Friday Mashup (11/08/13)

November 8, 2013
  • I give you Repug U.S. House Rep Lamar Smith of Texas (here, in a recent column)…

    We must set priorities and get our nation’s spending under control. To accomplish this we must reform entitlement programs. If we don’t, experts warn, future funding for other budget priorities, including scientific research, could be in jeopardy.

    I have to admit that this is kind of an interesting twist on the typical extortion theme of Smith and his party, as noted here; basically, kick “the poors,” steal Grandma’s Social Security and take her health coverage so she dies early, and THEN we’ll decide to invest in scientific research to create industries in this country that (hopefully) will produce good paying jobs so today’s college graduates won’t still be living at home with mom and dad into their 50s (the students, I mean).

    And just as a reminder as to how we got to this point, this tells us about the effect of the ruinous “sequester” on scientific research (which Smith voted for, of course, as noted here). Also, to give you an idea of how supposedly enlightened Smith is on these matters, this (second bullet) tells us how he falsely charged that scientists hid data that supposedly contradicted the science on man-made climate change, to the point where Smith tried to pass a law requiring politicians to approve scientific funding (and he appointed Teahadist extraordinaire Paul Broun as chairman of the committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, a guy who called the evolution and “big bang” theories “lies from the pit of hell” as noted here).

    Oh, and this tells us about Smith’s typical avoidance on the issue of tar sands pollution. And unrelated to science, this tells us that Smith railed about that Kenyan Muslim Socialist prioritizing the deportation of criminals and violent offenders over, say, students, when in 1999, Smith wrote a letter to then-President Clinton encouraging him to do the very thing that Number 44 is doing right now.

    I can’t really think of a wrap-up to this item that tops this pic (applicable to Smith and his pals), so here it is.

  • bird

  • Next, did you know that the disastrous cut in food stamps, affecting about 47 million Americans, was the fault of the U.S. Congressional Democrats?

    Someone named Hughey Newsome at The Daily Tucker tries to explain here

    The expiration of this expanded spending was embedded in the infamous stimulus bill that was rammed through Congress by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in 2009 at the behest of President Obama. Stimulus spending provided for only a temporary increase. After all, people were only supposed to need more SNAP money until the economy recovered. Surely, they figured, the economy would rebound in four-and-a-half years.

    But that was before things like Obamacare and the administration’s war on fossil fuels.

    OWWWWW!!! TEH STUPID!! IT BURNS US!!!

    (And oh yeah, Newsome also blames those pesky, burdensome government regulations which no one can ever seem to identify when they’re bitching about that “big gumint li-bu-ruul” Obama – and I suppose I’ll have to point out yet again here how oil drilling has actually increased under our current occupant of An Oval Office…it’s irrelevant to me whether or not it has increased on federally owned versus privately owned territory.)

    Also, as noted from here, 37 Democratic (including Al Franken of Minnesota) and 2 Independent senators wrote a letter that was sent to a House/Senate conference committee urging that bunch to preserve SNAP funding (nary a Republican on the list, of course). With that in mind, this provides a state-by-state breakdown of the impact of the SNAP cut.

    I think it’s a testimony to the overall moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party that they and their acolytes (including Newsome) have no trouble making the argument that the admitted food stamp boost under the stimulus is supposed to be temporary, and that it should be discontinued lest “the poors” use it for a hammock, or some such nonsense…then turn around a minute later and refuse to say the same thing about those stinking tax cuts of Obama’s wretched predecessor, which were also set to expire over a fixed period of time, as noted here.

  • Continuing, are you looking for someone from Not Your Father’s Republican Party (unless the father is Rafael Cruz, I guess) to put forward some brave, thoughtful policy ideas to address the many critical issues facing this nation?

    Well, Matthew Continetti of The Weakly Standard gives us what Mike Lee has to say on that subject here

    (Lee’s) tax plan would simplify and reduce rates and offer a $2,500 per-child credit (up from $1,000 today) that would offset both income and payroll taxes. His reform of labor laws would allow employees who work overtime to take comp time or flex time in lieu of pay—an option currently available to federal workers but not to the rest of us. His transportation bill would lower the federal gas tax and devolve power to the states and localities. And his education proposal would create a new optional system of accreditation: “States could accredit online courses, or hybrid models with elements on and off campus.” Parents and students would have more flexibility. They’d also have more choices.

