Protesting Puppets: Why Supporters of PBS Marched on Washington

Written By Jessica Nichols

The first presidential debate sparked a lot of controversy, the least of which did not fall on America’s sweetheart, Big Bird. Romney’s comments about cutting funding for the Public Broadcasting Service, though conceding, “I like PBS, I love Big Bird,” inspired the protest held November 3, aptly named “Million Muppet March.”

The “Million Muppet March” brought together more puppets than probably had ever been in once place, standing for one purpose before.

Protesters marched Saturday, November 3, in support of PBS after Romney makes comments about cutting federal funding to the program

If Romney likes PBS and Big Bird, then why would he attempt to cut funding for the household name and channel? Romney had this to say, “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS… I’m not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

Romney has been under fire about the comment ever since. Trending on social networking cites, memes, thousands of tweets, and an extensive media debate over whether cuts to PBS would begin to make a dent in federal deficit later, organizers created the “Million Muppet March.” Supporters of public broadcasting were outraged to hear Romney’s comments, and critic Bill Maher from “Real Time With Bill Maher” pointed out the PBS subsidy’s small proportion of the federal budget: a mere $445 million of $3.8 trillion.

The spirited march on Washington was started by animation executive, Michael Bellavia, and Chris Mecham, a university student, in response to Romney’s comments. Bellavia said, “I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event.”

The “Million Muppet March” saw protesters toting anywhere from fun-sized sock puppets to full-sized creations of our favorite neighborhood friends from Sesame Street: Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Animal, and more.

Sesame Street, which has been airing for 43 years, is a very popular educational program, so there was no problem for organizers of the march to find people willing to come out and show their support for this longtime American institution. Organizers of the march say that at least 600 people signed up to participate in the actual march at the capital, with thousands more showing their support virtually through Facebook, Twitter, and even their own marches across the nation.

As the election draws nearer, supporters hope that their efforts raised enough awareness about the importance of federal subsidies to the Public Broadcasting System, for public television and public radio.

We the Tweeple: Twitter and the 2012 Presidential Election

Written by: Allison Hibbs

“I really think 2012 is going to be the Twitter election.”

That’s what Dick Costolo, CEO of the social media giant, told attendees at a tech conference in California in late January; although the same words might have been uttered by any avid Twitter user who has followed political conversations on the website during the onslaught of GOP debates or the recent State of the Union address leading up to the 2012 Presidential election. Commentary, discussion, fact-checking and ideological rants have flooded the site during these events, involving participants in an interactive political conversation reminiscent of a no-holds-barred town hall brawl.

In fact, among twitterers, trending conversations have often proven to be far more popular than the actual events themselves, a sentiment repeated often during the debates in particular – and with more than a hint of irony.

Twitter appreciation from tweeps during GOP debate on 1/26/12.

Tweets range from inane to insightful, from snarky insults to eloquently phrased questions or impassioned pleas. Anyone looking to get in on the action simply has to add the right hash-tagged phrase to his or her comment to be included in the thread. Keeping up with comments in the heat of the moment becomes nearly impossible, but one has only to go back to the thread when they have time and they can read up on what was said, follow links to related news stories, check the integrity of comments made by those on stage during the event or simply laugh at the more humorous tweets.

During the CNN Debate hosted by John King, opening comments made by Newt Gingrich blasting King for opening with a question about his personal life were widely ridiculed and reposted by active tweeters. While the audience seemed to appreciate his indignation, the twitterverse was not as kind.

1/19/12 CNN debate/ Begala tweet re: Gingrich

It is fairly common knowledge – at least among those familiar with the social medium – that the use of the Twitter platform was an advantage to the Obama camp during the 2008 election cycle: he received far more mentions than his opponent and a disproportionate number of Twitter users identified themselves as democrats. (This doesn’t take into account the number of tweets regarding Republican vice-presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin, who received a large amount of mentions – most of which were unfavorable.) But Twitter has gained significant numbers over the last four years and Republican politicians have increasingly taken to using the platform for their own messaging and organizational purposes. GOP presidential hopefuls employ staff members to follow the tweets during their appearances to find out which topics they are concerned with and which personality attributes or answers they prefer. There is, unquestionably, much to be learned from immediate feedback and they intend to take it to heart.

From the look of it, however, they’ve got a lot of catching up to do if they want to turn the advantage in their favor. During the President’s State of the Union address on Jan. 24, tweets were significantly less scathing and more topically relevant than those posted during the debates. Twitter users still seem to skew further to the left of the aisle than the general public.

Tweets re: GOP debate vs. SOTU

Nevertheless, Twitter has – if nothing else – had the effect of combating political apathy and has brought the public political debate to a whole new level. Those who are chagrined when barred from political discussion in social forums have now found an outlet through which they can share ideas, facts, emotions and hopes – in the hopes of staying informed, sharing information and influencing election outcomes, presidential or otherwise. A new era in politics has indeed arrived.

Welcome to Election 2012, the Year of Twitter.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Could Spell Bad Things for Both Democrats and Republicans

The fight against oil continues in the Gulf of Mexico

The rapidly-expanding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has put pressure on the White House to pacify the public by proving Obama has reconsidered off-shore drilling, and that he will not proceed with developing the industry until the accident is fully reviewed. But, the pressure is more bipartisan than American government itself, as both the Democrats and Republicans try not to get themselves dirty, dealing with the oily mess.

Democrats and environments present the spill as enough evidence for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla) to suggest that the slightest notion of expanding off-shore drilling will be shot dead once it arrives on

Bipartisan suffering brings them together

Capitol Hill. And, surprisingly enough, the quick-to-critique Republicans haven’t said a word – even though the White House took nine days before taking action. It seems that their presidential motto “drill baby drill” has scared them into silence, and finally persuaded them to shut up.

Several Republicans still expressed support for domestic drilling on Friday, alongside the president himself, who admitted that his position did not change regarding offshore drilling as a substitute for offshore supplies. And with people quoting him for stating that “Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills,” he might have to be just as worried as his friends across the aisle.

Ladies and Gentleman of American government, stop pointing at each other and get something done. For once in your lives save something – accomplish something: perform on behalf of the greater good, and not for mere political perpetuation.

Divorce Agreement by John J. Wall

Got this email and thought i should share it. Here is a young student’s take on Americas divided parties.

Democrats and Republicans Divorce Agreement

Democrats and Republicans head to head

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950’s or the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce…. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a model separation agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.  We’ll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and you can go with wind, solar and biodiesel.  You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We’ll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, homeboys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens. We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s and rednecks. We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.

We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

We’ll keep the SUV’s, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We’ll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.  We’ll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute Imagine, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We’ll practice trickle down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.

Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this?  If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you Answer which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely,
John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

P. S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, & Jane Fonda with you.

P. S. S. And you won’t have to press 1 for English when you call our country.