1. Only a Brokeback Country Would Cut Funding for Cowboy Poets
To quote what is rapidly becoming our catch phrase on The Three-Martini Lunch, "Way to go, Nevada." Just think, Nevadans, if you had voted for Sharron Angle, your senator would be offering inane, stream-of-consciousness rants on the Senate floor.
Instead, you voted for this: "'The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1 . . . eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts,' said [Senate majority leader Harry] Reid. 'These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northernNevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.' . . . For the record, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is in Elko, Nev., next January. The 28th annual festival, a 'week-long celebration of life in the rural West, featuring the contemporary and traditional arts of western ranching culture,' is expected to draw thousands of people, according to the festival's website."
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you to learn that in his moment of high dudgeon, Reid didn't have his facts straight.
To summarize a lot of detail in this Campaign Spot post going through NEH and NEA budget reports, "It seems Reid misspoke; NEH barely gave any money to the center or the festival. But the National Endowment for the Arts has been more generous with taxpayer dollars. However, even these are fairly meager sums in comparison to most budgetary figures thrown around in Washington. . . . A few years aren't coming up in the NEA search engine, but it appears most years the Center received grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. In short, Harry Reid believes that cutting this $50,000 or less to the Cowboy Poetry Festival is too deep a cut."
Mark Joyella at Mediaite can't believe his ears: "What, you want to make sure we save some money amid all the budget cutting to take care of kids in poverty? Yeah, sure, right after Harry Reid makes sure nobody messes with federal funding for the annual 'cowboy poetry festival' in his home state of Nevada. Yes. According to Politico, Reid delivered a 'tirade' Tuesday against 'mean-spirited' Republican efforts to cut the budget, and remarked the GOP's ideas of cuts would eliminate funding for his beloved cowboy poets. And that, my friends, is a dealbreaker . . . Just to be a Devil's advocate here, but wouldn't the sudden death of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering create the kind of misery that inspires great poetry?"
At Michelle Malkin's site, Doug Powers writes, "Harry Reid's love of all-things-cowboy dates back to his great great grandfather Bucky Reid, who, as legend has it, once taxed a man to death just for snorin' too loud. That trait has stayed with the family, and now the Senate Majority Leader is leading the fight to maintain taxpayer support for those paying artistic homage to rugged individualism and self-reliance.Crazy and ironic, but true . . . Do you think Harry's considered that maybe some of those tourists show up for thebrothels in addition to the cowboy poetry?"
Anne at Backyard Conservative adds, "Back in the day they may have been poets -- but they were cowboys first -- lariats along with the laureate. Nothing official in the lore. Don't wreck America, Harry Reid. Phonying up a legend and ponying up for poetry. For shame."
I'll let Jonah get the last word: "Do we really want to live in a country where we balance the books on the backs of cowboy poets? Umm, yeah kinda."
I rushed off to my chorus this morning without my usual contemplative cup of java from NRO and have been on the run all day--in a manner of speaking.
Morning Jolt. A great way to start the day.
...My Nebraska ranch-raised grandpa who sat a horse well would be proud. He wrote a good letter too.