brian on 2005.12.02
at 09:29 am
Two pieces of legislation pending in Washington. We’ll start with the more serious of the two.
By creating a federal agency shielded from public scrutiny, some lawmakers think they can speed the development and testing of new drugs and vaccines needed to respond to a bioterrorist attack or super-flu pandemic.
The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee. “AP report”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051202/ap_on_go_ot/vaccine_agency
This is a bad idea. The government that we pay for should be open to our scrutiny.
Number two, on the lighter side, is
a la carteoptions for cable and satellite television.
A la carte would allow cable subscribers to pick and pay for individual channels rather than being forced to buy packages. A parent, for example, could pick Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network — and not have to take MTV or other channels they may find objectionable as part of a bundled package. “AP report”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051202/ap_on_en_tv/cable_indecency
This is a good idea. If you buy a house, you’re not forced to take all the furnishings inside. If you go to buy groceries, you’re not forced to take whatever the supermarket puts into the basket. Why should I have to buy five Christian religion channels, 10 foreign language channels, 10 children’s channels, five shopping channels, or anything else I wouldn’t otherwise support? Consumer choice is always a good idea.
Interesting twist, conservatives in Congress are for the a la carte option. Normally, they would be against anything that tells a business how to do business despite the government’s role of keeping businesses in line. The interest in a la carte for conservatives is seen in the quote above, people who don’t want to see MTV or CNN or anything but religious channels can simply opt out of them.
Most cable companies (but notably not all) are expectedly against a la carte, stating that it would thin the choices in television programming. I’m tired of the cable companies choosing my programming. I bought a TiVo to filter out all the junk that’s on my TV. But, I refuse to buy the highest, most expensive cable packages just to get the Outdoor Life Network, or Speed Channel. You can keep the religious, foreign and children’s channels… give me the WRC and Le Tour de France. And cut my bill while you’re at it.
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