Friday, October 23, 2009

Net Neutrality
My open letter to my Senators and Congressmen

Here is the text of an email I just sent to my Congressman, and my two US Senators....please, take a moment, and do the same...this is one of those small, slightly boring and VERY IMPORTANT issues that can fly in under the radar unless people show they are paying attention.

Dear Congressman Walz.

I was proud to knock on doors for you in 2008 and will be proud to do so again next time.

Today, Senator John McCain issued a press release announcing his "Internet Freedom Act of 2009". It's purpose is to prevent government efforts to uphold net neutrality. With out net neutrality, there is no guarantee that Americans will be able to download content they want, or use the internet to easily do business with whom they want. Without net neutrality rules, internet service providers can use their position as gate keepers to block access to certain websites and services.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see where this might lead. A large business could use their power to enter into an arrangement with an internet service provider to block, or slow, access to the commerce sites of small rivals. Access to opinion sites, such as blogs, or podcasts, could also be inhibited.

We need to make sure that access to the net stays neutral, both for the sake of free speech AND a free market.

I urge you take, or support, action in the house to counter moves by Senator McCain and his allies to block our freedom in the name of Freedom.


Alex Ball

What is Net Neutrality All About?
Watch this:

The Attack on Net Neutrality
Don't let GOP and Big Business Take YOUR freedom in the Name of Freedom

Got Internet? Want to download what you want, when you want it? Right now, you can.

But, if John McCain and others get their way, this might not be true anymore.

Republican strategy is to paint Net neutrality as government 'control' of Internet

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill in the Senate on Thursday that would effectively allow Internet service providers to slow down or block Internet content or applications of their choosing.

Now, the Republicans are painting this as a "Freedom" issue...and it is, it's freedom for internet providers to get between you and the content you want.

Here's a video from You Tube...it's long, dull, and completely without passion- which makes it all the more effective.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY- PLEASE TAKE JUST A FEW MINUTES TO INFORM YOURSELF...then take a few minutes more and write to your law makers in Washington- and tell them that you vote, and that you oppose efforts to block net neutrality.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beck Goes To Britain
Too Late for an Intervention with the GOP?

Glenn Beck has been exported to the United Kingdom, thanks to Rupert Murdock's dominance of global media. What will the British think of him? An article by Alex Massie on the Daily Beast is well worth the read.

You need to read the article for yourself- PARTICULARLY if you are concerned for the Health of the Republican party.

The key point that jumps out is that the GOP is taking a wildly different path from the conservative parties in Europe. So much so that many Tories were actually pulling for Obama in the last election. The great quote:

It’s as if your favorite cousin had a nervous breakdown, found religion, and became an evangelist for an apocalyptic cult prophesying the imminent end of the world as we know and love it.

(By the way, if it surprises you that such a rabid, albeit centrist, Democrat such as myself could express concern for the health of the Republican Party, it shouldn't. I believe that a strong, rational opposition is VITAL to the functioning of our Democracy. But while you can work with people with whom you disagree...you can't work with nuts.)

Friday, October 09, 2009

When Friends Hurt You:
Obama's Peace Prize

Okay...I like Obama. I like him just as much as the next guy...in fact, if the next guy is the moron in the pickup truck with the "Obama Sucks" Bumpersticker-- then I like him a heck of a lot MORE than the next guy.

I knocked on doors for him in 2008 and am highly likely to do so again in 2009....and I think that, given the state in which he found our country, the economy, and the world, he's doing one hell of a good job moving it back on track.

....but the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE????

Look, the guy has been in office for less than a year. We haven't figured out how to extract ourselves from the Iraqi quagmire, and we are just beginning to tackle the War in Afghanistan, a war which has festered due to 7 years of neglect by the previous administration. Last time I checked, the Isreallies and the Palestinians were still at each others throats...and...c'mon.

NPR quotes presidential historian Robert Dalleck pointing out that this is REALLY an award about George W. Bush....the committee's way of saying "F- you" to our former Yahoo-In-Chief, George W. Bush

But Time Magazine points out that this award could actually hurt the President, and I agree. The major right wing criticism, (aside from the wingnut "Granny Killers" and the "Birthers") is that Obama is All Hat and No Cattle...the Anointed One, The ObamaMessiah.

Intelligent people in the country, and around the world, have become STARVED for meaningful political rhetoric...and the inanity of the Bush Years took a dry spell and turned it into a drought.

We were all ready to hear some complete sentences...soaring rhetoric was an unexpected and blissfully welcome bonus to tired ears...

But Obama is now In Office....he's working...and now is the time to focus on the President's actions as well as his words.

Middle America loves to hate a poser-- and IF the right-wing can make the image stick then the President will be in a lot of trouble, and will begin to find himself so hampered and mired that forward motion will become impossible. That would be bad news for the President, our Party, and the nation.

The sad fact is that, by trying to enlarge Obama's platform by giving him an award he does not yet deserve, the Nobel Prize Committee may have, like their founder, provided his enemies with dynomite.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Joe Wilson and the Right Wing Nuts....

I did this a few weeks back, in direct response to Joe Wilson's outburts, for my facebook page.

After reading "The Next Wingnut Attack" on the Daily Beast this morning, I thought I'd post it here. It's over top, it's unfair to a lot of legimimate conservatives who, like me, worry about the growing federal debt and other problems that beset our nation.

However, my frustrations with the irrational Right were/are such that I just had to throw an irrational tantrum of my own...consider it as such...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Disney Backs High Speed Rail

As a native of Central Florida who has watched the beautiful locales of his childhood despoiled in the name of "progress", I don't often have good words for Walt Disney World. However, I have to say that, in a recent move, they've done something of which I approve.

According to Today's Orlando Sentinel, Disney has offered both political backing AND 50 acres free of charge on which to build a station for a proposed High Speed Rail Line between Orlando and Tampa.

Close on the heels of California, Florida is an epicenter of the "Car Culture"-- once a symbol of American vitality, but which now hangs like a millstone around our necks. Bringing High Speed rail to the Sunshine state seems like a huge step in the right direction toward solving the problem.

Good Luck!

Here in Minnesota, we too, are hoping for high speed rail...with a little luck, a lot of money, patience and hard work...once upon a time, trains ran from Chicago to Saint Paul in about 4 and a half hours....today, it takes 8. In Vermont, trains in 1938 would run from Brattleboro to NYC in five hours or less...these days, it takes over six hours. Great Article at Slate gives these and other facts.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Making the Most of His Time
Carter's post-presidential legacy

The AP is reporting that the Carter Presidential Museum is set to reopen on the former president's 85 birthday. The museum, says the article, devotes "more space than any other presidential library to a commander-in-chief's time spent after the White House."

It's fitting. The story of most American Presidents seem to end when they leave office. Two of the three greatest American Presidents, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, never left office at all. And while Harry S. Truman certainly stands as one of the outstanding Presidents of American History, he leaves the stage of history in 1952-- it almost comes as a shock to learn that he lived until 1972.

Other former Presidents seem to fade into obscurity after their time in office. Two who did not, Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, spent the remainder of their lives burnishing (or in the case of Nixon, rehabilitating) their reputations.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, has devoted his life after the White House to the service of others- building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and, of course, searching and working for peace.

The Carter presidency may have proved conclusively that a good man does not make the best President (most of our best leaders have had a touch of the scoundrel about them)-- but his EX-presidency is an outstanding tribute to the value of a life well lived.