National Endowment for the Arts

LeVar Burton "can't stay silent" on PBS defunding; James Doohan reserving judgment.


This is literally what would happen without public funding for the arts.

Former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton is furious about Mitt Romney's comments on PBS funding at last night's debate. 

Burton, the beloved star of Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and by general acclamation one of the nicest guys in show biz, tells TMZ

I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.

Educators across the country, as well as millions of children and adults know that the programming on PBS has been responsible for significant improvements in education, literacy, math, science and life skills for generations of our children… 

Defunding PBS directly punishes the less fortunate by removing this trusted and extraordinary educational resource available to all.

On behalf of America's children, I can't stay silent. I encourage you to join me in fighting this short-sighted and frankly mean-spirited attack on our children.

I have great regard for Burton. I particularly like the way PBS constantly plays reruns of Reading Rainbow, which Burton hosted for several centuries, in random order, so that Burton has become a kind of real-life Billy Pilgrim whose age and looks seem to change at random, unstuck from time or seasonal arcs. 

But the starship Enterprise's second most famous chief engineer is a few dilithium crystals short of a legitimate argument here. 

First, as Reason's Jesse Walker has noted, nobody is actually going to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The threat has been around for decades, and it's a cheap way for conservative politicians to burnish their images with social cons. But nothing has ever come of it, and nothing ever will. 

Second, whatever "educators across the country" say, there's no evidence that PBS programming is responsible for significant improvements in educational attainment. The number of high school graduates per 100 17-year-olds fell sharply [pdf] in the 25 years after the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967, and both verbal and math SAT scores [pdf] are lower now than they were in 1969, the year Sesame Street went on the air. Maybe in some less measureable sense television is making kids smarter than they were back in the 19th century, when 14-year-olds were able to improvise pages of Latin verse in imitation of Horace without consulting a library. But there is no basis for Burton's assertion. 

Third, Romney deserves criticism for threatening Big Bird, but not for the reasons Burton thinks. You could get rid of all federal funding for broadcasting, the arts, and so on, and the resulting dent in the annual deficit would so small it would not even count as a rounding error. Romney's needless reference to the defunding theater Walker described was a low point in a strong debate performance.

Finally, Big Bird doesn't need the taxpayers at all. Burton has worked at PBS, but he worked more prominently (and I would guess, for a lot more money) at Paramount. He should ask his former co-worker Dora the Explorer, or maybe the Little Einsteins over at Disney, how you can put out quality educational children's programming without public funding. Believe it or not, it's being done all the time. 

Burton's engine room predecessor James Doohan merged with the infinite in 2005, but you can never be sure death is final in the Star Trek universe. Presumably Doohan, a Canadian, would support continued federal funding for broadcasting.

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  1. PBS just needs to pad its budget estimates by a factor of four, then only exceed those estimates by a factor of eight. That way they’ll keep their reputation as miracle workers.

  2. You could get rid of all federal funding for broadcasting, the arts, and so on, and the resulting dent in the annual deficit would so small it would not even count as a rounding error.

    Spoken like a typical TEAM BLUE douche.

    1. Its not just the money.

      1. Yeah in fact if they really want to they could just burn the cash instead of giving it to PBS. I could give a shit about the pennies.

        Government should not be in the news, art and entertainment business.

      2. Well, if it came in the role of government segment sure. But in the deficit segment, you need to do a little better.

    2. When presented with a fact you resort to calling the person a “douche”.

      Spoken like a typical TEAM RED cockstain.

      1. Uh…no, YOU ARE!


        1. I got a bowl of hamburger helper (extra meat) and a tall can of Old Milwaukee in front of me RIGHT NOW. I can do this all goddamn night, dood.

          Come at me, bro.

          1. Old Milwaukee? Really?

            We already feel bad enough for you.

      2. SIV is correct. This is the team blue argument. Hell even Arrron Sorkin had a TEAM BLUE douche use the same argument in the first 2 min of his new show Network.

        1. There’s an argument there?

          Seems like a statement of fact.

          Unless PBS is getting a couple trillion bucks in black funding to fight muppet terrorists, or something.

          1. There’s an argument there?


            “PBS is cheap compared to all other spending therefor we should not cut it.”

            That is the TEAM blue argument.

            It is also Tim’s argument.

            See how that works…SIV exposed Tim for using a TEAM blue argument.

            1. It is also Tim’s argument.

              I presume you can point to where I said “we should not cut” funding to PBS or any words to that effect?

              1. You could get rid of all federal funding for broadcasting, the arts, and so on, and the resulting dent in the annual deficit would so small it would not even count as a rounding error.

                So this statement just floats benignly in a vacuum?

                Perhaps not “we should not cut”…but also less then “we should cut”.

                Also you are going to be used as foil by commentors. I obviously do not get paid as a skilled writer and journalist. So i will blunder into exaggeration.

                There is something here and I think it is fair to say SIV got pretty close to the mark. Damned if I can’t describe it exactly.

                1. Duh! Blundering into exaggeration is how you get paid as a skilled writer and journalist. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.

            2. Tim’s point wasn’t that we shouldn’t cut it. His point is the fact that those programs are what conservatives always bring up when asked for specific cuts shows that they’re not serious about reducing spending or the deficit

              1. so does that make it an illegitimate argument or, unwittingly, serve to highlight the unwillingness of either party to consider serious cuts? The Repubs believe it’s meaningful, the Dems pretend it is devastating.

              2. Tim’s point wasn’t that we shouldn’t cut it. His point is the fact that those programs are what conservatives always bring up when asked for specific cuts shows that they’re not serious about reducing spending or the deficit

                Honey, I’ll cut out the monthly trips to the strip club when you cut out the daily starbucks.

                Just do both already.

                1. I agree VG. Tell that to the Republicans. They can sure pay lip service to cutting NPR, but they don’t even do that much when it comes to the big programs. Because they aren’t serious

        2. SIV is correct

          should replace “reply to this” on all of my HampersandR comments

        3. Except it wasn;t presented as an argument. Just as a fact. Which it is. Conservatives always trot it out when they are looking for examples of how they will cut the budget, but the fact is that cutting hte whole CPB would not make any difference in that. If you want to talk about whether government should be in broadcasting at all, that is another matter.

