Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 17, 2011

HOUSE GOP CUTS OFF NPR.... Following an emergency session -- an emergency session -- of the House Rules Committee, the House met today to tackle a pressing matter of great national importance to the new Republican majority. Was it about creating jobs? No, in fact the proposal on the floor would lead to layoffs of roughly 9,000 American workers.

The topic today was NPR.

The House voted on Thursday to cut off funding for National Public Radio, with Democrats and Republicans fiercely divided over both the content of the bill and the manner in which it was brought to the floor.

Under the measure, sponsored by Representative Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, stations could not buy programming from NPR or any other source using the $22 million the stations receive from the Treasury for that purpose. Local NPR stations would be able to use federal funds for operating expenses, but not content.

Here's the final roll call. Note that zero Democrats went along with this little gambit, and seven House Republicans broke party ranks and voted with Dems. Given the large Republican advantage, the bill passed 228 to 192, but it's unlikely to get much consideration in the Senate.

That's kind of how the House works -- scramble to pass a bill that makes the base happy, knowing full well it won't go anywhere, wasting the entire institution's time for the purposes of a vanity project.

Also note, the House Republican leadership promised the nation that all legislation would be publicly available for 72 hours before it could come up for a vote. The bill to defund NPR was posted just 48 hours ago, meaning that today's vote would break the House GOP's own self-imposed rule.

When pressed for an explanation, Republican officials said their own 72-hour rule wasn't meant to be taken literally.

Seriously, that's what they said.

And if that weren't quite amusing enough, take two minutes to watch Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) floor remarks. You'll be glad you did.

Steve Benen 4:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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"What a relief. I'm glad we got the economy back going. I'm so glad we secured our nuclear power plants. So glad Americans are going back to work," he said. "We discovered a target we can all agree on...it's Click And Clack."

I'm not too sure about that Keillor fellow, either.

Posted by: Cazart on March 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

When pressed for an explanation, Republican officials said their own 72-hour rule wasn't mean to be taken literally.

Numbers, math, science, facts...None of that actually means anything. Them's just words, for, like, talking and stuff.

Posted by: bignose on March 17, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"...wasting the entire institution's time for the purposes of a vanity project..."

It's not a vanity project, it's a reelection campaign. The House GOP's sole and entire focus isn't jobs, or the economy, or anything at all having to do with public policy. It's 2012. (After all, if they do anything to improve the economy, Obama might get some of the credit.)

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on March 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Local NPR stations would be able to use federal funds for operating expenses, but not content.

So they will move federal funds currently used to buy content over to operating expenses, while moving contribution funds currently targeted for operating expenses over to content acquisition.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on March 17, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it's jobs. Each of the Rs has to survive a primary. What of the general election you might ask? Don't worry, they'll find something to distract the electorate and show the Ds weakness.

Posted by: foosion on March 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

go anthony weiner!

Posted by: just bill on March 17, 2011 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

I *heart* Anthony Weiner! Seriously though, what the heck is wrong with Repubs? The cognitive dissonance is getting worse every day. Are they headed for a meltdown? Do we need to pour seawater on them?

Posted by: Athena on March 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I don't need to watch the video, because I saw it live. I also heard the applause from the peanut gallery, and the speaker admonish same to behave themselves.

I doubt that any here would have voted to defund NPR. It is a different story on other sites. One called TractorByNet is populated by mostly middle class country folk, with a few acres and a passion for their 25 HP Deeres and Kubotas, and Bobcats.

There is a forum called 'The Front Porch" where members discuss things like nuclear power and teachers unions and climate change.

As the House vote began I posted a question there, asking should NPR be defunded. The answers, all day, have been yes and hell, yes. These folks also vote in elections.

Posted by: DAY on March 17, 2011 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Please come out and join Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Elmo and all the others at the demonstration this weekend at the Capitol Mall. Cookie will be bringing cookies, naturally, but also fresh fruit, and Oscar promises to fling some rancid banana peels he's been saving at any House Republican that walks through the crowd. And Big Bird was emphatic that, while being very mild-mannered normally, he is nonetheless eight feet tall and ready to "kick some ass."

Posted by: jsacto on March 17, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

How soon until the RNC runs the following ad?


Scary voice: Is the Democrat Party completely out of touch with America? Listen to what Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, said recently in Congress:
Weiner:The American people are not concerns with jobs or the economy or what's going on around the world.

Do you want jobs? Do you want economic growth? Send money to the RNC now!

Based on O'Keefe ethics, that's fine, right?

