Friday, April 25, 2008

thanks again, asshole

I've been noticing the public service advertisements lately that have been warning us that "in February 2009, all television stations will begin broadcasting a digital signal only." They further explain that those of us who don't have digital televisions have nothing to worry about because any analog television that is connected to a cable service provider will still work just fine. You'd think that would be that from the smug tone of the ads.

Except for one thing.

I happen to live in the buckle of the tornado belt, central Kansas. There have been four tornadoes (ranging in strength from mild to a full-blown killer F5 that destroyed hundreds of houses and killed a couple of dozen people) in the last fifteen years that passed within ten miles of my location. In a tornadic storm, power and other cable-delivered services are the first things to go, and I have three little palm-sized portable televisions, one in each car and one in my basement, so that I can keep an eye on the local weather radar when the shit hits the fan.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has spent a fairly good sum (about five hundred dollars total in my case) to be able to have slightly better odds of staying alive during the storm season. Think about it, many of you that live in areas with a high incidence of violent weather are probably in the same boat. We are all going to be screwed for the next tornado season unless we go out and spend another few hundred dollars at the minimum to purchase new televisions capable of picking up digital broadcast signals. Meanwhile, I have three perfectly good pocket televisions that will soon be useful only as paperweights. How many lives are going to be lost because the Bush administration sold out to the cable industry?

I just hope mine isn't one of them.

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