Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Sheen’
From time to time – optimally on a weekly basis – we would like to have point-counterpoint debate between two different contributors on timely topics. The questions will be written by a third contributor and the other two will have the opportunity to answer and respond to each other’s comments. Ideas for future questions and comments on the questions and answers provided are invited. Enjoy this week’s point-counterpoint between Pat and a new contributor called Grey Gambler:
1. Rep. Peter King’s hearings on homegrown terrorism in America have gotten a lot of media attention – much of it criticism directed at King and comparing the hearings to McCarthyism. What do you think of the hearings, both the need for the hearings and the potential for them turning into a witch hunt?
Pat: I respect the media’s role as a watchdog over the hearings; making sure the did not denigrate a specific segment of our population and tackle a serious issue, well, seriously. But I feel the way the word ‘McCarthyism’ has just been used to slander Rep. King and attempt to silence a debate this country needs to have. As I detailed in my post on Wednesday (link), this country faces a tangible threat from sources within that wish other Americans harm. The number one role of a country’s government is to keep its citizens safe and to argue that a Congressional hearing about homegrown terrorism is ‘inappropriate’ is baffling to me. We were one shoddy work of bomb making away from having Times Square look like a war zone. This isn’t hyperbole or Islamic demonization, this is the reality we face in 2011. I’ll end with a quote from the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus: ‘To ignore the religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb to politically correct delusion. To ignore the homegrown religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb even further.’
Grey Gambler: I have to admit that I haven’t read or seen anything about these hearings. I have no issue with hearings designed to keep America safe if that’s what they are. By the same taken, I have no tolerance for hearings designed just to score cheap political points. I haven’t seen anything about these hearings, so I can’t comment either way.
2. As the budget battle continues, NPR’s federal funding remains a big target of Republicans. Also recently a top NPR executive was caught on camera saying the station would be better off without federal funding. In this time where government spending far exceeds its revenue, is NPR a worthy target of budget-cutters? If not, what makes federal funding of public radio a worthwhile priority among competing interests?
Grey Gambler: Is NPR funding better for the American people than funding for education, infrastructure or defense? Of course not. By the same token, the small (in budget terms) amount we spend on NPR isn’t why we’re in trouble. 60% of the budget is mandatory spending that Congress doesn’t dictate year to year, another 20 or so is defense spending, 6 or 7 percent interest on the debt, and 13 or so on actual discretionary non-defense spending. That 13% is where NPR’s funding comes from. Are we better off as a country because we put some money into PBS and NPR absolutely? As we move more and more to a reality tv based culture (even the history channel doesn’t show history anymore), preserving a station on the airwaves of radio and tv that features educational programming benefits society at large. I don’t listen to NPR now, because living in a big city i have many other options available, but I can tell you that when I spent a good bit of time living in and driving through a rural part of the country where radio consisted of one or two country channels and several religious channels, NPR was a godsend that got me through many a long drive and made me consider what was going on in the US and around the globe.
Pat: The Gambler gives a worthy defense of NPR public funding. It is true that NPR does provide some worthwhile programming, particularly in rural locales where the choices are more minimal, and compared to our budget allocations, its slice is extremely small. That being said, I favor discontinuing public funding for NPR. The US will pay $200 million dollars this year in interest payments alone on our debt so anywhere we can cut without serious consequences we should. NPR has many popular stations and programs that will be just fine without public funding. Sesame Street is a big money maker. NPR’s audience includes many wealthy Americans who will gladly continue to donate to keep their favorite programs alive. Modern day media is inundated with news sources and the idea that we need the government to help provide this good is antiquated.
3. Libya remains in near civil war while America and the world sit on the sidelines. Discussions of imposing a no-fly zone have been going on the past week or so but doing so would likely mean a serious military commitment by the US. What do you think should be done given the military, budget and humanitarian concerns at stake?
Pat: Excellent question, that I honestly can answer, I’m not sure. Interestingly, the President of the United States seems to have the same response. It has been widely reported that President Obama is fine with Europe and other international actors to take the lead on this one. I think Qaddafi is a stain on this earth and the US should unequivocally back his removal. The problem is that I’m wary of getting ourselves militarily involved as there are consequences to bear. What if Qaddafi is likely to win even if we provide a no fly zone (DNI Clapper believes this)? What do the rebels stand for? Chances are strong that they would be better than Qaddafi, not a hard thing to do, but elements of the rebels come from a region of Libya that sent more foreign terrorists to fight the US in Iraq than any other country. That would give any US President pause. If I were President Obama, I would listen to my superb Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and follow his lead.
Grey Gambler: Ditto as to the I don’t know remark. In a vacuum, we should absolutely toss this guy out. In a time where we have a $14 trillion debt and military commitments elsewhere though, I don’t know that we have the resources to spare, particularly if this investment would be paid for with additional cuts in spending at home.
4. Charlie Sheen is the talk of the town with his seemingly non-sensical rants about ‘winning,’ ‘tiger blood,’ and his super-human life. What do you make of it? Breakdown or publicity stunt?
Grey Gambler: I haven’t really followed this. I’ll just say that the focus the media seems to be putting on this story is one more reason why I’ll back NPR funding. Any alternative that actually provides real stories is worth keeping.
Pat: I find that if one wants to follow Charlie Sheen’s hi-jinks they can and if they they don’t, this is easy as well. I ignored the story for days until I finally watched a 3 minute best of clip that was utterly enjoyable. I didn’t need to tune into NPR to avoid Mr. Sheen’s ‘tiger blood’. The important thing to remember here is ‘winning,’ which I believe Charlie is doing quite a lot of lately. Though I deplore his morality and feel for his children, man oh man, is he entertaining. Not to mention that I could never dislike a guy who gave me Ricky Vaughn and Hot Shots: Part Duex.