» Bang for your buck: The above figure is a cause for angst among some U.S. politicians in the wake of the surprising (to say the least) discovery of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan last week. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Susan Collins have made it clear they may not support further funding — Collins says she’s concerned about Pakistan playing a “double-game.” On the other side of the issue, Senator Richard Luger supports continuation of the aid, saying that Pakistan is simply too critical to counter-terrorism to sever financial ties.
[Neil Gaiman], who I hate, [is] a pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.Minnesota GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean • Making his case for changing Minnesota’s funding for public broadcasting and the arts so that institutions have to compete for grants, rather than receive standard amounts of appropriated money. The way he exemplified this, though, was to fling mud at science-fiction scribe Neil Gaiman over a four-hour speaking engagement at a Minnesota library, for which he was paid $45,000. Gaiman’s response, via Twitter: “Minnesota Republicans have a “hate” list. Like Nixon did. I’m on it. They also don’t like capitalism.” Gaiman has also said that the money he received was donated to charity. source (via • follow)
» Wikileaks strikes again: Cables released by the organization say that after the Bush administration’s severing of diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime in 2005, the U.S. had funnelled money to groups hostile to the Bashar al-Assad government. About $6 million went to a group of Syrian exiles in London with connections to Barada TV, a satellite station that beams into Syria and provides coverage of the protests against Assad. The funding began in 2006, and continued at least until September 2010, meaning the Obama administration’s diplomatic overtures to the Assad regime weren’t very sincere — frankly, this makes us feel a little better about U.S. policy towards them. Be sure to notch another tally for Wikileaks, exposing yet more profoundly relevant, enthralling information about our geopolitical world.
neightkelly said: Not taking the money from people does not add to the government’s deficit, it’s not the government’s money. It’s like saying because you aren’t mugging that person you are now down 25 dollars.
» We say: Think about it this way. It’s like going to college. You may not like all the classes, but they still need to be paid for by the collective student body. Because, since they get all that tuition, they have room to offer a Women’s Studies program. And a wider variety of programs ensures a better experience for everyone. If money goes away, programs get cut. That’s the thing with your “mugger” analogy that doesn’t work. Even if you’re a hardcore libertarian, you’re still benefitting from that tax income whether you choose to enjoy it or not. There is a benefit to paying your taxes. You drive on those roads that the government provided the money and planning to create and maintain. You eat food made healthier by government regulation. You don’t get sick because the government put money into improving medical standards. You live in a safe country because the government did things to improve our country’s security both here and abroad. I’ve yet to meet a mugger who gave back so much after they stole your wallet. (EDIT: Now this is not to say that the government is the best at these particular jobs, but it is how they use the money.)
…Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio executives earned between $$370,000/year and $1.2 million per year. Regardless of whether or not the non-profit organizations could have found people to work for less money, there is a reasonable question of whether the government should forcibly collect tax dollars from folks earning the median $16/hour wage and feed those dollars to public broadcasting employees earning far more than President Obama.Blogger Philip Greenspun • Noting that PBS and NPR execs do quite well in their jobs. Fascinating perspective, and one that isn’t heard often about the whole PBS/NPR thing. We don’t necessarily agree with stripping their funding, but there is something to be said about how far public broadcasting has come from the days of Mr. Rogers getting a pittance to put together an episode of his show. But on the other hand … let’s not forget about this graphic. And we wonder aloud how much your average executive at a federally-supported defense contractor makes vs. the people setting the strategy for “All Things Considered” and “Frontline.” We’re sure it quickly makes this argument seem silly. (via azspot)
» This has nothing to do with abortions: This bill, which only passed in the GOP-controlled house, affects preventative-health services like cancer screenings or contraception – not abortions, which are maybe 3% of Planned Parenthood’s entire array of services and are already not supported through federal funding – at the grand cost of $330 million. Now, the likelihood that this would actually affect Planned Parenthood as-is? That’s very low, because this is part of that whole Republican-pushed spending plan that will likely not get through the Senate or Obama in its current form, but the fact that it’s even on the table is getting a lot of people worked up.