    I will readily admit that I’m not an economist, but from my admittedly cursory review, Lee’s tax plan looks like another attempt to try and starve the government “beast” while giving me a pittance in return (and apparently losing my mortgage interest deduction – I’ve never been able to figure out exactly why the Repugs hate that so much). So, count me as siding with Matt Yglesias on this, as noted here; let Lee’s plan be scored by a reputable financial agency first.

    On Lee’s supposedly great plan to give more comp time “in lieu of pay,” Think Progress had something to say about that here. And as far as “lowering” the federal gas tax, do Lee/Continetti realize that the federal gas tax hasn’t risen in 20 years, as noted here? So if anything, the opposite is true (oh, and I can just imagine the zany wingnut hijinks that would ensue if this were left up to the states – can you see a bridge connecting, say, states with one Dem governor and one Repug one, and the Repug guv only agrees to bridge restorations on his or her side?).

    Oh, and under Lee’s “optional” school accreditation, all kinds of fraud and abuse would likely take place without strict federal oversight (here – somebody from WhatsaMatta U would try to market themselves as the online equivalent to an Ivy league school and likely trap a few gullible suckers).

    So basically, when it comes to brand spanking new proposals on how to make government more efficient and improve our lives in the process, look to someone else besides Mike Lee.

  • Further, I have a couple of tidbits related to President Obama and the health care law; first, I give you former Bushie Andrew Card (here – a tad behind the news cycle, I‘ll admit)…

    The man who served as chief of staff under former President George W. Bush and helped sell the Iraq War to the American people said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s entire team is guilty of misleading the public.

    Andy Card said that the current administration allowed Obama “to mislead the American people for so long” when he promoted the Affordable Care Act. Obama has come under fire recently for his previous claim that those who like their insurance plans can keep them under the health care law, a promise that hasn’t quite panned out as he said it would.

    “Well, first of all, I fault not only the President but I fault the people around the President for allowing him to mislead the American people for so long,” Card told the panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “His categorical statements were made not as a candidate but as a President of the United States and words do matter at the White House. And it’s usually somebody in the White House that goes to the President and says, ‘Mr. President, you said that but it’s not entirely true. You’ve got to put a caveat around it.'”

    Blah blah blah…try reading this and then get back to me, OK?

    And as TPM notes, Card has no room to criticize anyone when it comes to “mislead(ing) the American people for so long.” This tells us, among other things, that Card even claimed that Dubya was fiscally responsible, or something.

    My personal favorite from Card, though, is here, when he said in 2004 that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History would give John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in that election, “the respect of more time” before conceding; of course, there had been all kinds of voter abuse and disenfranchisement in Ohio at the time under then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and the Kerry team was trying to figure out what, if anything, they could do about it (to me, Card’s line was Bush-ese for “quit stalling and tell everybody I won, you brie-eating, sail boating, East Coast liberal, sponging off your wife’s ketchup fortune”).

    We also had this charming little item from Repug U.S. House Rep Trey Gowdy (with Fix Noise humanoid Megyn Kelly, on the matter of Obama saying that people wouldn’t lose their health insurance, as if Number 44, or any politician, can control what for-profit insurers decide to do)…

    I have never understood why politicians don’t look at their fellow citizens and say, “I made a mistake, I need you to forgive me and it won’t happen again.”

    In response, I give you this item from Gowdy, where he supported immigration reform once before he eventually decided to oppose it.

    So, I guess Gowdy’s original support was a “mistake” as far as he’s concerned? Why doesn’t he just apply his own test to himself?

    As usual, a Repug looks in a mirror and sees everyone’s reflection but their own.

