31 October 2008

Everything that's wrong with Evergreen Valley High School

Well, an hour ago I got home from the EVHS football team's embarrassing Homecoming Game loss to Independence High School, 22-21. That came after the EV Cougars were leading 21-14 with about 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter, when suddenly defense slipped up in the rainy weather and allowed an Independence player to score a touchdown (6 points) and a 2-point conversion, thus concluding the game at that. At the same time, we learned that the Juniors got 1st place at homecoming and Seniors 2nd (and of course, Sophomores 3rd and Freshmen 4th). And the Associated Student Body (ASB for short) invested lots of valuable money and had its president testify before the District in its September board meeting for a permit for halftime fireworks tonight. Wow. In a time when the economy is sucking so bad it's under Great Depression status and public schools from Puget Sound to the Rio Grande to the Florida Keys are strapped in cash and raped in the behind by President Bush's incompetent No Child Left Behind Act, it is simply a disgrace for a school that was recently ranked silver by US News & World Report magazine as among the best American high schools and having led the whole damn district in API (Academic Performance Index) to look like this in what's supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

So when I got home, I laid back on my futon and watched a DVR'ed episode of The Steve Wilkos Show, whose title host is a former US Marine, Chicago Police Officer, and security director for The Jerry Springer Show. No, I'm not joking, Wilkos is the bald-headed guy you've seen on Springer since the mid-90s or so. The episode I recorded, "Tragic Tale of 2 Sisters", was from Thursday, about an 18-year-old woman who wanted Wilkos to help her 11-year-old sister stop having sex with teen boys (I'm not joking, it IS the plot of the episode). Steve Wilkos later talks with the sister & parents, who are divorced. Soon it's revealed that the father once sexually molested the older daughter, so Steve didn't let the father see the younger daughter. Meanwhile, Steve also punishes the mother for not looking out for and loving her younger, whoring daughter. In the end, the father is evicted from the stage (in Steve's popular "GET OFF MY STAGE!!!" cry) and Steve gets the mother and children counseling.

