Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rant: Crap We Should Never Put Up With

Without working at it, I was meditating over the roar of the idiot box the other night when I remembered that The Anointed One had actually done something that would make life marginally better for the people he's supposed to be representing.  Himself had signed the CALM Act last December which is supposed to force television broadcasters to lower the volume of the commercials on TV.  Right now the volume is designed to blast the viewer back into beta state brain waves from the flat line that is the result of watching ten minutes of the average situation comedy.  It must work or they wouldn't do it.  Naturally the restrictions are formulated by the FCC and the TV broadcasters have one year to figure out how not to comply - so this isn't any better than nothing at all.

The thing is, The Anointed One was going to do all kinds of good things for the great unwashed once he moved into the double-wide on Pennsylvania Avenue, but he hasn't.  Here are a few suggestions for Himself that, if implemented sometime prior to November of 2012, would likely guarantee His re-election in a historic landslide.

What does the population really want?  This is a rhetorical question because, well, it is.  Let us break this down into a few basic levels.

Drugs and Television.  That's right.  There is a certain segment that likes watching TV, so give them what they want.  Right now there are too many commercials to be able to enjoy TV; about 22 minutes of programming for every half hour of entertainment.  According to Gaebler:

Gaebler: Resources for Entrepreneurs
The standard half-hour of television contains 22 minutes of program and 8 minutes of commercials - 6 minutes for national advertising and 2 minutes for local.
Have The Anointed One change this to 25 minutes of programming and five minutes of commercials, scheduled for the consumer's convenience at 25 and 55 minutes after the hour.  That should take care of the TV crowd, leaving the drugs.

Remove all the psychedelic substances from schedule one, effectively legalizing them for recreational use.  Add a federal license to manufacture and another federal license to distribute these substances, and the government has a new source of income right along with a happy populace.  Well, mostly happy anyway.  The next level is -

Stuff that Works.  Cell phones, for instance.  Once you sign up with a cell phone company, you're pretty much hosed for the duration.  If you want to change companies, you generally have to buy a new phone along with your new two year contract, and you'll get hosed again.  What should happen is that you buy your cell phone separately, then go shopping for a provider.  Also, nix the contracts.  A two year contract doesn't help the consumer, and my own personal experience bears this one out.  When I lived in Mad City I found a local company that went month to month.  These people were so easy to deal with that I used to stop in at their office and pay my monthly bill in person just to experience a truly helpful, no sales pressure atmosphere.  All cell phone companies should work like that; almost none do.

The Anointed One could fix this.  He won't, but he could.

Then there's the TV remote dilemma. 

Three Remote Controls - One Service
I have one television set, one digital video disk player and I subscribe to Buckeye Cable System.  Why must I put up with three remote controls that are often in conflict with each other?  If I want to watch a DVD, I have to memorize and use a cryptic key combination involving all three remote controls.  Worse, the combination is fragile; if I make an error, I must use other cryptic combinations to reset my devices and start over.  My poor mother is looking for something as easy to use as TV used to be.  I often have to spend 20 minutes or so straightening out the mess that happens when Mom picks up the wrong remote and the TV begins showing reruns of a woman who looks like five hundred pounds of bear liver in a plastic bag (credit to Uncle Hant).  The remote controls themselves are unreliable.  If the end user presses a button and nothing happens, it may be anything from normal, expected behavior up to and including an undocumented feature that the customer support gurus haven't encountered as yet.  It might also be that the batteries in the remote are worn out, or that the remote is broken.  

I could think of other things, but it's depressing.  At some point giving people direct control over how their federal tax dollars are spent would be nice.  How about paying off the debt, spending money on parks and recreation and protection of our natural resources?  Bringing back jobs from overseas is a lofty goal, but The Anointed One would never try to accomplish that.  Too many people would go back to work and notice that the government is over taxing them.

I'm depressed.  I'm going to have a drink and try to reset my remote control system.  Again.

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