          1. Maybe the socialists should agree to cutting Big Bird in exchange for a couple tens of billions in cuts to DOD.

            Well except that they don’t want to cut any fucking thing.

      3. Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker.

        Your argument is invalid.

    3. Actually, this is exactly the problem. We are running a $10,000 deficit per family in the country. Medicare and define are each about $5000 per family, and Romney is criticizing Obama for his measly cuts in those. PBS is getting less than $5/family and Romney is pretending to be a conservative by claiming he want to cut that. Heck, the Medicare prescription drug plan the was signed by a Republican and passed by Republican Senate and a Republican House costs more each year ($500/family in 2008) than PBS over it’s entire history. Funding for PBS doesn’t belong in the federal budget, but PBS, (or bear dna research) isn’t out problem.

      1. It’s all our problem. And I want my five bucks back.

      2. 9,995 is less than 10,000

        Kill that shit already.

        The real problem that this illustrates is the way that every individual item is “essential” and also “a meaninglessly small expenditure” so why cut anything.

      3. But the principle behind even the idea of creating and funding a PBS *IS* the problem. In fact it is the apotheosis of the problem.

    4. When Team Red controlled the White House and both houses of Congress for six years, they did not eliminate PBS funding. Nor did they do so at any other time. Your candidate has no plan to cut Social Security and wants to spend even more on Medicare, but he’s promising to cut funding for the CPB (and even that is almost certainly a lie). If that excites you, well, I wish I could join in but I’d need a lobotomy first.

      1. Your candidate

        SIV, you voting for Romney??!?!

        Say it ain’t so!!!

        1. Comment threading makes it unclear who Tim is addressing. I can’t see where anyone in the thread is defending TEAM RED, much less Mitt Romney.

          No extra-consitutional government program is too small to cut, and no argument for doing so is illegitimate.

          Mohair subsidies were no more than a rounding error in the USDA budget but I was happy to see them eliminated just for the symbolic value.Reading Rainbow-reruns can go the way of goat husbandry.

      2. Don’t you know you can’t ever assume a Republican is lying? That’s one of the first rules HitandRunpublicans taught me. If it’s a Democrat though? Open season. They lie about EVERYTHING, don’tcha know.

        1. Your candidate got his ass handed to him last night.

          1. MY candidate wasn’t at the debate. Nice try though.

            1. Oh you’re not voting Obama …this time?

              I was referring to Google+ treatment of Gary Johnson anyways.

              1. Oh you’re not voting Obama …this time?

                Yeah, just keep trying to put words in my mouth.

                I was referring to Google+ treatment of Gary Johnson anyways.

                Why, what happened? I only got into Google+ last night, for the after-debate stuff with Reason. So I don’t know what what stuff with Google+ and GJ you’re referring to.

      3. This is one of the problems with threaded comments. Yours just hangs here as if it is replying to some other comment but for the life of me I just can’t find it.

  3. Wasn’t Doohan on that first private space flight?

    1. Almost two years after his death, approximately one-quarter ounce (7 grams) of Doohan’s ashes were sent into space,[15] as he had requested in his will. The ashes, along with those of Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper as well as almost two hundred others, were launched on the SpaceLoft XL rocket, on April 28, 2007, when the rocket briefly entered outer space in a four-minute suborbital flight before parachuting to earth, as planned, with the ashes still inside.[16] The ashes were subsequently launched on a Falcon 1 rocket, on August 3, 2008, into what was intended to be a low Earth orbit, however the rocket failed two minutes after launch.[17] The rest of his ashes were scattered over Puget Sound in Washington.[18][19] On May 22, 2012, a small urn containing some of Doohan’s remains in ash form was flown into space aboard the Dragon spacecraft as part of COTS Demo Flight 2.

      1. In a later interview, this time for the first Trekkies film, Doohan related the story of a young fan who was contemplating suicide; Doohan says that he convinced her to attend his next convention appearance, and later found out that his encouragement and kind words had not only saved her life, but also inspired her to go back to school and become an Electronics Engineer.

        I knew this woman. Also, James Doohan was a decent human being.

  4. I want to know what Neil Tyson thinks.
    /not really

  5. The threat has been around for decades, and it’s a cheap way for conservative politicians to burnish their images with social cons.


    Is PBS even socially liberal? I guess by not talking about they might be considered as such. Anyway there is a libertarian argument for getting rid of public funding for it. Namely that the government is not the place for culture and news to be dictated upon society. It is a matter of scope of government not a matter of pennies.

    Anyway Romney is terrible but as a libertarian his threats to get rid of public funding of PBS and NPR is one of the few brights spots about his campaign.

    1. +1.

    2. +2

      Plus PBS, CPB, and NPR are great places to start the unneeded and illegal practices of the federal government.

      1. I’d rather start with the war on drugs and stupid useless professional licensing to name two of the thousand things that are much more offensive than PBS.

        1. No major candidate is proposing those two be cut. Hell,even GayJay has been silent on the elimination of professional licensure.

          I don’t find PBS offensive at all. I rather enjoy much of their programming.
          Particularly the many shows funded by a Koch brother.

          Eliminating the federal funding would be a great precedent.Left-liberals might actually learn something when they see PBS live on almost as if nothing happened.

    3. What makes the argument lame, though, is of all the arts and bs funding directed by the government that is federal, cons always like to pick on PBS… partly because they know liberals are stupid enough to rise to it. So it rubs both ways.

      Romney could easily say that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in arts funding, period. The constant need to pick on PBS is lame-oh pandering.

    4. Is PBS even socially liberal?

      It’s perceived by conservative politicians as being something liberals support. Which yes, makes it an easy way to bolster their image of being fiscally conservative. But miss his point all you want, I guess.

      It is a matter of scope of government not a matter of pennies.

      Where does he say we shouldn’t cut it? Mentioning that specifically, when it’s such a small portion of the budget, is an evasion from talking about the cuts that that will matter fiscally.

