radio.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Joe

I can understand the need for a network focused more on the public good than commercial success, and I would like to see more networks take that approach. However, if people are actually watching the network, then it should be able to maintain itself through advertising, and if people aren't... well, then it's not really helping the public good at all anyway.

(I think I should note here that my argument is mostly focused on PBS (which I think can fully support itself on advertising) and not NPR which, as radio, is archaic technology and should probably be shut down or at least refocused toward online content anyway)

As for CBC, I am aware that there are a few successful "Made In Canada" shows out there (Stargate SG1 for example), but I understand that the CBC network itself tends to rate very poorly with-in Canada itself. That other then hockey related shows, CBC produced shows rarely break into the top 30.

bobbzman said...

I've never been a huge fan of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but that poem he read at the end of his testimony was absolutely beautiful.

Smpoza said...

@Narf

If a network focused on the "public good" relies on commercial success to stay afloat, how is it different than any other news network? The whole point of government as opposed to private funding is that PBS doesn't need to appeal to advertisers or corporations; it's unconditionally funded, which (in theory, at least) makes it less influenced by money.

joemello04 said...

>>I don't understand this. In a time when the Federal Government is running over a trillion dollar deficit, how can any sane individual justify PBS's and NPR's continued funding!

Because if you follow that argument to its logical conclusion, all spending needs to be stopped. That includes defense, education, transportation, and the so-called "entitlement programs." At that logical conclusion, not only do you not fix the deficit, you would make the country worse off.

If you think that there are enough sufficient substitutes that Public Radio and Television doesn't need to exist anymore, then that's an argument I'm willing to engage in. However, if you just want to cut ballast for the sake of someone's asinine, self-serving, political agenda, then go back to your fallout shelter.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Smpoza

Well, PBS get's less than half of their funding from the government anyway (15% - 20% federally, and 25% to 29% from states), so they're hardly "unconditionally funded". When they're taking days out of regular scheduling to beg for donation to account for that other 50+%, I'd say they are most certainly being influenced by money.

Perhaps they simply aren't all that different from other networks in that regard.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Aw guys, this isn't the 60s. We don't have just five channels. Worst case scenario: PBS and NPR go down. What happens then? Another company that show kids programming will pop right up and before you know it, Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow will be on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel.

Bob, you're looking at this through nostalgia glasses too hard, like the Anti-Thinker when he recalled his park. If PBS disappeared for whatever reason, the shows you and I grew up on would most certainly not vanish, just reappear somewhere else. Nothing says that the things that made PBS great (ie, the kids programming) can't survive, just somewhere else.

I mean, ony my modest dish package I get no less than SIX kids channels, almost all of which show pre-K programming and at least one shows nothing BUT pre-K programming. There'd be a bidding war to see who could put Sesame Street on their channel.

And if you want to blame ANYONE for this, Bob, you had best put it on the management types who fired Juan Williams for exercising his free will to appear on whatever news channel he so chooses, for whatever reason he so chooses. In doing so, they did nothing less than raise a partisan flag, picked a side when--as journalists--they should have at least tried to appear unbiased. When they fired him for appearing on Fox News, they called undue attention to themselves and scrutiny where there was none before. NPR has no one to blame but themselves.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Reverend Allan Ironside

Shit, I could just imagine the bidding war if Sesame Street ever went into syndication.

On a completely unrelated note, I found this while doing hap-hazard research on PBS and wanted to share it with the rest of you. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw7UUUnCPio

Arman said...

@Untra

Military is a legitimate, essential government function authorized by the U.S Constitution. PBS is not.

@Kiefziel

First, ACORN lost its funding because ACORN broke the law. Period. End of story.

Second, if PBS and NPR cannot survive without government funding, then they should not survive at all. Just like every other business out there.

Third, the Bush Tax cuts did not lower tax revenue.

Fourth, the Bush Tax cuts still levy the highest burden on the "rich". Read "Barstool Economics" if you want to understand this better.

@ joemello04

Ugh...

And why exactly would cutting unnecessary expenditures across the board be bad? How exactly would that make the country worse off, and how exactly would that not help the fiscal crisis?

And nobody is talking about ending PBS or NPR. We're talking about defunding it. Why are people so disingenuous about that?

Guess "Big Bird is gonna die!" is more effective than a reasoned argument.

Kiefziel said...

@Arman

1. ACORN never broke the law. This is an established fact. The employees that aided someone in breaking the law were immediately fired and sued for their misconduct.

http://www.truth-out.org/report-finds-acorn-did-not-support-voter-fraud-okeefe-is-real-criminal60494

2. Do you remember the phrase "Too big to fail"? And how it was the flimsy justification the Republicans used to bail out the large banks that did not need the bailout?

3. How do you figure that? If you pay less tax, then that is less money taken in by the government. If you pay several billion dollars less in tax, then that is several billion dollars less taken in by the government.

4. Why do you use the word "burden", as if multi-millionaires have trouble making ends meet? Why is it a "burden" to pay more taxes when you make more money?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Kiefziel

I don't believe the Republicans were in power when the whole bank bail-out thing went down. Regardless of whether they thought it justified or not, they couldn't have passed it on their own. In fact, I recall most Republicans actually being against that (Republicans I actually knew, less so actual politicians) since the whole thing was pretty anti-free-market.