  • Finally, I wanted to point out that I came across the following column recently by Neal Gabler of Reuters, in which he tells us the following…

    An editor championing truth over opinions shouldn’t be an earthquake. But it is. Journalistic extremes have long disregarded fact for ideology. However the bulwarks of American journalism — our mainstream newspapers, websites, magazines, and network news broadcasts — have opted for another principle: Every opinion, no matter how uninformed, deserves equal weight — and journalists dare not come down on one side or the other. It makes balance the new objectivity.

    This careful balancing act is now so commonplace that we hardly recognize it. Most anyone watching the evening network news during the government shutdown, for example, saw man-on-the-street interviews of first one person blaming the Republicans for the fiasco (for which they did bear the greatest responsibility), followed by another person blaming the Democrats, followed by a third blaming everyone in government. That has become standard journalistic practice in mainstream media outlets.

    A large reason for the “on-the-one-hand,” “on-the-other” reporting has been the success of conservatives in creating the shibboleth of a “liberal” media and then working the refs in that media to bend over backward to prove it isn’t true. No one, not least of all liberal editors, wants to be considered one-sided.

    I know this isn’t original stuff, but kudos to Gabler for pointing that out.

    I was reminded of how important it is to stress this over and over when I came across the following item recently on the Op-Ed page of the Bucks County Courier Times, the place where (more often than not) reasoned dialogue and informed commentary die a slow, painful death (by the way, John Carr is no better or worse than any of the wingnuts who fester and take up space in that paper)…

    J_Carr1a

    The highlighted statement is demonstrably false. No, it’s not an opposing point of view or some kind of alternative “take” based on a review of current events. It’s a lie. It is provably wrong (and the Courier Times obviously doesn’t know, or doesn’t care about the difference…sadly, they have a lot of company on that). And for proof, click here.

    The fact that the “fourth estate” has (for the most part) completely abdicated its responsibility to educate and inform (along with the fact that too many of us have let that happen) will be one of the epitaphs of this country over the last 30 years or so. And it is absolutely nothing to be proud of.

    Update 11/11/13: God, this is depressing – definitely thought she was better than that.


  • Friday Mashup (8/17/12)

    August 18, 2012
  • I’m overdue to clean out my “in” bin, so here goes…

    …a new book — “Who’s Counting?” by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky — charges that Al Franken’s 2008 defeat of incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman may be directly attributable to felons voting illegally.

    Coleman led on election night, but a series of recounts lasting eight months eventually gave the seat to the former Saturday Night Live star.

    Later, a conservative watchdog group matched criminal records with the voting rolls and discovered that 1,099 felons had illegally cast ballots. State law mandates prosecutions in such cases; 177 have been convicted so far, with 66 more awaiting trial.

    Franken’s eventual margin of “victory”? A mere 312 votes.

    (There are also allegations of Democratic Party voting shenanigans in Washington state and Connecticut that I may attempt to deal with on another day, if only to prove that the parties alleging wrongdoing are utterly wrong once more.)

    In response, this tells us the following…

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful, just instructive, but I’d like to comment on the comments of Sen. Coleman and Gov. Pawlenty. As we know, Coleman won the 2002 Senate election 11 days after incumbent Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash. Polls showed Wellstone was going to win that election. For Coleman to call Franken “an accidental senator” is tragically ironic, for there are some who believe Coleman was the original accidental senator.

    As for the governor, he has spoken three times about the recount, and he’s been a bit fast and loose with his facts. First, in the early days of the recount, he spread — on Fox News — the completely untrue story about Minneapolis ballots that were supposedly being driven around in the alleged trunk of an unknown and non-existent elections official. He spoke of this days after it was reported that the story was a fable.

    Later, in a call with reporters, he overstated by thousands of percentage points the increase of absentee voters in 2008, trying to say that Franken won the election because of that.

    In fact, Franken won the recount by 49 votes BEFORE absentee ballots were counted.

    Media Matters has a typically thorough takedown of Fund and von Spakovsky here, pretty much destroying their evergreen charges that Al Franken somehow managed to steal the Minnesota U.S. Senatorial election four years ago.

    This is par for the proverbial course for Fund and (in particular) von Spakovsky; this tell us that the latter “served” as a Justice Department lawyer who was also Republican Party chairman in Fulton County, Ga. before going to Washington; while in the Peach State, von Spakovsky worked towards requiring Georgia voters to have photo identification, which (as we now know) disenfranchises primarily Democratic voters.