      1. Liberals support it because it is similar to European state television channels. Liberals love European state television, which is why they will, incorrectly, argue that the BBC version of the Office is better than the American version. If you disagree, they actually get offended, because politically they have an interest in the European version being better.

  6. At least Wil Wheaton likes Romney.

    1. Too bad nobody likes Wil Wheaton


        1. Kirk would have personally thrown Wesley off his bridge. Tulpa too.

          1. Bull. I let a thousand flowers bloom on my bridge.

            1. You got your bridge, and the Constellation, destroyed by a planet killer, so you have no bridge to throw off or be thrown off of. And then you tried to commandeer the Enterprise. Kirk would obviously personally throw you off it.

              1. Lieutenant Tom “Episiarch” Paris, I hereby demote you to the rank of ensign. IF WE DON’T ADHERE TO OUR MOST SACRED PRINCIPLES, WE’RE NO BETTER THAN THE NAZIS OF 20th CENTURY EUROPE.

                1. What about the Nazis of 19th Century Europe?

                  1. Bitch, please. I’m Janeway. I know all about all. In the 19th century, Shia LeBarf and his robotic transformer friends saved Earth from the Ewoks.

                    Learn your fucking history, or I’ll make you sing opera with the Doctor.

                2. Look, Paris got thrown out of Starfleet once, he’s not afraid to get thrown out again for being a white supremacist.

                  1. But his girlfriend’s a Mexican Klingon. I DON’T GET IT.

                    1. And his best friend is a chink, or a gook, or a slant, or Charlie, or something like that. IT’S NOT FOR YOU TO GET.

                    2. I swear to God, insult Harry Kim again, and I will end you

                      The only thing worse in this world than insulting Harry Kim is molesting children.

                    3. ^^Robert Beltran Likes This On Facebook^^

                      Just kidding; Beltran doesn’t give a shit.

                      Did you know that he was replaced by a remarkably lifelike prosthetic somewhere between the second and third season? True story.

                    4. Dude, please don’t bring up Robert Beltran. You’re just going to get Episiarch all hot and bothered again.

                    5. What, is Episiarch Ethan Phillips or something? Because…

                      …actually, that would make all sorts of sense.

                    6. DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT NEELIX

                      Oh wait, say whatever you want about that annoying fuck. I think he’s my third most hated character after Wesley and Alexander.

                    7. You remember that episode where Tuvok fantasizes about attacking Neelix, and it turns out he’s in the holodeck? I was pissed when they showed that it was just a holoprogram.

                      I didn’t hate Neelix, but fuck me, the writers really made him a whiney little asswipe for seasons 2-4.

                    8. I hated him because he was fucking Kes and I wasn’t.

                3. Ypu know who else would like to throw Episiarch off a bridge …

            2. I knew you were Canadian.

            1. How do you know that I don’t know that? What if it’s canon?

              You know what they should do? In the next rebooted Trek movie, they should introduce a Wesley character. Like, as in, Wesley, but accidentally transported back in time to Kirk’s time and now an ensign on the Enterprise. What do you think?

              1. Leave that in your personal torture porn fiction. Welsey was a perfectly serviceable character


                with the right writers

                could have

                [voice trails off]

                1. See, FoE? It’s the perfect use for Wesley, because Abrams is far more likely to kill him in some spectacular, gory way than TNG ever was. They came so close in that one episode, though; so close…

              2. Are you shitting me? Kirk would skullfuck him a day after his bitching began and leave his corps on Tatooine for the Sarlacc to finish off.

                1. His corpse, too.

                  1. Do you remember how Kirk tolerated Charlie X? Are you telling me Wesley Crusher who had a doable mom would be worse in Kirk’s eyes than Charlie X?

                    1. Kirk fucking beamed tribbles, the cutest animal imaginable, away. You don’t think he’d airlock Wesley? Shit, Charlie X was only tolerated because he had godlike powers! And even then Kirk still got rid of him. Even godlike powers are no match for Kirk, just ask Apollo and that thing that lived inside the galactic core.

                    2. …just ask Apollo and that thing that lived inside the galactic core.

                      Well I was in transit and missed that. You know what IS a match for Kirk? Directing a goddamn sequel. What does God need with a starship? SOME SCRIPT SUPERVISION, THAT’S WHAT. SOME SPECIAL EFFECTS BUDGET.

                    3. Look, hater, I rewatched that drunk in a hotel room in Albion, NY one time and it was fun. So shove it. Everyone loves to hate on STV because Shatner directed it. Well, I’m calling bullshit on that. Other than the fan dance, and the rock climbing, and the opening scenes, and the mending of people’s pain, and the…I’ll come in again.

                    4. No one expects the Shatner Inquisition!

                    5. He’d dump the kid, fuck the mom (who’s also there due to the same temporal anomaly, or whatever), impregnate her, and then fuck a green chick. All in a day’s work for Captain Badass.

                      And if Dr. Crusher gets angry that her son got thrown off, send that bitch a tricorder. Bitches love tricorders.

                    6. Don’t you think Beverly’s a little old for Kirk? Plus she sported a lurid cameltoe.

                    7. A true lady’s man samples all age groups. MILFs were high on his agenda throughout, but the stupid writers kept sending hot, randomly colored aliens his way all the fucking time.

                  2. Better yet, an episode where they get caught in a time loop, and in every loop, Wesley dies a different horrible death.

                    1. I think BP might be on to something here.

                    2. “Captain, we think we’ve found a way to break out of the temporal anomaly.”

                      “Let’s see how this plays out.”

                2. Kirk would skullfuck him a day after his bitching began and leave his corps on Tatooine for the Sarlacc to finish off.

                  Shaka, and the walls fell.

                  1. At least have the courtesy to insult a guy in English, man! Darmok, right?

              3. You know what they should do? In the next rebooted Trek movie, they should introduce a Wesley character. Like, as in, Wesley, but accidentally transported back in time to Kirk’s time and now an ensign on the Enterprise. What do you think?

                Only if they promise to give him the life expectancy of the typical Enterprise Ensign.

