Friday, June 21, 2013

It's The Infrastructure, Stupid

I think I may be one of something like 11 people in the country who are happy with their cable company.  That said, my cable company doesn't sell me cable; they sell me internet service.  When I bought cable service from them it was terrible and then there were 10 people in the country who were happy with their cable providers.

But I am pretty happy with my cable internet service.  It's fairly reliable and I can get 15 MB/s service from them for a reasonable price.

But if Google Fiber showed up in my neighborhood tomorrow?  Sorry Shentel, "don't let the door hit you," as the saying goes.  

Google Fiber's roll-out into the Kansas City area has been nothing short of breathtaking.  Delivering speeds almost two orders of magnitude faster than anything else you can get in most of the country at prices comparable to far inferior services, Google Fiber has spurred, as CNET puts it, a "startup renaissance" in the  region and it's all down to infrastructure.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Are Monsters

I was catching up on the news from E3 while I wait for some bread to rise.  The trailer for Destiny is particularly good but it presents a view of humanity which is, well, more than a little bit naive.  The premise of the game is that humanity has been driven back from a sprawling interplanetary empire to a final hold-out city on Earth and that we must marshal a heroic push to "reclaim what is ours."  What follows is a bunch of classic sci-fi battle scenes with psyonic powers and lasers and fantasy styled infantry.


I get that stuff like that sells games.  I get that we'd like to believe ourselves a race of heroes and champions of honor but we're neither of those things.  We're monsters.  We're perfectly prepared to do the unthinkable to each other if the political stakes are high enough.  Look at Syria right now - facing a serious military challenge from a rebellion, the government has turned to the use of nerve gas (if the Obama administration is to be believed).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This is how you deal with sexual abuse in the military

No "nudge nudge wink wink."  This guy will personally kill the next person who steps out of line and by the end of the video there's no possible way to doubt that.

This is the kind of attitude we need in this country when we confront sexual abuse in the military.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Closing Your Digital Blinds

Pragmatic Left is hosted on Blogger which is a Google property.  With news breaking today that Google is among the (numerous) participants in a massive NSA data mining and intelligence gathering operation known as PRISM I'd just like to take a moment to give a shout-out to all my readers over at Fort Meade.

But before everyone freaks out about the NSA spying on their Gmail accounts and their Microsoft cloud services I'd like to ask a provocative question: what's the big deal?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

We Are All Journalists

Among the things Congress is presently squabbling over is a new media shield law which would serve to help protect journalists and their ability to conceal sources from government.  Of course, "journalist" is a term that's up for grabs these days.  As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put it "Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves.  Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times."

I'll spot Graham the short-hand on the First Amendment.  Obviously Bloggers are entitled to the free exercise of religion and the right to peaceably speak and assemble.  What Graham is speaking to specifically is the question of what defines "the press."  Are bloggers "press" or just malcontents with keyboards?  Where -- or even can -- we draw a line between speech and journalism in our modern world?

Those who try to do so are missing the point.

A Legacy That Costs Lives

I simply can not imagine that the GOP's resistance to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion won't cost them dearly.  In very short order we'll see major difference in the cost of care between the states that implemented the expansion and those that resisted it.  This is a Republican legacy that's going to cost lives.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Republican Party needs to do something about immigration reform.  By "needs to do something" I mean that if the GOP fails to make meaningful progress on issues of importance to the Latino community it is never going to win another Presidential election again.


So Democrats have to got to be thrilled beyond measure to hear that not only is the GOP unable to find a middle ground on the issue that they can live with but that the sticking point is, as someone familiar with the recent history of the party might expect, predictably insane.  From ABC News:
The stumbling block is GOP insistence that newly legalized workers now working in the shadows have no access to government-sponsored health care during their 15-year pathway to citizenship, according to two sources with access to the secret house “Gang of 8″ meetings.
Yep.  Obamacare.  It's the political gift that keeps on giving.