Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Net Neutrality

The FCC's new ‘Net Neutrality’ rules have created a lot of noise  recently. Admittedly, the concept has been so fuzzed up it is hard to understand. Who can forget the memorable talk about net neutrality by former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (now deceased) in the Senate?


Republican Mitch McConnell has strongly criticized the new rules along with Rush Limbaugh, buffoon though he may be. Don't kid yourself - Limbaugh has plenty of influence with many people who don’t think for themselves and eagerly buy into his nonsense. Many other so-called ‘conservatives’ are also exercised about the new net neutrality rules. Why?

Short answer: They, along with some ‘conservative’ Democrats are all in the pockets of the telecom companies who stand to make billions by up-charging for increased bandwidth and speed. That is already being done by one telecom company (Comcast).

Here’s a hypothetical conversation between a Progressive and a Conservative which tries to make it more understandable (thanks to an anonymous poster on DailyKos):

Progressive: "Comcast is one of the largest internet providers in the country. In many parts of the country, including where I live, it is the only option for broadband service. NBC was just sold to Comcast. As such, Comcast has a very real and demonstrable need to promote NBC and MSNBC over competitors. You're saying it should be legal for Comcast to limit access to Fox News videos and FoxNews.com, and increase bandwidth for MSNBC videos and MSNBC.com?"

Conservative: "But they wouldn't actually do that. It'd be a PR nightmare if they just blocked access to Fox."

Progressive:  "Ah, but that's not how'd they do it. They'd do what they already do, what cell phone companies have done for years: they'd exempt NBC/MSNBC from your bandwidth allotment. Just like AT&T subscribers can call other AT&T subscribers for free, unlimited, but you're charged by the minute when you talk to people on other networks."

Conservative: "What's wrong with that? It's probably cheaper for carrier customers to talk within the same carrier."

Progressive: "Perhaps, but the same would go for MSNBC shows. Comcast would be getting 100% of that ad revenue to stream MSNBC shows and display MSNBC content. They would be getting 0% of the ad revenue for Fox News and FoxNews.com. Bandwidth to Fox websites costs them money, and bandwidth to MSNBC websites makes them money."

Conservative: "So you think they'd purposely speed up MSNBC and slow down Fox?"

Progressive: "Without Net Neutrality, there's no reason they couldn't do that, which is reason enough to support it. But what Comcast is proposing is that they'll charge by bandwidth, say, 20GBs transfer per month, but exempt NBC.com, MSNBC.com, and other web traffic that they own. Like Verizon does with vCast now. They'll say 'oh, we're not blocking access to Fox -- we're just giving you unlimited free use to MSNBC instead as part of your package.' So naturally, people will be much more likely to get their news and opinion from MSNBC, which is free, as opposed to Fox, which counts against their bandwidth credit."

Conservative:  "Well obviously they'd have to make that illegal."

Progressive: "THAT'S. WHAT. NET. NEUTRALITY. IS!!!"

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Political Verse Nonsense


Republicans just blather and blather.
While Democrats just get in a lather,
Though the rest of us,
We never much fuss,
Still hoping common sense they could gather

John Boehner is certainly not crazy,
Even if you think his man tan may be.
Nonetheless his crying,
Is quite stupefying,
And, puts to shame all other cry babies.

Limbaugh says Health Care is just fine as is,
And needs no new laws, taxes or patches,
“What’s a few million uninsured?”
“Hell, they can be faith cured,”
“And save money by dying in batches!”

Conservative, WASP, evangelical or Anglican
Republicans can be so downright unAmerican,
“To Hell with all the rest,
Let’s feather our own nest!”
Could be the the epithet of the last Republican.

Republicans say their tent is big and inclusive,
Declaring they wish not to be reclusive,
Yet tolerate no homos nor lesbians,
No Atheists, Progressives nor Haitians,
All those and Republicans are mutually exclusive!

"All those whiners!" declared Phil Gramm,
"We've got ours so we don't give a damn.
John 'n me and most of our friends,
Got more money than we can spend.
Let the poor eat cake and marmalade jam."

Too much education is a bad thing,”
Said Karl Rove of the Right Wing.
“It’s really quite pathetic,
Letting people vote Democratic,
Could well cut short a Republican swing.”

The Roadblock and Train Wreck party held a meeting,
“There’s absolutely no doubt we’re in for a beating.”
Said national Chairman Michael Steele,
“And, I must make a last ditch appeal,”
“To return to our core values of lying and cheating.”

