Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The War on Hugs

Having decided that the appointment of public-broadcast-hating Republican good old boy Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) had not reaped sufficiently rapid results (say, the immediate arson of every CPB-funded entity in the United States), the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education moved to cut federal funding for CPB by 25% next year, from $400M to $300M, and to eliminate all federal funding for CPB in the next few years.

The subcommittee had to decide, [Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio)] said, on cutting money for public broadcasting or cutting college grants, special education, worker retraining and health care programs. "No one's out to get" public broadcasting, Regula said. "It's not punitive in any way."

So apparently the decision isn't about cutting money for public broadcasting or cutting some miniscule fraction of a percent of the tax cuts, punishing and putting an end to fraudulent billing by administration cronies like Halliburton, or bailing out the airlines or their pension plans (again (and again)). Who knew? (Yes, I recognize the the subcommittee's ambit is limited to its terms, and they have to balance the books within that realm, but it bears recalling that the subcommittee controls just one of many line items in the federal budget, and money moves from one line item to another all the time.)

Regula suggested public stations could "make do" without federal money by getting more funding from private sources, such as contributions from corporations, foundations, and listeners and viewers.

More funding from private sources, eh? What's good for congress is, I suppose, good for CPB. Of course, we all know from long hard experience where that sort of funding regime leaves the putative constituents of the entity (or legislator) to be funded. But I'm sure that's not the point at all.

If you care, and you should, drop in on our old friends at and speak up. It's not exactly marching on the Mall, but neither is it entirely inconsequential.


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