Net Neutrality and the Railroad Business

Here’s a perfect explanation of why Net Neutrality matters, why it should be enforced by the FCC, and how it’s been done in the past. I wish I could link directly to the comment, but Wired offered no way to do that. A comment on Why Google Became A Carrier-Humping, Net Neutrality Surrender Monkey:

posted by: kibbles | 08/10/10 | 5:35 pm |
@bill_the_kat ? let me paste you a little story on the net neutrality ?scheme?.
Think about Netflix. It has unlimited streaming movies now. Comcast has streaming movies too, at $4 per movie. What if Comcast tells Netflix ?unless you pay us the equivalent of $20/user per month we are going to put you in the slow lane and your users won?t be able to stream.? NetFlix?s streaming business will be crushed. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T want Congress to allow them to do exactly that, and this is why net neutrality legislation is so important.
This isn?t a result of a fertile imagination. This actually happened 100 years ago. Imagine the year is 1900. I run a steel company and you run a railroad. I sell steel for $50 per ton and you ship it for $3 per ton. I have two major competitors. I come to you and offer you $10 per ton for shipping if you agree not to carry steel for the other two. That number will give you far more profit for far less effort so you say yes. You?re happy. My two competitors cannot move steel from Pittsburgh to Kansas any other way (what, by horse and wagon?) so they go out of business, or a least their business is limited to local purchasers.
Then I raise my steel price from $50 per ton to $75. The steel buyers have to pay because they have no other choice. The competition is gone. I make huge profits. I?m happy. You make huge profits. You?re happy. The consumers and my competitors aren?t happy, but who gives a flying f*** about them?
This is the history of the railroad business in the late 1800s. This scenario played out again in the 1920s in trucking. Both times Congress mandated that any shipping company must charge identical amounts for all customers, based only on size, weight, and transit time.
We have 100 years of success with ?net neutrality.? It?s working pretty well.
?make sense? now explain why thats a bad thing.

Historical Election: From Obama to Prop 8

I didn’t believe Obama had a chance to win until he won the Iowa primary on January 4, 2008, but an African American candidate winning in one of the whitest states in the country (91% white, 2.5% black) changed the political landscape forever. From that point on, Democratic voters decided to test their country and put forth the best candidate for the job… and not just the best one they thought could beat the Republicans. And on November 4th a historic candidacy became a historic election.

At the same time black America saw a historical milestone pass, gay America saw another regress. Proposition 8 in California and similar ballot initiatives in Florida and Arizona outlawed gay marriage. If there is one tradition in America worth keeping, it’s the continual expansion of civil rights to all people. I do not understand why people felt the need to explicitly deny the rights of others, especially in this day and age.

If you think being gay is a choice, you are an idiot. Just imagine if you could force yourself to marry someone against your sexual orientation.

If you think people are born gay and still deny them equal rights, you are a bigot and don’t believe in freedom.

Congrats to Obama and good luck to gay Americans everywhere. History will eventually be on your side, but as MLK said, “a right delayed is a right denied.”

Anthrax Guy

I’m torn on the story about the suicide of Bruce Ivins, who was under investigation for the 2001 Anthrax attacks.? It always bothered me that we never caught the guy, or even seemed to be concerned about it.? I’m glad it looks like this was definitely the guy, but it sucks that it took forever to find him and they weren’t able arrest him and find out the truth.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon has an interesting take on it and the media’s jump to conclusions:

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks.