This is what I get for paying attention to the news...
As a rule I usually try to stay fairly informed about what's happening in the world around me. Lately, though, I'm finding it increasingly hard to pick up a newspaper or even bother watching the evening news. More and more I find myself watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond rather than the eleven o'clock news. That's saying something too; I hate Raymond...I hate him BAD. The thing is, the news makes me feel like my head is going to explode and Everybody Loves Raymond doesn't. Sure, sitcoms kill a piece of my soul every time I watch one but that's better than a rage induced head explosion. After all, I don't NEED my soul but without a head I can't eat and complain about everything.
In the past I'd simply get aggravated by current events but recently I feel like I'm getting bukkake'd by news stories that are either mind-numbingly stupid or just plain infuriating. (Author's note: If you don't already know what bukkake is you probably don't want to find out.) I feel very strongly that one day I'm going to be watching the news and BOOM...brains everywhere!
This whole thing started about a week ago when I read a story about the FCC approving Sirius Satellite Radio's buyout of XM radio. Up until that point I was under the impression that one of the FCC's functions was to prevent media monopolies. Apparently that's no longer the case. The story I linked to tries to spin this merger as something that's good for consumers but I'm not buying it. The same argument was made when Bill Clinton signed legislation allowing deregulation of media ownership in the 90's. Because of that legislation we now have giant media conglomerates like Comcast who own hundreds of radio stations throughout the country and pump the same tepid garbage through every one of them. The result is a series of McRadio stations that all sound the same regardless of where you are in the country. I guess it's possible this merger will turn into something positive for consumers but I'm not holding my breath: Giant corporations aren't know for acting in the best interest of the little guy.
A few days later I came across this little article on the internet. If you didn't bother reading it, it's an article about a newspaper company that's experimenting with outsourcing copy editor positions to India. The reasoning is that outsourcing is easier than hiring local editors who will be laid off if the paper winds up going under. That's true, but it also screws up-and-coming local editors out of job experience they could take with them to other jobs...in America. I know this is a story about a handful of small papers but it would be naive to think that this won't catch on if the experiment is a success. Corporations don't care about anything but the bottom line. If a company can get cheaper labor overseas then that's where they're going to go.
Here's a story that should be of interest to all you fat, lazy people out there: Scientists are trying to develop a pill that would mimic the benefits of exercise without actually exercising. The article mentions several uses for such a medication that seem reasonable but I'm still skeptical. One of the uses mentioned would be a treatment for obesity; the drug might allow overweight people to burn calories while maintaining a high fat diet. It seems like it would be smarter to teach said fat people to lose weight by exercising and eating responsibly rather than just taking a pill. Oh wait, Americans don't want to have to be responsible or work to achieve results, I totally forgot about that. Never mind.
This last story just popped up today in Columbus and I was elated when I heard it. AEP, the electric company that services Columbus as well as other cities in the U.S., wants to raise the rate for electricity...by 42%. If the rate increase is approved the cost for electricity will increase by 15% a year for 3 years. It's estimated that electrical bills will increase sixteen dollars a month in each of the 3 years. The reasoning AEP is giving for the rate increase is that they need to offset the inflated price of coal as well as the extra money they have to spend offering green energy options. The ironic thing is that they also released their quarterly earnings today. In Q1 of 2008 AEP made a $281 million dollar profit. That's up from $180 million in Q1 of 2007. I guess the good news is that I won't have to worry about the increased cost of food because I won't be able to afford electricity to store it or cook it.
I don't know, at this point I'm starting to wonder if drifting into a television induced coma might not be such a bad idea. All those people who give a crap about reality t.v. seem to be happy. And in the future they'll even have an exercise pill to help combat their morbid obesity. Then again, if my head DOES explode that's a much better way to go out then having a Big Mac induced coronary.