Category Archives: Politics

SOPA, Protect IP, etc. – WE DON’T WANT YOU

See the spiffy black bars to the left and the right of this text?  This website modification is to protest the potential passage of Legislation that would give a minority (the entrenched recording/film industry) vast powers over the content of the Internet.   This type of legislation threatens the economic incubator that is the Internet while protect a tiny part of our economy that needs to modify itself to remain relevant in modern times.

Should lobbyist protecting the horse, carriage and buggy industry been allowed to persuade the Federal Government to outlaw cars because they potentially used the same roads, copied their main innovations (wheels!  suspension!) and caused an industry undue harm?

I trust you can answer that question and align the analogy yourself.

An article on how you can take action:


Libertarian Stance

I was over at ArsTechnica this morning for my daily dose of Information Age news (holy crap VMware, that’s a crazy licensing change!) and I saw that the opposition to the Lighting Effeciency Act (or whatever the attempt by the Federal House was making to repeal a law from a few years ago that mandated that light bulbs all get 30% more efficient) had failed.  This made me happy as it provides for a way for our nation to become more energy efficient in a way that everyone can participate in.

What surprised me (why?  I don’t know…) was the opposition to the original bill.  The Federal Government has no business regulating light bulbs, they say.  On MPR on the drive home Tuesday I heard a clip of Rush Limbaugh on his radio show saying that legislating away choice on light bulbs is un-American.   Hmm.

Well, I consider myself a good libertarian, and I thought that this was an interesting quote in response to claim that “the government has no business legislating what kind of light bulbs I can buy”:

“I am in many senses a libertarian but I am sick and tired of this argument, it does not hold water because what I consume in terms of energy can have a negative effect on other persons without their consent, I should therefore as a good libertarian actively try to minimize my impact on other persons lives as much as I can, because if I do not at least try, then I am morally corrupt, reprehensible person that does not live as I learn.”

Wow, so I can get behind that statement.

Argument #2 for me of why this is necessary:

Too man y people can’t (or won’t)do the math for themselves.  A good CFL or LED bulb will easily pay for itself and energy won’t be getting cheaper any time soon.   Just because an incandescent is cheap upfront does not make it the best deal and some people can’t get past this.

This isn’t to say I don’t have incandescent bulbs in the Juchems household.  We have been replacing them as they die – using them anywhere (outside, where in the Winter they take a minute or so warm up), in our kitchen, etc. but not in the theater room because they don’t dim nicely.  I am truly hoping we can ride our current CFL and incandescent inventory until LEDs become more cost effective.

Finally, the government does subsidize the crap our of our energy grid, so if they identify a way to get a better return on their (our) investment, by all means, that sounds pretty pro-American to me.

With this out of the way, maybe they could talk about the debt ceiling or something that actually pertains to the long term health of our nation in a very critical way.


Senators being useful?

Well, it looks like I misplaced my vote in the 2010 elections – and it could have been a huge loss for not only myself but perhaps the country. Luckily, Al Franken was still elected as Minnesota’s Senator and he is there now actually championing some legislation that is good for the people and not the folks with fat wallets who can write checks to support campaigns.

This article over at Ars Technica pretty well sums it up:

Net Neutrality (NN) is a necessity with the way that communications companies are currently government protected monopolies.  It is what keeps Comcast and the like from charging an extra $3 a month for netflix, $1 per month for Skype, etc.  It keeps the pipe to your house free for using how you see fit for the one price you pay for it.  Without NN, the internet will be fragmented as pay walls are erected and those without the means to pay will be stuck with some subset of the Internet.

Franken has worked with another Senator to write a concise, readable piece of legislation that we want to see passed.  Really, we do – as your resident technologist, don’t believe rhetoric that tries to paint any other picture.


Obama on the Jon Stewart show

This was a surprise to me – and I thought it was both entertaining and very informational.

Whether you agree with everything that is said is a totally different matter.  I would like to hear more about further revising the health care plan, which according to my favorite HR professional is a big pile of legislative crap that the business world doesn’t even know how to tackle.  Maybe social security was met with the same revulsion as well, I can’t imagine that any employer enjoyed having to take over managing contributions to a government program.  Frankly, there is one thing I’d like to hear about cap & trade on carbon – that it is going away.  It sounds like a seriously complex solution to a very small subset of the problem.

It was nice to see the President articulate and nimble without a teleprompter, however.  I’d always kind of wondered about that.  It also served as a reminder how he had the charisma to get elected.

Finally, I thought the President very eloquently covered the topic of how people are going to be angry with the current situation in a America and how they will vent that through another change up, much like two years ago.  It has been my position that during good economic times we tend to think our government is doing great – probably because they have their budgeted income or surplus to look good.  During downturns, the guys in office are going to look horrible, running huge deficits or cutting into programs that are politically expensive.

Let’s all hope he’s right in stating that the elected representation, himself included, is willing to make the “right” decisions versus the ones that are popular.  The sad truth of the matter is that their job depends on making the popular ones and like the vast majority of working America keeping their job is of top priority for a variety of very common human factors.

Two years ago I am sure that many Republicans were voted out of office simply because of their party affiliation rather than their past performance.  I have little doubt we’ll see a few Democrats bounced out this year for the same reason.  Given a rational debate, I believe that most would agree that we should, instead, focus on keeping the intelligent and level headed representatives in office.  What is very unclear is how we get from where we are to there.