NEA To Be Entirely Eliminated By Trump Budget

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Also in the news: Lucinda Williams announces a book project, and new Roald Dahl adaptation is in the works (again). It’s your Daily Blunt!

While President Trump’s latest budget proposal remains a long way from becoming law, the National Endowment of the Arts is wasting no time in letting Americans know exactly what’s at stake for the agency, which Trump intends to eliminate entirely. In a public statement, chairman Jane Chu reminded taxpayers of the size and scope of the NEA’s mission, listing projects which have enriched innumerable lives. “As a federal government agency, the NEA cannot engage in advocacy, either directly or indirectly,” writes Chu. “We will, however, continue our practice of educating about the NEA’s vital role in serving our nation’s communities.”

Now’s the time to go for that master’s degree in literature — after July 2019, loan payment and forgiveness plans could change drastically. Graduate students, in particular, “would not have their loans forgiven for 30 years,” which is likely to deter many people from pursuing those degrees. The budget plan also eradicates the program that offers incentives to those aiming for careers in public service, which means, as loan expert Mark Kantrowitz points out, “You won’t have as many prosecutors and public defenders. You won’t have as many people pursuing law enforcement or becoming EMTs, firemen and members of the military.” Your move, state legislators!

Such foreboding times call for an extra dose of whimsy, so it’s a good time to learn that yet another Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation is in the works — even though it’s only been 13 years since the last one, but who’s counting? To be called just “Willy Wonka,” the new film is in development with “Paddington” director Paul King, which seems like a safe choice — maybe too safe. Isn’t anyone else curious to see what Ava DuVernay would do with that story (and budget)?

In terms of less fantastical forms of escapism, there is still much to look forward to. Singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams has announced that an autobiography is in the works, drawing from “Williams’ Louisiana childhood, her youth as a busker on the streets of New Orleans, her rise to musical prominence at the age of 35—that was in 1988; Williams is now 65—and her struggle to gain respect in the music industry.” Don’t sleep on this one, because Williams promises she’s got “a big story to tell,” and if her songwriting is any indicator, she’ll be taking this new medium by storm.