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Published: 2010/12/20

Sen. Tom Coburn Picks Grateful Dead Archive for "Wastebook 2010"

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has identified the University of California at Santa Cruz’s Grateful Dead Archive in his “Guide to some of the most wasteful government spending of 2010.” Coburn writes in his Wastebook 2010, “Grateful Dead chose a public institution to archive the band‘s memorabilia―because the whole idea of it being public and free was important to them, yet taxpayers are paying $615,000 to make the band‘s archives ―free and ―public. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the University of California at Santa Cruz the federal funds to digitize Grateful Dead photographs, tickets, backstage passes, flyers, shirts, and other memorabilia.”

On Rachel Maddow’s blog, Laura Conaway responds, “Sen. Coburn has picked a classic culture war target. The Grateful Dead and their buckets of hallucinogens, etc., can be counted on to divide opinion, should anyone actually notice Mr. Coburn’s Wastebook. And the $615,000 wouldn’t amount to single ray of very groovy light from even one note of Jerry Garcia’s best ever version of Dark Star. It’s purely symbolism. Change the channel.”

For our recent interview with archivist Nicholas Meriwether, please click here.


There are 24 comments associated with this post

Brian O'Connell December 21, 2010, 11:11:49

Gosh, I wonder how much money we spent on endless war against half the planet in the last 3 seconds?

Robert Forman December 21, 2010, 12:28:21

IMLS typically funds public libraries and museums. One may disagree that tax payer dollars are spent in this manner. But the GD archive isn’t atypical. Go to their website to see who else they have funded. Most everybody will find something to like and dislike.

oscar levine December 21, 2010, 14:36:09

The Grateful Dead were/are cultural assets to this country. Even though there was lots of money made by the band, they played benefits so the less fortunate could actually enjoy their lives more. Tom Colburnre you son of a bitch, you spend/waste billions on wars that have caused the demise of the US economy… dare you ! You fucking asshole… talk about waste…you republicans are all the same…..more for the rich… less for us the citizens.

Andy December 21, 2010, 15:40:02

You people are morons, this is not what the government should be spending tax dollars. I love the dead but this is seriously retarded when roads and bridges need fixed, some kind of security is needed on our borders and we have 13% of the population on some kind of welfare program. The Dead organization has had zero problem taking your money for 50 years and now they want to give back by taking more. READ ICCULUS!

slewfoot December 21, 2010, 16:47:43

And how much is the budget to run Tom Coburn for one year? Far in excess of $615K, I’m sure, and the taxpayers get what for that money?

Bruce December 21, 2010, 17:39:54

As someone who saw the Grateful Dead 250+ times and had some great times and miss my Jerry licks. I hate to admit it but I agree with the senator, it is time for the government to go on a diet and stop spending all of our money. I would admit, this is not a lot of money and there are bigger expenditure to fry but it is time to stop spending money even if there is certain amount of demagoguery in his comments

Martz December 21, 2010, 23:59:23

Hopefully it is making the music free too download. Over 20 bucks ea. for Road Trips gets a bit pricey.

Jim December 22, 2010, 06:37:22

Probably through the years, this investment will pay a profit for copies of the memorabilia that will be sold. A top quality pictrure of the DEAD in the early days is not cheap.

Tom Coburn Sucks December 23, 2010, 00:12:44

Tom Coburn, you’re an Asshole of the first degree. When you jerking Republicans stop using earmarks to bring federal money back home to YOUR buddies then we will all get what we pay for. It is true that the Grateful Dead could and probably should pay for their archive of memorabilia to be digitized but $615K doesn’t even buy one tank track for a senseless war in some God awful place that no one cares about. If I get the chance to see the archive then I will be a richer person for it and I say preserve our GD history. It’s ours now. Peace.

the central scrutinizer December 23, 2010, 09:53:27

Coburn, like many GOPers and right wing hacks are nothing more than political pawns that look for every chance to direct attention to “frivolous spending.” The GOP has done nothing for this country in the past decade except run our economy into the ground and create an ever growing class division. And to point out a fact about this book: THIS BOOK WAS FUNDED BY THE TAXPAYERS! Coburn’s recommendations would not even put a dent in the deficit that his party created. People, wake up and stop drinking the Tea!

