Monthly Archives: November 2010

You should care about net neutrality

The term net neutrality describe the belief – soon to be law one way or another – that internet access and traffic speed should remain equal. Many of the big providers like Verizon and Comcast have been fighting this for years, trying to change the rules so they can make more money and limit access for those who don’t pony up the fees. Google and others support it.

Looks like the FCC, specifically the chair, is behind net neutrality and we may see some action soon. I’ll be keeping an eye on it – it’s an issue near and dear to my little keyboard fingers.

The long-running net neutrality debate centers around rules that would require Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Internet companies like Google and Skype want net neutrality rules applied to both wireline and wireless networks, but network operators including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast say they need flexibility to manage web traffic on their lines.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45371.html#ixzz15keOGfM4

Also watch the chit chap re wireless – the providers will probably say ‘oh we’re all for net neutrality! Just don’t apply it to wireless.’ I hope the FCC doesn’t fall for that one.

Spam bots

All bloggers get ‘spam bots’, fake comments automatically generated by some sort of bot in an attempt to attract readers to another site, where something is for sale. As they are computer generated and usually from a place where English is a third language, the content is often quite comical. Almost always it tells you in a charmingly illiterate way that your blog is just the bestest evah!

Today, I got one that takes it a step further – it mentions by name my blog and two of my categories and the comment tried to attach itself to an actually relevant post. If you follow all that. Anyone else getting this upgraded version of the spam junk?

Here it is in its entirely:

howdy Whatever Works , i comment your blog , that a nice blog and perfect. Best for me. best review for The Daily Rush and climate deniers content. i will plan to read and comment your blog.

Mica Brezhinski makes my teeth hurt

And so do her overlords at MSNBC.

For the first time in weeks – cautious since the last time she sent me screaming from the house – I tuned into Morning Joe on MSNBC. And hey, not bad!  Joe Biden was on and was being allowed time to really talk – about Afghanistan and especially about the new START treaty with Russia which is in the Senate now. Important stuff. Interesting stuff. Stuff I care about. Joe and Joe were having a thoughtful discussion – or at least as much as is possible when both parties are also busy looking in the mirror.

And then Mica pops in and interrupts with something about Palin. “Here’s the video, have a look and I’d like to hear your reaction.”

I know you understand that I had to turn it off and flee back to CSpan.

I hope they have that in short sleeve white

from Bill at Under the Lobseterscope

Like a Tweet?

I have had a very bad day. In fact, I have had a very bad week. Sharing any of the humiliating details would speak ill of me, so I shall abstain. But I do feel better now.

Git yer gol-durn gubmint outta mah flu shot

Your lazy and distracted blogger – ME – is temporarily reduced to the borrow/steal method of posting. If all goes well, I shall resume regular blogging shortly.

Meanwhile, I just picked this up at The Conservative Lie. A fine construct describing one of my favorite subjects.

    This morning I, an American conservative, was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

    After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

    On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

    And then I log on to the internet — which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration — and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

Cantor recants. Not really.

Rep. Eric Cantor is trying to walk back his pledge to protect Israel from US foreign policy.  He is failing.

And by the way, that wasn’t all he said From Matzav Network:

Cantor also took issue with Obama administration policies in other areas, including Iran, with the statement from his office saying the congressman “believes that it is time for the administration to fully and aggressively implement the Iran Sanctions Act passed by Congress earlier this year.”

Ron Kampeas from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news agency found Cantor’s comments extremely surprising, writing, “I can’t remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president. Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another — building in Jerusalem, or somesuch — lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations. But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House — that sounds to me extraordinary.”

The tide is out , w-a-y out

I’m heading off to the Miami Book Fair shortly, but let’s see if I’ve got this straight.:

A Republican leader of the US House of Represetntatives has just told the head of a Foreign Country not to pay attention to the words or actions of the President of the United States, that the Republican caucus in Congress will protect said Foreign Country from any Official Foreign Policy of the United States of America.

I think I got that right. Yeah.

Feelin’ old on Friday

Don’t like these worshipful photo montages (especially of Priscilla in her teased hair/eyeliner days – a shame since she was quite a beautiful woman) but this is a fine audio version of a great song.

One of Ms. Moe’s pet peeves

I have many on my list. This one is near the top.

One outcome of the 70’s Feminist movement was the introduction of a much needed new form of address into our language, a universal, generic form of address for women.

Men had always had such a form – “Mr”. On the other hand, women were forced to broadcast their social status – by using either “Miss” or “Mrs”. It was a pretty serious handicap for working women particularly. Or a woman seeking credit.

It also created awkward moments when addressing a woman with whom  you were not acquainted – Hello Miss Smith? Hello Mrs. Smith? Whoops? Sorry.

“Ms” was introduced as a sensible replacement for the previous two forms. It was immediately and widely embraced.

Except . . . except for those for whom moving wimmin’ out of the kitchen was the devil’s own work and likely the beginning of the end of our Christian nation.

So a politically correct compromise was applied and it made the situation much much worse.

