Here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
- Kathy Griffin has been widely criticized for a gory photo shoot with Donald Trump's (fake) head
- Then she apologized
- But President Trump didn't accept Griffin's apology
- Neither did First Lady Melania Trump
- And now CNN has fired Griffin
- Lebanon has officially banned 'Wonder Woman' over star's Israeli heritage
- Olivia Newton-John has a new cancer diagnosis; her June shows are postponed
Congressional leaders rejected the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate money for federal arts programs, providing a small increase as part of a bipartisan spending deal.
The spending bill that Congress is expected to vote on this week includes $150 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and an identical sum for the Humanities endowment. In both cases, that's a $2-million increase over last fiscal year.
There's also no cut in money for the Corp. for Public Broadcasting.
President Trump, in his budget, had proposed eliminating all federal money for the NEA and the NEH, generating an intense lobbying campaign by arts supporters.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had advocated the cuts, saying that it was unfair to take money from working families to support programs such as the endowments and public television.
But it was clear from the outset that Trump's plan would face trouble in Congress. Most NEA funds go to support community arts groups in all 50 states, with rural, Republican-leaning states topping the lists of spending per person. As a result, arts programs have a strong constituency in Congress, especially on the appropriations committees that dole out spending.