    In the typically inside-out world of Republican Party politics, this of course makes Fund and von Spakovsky the perfect choices to scream about election impropriety (when others are responsible, of course).

  • Next, I give you more hilarity from Flush Limbore (here), who said that “some guy” apparently told him that President Obama had had the worst grades of any Harvard student (typical).

    Gee, I wonder if that’s why Laurence Tribe, one of Obama’s former professors, once called the president “the best student he ever had” here?

    You know what, Foxies? Why don’t you just stick to doing what you do well (as illustrated below) and leave news/political commentary for the grownups (I can dream, can’t I?).

  • Further, I give you Ken Blackwell at The Daily Tucker (here, regarding veep Joe Biden’s recent “chains” remark – please)…

    So who was it, Mr. Vice President, that broke those slave chains? It was the Republicans. Republican Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and signed the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery. It was Republicans who passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution that abolished slavery, provided for equal protection for former slaves, and extended the suffrage to them.

    Every vote cast against those constitutional amendments was cast by a Democrat. Every vote cast against every Civil Rights Act in the 19th century was cast by a Democrat.

    …Uh, no. As noted here

    (The 1965 Voting Rights Act) passed the Senate by a vote of 77 to 19 (on May 26th of that year), with 47 Democrats and 30 Republicans in support and 17 Democrats and 2 Republicans opposed.

    And I give you the following from one of those two…

    Before voting against the bill, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who had switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in September 1964, eulogized the Senate as the “final resting place of the Constitution and the rule of law, for it is here that they will have been buried with shovels of emotion under piles of expediency, in the year of our Lord, 1965.”

    And of course, like Fund and von Spakovsky, Blackwell doesn’t know anything about disenfranchising African American voters, among his other exploits as Ohio’s former Secretary of State, as noted here…not much he doesn’t.

  • And finally, this tells us the following…

    Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.) will speak at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa, Fla., the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Thursday.

    Davis co-chaired President Obama’s 2008 campaign and seconded his nomination at that year’s Democratic National Convention, but aligned himself with Republicans after losing a Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2010.

    Davis campaigned with Mitt Romney on Wednesday in Virginia.

    Oh, and let it be known that Reince Priebus, the Repug Party chair (and good luck with that when doing the spell check!), said that Davis will “give voice to the frustration and disappointment felt among those who supported President Obama in 2008 and are now hungry for a new direction.”

    I’m not sure that there’s a more pitiable character in our national politics right now than Artur Davis (I mean, what with “Goodhair” Perry, Little Ricky, Baby Newton Leroy, and The Pizza Man having happily receded into the media background).

    So what, is Davis going to go all “crazy Zell Miller” from the 2004 Rethuglican National Convention on us now?

    Well, maybe this provides a clue (in which Davis tries to make common cause with the Teahadists)…

    “Ladies and gentlemen, in 1980, one man, from a small town in Illinois, said I know what they say, I hear the doubts in the wind, but I will not be bowed,” Davis said. “This man, who was supposedly old and faded, issued the same call that a 43-year-old named Jack Kennedy issued in 1960, and said that we can do better.”

    That said, Davis admitted that “we don’t have Ronald Reagan running this year. There was only one. But I want to submit to you, that Ronald Reagan’s values are alive in the Republican Party today.”

    Oh, and if it isn’t disgusting enough for Davis to try and conflate JFK with The Sainted Ronnie R, it should be noted that he also invoked the memory of Rosa Parks too.

    Not to worry, though – I thought Cynthia Tucker definitely got the lowdown on Davis here

    Don’t be fooled by the clichéd announcement (of Davis’s party switch). Davis defected for all the wrong reasons. He left the Democrats out of personal pique — a feeling of rejection left by his humiliating loss in the Alabama Democratic primary for governor.

