Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alexander, let the market decide if phones can be used on airplanes

Senator Lamar Alexander said today that he would introduce legislation, if necessary, to prohibit the Federal Communication Commission from allowing the use of cell phones on air planes.  I do not support him on this and think he should butt out.

Up until recently cell phone use and other electronic devices were prohibited on air planes because there was concern that they could interfere with communications and present a safety risk. That has now been determined not to be the case. The FCC is considering lifting the ban.

There are a lot of things I don't like, but I don't necessarily think there ought to necessarily be a law against it. I don't like saggy baggy pants. I think they look ridiculous. I have seen young men, most often Black boys, have to hold their pants up with one hand. I understand this fashion originated as an imitation of prison clothing where men are not permitted to wear belts. The fashion is a sad commentary on the state of the Black community, but I wouldn't outlaw saggy pants.

I don't like facial piercing of the eyebrow or lips. It looks like it would hurt. It is disgusting. It makes me cringe,  but I don't want to make it against the law.

I hate rap music, but I don't think it ought to be a crime if someone plays it and I happen to overhear it.

I really don't like crying babies on airplanes or in restaurants or at concerts or movies or almost anywhere. Parents with crying babies should remove then from public spaces. On an air plane you can't, of course. Still, I would not want it to be a fifty dollar fine if your baby cries in public.

I really hate the peace sign and I hate the image of Che Guevara. They offend me. I don't, however, think they should be against the law. Neither do I think the hammer and sickle, the swastika or the confederate flag should be outlawed nor the Malcolm X baseball cap.

I never did think we should have outlawed smoking in public places. Ok, maybe on planes. I do remember when one could smoke on planes. As soon as the "no smoking" sign went off, half the plane lit up. It must have been hell for non-smokers. I remember when people used to smoke in elevators and almost everywhere. Long after smoking in public has become taboo in America, when I would vacation in foreign countries I was amazed at how smoking in public was still acceptable. So, while I would not want to return to smoking everywhere, I would permit smoking in bars. Actually I think if we removed all legal bans on smoking in places like airplanes, the airplanes themselves would prohibit it, so I don't think the ban needs to be a law. Anyway, I kind of like smoke-filled bars. In New Orleans you can still smoke in bars. I think it should be up to the establishment to establish their own smoking policy.

In Tennessee we have left it up to the restaurants to determine the policy on guns. Maybe that is some of that Tennessee conservative common sense Alexander talks about. A restaurant may ban guns in their establishment but it is not illegal for those with a carry permit who are packing to enter an establishment that sells alcohol.

I am often offended by others' cell phone use. Some people are downright rude talking in a loud voice while next to you in a restaurant for instance. I would hate to be on an air plane with the person sitting next to me talking non-stop on the phone for hours on end. However, I think if the government stays out of it, reasonable policies will develop. Some air lines may establish no cell phone policies and other air lines may ban them. If it is an important concern, that can be one more factor in choosing your airline. Some airlines may establish cell phone sections and non-cell phone sections. Some airlines may permit phone calls but restrict the duration of calls. Airlines will try to accommodate their passengers and this thing will work itself out. And, if government stays out of it some people may learn some manners and ask, "would it bother you, if I made a short phone call?"

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