                1. Okay. Read ahead before posting.

                  1. This shit is just too fucking funny. Also, no T o n y

  7. Isn’t it only a tiny slice of PBS’s funding, anyway?

    Maybe LeVar and his showbiz buddies could write donation checks to cover the gap? Yeah, right…

    But still, it was a dumb thing to say given the (I’m assuming) wide admiration of PBS among voters of most political stripes. Although it is pretty funny that he said it with Jim Lehrer of all people as the moderator. Still, if he wanted to go after federal funding of the “arts”, he would’ve been better off going after that program that provides grants for murals of Jesus covered in feces (or whatever).

    1. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the evil Koch brothers gave more to PBS than the federal government.

      But as everyone is pointing out, you’ve got to start somewhere, so Romney deserves at least some credit even though he is clearly being disingenuous.

      1. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the evil Koch brothers gave more to PBS than the federal government

        They actually do. Everytime I watch Nova, I see that the Charles Koch foundation is a big booster.

    2. It’s about 10-20% of their funding. Which they could easily make it up by showing more commercials, and give up the ghost of the “commercial-free” bullshit.

      If they were smart, they could have leveraged the success of their more popular shows. Pawn Stars, American Pickers et. al. are basically spinoffs of Antiques Roadshow.

      1. They don’t even have to show commercials is the thing though. They can still be a non-profit and operate off of donations from rich, self-satisfied liberals.
        Or leverage their popular shows into merchandising, like they already fucking do.
        That way they can still watch Sesame Street without worrying that Big Bird will be raped by Don Draper or whatever.

        1. Or The Traveler.

  8. The threat has been around for decades, and it’s a cheap way for conservative politicians to burnish their images with social cons. But nothing has ever come of it, and nothing ever will.

    And since nominal libertarians deride even small wastes of money as “rounding errors” it never will? When you are a gazillion dollars in debt, how is this even a question?

    Would even the complete vaporization of the entire planet Earth destroy all of the stupid?

    1. No. Presumably the crew of the ISS would still be alive, at least for a while. Unless every human being is eradicated, stupid will survive.

      1. If the Covenant glass Earth, John-117 is alone, and that wouldn’t make for a very fun new Halo trilogy, would it?

        1. I have a bad feeling about this new trilogy…

        2. I’m willing to give up Johnson for 3 new Halo games. Besides, the Chief still has the Arbiter.

    2. And since nominal libertarians deride even small wastes of money as “rounding errors” it never will?

      It never will just like all those things the 2008 (and 2012) Democrats talk about getting done will never happen.

  9. Isn’t Lavern supposed to be beaming shit up to Engineering for closer examination or some shit?

  10. There is even a third libertarian argument.

    Cuts have to start somewhere. If we are unwilling to even cut PBS which can survive on it own without public funding and produces no service that the private sector can and does already provide then what hope do we have a real cuts to big government programs?

    1. If we are unwilling to even cut PBS

      I am saying that Mitt Romney is unwilling even to cut PBS. You apparently believe he is willing to cut PBS.

      Mitt Romney’s record as governor, during which the budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council increased by 66 percent, says I am right and you are wrong. The record of the national Republican Party, which did not cut funding for CPB during the six years they controlled the legislative and executive branches, also says I am right and you are wrong.

      1. You apparently believe he is willing to cut PBS.

        You are right. there is a less then 50% chance…probably less then 10% chance he will cut it. Still I can fantasize, and I can feel warm and fuzzy inside when he says it. Also looking at the 8 Bush years and the 4 Obama years (shity congresses included) anyone anywhere taking about cutting anything is really the only hope one can grasp onto these days no matter how remote actual cuts are.

        But yeah I ain’t voting for the son of bitch. What I think he will or will not do with PBS really does not enter into that equation.

      2. Four years. Jumpin’ Jim took the Senate away from them until 2002. Just sayin’.

  11. You should support Romney on this particular issue, with the standard disclaimers that it’s only a tiny first step, etc. But blowing off the issue because it doesn’t use as much money as (insert name of other program) is objectively to ally oneself with not only PBS, but with all the other govt programs which are “so inexpensive compared to all the bombers and drones in the military blah blah.”

    Defunding* a highly visible program like PBS would cross an important psychological barrier. It would show timid Congresspersons that they can successfully defy the what-about-the-children fulminations of the world’s Burtons and actually bring a government program to an end. That would make defunding the next program, and defying the next Burton, easier.

    And when someone actually proposes *real* cuts, you can give a pep talk to the more timid Congresspeople – remember how they said the sky would fall if you abolished PBS? Well, the same people are saying the same thing now – they don’t want *anything* cut – they’ll react the same whether you make a symbolic cut or a real cut, so why not start making some real cuts?

    *That is, making it rely on the private funding of which it already receives so much

    1. +1 Sorry Tim could you please turn down the Cosmo-douchebaggery?

      1. Sorry Cyto, could you turn down the “I’ll accuse of things he didn’t say” butthurt?

        1. He condemned a proposed spending cut. I’m not the one who’s butthurt.

          1. No, he condemned that 1) it’s probably never going to happen, and 2) it’s just used as a diversion from the cuts that are really important. Which is EXACTLY why I said you have “I’ll accuse him of things he didn’t say” butthurt.

    2. Eduard, Tim’s saying the cut will never happen. It’s just being used to make Romney look better. And it’s a distraction from talking about the cuts that will really make a difference.

      1. Which is it?

        a) a cut that will never happen


        b) a distraction from the ‘real cuts’.

        ‘Cause the tone of his comment is that it’s horrible to even talk about cutting Big Bird. Which implies that he’s worried that it really might happen and that he would be absolutely horrified by ‘real cuts’.

        1. It can be both, obviously. He can use it to distract from the big cuts that need to be made, AND never actually cut it. I’m not sure why you think they’re mutually exclusive.

          ‘Cause the tone of his comment is that it’s horrible to even talk about cutting Big Bird.

          Nope. His tone (and his actual text) is that it’s a distraction to use PBS as an example of what he’d like to cut, PLUS it’ll never happen anyway, which means it’s just more bullshit.

          Which implies that he’s worried that it really might happen and that he would be absolutely horrified by ‘real cuts’.

