Why is NPR Getting Our Money?

One of the big reasons the Democrats may get hammered next Tuesday is that under that party’s Congressional leadership, the nation has run up an astounding $5 trillion in new debt over the past three years. And what do we have to show for all that deficit spending? Nancy Pelosi flying home to San Francisco in a private jet?

As part of the federal gravy train, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is set to receive $420 million this year alone. No wonder Elmo is smiling. This is free money for a group of people who should be competing in the private marketplace.

And what are the taxpayers getting for their money? Well, this much is beyond dispute: The news-based programming on PBS and NPR is heavily tilted to the left. In fact, as far as news analysts are concerned, there are 18 liberal-leaning individuals on the air and one moderate, David Brooks. There are no conservative voices heard in the national public broadcasting precincts.

The incredible firing last week of the 19th liberal analyst, Juan Williams, has unmasked the NPR operation, which is deeply invested in liberal causes. A few days before Juan was sacked, far-left billionaire George Soros donated $1.8 million to NPR so they could hire some reporters. NPR snatched up the Soros money faster than a raccoon could down a cupcake. So I am asking myself: Did Soros get the Bill Haley and the Comets oldies package, or the Disco Explosion CD set for his largesse?

The fact that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting denies it is an ideological operation is pretty stunning. There are plenty of conservatives who would like to bloviate on a weekly TV program like Bill Moyers did for twenty years. And old Bill was canny. Not only did he draw a salary from PBS, but his production company had the right to market videotapes of his programs. Wow. Nice perk from the taxpayers, right, Bill? But PBS simply can’t find any right-wingers worthy of the Moyers treatment. I know they are looking very hard.

This dishonest shell game has got to stop. We live in a time where cable TV rules and satellite radio is all over the place. If PBS and NPR have good product, there are plenty of places for it in the private sector. Let these people compete for their dollars. I will miss seeing the Drifters performing on fundraisers every two months, but I’ll bite the bullet. No more public funding, please.

A number of Republicans on Capitol Hill say they will introduce legislation to defund public broadcasting. That will probably pass. But President Obama will, I believe, veto the attempt. After all, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a liberal cathedral, and the president will not want to disturb the service.




What Gaga Owes Elvis

The success of 25 year old Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, is really the fault of Elvis Presley, who would completely understand the woman’s immense drawing power. Back in the mid-1950s, the United States was largely a conformist nation. Americans had endured the strict discipline of a vicious World War and those who had served in the military were strongly committed to obeying the power structure and playing by society’s rules. Largely because of that, there was a sameness to American life in the ’50s that bored some younger Americans. And so, like James Dean, millions of teenagers became rebels without a cause.

Enter a young singer from Tupelo, Mississippi named Elvis Presley. Armed with long, slicked back hair, sideburns, and a non-threatening sneer, Presley captured the imagination of young people everywhere. Although polite in speech, Presley’s actions were daring—swiveling his hips suggestively as he sang about rocking in a jailhouse. Before long, Elvis was America’s biggest star, sending some conservative Americans into spasms of indignation.

Today, Lady Gaga is channeling her inner Elvis as our time, in some ways, parallels the 1950s. Faced with a non-stop barrage of high-tech gibberish, some young people have become jaded and are tuning out the recession, the wars, and the intense competition to make a buck. They value individuality and excitement, which Lady Gaga provides almost non-stop. Thus, Gaga has become a symbol as well as a entertainer.

Ms. Germanotta’s music is okay—a series of dance tunes that are almost disco-like. But her voice doesn’t come close to what Elvis had going. No, it is Gaga’s persona that has pushed her to the top of the charts. Here’s a young woman who doesn’t seem to give a flip about what anyone thinks of her. Flashing her tattoos, she is the epitome of a working class girl, even though she attended private school and studied music at the Tisch School of Arts. Her outrageous stage presence is right out of the Madonna playbook, and there is no question that she is marketing herself to an audience who, to quote the song “Grease,” believes that conventionality belongs to yesterday.

The problem is that while the lady may portray herself as a tramp, she cannot possibly keep up the frenetic pace. Watching her HBO special, your eyes glaze. Running all over the stage, Gaga makes Mick Jagger look like Rip Van Winkle. She changes costumes after almost every number, finding a multitude of ways to expose herself to an audience that loves every minute of it.

But how long can you do that?

Elvis burned out after a few years, went into hiding as the Beatles took over, and then emerged as a comeback kind of guy. The struggle, however, took his life. He died at 42, but his legacy endures.

Stefani’s legacy is anyone’s guess, but the odds are that she will have to settle for being a period piece. It is indeed Lady Gaga’s time. I just hope she’s saving her money.




So, Barack, What Happened?

Two years ago, Barack Obama was the political equivalent of Elvis Presley, rolling into towns across America, performing before adoring crowds. Like the King, then-Senator Obama relished the adoration and gave the crowd a great show. I saw it myself in New Hampshire.

But now everything has changed. President Obama is not welcome in many parts of the country. Even some members of his own party don’t want to be seen with him. It’s so bad that Joe Manchin, the Democratic Governor of West Virginia who is now running for the Senate, actually put out a TV commercial where he takes a rifle and shoots a hole into paper explaining “cap-and-trade” legislation.

Mr. Obama, a deeply sensitive individual, must be asking himself what the deuce is going on. How could things change so quickly in 24 months? Of course, the bad economy is the major reason for his fall, but that doesn’t fully explain the extent of the president’s problems.

The New York Times, a flea market of liberal activism, is chalking Mr. Obama’s decline up to the stupidity of the American people. A recent Times editorial put forth, “Insurgent Republicans don’t need details when they can play on the furious emotions of voters who have been misled into believing that positive changes like the health care law are catastrophic failures.”

