HIGHTOWER: Hate Cell Phones? Jam 'Em

At last -- a technological device we truly need!Leave it to the Japanese to find a way for us to combat the intrusiveness of modern technological gadgetry . . . with another gadget. In this case, the technological Darth Vader that we're combating are those clamorous, infuriating cell phones. No matter where you are -- in a coffee shop, at the theater, even in church for God's sake! -- there's likely to be some yo-yo yacking into a cell phone as loud as can be, acting super important and generally being a full-fledged public pest.So you sit there stewing, trying your best to ignore the noise, even while your mind involuntarily plots various grotesque and brutally-painful ways to murder the S.O.B. But wait, say Japanese entrepreneurs, we've got a better way for you to stifle the technological terrorism of cell phones: a jamming device.According to an AP story out of Tokyo, you can get a short-range jammer there that renders these rude phones mute. No calls can come in, none can go out -- it effectively turns the blankety-blank cell phone off.The standard jammer only has a radius of about 20 feet, but that's enough to shut-down any cell-phoner who's yammering away in a restaurant or who takes a call in a movie theater. At $480 each, the devices are pretty pricey, but just imagine the sheer joy of jamming some jerk in mid-sentence -- that's gotta give you a priceless thrill!Of course, where there's progress . . . there's a bureaucracy trying to squash it. Japan's ministry of communications, probably carrying water for the cell-phone makers, has ruled that the jammers can be used only in theaters or concert halls, claiming that [quote] "malicious use of jammers could threaten the integrity of the phone system." Hey, what about the malicious use of cell phones?This is Jim Hightower saying . . . They'll get my jammer when they pry my cold, dead fingers from around it.

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