Jewish World Review May 2, 2003 / 30 Nisan, 5763

Joe Scarborough

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Consumer Reports

‘Capitol Offenses’ | I want to call your attention to you fruit— specifically cherries. Did you know that your hard-earned tax dollars are going to pay for the annual Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan?

WELL, THEY CERTAINLY are. And what’s the purpose of this festival gathering? To spread public awareness of cherry products, of course. But how do they accomplish this monumental task?

Well, they have a cherry-pie eating contest, for one, and a cherry-pit-spit contest, too. And there’s cherry arts and crafts for the kiddies. The highlight of the festival, for me, at least, is the cherry queen fashion show, where aspiring cherry royalty vie for the crown. There’s also entertainment, like a concert by the ’80s rock band Loverboy. Come on, you remember: “Everybody’s working for the weekend,” blah, blah, blah.

So how much is this cherry bomb going to cost taxpayers? Would you believe $202,000? That’s a lot of money for a festival that most of the country’s never even heard of. And the thing is, you have to pay to get into almost every event, even the Cherry Land Parade, everywhere— from $3 to $15. Almost every event has a sponsor, too, from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, to Sara Lee Bakery, from the Big Boy Restaurant to the Michigan Cherry Committee. And that prestigious title costs anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. Even the Loverboy concert, for God’s sake, is on the Pepsi-Cola/Kentucky Fried Chicken stage.

So the question is, why do we pay for it? Why are taxpayers paying for it? Let Kentucky Fried Chicken and corporate sponsors do it. It just doesn’t make sense. And that’s why it’s a “Capitol Offense.”


Have you ever heard of the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia? Well, if you have, would you be surprised to learn that you and I are being touched by Washington to pay for it? Well, we are. Congress is subsidizing the museum with your federal tax dollars.

What is the Please Touch Museum anyway? It’s a veritable fun house, where kids can experience all sorts of, well, fun things, like romping through Alice’s adventures in wonderland, or shopping at a fake supermarket, or visiting a fake animal at a fake petting zoo. You can even pretend that you’re a fake big-time newscaster on MSNBC, just like me.

And, on weekends, there are special classes making your own potpourri or Japanese fish printing. And, sometimes, there are even mime shows. You can have a birthday party there, too, if you’re loaded, because just renting a small room is over $200. Now, renting the whole museum is $1,000, but there’s a catch. Taxpayers who will never show up at this place are footing the bill with their tax dollars.

So just how much is this Philly fun house costing you and me? Seven hundred thousand dollars. Now, is that $700,000 for mime shows, for fake petting zoos?

Sorry, I think we deserve a tax refund. Beyond the bucks that you and I are shelling out, McDonald’s just gave this Touch Museum $5 million. And there are also other corporate donors. For those who want to pretend that they’re in Wonderland, fork over an $8.50 admission price and have a ball. But the rest of us shouldn’t be stuck with paying this bill.

It’s less than touching.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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04/28/03: What the capitulation of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, means for the rest of the world's tyrants
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04/22/03: Bill Clinton should heed Paul McCartney's advice
04/21/03: The president with an I.Q. of a pot of clay has made New York City elitists look like a bunch of bumbling idiots
04/16/03: Russia, France and Germany: Not stupid, just immoral
04/15/03: CNN's too little, too late apology
04/14/03: Who's the first elitist to admit they were wrong about the war?
04/10/03: He's baaack --- and his terror tactics deserve an 'F'
04/09/03: Iraqi lawyer and American teenaged girl proved themselves to be 'The Real Deal'

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