Updates from July, 2006 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ben 12:58 pm on 7/21/2006 Permalink  

    Daily Show’s John Hodgman on Net Neutrality 

    The Daily Show segment with John Hodgman on net neutrality is brilliant, and actually explains the issue pretty well.

  • Ben 3:32 pm on 6/28/2006 Permalink  

    Broadcast Flag Through Commitee 

    Blech, the broadcast flag has made it through committee.

    As things stand now, the Senate Commerce Committee has decided we need a broadcast flag, but is leaning heavily against net neutrality. That’s just plain inconsistent. In the argument against legislating the tenets of network neutrality into law, its opponents make the case that federal regulation is unnecessary because it applies government regulation to technology instead of letting the markets sort the whole matter out. That is the line of reasoning followed by Sen. Stevens and other legislators who are leery of mandating net neutrality. At the same time, the senators are fully backing the broadcast flag, which would apply strict government regulations to technology. There’s one common thread here: the interests of big business. With the broadcast flag, big business is for heavy regulation. In the case of net neutrality, it’s not. At least we know where our lawmakers’ true interests lie.

  • Ben 9:22 am on 5/30/2006 Permalink  

    Condi’s Favorites 

    Bono asked Condoleezza Rice for her top ten list for the issue of The Independent that he guest-edited. I couldn’t resist making a playlist.

  • Ben 10:20 am on 5/23/2006 Permalink  

    Won’t You Be My Neighbor? 

    YouTube has the 7 minute testimony that Fred Rogers gave to a Senate commitee in 1969 to help secure funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It’s touching and compelling.

  • Ben 1:55 pm on 5/16/2006 Permalink  

    The Daily Show affects young voters 

    A study found that watching The Daily Show might be causing low youth voter turnouts because viewers have a more cynical opinion of candidates and the political system. Ah, now I get it. Young people aren’t avoiding the polls because the candidates are low quality and the system is corrupt, they’re avoiding the polls because The Daily Show keeps pointing out that the candidates are low quality and the system is corrupt.

  • Ben 9:46 am on 5/1/2006 Permalink  

    Stephen Colbert roasts Bush 

    Stephen Colbert gave a hilarious in-character “tribute” to Bush at the Washington Correspents Dinner. Video here. That handshake with Bush afterwards looks pretty awkward.

  • Ben 8:18 am on 3/14/2006 Permalink  

    Who Is Rakan Ben Williams? 

    I swear I’m not “Rakan Ben Williams.” ;)

    Is this going to land me on the no-fly list?

  • Ben 5:10 pm on 2/16/2006 Permalink  

    Texas Cops Release Cheney Shooting Report 

    Smoking Gun has the official police report on the Cheney shooting. I love that there’s a Captain Kirk in the Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Ben 1:59 pm on 1/4/2006 Permalink  

    Pete Ashdown for US Senate 

    Pete Ashdown is founder of the largest ISP in Utah and he’s running a tech-savvy campaign for Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat. He writes his own blog and he’s put his platform on a wiki. He probably can’t beat Hatch but it’s encouraging to see more tech-savvy candidates showing up.

  • Ben 10:38 pm on 11/2/2005 Permalink  

    Massachusetts OpenDocument Standard Under Threat 

    There’s now an amendment on an economic stimulus bill in the Massachusetts State Senate that threatens to roll back the OpenDocument standard recently announced by the Information Technology Division. If you are a Massachusetts resident, please call or email your Senator and voice your opposition to the amendment.

  • Ben 9:21 am on 9/15/2005 Permalink  

    Microsoft fights Massachusetts OpenDocument conversion 

    The Globe has an article on Microsoft’s attempt to avert the Massachusetts government switch to the OpenDocument office file format. Tim Bray got a copy of Microsoft’s talking points and takes them apart.

  • Ben 10:18 am on 9/8/2005 Permalink  

    The bad idea behind our failed health-care system 

    Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in the New Yorker on the trouble with the U.S. health care system is a must read.

    Instead, the United States has opted for a makeshift system of increasing complexity and dysfunction. Americans spend $5,267 per capita on health care every year, almost two and half times the industrialized world’s median of $2,193; the extra spending comes to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. What does that extra spending buy us? Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries. We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries. American life expectancy is lower than the Western average. Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the nineteenth percentile of industrialized nations. Doctors here perform more high-end medical procedures, such as coronary angioplasties, than in other countries, but most of the wealthier Western countries have more CT scanners than the United States does, and Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita. Nor is our system more efficient. The United States spends more than a thousand dollars per capita per year—or close to four hundred billion dollars—on health-care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about three hundred dollars per capita. And, of course, every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave forty-five million people without any insurance. A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy—a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper—has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.
    Here are some groups advocating for single-payer, national systems and universal insurance coverage:

  • Ben 8:45 am on 8/20/2005 Permalink  

    Demand your TSA travel records 

    Here’s how to request the information that the Transportation Security Administration has collected about you using a Privacy Act request.

  • Ben 12:59 pm on 8/17/2005 Permalink  

    Bush sneaks in vetoes under a veil of formality 

    It’s bizarre finding this on Science Blog:

    An article published in the latest issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly discusses how the Bush administration used a little-known policy tool of attaching presidential signing statements to bills to, in essence, veto them. The statements serve to increase presidential authority while rejecting that of Congress. Presidential signing statements alter specific provisions of legislation without sending bills back for possible veto overrides. This is as effective and substantive as a line-item veto and can nullify a range of statutory provisions even as a president signs the legislation that contained them into law.
    I had no idea this was possible.

  • Ben 12:34 pm on 8/3/2005 Permalink  

    Calling All Luddites 

    Thomas Friedman covers Andrew Rasiej’s Wi-Fi for everyone campaign for New York City public advocate.

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