Promising the most heavily politicized international incident involving The Muppets since the last one, the U.S. Agency for International Development has announced that it is pulling the $20 million it promised to help develop a version of Sesame Street in Pakistan, a program that the U.S. government approved because friendship is important. The decision comes amid allegations that the Sesame Workshop's Pakistani partner, the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, is guilty of "severe financial irregularities," including using those funds to pay down old debts and awarding "lucrative contracts" to family members, as those are things that apparently exist in the world of puppeteering.
The group has already denied those allegations as "baseless," saying that the show had been accused of fraud because of a "false and ridiculous story" printed in a local newspaper—a report that led to USAID ending the program to avoid the embarrassment of being involved in a corrupt puppet show, rather than the dignity of being involved in a regular puppet show. Naturally, the controversy over the U.S. government funding puppets in a Middle Eastern nation who can't even get us oil has already sparked more outraged Internet comments than we can count. (One—one dozen angry cries about wasteful government spending! Two—two hundred painful jokes about Muppet terrorists! Ah ah ah!) And once more, we look back fondly on the days when Muppets just taught us about shapes and stuff.