Arman said...

Kiefziel,

1. ACORN was being investigated for voter fraud by the FBI. Their workers have been implicated in fraud ring after fraud ring.

2. Democrats held Congress during the bank bail outs. The Democrats held absolute control over every branch of the U.S government during the auto-bail outs.

That said, even if you're right, and the Republicans had been the driving force behind the bail outs, then it would have been wrong anyway. Giving money to big business is a leftist idea, not a conservative one.

3. Easy. The Laffer Curve. Less taxation provides an incentive to produce. More production means more taxable revenue. If you tax at 0%, sure you'll get nothing. However if you tax at 100%, you'll also get nothing because its too prohibitive to make money. There is a point where higher taxes translate to less revenue.

4. Because its their money that's being taken away, and you have no authority to declare how much a person deserves to earn. It does not matter how much the sum is, if you levy a 50% tax rate on an individual you are taking HALF of what he worked his ass off to make.

And the "rich" already, and have always, paid the most taxes out of ANY economic class.

Nick said...

In a time when the Federal Government is running over a trillion dollar deficit, how can any sane individual justify PBS's and NPR's continued funding! There is no money people! We are broke!

Maybe because PBS and NPR make up such a tiny fraction of the overall budget that it doesn't even show up on a pie chart?

Public broadcasting is one of the favorite scapegoats of people who don't want to cut the ACTUAL FAT from the budget.

The other favorite scapegoat is NASA. Speaking of which, I did some arithmetic after NASA had endured yet another round of humiliating budget cuts ("humiliating" as in "we just removed your leg, now go run that marathon to prove we shouldn't chop off the other one") and discovered that the entirety of NASA's bloated, wasteful budget cost me a whopping... quarter.

.

the Bush Tax cuts did not lower tax revenue.

Uh, yeah, actually, they did. Look it up sometime.

.

And the "rich" already, and have always, paid the most taxes out of ANY economic class.

You don't say. And what's the problem with that again? They can afford it. They don't have to worry about making ends meet, and don't even TRY to pretend that making twenty-five million dollars a year instead of thirty is less of an incentive to produce.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Hello there, neighbor. Can you say 'baseball?" I knew you could.

Jacob Beck said...

Well, this sucks.


I still remember watching Mr. Rogers. Amazing that they were still playing that stuff in the early 2000s.

Arman said...

Nick,
I highly doubt you're interested in actually cutting fat, but I'll take you at your word.

Alright Nick, you want to cut actual fat. I'm all for that. Lets take out pork spending, lets take out welfare programs. Lets revise Social Security and Medicare. Lets go to the Pentagon and figure out what's necessary and what's not. Lets stop wasting money with an unnecessary government healthcare program. Lets return the unspent money from the stimulus package back to the federal treasury.

And, lets cut off PBS and NPR. Money saved is money saved. Period.

You may only pay a quarter. Others pay more.

And no, the Bush Tax cuts did not lower revenue. It has pretty much stayed at its 50 year average of 18% of the GDP. Spending on the other hand has been around 20% of GDP, and the CBO predicts it going to 26% by 2020.

Spending is driving the deficit, not tax cuts. Entitlement programs.

---

Um, yes it is. Why would I earn more only to have more taken? Makes no sense.

Kiefziel said...

@Arman

It has long been established that the left is heavily in favour of unions, right? Unions and big business are inherently at odds because each is trying to secure their own territory in bargaining.

So how in the bloody hell do you think "giving money to big business is a leftist thing"?

The left HATES big business. The left wants to heavily regulate big business because big business is out to make money and will screw the little guy in order to do it (not saying that's a bad thing, it's in their nature).

At this point, you are either parroting right-wing propaganda or are outright making shit up.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Keifziel

It's less an issue that the left is pro-union, as it is unions are pro-left. Many in the left see unions as simply a new elite looking out for only their own self interests at the expense of non-union workers. And, I think it's pretty much a given something so blatantly against free-market would not be supported by the right at large

Either way, regardless of who should believe what, a Democratic congress passed the bank bail-outs and the Republicans were impotent to do anything either for or against it.

Arman said...

Kiefziel,

Which is why the left has given taxpayer money to GM, Chevrolet, GE, etc? Now you are partially correct in that a lot of the bail outs were attempts to keep Unions (read, parasites) from having to renegotiate their contracts. However you also see the left giving money to "green energy" companies, and tax breaks to people who purchase hybrids. So clearly they have no problem lending big business a hand. It just got to be their type of big business.

The left does not believe in free market capitalism, but they certainly do believe in mercantilism or "crony capitalism": The left wants to ability to pick who wins and who loses. They want companies that fit their agendas to thrive, and they want companies that don't to fail.

They also believe they can stimulate economic growth by pumping government money into the problem. Essentially, they're followers of Keynesnianism, a theory of macroeconomics that has NEVER worked anywhere its been tried.

CraftyAndy said...

