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Rant :: Politics
  submitted on January 27, 2009, 6:12 AM

There are a couple things going on in the country that are quite irritating to me. And no, I'm not going to talk about the economy, as I'm not qualified to provide any meaningful opinions on the subject.

First thing is the transition to digital television that is currently in progress in the US. This is something that has been publicly advertised as happening for a while now, and the February deadline has been known for at least a year. So what happened last week? A senator from West Virginia proposed postponing the transition to June, because of a shortage of converter box coupons, and because of the large number of people who were not prepared for the transition.

The US Government has completely screwed up on this one. They're spending millions and millions of dollars on these $40 coupons for everyone who needs one to use on a digital converter box for their antennas. And yet, despite spending all that money, there's a shortage, and they can't get these coupons out to everyone who needs them? Really? Talk about incompetence. And the idea that we should even care about anyone who isn't prepared for the conversion is a joke to me. While I can't speak for cities elsewhere, the local stations in Chicago have been bringing up the transition constantly, running tests for people, showing reminders, etc. If you need a converter box and don't have one, I can't think of many reasons why aside from laziness. Applying for the $40 coupon is a piece of cake, and any electronics store will be able to help you find the appropriate converter box (I think the coupon's website even has a list of merchants/models that are available). So if people still are unprepared, then screw them. I guarantee you if they really care that much then when their TV stops working they'll get off their ass and go get a converter box.

Dragging this deadline out to June is completely irresponsible, and has to be costly to television companies that will now have to continue broadcasting in analog, and continue advertising the new transition date. I can't believe this is being delayed due to a seemingly simple process.

The other thing I wanted to complain about is in local news; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is expected to name current CTA President Ron Huberman CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, after the old CPS CEO joined President Obama's administration in Washington.

This is terrible for a couple of reasons. First off, Huberman has absolutely no experience in education. None. Aside from the fact that he once went to school as a child, I suppose. And now he's going to be running the Chicago Public School system. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Don't get me wrong, I believe in Huberman's managerial abilities, but I also think someone who has never worked in education before will struggle to find their way leading a public school system.

Second, this is probably going to end up screwing the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) big time. The CTA's last president before Huberman was absolutely terrible, and Huberman in his short time in the role has done a wonderful job in transforming the organization, making great strides in maintenance improvement, improving employee accountability, bettering the managerial culture, etc. Now I don't know who is taking over at the CTA, and it could certainly be someone who is very capable and will continue in Ron's footsteps. However, that may not happen, and we may end up with another poor president, in which case the CTA is going to go back to its previous deteriorated state, which, for a city that is so dependent on public transportation, is a very bad thing. Mayor Daley has his work cut out for him, and he needs to be very careful with his next selection for CTA President.

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