Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Always on the Sunny Side

For a long time the White House folks have been complaining, and at last I have seen the light. "You writers only focus on the bad things and never acknowledge the good things," they say.

I'm sure that my readers (all three of them) have come to see me as a Negative Nellie. It's true that the more you read the news, the harder it is to stay perky. However, I have to say that it's been heartening of late to see the Republican Congress FINALLY stand up for the little guy. At last there is advocacy, and legislation has become an extension of Republican values.

Who is this new focus of compassionate conservatism, you ask. Is it the working poor? Will there finally be some assistance in paying those skyrocketing home heating bills?

Well, no.

How about the senior citizens, who, entangled in the Medicare D silly string, have less chance than ever to save on prescription costs?

Ah, no.

Okay, how about body armor for the troops in Iraq? An end to plundering the billions of dollars ostensibly set aside for the rebuilding of that sad country?


So, who is this lucky recipient of congressional largesse? Whose plight has finally moved the hard heart of Congress to blessings during this holiday season?

Give up? It's analog television viewers.

Yep, before Congress recessed, it voted to provide Americans with analog television sets two coupons worth $40 each for converter boxes to attach to their sets in advance of the big date, 2/17/09 at which time TV networks will have to surrender their analog broadcast licenses and apply for --paying a fat fee-- the new digital licenses. Selling the new licenses is going to be a big money maker for the Treasury, so hey, Congress can afford it. They'll also be able to sell the turned-in analog license to other parts of the communications industry. Money, money, money.

Okay, so two vouchers of forty bucks won't go far, won't even cover the cost of the converter boxes for those Left Behind analog TVs. But it's the thought that counts. Our members of Congress are thinking of us. They want to keep us nice and complacent, more concerned about whether or not we will be able to see the next Supermarket Sweep or reruns of Hawaii Five-O without experiencing the desperation of a screen gone black.

So, really, everybody wins. Those injured soldiers returning from Iraq, those cold and unhealthy working poor can simply bundle up and know that for all their problems, they will still enjoy government support for watching their favorite shows.

I've been too hard on these people, I now know that underneath those zillion dollar suits beat real hearts; beneath those Rolex watches race genuine pulses.

A moment of silence, now, while we count our blessings.

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Phil- take a hike, you shameless huckster.

As for the dreaded analog to digital switch, this better not fuck up my pirated cable.
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