          Are you actually talking about Cavanaugh here? If so, this is obviously bullshit.

  12. if Levar Burton thinks Big Bird is so goddamn vital to the nation, let him and his fellow travelers pony up. Things like Jersey Shore, for pete’s sake, make it without tax money; why can’t the Muppets? They could but this is what entitlement means.

    1. let him and his fellow travelers pony up

      That was one weird image.

      1. There is no God.

      2. Holy shit, the thing on the left.

        “Holy Jesus! What is that? What the fuck is that? WHAT IS THAT”

        1. Um, that’s a Brony and I won’t tempt you with a link. I have a daughter is how I know.
          That thing on the right appears to be a geek of some kind.

          1. Does it breathe oxygen?

            1. Ever heard of Team Fortress 2? They modded it heavily…I dare you to click the link.


              1. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

              2. Are you kidding me Cyto? That’s awesome. Who WOULDN’T want to see bipedal ponies killing people?

                1. I see where you’re coming from. It’s kind of awesome but also just so much…I don’t even

                  1. Well it doesn’t help that the guy playing sort of sucks.

  13. Whatever respect I might have once had for LeVar Burton just went down the drain. I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked that another Hollyweird tardo who’s never had a “real” job turns out to be another shrill libtard moron shreiking about “TEH CHILRUNZ!!!11!!!!11!”.

    Also, doesn’t the Corporation for Public Broadcasting only get a relatively small portion of their funding from the federal government anyway? “Oh noes, we might have to actually rely on advertising revenue which means we might have to show programs that people actually want to watch at least once in a while! The horror! THE HORROR!!!!” Morons.

  14. But the starship Enterprise’s second most famous chief engineer…

    I don’t know. That’s ditzy woman chief engineer in that one embarrassing episode from the first season was pretty well known, I think. Whatever her name was.

    “These are control chips!”

    1. Tasha Yar was the best character in history.

      The Rock as that Tsunkatse fighter was good, too. I was kind of hoping he and SoN would let their passion spark in the middle of the battle and do the dirty right there, in the arena, in front of billions of people.

      1. Her olfactory implants would have registered what The Rock’s meal preperation was emitting.


      1. Why the hell did they put food replicators five meters from the warp drive chamber anyway? I mean, was Leah Brahms totally oblivious to the possibility of some klutz spilling hot chocolate on everything?

        1. It was a Montgomery Scott protocol. You expected the man to leave Engineering to get a wee nip?

          Secondly, they wanted you to pay attention to Gomez’s chest, so you’d remember she was the 3-boobed chick from Total Recall.

          1. Martian whore to designer of a military flagship. Not bad.

      2. Chief Engineer, dipshits. From the first season. Space God, you people are terrible.

  15. This Canadian generally opposes government funding for broadcasting.

    That said, I’d be fine with a government-owned television and radio station that would broadcast all activities in the legislatures (incl. committees), plus any other official government notifications to the public (e.g. emergency advisories).

    1. I wouldn’t. Contract it all out.

    2. We have that in the U.S. pretty much. It’s called C-SPAN 1, 2, and 3 and it’s a public service of the cable companies. It also streams online live for free. Very few people ever watch it, although the morning call-in show often has hilarious prank callers.

      1. C-Span is privately owned.

        And someone pranked Bratbitch once and he had a mini-stroke live.

    3. The Kids In The Hall do it best.

      Screw you, Taxpayer!

  16. The strawman of all strawmen: Assuming that because you don’t think the government should pay for something, you don’t think it should exist.

    I’m really fucking tired of that bullshit.

    1. Yep. It’s what all those “goberment = society” morons think, and always will think.

    2. It’s more than that. If you don’t want government to do it, you want it to be sponsored by MCDONALDS

      1. Or Halliburton.

        H A L L I B U R T O N

        1. Or Kock Industries!

    3. It’s even dumber when the government is only paying for a small fraction of it to begin with.

  17. I am disappointed in all of you that this thread has yet to devolve into a TNG quotefest. Especially Episiarch.

    1. This is like the worst chatroom… ever.

    2. “Cortana, is that you?”

      “Time to go to war, Spartan.”

    3. I would rather talk about how much Iain M Banks novel “Surface Detail” sucks ass.

      By the way Zakalwe from “Use Of Weapons” makes an appearance in the novel….and it still fucking sucks.

      What a complete waste of a great character.

      1. I liked it.

        1. You didn’t feel like Banks was phoning it in?

          Also didn’t that Veppers villain annoy the crap out of you? This is Iain motherfucking Banks the same guy who gave us Horza and Zakalwe, hell even Quilan had an interesting motive.

          He should be able to make a villain at least remotely sympathetic….but no Veppers was a rich businessman…Banks could not even make the guy remotely human. Instead he relies on old lefty tropes to sketch out the character.

          And then the big secret at the end is a failed love affair?!?!?

          What the fuck?!?! Banks spends literally 100s of pages following the entirely uninteresting tattoo woman (far to many of them telling the reader what her vagina and breasts are doing) and she does jack shit but confront her betraying lover.


          the waste of Zakalwe just came as a slap in the face at the end to a horrible piece of scifi.

          “Oh by the way that dude was Zakalwe the whole time. And fuck you all my fans”

          Jesus it was terrible.

          1. The Algebraist is his best.

            1. My favorite was Use of Weapons.

              The Algebraist also has an implausible villain. And Banks has him traveling to a potential conflict the whole fucking book then at the end he simply turns around and flees. The threat he posed turning up to be an impossible threat to begin with….why was he even in the story at all?

              It was this book that made me think that Banks had fired his editor.

              But yeah he does seem to treat the libertarian society of aliens living in the gas giant kindly.

              I should reread that one.

    4. We shall make sure that history never forgets the name Hit and Run.

      1. “Correction, sir, That’s Hit ampersand Run.

        Thank you, Data.

        A common mistake, sir.”

          1. OMG, you did it! Alert the server squirrels, so that they can fix the title bar of EVERY POST.

            1. OMG, you did it!

              Of course I did. I’m the motherfucking Thane of Whiterun. I do what I want.