guy December 23, 2010, 21:54:08

And the politician’s throwing stones
Singing ashes to ashes all fall down
Ashes to ashes all fall down Commissars and pin-striped bosses role the dice
Any way they fall guess who gets to pay the price
Money green or proletarian gray
Selling guns instead of food today So the kids they dance, and shake their bones
And the politician’s throwing stones
Singing ashes to ashes all fall down
Ashes to ashes all fall down Heartless powers try to tell us what to think
If the spirit’s sleeping, then the flesh is ink, yeah
History’s page, it is thusly carved in stone
The future’s here, we are it, we are on our own
On our own. On our own. On our own.

hamburglar December 26, 2010, 11:54:47

Sorry but this IS a waste of taxpayer money. There is a lot more waste in the Iraq war and defense spending, but that doesn’t justify this. Let the Dead pay for their own archives. They could have raised $600,000 to have this done in one weekend charity concerts.

ColonelJoy December 28, 2010, 00:31:17

Actually, as much as I love the Dead…I am disgusted that one cent of taxpayer money is supporting a Dead archive. There is barely a need for an official archive, as the archive is now virtual and omnipresent. Nonetheless. the Band and us…shit, I bounced a few checks to go to shows…should be footing the entire bill no question. I mean California is broke and this country has been borrowing money from hybridtotalitarian China to pay for everything from manicures to Wars on muslims in caves. Thank you Senator Coburn for pointing this out.

bort December 21, 2010, 01:29:58

Hey Guy we all pay taxes and and did you ever think how much $$$$ the Grateful Dead have and still are creating not to mention all the benefit shows etc…they have done over the years. It is giving back to something that has giving to them all along. They have archives on all types of music why not have one on the Deads? Not to mention look at the other nine and the dollar amounts this is minimal. Weir Everywhere

alan December 21, 2010, 07:14:24

The amount is actually $165,000, not the $615,000 that’s been reported. And folks seem to be under the impression that it’s the Dead’s music archives that are being digitized — it isn’t (they have Rhino for that), it’s the memorabilia archives. Just so that we’re complaining about or praising the right stuff…

alan December 21, 2010, 07:33:38

Correction, it really is $615k, not $165k from my earlier post. Ahh…the dangers of believing what you read on the internet (in this case, an article refuting the $615,000 number).

becca December 20, 2010, 16:34:41

Bet Coburn never blinked when the Federal Reserve had 9 TRILLION DOLLARS COME UP MISSING with zero ideas at to its wherabouts. NO….that was back in W’s reign. Asshat.

Greg December 20, 2010, 17:14:12

True dat Becca. $615,000 is probably how much U.S. senators spend on prostitutes in a fiscal year. who pays that? This is a small price to pay for the long term benefit & enjoyment of the public & Deadheads alike. So as far as Sen Coburn’s attack on the spending to create the archive, I say tough shit. Like it or not, The Grateful Dead is part of American history, and they should be given the respect they finally deserve. GD forever!

GO TO HELL December 20, 2010, 17:19:06


Chad420 December 20, 2010, 18:13:53

How much $$ did Tom spend to write this crap? Apparently he’s not having any part of good time, positive vibes, and the kindest people around. He is a crotch cricket on the belt buckle of America.

Aceman December 20, 2010, 19:07:39

$615k to support the GD archive work? That’s one of the best deals taxpayers have got in a long time!

Guy December 20, 2010, 19:14:21

You are all a bunch of idiots. The government does not have money to spend. It spend the money of people who actually pay taxes. That certainly eliminates the near 50% of the country who pay no federal income tax at all. As a taxpayer, I don’t think this is how my tax dollars should be spent. I love music and actually buy what I like to listen to. I also pay to go to concerts. So all you idiots should get a job, pay some taxes, and grow up

yilano December 20, 2010, 19:39:23

here is a link to send Senator Coburn a note:

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