Yeah, that’s it, the majority of Americans are being “misled” by some mysterious force that comes in the night, planting anti-health care thoughts in their brains.

In case the New York Times hasn’t noticed, the American media remains solidly liberal and continues to give President Obama the benefit of many, many doubts. If you don’t believe me, just compare the coverage of Hurricane Katrina to the BP oil spill. Both were handled poorly by the feds. But the media hysteria over Katrina dwarfed any coverage of the greatest environmental disaster America has ever experienced. President Bush was vilified beyond belief for Katrina. President Obama was mildly criticized over BP.

The Times did get one thing right, though; many voters are furious. That’s because their health care premiums have gone through the roof, and they feel insecure in the work place. My own health insurance premium went up $2,100 this year. Why? Because the insurance company is gouging customers to stockpile cash in order to pay the increased costs of Obama-care. Did the Democrats mention that would happen? I do not believe they did.

Thus, the perception right now is that the unintended consequences of Mr. Obama’s big spending, big government agenda are not good. That is not a misleading indicator; it is the truth. That’s how most Americans are genuinely feeling.

It should be noted that Elvis had a fallow period as well, after the Beatles stormed America and changed the pop culture. But the E-man made a big comeback based upon his talent and charisma.

No doubt President Obama believes that comeback formula will work for him as well. I’m not counting him out in the long run, but for now he is living in the Heartbreak Hotel.




Running on Empty?

Bad week for the Republicans, good week for the president. Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump said no to running against Mr. Obama, and Newt Gingrich may already be on the ropes after criticizing Medicare reform—a key issue for conservatives. Meantime, the president kept a low profile while still basking in the demise of Bin Laden.

The Republican field is still wide open, but whoever decides to run should know this: You are not only challenging an incumbent president who will likely raise close to one billion dollars, but you are also going up against the elite media. If you thought the established press promoted Mr. Obama the first time around, wait until you see what lies ahead.

Even though the president has had a rocky time, especially where the economy is concerned, he remains the most liberal chief executive since Jimmy Carter. He shares many values with the majority of media people, and they are very protective of him. One example: Recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the moderator, David Gregory, questioned whether Newt Gingrich’s description of Mr. Obama as the “food stamp president” was a racist statement.

Mr. Gingrich told Gregory his question was “bizarre.”

It was also typical.

When Donald Trump advised the president to “get off the basketball court” and down to business, he was branded racist by a variety of mainstream pundits.

In my Super Bowl Sunday interview with Mr. Obama, I asked him if he was a football fan. Some loon on HBO immediately branded that question racist.

So we can expect anyone who challenges the president to be hit with the same nonsense. GOP candidates will have every word they have ever uttered analyzed for racial purity. The media will also closely scrutinize their social activities and associations, all with an eye on diminishing and ultimately destroying the challenger.

The upcoming election is personal for the media. If the president loses and his liberal philosophy is repudiated by the voters, the media who have promoted him will lose as well. The upcoming election is not about a man, but a philosophy. The liberal press wants liberal policies. That trumps any kind of fair reporting.

So the Grand Old Party is up against it, and whoever emerges with the nomination better have a strong stomach. I don’t expect President Obama to sling the mud—it isn’t his style—but his Internet supporters and newsroom boosters will be ready, willing, and able to do the dirty work.

Huckabee and Trump are smart guys. They know what’s ahead. And it won’t be pretty.




Rapping at the White House

Once again we have an association controversy at the White House. This week, a rapper who calls himself “Common” was invited by Michelle Obama to read some of his “poetry” to a hand-picked audience in the “People’s House.” The problem is that Common (real name Lonnie Rashid Lynn) has glorified convicted cop killers Joanne Chesimard and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

You may remember that Ms. Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Army, was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1977 for killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. After being stopped on the Jersey Turnpike, Chesimard and two accomplices opened fire on Foerster and his partner, James Harper, who was wounded.

Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison but escaped in 1979, fleeing to Cuba, where she has been granted asylum.

Even though Common wasn’t even born when that murder took place, he has insisted in his raps that Ms. Chesimard is innocent. He has said the same thing about Abu-Jamal, convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

While Common is entitled to rap any way he wants, it is troubling that he would be sought out by the White House for a prestigious exposition. Is this not a tacit endorsement of the man? Presidential spokesman Jay Carney says no, explaining that sympathy for cop killers is not “the sum total of this particular artist’s work.”

The number of poets who would like to read their work at the White House is almost unlimited. This is huge honor. Among those reading with Common were Steve Martin and Elizabeth Alexander. Surely, the First Lady could have chosen a more appropriate artist than Common.

So, once again, we have a judgment issue. Many police agencies across the country are outraged by the embrace the White House has given Common, and, I submit, millions of Americans are not comfortable with the selection either.

I have been a fan of Mrs. Obama’s tenure as First Lady. She has brought grace and dignity to the White House. Her campaign to fight child obesity is right on, and I have personally witnessed Mrs. Obama going out of her way to show great kindness to regular folks.

But both Barack and Michelle Obama have a blind spot when it comes to social controversy. The Reverend Wright situation was obviously disturbing. Then, on Easter Sunday, the First Couple sat in a church where the cleric, a known verbal bomb-thrower, sermonized about slavery injustice. Now, the questionable Common.

The black experience in America is far different than the white experience, and honest people understand that. But the President and First Lady represent all of us, and should always be aware of sensitivities. Common may be the best rapper on earth. But his words have brought pain to the families and friends of two slain police officers.

That is enough to disqualify the man from a White House honor.