Now I'm here all angry about how low my school is sinking. Here's a rough list of everything that is wrong, wrong, incorrect, inaccurate, stupid, messed up, FUBAR, abominable, unbelievable, and silly about Evergreen Valley High School:
1. During the part of the 05-06 academic year when private colleges are asking for letters of recommendation and such, counselors were borderline deadbeat--Steve Wilkos might've beaten them up severely.
2. EVHS has acknowledged repeatedly its over-crowding controversy, but its solution--the off-campus Biotech Academy for 11th/12th graders--was killed late in 2006, thus resuming the bottleneck. This year, the overcrowding got so bad that some students were denied certain classes merely with the excuse that there wasn't enough space. One friend of mine passed the AP Calculus AB exam but was denied Calculus BC for that very reason, yet two FRESHMEN who took a shallow summer calculus I course at community college got in. And while she was repeatedly refused a seat in Calc BC, another student (a leadership student who got a 2 on the exam, a failing score) and another random student were granted space! This is affirmative action and disorganization gone WRONG. I've heard of seniors who were forced to repeat English 3 despite passing it with at least a B just because "oh, there ain't enough space". Yet I know that this year there are students in English 4 who got C/D grades in English 3.
3. EVHS made a terrible mistake by neglecting meritocracy in considering attendance priority. That's why it's more likely that a dirty ghetto kid from the borderline Mt. Pleasant/EV attendance area gets enrolled and eventually wastes our taxpayers' money by repeating Algebra 1 until eleventh grade. At the same time, a rich, hardworking student from, lessay the Silver Creek/EV attendance borderline is rejected because of..."overcrowding". Had EV used meritocracy on its borderline attendance areas, then we'd be chasing after Cupertino and Palo Alto high schools.
4. The ASB has gotten away with childish/just plain silly homecoming and battle themes.
5. An incident in November 2007 where a great mob of students hurled Skittles at each other and at staff members illustrated the students' dissatisfaction that the administration was going all North Korea on extracurricular activities. It took that much pressure for the principal to back off.
6. EVHS knowingly hired registered sex offenders in its arts programs! In November 2006, the drama teacher was arrested for sexual misconduct. Ditto with a former band teacher a couple years later. That teacher willfully allowed a registered sex offender to volunteer at the Band Boosters!!!!!!!!
7. Racism and imbalance is rampant in EVHS's course catalogue. Why can EV provide special ed yet not have foreign language classes beyond Spanish, French, and Vietnamese? Shouldn't we save our API and reputation and harbor off the special ed to Silver Creek/Mt. Pleasant for the sake of our achieving students? Also, EVHS refuses to hire a competent AP Computer Science teacher--the one right now is lying about his 67% pass rate by a HUGE margin, to be honest.
8. Gov. Ahnuld Arnold Schwarzenegger's struggle with the state budget was somehow a tolerable excuse for the school library not to be open before 6th period, but it's almost Election Day now and this still applies. Testimony from many many district parents/students/teachers was not enough either to persuade the district to finalise hours/budget for libraries!
9. I'm still angry at EV for not telling in advance that there'd be only ONE APCS section this year--so I couldn't get in AP English Language, which I planned to be a "backup" in case I didn't get APCS. When I appealed to the APLang teacher, she just gave me a "fuck you" (no, not really) and explained that I should've done the summer stuff. Still--both me and EV are equally guilty of arrogance.
10. EV has no problem with the Gay/Straight Alliance flamboyantly posting pro-gay propaganda throughout campus during "Gay Pride Week" or whatever that is. If a pro-Proposition 8 group were to come up on campus, the ICC would evict them, and if that group were ever to practice their First Amendment rights by posting their opinions in appropriate places, the Thought Police of EV would tear 'em down within minutes. Obviously, EV holds an agenda to brainwash all students with a perverted, blind message of "tolerance for all regardless or whatever" without critical thinking.

Sadly, these are only a few problems. I've got to go to sleep now. More will come later.

23 October 2008

Goodbye SAT, hello ACT!

Well I did worse on the SAT than my previous time - a 1950 in Oct. 2008, compared to a 1990 back in May. I got the same score on the writing section (690) as last time but 20 points down on math (710 --> 690) and reading (590 --> 570). How could this happen, when I've gotten a 770 on the SAT Math level 2 subject test??!? Oh well it could be because of those pesky free-response questions or my inability to read the fine print. As for the reading section, often the reading passage questions tend to be so deceptive that only Valerie Plame could solve them...I kid you not, just ask anyone who's studied hard for the SAT (and eventually got a good or bad score).

Thus I have officially parted ways with the SAT starting today and will begin preparation for the much better and supposedly easier & more honest ACT. I picked up ACT registration materials at a college night held by my local school district and after finding my disappointing SAT score online I looked through the overview, and the ACT I think I can handle better. The ACT website (ACT.org) provides outline of the test, which goes in this order:
1. English (75 questions, 45 minutes) - questions cover both grammar and rhetoric. None of those pesky SAT "fill-in-the-blank" vocabulary questions! :D
2. Mathematics (60 questions, 1 hour) - covers most of everything from pre-Algebra to Trigonometry, similar to the SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2, again which I got a 770 score (on the 800 SAT scale)
3. Reading (40 questions, 35 minutes) - five passages organised into specific topics (i.e. humanities, sciences, literature) and multiple-choice questions. The ACT's description of this section makes it similar to the SAT reading passages section or any other reading comprehension test in general. But I hope that there are no "SAT Trick Questions" here with ambiguous answer choices
4. Science (40 questions, 35 minutes)- Unlike the SAT Subject Tests in Science, which test on the facts, the ACT Science section is more like a "scientific" version of section 3, with the main task to interpret graphs and other data based on basic scientific knowledge and reasoning.
5. Writing (optional) (1 essay, 30 minutes) - the optional and very last section of the SAT. It's a good thing that this is 5 minutes longer than the SAT essay, so I get more time to develop my ideas, something that 25 minutes hasn't given me an opportunity to do. Scholars have criticized the SAT essay section for not being reflective enough on real writing prompts that teachers normally assign.

