The Monday Morning Teaser

Having taken a week off from the Sift, you’d think I’d have a bunch of great stuff ready to go. Well, not exactly: Since I last posted, I’ve spoken in two churches 1200 miles apart — here’s what I said — and spent the week in between driving across the country and nursing a cold that is still not completely gone. So stuff will come out slowly this morning.

The big things I want to cover are sexual harassment and abuse (because that’s what everybody has been talking about) and the looming end of net neutrality (because more people should be talking about it). In each case, I want us to have a larger focus: Sexual misbehavior in politics isn’t just Roy Moore and Al Franken; it’s probably hundreds of people we don’t know about yet. We need to think this through in general, not just respond based on the way we feel about those currently in the spotlight.

And net neutrality isn’t just some nerdish issue about the internet. It’s part of the major economic trend of the last forty years, which has played a big role in increasing economic inequality: Under the guise of “freedom”, the United States has chopped down regulations that limit the power of middlemen to insert themselves between producers and consumers. The result is an economy whose fruits go not to the productive, but to those who own choke-points where tolls can be charged.

Until now, government regulations have forced your internet service provider to be a relatively passive participant in all your online adventures. But if net neutrality goes away, your ISP will be “free” to fence you in, and to charge tolls to any online service that wants access to you. That set-up will be immensely profitable, but not at all productive.

Anyway, probably one of those topics will be in a separate post and the other will get incorporated into the weekly summary; I still haven’t decided which is which. When any of it will actually appear is anybody’s guess.

One side note: My previous experience of blogging while slightly feverish is that the number of typos goes way up. If you point them out in the comments I’ll fix them.

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  • GeoOT  On November 27, 2017 at 10:29 am

    There are two arguments against net neutrality in two different domains. They need to be separated for any reasonable discussion of the topic. The first I’ll call “quality of service” The factors in this are (a) continuity of service, (b) universality of access (i.e. ability to reach any URL) (c) bandwidth, (d) latency and (e) jitter. The second is the competitive area where the factors of the first are the first are manipulated to advantage the supplier of the service. The problem is that all of the factors of the first are actually significant cost factors in providing internet service. It is perfectly reasonable to charge more to the customer who streams movies and plays networked action games more than the customer who only uses e-mail and visits static web pages. It isn’t a problem to write rules and test performance for this. All that is needed is the legislative will to do the right thing. This is essential because residential delivery of bandwidth is a monopoly in most markets.

  • LRae  On November 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I really hope you feel better real soon Sick sucks I trust you doing all your hot tea & vitamin C & self care I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your writings- I look forward to them & you inform me in ways that I trust Im often forwarding to family & friends Thank you And good luck w that cold

    Sent from my iPhone


  • threeorfour  On November 27, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Take care of yourself Doug.

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