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on March 17, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Also, is anyone surprised that the Republicans don't know what "72" means? This is the party of Enron and the unpaid-for Iraq War. How can anyone seriously expect them to play by the rules of math?

Does mathematics also have a well-known liberal bias?

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on March 17, 2011 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a very liberal person, but the fight to save public broadcasting dollars isn't one liberals should be fighting over.

The federal government does not need to subsidize television or radio content. There are plenty of funding models out there that could work for NPR and PBS as private organizations. Let government do the things that only government can do, and stop fighting these battles over the molehills.

Posted by: uber_snotling on March 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of small NPR stations around the country wouldn't survive without federal money to run their stations and buy programming -- their communities just aren't rich enough to fund them. And those NPR stations are the only real sources of local news. There's a place for public financing here.

Posted by: David in NY on March 17, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen Weiner better. Sarcasm seems to me to be pretty weak tea, more suited to blog comment sections than the well of the House.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Stupid moronic, petty bureaucrats...and they worry about NPR??????????????? Entitled peckerheads.

Posted by: SYSPROG on March 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans and other assorted politicians who are following the desires of the fascist KOCH BROS; who want to destroy America's DEMOCRACY for Fascist government should be Charged and tried with TREASON!

Posted by: ML Johnston on March 17, 2011 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes nothing soothes the soul of this New Yorker more than watching a big-mouth guy from Brooklyn go off on Republicans! Go, Anthony Weiner! Long may you reign.

Posted by: June on March 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

the Republican controlled United States House of Representatives votes to cut funding for the National Public Radio network.
Just let that sink in for a minute or two. First they cut the lines of communication......

Posted by: T2 on March 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Under the measure, sponsored by Representative Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, stations could not buy programming from NPR or any other source using the $22 million the stations receive from the Treasury for that purpose. Local NPR stations would be able to use federal funds for operating expenses, but not content.

Remember this the next time Republicans claim to prefer local control to federal authority.

Posted by: TG Chicago on March 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

This week's Car Talk should be fun.

Posted by: Matt on March 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

I can't even be bothered to comment.

This is like being worried about baseball players taking Flintstone's vitamins, instead of HGH and steroids.

I'm pouring myself a nice cheap Irish whiskey and some Guinness, having some corned beef and cabbage that I'm making, and sitting back and letting this tsunami of fucking stupidity pass over my head, lest it takes me out and drowns me.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The 72-hour pledge "wasn't meant to be taken literally."

Reminds me of the joke about the guy who drives up to a 7-11 and finds the doors closed and locked.

Comes back the next day and asks the owner..."What gives? The Sign on the door says open 24 hours."

Owner responds...."Yeah...but not in a row!"

Or the great Pink Panther scene where Peter Sellers sees someone with a dog and says to him, "Does your dog bite?"

Guy says, "No."

Sellers reaches out to pet the dog and is promptly chomped by Fido.

"I thought you said your dog doesn't bite."

"That's not my dog."

Posted by: dweb on March 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Listener supported progressive radio:

Pacifica

They need and deserve your support more than NPR does.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 17, 2011 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

So, say you wanted to...limit...national access to information sources that lean a bit too much on truthful or fact-oriented information, how exactly would you go about doing that?

Would you:
Let corporations buy up whole catagories of media outlets?
Threaten advertisers until they pull out (rumored about Air America)
Charge cable and satelite customers extra to get packages with fact-based information sources while ensuring controlled information media, such as Fox News, always comes "free" with the base package deal.
Have those representatives you paid good money to put into Congress defund public venues.

Something like that?

Posted by: Skip on March 17, 2011 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

F*ck this Weiner piece of sh*t. So, today he says Obama is a man with no values. Yes, this coming from a guy who refuses to admit that there is any Israeli occupation, and during the whole Mosque insanity here in New York literally said nothing, hiding in the corner like little bit*h he is.

He still hasn't gotten over Clinton loosing. F him.

Posted by: E on March 17, 2011 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs cut NPR funding, proceed to continue to screw over Americans...

...But hey, let's keep complaining how Obama sucks.


Sorry for the snark. It's just that I'm seeing the Repubs act like a bunch of goddamned madmen, but some still prefer to direct the fire at the President.

Posted by: Marc McKenzie on March 17, 2011 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ending government subsidies of NPR could be the best thing that ever happened to NPR. It might enable NPR to get back in the business of truthseeking/telling, rather than just being afraid of pissing Republicans off. e

Posted by: elbrucce on March 17, 2011 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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