Tea Party Wrapup

Here's the main thing I learned: I would make an absolutely lousy reporter. After the wireless went out, I variously scribbled notes on paper and in Notepad, and they are pretty much worthless. I missed the names of a lot of speakers, and didn't get any pithy quotes from anyone.

Oh well. Things I noticed:

  • Overall attitude of the attendees and speakers leaned toward "pissed off". You know that old Elvis Costello song with the lyric: "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"? I didn't see a lot of people that felt that way.

  • Based on nothing but looking around the small park, I'd guess that turnout was about the same or slightly less than last year. I wouldn't be surprised to be wrong, though.

  • I spent most of my time sitting at the Blogger's Row table, because, well, it was sitting, and otherwise I'd be standing. (A list of attending bloggers, unfortunately not all of whom I met, here.) And I kept hoping that WiFi would magically return.

    But this meant I didn't wander around the park like last year. Based on my limited observations, I didn't see any obvious lefty infiltrators. The signs were strongly worded, many of them chuckle-inducing, but I didn't see any remotely racist, and only a couple that might have been vaguely birther.

    Probably the worst sign was held by an elderly gent: "BARACH [sic] ENEMY OF USA". Misspelled and overheated. I remarked to a co-blogger: "That's the one that'll probably wind up on the local news." I didn't check to see if I was right, though.

    My favorite sign was: "ARE YOU BETTER OFF NOW THAN YOU WERE 4 TRILLION DOLLARS AGO?"

    [DTOM]

  • A number of folks had cool Gadsden flag t-shirts for sale. Unfortunately, everyone ran out of XL pretty quick. I'm not saying the crowd as a whole could stand to lose a few pounds, but…

  • But I didn't have to spend money, because there were plenty of freebies: I could have had dozens of "Lynch Lied" bumperstickers. (And so can you. Their website is here.) I got a "1.20.13 End of an Error" sticker too. Jim Bender, candidate for US Senate, dropped by a DVD in support of his campaign. Karen Testerman, running for Governor, was also brave enough to press the flesh on Blogger's Row.

  • Grant Bosse was the intrepid Master of Ceremonies, and he (at least) was able to crack a few good jokes in between introducing speakers.

  • The speakers were good, but there were a lot of 'em, and things got a little repetitious.

    [Eek]

  • Pun Friend Skip Murphy gave a stemwinding speech, inviting audience participation on repeating the truism: "the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen". True, and worth mulling. (Skip was, in general, busier than the button on a fat man's vest. I swear I saw him, somehow, in three different places at the same time.) He even managed to snap a picture of me. Click to embiggen, although why would you want to?

  • Tom Thompson, son of the late ex-Governor Meldrim Thompson, was there to introduce the keynote; Tom had a very large ax to illustrate his dad's old "Ax the Tax" slogan.)

  • The keynote speaker was ex-Senator Gordon Humphrey who sat firmly on the "disgusted" side of the Costello scale. He also had a prop: a toilet labeled "IRS". The symbolism was clear enough.

  • Probably the other big star of the party was Republican Congressman from Michigan, Thaddeus McCotter. He gave a very brief, low-key speech. Uninformed speculation from Chris Cameron of Angry Seafood/Radioactive Liberty: Thad's gonna run for President in 2012. You know what? So far, he's got my vote.

As I type, there's exactly 200 days to go until Election Day. Here's hoping that events like this can help that day turn out better than in previous years.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 3:38 PM EST

Jock Finances at UNH

A couple weeks back, Pun Salad noted actual students committing acts of journalism at the University of Maine, reporting that the athletics program there was losing $7 million a year, a loss made up from general revenues. At the time, I wondered what the numbers from the University Near Here might look like.

Well, thanks to USA Today, here's an E-Z access database so we can answer that question; it contains data for all NCAA Division I schools. Some factoids:

  • For the 2008-09 academic year, UNH kicked in about $7.7 million in "Direct institutional support" for its athletics program.

  • In addition, the program is subsidized for another $9 million by "Student fees".

  • These two items are by far the biggest contributors (about 69%) of athletic revenue. For example, only 9.57% of revenue came from "Ticket Sales".

  • Despite all that money coming in, athletic program expenses still managed to outpace revenue by a cool $892,812.

I found the USA Today database via this post at University Diaries, a quoted letter from a UMaine physics prof. Like UNH, Maine is currently undergoing a period of fiscal woes and belt-tightening. His conclusion:

The bottom line is the academic programs are being forced to support a bloated administration and a not particularly successful athletics program -- with the possible exception of hockey. This is unsustainable, and the Academic Program Prioritization Working Group had no chance of "achieving sustainability" since they were directed by administration to focus solely on proposing cuts to academics.
What's that old saying? "As Maine goes…"

I Can't Take the Way He Sings

… but I love to hear him talk:

  • Barackrobatics du Jour: Jacob Sullum notes President Obama engaging in a bit of lying historical revisionism about his (Dover NH) campaign pledge to not raise any taxes for families with incomes under $250K.

  • Speaking of the president, you may have heard about what he said yesterday about the Tax Day protests:
    President Barack Obama said Thursday he's amused by the anti-tax tea party protests that have been taking place around Tax Day.

    Obama told a fundraiser in Miami that he's cut taxes, contrary to the claims of protesters.

    "You would think they'd be saying thank you," he said.

    Howard Portnoy has a complaint about the tone:
    For a man who rode to power on the false promise of post-partisanship, Obama has missed no opportunity to insult and enrage those who exercise their constitutional right to disagree with him.
    Steve Landsburg, on the other hand, takes exception to the substance:
    The reality is that President Obama, like President Bush before him, has rather dramatically raised government spending and therefore has raised your taxes. To say otherwise is like saying you got your new swimming pool for free because you put it on your credit card.
    Small enough words there, Mr. President?

    Or, as we've said before: "It's the spending, you attractive, intelligent, and amusing person, you."

  • A few days back I looked at a Foster's Daily Democrat article that slimed the "Oathkeepers Project of Maine" as one of the groups that "poisoned" political discourse. In the American Conservative, Jesse Walker looks at the national Oath Keepers group, and finds an awful lot of nothing much to worry about.

  • Having solved all other pressing national problems, New Hampshire's Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen has joined the battle against airline carry-on baggage fees. Drew Cline calls Jeanne "dim", but I think you have to be pretty darn smart to find the "right to free carry-on luggage" in the Constitution.

  • On the other hand, Senator Shaheen might indeed be dim compared to the sheer blue-star brilliance of California Congressman Henry A. Waxman, who represents Beverly Hills and other localities. Because he's so smart, he's discovered that Congress has the power to pontificate upon what substances Major League Baseball players may or may not chew during ballgames.
    At a hearing Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Health Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, called on baseball and its players to agree to bar major leaguers from using chew, dip or similar products during games.
    The concept that some things might be none of their business seems to be lost upon your typical Democrat in a position of power.


Last Modified 2012-10-03 3:32 PM EST