Now on forms  are all those annoying check boxes where I must announce myself as either:

  • Mrs. – I am married and quite traditional. Thank you.
  • Miss – Unmarried and a little timid, if that’s okay. Also, I work at Publix.
  • Ms – None of your business, creep. I’m a ball busting feminist pinko commie dyke anyway!

This is how Michael Caine speaks

as interpreted by The Trip on BBC 2. (I seem to be unable to think or write so I toss out this little amusement.)

It didn’t exactly work, did it

The War to End All Wars – itself ended 92 years ago tomorrow. November 11, 1918. And so many dead, so many dead. Entire generations dead.

1956: Report on climate change

Here’s an interview from a 1956 General Electric radio program called “Excursions in Science: Climate and Industrial Activity”. As greenman, who posted this video, notes: Many climate deniers still seem to think global warming was invented by Al Gore, in 2006. As this recently uncovered recording from 1956 shows, the outlines of climate change science have been clear for many decades.

The entire video runs almost ten minutes, but the relevant portion begins at 7:47 in.

Keepin’ us safe

It is the growing inequality between societies that generate so many social pathologies. And grotesquely unequal societies are also unstable societies. – Tony Judt, “Ill Fares the Land”

Thank elvis for our wars. Were it not for our valiant fight in Afghanistan and Iraq to preserve American democracy, were we not over there spending blood and treasure and pissing off a billion or so people, we might find ourselves in trouble here at home. Why, were it not for our wars, we might see an erosion of our way of life.

Ahh, that's more like it!

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

“C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

So says Nicholas Kristoff (whom commenter Alan considers a girly man) – he had more than these few words on that subject in yesterday’s Times.

Words like these:

“Economic polarization also shatters our sense of national union and common purpose, fostering political polarization as well.

“So in this postelection landscape, let’s not aggravate income gaps that already would make a Latin American caudillo proud. To me, we’ve reached a banana republic point where our inequality has become both economically unhealthy and morally repugnant.

Oh – in Afghanistan, today is the 33rd day of the tenth year of the war.

Because that worked so well for California

My newly elected Governor – almost-felon Rick Scott – has big plans for Florida. First, he’s going to  get those taxes reduced because, after all “census data ranked Florida’s tax burden [only*] 36th-lowest among 50 states, behind even Mississippi.”

* Hey Florida! We can do better than that! Let’s shoot for 46th! Who needs schools or courts for heaven’s sake?

“Scott’s plan would take Florida in a direction similar to California in 1978, when voters passed Proposition 13 . . . Proposition 13 capped property taxes and bred three decades of combat over paying for schools, police, fire protection andother government services.”

Proposition 13 also took the world’s 7th largest economy and sent it into a tailspin, the horrific results of which have been playing out for the last 32 years.

This just boggles the mind. I don’t think you could locate anyone today who would call Prop 13 a success. But Scott likes it fine and thinks my State is just the place to try it again.

The story, by the fine David Hackett, explores the possible outcomes now that the GOP has been swept into all the State offices and both houses of the legislature.

The Great (independant) Republic of Texas

Umm, is Rick Perry moving to start his own country so he can be a President? This isn’t his first foray into secession territory.

Rick Perry: Let States Secede From Social Security

Freedom? Eye of the beholder I guess.

Gotta squeeze this one in before I shut down . . . this is pretty shocking news and really odd. If net neutrality goes down, you’ll see your internet fragment into classes of pricing – like cable TV. It would frame the debate and cut off participation in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.  It’s a dream of Comcast and Rupert Murdock and all the other info systems titans to kill net neutrality. And now this.

All 95 Candidates Who Pledged Support for Net Neutrality Lost on Tuesday

Not just unbloggy; a blog break

Some of today, all of tomorrow, and a good part of Saturday will be occupied with my Father’s memorial service and reception and with family from around the country who even now descend upon our environs. Siblings must sit down like the real grownups we must be and finalize the ‘estate’, such as it is, given that a condo purchased ten years ago for almost $200K may bring $40K if we’re really lucky (this is, after all, South Florida).

These things must be attended to, decided upon, all the hugs must be given, the cheeks kissed, the food offered and then offered again.

And then it will be over. And oddly, now that the end of planning and executing  it all approaches, I will finally and maybe for the first time, look in the mirror and see someone without a buffer generation between me and that big Marlboro in the sky.

Or maybe I’ll just take a nap, blog up a storm and clean the refrigerator. One never knows, do one.

Here’s a song by a guy who used to say just that – in case I don’t get back here tomorrow.

It’s going to be cold outside anyway

Ten day trip? India? Asia? This is what’s on the President’s near term schedule. I just heard about it and immediately thought, oh no, don’t do that. Stay home, stay in your office and do some paperwork. Strategize how to run the country. Be the president in the West Wing office and meet with people who need to meet with you.

And wow, that’s what Matt Yglesias at Think Progress said too! (Well, not exactly, but sort of.)

Now Mark Shields on the PBS News Hour is saying that Obama’s press conference today was premature. I  thought that too – as soon as it was announced!

Hey, I’m good at this. Maybe these big time talkers should check with me to see what’s going to be tomorrow’s conventional wisdom?

