Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:34 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 4

The FCC comes out plainly in favor of ‘Net neutrality. That’s wonderful, but the devil will be in the details of the regulations, which have yet to be written.

Former Michigan attorney general Andrew Shirvell must pay $3.5 million in damages to a gay college student whom he stalked online and in real life. Dude, wouldn’t asking him out, getting shot down, and then moving on with your life have been  a lot cheaper?

A creationist theme park in Kentucky that wants both $18 million in state tax credits AND the right to discriminate on the basis of religion has sued the state, which is insisting on either/or. Guys, look up the Bob Jones University case, decided more than 30 years ago. Penguins will ice skate in Hell before you win this.

If you’re waiting on the Supreme Court to settle the question of mandatory vaccination, you can stop; it already did. In 1905.

Vermont’s new motto is in Latin. So what do conservatives do? Start bashing Latinos, obviously. Teh_Stoopid: It burns.

New York police commissioner Ray Kelly, whose fascistic tendencies already have gotten full display in cases of violence committed by his cops, now wants to be able to make resisting arrest by protesters a felony offense. Because there’s no way THAT would ever be abused.

Here in Greensboro, state Sen. Trudy Wade has introduced a bill to change the current city council election system (mayor and three other members elected at large, plus five district members, so that any one voter can vote for a majority of the council) to seven members, all elected from districts, plus a mayor, and to extend terms from two years to four, and other mischief. I’ll probably say more about that later, but the short version is that it’s a bad idea and Trudy should sit down and shut the hell up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:58 am

Tell the FCC we want real ‘Net neutrality

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 6:58 am

The Federal Communications Commission is considering making it OK to privilege the content of big telcos (primarily everybody’s favorite person, the cable companies) over the content of independent operators, be they Netflix or, say, the small business you might someday start.

This is not OK. The Internet was built with tax dollars, even if it now is in private hands. All bits traversing the Internet need to be treated equally. In a free country, choke points and kill switches ought to be unthinkable.

Let Congress and the FCC know how you feel. I  have.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:55 pm

Another free-market fundamentalist admits he was wrong.

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Fortunately it was only about the Internet, not anything really important.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:55 pm

Memo to American for Prosperity

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 9:55 pm
Tags: , ,

I see you guys intend to spend close to a million and a half to “keep the FCC from taking over the Internet.”

Which, while technically true in a regulatory sense, is grossly untrue in terms of what it means for everyday users.

The FCC is going to take steps to keep things exactly the way they are. Which is a good thing, in the sense that everybody gets the same level of service regardless of how they’re using it, and if you want even faster service, you can get it by paying for it, not by using it in certain ways that your Internet provider likes better than certain other ways.

Americans for Prosperity is Grover Norquist, and Grover Norquist is not just one of the ringleaders of the IGMFY crowd, he has actual blood on his hands from people who have died from lack of adequate health care, workplace-safety enforcement and all manner of other things that good government is supposed to do.

So, unless you’re a billionaire, you don’t need Grover Norquist. And you sure as hell don’t need to believe him.

Correction: Americans for Prosperity is this other bunch of corporate whores.

Friday, May 7, 2010 10:46 pm

Protecting ‘Net neutrality

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 10:46 pm

The FCC appears to be planning to exploit one of the few non-objectionable parts of the 1996 Telecommuncations Act to 1) maintain ‘Net neutrality and 2) keep itself on solid legal ground while doing so.

There’s still time for Obama, Congress or the FCC itself to screw this up, and the fact that a rumor was floated earlier this week that the FCC wouldn’t defend ‘Net neutrality suggests there’s some support in the White House for letting it go by the boards (***cough*** Rahm Emanuel ***cough***), but I think the worst might be behind us on this. As a once and no doubt future freelancer, I certainly hope so.

Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:35 pm

Gasping for breath

The deluge is not over, but the worst of it has passed, and I now have a wee bit of breathing space. So, let’s see, what has happened while I’m gone? Nothing good, it seems:

I have no idea when I’ll be back, so this’ll have to do ya for a while.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 8:53 pm

Shorter GOP: Screw free markets

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:53 pm
Tags: ,

This is a textbook case in which government must intervene in a market — to keep the market competitive:

Just hours after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed expanding the network neutrality authority of the agency Sept. 21, Senate Republicans moved to block the initiative. Using an appropriations bill as a vehicle, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced an amendment that would deny the FCC any funds for developing or implementing new Internet regulations.

“I am deeply concerned by the direction the FCC appears to be heading. Even during a severe downturn, America has experienced robust investment and innovation in network performance and online content and applications,” Hutchison said in a statement. “For that innovation to continue, we must tread lightly when it comes to new regulations. Where there have been a handful of questionable actions in the past on the part of a few companies, the commission and the marketplace have responded swiftly.”

This is a tad subtle, so follow the bouncing ball. The FCC is proposing rules that would forbid Internet carriers from giving some users and uses (applications) better network performance than others. Yes, “FCC rules” are government involvement in the marketplace, but in this case the purpose of the rules is to make free a market that, were the Internet service providers given their way, would NOT be free.

The rules would enforce a policy, known as network neutrality or net neutrality, that would treat users equally and allow the market, not Internet service providers, to decide what applications will succeed.

Now, note that this has nothing to do with the size of the pipe. If you run a T-3 line into your house, you’re obviously going to have greater bandwidth than your neighbor with the DSL connection. The point here is that if you both have DSL lines (or, for that matter, T-3s), you should experience comparable results with comparable equipment and comparable applications. And Time-Warner Cable, say, shouldn’t be able to download its own video to you faster than competitor Netflix, assuming the videos are identical.

This perfectly reasonable and arguably conservative (in an Adam Smith sense) proposal has attracted opposition from Republicans. (What’s worse, rather than tackling the issue directly, they’re trying to get at it through an arguably unrelated amendment to a spending bill.) I don’t know whether that’s because their corporate cronies are bummed about losing a chance at getting an unfair advantage, or because they now reflexively oppose anything proposed by Obama or any other Democrat, or what. But the bottom line is that the FCC proposal is good for consumers, good for small businesses, good for innovation, good for competition and painless for large corporations. There’s no downside for anyone not afraid of honest competition.

Perhaps that’s the problem.

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