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Write Your Congressman - Free Receivers for All!

by Peter Benson June 23, 2005

Dear Senator Polk,

I am happy to inform you that I am soon to be a new constituent of your wonderful state. I am mesmerized by the bucolic beauty of my soon to be surroundings and assure you that I will be doing everything in my power to build an ecologically and environmentally sound domicile in the spot I have chosen. This is about two miles upwind of the nuclear plant you worked so tirelessly to bring to your constituents and four miles downwind from the mega hog farm that I learn has been owned by cousins of your wife for generations. "Bring home the bacon!" I say, and I see that you have done so admirably for your Great State for many years.

The reason for my incipient move is in the interests of marital bliss and neighborly good feeling. M y dear wife has asked, very charitably, that I live no less than a thousand miles away, and, being the logical person that she is, enlisted the support of all my neighbors in the request. The unanimity so overwhelmed me, I was moved to tears. I, you see, have what is quaintly referred to as a 'sound system.' This is possibly the only area of our life that she does not understand so she refers to it as "that money-sucking contraption." The neighbors are less kind and call me "infernal noise guy." I ask you, is it my fault they have such shoddy construction that a mere 90Hz causes a few roof tiles to fall? There should be a Govt. Standard here! Speaking of Government, I loudly wish to point out one downside of my move to your Great State .

There are no reputable purveyors of acceptable home theater or audio equipment within hundreds, nay, thousands of miles. I'm surprised you have not noticed this lack. I have several suggestions as to how the remedy can be found. This is a serious negative strike against your Great State , but also a chance for you to demonstrate the leadership for which you are so renowned. You see, I, and dozens like me suffer from Audiolism. A little regarded but fatal mental disease, soon to be listed by the American Psychological Association as a degenerative psychological disorder. The M arantz-funded study will soon complete testing, and the findings published. I think this would make me eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore all new home construction should be built with a soundproofed 'listening room' paid for by Federal Dollars and constructed to the sufferer's specifications. I have contacted your Great State 's Health and Welfare Department, but they are unaccountably silent on the matter. I hope you will look into this.

It could also be addressed through subsidies. If my RX7 is subsidized through ethanol and other means, surely it is only right that my Yamaha RX-V receiver should similarly be subsidized under the Equality Clause of the Constitution. This only seems fair. Nor would the costs of such a program be born only by your Great State . This should be a Federal program, sorely needed, actually required by both 'Equal Protection' and 'Health and Welfare for All' clauses. Besides, think of the children! In your Great State they are denied the opportunities afforded to the children of East and West Coast elites with access to high-end audio and visual media. It's just not fair that rural schools and libraries are denied access merely because of the prohibitive costs of transportation and lack of options! A new program is needed! I would base it upon the statement put out by the USDA i.e.:

"Today's Information Age - the successor of the Industrial Age it can be argued - is now enabling us to repay rural America for its hard work, drive, and devotion to making this the most prosperous nation in the world."

How can this be achieved when children are using inferior equipment? The model I would suggest is the USDA's Rural Utilities Service, (RUS). "The RUS is currently announcing $19.5 million in grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs." (RE ACT) (7 U.S.C. 918a). Surely some of this could be diverted to such a worthy cause as a Denon in every home. In addition RUS announced in the Federal Register (67 FR 45079) a "Community Connect" pilot grant program funded to the tune of $20 million to promote "broadband transmission service in extremely rural …communities." HTAA also directly affirms Public Law 107-76, Title 111 "Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program." I am sure you are aware that many rural practices now diagnose and consult with specialists via video conference. Imagine, if you will, the fate of some poor grandma whose doctor is receiving a diagnosis and administers the wrong treatment BECAUSE OF BAD SPEAKERS. It would be heartbreaking. So you see the "Home Theater and Audio Accessibility Act is not only equitable it is lifesaving.

There are many other benefits. RUS claims that for every dollar spent 23 jobs are created. Better home systems would necessitate better electrical service, so think of the jobs in that area alone. Also, it would require extra capacity and would benefit the new nuclear plant. I do not advocate tax savings for new stores in your Great State . That would entail displacing the good jobs at the new Wal- M art you worked so hard to attract. No, every sufferer of Audiolism - every teacher, librarian and country doctor - should be given vouchers to travel to an established merchant in New York or Chicago or the city of their choice to hear the systems in a professional setting, provided they travel by rail. This will improve the A M TRAC ratings and the transportation subsidy you are seeking. Given this minimum government investment, Senator Polk, I see many upsides. It is quite possible that if you shepherd this through, your famous cousin, M r. Klipsh, would establish a factory in your Great State , thereby creating even more jobs.

And all for a few dollars guaranteeing every American's right to a sound mind.

I hope you give this idea the attention it deserves and hope to see the Home Theater and Audio Accessibility Act within the next budget discussions.


Peter Benson

Brotherhood Of Sound Equality


Peter Benson was born and raised in Yorkshire, England, and moved to the U.S. in 1981. He has trained for the preisthood, driven buses on two continents and is a successful singer-songwriter and confirmed optimist. He currently lives in Columbia MD with his wife and best friend Karen, two cats and a kitten; Magic Nemesis & Mystere. Rumours of Mystere's demise are all unfounded but well based.

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