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By Kasson

This has been a busy week in the life of the President. Probably the biggest week in my lifetime, with several major bombshells coming out every day. But lurking in the background has been an undoing of a major protection of the Internet.

During the Obama administration the Internet was classified as a Title II service, which makes them similar to a public utility. They provide you service and you have complete access to any website you want. And that access cannot be blocked or impeded beyond the general Internet speed that you pay for. Basically Comcast cannot choose to slow down Netflix or YouTube to a crawl and speed up their own competing service. Today the FCC ended that classification.

Think of Internet service in this way as similar to the electric company. They charge you for the electricity you use and other service fees. But they cannot dictate how you use that electricity. They cannot say “you must buy Joe Blow’s Air Conditioner, because we will not power any other brand of air conditioner. Or maybe they will allow it, but they won’t provide enough electricity to power it on the hottest of summer days.

The reasons these protections are needed is Internet providers are near monopolies everywhere they exist. There are seldom more than one or two options to provide fast Internet service in any given area. You have no choice, so if Company A decides to have terrible business practices there is no alternative you can choose from.

If the Internet Service Providers (Comcast, Time Warner/Spectrum, Verizon get their way, which they just passed a major hurdle in doing so, the Internet will slowly become a much different place. We are already seeing data caps for service in which you are already paying for a set speed. Ultimately the goal is to sell the Internet like cable TV. You buy a package and you can view those websites like channels, or you can pay for the “unlimited plan” which gives you access to the whole Internet Before that, they will likely use the new rules to limit speeds for competing websites. Time Warner who owns CNN may limit speeds or access to view Fox News.

If you think that seems outlandish, it’s not. This was already starting to pop up before the Obama administration outlawed it. Netflix was being throttled, their speed was being restricted so that you couldn’t watch HD by several major ISPs Some of these ISPs were even demanding payments from Netflix to unthrottle their access to their customers.

I won’t even go into the billions of dollars that the US government paid these companies to build out a fiber network in the 1990’s that, they then took the money and refused to build out the network.

Similar to the law passed earlier this year which allowed ISPs to sell your digital information. No one supports these changes except the ISPs themselves, who donate many millions of dollars to political candidates. Not the citizens, not the websites and content makers, only the ISPs. The ISPs with some of the lowest consumer approval rankings of any corporations, because they have no reason to keep the customer happy. They have a monopoly.

The war is not over, and this particular battle has just begun, but without a strong commitment to net neutrality, financial interests will ultimately prevail and the citizen will lose.

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by Wink

As expected, Donald Trump was a train-wreck in the first presidential debate. Per the norm, he blamed his awful performance on everything but himself. We would expect nothing else.

He said moderator Lester Holt asked unfair questions. (You know, the kind you don’t know the answer to).

He said his microphone was faulty. (We agree, as the damned mic picked up EVERY incoherent thing Trump said.)

Remember when Rudy Giuliani was somebody? (Hint: It was prior to when Chris Christie was somebody.) Since leaving his job as Mayor of New York, Giuliani has decided the best way to get on TV is to be a conservative firebrand. He thinks this will make him more relevant, but in fact makes him, historically, less relevant (though still not as irrelevant as Christie).

Giuliani says Trump should skip the remaining debates unless he gets guarantees that “there would be a moderator and not a fact-checker.”

We agree Rudy, facts are kryptonite to ‘the Donald.’

To close, we quote Michael Gerson of the Washington Post:

Trump concluded his performance by praising himself for his own grace and restraint, during an evening that showed him to be nasty, witless and deceptive. It should now be clear to Republicans: Vanity is his strategy.

Trump’s defenders will charge his critics with elitism. The Great public, it is argued, get Trump in a way that the commenting class does not. But this claim is now fully exposed.

The expectation of rationality is not elitism. Coherence is not elitism. Knowledge is not elitism. Honoring character is not elitism.

And those who claim this are debasing themselves, their party and their country.

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By Wink

Do you like the song (Sitting on) The Dock of The Bay?

Me too.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the 20 best songs of the last 50 years.

This month is the anniversary of the birth of its singer and writer, Otis Redding, born September 9, 1941.

A fiery performer, Redding had recently stolen the show from the bigger name artists at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and was feeling very good about himself. He returned to a houseboat is Sausalito and wrote ‘Dock of The Bay.’

Against the wishes of his record label, he broke from his traditional style and tried to create a sound similar to the Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’

Co-writer Steve Cropper (of Booker T & the MG’s and Blues Brothers) wrote a ‘fadeout rap’ that Redding was supposed to vocalize, but he whistled instead. No one knows if he forgot the words or just skipped them on purpose, but the whistled ending seems perfect, allowing the song to drift out like the tide…

Recorded only three days before his death, Redding felt this was his best song, and would be a number one hit. How could he know this, since he never had a number one record? Who knows, but it turned out to be prophetic.

It is comforting to know that he had reached a happy point in his life before he died, and of course sweet/sad that his only #1 song reached that level after his death, at age 26, in a plane crash.

Sympathy drives a lot of things, notably, after Ray Charles died his collaboration album won the ‘best album’ Grammy over Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ (get serious), but I believe ‘Dock of the Bay’ was so good it would have made it to # 1 no matter what….

Happy Birthday Otis, this loneliness won’t leave us alone.

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By Wink

I hope and presume Dzhokhar Tsamaev will be found guilty. All available evidence points to him and his dead older brother as the ‘alleged’ Boston Marathon bombers.

String him up.

But first, of course, there is the right to a speedy and fair trial.

Then string him up.

