Ramblings and Rants

by thoughtsatlarge

Just some ramblings and rants today!

The FY2011 budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is $430 million.  The CPB funds both the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR).  The Department of Defense budget for FY2011 is $678 billion.  I did some quick math and found that killing the CPB budget would run the Defense Department for 5 minutes and 33 seconds.  Conversely, cutting the Defense Budget for one year would ensure Big Bird stays on the air for another 1,577 years, or until the year 3589. Now, I don’t know that given the embarrassment of channels available on cable TV, we need to fund a public station, but I do know that I have connected with many of their offerings over the years, including

  • This Old House
  • Victory Garden
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • ZOOM
  • Mister Roger’s Neighborhood
  • NOVA
  • The New Yankee Workshop
  • PBS Newshour
  • Live from Lincoln Center
  • Masterpiece
  • Frontline
  • Julia Child
  • Scientific American Frontiers
  • Ken Burns documentaries
  • Downton Abbey

Did you know that only 15.5% of the PBS budget is funded by the CPB.  The rest is made up of federal grants and contracts (3.3%), state and local taxes (21.8%) and donations from “viewers like you” (59.4%).  The United States spends as much as the next 14 highest spending countries on its military, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the chart:


It seems that we won the Cold War and our reward was to outspend the rest of the world for a military that can be outfoxed with a 737 and an IED.  Al Qaeda would be so much easier to defeat if they had a flag and a specific colored patch on my globe to target.  Unfortunately, they don’t and yet we have “reluctantly” proclaimed ourselves “the world’s policeman,” mainly because the UN is terminally impotent.  We don’t declare war anymore and politicians trip over themselves to declare peace, but a peace devoid of meaning.  We preach democracy and capitalism and ignore the fact that ours is being defeated by the very marketplace mechanism we tout as China buys up our debt.  Our citizens deny personal responsibility in favor of societal blame, seek government handouts while condemning a bloated system and idolize celebrities while condemning a foe stuck in the Dark Ages.  What happened to the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason?  The Greatest Generation shouldn’t be treasured because they defeated Hitler.  They shouldn’t be treasured because they brought us into the technological wonder that is modern day living.  They should be treasured because they got up every day, went to the office, or climbed up and down a ladder painting someone’s house, or focused on being a good parent, or because they paid their taxes and asked for nothing in return but safe roads and bridges.  They should be treasured because they embraced the opportunity to grind out a living.  Today we observe, critique and obfuscate.  We avoid tough decisions and manufacture drama.  Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama claims to have an answer to this problem.  Why should we look to Washington to solve this problem?  Maybe, just maybe, we need to become responsible for ourselves instead of trying to fix the rest of the world’s problems.  Maybe, just maybe, we should bust our ass a little more and kiss it a little less.Put another way, the US spends five times the amount annually on its military as China, 10 times as much as Russia, 43 times as much as Israel and 113 times as much as Pakistan.  And yet, we plan to build 10 new aircraft carriers to replace our existing fleet, at a cost of $10 billion a piece.  Last year, Congress authorized $181 million to build another 70 M1A2 Abrams tanks, despite the fact that the Army doesn’t want them.  They already have 2,000 of these sitting in the California desert collecting dust because they don’t need these either!

It seems that we won the Cold War and our reward was to outspend the rest of the world for a military that can be outfoxed with a 737 and an IED.  Al Qaeda would be so much easier to defeat if they had a flag and a specific colored patch on my globe to target.  Unfortunately, they don’t and yet we have “reluctantly” proclaimed ourselves “the world’s policeman,” mainly because the UN is terminally impotent.  We don’t declare war anymore and politicians trip over themselves to declare peace, but a peace devoid of meaning.  We preach democracy and capitalism and ignore the fact that ours is being defeated by the very marketplace mechanism we tout as China buys up our debt.  Our citizens deny personal responsibility in favor of societal blame, seek government handouts while condemning a bloated system and idolize celebrities while condemning a foe stuck in the Dark Ages.  What happened to the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason?  The Greatest Generation shouldn’t be treasured because they defeated Hitler.  They shouldn’t be treasured because they brought us into the technological wonder that is modern day living.  They should be treasured because they got up every day, went to the office, or climbed up and down a ladder painting someone’s house, or focused on being a good parent, or because they paid their taxes and asked for nothing in return but safe roads and bridges.  They should be treasured because they embraced the opportunity to grind out a living.  Today we observe, critique and obfuscate.  We avoid tough decisions and manufacture drama.  Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama claims to have an answer to this problem.  Why should we look to Washington to solve this problem?  Maybe, just maybe, we need to become responsible for ourselves instead of trying to fix the rest of the world’s problems.  Maybe, just maybe, we should bust our ass a little more and kiss it a little less.