    For seven years, Davis was a rising star in Democratic circles, a bright and promising member of Congress, a well-educated representative of the post-civil-rights era of black leadership. Elected to Congress in 2002, he defeated 10-year incumbent Earl Hilliard, whose many ethical lapses and support of Middle Eastern tyrants had made him an embarrassment.

    But Davis ¬— who is nothing if not ambitious — made a serious misjudgment in 2010, forfeiting his secure post as representative of Alabama’s 7th congressional district to run for governor of that state. As a black Democrat, he would never have been elected to the helm of one of the most conservative states in the union, but he was widely expected to win the nomination.

    That was before Davis fell prey to an unfortunate fallacy about moderation and bucked President Obama’s health care plan. Though Alabama, my home state, has one of the nation’s highest rates of uninsured, Davis refused to support the health care plan.

    There is much in (Davis’s) analysis that is wrong and wrongheaded. For example, Davis credits Bill Clinton for a period of robust economic growth, but says “this is not Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party” — borrowing from Mitt Romney’s recent rhetoric. Both men willfully ignore one of Clinton’s bravest acts: He pressed Congress to raise taxes, which set the stage for that growth.

    And on the subject of identity politics, Davis is just as wrong. The GOP may have grown more sophisticated about executing its southern strategy, but it remains a tool for dividing voters along racial lines. Davis’ marriage of convenience is unlikely to be a happy one.

    I know it’s easy to forget that our 40th president was once a Democrat who switched political parties because it suited his political ambitions also. But if Davis has any aspirations towards anything near that height of political power and has made this move with that goal in mind, then it is inevitable that he will find out what “frustration and disappointment” truly means beyond any and all doubt.


  • Tuesday Mashup Part One (9/14/10)

    September 14, 2010

  • 1) Here’s a late-breaking development from the Media Research Center…

    Appearing as a guest on Friday’s (9/10) Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, formerly with Newsweek, referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s plan to burn the Koran on September 11.

    Wow, congratulations to the MRC for finding a droplet of water in an ocean and complaining that it’s wet.

    Yes, as it turns out, the story was retracted by Newsweek after the unnamed official used by the magazine as the source changed his story. However, as we also learn from here, “accusations of Qur’an desecration as a part of U.S. interrogations at prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Guantánamo Bay had been made by a number of sources going back to 2002,” with about a dozen such accusations cited.

    Besides, the real story here (which the MRC actually notes…shocking, I know) is that, given the uproar the last time a Quran desecration story appeared, the relative silence by conservatives on this was dangerously irresponsible (though, fortunately, the whole issue became moot when “Pastor” Terry Jones came down with an attack of sanity and decided not to do anything, though here is a story of a chronic offender on this who really is likely not to be restricted by anything except a jail cell…and kudos to the kid on the skateboard in this story.)

  • 2) Also, here’s another alert for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm, and everyone else worried about the “negative perception” generated by Michelle Obama (more hard-hitting Politico “journalism” from here).

    And she didn’t even say “freedom fries”! Worse, I didn’t read about it from either Malcolm or Stolberg. I actually had to find out about this on my own!

    You’re slipping, people!

    Actually, I take that back on Malcolm; as it turns out – he did have something typically snark-filled to say about it here, including the following…

    First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been unable to convince the Smoker-in-Chief to give up that dreadful habit, now has some health suggestions for other American families and for restaurant menus across the country.


    Yeah, it sure is a shame when presidents have their “dreadful habit(s),” isn’t it?

  • 3) Finally, I came across the following from Joel Stein of Time (one of the stupidest columns about Net Neutrality that I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something; more info is here)…

    I like that everything is allowed to be on the Internet, which is like a planet-size bookstore with, for some reason, a continent-size section for pets doing stupid things. But I like that at a real bookstore, I can instantly tell the difference between works by actual historians and works by conspiracy theorists, since the real books are printed on good paper with pretty covers and the others are smudgy pamphlets. We need to bring those barriers of entry to the Internet, and speed is a key way to do it.

