Betty McCollum guards Sesame Street and Republicans go Gonzo

Categories: Betty McCollum

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Big Bird: Not worthy of your tax dollars?
Rep. Betty McCollum and some other House members stood on the Capitol steps with Elmo and Big Bird yesterday, deriding Republicans for trying to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's $451 million operating budget.

PBS is an oasis in the vast wasteland of commercial television, and "Tea Party Republicans want to completely wipe out this critical resource and weaken our communities," she said.

Republicans went Gonzo.

"It would take Count Von Count more than 42 years to count the 451 million, one 'Ah!Ah!Ah!' dollar at a time," howled South Carolina Rep. Jim DeMint later, channeling his inner Muppet. "When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed."

Big Oil would turn a profit without its tax breaks too, but DeMint didn't mention that.

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US Army
Your tax dollars at work.
Which brings us to NASCAR. Why, McCollum asked the other day, is the U.S. Army wasting $7 million sponsoring the spectacularly successful private enterprise?

"Taxpayer-funded NASCAR race cars are an absurdity at a time when the Republican-Tea Party is cutting federal support for homeless veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters," the St. Paul Democrat said, while offering a budget amendment that would defund the Army's NASCAR sponsorship.

For that, she was the target of a vile, anonymous fax. And her budget amendment was shot down.

"Yo, Slut Betty," the fax reads. "Death To All Marxists, Foreign And Domestic!"

All budget cuts are not created equal.

Related: Betty McCollum wants to defund Pentagon NASCAR sponsorship

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There is nothing that PBS does that can't be done better by any of a dozen commercial, niche cable networks. The hay-days of PBS, the early 1970s, are long past. Time to move on.


Or, conversely, there is nothing that a $7 million ad on a NASCAR vehicle does that can't be done better by any of a dozen commercial niche cable networks. I met a lot of interesting characters in six years in the Army, but never met one who said "Well, I signed up becauz ah saw "Amry" painted on the side of a race car." My only gripe with PBS is that it doesn't have nearly enough news and info, and too many British shows. But it's at least decent television for those of us who can't afford to squander on cable.

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