And off to ACT prep I go! I will take the test 13 December, the last chance for me to take any SAT/ACT type test for college; deadline is 7 November (3 days after Election Day, to be easier). As I pointed out earlier, there requires extensive tutouring and "gaming the system" just to get above 2000 on the SAT! But the ACT seems more based on the facts rather than unnecessary junk "reasoning", so I hope to have a better chance there.

11 October 2008

What's going on at the Parents Television Council? - 12 Oct 2008

To be honest, nothing much really except the weekly regulars, as the PTC's front-page press release index still expresses complaints about the 25 September episode of Survivor: Gabon with the hidden private part. But anyhow...(these were all written on 10 October 2008)
- Best Show of the Week: America's Got Talent (NBC)
- Worst Show of the Week: Bones (Fox) (not to be surprising; any crime drama will always wind up on PTC's worst section)
- Worst Cable Content of the Week: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
- Misrated: N/A (still not updated as of 12 September - looks like the networks are properly rating their shows!)
- TV Trends: "The Fall 2008 Season: Teens Having Sex"

Now the Best Show of the Week pick - being NBC's America's Got Talent was pretty surprising given that the show was a topic of two Worst of the Week reviews in the past (7 July 2006 and 9 August 2006) when the more "family-oriented" Regis Philbin was host. In 2007, talk show host Jerry Springer (who most of us know as the host of that controversial daytime trash talk show) came in as host. PTC didn't comment on that for 2007; 2008 comes with the third season, Springer again hosts. PTC discusses AGT in TV Trends columns (27 June 2008, 17 July 2008 and 25 July 2008) before this "Best of the Week" review, which mentions only the positive, and not negative, aspects of the show that PTC sees. I find this as an example of how PTC knows that TV shows can be a bit off-colour yet still be "family-friendly". Another example of this attitude is with ABC's Dancing With the Stars, whose 2007-2008 season finale was the Best Show of the Week just over a month after PTC put up an episode of the series as "misrated" for being "TV-PG" sans an "L" for some bleeped language.

Moving on to PTC's "Worst Show" review of Fox crime drama Bones, a show I don't watch as I prefer CBS's Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and CSI, and NBC's Law & Order. Personally I don't know how Bones is conceptually different from CSI, but if you'd like to clarify me feel free to drop me a comment and I'll think about it. Just browse through PTC's Best/Worst shows list and notice that a lot of crime dramas and medical shows get recognised for the graphic violence and other abysmal content. In this case, the reviewer asserts: "Admittedly, the rest of the show is relatively tame, but it should be noted that the series’ goriest material consistently airs at the beginning of the Family Hour." Sorry, the Family Hour is simply the product of opinion; factually the concept has been dormant for over 30 years now, and new technology like the V-Chip can block bad shows like Bones if parents don't want their kids to see that kind of show. At the end of the review, the reviewer devotes a whole paragraph to the FCC's lack of oversight over TV violence and complains that parents can't really prevent kids from seeing this show while channel-surfing. Well, that's why you look up the darn TV listings (on sites like TVGuide.com, Zap2It.com, network webpages, or your local newspaper) or set your V-Chip to block all TV-14 shows or whatever - in fact the Fox network website maintains a list of all ratings for Bones episodes seasons 1-3 (these are links to popup window pages for the old schedule format from Fox.com; the newer schedule format no longer uses this format.) But I found this press release that puts up a "TV-14-DL" rating for the episode, so I think most kids under 14 whose parents properly set up the V-Chip are safe.

