Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

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Response from "Representative Kristi No."

That's how her name appeared in my inbox, anyway, and I think it's oddly appropriate.

Be that as it may, here's her response:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the elimination of funding for public broadcasting. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

Currently, National Public Radio (NPR) receives less than two percent of its operational expenses from federal funding. The overwhelming majority of the network's funding comes from businesses, foundations and individuals. However, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) which provides partial funding for NPR and Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), has received $4 billion in taxpayer funding since 2001, and is slated to receive over $445 million in FY 2013.

While I understand your support for public broadcasting, I am committed to addressing our budgetary problems by prioritizing spending without increasing taxes on American families and small business owners. Although we may not agree on this issue, I want you to know I value your input and appreciate you taking the time to share your views with me.

Thanks again for reaching out to my office. Please let me know whenever I can be of assistance, and visit my website...
There's very little doubt in my mind that this was created from a pregenerated form; however, there's nothing I can see that overtly identifies it as such, so I have to give her and her staff credit for creating a rhetorically effective form letter.

With that said, I'm disturbed by the fact that she says I contacted her "regarding the elimination of funding for public broadcasting." Nononono, honey; I contacted you specifically in regard to NOT eliminating funding for public broadcasting. I contacted you in regard to sustaining funding for public broadcasting in perpetuity. Your blatant and casually revealed bias in this matter disturbs me.

Even more disturbing? Noem sits on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which oversees federal programs and initiatives dealing with education, INCLUDING: "Early childhood & preschool education programs, including Head Start." That's right, folks; at least one of the people overseeing preschool education in this country wants to eliminate the network that broadcasts Sesame Street, in addition to many other excellent educational TV programs for children. Oy. Where oh where is Mister Rogers when we need him?1

Noem further adds insult to injury by erroneously identifying the Public Broadcasting Service as "Public Broadcasting Station," when, in fact, they have many different stations all over the country.

"Please let me know whenever I can be of assistance"? No, Representative No. Just no.

Of course, I know that it's useless to try to persuade Noem to my way of thinking since she essentially ran on the platform of being the photo negative of President Obama--and, like President Obama, has won twice now.2 Nevertheless, I have an inborn, quixotic urge to tilt at windmills, and I couldn't let that go without comment:
Thank you very much for your response to my concern about the future of public broadcasting. I sent the same message to three other elected officials at the same time and, thus far, you are the only one who has responded. I sincerely appreciate your courtesy in this regard.

In your response, you said, "[T]he Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) which provides partial funding for NPR and Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), has received $4 billion in taxpayer funding since 2001, and is slated to receive over $445 million in FY 2013."

I am not questioning the accuracy of your statement. However, while those may seem like large sums to you or me, it is also true that, "The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent [0.01%] of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt" (Source).

To put it another way, according to respected astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, "Cutting PBS support (0.012 percent of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive" (Source). Moreover, I speak from personal experience when I say that when you delete things from your hard drive in the interest of clearing space, you run the risk of mistakenly eliminating things that your CPU needs in order to operate effectively, which can cost you even more time and money in the long run.

I completely understand the need for more responsible spending and deficit reduction. However, given the demonstrably negligible burden that public broadcasting exerts upon the federal budget, it seems more prudent to consider what other, less valuable and/or more costly programs might be eliminated or reduced first before eliminating a program that enriches the lives of so many Americans of all ages, most particularly children.

I hope that you, as a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, will continue to investigate the vital educational resources that public broadcasting provides to our nation's children, and that you will not forget your duty to them in your laudable commitment to budgetary concerns.

With all due respect, [etc.]

P.S.: For future reference, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that "PBS" actually stands for "Public Broadcasting SERVICE" rather than "Station" so that you may correct this error in future communications and thus increase your credibility.

Look, I'm trying to be diplomatic, and I know how defensive people can get when you correct their grammar/usage/etc.

(Also, I didn't put hyperlinks in the actual letter because I didn't know if the form was HTML compatible. I just pasted in the raw URLs and hoped that the program itself would turn them into hyperlinks for me.)

You know what else? I completely forgot about it until just now, but I should have mentioned the fact that I AM a small business owner, even though I don't really think of myself as such. And yes, my taxes are indeed burdensome, but I'd much rather spend taxes on programs that help people and promote the humanities than on fighting wars and destroying humanity. (DAMN, that's a good line! Why didn't I think of it sooner? Alas!)

At the very least, any further response should clearly indicate whether or not anyone is actually reading these things or if someone is just searching for keywords and pasting in a pregenerated macro.
1I have no doubt that he is enjoying his eternal reward, and I don't begrudge him that because he earned it if anybody ever did. But I sure wish he was still around to help us out with this.

2And unfortunately, unlike President Obama, she has no term limit on her *ahem* service.
Tags: idiocy, politics, television
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