This Fourth is a dud as cash-strapped cities cut fireworks shows

It's that time of year again, and I can't wait! The explosions, the smoke, the sparkly flames. I'm speaking, of course, about the annual season when your local TV news channel dutifully trots out the clips of fire safety marshals blowing the hands off mannequins to convince us to leave those M-80s well enough alone. More than the smell of the barbecue firing up, more than John Philip Sousa, nothing else tells me Independence Day is finally here again.

This year, they had better air those unintentionally entertaining clips of destruction a few more times, because in many towns, that's all the fireworks they're gonna get.

Because of budget crunches, cities across the country are canceling their fireworks shows.