Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Lawmakers foreclose on Sesame Street

Why is Elmo drowning his sorrows in booze?

It might be H.R. 68. This bill, filed by Rep. Doug Lamborn, targets the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 44-year-old not-for-profit corporation that funds various TV and radio programs (including Sesame Street).  Long the bane of ardent conservatives who view the CPB as a liberal mouthpiece for the government, Republicans swept into office after the mid-term elections have their sights set on ending federal funding for this organization.

It’s nothing new. Conservatives have tried for decades to gut funding from the CPB. In the 60s, Mr. Rogers even got involved defending the non-profit when President Nixon wanted to cut its budget by 50 percent.

But this latest attack on the CPB does more than just eliminate federal funding while the country recovers from the recession; it seeks to forever remove the option for funding the CPB. This could have disasterous effects on some PBS and NPR stations around the country.

(The House has already passed a budget eliminating funding)

Rep. Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, filed a similar bill last year that never made it out of committee. But he has much more support this session with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

In this session’s fierce budget fight between Tea Party-backed Republicans and President Obama, there is bound to be some casualties. But should educational programming one of them? Especially in this of age of dubious children’s programming – an issue these same Tea Party-backed Republicans have brought up before – pulling the plug on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is not a smart move.

Rating: 4 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejects high speed rail funding

In a move that has astounded politicians of both parties throughout Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has passed on $2 billion in federal funding for a high speed rail system linking Orlando and Tampa.

Although this is not technically a piece of legislation, and there questions about the Republican governor’s constitutional authority to unilaterally reject the funding, I can’t think of a single Florida politician who has proposed an idea that is more ridiculous than this.

Florida’s unemployment rate has risen to 12 percent; it’s been higher than 10 percent for at least two years now. Florida has some of the highest mortgage and credit card delinquency rates in the country. There are few states with a higher foreclosure rate. The state’s economy, which has relied on construction, agriculture and tourism, is in shambles.

According to a recent Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll, 43 percent of Floridians feel their economic situation has worsened over the last two years.

And yet Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned on bringing jobs to the state, has refused a project estimated to bring up to 23,000 jobs, with thousands more created indirectly. He’s ignoring that the installation of the first high speed rail line in the United States could also bring Florida to the attention of large businesses wishing to move to a mass transit-friendly area. He’s neglecting the possible adverse effects that heavy traffic along the I-4 corridor have to the economy.

The economic growth caused by connecting two of the Florida’s biggest cities is hard to calculate but easy to imagine.

Plus, Scott seems to be deaf, even to his own party.