PTC has tackled the issue of a "TV-14-DL" rating for Bones before; that was back in December 2007 because PTC believes that graphic imagery itself = violence. But the truth is that the V descriptor is really for violent actions not consequential images! Today I was just watching a recorded copy of a CSI: Miami episode ("Miami Confidential") that was "TV-14-DLV" and had several scenes of violence (as most CSI episodes do) to demonstrate what the criminals allegedly did and in context of police tracking down suspect. THESE are the perfect examples of rating TV shows, as PTC asks the question "So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?"

Moving on to the Cable Worst review for the FX comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - a show I'm not too familiar with, so I won't go too deep here. PTC makes a good case for cable choice: the renewal of the series. "This past summer, FX announced that it had bought three more 13-episode seasons of Sunny beyond the current fourth, thus ensuring that the show will continue to take the most vulgar terms and turn them into storylines." But readers and parents should also note that Dirt and The Riches - both among FX's line of "edgy" TV-MA late-night dramas too risky for Fox - both got cancelled due to ratings and production troubles (especially due to the writers' strike) so I'd think twice about whether my cable bill would be subsidizing "everything" on FX. By the way, two - TWO - PTC "Seal of Approval"-winning films are to be shown on FX in coming days! Invincible, a 2006 film based on the beginning of Vince Papale's career with the Philadlephia Eagles, is to be shown Tuesday the 14th at 7:30 PM and the next day at 5:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific time, check local listings) on FX; Radio, another "football movie", is on Monday the 13th at 9PM and the next day 4:30PM. For some reason, PTC seldom reports on its "Seal of Approval" programmes shown on FX or other networks (last year FX dedicated all Thanksgiving Day to family films - and PTC was dreadfully silent). Don't forget that The Bernie Mac Show, King of the Hill, and Malcolm in the Middle are all relatively clean TV-PG sitcoms shown frequently in weekday daytime hours on FX.

Which brings me to PTC's continued silence on the cancellation of BET's Rap City (see update #2 below) or BET's syndication of Smart Guy, a show that's been on PTC's "Best Shows of the Year" list in the past. Why is it that PTC almost always is quick to report on the negatives on the cable networks yet ignores the positive (even Seal of Approval!) programming on the networks? If PTC could get more families to watch Radio or Invincible on FX maybe that'll encourage FX to lean more towards family audiences. But making sure that FX continues to schedule the usual TV-MA raunch during the 10PM hour (when it's really really hard for young children to watch) is part of PTC's strategy to put more power in the cable consumer's wallets from the Big Media. That's why parents shouldn't rely on PTC as their sole guide for TV - look up shows on the TV listings, for crying out loud! That's how I knew that FX would be showing those movies - I keep tabs on the local cable company listings on my Zap2It account even though I personally don't have cable myself, to fact-check on the PTC's biased coverage of cable TV.

And finally, to this week's TV Trends article "The Fall 2008 Season: Teens Having Sex". Programs in question include: the 15 September episode of CW's 90210 (back in 1997 PTC picked the original Fox version as among the worst shows of the year) that had the infamous "oral sex in the car" scene. That episode was rated "TV-14-DLS"; I watched the first few minutes of the show, and the scene itself, and I question if it directly implied the girl had her mouth on the boy's crotch. Then there are scenes from CW's Gossip Girl and Privileged and ABC's Private Practice (spinoff of the network's Grey's Anatomy) that seem to glorify teen sex. To demonstrate the perceived bias of Hollywood in favour of sex, the author states: "Of course, to Hollywood, sex is an activity to be indulged in without the slightest thought, and it never, ever has negative consequences. Now added to this longtime perspective is a seemingly an organized agenda on the part of the entertainment industry to convince viewers that 14-year-olds are adults, fully competent to make adult decisions about drinking, using drugs and having sexual relationships…and that the most “responsible” way of helping teens be happy is to urge them to use condoms, rather than abstaining from sexual activity for which they are not ready."

