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All The Light We Cannot See
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Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!
It was announced today that the federal National Endowment for the Arts has made sweeping funding cuts to established PBS shows. More details are available here.
I can’t measure the the impact of this, or fully wrap my head around it. This will take time (and more information) to assess the impact, but I’m initially struck by two points in particular here. First, I’m sorry to see such a big cut to POV, the program that sponsored Traces of the Trade on PBS.
Second, Alyce Myatt, a friend of mine who is the endowment’s media arts director, said that while public television and radio remain “the leads, we also know we have a generation — not of kids but adults — who are consuming content online and on mobile.” This is definitely true for me and many people I know.
It is fascinating to read that the endowment made “78 grants, up from 64 in 2011, totaling $3.55 million, down from $4 million last year. Eligible applications more than doubled to 329, Ms. Myatt said.”
“There are limited resources, so the resources are parsed out as best as can be. This is not anything against any particular program, any particular network or anything.”
Technological advances continue to change the world in profound ways. The impacts will be felt by all of us, including to programs near and dear to our hearts.
I look forward to hearing, and learning, more.
Three items of note caught my attention this week… all caught up for centuries in this historic battle.
Brown University thoroughly investigated its historic ties to slavery and the slave trade, and its profit therefrom, and issued a remarkable report a few years back. This week it was announced that Brown will acknowledge its deep, historic connection in a very public way by following one of the recommendations in the report and create a slavery memorial in a prominent place on campus. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s obvious to me now. Chicken Little has taken over Washington, DC. A tiny fowl succeeded in a fiendish coup d’etat in which almost every member of Congress (with the possible exception of Senator Bernie Sanders) and many political pundits have been replaced by exact duplicates. Chicken Little’s accomplice? Must’ve been the Body Snatchers. What else can explain the hysterics being spewed by pod people who scream, THE SKY IS FALLING!
THE SKY IS FALLING!
THE SKY IS FALLING!
THE SKY IS FALLING!
Notice Cesca’s and McCaskill’s use of the word “chicken.” Coincidence? I don’t think so! Unfortunately, this ain’t no cartoon or science fiction movie. I also don’t anticipate a happy ending.
Like most Americans that pay attention to such things (outside of Congress, anyway) I’m frustrated by the inability of those in positions of power to compromise on our national debt, the deficit, the debt ceiling, tax loopholes, tax increases and budget cuts. The reason is the same as always: the very power, and the lust for more power, that those in positions of power crave. Everyone wants to retain power and will go to great lengths to do so.
Sadly, when the credits roll and the curtain falls on this lousy show, I expect the greatest burden to fall where it has always fallen: on the most vulnerable among us.
Logical people (in my opinion) know this posturing on both sides of the political aisle is all about politics and power and how to control both. But too few in power seem to be listening to logic.
Consider the opinion of Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President Reagan and Treasury official under G.H.W. Bush:
Read Corporate Cash Con by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. Watch “liberal” Mark Shields and “conservative” David Brooks calmly discuss these issues on PBS. Watch “liberal” Thom Hartman explain who ran up the national debt. Read what the pro-private-sector, anti-big-government magazine The Economist has to say. Billionaire Warren Buffett recently pointed out that, “We raised the debt ceiling seven times during the Bush Administration” and “We had debt at 120 percent of the GDP, far higher than this, after World War II and no one went around threatening that we’re going to ruin the credit of the United States.” I think his pod person then took over to claim that the Republican-controlled Congress is “trying to use the incentive now that we’re going to blow your brains out…”
Finally, consider the thoughts of John Avlon of the Daily Beast regarding the pathetic failure of both Republicans and Democrats:
Republicans won’t budge on taxes and Democrats (other than Obama) won’t budge on entitlement reform. Most people, according to a recent Pew/Washington Post poll, will blame the Republicans if a deal isn’t reached. If we want to play the blame game it appears the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats will win this game of chicken.
And who loses as a result of this childish insanity? Not the Republicans. Those who lose will be the people who can least afford it. And here is where the insidious specter of structural racism (as much as most of those in power, and many outside the halls of power, will deny it) can be clearly seen.
First read “Unnecessary Austerity, Unnecessary Shutdown” published by the Institute for Policy Studies to understand that “…we’re not broke. Not even close. The United States of America is awash in wealth.” But two factors “have unleashed a fiscal nightmare.” Most of America’s wealth is concentrated at the very top and the wealthiest among us are paying significantly lower taxes on there windfall wealth.
Most of the wealthiest people in America and most of the people in power in Congress and throughout corporate America look like me: white men. President Obama and Herman Cain notwithstanding, the overwhelming share of power and wealth has always been, and continues to be, concentrated in the hands of powerful and wealthy white men. Those on the opposite end of the scale are disproportionately poor people of color.
Read The Children’s Defense Fund “Portrait of Inequality 2011,” a report showing the gross inequalities facing black children compared to white children, across all critical indicators of wellbeing. This report explains how “the economic crisis of the last three years has pushed black children and youth deeper and deeper into an abyss of poverty, hunger, homelessness and despair.”
Finally, United for a Fair Economy has published “The State of the Dream 2011: Austerity for Whom?” Here is the Executive Summary. This report surveys the impacts of a tax-cutting, government-shrinking economic agenda on communities of color. If such an agenda advances, “the dream of a racially equal society, as described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over forty years ago, will be pushed even further out of reach.”
The sky is indeed falling. I wish the pod people in Washington understood, and cared about, upon whom it falls.
The Oscar-nominated (for Best Documentary Film, 2009) Food, Inc. premieres tonight on the acclaimed PBS series P.O.V. (the same wonderful folks responsible for the television premiere of Traces of the Trade)
I encourage everyone to watch this informative film. I learned things I did not know. I was shocked, angered, and disgusted. And then I began to think about what I could do in my own life to have a more positive impact on my health by the choices I make in what I eat.
Seriously. Skip American Idol. TiVo it. I believe Food, Inc. will impact you and your loved ones in significantly beneficial ways. From the P.O.V. website:
Check your local PBS station for times and repeat screenings. P.O.V. continues to impress me with the wide variety of thought-provoking and informative films it shows each week. If P.O.V. isn’t on your radar screen yet–they should be.
And if you can’t watch tonight an alternative way to see Food, Inc. is on Netflix where it is available both for home delivery and “Instant Watch” on your computer.