The Spectacle Blog

Really Fat Bird

By on 6.12.06 | 4:26PM

I first posted this as just a comment to the Prowler's note on Big Bird below, but I think it is worthy of its own post, so...: There's a telling stat in the Prowler's note. Back in 1995, the ENTIRE federal portion of the budget for public broadcasting was right at $100 million. Now they are talking of cutting $115 million, which is of course more than the whole budget was 11 years ago -- and I'll bet, although the Prowler doesn't say it, that even AFTER the $115 million cut, the remaining budget is still well over $100 million. Any info on that, Prowler? Anyway, the point is, such has been the spending orgy on Capitol Hill for the last 8 1/2 years that something the GOP once tried to eliminate now apparently will have MORE money left in its account even after cutting (if successful) a total that is GREATER than its whole account originally was. Even after taking inflation into account, this is an amazingly discouraging statistic.

Waiving the Flag for Judges

By on 6.12.06 | 3:31PM

Yes, that is supposed to be "waiving," not "waving."

Just a little earlier today, a coalition of conservative groups organized by Manny Miranda of the Third Branch Conference held an important press conference to announce an overwhelming agreeement that, if the choice is between passing an amendment banning flag burning, as the Senate is scheduled to consider this week, or spending the time necessary to confirm more judicial nominees, the groups strongly prefer the confirmation of judges. (In other words, they would waive the flag issue in favor of the judges.) Not that they don't approve of the flag amendment but, in the words of the American Conservative Union's David Keene, the flag issue is "more symbolic than substantive," whereas the confirmation battles are of highest substantive AND political importance. The flag issue, Keene said, Is "not very salient" right now.

Die Big Bird, Die

By on 6.12.06 | 2:56PM

House Republicans cut about $115 million from the budgets of PBS and NPR, and Rep. Ed Markey has pulled out the tired old lines that saved PBS from budget cuts a decade ago. This from the Boston Globe:

"Dick Cheney and the Republicans have decided to go hunting for `Big Bird' and `Clifford the Big Red Dog' once again," said Representative Edward J. Markey , a Malden Democrat who led the successful effort to reverse the cuts last year. "PBS is right at the top of their hit list -- always has been and always will be, until they can destroy it."

Never mind that both "Sesame Street" and shows like "Clifford" make a number of companies pant-loads of money, with never a dime being returned to the federal government. The programming simply isn't as good as what is being aired on 15 commercial children and educational channels that compete against PBS. And most kids aren't watching the mediocre drek that PBS puts on.

The National Wildlife Federation President….

By on 6.12.06 | 2:21PM

...Larry J. Schweiger just said, "Polar bears are talking to us. Are we listening?"

Sure, sure, I hear them. They're saying, "Don't hurt Shawn-Shawn the as-yet-unclubbed seal Polar Bear Larry! I swear that's what I heard!" [The man-seal backs out of the room cautiously while comfortingly cooing.]

More: "Unite to solve this planetary crisis." "It's time for an oil change in America." Larry adds, "We can conclude good planets are hard to find."

You bet. Let me know when you visit ours.

VA Primary Not So Open

By on 6.12.06 | 2:05PM

I was undecided between picking up a Republican or Democratic ballot in tomorrow's Virginia primary, until I came across this. Apparently voters who vote in the Democratic primary will not be eligible to vote in closed party primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia's plan of organization seems to confirm this.

Planet Wage

By on 6.12.06 | 2:01PM

The emcee here just said, "Don't talk to me about choosing between jobs or the environment. It's jobs for the environment."

Yes, but will the environment be paid a living wage? It's time to organize, methinks. Rocks, dirt and trees, should all start voting for the big Ds.

He's also quoting JFK's famous speech--"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard"--to press for a new energy independence "Apollo Program." But hard like what? Hard like going to see the new Al Gore movie? Or hard like bringing democracy to a totalitarian society? I think we're starting to recognize our limits.

Time for a Shareholders Meeting?

By on 6.12.06 | 1:55PM

I just flew in to D.C. from the Yearly Kos convention in Vegas (expecta few columns on that soon) and got to the Washington Hilton just in time to hear "Give 'Em Hell" Harry Reid explain, in the midst of the usual banalities--"incompetence," snore. "corruption," snore--we've grown accustomed to, break out and warn that he planned to, "Take America back from Exxon Mobil. Take America back from those who would hide science." Look out Exxon Mobil! You're about to lose your fifedom! Since Reid labeled the Bush Administration, "the most oil friendly administration in the history of country," it can be presumed they will have to go as well. "We can't drill our way out of our problems," Reid said. Indeed. Now its all oohs and ahhs as the crowd watches the trailer for the Al Gore global warming movie and eats strawberries and whipped cream. Revolution not-so-lite. Very nice. More soon!