In other words, to Hollywood, abstaining from sex is uncool and boo-worthy. The author concludes: "Hollywood’s producers would no doubt hide behind the excuse that this is 'just a TV show,' and that what they show has no influence whatsoever on their teen viewers. But when top fashion designers compete to have their clothing seen on Gossip Girl, and when corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars on TV commercials aimed at children and teens, such an argument seems spurious at best. TV does not force teens to engage in sexual activity; but by portraying such activity as normal and even exciting, it is definitely encouraging teens to make decisions they may regret." Yep, I've heard the "family values" people argue about TV being able to influence the kids' worldviews. But then: that's why parents talk to their kids about sex, and schools educate about protection! Here's my challenge: How can teens "regret" having sex if they've used protection and thus have less consequences? And isn't abstinence an all-too-obvious choice that the Family Values Right has been advancing way too far by spreading blatant misinformation about?

Before I leave I'd like to quickly mention that the PTC hasn't found a "misrated" TV show since Gossip Girl back in mid-September. Obviously that might mean that every TV show on since then has been properly rated. In fact, Fox network Standards & Practices seems to be reading from the PTC's playbook: The first two episodes of the new season were both "TV-14-DLSV", and the season premiere of The Simpsons was "TV-14-DLSV" (although that's a rating normally reserved for the Treehouse of Horror shows, but this episode was not). I wonder how long the PTC will continue to slack on that column, just as it did for much of 2008 with the Worst Cable Content reviews.

Follow-up (12 Oct): I just happened to realise that PTC does have "weekly picks" of the most family-friendly programmes on cable television. For the 13th and 14th I see no sign of Invincible or Radio, but for some reason PTC finds the contemporary romantic comedy You've Got Mail on ABC Family to be more "Family-friendly" than Radio on FX - is it because you don't want families' eyes to be on the same channel that produces Sons of Anarchy?

Follow-up 2: Actually the PTC issued statement to the news but for some reason not on its own website, to The Washington Times for instance. The PTC and other groups like Industry Ears/Enough is Enough issued the statement jointly - I apologise for my mistake.

10 October 2008

The long-lost albums we've been waiting for

This morning, the Woody Show on local rock station 105.3 "Live 105" reported that Guns N' Roses's long-awaited Chinese Democracy album is finally coming out on 23 November 2008. Wikipedia cites articles from MTV News and Reuters for the date.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dre's Detox is now scheduled for sometime in December 2008, as confirmed by an official press release.

07 October 2008

today's town hall debate

I spent dinnertime and afterwards watching today's "Town hall" presidential debate between Obama and McCain on NBC. It was a fairly interesting and attention-grabbing one, with former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw moderating at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Obama and McCain had some strong answers to all of Brokaw's questions, all of which came from potential voters. Topics discussed today included health care, the War on Terror, and the bailout. The final debate will be next Wednesday.

It was pretty funny to see the poor camera setup as sometimes when the camera was pointed at Brokaw's face, Obama's and McCain's bodies suddenly obfuscate Brokaw. xD Also the candidates seemed to babble on beyond their time limits! Brokaw joked that keeping that up would give the debate a time deficit bigger than the government's budget/financial deficits!

This morning on NBC's Today show, political correspondent Chuck Todd noticed a lot of the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls predicting a win for Barack Obama in several battleground states.

Also it's funny how Ann Curry and a lot of other mainstream media pundits (not in Fox News) are so sensitive to Barack Obama's middle name "Hussein".

04 October 2008

What's going on at the Parents Television Council? (Oct. 4, 2008)

[Before I get to the juicy realm of the PTC a little personal note:] This morning I took the SAT college entrance examination at my school, the second time after receiving a 1990 from the May 2008 administration. After getting to my senses and studying some more vocabulary and math strategies over the summer, I'm confident that I'll get a score at least in the 2000 range this time. If I still get lower than 2100 my brain might as well be wired for the ACT instead. Now that the SAT is out of the way my focus now will shift to driver's education and college applications.

