Daily Archives: January 26, 2011

Republicans Plan to Shutter NEA and NEH

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria d...

Da Vinci didn't have Republicans to contend with.

This is a disturbing piece for all of us in the arts that was published this week by Stage Directions Magazine. I listened to the President last night inspiring us to be first in science and math and engineering… of course he said nothing about our being first in the arts which provides millions of jobs at minimal cost for highly talented people. They may not be creating new automobiles or filling our food plants with dangerous chemistry (like Monsanto), but they create the world view in which our scientists and mathematicians can function.

Once the engineer and the artist were in the same shell… think about Leonardo Da Vinci. Today the arts are considered an easy victim by Republicans out to destroy the things that make life good over the things that make life dangerous.

Back to the article in Stage Directions. Here’s part of it, but please go in and read it all:

clipped from www.stage-directions.com
Mike Boehm, reporting on the L.A. Times Culture Monster arts blog, says that 165 GOP members in the House of Representatives announced a budget-cutting plan on Thursday, Jan 20, that calls for “the elimination of the nation’s two leading makers of government arts grants: the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Also on the chopping block is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
Boehm does a good job of laying out the history of the Republicans vendetta against arts funding, and its fallout: 

“The arts and humanities endowments each get $167.5 million a year; the broadcasting agency, which supports public radio and television, gets $445 million.

“The NEA last had to fight for its survival in 1995, when Republicans gained control of the House and Senate and sought to get rid of the endowment. It had outraged some conservatives with grants that in certain highly publicized cases had supported performances or exhibitions they deemed offensive.

“While the NEA survived, It took a 39% budget cut and saw the elimination of nearly all grants to individual artists.”

None of this is a done deal, of course. Presumably some of the 242 Republican and 193 Democrats representatives in Congress support the arts, and advocacy groups for the arts are out there, too.

Full article here


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A quick note on the SOTU Address…

Pretty much what I expected. Glad to see Obama brought up returning to the higher income taxes for the top 2% of the country. He made a point that the Corporations were now OK and the stock market is going great guns… and this is supposed to make us 99ers happy.

Got very interested in who stood up, who applauded, who sat in mixed seats (I was happy to see the Arizona Delegation all sitting together surrounding an empty seat for Gabbie Giffords (which Obama commented on). About 30% of the few jokes fell flat. Thought he made good points of why the Health Care plan should not be repealed, but opened the door for significant changes (although the Republican House members sat stone faced through this.)

It was not a great speech, but it was good enough. His put down of the oil industry, which you could feel Congress gnashing their teeth over, was welcoming to some of us… even though I don’t believe there is such a thing as “clean Coal” and I fear the pollution caused by natural gas “fracking”.

I wasn’t held by it… certainly not enough to keep me from watching White Collar at 10 PM.

I reviewed the Republican response and the, hmph hmph, Tea Party response and was impressed by neither. Don’t think they really listened to Obama’s speech… these were obviously put together a couple of days ago.