Dusty Springfield, always a couple of steps ahead of her audience, used to counsel about the general futility of wishin' and hopin', and we smiled and went on and did it anyway. (Dionne Warwick had given the same advice about a year earlier, but no one heeded her either.) A couple of times before — specifically, here and here — I've gone to the trouble of setting down what I though would be minor but worthwhile improvements to our cultural and political milieu. None of them, of course, has actually materialized, but so what else is new? Herewith, a few more items from my personal Wish List.

1.  The Food and Drug Administration, evidently fearing that too much money was coming in from ever-increasing tobacco taxes, ordered cigarette makers to devote the top half of each pack to something resembling a scene from CSI: Raleigh, assuming that scary pictures would get smokers to quit. A Federal judge issued an injunction against that order; the Justice Department has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is expected to rule some time this spring. In an amicus brief, the Washington Legal Foundation said that the new labels are "ideological messages that have nothing to do with protecting consumers from being misled," and that "FDA's own regulatory impact analysis concluded that the estimated impact the new warnings will have on smoking rates is 'not statistically distinguishable from zero'." What I want: Assuming that DOJ will get what it wants and the labels will eventually appear as ordered, I'd like to see warning labels attached to all Federal legislation, listing estimated cost per taxpayer and, on a scale of 0 to 10, the degree of Constitutional sanction for this action, although I honestly don't think I will live long enough to see anything rated as high as 3.

2.  We have been told that the highly volatile price of gasoline — which is, let's face it, a highly volatile substance in itself — is due to refinery limitations, to the difficulty of managing multiple blends, to speculators on commodity exchanges, to anything but the most likely explanation: contrary to the First Amendment, the state has established Environmentalism (not to be confused with actual concern for the environment or anything like that) as the Official Religion, and they're not exactly keen on heresy, if you know what I mean. The only way you're going to get anyone to catch on to this, though, is to eliminate each of the other explanations, one by one. What I want: Assuming that the easiest factor to deal with is the existence of speculators, well, I have already proposed a foil:

If you speculate on the New York Mercantile Exchange, you are offering to buy oil F.O.B. seller's facility, Cushing, Oklahoma, at any pipeline or storage facility with pipeline access to TEPPCO, Cushing storage, or Equilon Pipeline Co., by in-tank transfer, in-line transfer, book-out, or inter-facility transfer (pumpover). Let's see what happens if we specify that any buyer must first demonstrate the ability to take actual delivery at Cushing.

This won't eliminate all the bean counters, but it should take some of the wind out of their sales.

3.  Facebook is rolling out something called "Timeline," upon which people are supposed to be able to find anything that's ever happened to you since shortly after you were a zygote. At this writing, I have not yet had this inflicted on my own Facebook page, but I have to assume it's just a matter of time. Time Warner's InStyle.com — and, let's face it, if there's any organization that knows how to make the Web experience excruciating, it's Time Warner — is now apparently trying to drum up Timeline support by pointing out that hey, celebrities use it: "Nicole Richie, Lea Michele, and Tyra Banks have all adopted the new look." What I want: An explanation, once and for all, of why it matters to me what B-list stars do with their copious free time. (I figure I stand a better chance of getting that than getting, say, Zooey Deschanel's cell number.)

Now if you dialed over to this to see if I was hinting around for stuff from my Amazon.com Wish List — sorry, no. In fact, I won't feel hurt if you don't even notice that link.

The Vent

#760
  8 February 2012

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