              Anyway, it’s not a “real” ampersand, it’s a “small ampersand.”


  18. First national poll out post debate has Obama gaining big among independents and Romney solidifying his base:

    1. People like Obama in spite of his magnificent suckitude! Look at the polls!!!

      1. Unfortunately, this is true, and why Obama will have eight more years.

    2. Pre-debate numbers likely voters:

      Obama 48%
      Romney 39%

      9 point spread?

      Give me a fucking break.

      At max Romney was down 5 points and that is with polls with a DEM+8 fudge factor.

    3. Independents were impressed by Obama’s performance? LOL

  19. Better yet, an episode where they get caught in a time loop, and in every loop, Wesley dies a different horrible death.

    This should be every episode.

    1. But that wouldn’t leave time for tits. Where’s the tits?

      1. Isn’t that why they had Troi on the show? I mean, they got rid of the TOS miniskirts and instead gave her a clevagerific bunny suit.

        1. SoN was tits all the way. Troi didn’t do it for me, mostly because her hair was so freaking weird during season 1.

      2. Death by tits?

  20. Thing is, I highly doubt that Mittens has the balls to actually go after PBS. It’s just more red meat pandering to get morons like SIV and suki lubed up for the election.

    If he gets elected and actually makes the cut, then mea culpa, good for him, but I’m not going to act like this anything other than what it is(see above).

  21. Should a star of a hit sci-fi tv show that bucked the networks’ control by going the syndication path know a thing or two about alternative ways of funding entertainment that doesn’t rely on government subsidies?

    1. By the way, the fact that Picket Fences beat TNG for the 1994 Best Dramatic Series Emmy is the #1 reason I don’t give hoot about awards ceremonies.

      1. #2 is Steeley Dan beating Eminem for Best Album.

      2. I recently rewatched season 7 of TNG and was surprised at how well-written most of the episodes were. It’s much more difficult, IMO, to tell unique, largely unconnected stories every week instead of doing what virtually every show does today and have complicated serialzed storylines.

        1. They really toned down the quasi-socialistic sermonizing bullshit in the last few seasons. It was a good change.

          1. I largely credit Ron Moore for the success of both the later seasons of TNG and DS9. Note how Trek went to shit once he left and Braga took over.

            1. One of the things I hated is how Little Brannon tried to demilitarize Starfleet. Its role as the Federation’s military went from being a secondary, but definite, was wiped away, and they became pussies in jumpsuits for about 50 percent of Voyager with regard to pretty much anything the characters did.

              Self-righteous pacifistic bullshit is tiresome.

              1. He also has an annoying fascination with time travel, I bailed on ENT when that shit came up. And look how Braga’s most recent show, Terra Nova, turned out.

                1. Yeah, but that was the least of his problems. Seriously. Half the time Janeway’s crew encountered opportunities for action, the retard stuck a wall in the viewer’s face and gave him 10 minutes of Janeway and Tattooface discussing how cool it would have been to be a Kirk-era Starfleet officer, in the time of “Federation pioneers.”

                  Braga really fucked it up.

                  And he made Janeway’s ship so frigging underpowered as an overused plot device for her to lose all the fucking time that I couldn’t take her or her Starfleet bravado seriously.

                  Shit. So many complaints.

                  1. Voyager and Enterprise were bad, but mostly on account of the fact that they stuck too close to an aging formula.

                    Shit like a ship’s counselor being on the bridge, the Big Ol’ Plot Reset Button, little to no character growth, and no real character conflict could be tolerated on a show as late as the 80s, but no way was that going to be entertaining after stuff like Babylon 5 showed what could be done with the medium.

                    The problem with both shows can be boiled down to this: every time a potential for conflict or plot tension was introduced, the show would hold the viewer’s hand and throw something in to reassure them that the protagonists were in no danger of experiencing true conflict. None of the potential or consequences of either show’s premise was exploited to good use; the settings and characters were secondary to the fact that they were making TNG: The Episodes That Were Too Suck To Air The First Time Around

                    1. Shit like a ship’s counselor being on the bridge, the Big Ol’ Plot Reset Button, little to no character growth, and no real character conflict

                      Define pre-Abrams Star Trek.

                    2. Pretty much, but it was more tolerable when there were less options. Most of Trek (besides a fraction of TNG and TOS episodes) doesn’t hold up at all in the modern era.

                      They should have given the franchise to someone who was committed to doing interesting things with the medium and chucked Roddenberry’s Writing Bible in the trash bin. Instead, they gave it to the worst sort of yes-men, and pretended to be surprised when no one was interested in seeing Scott Bakula boldly moralize where no one (except the Vulcans) had moralized before.

          2. Roddenberry dying probably helped with that. Also with allowing the possibility of the Federation and Starfleet not being totally perfect and free from corruption.

            1. Roddenberry had very little to do with the early development of DS9. Take that for what it’s worth.

        2. TNG was more of a mix of both serialized storylines and what Joss Whedon refers to as “reset” television.

          I would say 75% of the storylines were just about the general exploration and diplomatic duties of the Enterprise. Nobody learns anything because the revelations are very unique to the problem at hand.

          There other 25% of the storlyines were interconnected plots surrounding the Borg, the Klingons, the ongoing detente with the Romulans, and Starfleet conspiracies (which were explored further in the more episodic DS9).

          1. I thought the Marquis storyline was the best and most thematically complex territory TNG ever ventured into. For once the show actually looked into issues regarding property and what rights the government may trump for the common interest of peace.

            1. As Tulpa pointed out above, Roddenberry’s own socialist views influenced the mythology of Trek. What you were seeing with the things like the Marquis storyline probably was the result of Roddenberry slipping creative control over the franchises and his eventual death.

              1. Money went the way of the dinosaur, eh?

                I also found the total lack of space traffic whenever Earth was shown really depressing. It made me think, “What the fuck is this, the DPRK of the interstellar age?”

                1. I guess we’re supposed to believe that they solved the problem of scarcity by the 24th century. But I love how Quark allowed to critique the Federation on DS9. Just look at this conversation.