Now to the PTC, in the abscence of PTC posts from the I Am a Child of TV blog (last time a "Who does the PTC hate This Week?" was posted was 15 August) Basically, over the past few weeks or so PTC has been focusing on:
- FCC Complaints (Regarding alleged indecency on Survivor: Gabon [CBS] and Today [NBC])
- Dr. Delman L. Coates, leader of the "Enough is Enough" campaign and advisor for PTC's April 2008 Rap on Rap research report, joins the Advisory Board
- Regarding CW's new show 90210 (remake of the 1990s Fox series Beverly Hills, 90210) Darden Restaurants, which owns such chains as Olive Garden and Red Lobster, wins the "Seal of Approval" for pulling out sponsorship the show; PTC also praised the CW network itself for allowing some advertiser advance screening after it reportedly did not.
- PTC has filed an amicus curiae brief to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "against NYPD Blue" (in case you don't understand the controversy surrounding Blue, an award-winning crime drama that ran on ABC from 1993-2005, see this article from The Washington Post)
- And finally, an appeal to both "Democrats and Republicans" to advance "cable choice"

The following are the latest items from PTC's weekly entertainment reviews, updated 3 Oct.
- Best Show of the Week: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC) (I've seen PTC award EMHE "Best Show" 15 or more times before in the past year)
- Worst Show of the Week: Survivor (CBS) (all because of the indecent incident, see below)
- Worst Cable Content of the Week: Skins (BBC America)
- Misrated: N/A (most recent was the Gossip Girl report from 12 September)
- TV Trends: "Broadcast Networks: More Gore in Store For Viewers"

Now for my opinions on PTC's latest front-page headlines. Could the Survivor: Gabon wardrobe malfunction - in which part of the penis of contestant Marcus Lehman (not sure if he's related to the Lehman Brothers) flew out of his boxers for just less than a second in normal video time - be a repeat of the Janet Jackson "Nipplegate" scandal from the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show? The episode originally aired on CBS Thurs., 25 Sept.; the earliest source that I could find reporting on the nudity was a Defamer blog post from Monday the 29th. Next day on my RSS reader (feed of Google News searching keyword "Parents Television Council" exact phrase) came both PTC and Broadcasting & Cable reporting on the exposure; following up were news outlets Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cleveland Plain Dealer, E! Online, KNBC Television, Knoxville News-Sentinel and The Washington Post; and blogs Buzzkilled, Jossip and TMZ. Dang, that was a LOT of blog attention spawned by PTC! But here's my question: How come it took an entire weekend for the PTC to figure out that it was indeed Lehman's penis. All the video I've been able to find was either modified or slo-mo so I can't judge anything for now. PTC even acknowledges that it took high technology rather than real-time viewing to see Lehman's private: "...in the age of HD, digital video recorders, and high-speed internet, it quickly became immortalized as an unending slow-motion loop on numerous blogs." That's true, given all the links I've provided. Now that PTC's admitted it, I suppose it's just another badge on PTC's overcrowded coat of achievements and milestones, to ensure that the networks get as much money sucked out by the FCC as possible so that they can stop producing all that sludge that's destroying our children's innocence. Wait, actually only girls' innocences are at risk here; don't males already know what their privates look like? (another issue at stake here is the disturbance of being "flashed") Compare the five-day reaction time to realise, "Oh no! That was a penis!" to the less-than-12-hour reaction to Hans Lange's S-word on his 11 Sept. Today show interview (PTC's press release in response to that is dated 11 September)

Next is the Cable Worst of the Week, Skins, which currently airs in the US on the BBC America cable channel, which last time I checked is available only on digital cable/satellite in my area and possibly other places. I first heard of the show on the 19 September TV Trends column "Britain pushes Gossip Girl envelope with Skins". According to the author, the show "was nominated for British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards (equivalent to the American Emmys) for Best Drama and Break-Thru Talent...won for Best Title Sequence...[and] was also given the prestigious Europe-wide Rose d’Or award for Best Drama in 2008."