    Senator Al Franken, at the Netroots Nation conference in late July, talked about a dystopian future without Net neutrality: “How long do you think it will take before the Fox News website loads five times faster than Daily Kos?” Hopefully, this will happen right away. Fox News should load 20 times faster than Daily Kos, because far more people read it. It’s better for society that millions of people get someplace a little faster while the relatively few Daily Kos readers wait a few seconds. This is why not all roads are the same width. And more people go to the Fox News site because it’s got tons of people reporting, balancing and fairing, whereas two of the contributing editors at Daily Kos are named DarkSyde and Angry Mouse.

    Their names are also Steven Andrew and Kalli Joy Grey, but that’s not the main point, I know (also, according to this, the “relatively few” readers of Daily Kos include “thousands of diarists” and “millions of page views” every day – and this was in 2008; I should note that I found out everything in this paragraph through some truly easy Google searches).

    I want to comment also on Stein’s bookstore analogy, which may be more apropos than he realizes (and I know from whence I speak on this, since I toiled briefly in such an establishment that, happily, went out of business long ago…it was a big conservative donor).

    In a typical chain retail bookstore, you’ve got the mass market titles on display all over the place, since they will sell the most, obviously. And if the “self-help” and Edgar Cayce titles will sell more than the John Grishams and the Richard North Pattersons, well then, they get the center display table so it’s the first thing the customer sees after they shuffle in from Spencer’s, FYE, or whatever.

    But suppose you get somebody like me who may be looking for “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, and I need to go to the microfiche counter to order it. Should I have to be told “well, we have more bandwidth for the best sellers than we do for some dusty piece of sociological piffle like the book you want” (and that certainly doesn’t describe “The Hidden Persuaders,” by the way, written about the ad biz in the era of “Mad Men”)? And for that reason, I get told that they have no possible idea of when the book can be shipped.

    I guess a scenario like this is just fine for Stein, but it certainly isn’t fine for me (Stein being a writer callow enough to concoct allegedly humorous columns about Asian Indians in America here, and here, where he said, “Most of what I know about poor people comes from watching ‘Good Times’”).

    Oh, and let’s not forget this from Stein about our troops and Iraq……

    After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

    But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

    I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

    Yes, but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever click on a pop-up ad and, as a result, have my leg or another body part blown to bits, or suffer a concussive brain injury (idiot).


  • “Hanging Up” The Teabaggers On Net Neutrality

    August 13, 2010

    This post from The Hill tells us the following…

    Tea Party groups are staking out an anti-regulatory position in the fight over net neutrality rules for phone and cable companies.

    A coalition that included 35 Tea Party groups sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday urging the agency not to boost its authority over broadband providers through a controversial process known as reclassification.

    The process could give federal regulators the power to impose net neutrality rules, which would prevent Internet access providers from favoring some content and applications over others.

    The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation was among the groups that signed the letter. Jamie Radtke, the group’s chairman, said interest in net neutrality is rising in the Tea Party movement.

    I am not surprised in the least to hear that, given their propensity for being on the wrong side of partly-corporate causes (and more’s the pity, I might add).

    As noted here, what “reclassification” means is that the FCC “will seek to reclassify broadband as a transport service, opening up a way for the agency to enforce network neutrality recommendations and implement some aspects of the National Broadband Plan.”

    And as Michigan Law Professor Susan Crawford tells us in the post…

    …the FCC plans to forbear from rate regulation but ensure that the transmission portion — but not Internet applications and content — is subject to basic rules of the road. They still have a lot of work to do to develop the factual record that will support regulatory reclassification of transmission services, but courts will likely defer to their classification if they do their job right. I have every expectation that they will.

    And at that point, things were progressing smoothly – that is, until this from earlier in the week…

    Efforts to protect net neutrality that involve government regulation have always faced one fundamental obstacle: the substantial danger that the regulators will cause more harm than good for the Internet. The worst case scenario would be that, in allowing the FCC to regulate the Internet, we open the door for big business, Hollywood and the indecency police to exert even more influence on the Net than they do now.

    On Monday, Google and Verizon proposed a new legislative framework for net neutrality. Reaction to the proposal has been swift and, for the most part, highly critical. While we agree with many aspects of that criticism, we are interested in the framework’s attempt to grapple with the Trojan Horse problem. The proposed solution: a narrow grant of power to the FCC to enforce neutrality within carefully specified parameters. While this solution is not without its own substantial dangers, we think it deserves to be considered further if Congress decides to legislate.

