Thursday, January 15, 2015

Net Neutrality: Regulation needed?

I recall a time when dial up was the mode of connecting to the internet and even then the content was very limited. No fancy graphics, no cookies, no advertising existed. Today, many of us gain access to the internet through our smartphones while others still use that thing called a computer. Then again, the computer is being eased out by the tablet and hybrids of the tablet/laptop. The content is richer, more graphic and interactive now as well.

Over the last few weeks, I have researched the topic of Net Neutrality to learn about what this term really means and thoughts of leading experts in the field. While I am sure I missed a few experts thus not giving me the entire picture, enough material was consumed to at least get the conversation started. Unfortunately, as I type this blog entry the recent speech given by President Obama won't be mentioned as I haven't heard or read the transcript yet despite the many sound bites that exist on the internet.

A reason why proponents of Net Neutrality are promoting is the power Internet Service Providers (ISP's) have over the speed at which we consumers receive content. Netflix appeared to be at the apex of this controversy as ISP's were throttling, slowing down, users that were streaming, watching, content from Netflix. In an article by The Windows Club, What is Net Neutrality - Definition, it is asserted that Comcast was "slowing down Netflix to promote its own paid videos". Thus pushing users to use Comcast lineup more than Netflix.

Now, in 2014 the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) did set a few rules to regulate that internet:

  1. Transparency: ISP's have to report and publish their performance periodically to traffic, irregularities, charges applied to faster bandwidth, and websites blocked.
  2. ISP's cannot unlawfully block websites: Not a clear definition of though of unlawfully given.
  3. ISP's cannot slow down the internet speed: Meaning if you pay for 1GB data transfer, then you get at least 1 GB data transfer speed.
Other reasons for Net Neutrality is that it will promote competition thus preventing a Ma Bell situation. Creates an environment of innovation while ensuring the Internet remains a free market place.

The counter points to Net Neutrality is that simply it is not needed. Why? Net Neutrality is not needed because ISP's benefit little from blocking content or "degrading network performance". The Internet is transforming as those that use it more than others, ISP's feel they have the right to charge more for the heavy usage; which is an aspect that those that favor Net Neutrality seeks to end.

If the recent Golden Globes are any indication where American's are headed for their viewing of television, then the conversation of throttling, bandwidth, heavy users and alike will be more mainstream. Very few nominations for Golden Globes, in television categories, were from shows on ABC, NBC or CBS. With just a handful more from cable networks that don't stream their shows online. Another concern of Net Neutrality is "Big Brother" syndrome.

Users and ISP's fear that if Net Neutrality is enacted that the FCC, at the whim of political power grabs, will not impartially regulate the Internet; rather will create uncertainty, stifle innovation, and end Capitalistic opportunities on the Internet.

Many of us do experience Net Neutrality already though despite the vague rules set forth by the FCC in 2014. If we were to go to a local library to access the internet, the library, i.e. Government, has put restrictions on the content and websites one can search or interact with. If you happen to work in a cube farm, your access to certain content, i.e. this blog, may be restricted.

I bring up these last to illustrations not because I favor restricting access; rather to illustrate that as a free society we are not always as free as we think to make our own choices. As for Net Neutrality goes:
  1.  If an ISP wants to charge one more for heavy usage I am fine with that.
  2.  If an ISP wants to throttle my service or restrict content for which I search for I am not fine with that.
  3. If an ISP wants to use cookies to track my searches to advance advertising to the banners then so be it as I understand that by my usage of the ISP I give up certain freedoms.
  4. Regulation seldom results in innovation.
The Internet pushes our boundaries and opens the world to our homes. We as consumers have the responsibility to ensure the content we search for, the programs we employ, the websites we create and words we type are without our own moral and ethical dogma.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and Good Morning 2015!

In traditional fashion, 2015 was brought in last night with the ball dropping in Time Square and champagne being popped open. Another tradition is setting New Year resolutions. While I know my posts have been sparse in the last quarter of the year, I set forth a new charge for 2015. I resolve to post twice a month on topics of debate to allow me ample time to research the topic and vet information brought forth.

All too often in our discourse of the topic of the day is shallow, knee jerk and recitation of talking points. We are better than that. We deserve better. By taking more time to research topics, it will allow for a deeper start to the conversation and hopefully a great result as we discuss the topics of the day.

As usual I am open to suggestions on topics to start the conversation on. Let's make 2015 a year of meaningful conversation and crafting solutions/understandings that deepen, enrich our lives. Shed the shallowness that most on social media sites and our media in general keep us in bondage.

Look forward to the first posting on the 15th to start a conversation of meaningful importance.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School

September 2, 2014 - marks the start of school for 2014. Yes, I know that some schools started last week. A lot of pictures on Facebook from friends, family and other relations showing the kids off to the bus stop with smiles on. As these kids go off to school and learn, my hope is that Civic classes make a Renaissance.

