Sen. Tom Coburn, Who Is Not a Deadhead, Thinks the Grateful Dead Archive Is a Waste of Money

Tom Coburn, ungrateful non-head.
Earlier today, one senator from Oklahoma named Tom Coburn released a list of what his tight-fisted self considers the most wasteful federal spending of 2010.

Number four on that list is a $615,000 grant given to UC Santa Cruz for a massive archive of Grateful Dead materials, including flyers, T-shirts, tickets, and other memorabilia. The band donated its stuff to the university, and the grant money went to help digitize some of the materials. You can check out some of the hand-colored envelopes, weirdo unpublished novel manuscripts, and colorful concert posters on the archive's web site.

Coburn, who publishes his "Wastebook" every year, thinks that the nanometer-sized portion of the federal budget is too much money to spend on a "free" and "public" collection of materials from one of the country's cultural icons:

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" .... Rolling Stone magazine listed the Grateful Dead in the top "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," and estimates place the net worth of two prominent band members, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, at roughly $40 and $35 million, respectively.

Our first reaction to this was, naturally, to seethe with liberal outrage. But our second reaction, after reading this again: Does Coburn (or his staff) know that Jerry Garcia is dead?

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