A few thoughts…
Being fully engaged in a job search, I’ve not had much time to spend on the news. My daily fix of news comes near dawn over coffee with a quick view of CNBC to see how and what the markets are doing as well as whatever is reported on MSNBC and CNN. However, once in a while, I learn something that bears commentary.
Broadband internet now a priority for the FCC
On Wed., April 8, USA Today reported that the FCC will pursue a goal of nationwide affordable, fast internet.
he Federal Communications Commission Wednesday begins work on a national broadband plan, with the goal of ensuring that all consumers have access to services that are fast and affordable.
The public will be able to submit comments to the FCC for 60 days, with another 30 days for reply comments. The agency will take them into consideration as it crafts the USA’s first national broadband plan.
The plan, due to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010, could have a profound impact, says Ben Scott, public policy director of Free Press, a media advocacy group.
“It could be a very important document that guides the future of telecommunications regulation and the future of the Internet,” he says. “Or it could be a glorified study.”
The FCC often gets knocked for issuing reports that have little impact, but Scott doesn’t think that will happen this time.
Though broadband is widely available in urban and suburban markets, in many rural areas dial-up Internet access is still common. Dial-up isn’t fast enough to handle interactive fare, such as video streaming. Satellite-based broadband is an option for rural consumers, but it tends to be quite slow, Scott notes.
In the USA currently, the average broadband speed is less than 3 megabits per second. Other countries, including Japan, claim average speeds of more than 60. Australia recently committed to 100 megabits.
Scott says the FCC would do well to heed those examples. “If we’re talking about the Internet as infrastructure, the bar (on speed) has to be pretty high.”
As someone who currently resides in a fairly rural area, I welcome high-speed broadband at affordable prices. We have wireless internet, but the average speed is about 3mb/sec. except during the middle of the night. To put it more graphically, I can go downstairs, make a sandwich, and come back upstairs to the computer before a page loads. What that slow speed means is a complete inability to view videos, engage in video conferencing, or even view graphic heavy websites. And what that means is reduced business productivity and revenue. Not good for American business…and American jobs.
Texas Governor Perry and his “Tea Party” Secession Speech
This morning CNN reports that Gov. Perry really didn’t mean what he said when he talked about Texas seceding from the Union. I wonder if Gov Perry understands that inciting to rebellion is a capital crime called Treason. Texas cannot legally secede, no matter what some may say. Nor can it create it’s own Milita – as in Army – to fight against the Union. All those engaged in or inciting rebellion (War) are liable for charges of Treason.
Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Essentially, what that section of Article 3 says is that anyone engaged in rebellion is making war against the United States and thus subject to Treason. Gov. Perry and his adherents better pay closer attention to what they’re saying.
But let’s be clear: Perry and all the FOX News gang are just playing to the crowd. They have an agenda to sell, and that agenda is called ratings. Perry wants to be re-elected and FOX wants to boost its viewing ratings so it can charge higher ad fees.
Unfortunately, their cynical self-promotions play on the very real fears of American citizens. Hitler did not come into power by praising the democratic government of Germany after WWI when the people were suffering through a vicious economic depression. No, he criticized it in order to promote himself. He played on the fears of the populous and look what the world got. I’m not saying the present day fear-mongers are akin to Hitler, but remembering what fear-mongering can create is well worth a reminder or two.
Speaking for fear and hate
Al Hunt of Bloomberg Politics writes in his latest column,
Used-car salesmen, lawyers and journalists can relax; they’ve been replaced as America’s favorite villains by corporate executives, or at least investment bankers.
Hailed only a short while ago as masters of the universe and princes of perpetual profits, they now are reviled. Consider:
— Americans, no surprise, overwhelmingly oppose the huge bonuses that are paid to employees by Wall Street companies, according to polls. A recent Quinnipiac survey, however, shows that almost one person in three favors the government imposing a limit on all executive compensation. (That failed miserably during the Nixon administration; for trivia buffs, the 1972 wage and price control effort was directed by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. A harbinger?)
— There’s a hot new online game called “Trillion Dollar Bailout,” in which the player can “slap” corporate executives, sending them “to a dark hole in which, you hope, a hungry Hannibal Lecter awaits with the dining table already laid.”
— The most visible protests at the Group of 20 meetings this month were directed at bankers. “Love, not leverage,” read one sign.
Walter Shorenstein, who Hunt quotes extensively in his article, writes,
“Just because a new investment fad sweeps through certain crowds, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a smart place to put your money,” writes Shorenstein, whose firm avoided most of the cyclical downturns that have plagued other real-estate companies. “If terms like counter-party risk, mark-to-market accounting, and capital-structure arbitrage aren’t part of your everyday conversation, then don’t risk your future on something you don’t understand.”
…“In the midst of the froth and excitement of a bubble economy, there is always a boisterous and delusional group declaring an end to gravity and logic.”
Maybe it is time for that old adage, buyer beware, to come back into vogue as part of the national lexicon.