                  1. They are already working on 3d printers that work at a molecular level. If they succeed, we could solve scarcity by the end of the 21st century.

                2. We never really saw much of Federation civilian life in any of the series except DS9. I wonder if Mark Twain was on to something when he thought Troi was just showing him a “privileged few” when she gave him a tour of the Enterprise to make him less cynical about the future of humanity.

            2. Not to be a dick, but it’s Maquis, no R.

              there was a DS9 episode where Sisko’s son began to question the merits of humans having “grown out of” using money, when he wanted a 20th century baseball card, and realized that just replicating it wouldn’t be the same as owning it. Of course, the current owner wanted money for it.

              1. DS9 had by far fewer of the let’s-shove-this-pinko-shit-down-your-throat inclinations TNG often suffered from, and Starfleet was portrayed as a military, at last.

          2. * Sorry, I meant “the more serialized DS9″.

            1. “Conspiracy” (The One With The Mind Control Slugs) could have potentially set up a great story arc, if it had been furthered.

              1. Fuck that. They killed Cmdr Remmick in that episode. He was one of my fave characters at the time.

        3. I actually wasn’t much of a fan of Season 7. They were indulging in way too many “character building” episodes (a Troi episode, a Crusher episode, a Geordi episode) and the growing influence of Braga was evident in some borderline Dadaist episodes.

          Plus Troi and Worf getting together was so flerking forced.

          I liked The Pegasus, Preemptive Strike, and the finale. Parallels was OK. Beyond that it was drek.

          1. Yeah, but of the drama series nominated in 1994, LA Law, NYPD Blue, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences, and TNG, TNG is probably the best-remembered and Picket Fences is probably the least remembered. That either points to the bizarre nature of popular culture or the fact that the Television Academy has no idea what they’re doing.

            1. I was SOOOO pissed when flerking Picket Fences won that award. And when John Lithgow referenced “the British captain of the starship Enterprise” when he was introducing the nominees.

              But methinks it was just a farewell gesture by the Emmy people. Just like how ROTK won Best Picture despite arguably being the weakest of the LOTR films.

          2. …But I agree that Season 7 was a weak season. Season 2-5 are pretty much what I remember when I think of TNG.

            1. If Season 6 has that Q episodes “Tapestry”, I think I would also like it a lot more than what I saw out of Season 7.

            2. Same here. In fact, besides the series finale, I can’t remember almost anything about Season 7.

              1. Descent, Part II — terrible
                Liaisons — terrible
                Interface — Geordi episode, terrible
                Gambit, Part I — good
                Gambit, Part II — good
                Phantasms — awful, Dadaist
                Dark Page — Troi episode, barf
                Attached — Picard/Crusher love story, barf
                Force of Nature — terrible
                Inheritance — extremely terrible
                Parallels — good
                The Pegasus — good
                Homeward — good
                Sub Rosa — Crusher episode, worst of the series
                Lower Decks — ok
                Thine Own Self — terrible!
                Masks — almost made me stop watching forever
                Eye of the Beholder — another Troi episode! wtf
                Genesis — memorable for SuperWorf and Spider Barclay, but mediocre
                Journey’s End — Wesley episode, terrible
                Firstborn — Alexander episode, awful
                Bloodlines — Picard had a son? wtf, awful
                Emergence — Dadaist, awful
                Preemptive Strike — good
                All Good Things… — great

                1. I have the horrible recollection that Sub Rosa was the episode where Crusher goes out and has her a Scottish romance the likes of which aren’t seen outside of bad Harlequin novellas.

                  1. I don’t know what JLP was thinking. If the only consummated romances a woman has had in the past 7 years were with an incorporeal man-ghost and a Trill that’s now a woman, I’d be a tad suspicious.

            3. Any episode where Riker plays trombone is out.

              1. Mi”Any episode where Riker plays trombone is out.”

                I hated how they made Riker a fan of early 20th Century jazz and Tom Paris a fan of 1950s Rockabilly, but the writers never pondered a StarFleet officer who was interested in post-British Invasion rock and roll, RB, or Hip Hop.

                Don’t get me wrong. I really dislike Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek, but I thought it was pretty cool that he made Kirk a Beastie Boys fan.

                1. The Abrams film was a fine Star Wars prequel — a fine Star Wars prequel, I say.

                2. I actually liked Abrams’ reboot. I thought it was a good action movie. Hand the next one to Peter Jackson and let the magic happen.

                  1. You’re about to be hammered by a lot of HR oldies bitterly clinging to their old crappy ST.

                    1. If you mean Abrams featured more character development than of the pre-2009 Trek, then I would agree with you.

                      But, the Star Treks II, III, and IV, a good deal of TNG (I’m thinking of “Family” as a good example), and DS9 also featured complex character development and mature and exciting plotlines that make the Abrams’ Star Trek seem dull.

                  2. I actually liked Abrams’ reboot.

                    He was real good at making those lens flairs.


                3. Interestingly, despite being freed from materialist concerns to pursue their self betterment, post-20th century humans created absolutely no new music genres or forms of entertainment. Everyone listens to Baroque, opera, or jazz, and whenever they use the Holodeck it’s either for work purposes or to indulge in some entertainment from before the year 2000.

                  At least Zefram Cochrane was into classic rock…

                  1. That’s because the DPRK of the 24th century blows, and if they ever tried to portray it outright, their show would be laughed off of television.

                    Remember how Tom Paris got mocked all the time for liking 20th-century cars and American history (and speaking about it with pride)? The writers were trying to prove how the specter of American exceptionalism was truly dead, or something equally retarded.

                    1. Well, Tom Paris was a former Maquis, so he probably didn’t buy into the Federation’s philosophical BS.

                  2. I forgot about Zefram Cochrane. Though, sense he was a character from the 21st Century, it probably made it easier for the writers to imagine him as a Steppenwolf or Orbison fan.

                    1. *”since”

                    2. It’s funny, isn’t it, how the greatest breakthrough in history (in the Trek universe), warp drive, was brought about by a drunk whose motive was personal material enrichment and pussy?


