Friday, October 5, 2012

PBS FLIPPING THE BIG BIRD! REALLY, THIS WAS A PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE-WORTHY SUBJECT?, AND MY OWN PERSONAL LOVE AND MY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES ABOUT PBS PROGRAMMING!



It's not that I necessarily disagree with Romney's obsession on cutting funding to PBS and CPB, although I completely do, and if anything, their funding should be doubled, at least, but it's such a minor and small thing that one must ask the question of why he is so intently focused on it, and thinks it's such a crucial detail that he brings it up during a Presidential debate? I won't make any secrets as to my political allegiance, I am a registered Democrat, and my political position is somewhere to the left of liberal. People may think certain things, like my side is an NEA-loving artsy-crafty stoner hippie side, but really, we barely even blink an eye at things like giving money for "Sesame Street" and "Antiques Roadshow". Our basic thought process that we go into when we're confronted with such a question goes something like this. "PBS? Give money to them so they can, dot, dot, dot,... okay, that sounds like good people to give money too. Now, back to trying to give health insurance to people who don't have it." That's really all the thought we think about, and it should be in considering how much money we actually give them.

Okay, let me give you some numbers. About 15% of PBS's budget, is from government subsidies. Now that's the average per/PBS stations, across the country, so many stations' budgets can be about 40-50% government subsidies, so while many stations would be relatively okay, a significant chunk of there budget would be taken away from several stations, possibly to the point where they'll need to fold. Cutting the budget entirely, would save exactly, 0.00014% of the budget, about $300 million dollars/yr (Source: dailykos.com), spread over, I don't know, 300 or 400 stations, nationwide (You can find all the station on PBS.com, I'm not counting them all), about 70 or so, have produced and/or currently produce nationally-broadcasted PBS programming, on top of, whatever local programming most stations make. About a dollar per/person, in America. That's , 1.4 ten-thousandths of a percentage, of the budget, saved. That's, two fighter-jets, maybe. Okay, I'm being facetious, I don't know how much a fighter jet costs, but cutting Public television doesn't save any real money, especially when you can simply raise a tax and save it, rather easily. It's just Romney cutting programs, just so he can, because he believes government spends too much, which they don't, and that they should put that money, along with the money from other government cuts to other things that he thinks should have more money than they have, like the rich, or the military probably. Whatever else he thinks needs money when in reality, it doesn't. Honestly, I'd prefer it if he'd have the balls to cut the money from something like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or whatever, and place it somewhere else; at least that would show some actual philosophical choice and opinion from him on what government should actually do. Doing this, bragging about cutting PBS. is just, well it's just stupid crap. Really, I think it's one of the worse things you can cut from the government, but say you want to do it, is it such a major measure that it should be brought up to the level of "Being Discussed and Argued on a Presidential Debate"? It just isn't. Neither are such questions as "Should the government fund the arts?" or "Should gays marry?" or "Should a woman be forced to keep an unwanted child, who's a result of a rape, if she doesn't want to?" The answers are "Sure, why not?",  "Sure, who cares?",  and "Jesus Christ, give her an abortion if she wants it, for fuck's sake!" It's these insipid minor issues that the right tends to focus on, under the guise of an failed philosophical theory, and an imagined cultural superiority they have, and somehow, this means Big Bird, gets invoked during a Presidential debate, and it inspires a Million Muppet March. (Seriously, there's actually going to be a "Million Muppet March", I already liked it on Facebook.)

Fine, Romney won the debate, because, Obama clearly was rusty, and was annoyed that Romney was placed on an equal pedestal as him. (I would be too, if I was him.) If I'm sounding personal about this, well, let me tell you something. Most of the day, while I'm at home, I have PBS on. My default station, especially in the morning, is PBS, and the middle of the night too, which is when they usually air reruns of the primetime PBS shows I missed because I chose to watch "The Mindy Project" instead. I don't like everything on there. Not a big "Nova" junkie. I think "Daily Business Report," is insipid and annoying, (And btw, I think it's a pretty lousy status about our world, that business news, actually is "Daily"! Everyday, something happens in business, that's worthy of a 1/2-hour news program? Who's running this country, the government, or Coca-Cola? How about a "Weekly Business Report", PBS? One hour-, say-eh, Friday Night, after "Washington Week," push Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose, back an hour, that's really all we should need, of Business news. It's not like they're reinventing the assembly line everyday.) I think "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That", really bastardizes Dr. Suess... I could go on. I'm sick of "Keeping Up Appearances" reruns too, but even with some crap, most of it, it keeps my mind fresh. I enjoy it. Better than most of those annoying talk shows, judge shows, bad reality shows, even better than the two soap operas that are still on the air, and definitely more fun to watch than Steve Harvey on "Family Feud", so I'm too old for most of it. Well, frankly, it's better. I'll take better and too young for me, than too mindnumbing and stupid.

