Political Rants by Judy @ 4:07 PM
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I can only assume that there must be millions of families out there in Television Land who have TVs with broken power buttons.

Today from the Washington Post:

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a dramatic increase in fines for indecent programming, rejecting criticism the penalties will stifle free speech and homogenize radio and TV broadcasts.

Supporters said stiffer penalties are needed to give deep-pocketed broadcasters more incentive to clean up their programs and to help assure parents that their children won’t be exposed to inappropriate material.

The measure — H.R.310, titled the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 — passed The House 389-38. It increases the maximum fine for “indecent programming” from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer. The fine applies when a

violator is determined by the Commission under paragraph (1) to have uttered obscene, indecent, or profane material.

Although The House did not stoop to actually defining “obscene, indecent, or profane,” they did strongly suggest that reimplementing a “family viewing hour” would be a desirable thing.

“This is a penalty that makes broadcasters sit up and take notice,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee that sent the bill to the full House. “This legislation makes great strides in making it safe for families to come back into their living room.”

The reason that I’m assuming that there are so many broken TVs out there in America that can’t be turned off is that hitting the power switch is such a simple and effective way of making sure that your family is “safe” from whatever it is you don’t want them to watch. Many TVs and cable services also come complete with parental control features that make it possible to block certain types of programming. While they may not have blocked a split-second glimpse of Janet Jackson’s pastie-covered nipple, I’ve always found parental constrols to be pretty darn effective (just ask # 1 son).

Voting with my pocketbook — i.e. turning the damn thing off — has always seemed a lot more effective to me than having some bozo in Congress tell me what I can and can’t watch. And it seems “safer” besides.

We can only hope that either (1) The House and Senate cannot agree on a combined bill (as last year) or (2) it will be struck down as too broad anyway.

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