Sunday, September 23, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Why is Sid the Science Kid target of House investigation?

Will everybody please calm down? All is well. Nothing to worry about. Your government is ever vigilant in ferreting out all manner of waste, corruption and abuse.

Happy now?

Why, we need look no further than to that vanguard of Inspector Javert-like diligence, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

You remember; that's the committee that spent years in one continuous investigation of the Obama administration — especially former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's actions related to the Benghazi terrorist attack. Gracious, the poor woman could barely experience an untimely burp in public before the subpoenas started flying.

Fortunately, the quest for justice hasn't abated since President Donald Trump assumed office. And Jason Chaffetz, the Hercule Poirot of the Potomac, is on the case.

Accusations have been flying that the Trump presidential campaign and his assorted apparatchiks may have engaged in (ahem) improper, questionable dealings with the Kremlin and Russian intelligence operatives. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn't. But there certainly has been plenty of smoke to suggest it might be worth a peek or two into the story.

There also are more than enough bread crumbs along the trail to Trump Tower to suggest the president has done precious little to distance himself from ethical conflicts between his business empire and his job as commander in chief of the United States. Seems like a suitable topic for the eagle-eyed government oversight committee to (ahem) explore.

Alas, Chairman Chaffetz, the Barney Fife of the Beltway, has scant interest in finding out if Trump is the Manchurian Candidate of Mar-a-Lago, or if the president of the country might be more ethically conflicted than a Nebraska Avenue trollop.

Instead, Chaffetz has found other toils and troubles to probe. He has focused like a laser on the Jim Henson Co., those anarchists behind the Muppets, to expose the morally murky waters of Washington.

According to the Washington Post, in a strongly worded letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chaffetz demanded it justify a $806,000 contract with the children's programming company to produce a series of animated cartoons featuring one of its characters, Sid the Science Kid, to raise awareness about the Zika virus.

Well, at least that subversive Sid has one thing in common with the leader of the free world. Both of them are orange. It's a start.

Chaffetz demanded the agency release all written "communications between the CDC and the Jim Henson Co. and PBS." The Inspector Clouseau of the Capitol might just be on to something here.

It's worth noting that Sid the Science Kid aired on PBS from 2008-13. In the program, this fictional animated Fagin of fake news indoctrinated children about measurement, how the senses work, dental hygiene, muscles, weather, how rainbows occur and the mysteries of inertia, for which Congress itself would have been the perfect test subject.

You can't have that. You can't have children brainwashed about hoaxes like science. Because if they know stuff, they will know stuff like how to think. Where does it end? Suppose the little dickens begin to believe climate change is real? You see the problem.

Why is it Republicans so often get their smoking jackets in a wad over the threat to the nation by cartoon characters? Is it personal? Years ago, the late Jerry Falwell engaged in an Inquisition against the Teletubbies, convinced that one of the characters, Tinky Winky, was "modeling the gay life style."

Lord, let us pray.

It is entirely possible Chaffetz may have stumbled into a den of anime fifth columnist conspiracy.

After the government oversight committee exposes the Jim Henson Co. as commie sympathizers, perhaps Chaffetz can turn his attention next to answering one of the great mysteries of our time: Why doesn't Porky Pig wear pants?

And while we're at it, is everyone fine with that kinky cross-species squirrel/moose relationship between Rocky and Bullwinkle? What's really going on there? And do we really want to know? And where is Jerry Falwell when you really need him?

Clearly Charlie Brown, who has not had a job since 1948, needs to investigated for being a welfare cheat, having spent the last 69 years attempting to kick a football instead of finding suitable employment.

As for Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale — could they be the Russian/Trump spook connection that has eluded us all?

Correction: Stephen Miller, an adviser to President Donald Trump, does not have a law degree. Thursday's column suggested otherwise.

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