Friday, 7 November 2008

My Fairness Doctrine

For several days, I have contemplated and pondered the Fairness Doctrine discussion.

For those in need of explanation. Prior to the Reagan administration, and up from the 1920s, we had a government rule which demanded "fairness" over the radio and TV waves. When you did something, you actually had to be "fair". If you did the news and then reported something beside facts, like analysis....then you had to tell both sides of the story.

When Regan came along, he basically said it was worthless and tossed it. After that....came AM radio and the conservative talk-show hosts...like Rush. Eventually AM radio actually made a profit and became a cornerstone of the right-wing politics. Even today, liberal talk shows are simply boring and unable to attain any significant profits for the networks and stations.

So Nancy Pelosi has come out and said that the Fairness Doctrine needs to be pulled out and examined. She'd really like to make it the normal routine again.

I sat and thought about this....and used what little Bama logic I have left. Then it came to me....like an inspiration from my dad.

We'd just teach folks how to hit the "off-switch" when we were unhappy about the radio or TV. If they were speaking something that we felt was unhappy or unbalanced....we'd just turn it off. Cost? Well....I was thinking of a government manual that we could make for $44 million and send out to everyone, with one picture.

The instruction would be simple on this manual. If you find something disgusting or unbalanced....turn it off.

I'm sure Nancy is sitting there....terribly upset that I've rocked the boat and triggered a national crisis with my "off-button"....but I'm pretty sure my solution makes more sense....than hers.

The off-switch has multiple purposes. For example...if you had a terrible interview going on....hit "off". If you had a nutcase explaining global warming....hit "off". If you had some political dimwit from Oregon....hit "off". If you had some nut from Bama discussing nuclear church fusion....just hit "off". If you felt like going for a walk or trimming your cat's excessive hair....just hit "off".

My method is simple and pure. There's no mess. There's no political bickering. There's no Sunday afternoon chats with Wolfe Blitzer to get the point across. We can settle on the "off" switch in two minutes and get onto more important business like national septic tank standards.

Early Graduates

There is a New Hampshire plan, from which a kid who finishes the tenth grade, will get a chance to take an exam...and could pass onto college or trade school or just start working. I should say this early in this blog...that we aren't talking about a simple yes or no test....this is a fairly comprehensive test. My humble guess is that only twenty percent of the tenth grade graduates would be able to pass the test and move on. At the end of the eleventh grade...maybe a good forty percent would pass and then move on....leaving half of the original class to move into the twelfth grade. These are my numbers and the experience of graduating from a decent high school in 1977.

Its an interesting concept. First, you will likely cut down on the number of classrooms, teachers and school budgets. With effort....you might even get thirty percent of the kids gone at sixteen and the tenth grade. Added to this concept is the idea of disciplinary issues decreasing to some degree.

There are other things that might be questionable. For one example...this "friendship" that people developed in that last year or two....probably would disappear. The sports scene would likely shrink the number of four-star grads for college-level sports, and later affect the professional ranks. The number of teachers tossed? It could be ten percent of the total group in existence today.

To be honest, I actually approve of this idea. About ten percent of the kids I went to school with....were generally smart enough to finish up school in the tenth grade. Me? I might have taken the eleventh grade deal before finishing and leaving.

The military option? Well...it starts to cut down the possible recruits because that kid who might have been interested in the twelfth grade....is long gone and in some trade school or in community college. He won't sign up for a lousy bonus because he's got a real job within a year. Kids moving onto the farm and becoming full-time labor for dad's operation? It probably doubles the work-population across the US. To be quiet honest....we aren't losing much of anything.

So I'm for this deal. I'm sure the teacher unions are against it, and the military will voice complaints. The top forty college football teams? They will be very much against this change. The odds of this sweeping across the other states? I'd guess that a dozen states would have the concept in operation by 2025. Most southern states would question the maturity of having a 17-year old kid in college.

The curious thing that comes with this deal is that you could actually say no driving licenses issued until the end of the tenth grade....which would dump the number of teenage pregnancies and the number of disciplinary problems by a significant number. You could even make this interesting by saying that eleventh grade kids could only drive up until ten PM at night....and really set some hard rules across the board to affect life. Just my two cents of prospective.