March 16, 2017 Last Updated 9:50 am

Trump budget ends funding completely for the arts, slashes fund for State Dept, EPA, boosts military spending

Morning Brief: Minnesota community newspaper publishes nearly blank front page in call for reader support, while a quarterly food magazine says it will be shuttered

The president has released his budget for 2018 and it is an extraordinary document. Extraordinary as in “really? I don’t remember the election being a referendum on the idea that the US should emulate Sparta.”

Sparta was the ancient Greece settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River that became famous for its social system. It was completely focused on military training, with its inhabitants were classified as either Spartiates, mothake, perioikoi, or helots. Basically, you were either a freeman or a serf.

Unlike Athens, which is equated with democracy and the arts, Sparta is mostly remembered in violent movies where sweaty men go to die at the hands of the Persians. Nonetheless, this appears to be the blueprint for the nation under the new president.


“A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority— because without safety, there can be no prosperity,” the budget blueprint with the title “America First” says.

“That is why I have instructed my Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, to craft a budget that emphasizes national security and public safety. That work is re ected in this Budget Blueprint. To keep Americans safe, we have made tough choices that have been put off for too long. But we have also made necessary investments that are long overdue.”

“Under the Obama Administration,” wrote Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, “our shrinking military has been stretched far too thin. The military has been forced to make aging ships, planes, and other vehicles last well beyond their intended life spans. The President will reverse this dangerous trend. From rebuilding our Armed Forces to beefing up our border security and safeguarding our Nation’s sovereignty, this Budget makes security priority one.”

CNN, Dam Merica:

Trump releases $1.1 trillion ‘hard power budget’ with cuts to State Dept, EPA

President Donald Trump released a $1.1 trillion budget outline Thursday that proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending and corresponding cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the wholesale elimination of other federal programs.

The blueprint features the broad strokes of Trump’s plan to dramatically remake the federal government, slashing EPA funds by 31%, State Department by 28% and HUD by 13.2%, while zeroing out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Institute of Peace, among others.

The proposal would also reduce funding for multinational organization like the World Bank by $650 million.

The New York Times, Sopan Deb:

Trump Proposes Eliminating the Arts and Humanities Endowments

A deep fear came to pass for many artists, museums, and cultural organizations nationwide early Thursday morning when President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

President Trump also proposed scrapping the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a key revenue source for PBS and National Public Radio stations, as well as the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars…

…Yet never before have Republicans, who have proposed eliminating the endowments in the past, been so well-positioned to close the agencies, given their control of both houses of Congress and the White House, and now the president’s fiscal plan.



Warroad, Minnesota is located in the far north of the state. It might as well be Canada. Its population is around 1,800, but it has a newspaper, the Warroad Pioneer.

The front page of the latest edition is a bit unusual.

Duluth News Tribune, April Baumgarten:

Minn. newspaper uses empty front page to show community connection

Readers picking up the Tuesday edition of the Warroad Pioneer didn’t have much to read on its front page, but the weekly publication found an unusual way to say why its community and local newspapers are important to each other.

The front page of the 115-year-old newspaper was blank with the exception of its nameplate, a banner ad and a paragraph explaining how community newspapers keep locals aware of news, using the words “Without you, there is no newspaper!”

The page also carried the quote, “I’m a reflection of the community,” attributed to the late rapper Tupac Shakur…

…The Pioneer noted it has made significant cuts over the last five years to offset rising production expenses. The Warroad-based publication has four full-time and three part-time employees, compared with 10 workers about five years ago.

About 80 percent of the paper’s revenue comes from selling advertising, which has declined by $23,900 since 2011, according to the newspaper…

…”We’re trying to get across … that we’re not a dying breed, and there are people behind us,” she said.



While one publication tries to stay in print, another has said it will be folded.

Lucky Peach is a quarterly food journal created by David Chang, Peter Meehan, and Zero Point Zero production. Chang is the chef and founder of Momofuku restaurant business.

Sadly, I never saw an issue, the reason being that my local bookstore and magazine stand closed several years ago, making it nearly impossible to find new magazine titles except through digital edition app launching into the App Store – and we all know what a mess Apple made of that.

But the magazine was, it appears, highly influential in the food community

Lucky Peach, Peter Meehan:

We Need To Talk

Lucky Peach is… you see, kids, sit down, here.

Your mom and I have been meaning to talk to you for a while. But there sometimes comes a time in a publication’s life where…jeez, this is difficult. Puberty usually only equals death for caterpillars…and sometimes food magazines.

What I’m trying to say is this: until May 1st there’s still going to be the luckypeach.com that you love, publishing all its wild and wily stories. Go click around and have fun. I know you always liked it when you were younger. The magazine will finish out with a crazy double issue in the fall after its last regular issue—themed “the Suburbs”—comes out in May.

SFGate.com, Jonathan Kauffman:

Lucky Peach magazine to cease publication

In 2011, the media world reacted to the launch of Lucky Peach with both delight and befuddlement. The quarterly print magazine was billed as a joint venture between McSweeney’s, the San Francisco-based publishing house, and New York chef David Chang, and was originally meant to be merely a subsidiary to an iPad app.

From its first issue, devoted to ramen, the magazine ignored the standard look and tone of mainstream food journalism. It had more F-bombs than recipes, more illustrations than photos, and more street cred than any of its predecessors. (Disclosure: I have written several articles for the print and online versions.) Media watchers saw its appearance, just two years after Conde Nast had shut down Gourmet, as a beneficial omen for the future of food magazines. So did readers, because that first $10 issue sold out.

Was Lucky Peach too rambling? Too male? Too bro-cheffy? Those early criticisms seemed to fade as the magazine found its rhythm.

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