                    3. Hey, it was the 90s. We were a lot more comfortable with ambiguity in Seinfeld America.

        4. It’s much more difficult, IMO, to tell unique, largely unconnected stories every week instead of doing what virtually every show does today and have complicated serialzed storylines.

          Funny that until recently having serialized storylines was considered something that only soap operas did. The epitome of quality television was the live tv anthology show, e.g. Playhouse 90. Self contained stories also helped with syndication.

          I wonder if one reason for the death of soaps is that most tv shows are more like soap operas these days.

          1. There were prime time serials back in the day. The Fugitive anyone?

            You’re right about serials being problematic for reruns.

            1. I’m not the sure the Fugitive could be considered a serial since the format of the show was that Kimble was a wanderer who would show up in some town and have to flee at the end of each episode.

              I doubt it had the kind of continuity that viewers demand today.

          2. It’s even happened to Dr. Who!

  22. But without government, who would provide the infrastructure and funding to allow for this?

    1. Sean Penn?

  23. thing is, PBS is probably the most unbiased “traditional” news source around these days. NPR not so much.

    The big three have become way harder left than PBS ever was.

  24. People totally missed Tim’s point. He wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t cut PBS, his point was that the fact that PBS was the first and only thing out of Romney’s mouth (after Obamacare) when asked what he would cut, shows that he’s not serious about limiting spending or reducing the deficit

    1. Romney is all things to all people. Even I found much to like last night.

    2. …”his point was that the fact that PBS was the first and only thing out of Romney’s mouth (after Obamacare) when asked what he would cut, shows that he’s not serious about limiting spending or reducing the deficit”

      I thought his point was pointing fingers at whacko entertainers who think the world would end if PBS didn’t get stolen money.
      Romney was just the platform.

      1. Good point.

    3. It’s symbolic though. Once people realize that PBS will still be around without government funding (or there are other alternatives), they won’t be so uptight about other things.

      You gotta start somewhere, somewhere small.

      No one that wants to radically slash the budget will get elected. People are weaned at the government’s teat at an early age (PBS).

      With that said, the one government-media tie that really needs to be gotten rid of is the Ad Council. It’s essentially a leftover from the WW2 propaganda days.

  25. …”would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.”

    Yes, why does Mitt hate the children?
    Did this bozo think this was an original trope? I realize entertainers aren’t noted for intelligence, but, hey…

    1. Well for what it’s worth I don’t recall ever watching Sesame Street as a child. I think I mainly was instructed by the evil corporation Viacom via Nick Jr.

      1. Admission:
        TV? What TV?
        I had to read. Or watch Kukla Fran and Ollie. I read instead.

      2. My first memories of watching TV are Watership Down and Porky’s. Explains a lot, I guess.

  26. What about the Chubb Group? Has anyone thought about the Chubb Group?

    1. Is that some type of bukkake?

  27. I don’t want to watch TNG on Netflix becuase I fear the recommendations.
    I love Top Gear, so now Netflix wants me to watch “Love the Beast” with Eric Bana.

  28. Don’t watch the episode where Wesley gets lured away on a “cosmic adventure” on that desert planet with the Indians by that pedophile, the Traveler. It’s really bad.

    1. No, not “really” bad. Really worst!

    1. wtf does that have to do with Star Trek?

      1. Semi-OT: What penis size did the Doc give himself after reprogramming his matrix to include genitalia when he met that diseased alien?


  29. I am personally outraged…

    And have I got a deal for you! Today only, we’re having a special deal on “Behead Those Who ______” signs – 50% off for those whose spittle flecked outrage can make a dog flinch!


    /Geordi La Forge

  31. I think Romney actually means it when he says he would stop funding PBS because he’s a businessman, not a career politician like Obama. He is comfortable making budget cuts for things that give people warm fuzzies. Basically the only time an average private business isn’t in the middle of budget cuts is in the early orgiastic venture capital period.

  32. Someone should remind Levar Burton that TNG was very liberal programming without being subsidized by the government. There are opportunities for brainwashing even within the free market, but at least it’s more likely to be entertaining. I liked TNG as a kid, even though I detected the political undertone, but I hated PBS after I was too old for Mr. Rogers. All of the educational programming was about the civil rights movement.

  33. I’ve been in many a poor person’s house. One thing they have, even if they don’t have a car, even if they don’t have a computer, is a flat screen TV and cable. And a cell phone.

    1. I’m poor, I don’t have a flat screen TV.

      And I have a $20 Virgin Mobile pay as you go cell phone, which thanks to a semi-free market compared to a phone monopoly, is cheaper than a landline

  34. “Defunding PBS directly punishes……
    ….this short-sighted and frankly mean-spirited attack on our children.”

    I am too late to this thread, but I cant help posting. One of the reasons our spending is out of control is because of the mindset shown here. Cutting the funding for X is not an ‘attack’ on the consumers of X. Acknowledging that we dont have enough money to pay for X is not showing a ‘mean spirit’.

    How absurd…..

  35. Those guys really seem to know whats going on over there. Wow.

  36. They say things like this to make people mad, because when people are mad they don’t think. I find it incredibly hard to believe that a subsidy to PBS will even make a dent in the overall picture. Bring the money home from overseas and the 22B to the UN, and if we still have this budget problem then we’ll talk about what we need to cut at home. Until then, nothing at home should be on the table, whether it works or not.

    Romney did make an interesting point at the debate when he said his 5 kids repeated a lie hoping he would eventually believe it, and that is what’s been going on for the last 10 years. The American people have bought the “Recession” bit. Companies use it to layoff employees and cut costs and after all the foreclosures, the banks and their investors including their #1, the federal government, will be the largest holders of real property in the North American continent. Consumer confidence is the main driver of the economy. If every single day, every single channel says the economy is in then tank…guess what! The economy tanks.

    Both parties are in bed with the same people and we allow them to get in to our heads with ridiculous statements and ideas to make people argue and debate things they have no control over. There is more of a debate on this thread than what they showed on TV. Debate means argue and prove the other person wrong. How exactly did Romney win? Neither of them proved a single point!

    Where are the other 2 candidates?

    Its all a big scam.

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