Thursday, November 6, 2008

GAO unveils new transition web site for Obama and Congress

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) published a new transition web site for President-elect Obama and the new Congress. This is nothing out of the ordinary first of's just that this is the first presidential transition that didn't occur in the analog stone age. I partially jest that back in 2000, computers, let alone the Internet, were still relatively new to the government. may be interested in the list of 13 most urgent issues facing the nation:

1 oversight of financial institutions and markets,
2 U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan,
3 protecting the homeland,
4 undisciplined defense spending,
5 improving the U.S. image abroad,
6 finalizing plans for the 2010 Census,
7 caring for service members,
8 preparing for public health emergencies,
9 revamping oversight of food safety,
10 restructuring the approach to surface transportation,
11 retirement of the Space Shuttle,
12 ensuring an effective transition to digital TV, and
13 rebuilding military readiness.

Whoa! Back the truck up...what did number 12 say? Yes that's right...if we dork up the transition to digital TV there will be RIOTS in the streets! Hopefully they're not in list of importance as I don't find it more important than rebuilding military readiness (unless you're a "Gray's Anatomy" junkie I suppose).

For more fun, check out the tab specifically for #12 to read the overstated claims. Some gem examples:

"...should the overall DTV transition not proceed smoothly, it could undermine the public’s confidence in government."

You mean the $700B bailout of Wall Street and the mortgage crisis haven't already done this? It will take a failure to be adequately prepared with television conversion kits to lose public confidence? I can hear it now...

Joe Bob: "What?!? The television stopped working? That's it! Those losers in Washington are sending our country into the crapper! You can take away my foreclosed home, but you CAN'T TAKE AWAY "The Ghost Whisperer!""

Or how about:

"Over one-third of US households are at some risk of losing television service since they have at least one television not connected to cable or satellite."

Really? One-third? One-third of homes have no cable or satellite service? Let's test that...

According to the US Census, there are 111,617,402 households in America as of 2006. Using Department of Energy stats for the percentages of homes with cable or satellite, I calculate that the figure is closer to 20%. And these stats were from 2006 and 2001...leaving out the recent mass purchasing of flat screen televisions the last couple of years as prices have come down. Maybe their own statement later on backs up my claim:

"We found that up to 35 percent of US households could be affected by the transition, however, as of August 31, 2008, only 13 percent of households had requested coupons for converter boxes." It's a stretch but if you assume that I'm right about the numbers being smaller than my 20% calculation because of increased buying of flat screens, then 13% seems plausibly in the ball park...

"Of at risk households who planned to take action, many indicated they would be likely to use the coupon subsidy program, but only a third knew how to actually obtain a coupon." Yeah, let's talk about that coupon. It's good for $40...good luck finding one for that price that won't break in a year or less. But the bigger question that is begging to be asked is: Why is the government subsidizing the purchase of conversion equipment for people who haven't bought a television since the "Golden Girls" were on prime time? Seriously, the question to ask yourself is whether or not you bought a new television since the thespian masterpiece "Karen Sisco" was on the air as the transition to digital tuners in all televisions occurred in 2004.

1 comment:

Meri said...

Seriously? Well, you know, while the clueless American public drowns themselves in another inane episode of "Grey's Anatomy", they can't be tricked into thinking about all the babies being murdered with our tax dollars *rolls eyes*

I am just thankful I am still clinging to my religion and my guns ;) lol