Thursday, April 24, 2014

Last Call For Net Neutrality

The FCC has officially killed Net Neutrality, so prepare to be screwed even more by your internet provider.

The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals. 
The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers. 
The F.C.C.'s previous rules governing net neutrality were thrown out by a federal appeals court this year. The court said those rules had essentially treated Internet service providers as public utilities, which violated a previous F.C.C. ruling that Internet links were not to be governed by the same strict regulation as telephone or electric service. 
The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company – like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google – and charge different companies different amounts for priority service.

So content providers, you want access to these "fast lanes"?  Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and your favorite online game are going to have to come up with bigger and bigger bucks, and that means you'll have to pay a lot more for internet access to these sites.

Oh, but it gets worse: there's now nothing from stopping Comcast from telling their customers "If you want access to these fast lanes, you'll have to buy access from us too."  Like movies and TV online? That'll cost you an extra $20 a month on your internet bill.  Like Youtube?  There's another $5 bucks.  Like playing online games?  Prepare to fork over another $10 a month.  Like Twitter or Facebook?  Cough up another $10.  You don't have to of course...but your internet is going to be awfully slow otherwise, and that would be a shame.

Oh, and you'll have to pay your phone company all those same fees if you expect to access anything on your smartphone, too.  Prepare to have your cell phone bill skyrocket as well.

The most overpriced country for net access just got several times worse.  The internet giants are going to make hundreds of billions more money for the same access you have now.  You think they're going to give you faster internet?

The days of unlimited internet access for one monthly rate are numbered as well.  Prepare to start being charged by the gigabyte at home just like you are by the phone companies now.

Horror stories of people being charged thousands of bucks for a month of net access?  It's coming.  In the end the corporations always win.

Not As Doomed As You Think

The NY Times has launched its new crew of statistics geeks and policy wonks (called "The Upshot") and they're already making waves with new polling information that shows that Southern state Dem senators may not be as doomed to loss in November as the GOP seems to think they are.

Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a two-term incumbent who has been considered perhaps the most imperiled Democratic senator in the country, holds a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, Representative Tom Cotton. Mr. Pryor, the son of a former senator, has an approval rating of 47 percent, with 38 percent of Arkansas voters disapproving of him.
Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina, appears more endangered as she seeks a second term. She has the support of 42 percent of voters, and Thom Tillis, the Republican state House speaker and front-runner for his party’s nomination, is at 40 percent. Unlike Mr. Pryor, however, Ms. Hagan’s approval rating, 44 percent, is the same as her disapproval number. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is also effectively tied with his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes, a race that may be close because Mr. McConnell, first elected to the Senate in 1984, has the approval of only 40 percent of voters, while 52 percent disapprove. But Ms. Grimes must overcome Mr. Obama’s deep unpopularity in the state, where only 32 percent of voters approve of his performance.
With 42 percent support, Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, has an early lead in a race that is not fully formed against a large field of Republicans. Representative Bill Cassidy, the Republican front-runner, was the choice of 18 percent, and 20 percent had no opinion. There are two other Republicans in the race, but Louisiana has no primary. So all candidates of both parties will be on the ballot in November and, absent one of them taking 50 percent, there will be a runoff in December.

But they told me Hagan and especially Mark Pryor were dooooooooomed.  Pryor's up by ten points?  Why, it's like somebody reminded voters who Republicans are and what they stand for.  It's like Obamacare is working in Arkansas and Kentucky.  Who knew?

Ranch Dressing Gone Horribly Bad

The NY Times gives Nevada deadbeat and squatter Cliven Bundy 15 more minutes of fame.

Cliven Bundy stood by the Virgin River up the road from the armed checkpoint at the driveway of his ranch, signing autographs and posing for pictures. For 55 minutes, Mr. Bundy held forth to a clutch of supporters about his views on the troubled state of America — the overreaching federal government, the harassment of Western ranchers, the societal upheaval caused by abortion, even musing about whether slavery was so bad.

Most of all, Mr. Bundy, 67, who was wearing a broad-brimmed white cowboy hat against the hot afternoon sun, recounted the success of “we the people” — gesturing to the 50 supporters, some armed with handguns and rifles, standing in a semicircle before him — at chasing away Bureau of Land Management rangers who, acting on a court order, tried to confiscate 500 cattle owned by Mr. Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993.

“They don’t have the guts enough to try to start that again for a few years,” Mr. Bundy said in an interview.

Wow, this guy is a real hero, right?

I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom

Raise your hand if you are surprised in the least at a 67 year old white guy who's been squatting on government land for 20 plus years thinking "the Negroes" are all on government subsidies because they never learned how to pick cotton.

Rarely do I ever expect the depths of winger asshole racism to surpass my expectations of winger asshole racism, but please remind me again how we're living in a colorblind society.
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