Ever watched “American Idol” and wished the contestants were debating the federal budget instead of belting out tunes?
Okay, so that’s probably never crossed your mind. But an in-the-making series is trying to capture the “Idol” vibe all the same, in a setting where America could vote on political decisions made by ordinary people — instead of singing talent.
PR professional and creator Tom Carroll is testing the concept of politics reality TV with a lead-off “reality film” called “Big Bad Budget.” Carroll distributed it to public television stations over the summer, and hopes it’ll be the first in a series.
He claims the show could “rewrite the rules of American politics” — despite the fact that all the decisions would, of course, be hypothetical.
Here’s the set-up: Carroll and his team took eight ordinary people from Albuquerque, N.M., and challenged them to balance the federal budget in a single weekend. The group, made up of four Republicans, three Democrats and one Democrat-leaning independent, was forced to fight it out until they came up with a way to solve Washington’s biggest head-scratcher.
Spoiler alert: the group was able to balance the budget.
But can figuring out the cure for the entitlement crisis really draw an audience like Taylor Hicks’ blistering harmonica solos or a Fantasia showstopper?
Not yet, anyway. For now, options for seeing the show are rather limited. A spokesman for PBS told FoxNews.com the movie is being shown on the PBS member station in Albuquerque, but is not part of the national schedule.
It is also scheduled to play on a public access channel in Colorado on Sept. 4. (Carroll claimed they are also in talks with Netflix.)
Those who participated in “Big Bad Budget” gave mixed reviews about how effective it could actually be on changing the tide in Washington, which faces an $18 trillion national debt and an annual shortfall that’s still about a half-trillion dollars.
One panelist, Seth Heath, told FoxNews.com he doubts the experience really mirrors what it’s like to serve in Congress. “I would hope [members of Congress] are a little more informed,” he said.
In fact, Heath said the whole experience “disheartened” him on politics. Heath, who is a Republican, said he was frustrated by the viewpoints of the Democrats on the team, who he said lived in “la-la land.”
“I don’t have a lot of hope for the future of politics because of how unrealistic people are,” Heath said.
By that measure, the panel may have been a spitting image of Congress.
Participant Jay Rosenblum, though, called the exercise “fascinating.”
“We were well aware that we were not subject to the same pressures or limitations that bedevil Congress … no lobbyists or constituencies to contend with, no need to fundraise from stakeholders, no need to get re-elected,” Rosenblum, the independent, told FoxNews.com in an email. “Notwithstanding, even though it was a fictional creative exercise without practical limitations, the process of trying to balance the budget was very difficult.”
Carroll, who previously worked as a political consultant, told FoxNews.com he has thought for years that the problems facing Congress could easily be solved by ordinary Americans if they had the chance. So, he said, he decided to put his money where his mouth is. He found the eight people, stuck them in a room and started filming.
Carroll said the fact that the participants were successful proves Congress should be able to do so as well, even though lawmakers must contend with many other outside forces, such as constituents or lobbyists.
Carroll has bigger plans than “Big Bad Budget,” he says. He envisions his reality series doing the same thing multiple times: picking a group of people to come up with solutions to problems currently being duked out in Congress.
Viewers at home could then vote on which solution they preferred. (The budget program did not include this kind of audience participation.)
“We are now $7 trillion in debt,” Carroll said. “At some point, people have to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the country and not necessarily in the best interest of themselves personally. That’s what this is really about.”
Found at Fox News.
Obama crafts legal rationale for immigration steps
The White House is crafting a blame-it-on-Congress legal justification to back up President Barack Obama’s impending executive actions on immigration.
Facing an expected onslaught of opposition, the administration plans to argue that Congress failed to provide enough resources to fully enforce U.S. laws, thereby ceding wide latitude to White House to prioritize deportations of the 11.5 million people who are in the country illegally, administration officials and legal experts said. But Republicans, too, are exploring their legal options for stopping Obama from what they’ve deemed egregious presidential overreaching.
A self-imposed, end-of-summer deadline to act on immigration is rapidly approaching. While Obama has yet to receive the formal recommendations he’s requested from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, administration officials said the president is intimately familiar with the universe of options and won’t spend much time deliberating once Johnson delivers his recommendations.
After resisting calls to act alone in hopes Congress would pass a comprehensive immigration fix, Obama in June bowed to immigration activists and said that “if Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.” The most sweeping, controversial step under consideration involves halting deportation for millions, a major expansion of a 2012 Obama program that deferred prosecutions for those brought here illegally as children.
Roughly half a million have benefited from that program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.
Video and more found HERE.
What Leading From Behind Looks Like
I do not think Barack Obama is a closet sympathizer of muslim Jihadists bent on our destruction, but God help me I suddenly understand how some have arrived at that conclusion. To stand up and tell the world that we are going to do zero to help Ukraine and have no strategy to defeat ISIS is just insane.
That the White House staff had to go into complete and total damage control afterwards is telling. But even their damage control was insufficient. They told Wolf Blitzer we had a strategy, just not a strategy to go after them in Syria. But that’s the problem. They keep their leadership in Syria knowing they’ll be perfectly safe from us.
Here’s Josh Earnest doing damage control on CNN:
[T]he president was asked a specific question about what approach he was going to pursue when it came to possible military action in Syria against ISIL. That was the specific question he was asked and the president was explicit, that he is still waiting for plans that are being developed by the Pentagon for military options that he has for going into Syria.
How long has Syria been a problem? The President addressed the nation on September 10, 2013, about Syria and the actions we would take. But he said we would not get involved outside of forcing Syria to give up chemical weapons. Our military leaders have insisted we do more, but the President has dithered, much like he dithered trying to save James Foley.
And what of the strategy to defeat ISIS in Iraq? “Just words” and a few tactical missile strikes. More from the White House Press Secretary.
But when it comes to confronting ISIL, the president has been very clear for months about what our comprehensive strategy is for confronting the ISIL threat in Iraq. It starts with a unified Iraq government, that can unite that country to meet the threat that’s facing their country right now.
It includes strengthening our relationship with the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, to make sure that they have the equipment and training that they need, to take the fight to ISIL on the ground in their country.
The third component of our strategy is engaging regional governments. It’s certainly not in the interest of governments in that neighborhood to have ISIL wreaking havoc and perpetrating terrible acts of violence in the region.
The fourth aspect of the strategy is engaging countries around the world in this effort.
And then, of course, the fifth aspect of the strategy, the fifth component, is the use of American military force.
So to kill the bad guys we have to let Iraqis set up a new government, then we need to rebuild relationships with people who don’t trust us because of Obama, then we need to engage regional governments who’ve taken to launching strikes in Libya without telling us, then we need to sing kumbaya with the world . . . .
The President is not a jihadi sympathizer. He’s just a damn fool. How many will die because of this President and his foolishness? Too many.
MIDEAST EXPERT: OBAMA SWITCHED SIDES IN WAR ON TERROR
‘America has moved toward its Muslim enemies’
Read it all HERE.
Gun porn….police porn…whatever