Chris Baker apparently fell for an April Fools' Day joke by The Patriot-News of Pennsylvania, claiming on Lou Dobbs Tonight that Gov. Ed Rendell is using stimulus funds to "hir[e] comics, magicians, and mimes" to "cheer up" Pennsylvanians.
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On the April 14 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Minneapolis radio host Chris Baker claimed that the "craziest expenditure" of stimulus funds that "I've seen so far" is Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell "hiring comics, magicians, and mimes" to "cheer up the people of Pennsylvania." Baker was apparently referring to an April 1 editorial by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which, in an April Fools' joke, said that Rendell was making these expenditures.
The Patriot-News editorial said that Rendell's "latest plan is to use about $15 million from the federal stimulus funds pouring into the state to try and change the mood of Pennsylvanians" by hiring "clowns, mimes, magicians, street performers and comedians (nothing blue) who will be dispatched to malls, fairs and festivals across the state to boost morale." However, the editorial concluded: "So the next time you go to the Colonial Park Mall, look for the guy juggling bowling pins outside the Sears store, but if you don't catch him, we at least hope reading this will make you chuckle. After all, it is April Fool's Day" [emphasis added].
In an April 2 article headlined, "Economy is awful, but April Fools goes on," The St. Petersburg Times reported that a "rotten economy did not slow the annual array of silliness on April 1," and cited the Patriot-News editorial as an example.
From the April 14 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
STEVE COCHRAN (radio talk host): Well, Lou, as you know, I try to be the beacon of common sense in an otherwise idiot world, but I've got to say, this tea party thing -- it's a wonderful thing. And Americans ought to be able to protest.
But just to beat a dead horse here, I would like to know where my first few trillion is and how it's being spent. Where's the website? Where's the expenditures? What's going out? What's coming in? Call me crazy, I just don't think we have a handle on that.
JOHN GAMBLING (radio talk host): Nobody knows what those numbers are and where it is. I mean, you talked to Barney Frank. I talked with him just this morning. He had no idea either. It's really a crime, as has already been said, that this is happening to us with nobody doing any accounting.
LOU DOBBS (host): Is there any wonder, gentlemen, that --
BAKER: I have an answer.
BAKER: I have an answer.
COCHRAN: Yes, fire away.
BAKER: I've been researching this. The craziest expenditure I've seen so far is Ed Rendell in Pennsylvania. To cheer up the people of Pennsylvania -- a World Series apparently didn't do it -- but they're hiring comics, magicians, and mimes. True. Check the facts.
COCHRAN: Finally a good idea.
BAKER: Ed Rendell is spending stimulus money --
GAMBLING: Are they making -- are they making balloon animals?
DOBBS: You said -- now, you said World Series.
BAKER: -- on frigging mimes.
DOBBS: Wasn't the Super Bowl even better? I mean, I --
GAMBLING: Well, the Super Bowl -- yeah. Exactly. Right.
DOBBS: I'd like to go to the -- to, given all of this, 28 states -- we've got a new count -- 33 states now, looking at -- pushing the Tenth Amendment, declaring state sovereignty. This is becoming a very big deal to push the federal government out of the way here.