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chicago dyke's picture

To Our Leaderz and Betters in the Village, $650 million dollars is chump change, barely worth a guffaw at a Beltway cocktail party joke, a rounding error in the DoD budget, peanuts. But it's not to me. It has been more than 12 years since I've given the broadcast, cable or satellite people a single dime of my money, and if I have my say, they can take my money from me out of my cold, dead hands.

I'll admit to hypocrisy. I rent movies and watch them on my computer sometimes. Most recently, I watched "Sicko" and a little while before that "The Battle of Algiers." Go on, uberpurists, beat me up for it. I'm sure there's something evil about Netflix and I'm just sticking my head in the sand. Guilty, I am.

But right about now, when I'm reading about 93yo retirees freezing to death because the power company has shut off their heat for unpaid bills, or children in Gaza starving to death while trapped in a bunker with the corpses of their dead mothers, or...you get the point. This is one of those moments when being polemical is only going to get me in trouble. Instead I'll ask: do you think you could do "more good" with $650m of taxpayer money (borrowed, at high interest, etc) than paying for people's HiDef converter boxes?

Gah. There's just so much wrong with this it's hard to start. Please, don't even try to argue that people "need" teevee. Just don't. And don't tell me to 'Be Happy!' that the same push also includes billions for internet coverage. Not the same thing, not by a long shot, and no need to group it all together. Hundreds of millions for teevee is *obscene* at a time like this. It's just fucking obscene. For once (perhaps not just once?) I get to say "Bush did a better job," as according to the article, he only allocated $250m for this shit.

I'll keep it simple: on the balance, what do these supposed poor, benighted rural people who 'can't afford' converter boxes watch, when they watch teevee? Same deal with the poor- what are they tuning into, that helps Dems and progressive causes in general? Can anyone tell me that? Or here, I have an idea: why don't we spend close to a billion dollars improving AM radio reception in rural areas, so they can listen to Rush with better quality and regularity? Is that a smart idea or what?

Feh. It's been a while, but I suppose I should thank Obama for reminding me of just how much I hate teevee. And giving me a new reason to bash it.

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gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

"on the balance, what do these supposed poor, benighted rural people who 'can't afford' converter boxes watch, when they watch teevee?"

It's my understanding that the government auctioned off the extra band width that going to digital created. So with the coupons for converter boxes, it is a way of partially paying the viewers back for what they are loosing with the money they are making off the change.

I don't remember being "benighted", but from where I live in a rural location I can currently pick up with rabbit ears ten stations including one public one. When they have had their little tests for the DTV, I can only get three, not including the PBS station. They ought to be compensating me a lot more than a $40 coupon. I could live with a little snow to get the content I want.

I think 'Frontline', 'Now', 'Bill Moyer's Journal' are well worth watching. A gal I work with told a story yesterday about her three year old granddaughter: She was lying on the floor and turned to her grandmother and said, "I'm not dead, I'm unconscious." It turns out she picked it up from Spounge Bob Squarepants. The point is that kids pick up a lot from the tube. And then there is the old guy I used to help out before he went to the nursing home. As far as I was concerned, he watched totally worthless shit. But but he was eighty something, couldn't get around very well, has failing eyesight and had few friends or relatives in the area. What is he supposed to do until he dies?

TonyRz's picture
Submitted by TonyRz on

The airwaves formerly known as public property were auctioned off to telecoms, and there will be no such thing as good ol' "rabbit-ear" TV come February 19. The new standard for "free TV" will be digital over the air, for which you'll need a converter box in your living room, even if you're not a cable or hi-def consumer, if your TV does not have the appropriate tuner built in (and it probably doesn't).

[Edit: Make that June 12. Your New President persuaded the Senate to push back the cutoff date. Priorities...]

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

(the auctioning off to pay for this part) i posted this. i still don't like it. the idea that gov't money is going to further infect people with corporate propaganda, that is. i suppose government propaganda is better (npr) but given the amount of corporate money "public" broadcasting receives these days, there's hardly a difference. anyway, teevee really makes me angry, i can hardly watch it, any of it. movies are barely better, and so i succumb to them more often than raw teevee. i believe you can download the 'good' PBS programs now, right? feh, i guess i just can't even think rationally, when it comes to what possible 'good' teevee can do or have for some people. i literally believe that whatever that may be, they have better options and if money is going to be spent (because selling off something of value and turning around and spending that money isn't a net positive) it shouldn't be spent on this.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

What are the better options?