    From what I can determine, the plan concocted by Google and Verizon features the following pitfalls (here)…

    …the framework also contains two features that trouble many Silicon Valley start-ups and public-interest lobbyists.

    First, it allows for a second layer of vaguely defined digital services in the future, a sort of gated Internet. These digital entities would have to be substantially different from services being offered now, such as 3-D video or medical monitoring, both heavy users of bandwidth.

    Critics call this a first step toward a two-tiered Internet, creating a pay-to-enter private tier of premium services and a public Internet for those who can’t afford it. Might carriers like Verizon concentrate on delivering service to their premium customers and leave the Internet as we know it as a dusty relic that receives little attention or maintenance?

    Google claims it plans to compete only on the open “public Internet,” including keeping its YouTube video service there. That provides some assurance for now, though company policy could change in the future.

    The proposals also only apply to the “wired” Internet, through which most homes and businesses receive service today. The mobile wireless networks – companies such as Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless – would be left free to discriminate – say by offering faster speeds to websites that pay for the privilege, or slowing delivery from sites that compete with the companies’ own offerings.

    Of course, leave it to the crowd wearing those funny hats and carrying their racist signs to interpret Net Neutrality as a government plot to censor the Internet, when in reality it assures a level playing field for all participants, with any “regulation” (or hierarchical content designation anyway) to be done by private entities.

    I think there are two things we can do in response: 1) Learn about the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for anyone who hasn’t done that already (here), and 2) Sign Sen. Al Franken’s petition to support Net Neutrality (here).

    I don’t really care much about the internet habits of the teabaggers, but I care very much about my own and those of a like-minded political view. And I’d like to make sure we don’t see a day when the telcos can roll out their fancy new apps with the exquisite streamlining of a Porsche 911 Carrera, for example, while humble blogger types such as yours truly do what we do with the speed, precision and reliability of a Yugo by comparison.

    Update 8/17/10: What mcjoan sez here…


    “Help Me Fight This”

    July 30, 2010

    This is how a Dem with guts is supposed to sound (and to do something about it, click here).


    Some Franken Sense On “Rating The Ratings”

    May 19, 2010

    This clip is about ten days old I know, but I just found out about it today when it was criticized by former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm here.

    Well, regardless of what Malcolm says, Franken must have known what he was doing, since the amendment he authored to try and fix what is described in the Tom Toles cartoon passed.


    Wednesday Mashup Part One (5/12/10)

    May 12, 2010

  • In local election news “across the river,” I should let you know that Tony Mack won the right to run against either Eric Jackson (public works director under outgoing Mayor Doug Palmer) or at-large Councilman Manny Segura in the Trenton, NJ mayoral election on June 15th, as noted here.

    And in news involving someone who may end up as a candidate for a Darwin Award, mayoral candidate and author/activist Shahid Watson took over somebody’s house for the purposes of setting up campaign headquarters and will subsequently face charges (here…and just for the record, let it be known that Watson actually received 200 votes; maybe those are other award nominees…?).

  • And in news closer to home, this article from The Hill tells us that 15 out of 18 members of PA’s congressional delegation “signaled their support” for an NBC/Comcast merger; those who didn’t sign the letter favoring the deal were Joe Sestak (D), Mike Doyle (D) and Paul Kanjorski (D).

    What a shame that none of those signatories have anything approximating the spine of Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who gave Brian Roberts the upbraiding he deserved here (apparently, Comcast is surpassed only by the NRA in the Keystone State when it comes to wielding political clout).

  • Finally, as noted here by U.S. House Repug Joe (“You Lie!”) Wilson of South Carolina, today is “Jerusalem Reunification Day.”

    For a somewhat different perspective, I ask that you read this.

    And to commemorate the day further, a full page ad in the NYT from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Fund claims that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “gave his life for his country.”

    That’s true, but not in the way you would commonly understand it; as Wikipedia tells us here, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords with PLO Leader Yasser Arafat.


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