Yeah lets not cut the defense budget or anything like that PBS doesn't make America look like a glamorous wonderland so it's therefore a liberal slanted communist promoter.

David said...

Wow. he totally won the guy over.

I second the notion that Fred Rogers is a "Man Of God".

You right about heroes. We need one now; I can't travel to D.C. but I hope someone will.

Benfea said...

Mister Rogers did not--to my knowledge--beat up homosexuals with a baseball bat. Nor did he assassinate doctors. More importantly, he did not express support nor sympathy for people who do such things. Therefore, mister Rogers makes baby Jesus cry, therefore mister Rogers is a fascist-communist atheo-Muslim who hates America and hates our freedom. Therefore, everything mister Rogers said should be treated as a lie.

QEDuh, libruls!

[/elaboraterightwingstrawman]

Nick said...

Nick,
I highly doubt you're interested in actually cutting fat,


Projecting much?

.

Alright Nick, you want to cut actual fat. I'm all for that. Lets take out pork spending, lets take out welfare programs. Lets revise Social Security and Medicare. Lets go to the Pentagon and figure out what's necessary and what's not.

I'm all for that. Provided that "revise" is not actually weasel-code for "do away with entirely," and that "what's necessary" for the Pentagon does not include "every single penny we've ever tossed at them for the idiotic wars we're mired in."

.

And, lets cut off PBS and NPR. Money saved is money saved. Period.

And penny-ante items brought up to distract from the REAL money-sinks are penny-ante items brought up to distract from the REAL money-sinks. "Period."

.

The left does not believe in free market capitalism, but they certainly do believe in mercantilism or "crony capitalism": The left wants to ability to pick who wins and who loses. They want companies that fit their agendas to thrive, and they want companies that don't to fail.

Again, projecting much?

.

Um, yes it is. Why would I earn more only to have more taken? Makes no sense.

Is this the old "if my income goes up by one dollar, my taxes increase by another n%" strawman?

The Robotaku said...

Cutting services isn't enough: you could privatize public media and the military tomorrow and we'd still be in the red next year.

Nobody wants to say it, but we need to raise taxes. ALL of us. This country throws a fit about taxes but only Switzerland has taxes lower than ours.

TO OUR LOWEST INCOME EARNERS: You already pay $850 annually at minimum... is another $50 gonna gut you?

TO OUR HIGHEST INCOME EARNERS: It's true, you pay at minimum $131,000... and the rest of us might feel bad for you if you weren't still taking enough home to support over three dozen people in the lowest tax bracket.

But whatever... I can't even care anymore.

Matt said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

The only news I've seen is reports that they're planning on laying off up to 800 workers nation wide, cutting syndicated American television programming as well as ordering fewer new episodes of domestic radio and tv shows .

Nothing says that the CBC has gone bankrupt or that any of the divisions will be closed.

Arman said...

Nick,

Unfortunately, its going to have to be done away with entirely because both those programs have grown to a scale that was never foreseen nor intended. Its gonna go anyway when the the last penny is taken out the vault. Might as well make it an orderly transition over a couple of decades to ween the public off of it.

And again, the War on Terror was not a waste. Tell that to the millions of Iraqis that voted for the first time in their lives. That set aside, yes there are some research projects in the Pentagon that are not going anywhere and sucking up money. That said, if you were to cut defense spending down to TWENTY DOLLARS so that we could buy a tape recorder that plays "We Surrender" over and over again, you'd still be in debt.

The entire Military budget is 800 billion. That's Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coastguard, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, etc. It buys us ALOT more than that Stimulus package of the same price that your guy passed and unlike that, and Social Security and Medicare, and Obamacare, the expenditure is Constitutionally authorized.

The deficit, on the other hand, is 1.6 trillion. So even if you could disarm America to the point that it was helpless, the problem would still exist. The military is not what has bankrupted us, Nick. The war did not cause this deficit.

You have no clue where the actual money-sinks are. Your guy has spent enough money to repurchase the Louisiana territory. Your guy has spent enough money to re-invade both Iraq and Afghanistan. You gonna condemn that as equally as our military expenditures?

How about this. Why don't you make an actual case as to why tax money should go to these private groups when the government is broke other than "Well its only a half a billion dollars so what's the big deal?"

Not projecting at all. Basic powers of observation tells me so.

And its not a strawman, Nick. This was observable in the 70's when the taxes were even more unbearable. Businesses would close a few months before the end of the year to avoid getting into the next income bracket because making more money would actually cost them!

Smpoza said...

....Hang on a second.

Deficit=1.6 trillion

1 trillion=1000 billion

military budget-800 billion

800 billion/1600 billion=half the deficit

You might have misplaced a decimal point somewhere, but the way you portray it, military spending is MUCH larger than I thought it was. Also, don't act like every single dollar that goes to the military is invaluable. We're not fighting the Soviet Union anymore; we need drones and counter-terrorism stuff, not more tanks, aircraft carriers, and stealth bombers. Yes, we need to alter social security and cut other social spending, but if, as you say, HALF THE DEFICIT is in the military, it seems unreasonable to simply ignore it.