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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • KEVIN WILSON: Big Bird will be just fine

  • Last week I wrote about Bill Dubois and I talked about how we were quickly losing more and more of our greatest generation.
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  • Last week I wrote about Bill Dubois and I talked about how we were quickly losing more and more of our greatest generation. Sadly, we lost Bill last week, ironically on the same day that my column came out. I know that his family will miss him greatly but the community will miss his passion and his concern for his country. To his wife, Bjorg, and the rest of his family I can only say how sorry I am for their loss but how grateful I am for the opportunity to meet him – I am a better person because of him.
    As I said in last week's column, Bill shared a lot of his thoughts with me and I will draw on some of those thoughts as I write future columns, but I won't breach his privacy by directly attributing it to him. But, I just wish I could talk to him again to get his take on last week's debate and the ensuing rash of campaign ads spinning the facts in a variety of sometimes amusing ways.
    For instance, did you hear the excuse that former Vice President Al Gore made to explain President Obama's poor performance in the debate? Well, according to Mr. Gore, maybe the altitude had something to do with it. He said that Gov. Romney prepared for the debate in Denver while the president only arrived a few hours before so maybe the higher altitude had an affect on him. As someone quipped to me, "and to think he (Al Gore) was one heartbeat away from being president."
    Now, for the record, I have gone skiing many times in Winter Park, Colo., which is just west of Denver and I have suffered from altitude sickness but it was at 9,000 feet, not 5,000 feet. And, I never experienced any kind of problems until I had been there for several hours. So, I really don't think that the altitude had any real impact on the debate. Now attitude, yes, since it felt like the president had pretty much anointed his upcoming coronation and wasn't really ready for a fully-prepared Mitt Romney.
    In the days after the debate the polls have really tightened up and all of a sudden, the folks in the liberal leaning media that thought this election was a done deal have now come to the realization that maybe the American people have a say in what happens. Amazing how that works, isn't it?
    But, you know, the absolute funniest (and saddest) fallout from the debate is the new Obama campaign ad starring Big Bird. In case, you haven't seen it, the ad takes Romney to task about his comment in the debate that he would end the subsidy for public television.
    It's ironic that something as stupid as a campaign ad starring Big Bird can say so much about the diametrically opposed philosophies of the candidate's supporters. Many of those in favor of more and more government spending are now taking the stance that the subsidy is so small that we shouldn't worry about it. The other side of that coin are the folks, like me, and many of you, that say no dollar is too small to be concerned with.
    Page 2 of 2 - When are the dollars big enough that we should be worried about wasting them? Why should we tolerate wasting any taxpayer money? Now, many of you are probably supporters of public television and think it's worthwhile. But, I challenge you to rethink your position. We are looking at a deficit of $1.1 trillion for this year alone and a total deficit of $16 trillion and the way we got there was not worrying about the little dollars before they became big dollars.
    At one point in time I do believe that it made some sense to fund public television – back in the days when you had three TV channels to choose from and there was a real void in some rural areas when it came to accessibility of information and cultural activities. I think that everyone can agree that now with the internet, cable and satellite television systems, there is more than enough access without public sponsored programming.
    But, public television is just one example of how a worthy program can outlive its usefulness but not its funding. Again, how ironic is it in this election cycle, that a stupid ad can highlight the stark differences in philosophy. Oh, and for the record, according to the latest financial report, Sesame Workshop and Subsidiaries (who licenses Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street characters) is worth almost $300 million. I think they will do just fine without my tax dollars.
    Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

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