A long overdue rant
by Ravi Verma, Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 02:28:04 PM EDT
Please do not read this diary if you are looking for a substantial discussion on the health care reform debate... or even if you are looking for another meaningless addition to the cacophony of voices on the topic.
This diary is a rant on that which we consider to be important, and the difference between that, and what should really be important.
Let me start with a personal nugget as a starting point... I am told that all successful politicians who employ good speechwriters use personal nuggets... since I am not a successful politician, and do not have the funds to research other people's personal nuggets, I will just use mine.
My wife and I recently purchased a property at the edge of the Angeles National Forest, in the city of La Canada Flintridge...about 20 miles east of LA. La Canada has good schools public schools, which interested us. Our house happens to be between NASA-JPL and the national forest ~ something that was mildly interesting when we made the offer.
2 days after we closed escrow, the Station Fire broke out. You may have heard of it ~ it has burned through an entire mountain range and has scarred about 300 square miles. We hadn't yet "moved in", but I was waiting for a refrigerator delivery and was watching the fire when it broke through the "fire break" and sped across the Angeles Crest Highway. Very shortly after, our area was under mandatory evacuations.
Anyone who has purchased a house will understand it when I say that when you first buy a house, your ability to withstand a financial shock is somewhat compromised (even if you have lots of insurance). Our situation was no different... and so I turned on my TV (we were still at our old house).
I hadnt turned on my TV in several years.. I had watched the 2004 election results..waited until Bush had won, and turned off my TV. It was interesting to note that the TV was still spewing the same old crap: (a) there are lots of cars for sale, and some of the ads are very clever (b) only good looking people drink beer (c) football players appear to have gotten bigger and faster (d) TV news is still crap being read by very good looking reporters.
There was hardly any news coverage with actual news on the fire. This continued even as the fire raged out of control, and became a problem of immense significance. For instance, that Saturday (the fire had broken out on Wednesday), a friend of mine who works for JPL told me that the JPL boss had sent out an email asking where all the flight equipment was ~ the firefighters would be stationed only outside buildings that housed the sensitive flight equipment and other buildings were going to be allowed to burn.
Can you imagine... letting JPL burn with nary a mention on the TV news. Instead, we were informed of important things...such as the latest update on the latest Dodgers game, and the funeral arrangements being made for Sen. Kennedy.
In any case, the fire raged out of control for several days more until the TV news crew woke up. Shockingly...shockingly...the news coverage improved substantially once Mt Wilson was threatened.
Those that do not live in LA will probably not know that Mt Wilson, at a height of 5000 ft above sea level, houses most of the TV transmitters for the LA market. As such, the destruction of Mt Wilson would have resulted in significant loss of revenue associated with broadcast TV.
Those that do live in LA (and quite a few other as well) will probably know that Mt Wilson is home to quite a bit more than the TV towers... Mt Wilson is home to a fair amount of astronomical history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Wilso n_(California) ...sorry, having trouble with this link) . Course, the TV news does not care for astronomical history...so it was nice (for Mt Wilson) that it also has those TV towers.
In any case, I have turned off my TV again. I doubt I will turn it on again anytime soon.