Over 200 years ago, old power wigged men decided that the oppression by the English Crown had gone on long enough. They acted, with the help of France, and formed a new government that we enjoy today. Along the way, many of the wrongs were corrected - Woman's Sufferage, Civil Rights Act - unfortunately one thing continues to erode; States Rights.

The 10th Amendment has been eroded and really leaves little in regards to State Rights anymore. The concept is rather simply; the power of the country is to reside in the State Houses of government and not Washington D.C. States no longer are allowed to choose their Senators; instead they are elected which allows money from outside the State to influence not mention the carpetbaggers. The concept of State Rights was to prevent a strong centralized system of government to rule over the land as the issues facing New Yorkers were much different than issues facing those from other States.

Just like today, issues facing Minnesota differ than those facing Arizona, Texas or even Maine. These
"laboratories of Democracy" were set in place for this reason.  When you get your new iPhone or Galaxy, we all choose which Apps we are to have, right? Well that is the same concept with State Rights.

If the laws of the land are the same in Minnesota as they are in California as they are in New York and we don't like them then we have no place to relocate to. Just like if we tire of Angry Birds and want to move onto Candy Crush, we have that ability by adding and deleting Apps. If you live in Minnesota and you don't like the fact that you cannot openly carry your weapon of choice, you have the ability to move to a State that does.

Some common laws ought to exists to aid in the flow of goods, the protection of private property and ensure basic civil rights exist. Let's hope our young children wake up and realize the benefits of a de-centralized system of government while we still have some freedom of choice, assembly, religion, and association.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Michael Brown: Gunned down in Cold blood or Justified Killing?

Ferguson, Missouri is the new focal point of racial tensions. The issue at hand is the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson. Facebook, Twitter, and the media has been all over this story with speculation on what took place. Instead of allowing the investigation to play out, the typical race baiting machine - Rev. Al & New Black Panthers - show up to stir the pot. To make matters worse, the city is put on curfew after several nights of looting and rioting.

No one is willing to take a breath and allow the facts to sort themselves out. After discussing this on Facebook with others and reading media reports we do know certain indisputable facts. The facts that no one is disputing are:

  1.  FPD Wilson approached Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson as they were walking in the middle of the street to ask them to get out of the street.
  2. After passing Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson, FPD Wilson hears on the radio a description of two people involved in a strong-arm robbery earlier in the day.
  3. FPD Wilson believes Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson fit that description and backs up his vehicle to investigate further.
  4. Struggle ensued in/near the FPD vehicle between FPD Officer Wilson and Michael Brown.
  5. Shot was fired in the vehicle.
  6. Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson fled on foot.
  7. FPD Officer Wilson got out of the car to pursue.
  8. FPD Officer Wilson order Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson to "Freeze".
  9. Michael Brown turned around.
  10. Michael Brown was shot multiple times being hit six times with all bullets entering the body from the front.
  11. Michael Brown was killed with final bullet to head.
The rest of the conversation is speculation. The big question that remains is: Was Michael Brown standing still with his hands raised as some eyewitnesses claim or Was Michael Brown running at FPD Wilson as some eyewitnesses claim. The answer to this question will determine the course of action taken against FPD Wilson.

For society, did we learn nothing from the Martin/Zimmerman case? That we need to allow the facts to come out before we rush to judgment. Please let's all take a step back, a deep breath and stop passing along speculation as fact. A young man is dead, families are grieving - we owe it to them and society at large to allow the facts to be heard in their entirety before judgment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What can be learned from Robin Williams?

The gruesome details of Robin Williams suicide is well documented. The suicide now catapults depression onto the front page and the trending topic on Facebook and Twitter. A relative of mine posted an article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/theres-nothing-selfish-about-suicide_b_5672519.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063, on their Facebook page with the plea of "we need to raise suicide awareness. Hopefully this tragic loss will help to raise the awareness and help our loved ones and have a few less loses." The author, of the link above, writes, "Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness."

Suicide being a selfish act was a mantra I carried the banner for. In fact a few of my past blog posts calls out suicide as a selfish act. Since that point, my view on suicide has shifted from it being a selfish act to cowardice act. Life is short enough. Darkness is all around us with the singular goal of dragging us to the depths of despair. Salvation and strength is given us all in the spark that burns within us all. In my response to my relatives posting, I agree that "the author is accurate that many make it out about the survivors as they lay claim to a selfish act."

People, like my relative (bless her soul), want to use Robin Williams suicide as another example to promote suicide awareness. To which I am fully behind and engaged. Allowing the acceptance of suicide as an option in life does a disservice to all those in dark places. Why do we allow this to take place?

