This week a Federal court overturned the Federal Communication Commission’s Open Internet Order.
This means that now Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T can decide which websites you will be allowed to visit. They can slow down or block access to certain sites (read: smaller, poorer companies and bloggers), and they can speed up access to sites (read: large, well-funded companies) who can afford to pay hefty access fees.
Net neutrality isn’t dead yet, but it is very sick; the FCC can still reassert its authority over broadband.
To read more about this latest blow to a free internet, check out these articles by Craig Aaron
A Republican-controlled House panel has voted to repeal the new FCC rules that would prevent cable and phone companies from dominating the Internet by setting priorities for web traffic. This would result in slower load times for competing services and for smaller websites that can’t afford to pay to have their priorities upgraded. It would be a major blow for free speech on the Internet, with a few major communications companies dictating what websites the rest of us are allowed to access. We could, technically, still access any websites we wanted, but we would become frustrated with the long wait times and click on to something more “user-friendly.”
The reason for repealing this rule, according to the Republicans, is that it would prevent the big cable companies from making costly upgrades to their networks. That is not true. We have had net neutrality since the Internet was opened to commercial traffic in the mid-1990s; it hasn’t prevented the big communications companies from upgrading during that time, and it’s unlikely that making net neutrality the law now will prevent them from making future upgrades. If they want to be competitive, they’ll upgrade. That’s the way it’s always been in business, even before the Internet, and that’s the way it will always be.
For a more detailed look at the panel’s decision see the Huffington Post article.
True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an extraordinary memoir. It held my interest and was a quick read, which is good for a 500+ page book. There are several reasons why this autobiography is so intriguing:
True Compass is a must-read for anyone who has, or is planning to have, children. The first part is largely concerned with how the Kennedy children were raised. I’ve seen many times in the media that Joe Kennedy groomed his sons to go into politics. Ted debunks that notion. His parents, he said, emphasized public service but did not dictate to their children how to accomplish that public service. In fact, Joe was surprised when Jack announced that he planned to run for Congress.
The book is full of anecdotes. For example, to illustrate the respect for Joe by his adult children, Ted told of Jack’s visit home while he was president. Jack decided to sleep in on Sunday morning but awoke suddenly when he heard his father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. Knowing that he would be questioned about why he wasn’t in church, he dressed hurriedly, slipped out the back way, and climbed over the fence into the neighbors’ yard. Ted didn’t mention if Secret Service agents were right behind him or if he ditched them, too.
True Compass gives us a good look how things get done in government and how politics has changed over the years. Kennedy tells about good and bad experiences he has had working with both Democrats and Republicans, and he doesn’t use his book as a platform to lash out at people he doesn’t like.
This is a nonpartisan book. It tells the story of an American dynasty and its last patriarch. It is a memoir that should be read, and can be enjoyed, by Democrats and Republicans.