Many at Fox and in the conservosphere have decided that we should not have given ‘Miranda rights’ to Tsarnaev. Their apparent argument is ‘you shouldn’t give rights to bad guys.’

These ‘experts’ always profess to love America, but they don’t even ‘get’ America. How can anyone who says ‘don’t give someone their Miranda rights’ be considered a legal expert? Or an expert on American justice? Or American history?

To all you Fox-lovers and kindred spirits, let me help you: ‘Miranda’ is a prime example of why America is a great country. ‘Miranda’ helps make America great.

We (all Americans) have rights. A fundamental right is the right to a fair trial. A fair trial insists on proper representation, which means legal counsel. That is all ‘Miranda’ is about.

If Rush or Coulter or O’Reilly ever get arrested, for any reason, you can bet you’re a$$ they will be screaming for their right to representation, and insist on their ‘Miranda Rights.’

Why should they be treated differently from any other schlub? Schlubs need rights because we all need rights. It is also of note that sometimes schlubs are innocent. (Hard to imagine, huh?)

“Don’t give Miranda rights’ is just another part of the standard Fox ‘create fear’ narrative. They imply ‘Miranda’ might prevent or delay justice or worse, let a crook go free.

In practice (in real life) the existence of ‘Miranda’ has allowed approximately zero percent of bad guys to get off without punishment. If someone is guilty the evidence will still be there, whether they talk or not.

Hey super-patriots, you are not alone in wanting a quick resolution to this crime. We all want it. The bombing victims deserve it. We just want the preponderance of evidence to show ‘guilt’ and I presume that will be the end result here.

Weak governments and dictatorships are not concerned with the ‘rights’ of private citizens. Great countries are strong enough to endow their citizens these rights.

Our star-spangled banner is not served by undermining what makes America great.

 

P.S.: If you sensitive-types are bothered by my ‘string him up’ comments, please take a deep breath. Sometimes, for effect, I jest…

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By Kasson

 

Poll Closing Times:

 

6pm (EST): 
Indiana (11), Expected to go to Romney, would not be killer to Romney if it goes Obama.

 

7pm (EST):

Florida (29), Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Florida is a MUST win for Romney. Virginia Going for Romney makes his path easier. New Hampshire is up for grabs but unlikely going to decide the election.

 

7:30pm (EST): 

Ohio(18), The most important race in the election. It gets much tougher for the loser of this state.

 

8pm (EST): 

Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Both are likely Obama, but if Romney can win one or both, Obama will have a long election night.
Once these polls have come in the night should be much clearer. Though some states may be too close to call well into the night or even further.

 

9pm (EST):
Wisconsin (17), Colorado (9), Almost every scenario for Romney Winning, has him winning Colorado. Wisconsin is Likely Obama, but one potential stretch goal for Romney.

 

10pm (EST):
Iowa (6), Nevada (6), These swing states are smaller but probably critical for Romney to win.

 

By this point in the night the winner will probably be fairly obvious or we will be looking at a really close race.
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By Kasson

Special Thanks to RealClearPolitics.com for the map generator.

 

 

This is our 2012 election prediction. If Barack Obama has a good night he might also pick up Virginia and Florida. If Mitt Romney has a good night he will pick up Ohio and Colorado, giving him just enough (275-263) to win the election.

The prediction for the Senate is Democrats (and Democrat siding independents)  will hold 53 seats. Republicans will hold 47.

We predict the Republican party to hold a healthy margin in the House of Representatives. Republicans holding 239 seats, Democrats holding 196 seats.

We will see tomorrow night how closely these predictions hold.

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By Wink

Is there any award, world-wide, that carries more cache than the Nobel prize?

Probably not… not an Oscar, not an Olympic gold medal, not even a Latin Grammy….

Pakistan has had only one Nobel Prize winner – Adbus Salam. Salam’s work helped develop the theoretical framework that led to the recent reported discovery of the ‘God Particle.’

Don’t look here for an explanation of the ‘God Particle.’ I am not smart enough and, be honest now, you are not smart enough either, to understand any of it.

His achievement was so significant that Nobel laureate Salam (who died in 1996) should be on the ‘Mount Rushmore of Pakistan.’ He was once a national hero, but no more.

The majority of Pakistan’s citizens are Sunni Muslims and the Sunni fundamentalists are taking firmer and firmer control of the government.

Since Salam’s Ahmadi sect is not the predominant religion in Pakistan, his name has been removed from Pakistan schoolbooks.

Among those in Pakistan who are not ‘pure’ (by majority standards) are Shiite Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Salam’s Ahmadi sect.

In the name of religious purity, Pakistan now chooses to pretend their one Nobel laureate never existed.

Fundamentalism is like that: ‘We’ are right, everybody else is wrong or, even worse, blasphemers.

There are religious fundamentalists in the U.S. also, who, as in Pakistan, often choose to ignore science.

Climate change data has long been established and confirmed fact, but religious conservatives (egged on and financed by business conservatives) have an orchestrated campaign to convince you that, among other things…

  • Mankind cannot change the course of the planet, either for the better or for the worse.
  • There is no such thing as overpopulation.
  • The extinction of ‘non-important’ species has no discernible effect on humans.
  • The rising temperature of the oceans is a figment of your imagination and/or is not important.

Legislation that supports those ideas is intended to protect polluters. Conservatives are in a constant fight to strip the EPA of any and all powers to protect the environment.

Somehow, those who want to protect the planet are ‘the enemy.’ (This would be a good time for true religious fundamentalists to review what the Bible says about taking care of the planet.)

Nobel laureate Salam may as well have never existed in his native country, because his was a minority religion.

Should the religious majority in any country, in America, decide what is and what isn’t a scientific fact?

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