why does the secretary of education hate bunny rabbits?
my sister tipped me off yesterday to this msnbc article
about the pbs kids show "postcards from buster", a spinoff of "arthur" where buster, an animated bunny, goes around filming live action families doing educational stuff... you know, like when mr rogers visited the ranch or the factory, only with an animated bunny.
turns out that in an upcoming episode, buster visits some vermont families that show him how maple syrup and cheese are made. sounds educational? well apparently not. and the reason it's not educational is... because the families happen to be headed by lesbian couples.
not that words like "gay" or "queer" or "homosexual" or "hot girl-on-girl action" actually appear in the episode: they don't. but even having these women and their families in the show has apparently queered up the episode to such an extent that pbs will not distribute it to their affiliates. pbs claims the fact that they received hate mail from bush's brand new education secretary margaret spellings about the episode is entirely coincidental
and has nothing to do with the fact that the show was pulled that same day
. and if you're gullible enough to believe that, you're probably in the preschool demographic that watches "postcards from buster".
the washington post
explains in more detail:
Spellings, who has been charged with the difficult task of fixing the nation's troubled public education system, took time out on her second day on the job to fire off a letter to PBS CEO Pat Mitchell expressing "strong and very serious concerns" about the "Postcards From Buster" episode. Specifically that, in the episode, called "Sugartime!," the animated asthmatic little bunny visits Vermont and meets actual, real-live, not make-believe children there who have gay parents.
At one of the homes, Buster is introduced to all of the children and to the two moms. One girl explains that one of the women is her "stepmom," whom she says she loves a lot.
One of the women asks the kids to get some maple syrup and some cheese for dinner, and to stop by the other home to borrow a big lasagna pan. In the other home, Buster is introduced to the whole family, including two more moms. Then the kids head off to get the ingredients, and Buster learns where syrup and cheese come from.
where do syrup and cheese come from? they come from queers!
we must protect our children from the insidious dangers of gay cheddar!
"You should also know," Spellings says, "that two years ago the Senate Appropriations Committee raised questions about the accountability of funds appropriated for Ready-To-Learn programs." A bit ominous, we think.
"We believe the 'Sugartime!' episode does not come within these purposes or within the intent of Congress and would undermine the overall objective of the Ready-To-Learn program -- to produce programming that reaches as many children and families as possible," Spellings wrote.
Why, you might wonder, given that preschoolers who watch the episode learn how maple syrup and cheese are made, not to mention useful English-language phrases (the series is also designed to help children for whom English is a second language).
Because, Spellings explained in her letter, "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the life-styles portrayed in this episode." She did not say how many is "many," or cite a source for that information.
Congress's point in funding this programming "certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children," she added.
Au contraire, says WGBH, which produces "Postcards." The Boston public TV station says it will air the episode and has offered it to any station willing to defy the Education Department, which, in fairness, did shovel out major bucks for this series and, therefore, understandably feels it has the right to get in its two conservative cents' worth.
According to Brigid Sullivan, WGBH's vice president of children's programming, the RFP -- that's government-speak for request for proposals -- on the show said Ready-to-Learn was looking for a program that would "appeal to all of America's children by providing them with content and or characters with which they can identify. Diversity will be incorporated into the fabric of the series to help children understand and respect differences and learn to live in a multicultural society. The series will avoid stereotypical images of all kinds and show modern multi-ethnic/lingual/cultural families and children."
Except, it would seem, children who have two mothers.
like we learned from the spongebob attacks, tolerance and understanding do not apply to homosexuals. i guess wgbh didn't get the memo until this week.
We asked all parties involved what they would say to the children who were filmed for this episode, and who expected to be seen on national TV and are now being told by the federal government that their families are not fit for other children to see on national TV -- at least not on any show that has received federal funding.
here's what you tell them: the president hates you.
round on the ends and high in the middle
ohio is the place to be this weekend! tomorrow, friday, brings both the exbe showcase
in cleveland (featuring stAllio!) and brutal cincinnati damage
(featuring bobby vomit).
see awia news
for more details.
the cleveland free times
has a blurb about the exbe show... but mysteriously, even though i'm the only
one at that show who isn't a cleveland local, i am not mentioned. whatever. i guess that won't be going in my collection of press clippings.
all the news that fits into my agenda
a couple weeks ago a big scandal hit revolving around commentator and pundit armstrong williams
. it was discovered that williams had received $240,000 from the bush administration to pimp the "no child left behind" act. williams wrote columns, went on tv, & basically stuck his ass in the air at every opportunity to promote NCLB and never disclosed the enormous pile of bribe money propping him up. he tried to claim that it didn't really matter because he liked NCLB & would've talked it up even if he hadn't been paid off. but everyone knew this was garbage (as the prwatch article above explains, he'd sold out before), and he lost his column and punditry jobs. oh, the shame. the media went all out damning williams and the government, although apparently not so many had bad things to say about the pr house that bribed him: ketchum
. then again, maybe everyone knows to expect this kind of thing from ketchum.
but now the blood is in the water and others have begun to actually look
for government payoffs to journalists and columnists. and surprise surprise, those searches aren't coming up empty.
the next right-wing columnist to be outed as a sell-out is maggie gallagher:
In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.
"The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples" and "educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage," she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children."
But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.
big money, no whammies. only one tenth of armstrong williams's payoff, but it's still more than 2/3 of what i
make in a year. the ethical violation seems clear to me: the govt paid her to work on their program, then she pimped the program without mentioning the 20 large of govt cash in her pockets. do you suppose you might think highly of someone who paid you $21,500?
in her latest column
, gallagher tries to dig her way out. first she says that they didn't actually pay her to write columns, so disclosure isn't necessary. of course even if this is true, it's still a fairly blatant conflict of interest, and if she was writing columns about programs she worked for, she was duty-bound to disclose that. and by the end of the column she seems to acknowledge this: her final, official excuse is "the real truth is that it never occurred to me."
hoo boy. gallagher says that armstrong williams "rightly" lost his column and that she isn't interested in the lines of defense he used. but her own defense (oops, i forgot) is even worse
than williams's! so she's damn lucky that her ethical lapse isn't quite
as bad: she only got one tenth the money, and she wasn't explicitly
paid to promote the marriage act in the media. although she did promote it, HHS surely knew she would, and she never disclosed her conflict of interest, so she clearly violated ethical standards. unless things get worse for her, the quotes at the bottom of the post
article suggest she won't be losing her job anytime soon. but she's already lost respect (well, not from me; i didn't respect her to begin with) and prestige...
who will be the next to fall?
mp3 of the week: my first databent track
here it is kids! new mp3 of the week
is "industry L fickafule", the first databent track i ever made, way back in 1996. download it now!
very few people have downloaded last week's mp3, "my good twin". do people not want the barbershop? more likely the problem is that the first week i spammed several lists and boards, but the second week i didn't. still, it could be the barbershop. "my good twin" is still up, so prove me wrong by downloading it while it's still up.
the first mp3 of the week, i love bob dole, has been deleted! two weeks and that's it! now you must track it down on p2p if you didn't get it.