Brutally open and honest conversation is avoided with emotional matters which leads to lip service to causes like suicide awareness. Every day time ought to be set aside to reflect. It can be five minutes, a hour or longer. The bottom line is to take inventory of the day and of oneself. Yet, if one holds a view of the cowardice act suicide is, one is labeled an insensitive jerk! Really?

As I posed to those viewing the thread on my relatives page, "You say I am an insensitive jerk, yet I am willing to discuss the topic for what it is. Who is really being insensitive to those with depression? The one that sees suicide as an out or one that recognizes the spark within gives us the strength to come out of the darkness?"

The Light within all contains the strength to pull anyone from the deepest depths of Hades. The climb make take a day, a week, a month or years. The end goal ought to be to give those within the darkness the tools and support to make the climb instead of saying their is another way. The pain will be eternal when suicide is chosen and the Light will not ascend. Allow the Light to shine through and salvation will be obtained.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Social Media Experiment - August 12th Primary Day

On Tuesday, August 12th, Minnesotans will be going to the polls to vote in primaries. I live in Minnesota District 47A where there will be two GOP candidates facing off in a primary and one DFL candidate in that primary. Unsure what the ballot for the Independent looks like at this point. Here is my experiment for social media - granted I am not utilizing social media to the fullest as I will only be posting here on blogger.com, Facebook and Linked In - to see how many write in primary votes I can garner for Minnesota District 47A. If you live in Minnesota District 47A please write my name in. And if you don't live in Minnesota District 47A please share this with someone that does so they may write in my name as well.

I look forward to seeing how this social media experiment will play out and the ripple effect it may have in future primary and elections.



Monday, July 28, 2014

The Cusp of Anarchy

North Korea announced that if the United States continued it's operations in the area they are going to launch nukes on the White House and the Pentagon. President Putin has provided resources to help pro-Russians in their Civil War in Ukraine. The Israeli's and Palestinians escalated their Civil War to ground troops invading the Gaza Strip. And the United States struggles to keep her boarders secure while floating the notion of impeaching the President.

Since World War II the United States has been on the aggressive to contain the expansion of Communism. Trouble the aggression created is developing an entitlement mentality of other world wannabe powers and the loss of diplomacy. Once the Berlin Wall feel and it was clear the United States was the Last Super Power emboldened other wannabe powers to attempt to exert their beliefs. Many were upset when Sen. Obama mentioned that he would sit down with other world dictators - friends and foes - after being elected President.

We now face the Dark Ages of Diplomacy. American society is not interested in electing a President or any Washington D.C official based on their vision of America or the ability to bring diplomacy to the position. Rather American society has allowed the Two-party system to lead us down this road. To help pave the road, the media plays the role of puppet and marionette to the ideological play written by the Two-party puppet masters.

When a one or a group of people attempt to bring enlightenment to the Dark Ages, they are demonized by one side and Co-op by the other. Tea Party for the Right and Occupiers for the Left. To ensure that no new group gains a foothold the media aids in fanning the flames of demonization. Unfortunately, far to many in American society will drink in the kool aid of which ever side they feel connected with as the unabated truth about the other side without actually investigating it themselves.

The United States was founded on the belief that "all men were created equal". Granted not all laws applied equally from the onset but the United States has made great strides in including more people in forming the future of the freest nation in the World. While no government is perfect, nor will one ever be, but American society has the luxury knowing that one holds the keys to their future not afforded the vast majority of the rest of the World.

Evidence of the luxury of American society is the emboldened illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are here in the United States protesting for "Rights", using taxpayer dollars, obtaining driver licenses, and taking advantage of a liberal welfare system. Now, a rush of children are pounding our Southern border in reaction to an executive order issued by President Obama that gave hope to these illegal immigrants of Amnesty.

While we are a Nation of Immigrants, there becomes a time when a Nations identity shifts to the Nation itself. For decades the United States used quotas to stem the tide of immigrants to the shores. Unfortunately, after the spread of Communism became a real threat following World War II the quota system started to erode and refugee status became the new system. The refugee system is fueling the entitlement mentality of the World.

The United States refugee system has allowed these groups to transplant without laying the expectation beforehand of assimilation. The Germans, Irish, Dutch, Swedes, Fins, etc..all understood the concept of assimilation. The result of not laying out this expectation beforehand will be Anarchy inside of the United States. Once that Anarchy comes to a head, that will be the time American society true enemies will come. When they come, we will be to focused on the infighting created by the Two-party system and promoted by the media.

America society is only a few months away from going back to the polls to vote for mid-term elections. Take time to inventory those candidates on the ballot, take time to inventory your role in allowing the Dark Ages to continue, take time to inventory your responsibility to assimilation. Then make sure you pull the lever for the candidate that will ensure a Nation that continues the luxury.