Happy Birthday C-SPAN

Thirty-four years ago this week the unblinking eye we call C-SPAN turned on its Capitol Hill cameras for the first time -- and they've never been turned off.

Like air and soil and water -- all the indispensable stuff of life we take for granted -- C-SPAN is always there.

And despite what some viewers think, C-SPAN receives no government funding. Its revenue comes from fees paid by cable systems and satellite companies.

When I recently grew weary of tabloid cable news and spent an afternoon watching C-SPAN coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee mark up of gun control legislation I felt nourished, off the junk food, sustained, an informed citizen again.

Nearly a quarter of people with cable or satellite subscriptions -- an estimated 47 million adults -- report watching C-SPAN at least once a week. Be proud of it folks, don't be afraid to admit it.

Watching C-SPAN is a guilty pleasure without shame.