George "What the Fuck Do People Need to Read For" Bush has now decided that $26,000,000 is too much for a children's literacy program.
Reading Is Fundamental was eliminated from the President's proposed FY2009 budget. Congress can save it.
Congress can indeed save it, and so can you. Write now. Takes about 30 seconds, sends a note to your senators and Congressman, shoves the old British two-fingered salute firmly up both the Bush nostrils. What's not to love?
A lot of us were lucky enough to have parents who could give us houses full of books. A lot of kids aren't. Reading Is Fundamental does something about that:
Founded in 1966, RIF is the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year.
A book of their own. Every kid should have their own book, and someone to read it to them. Now Bush wants to take even that away from kids.
John Lynch over at Stranger Fruit puts things into perspective:
Consider: an F-16C/D fighter will set you back $19 million and B-2 bomber can be yours for between $737 million and $2.2 billion. The USAF has ~200 of the former and twenty of the latter. Twenty-six million just doesn’t seem that much, now does it?
No, John. It doesn't. Especially not when those numbers are compared to these numbers:
By age 17, only about 1 in 17 seventeen year olds can read and gain information from specialized text, for example the science section in the local newspaper. This includes:
1 in 12 White 17 year olds,
1 in 50 Latino 17 year olds, and
1 in 100 African American 17 year olds.
You want to know why we're having to wage such a pitched battle against creationism? You want to know why otherwise intelligent people might get snookered by Expelled's pernicious lies? There's your answer. Kids who can't fucking read turn into adults who can't fucking read, and those adults turn into uninformed victims of the first snake-oil salesman who comes along. They have no way of understanding the information that would tell them the assclown's full of shit.
So get on the ball, my darlings. Write your own dear representatives. Let them know that this country can afford a few more books and a few less bombs. Let them know we don't plan on becoming a nation of idiots.
*This, the 71st post of En Tequila Es Verdad, is dedicated to 71-Hour Ahmed. If you haven't met him yet, now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of Jingo by Terry Pratchett. I think you'll find it has plenty to say about what's going on in America just now, for all it's written by a Brit and set on a flat world carried through space on the backs of four elephants standing on a turtle...