Actually, I'll tell my own personal story about PBS. This would've been, 3rd or 4th grade, and just like now, I didn't have cable at the time. I'd come home from school, and there wouldn't be a lot on, but they used to have, on like FOX, and a few other channels, afternoon shows for kids. Cartoons mostly. "Animaniacs," for instance, that was a big one when I was young. Couple other things. generally, but even though, I didn't need Elmo for my ABCs, I put on PBS. First to watch, "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" which I loved, and still do, and then I'd keep it on most of the afternoon, until "Seinfeld" reruns or "Jeopardy!" or whatever was on before primetime. So, one of the things PBS used to show at that time, was "Barney & Friends". I didn't particularly love that show, but it was either that, or on FOX, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", which didn't particularly interest me, so I kept "Barney..." on. Unbeknownst to me, this was one of the worse possible decisions I ever could've made, as I was thusly informed by, everybody in my class about it. (Worse decision #2, was casually telling my class that I watched "Barney...", thinking everybody thought the way I did. Lesson learned.) I mention this, because this is one of the only times I ever really remember caving in to so-called "Peer Pressure", as it eventually got so bad, that eventually, I started watching "...Power Rangers" just to shut everybody up. That's not to say that "...Power Rangers" was bad, it wasn't. It wasn't great. It really started losing its way after they kept changing actors and the green/white ranger kept changing colors, and when, oh, what were they're names, the two doofuses, that were the Laurel & Hardy of that show, always getting into new scams and bullying others... (Snaps fingers, snaps fingers...) Oh, hold on, let me look it up.... (Elevator musac version of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical") Bulk & Skull, when they like, became mall cops or something like that? (Never, in a million years, would I have gotten that, btw.) Anyway, it jumped the shark, multiple times, and, frankly, I preferred watching "Barney...", at least until all the kids on the show grew up, and they had like five or six dinosaur friends of his. Anyway, the main point is that, despite being made fun of ruthlessly, I eventually regretted the decision. Yeah, I preferred watching "Barney..." over "Power Rangers". Figuring nothing else, at least Barney's educational. Now, I love PBS. I don't watch everything like I said before. Currently, I love "History Detectives," "Market Warriors," "Arthur," and especially "Wordgirl". Yeah, I still like some of the kids shows, the good ones anyway. I question why on "Super Why" there are three human characters, and then, a pig, trying to read books and solve the problems in the stories. I mean, they got the regular boy, Why, the sporty girl, and the African-American princess, you'd think, they'd come up, with a fourth human character, but we get Alpha Pig? That always frustrates me. But, other than a few minor quibbles like that it's just good background music really. It's either that or Kathie Lee Gifford, and I'll take the show that inspires kids to read, even with the weird, personified alphabet-expert pig.

Anyway, my point being overall is that, I understand wanting to cut government programs, or even cutting the budgets on some of them, but there's many reasons why this, is stupid. One being, that we don't need to, we could simply increase taxes on the uberwealthy to pay for most of it. (Oh yeah, I love taxes. I know nobody wants people to say that, but taxes are the greatest, period, invention, period,  ever period, exclamation point.! The great equalizer. It's the price you should gladly pay for being rich. You pay taxes, we get rebates, we spend the rebates, and the money goes into the system, and eventually back to the rich again, as the money goes up, and then back down. It works, everytime, don't get why that's such a problem, unless everybody on the right is just plain greedy.) Another being that it's bad politics to make it so that Big Bird is your political opponent, 'cause frankly, you're not gonna win. Third, it's dumb in general to cut something like that, and small, easy-to-understand quality government programs, especially since, Fourth, PBS and CPB, actually work! and isn't that typically the kind of programs Republicans want to begin with. Small, easy to understand, does the job it tries to do, you can easily see the results... At least that the rhetoric I hear from David Brooks all the time on the "PBS Newshour". Cutting programs or parts of programs we don't need, or don't work, that's understandable, but cutting programs that have been so incredible successful, especially that cost us so little, that's just dumb. It's not my biggest complaint about Romney, probably not even in my Top Ten, but, hell, he's the one who chose to focus such attention to it. It's the same old game, and I hate playing it, but we don't care about something so trivial, so we say, sure, go ahead, free country, then their side decides, just for the hell of it, to be against it, so now, because they're taking an insipid contrary opinion, now I have to defend it as usual. Could be worse I guess. Usually they take an obnoxiously, idiotic, insipid, contrary opinion on something really important. So, hey, maybe a GOP Presidental Candidate who's anti-PBS is progress?
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