An old Republican queer named Mitch,
Swore to run health care straight in the ditch,
Wearing a shirt of bright pink,
He minced as he winked,
“Screw health care, I’m still a stone bitch!”

A Democrat out driving a Toyota,
Ran over a Republican Voter.
‘Thank goodness!’ he cried,
“He was on the wrong side,”
“And I don’t blame myself one iota!”

Of the US Congress, who can say?
Why they plot, sellout, stall and delay?
All we absolutely know for sure,
Their results resemble horse manure,
With the public always the ones who pay.


Joe Miller ran for public office.
Alaska voters held a caucus.
Decided he was a nut case,
Wearing a thug’s beard on his face,
Who made everyone too nauseous.

Joe Miller went all wacky and nervous,
The election became a huge circus,
And, when the recount at last came in,
Poor ol’ Joe took it smack on the chin;
For, voters learned Joe Miller was worthless!

Due to her total refudiation,  
Of all the entire Obama nation,
Sarah Palin drew a bead,
Never mind the need,
On all health care laws and legislation.

Whatever could be the matter with Sarah Palin?
Disturbing all with her sad weeping and wailing.
Insisting the media spawned her political derailing,
Whining by Facebook, Twittering, and secret emailing,
Insinuating so much with insufficient detailing,
Blaming all but herself for her career's curtailing,
Hopefully now her political coffin has its last nail in.

There once was a dancer named Bristol;
Who was ever so ignorantly blissful.
Like her mom, a mental midget,
She extended her middle digit,
And used her finger as her pistol.

There was once a dim witted twit who twittered,
Who quitted her governor's job with all its glitter.
And, promised to never, ever leave Twitter.
But soon did so with nary a back-look nor titter.
Then, later behold! About-faced and unquitted Twitter!
Yes, this dim-witted twit recanted and re-twittered,
She twittered about this and that and the other,
Death panels, Russia and Obama's mother.
Hoping everyone forgot the job so blithely quittered.
On, she twittered, and twittered and twittered,
On subjects she hardly knew quit from quinolla,
She expounded on Levi, McCain, Trig and Angola.
On Sesame, governments, church and pipefitters.
She shamefully twittered and twittered and twittered,
While the country grew quite weary and so jittered,
All tired of her nonsense and now sadly embittered,
While the sheen on her star dimmed and quite flittered.
Nonetheless, she persistently, mindlessly twittered,
Ignoring all pleas, imprecations and screams,
Plugging always her twisted, evangelical dreams,
Even husband Todd too, wanted to jump up and hit her.
May we never see again all those perfidious twitters,
Playing so to fears, paranoia, religion and bitters,
Plainly,  insanely, chasing her own lost fame and glitters,
Yes, next time give us at least a rational bullshitter!

Sarah Palin thinks everyone's out to get her,
Which makes her mad and so awfully bitter,
She's resorting to politically incorrect twitters.
The public is greatly amazed, and all in a titter,
Her constituents never agreed to permit her,
To abandon her state nor to submit her,
To ridicule, amazement and rude side-splitters,
Being a lipsticked mom from a pit bull's litter,
Didn't qualify Sarah nor make her one bit fitter,
To govern a state nor be a political outwitter.
Turns out, Sarah's only an inept, low-octane quitter!




Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hijacking The Christmas Tree

