I could certainly live without most of the 360 channels I guess I receive.
I could certainly live without most of the 360 channels I guess I receive.

Is it finally time to cut the cord?

Each month, I pay AT&T $205.02 for its U-Verse and broadband Internet service.

That’s $83 a month for the U200 plan, $16 a month for HBO, and something called an "HD Technology Fee" for $10 per month … plus a whole bunch in taxes and government fees. My Internet fees come to $70.75 after tax, for speeds up to 24 Mbps (although I’ve never seen it anywhere close to that).

Before I switched to U-Verse, I was a Time Warner/RoadRunner customer. The speed, channels and prices were similar, but the service was glitchy, and the customer service was miserable.

Either way, I’m paying a lot of money for Internet and the maybe 10 channels I watch on my TV.

Like you, probably, I watch a lot of content on my iPad, via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Go (which is included in my $16 per month plan). I watch some network TV, as well as shows on AMC. I watch Brewers games on FS Wisconsin. I usually read my national/international news online, but if I need to see it, I watch CNN. My kid watches a few shows on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel and the Cartoon Network, but she prefers viewing content on "her" iPad.

That’s about it, though. I could certainly live with out most of the 360 channels I guess I receive. It would be nice to spend less than $2,500 each year on Internet and TV.

So, I get why so many people want to cut the cord. With almost everything – but not really everything – available in an online on-demand version, the cable or satellite TV model is pretty archaic. And today, AT&T acknowledged this by unveiling DirecTV Now, a streaming service that will go head-to-head with cable (and its own soon-to-be-discontinued U-Verse) service, for $35-70 a month with 60-120 channels and a free Apple TV. It will be available on pretty much every platform except Roku at first. The first version will not have any sort of DVR or pausing abilities.

The packages break down to this:

  • Live a Little: $30 a month (60+ channels)
  • Just Right: $50 a month (80+ channels)
Short of starting WWIII, Donald Trump may not be able to destroy the nation in just four years.
Short of starting WWIII, Donald Trump may not be able to destroy the nation in just four years. (Photo: Docaeby, CC BY-SA 4.0)

America may yet survive four years of Trump

In this darkest moment in modern U.S. history, I’m looking for a silver lining.

This is the best I’ve got: The president is not a king.

While he can make some executive decisions that could be world-ending, like nuking Iran or Syria or anyone else who offends him on Twitter, the majority of a president’s powers are kept in check by Congress and the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump cannot tear up the Constitution and keep his job. This isn’t Putin’s Russia (yet).

The House of Representatives is the junior varsity team of Congress, and they've proved their incompetency and inexperience time and time again. However, the Senate retains at least a modicum of decorum.

While the Senate holds a 51-47 Republican advantage, it also contains moderate patriots like John McCain and Marco Rubio. There are plenty of senators who don't want to see their country go straight to hell.

The Supreme Court situation is a little more scary. Because the somewhat rational Senate was derelict in confirming a justice this year, the next one will be nominated by Trump and could be a wingnut. However, the only vacancy in the Supreme Court is left by the most conservative justice one can imagine, so nothing really changes there.

It’s concerning to prognosticate that 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg might not make it through Trump’s term, but that spitfire can still do one-armed pushups. We don’t know if or when the next opening will come up.

Don’t get me wrong. This could be bad. Trump's acerbic and reckless words can have a huge impact on stock markets and geopolitical events that will be felt around the world. He may open the door for unchecked aggression by Russia and genocidal tragedies in the Middle East. He may drive the world into another Great Depression, wiping out the savings of the very people who voted for him. Ironically, that could turn this country's wealth system upside down, which would lead to some very unintended consequences. It’s gonna be weird.

But loo…