Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has announced his retirement. While we don’t usually cover that sort of news, there is an impact to geekdom because of that. The fiscally conservative Senator each year produces his Wastebook which lists things he deems government waste. We’ve covered this for the last two years as he listed the charitable organization the 501st Legion and this year numerous geeky things like video games and tie-ins to the Man of Steel.
In 2012, the Senator listed the 501st Legion as part of his Wastebook due to $365 of federal funds paid out to the organization for an event. That event was held by a Massachusetts library to get children excited about reading and learning. The Senator seemed to incorrectly think the charity organization somehow gets paid by Lucasfilm, ignoring the fact that its average citizens getting together to do good things.
For his 2013 Wastebook, Coburn took on video games, toy museums, superheroes and the Man of Steel. I’m sure that was the edition that certified that Coburn wanted to stamp out all fun.
The Senator did reveal health issues recently and we wish him good health in his retirement. But, the geek world can rest a little bit better due to it.
(via the Washington Post)
Each year, Senator Coburn (R-OK) releases his Wastebook which highlights what he thinks is some of the most wasteful spending by our government. In total, the 2013 edition has 100 examples of “wasteful and low-priority spending” (his opinion of what that is) which totals more than $28 billion. This year, a bunch of “geeky” things wound up on the list. He’s all over the place this year including a PBS documentary on superheroes, the military’s co-branding with the movie Man of Steel, two toy museums, and a video game to help children learn. Last year, the Senator decided to take jabs at the 501st Legion’s charitable actions.
Check out below for what irritated the Senator and made the list this year.
It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s Superman! – (National Guard) $10 million – Coming in at number two on the list, the Senator had issues with the National Guard’s co-branding of advertisements with this year’s movie Man of Steel. The “Soldier of Steel” campaign was to “increase awareness and consideration of service opportunities in the National Guard.” The Senator seems to have an issue that the money could have been better spent supporting the actual National Guard troops and that the film and theaters, which eventually did quite well, could have been more charitable as far as costs. I guess the Republican only likes handouts when the government isn’t doing them?
Comic Book Superheroes Documentary – (NEH) $125,000 – At number 19 on the list, the Senator didn’t enjoy the PBS documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle as much as the rest of us. While the documentary boasted it was a first of its kind, the Senator shows some examples that’s just not the case. All together the documentary and project has received $825,000 and though funded by us, we still need to buy the DVD. The Senator does leave out how much the documentary might have brought in for revenue, offsetting the cost. Small details matter.
Playing Games with Taxpayer Money – (IMLS) $225,000 – The National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY has made the list. The Senator doesn’t seem to like the museum which provides a hands on experience for kids. The money is geared towards a play zone that encourages just that and looks at the history of it. With more kids faces buried in front of electronic devices, is this a bad thing? This one ranks at number 50 on the list.
The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys – (CO) $40,810 – At number 55, I can’t disagree about those creepy dolls shown in his report. This money is going towards a staffer to log the contents of the museum. That’s a small amount of money for a lot of work. I guess the Senator just doesn’t like people getting paid, and wants everyone to volunteer or rely on charity.
Need Brains! Fighting Zombies with Pluses and Minuses – (NC) $150,000 – Clocking in at 63 on the list, the Senator hates education as well. The money is meant to go to develop a “web-based, action-adventure, narrative-based, role-playing game where the player defends against zombies in an effort to save the human race.” And while doing that, they learn. The Senator seems to be less bothered by his math of this hiring 5 teachers in South Carolina. That’s really poor pay for hard work. He does have a point that many educational games like this already exists. Though, for schools to use them, they’d cost how much?
Four Score and Seven Clicks From Now: historical multi-player computer games – (NEH) $300,000 – At 88 on the list, I think the Senator just hates education through video games. He could use some of that education, because there’s a spelling error in this entry.
NSF Spending Millions on Ineffective Educational Games – (NSF) $4.4 million – See he hates education through video games! Taking up the 91st spot, this attempt at an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) by the National Science Foundation is to “attract teenage girls and underrepresented groups to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers, as well as educate these students in deep-time sciences, astrobiology, astrophysics, interplanetary space travel, and Earth sciences.” His reasoning goes into the fact some things says these don’t work. Can’t find all of that out if you don’t try! Maybe that fact that this is geared towards women and minorities is the real issue?
You can head to the full report and find out the other things the Senator thinks are a waste, and in fairness many of them are. But, many of the above have more to them the Senator ignores and conveniently leaves out, like if they generate revenue. But, that’d mean looking at all the facts, and we can’t ask our politicians to do that…. can we?
Well, no matter your political persuasion we can all agree there’s some irony in the cover riffing from Action Comics #1 right? How much did that cost to draw and color Senator?
I could make a lot of jokes about the reading level of this still being too high for Senator Ted Cruz and his supporters, among other things, but I’ll do my best. Really Big Coloring Books, Inc. has released a “comic book-style” coloring book featuring Senator Cruz, Ted Cruz to the Future — Comic Coloring Activity Book.
The description of the book sells it as a “non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward ‘Ted’ Cruz became a U.S. senator and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow.”
The comic coloring book covers his youth up to recent times, including his “fillibuster” in the Senate this past September 2013. That’d be the filibuster he admitted he only did to build his own email and donor list and cost our nation millions of dollars and burdened hard working Americans. And, in the end it achieved nothing, other than building his own list. But I digress….
In the description for the coloring book, publishing company says of the senator:
Cruz’s beliefs and actions stir much emotion in those following the political realm, he is a modern ‘superhero’ to many and looked upon in adoration and abomination by some.
While the book is not an “endorsement” of the Senator, he is described as a superhero and it’s aimed at groups, clubs and organizations looking to indoctrinate our youth, or entertain their adult members. I think it’d be perfect for Tea Party organizations, though I’m sure they only have red, white and blue crayons to use. Definitely no brown or black ones.
(via The Daily Caller)
It seems the geeks have inherited the Earth, but when it comes to American politics, comic geeks (and geeks in general) seem to be the ones in charge. President Obama is an admitted comic book fan, having read and collected Spider-Man and Conan. Congressman Grayson who was re-elected to congress is a comic fan who has often quoted comics and used them in political speeches.
The Senate, now has a new number two man, who also happens to be a comic fan. The new President Pro Tempore (pro tem) of the United States Senate is Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont). Leahy was sworn into the position on December 17, after the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.
The President Pro Tempore is a position created by the Constitution, and is the chamber’s second-highest-ranking official, after the Vice President. Basically, that person runs things when the VP isn’t around. By tradition, the Senate unanimously elects the most senior senator in the majority party to fill the position, which also makes the person third in the line of succession.
Senator Leahy is a huge Batman fan and has appeared in some of the Batman movies and voiced characters. That was Senator Leahy standing up to Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight.
That fandom and those appearances have also raised some eyebrows. Senator Leahy has stood up for and fought for Hollywood when it comes to things like intellectual property protection.
Nonetheless, it’s another example of comic fans dominating politics.
Here at Graphic Policy, we’re hockey fans (go Sabres!). We’ve covered the National Hockey League/Stan Lee The Guardian Project posting the reveals over the past weeks. We’re a but behind, so here’s the rest of the bunch that’s been revealed. You can check out the previous reveals here, here, here and here.
The Blue Jacket
The Maple Leaf
The Red Wing
In the preview splash pages for the Guardian Project you can also see a preview of what we can expect from the thirty hockey based characters. An example is:
Check out below the jump to see all of the screen shots.