There has been mini-controversy lately about a ‘Holiday Tree’ installed by the city of Portland, Maine in their Monument Square. The controversy comes because the city does not call the tree a ‘Christmas Tree’. instead they say it is, ‘the tree that signals the holiday season in Portland’. A lot of people around Maine are upset it is not being called a Christmas Tree.
Portland columnist Bill Nimitz suggests tongue in cheek the tree be called ‘Bruce the Spruce’, to disarm things, but that has only further inflamed the issue. For some reason, Christians in particular seem overly concerned about the nomenclature of things like trees, especially when they associate it with their religion.
But, the city of Portland has done exactly right. The tree is in the spirit of the holiday, and not a Christian Christmas. And, of course there are now several flavors to this seasonal holiday, among them ‘Kwansa & Hannukah’. A few years ago in Seattle a city Christmas Tree’ had to be taken down after a rabbi asked that a menorah be placed next to a Christmas display so labeled.
The rabbi had every right to make the request. When public money is spent on and identified with parochial issues - like Christmas - it is in violation of both the letter and intent of the US Constitution, although you will hear few Tea Partiers complain about that. They scream long, loudly and incessantly about the ‘Constitution’ and Constitutional rights - as long as they agree with whatever it is. But, go against their dogma - and the Tea Party is largely peopled by so-called ‘Christians’ - you will hear nary a peep. Not one single one. In fact, I’d lay even money that a lot of the people now screaming about the Holiday Tree in Portland are Tea Partiers. I'd win hands down too.
Ironically, the tree in Christmas celebrations has nothing to do with Christ. It is the result of a medieval priest’s (St. Boniface of Geismar, Germany) overreaction to the ‘Tree of Thor’, celebrating a Norse God. Maybe the tree should really be called the ‘Anti-Thor Tree’ or, the 'Un-Thor Tree'. Evergreen trees are associated with pagan pre-Christian Druid winter solstice celebrations, who also venerated Holly and Mistletoe. It is probably for that reason Puritans banned Christmas trees in early New England.
But, never mind. Christians have latched onto the tree and claimed it as their own. At first, about 150 years ago in the United States the custom was sporadic and took a while to catch on. But now, it is THEIRS by God and they want no one else to have a say in it. It’s a Christmas Tree by God, it’s theirs, it represents Christ’s birthday and by God that’s all there is to it! No matter the reality.
So, the tree has been hijacked, in many ways very like the way conservative movement and Tea Partiers  hijacked the word ‘Patriot’. Patriots are them by God, and only them by God, and no one else need apply by God. Anyone else is a traitor according to their definition. You don’t want to cross those conservative Christian Tea Partiers.
And, another funny thing is, according to old and longstanding tradition, the tree is not put up until Christmas Eve. Now that it appears everywhere just after Thanksgiving is due to the mercenary avariciousness of retailers, and Christmas Tree merchants - probably not a really good reason to celebrate with the tree. 
Ain’t history and reality fascinating?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Tea Party and Alaska’s Joe Miller

I've gotten a lot of entertainment watching the Senate election campaign by Alaska's Tea Party favorite Joe Miller. His campaign has been a Chinese fire drill of missteps and malapropisms from almost the very beginning. Now, he is widely considered by most Alaskans as a 'Nut Job'. In the primary election, Miller was a kind of a ‘sleeper’ Tea Party supported candidate who captured the Republican senatorial nomination by catching a complacent sitting Senator Lisa Murkowski by surprise. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party threw support and buckets of out-of-state money into both the primary and the general elections.

Finally awakening to what was happening, Murkowski mounted an apparently successful write-in campaign to win the vote in the general election. When and if she is certified she will become only the second senator in history to do so, and the first since 1954 when Strom Thurman won a write-in campaign in South Carolina. The decision is now tied up in several court cases. Joe Miller is pulling out all the stops to block Murkowski from being certified the winner. The Tea Party, and especially Republican Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina are fighting a desperate last ditch battle in the hopes of having Miller put in office over the wishes of the people of the state of Alaska.

Someone called Miller a ‘descendant’ of the infamous Soapy Smith of Gold Rush days in Skagway, Alaska. He certainly looks the part. Soapy was the iconic con man originally from Georgia, who moved to Skagway in 1897 and gathered a large and intimidating gang to become the de facto ruler of the town. Ol’ Soapy had his fingers in just about every pie around and his gang enforced his rule with force of arms and bullying. He even formed his own ‘militia’, naming himself as captain, which was recognized by the US War Department, and which he used to help him control the town of Skagway.

Soapy Smith was ultimately confronted and shot to death by Frank Reid, who himself was wounded and died twelve days later. Reid was part of a vigilante committee formed to combat Soapy’s nefarious criminal activities
And, indeed the similarities between Joe Miller and Soapy Smith give one pause, especially the striking physical resemblances. Both came from ‘away’. Both lied, distorted and twisted facts. Miller has loudly and incessantly decried all government aid as ‘handouts’ while taking advantage of a great amount himself, or for his family. Soapy Smith’s ‘handouts’ were the ones he grabbed for himself through cons and swindles. I think my favorite Soapy Smith tale is about the fake telegraph office soapy set up for miners. For a charge of $5 he would ‘send’ a telegram back home for them - when telegraph lines did not even exist to Skagway at the time.

But, there does seem to be one big difference; Soapy Smith seems to have been extraordinarily intelligent, while Miller appears to just be one great big, bitter, whiny, deceitful Tea Party Republican dumb ass.