Yglesias’ column is not important or lengthy; it’s a column, but an excellent one. He says Obama should step away from the legislative process. Cuz there’s lots of other stuff to do.

For the past 20 months, Obama has spent a lot of time acting as his party’s leader in legislative negotiations, especially in the United States Senate. The correct way to respond to the midterms is, I think, to stop doing this. Let Harry Reid do it. . . . [there will be] time for more meetings with folks from the Counsel’s office about judicial vacancies. There should be a nominee for each vacancy! That’ll probably set up a problem of getting the judges confirmed, but the first step is coming up with the names.

Yeah.

I was really really wrong

Right up until  the polls closed last night in Florida, I believed Democrats would be headed to Tallahassee.

Washington was lost to us, but Tallahassee?

We had great candidates. Terrific candidates. Florida has been trending blue. The opposition for gov was almost a felon fer cryin’ out loud! We were going to take the State House. I was sure.

I was wrong. My heart hurts.

My dear Democrats

The message failed because there barely was a message. So we need to define one, then refine it. We need to write it down so we don’t forget it and we need to  disseminate it widely. Then rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat. People do not know what the Democratic Party stands for. We can’t count on knee jerk demographics alone.

On to 2012

Man, this really is a trouncing. I don’t know if I can handle watching more tonight.  Taping The News Hour 11pm show and the Stewart Live Election ha-ha. I’ll watch them tomorrow. Did Jerry Brown win?

Florida statehouse

The St. Pete Times is saying that there’s a snafu in Hillsborough County (Tampa metro) that may hold up the vote count there for many hours. So although the-biggest-Medicare-fraudster-in-history-Rick-Scott continues to have a slight lead over Alex Sink, it could be skewed by the Hillsborough problem. Please,  please, please, please . . .

UPDATE: That Tampa Bay problem is not likely to be a game changer – it only affects two days of early votes – about 38,000 votes.

Byron Dorgan?

Dear Elvis – long time Senator Byron Dorgan has gone down in North Dakota.

WHOOPS! I got that wrong – Dorgan retired; a GOPer took the seat. So not such a big deal. After all.

Bury my heart in Tallahassee

I have been resigned to the reality of the Dems losing Congress, but till now I’ve remained fairly certain that we’d take the big State offices here in Florida. Now I’m not so sure. It’s early, but I could end up being very unhappy tonight.

Our pit bull is down

I’ll miss my rude, impetuous and utterly sincere Florida Congressman Alan Grayson. Predictably, after being targeted for defeat by the national Republican party, he went down tonight. He made them nuts. But he sure was fun.

Meanwhile, the election winds down and all the jibberers are jabbering. And unremarked still, today is the 27th day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan.

We truly are doomed

And this is why:

Chrsitine O’Donnell was the most covered candidate in 2010

About that mayor

James J. “Jimmy” Walker – also called Beau James – mayor of New York City from  1926-1932, really did have a Broadway musical written about him (see previous post). I can’t find any audio, but below are some of the lyrics from “Gentleman Jimmy”.

People sure knew how to celebrate their ‘characters’ in my grandfather’s day – even when, as Walker was, the characters were not themselves the most upstanding. (Walker resigned his office under pressure from then Governor FDR and had to flee to Europe to avoid prosecution.)

Who’s that genial gentleman in the silk hat
gray spats
striped pants?
why that’s
Gotta be him, Gentleman Jimmy…
Who’s that swell celebrity with the
glad hand
quick wit
New York’s
fav’rite?
That’ll be him, Gentleman Jimmy…

Who’s that dapper, happy-go-lucky
son of
Broadway?
We love James J.
’cause under him Manhattan is just a
syn-o-nym
for
generous
gentleman
James….J…..Walk-er!

Election Day, dear Election Day

I love Election Day, always have. I grew up with a political father, who served in town government and was politically engaged all his life. My grandfather was chairman of the Democratic Party a few towns over. My cousins’ grandfather was chairman of the Republican Party in that same town. My New York grandfather owned a bar and poured drinks for those Irish politicians of legend. He ‘had the acquaintance of’ (archaic expression) James J. Walker, an utterly  charming and corrupt Democratic mayor of NYC so fabled, Broadway sang his song. My family were political animals.

So I love Election Day.

Most people here seem to vote early now. Election Day at the polls has become quiet, too quiet. I miss the hustle. I miss knowing we’re all gathered for the same purpose on the same day.

I’d dearly like to see changes in how we manage this most important civic activity. Polls should be open for one full 24-hour weekend day (some working people have a very hard time voting and that’s very wrong). No returns should be public until all returns are in – all the way to Hawaii. And, along with CNN, we would just have to wait.

(And empower aposse every year to drive around town and pull up all the election signs the next day!

We need some reforms. We do indeed. Still, I love Election Day.

Go and git gunnin’ fer granny now!

Since we already have fully-Socialized government-run health care , I’m wondering – where are those death panels? I mean, like,  we have all our old folks already in a herd, so it wouldn’t be so hard you know . . .