As I'm reading down the transcript provided in the column, I'm a bit shocked to see that such language would be used in an ostensibly "Teen-targeted" programme; this show sounds more like The Sopranos, whose first season I've been watching lately on DVD and enjoying. Columnist Christopher Gildemeister also asserts that in the UK Skins is shown on digital-cable channel E4, owned by broadcaster Channel 4. Wikipedia claims that Channel 4 (a terrestrial channel over in Britain) shows the series "3 days after the digital". Wikipedia's entry about the programme also lists channels worldwide that reportedly show Skins; the earliest timeslots for the show are apparently in New Zealand (8:30 PM Mondays, C4TV) Norway (8:40 PM Thursdays, NRK). Everywhere else, you'll have to stay up past 10PM local time (or 22:00 as they might say), since those nations might have American type of sensitivities to Sopranos-level swearing and sexuality.

Now it's pretty dubious to consider Skins "teen-targeted" to begin with; in the US, BBC America rates the show "TV-MA". Or is this another type of "Family Guy strawman" that PTC uses to consider the "TV-14" Family Guy targeted to children (I mean younger than 14 if that's what they mean). If that's the case then I guess it's absolutely absurd to compare Skins with Gossip Girl - I've followed much of the first GG season, and the storylines seem much more polished and thoughtful compared to the alleged cheap raunch of Skins. In fact, the official sites of Skins for the US, UK, and NZ all have "mature audience" warnings!

The TV Trends author also suggests that "the show’s rancid content which should cause every parent who receives BBC America to look into blocking the channel" - using the standard "every American pays for every channel" rhetoric used all the campaign for cable choice. Really? Never mind the other less ranchy shows on BBC America! Any parent wishing to find out if BBC America really belongs on the family cable lineup would want to look up Common Sense Media's list of BBCA shows - there seem to be family-friendly programmes on BBCA like You Are What You Eat, Top Gear, and Cash in the Attic. And BBCA also has a daily World News America show and has even broadcast the US presidential debates! Did you know that BBC also produced ABC's Dancing with the Stars, a show that PTC has frequently lauded It ain't the end of the world yet...

Regarding me and British TV, the only BBC programme I watch regularly is the simulcast of the BBC World News on my local PBS station. I've also watched some of the BBC-produced documentary Planet Earth (shown in the US on the Discovery Channel) and on PBS earlier in the year I watched the BBC's miniseries adaption of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a novel I studied in AP English Literature at the time. Where I live, the PBS stations (KQED and KTEH) show heavy bunch of British programming, such as Doctor Who (the old version) and Are You Being Served?, in addition to BBC World News. Heroes, a favourite show of mine that's on NBC, is shown on BBC2 in UK!

Unfortunately my only choice if I ever want to watch Skins is to either download it illegally of P2P (and avoid subsidising BBC America for importing that trashy show across the Atlantic, as PTC suggests) or to find a friend who legally subscribes to digital cable/satellite and ask for a DVR copy.

Moving on to Dr. Coates' entry into The PTC Advisory Board: I appreciate what he's done to advise the PTC to take action against the flood of trashy, sleazy rap videos that used to be rampant on MTV and BET when kids could be watching. However, PTC has yet to report on BET's "cleaner" lineup, which includes the former WB network sitcom Smart Guy (a past "Best Show of the Year" as ranked by PTC) or The Steve Harvey Show, a more reverent type of show. Also for some reason Rap City is not going to be shown on BET next week, but for now it's too early to determine cancellation status. Finally, MTV hasn't shown Sucker Free since June - JUNE! - but PTC has been long silent on this and other "improvements" while having time to report on other trivial business like the Survivor: Gabon wardrobe malfunction. I wish PTC would at least report more on "positive" programming on TV rather than focus on cleaning up the "negative" - given PTC's influence upon FCC legislation would PTC influence viewership well by promoting the good stuff rather than stressing the bad stuff?