Month: September 2009

What a week for Justice! Net Neutrality and revocation of telecom immunity!

First news that the FCC is actually going to promulgate net neutrality rules this coming Monday.

This essentially means the FCC has put its collective foot down on the issue. Here’s the thing, a lot of people are shocked that the FCC is doing this but I have to make it clear how the FCC operates.

The FCC runs on comments to its proposals. Every now and then the FCC will put out a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) and invite relevant parties to voice their support or rejection of the NPRM. The thing is, the FCC counts every submission as unique even if provided by the same person over and over.

So in this case it worked in our favor but remember, other groups like the Parents Television Council (all six of the people who probably belong to the group!) uses this to support the obscenity provisions that all broadcasters must follow.

In other news, a bill called the “JUSTICE” Act has been submitted. This bill corrects some of the more onerous parts of the “PATRIOT” Act but it goes further. It revokes the immunity granted to telecom carriers over the Bush era warrantless wiretap program. Only one telecom carrier didn’t roll over for the program, that was Qwest. Every other company including at&t, Verizon, et al rolled over for it.

I hope this bill passes. I want to see at&t and Verizon pay through the nose for allowing the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens.

From the article linked above:

One of the most significant aspects of the JUSTICE Act is that it will remove the retroactive immunity grants that were given to the telecom companies that participated in the NSA warrantless surveillance program. The companies that cooperated with the surveillance program likely violated several laws, including section 222 of the Communications Act, which prohibits disclosure of network customer information. The immunity grants have prevented the telecommunications companies that voluntarily participated in this program from being held accountable in court.

They should be held accountable and as I said, at least the legal team at Qwest knew it was wrong. Why didn’t the legal teams at at&t and Verizon not know this?

You know now that I think about it, this really isn’t a good week for the telecom companies.

Why I love the net, Part 7E+08

I love the net for many reasons. One of which is dredging up friends you’d lost touch with.

Today was just such a day. I get a linked-in invite from a girl I used to work with way back when.

Holly was the type who would regularly regale me with stories of sexual conquest at lunchtime.

Anyhow it lead to finding my old boss on facebook of all places. He’s the one who did that little thing that got me booted out of the Attorney Generals office at transition. So I remembered his phone number and gave him a call.

Told him that I forgave him for the little twist he’d given me on that. And of course he tried to lie his way out of it. But I recall, he stutters a bit when he’s lying and sure enough. I told him not to sweat it, but asked if he really thought I wasn’t connected too.

That got a chuckle out of him. He did mention that my assessment of what he should be doing back in the late 1990’s was spot on. I told him he should be a college professor and pursue his education. And that’s what he’d doing now.

Funny how that all works out.

Time to Just Say No to Giant Corporate “Parasites” — and Recognize Them for What They Are

That last part about health care is enlightening. In essence the reason health care costs have risen at such an astronomical rate has nothing to do with the advanced care we now can have, but everything to do with the hangers on and sycophants in the insurance and billing industries.

I imagine we’d save quite the bundle if our politicians just had the intestinal fortitude to tell the insurance companies that the game is up. We all know it’s the corporate interests, we should be in the streets protesting that. Instead we get the racist birther and tea party idiots.

But what I find interesting is that some of the tea party attendees know what the real problem is with government. It’s not the spending per se, but the corporate corruption.

Question is, how do we stop it? Simple, we stop buying everything but absolute necessities. Cut out all luxury purchases (including that cell phone!) and send a clear shot across the bow of the corporations. You can screw us to the point where we’ll stop supporting you.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Respect of Marriage Act RI Sponsor

Note the singular. Sponsor. U.S. Rep Patrick Kennedy of RI is the only co-sponsor on the bill. Not a thing from my U.S. Rep Jim Langevin. Now on one hand I’ve heard what a nice guy Jim Langevin was when he was Secretary of State in RI, but on the other I hear from people who deal with him that he’s an asshole. I just consider him and idiot and with any luck Betsy Dennigan will unseat his ass soon.

I know we have the support of one of our U.S. Senators. Sheldon Whitehouse was actually at the event this past Saturday for Marriage Equality/Mass Equality.

But I want to see this bill pass because it is way past time we dismantled that disgusting DOMA.

Jimmy Carter: Bias towards Obama based on the fact that Obama is Black

You’ve got to watch this. Jimmy Carter hits the nail on the head.

But watch what he says at the end. Yes Obama will be triumphant on this one.

I can tell you that racism isn’t dead. I’ve seen it used against my SO Keyron. But if people knew him like I knew him they’d love him. And know what, everyone I know who has met him loves him too.

But there are still racists out there. And it’s not just the old people, I’ve seen young racists too. It’s sad.

Wanna mess with my right to marry? Beware what you wish for, you just might get it.

Then I have the answer for you. I’m going to support laws that forbid you to divorce. That’s right, you want to crow about protecting marriage then John Marcotte and I are throwing down the gauntlet.

I can tell you though what will happen if by some stretch of imagination this proposition actually passes is that you’d see a serious rise in domestic violence and murder rates. After all the vow does say “‘Til death do we part….” it just doesn’t enumerate the method of death or who kills who.

This is what California gets for passing such a hateful proposition back in November.

New iTunes 9 works well

Still a memory hog (Comes in second to Firefox!) but it’s got some new neat features.

There’s Home Share – makes it a lot easier to share multiple iTunes libraries. Between Keyron and I we’ve got 24GB of music. And there is some cross pollination across libraries but my tastes run more funk, soul, jazz than his do.

Then of course I note, shuffle seems to be getting better. I noticed an hour and a half of stone cold jam the other day. And even tonight, we’re doing good.

And thank you Apple for fixing the Safari issue with the intro of the iPhone 3.1 software. And for turning on bluetooth on my iPod Touch. Now if you’d just distribute a no-cost FM tuner app I’d be happy.

I say this because the Broadcom BCM4325 chip in the Touch 2G is capable of doing both 802.11G and Bluetooth as well as tuning the FM band.

Now I need to get a set of bluetooth earphones. And perhaps a bluetooth headset because it also has a microphone and I can use Fring and my Skype account whenever there’s an 802.11a/b/g network available. I figure $75 to $80 to get bluetooth earphones, headset and a bluetooth module for my laptop. Then I’ll be a happy cordless camper.

Put it this way, virtually everywhere I go there’s wi-fi, either locked or unlocked. But once I get a password I input it and boom, the Touch automatically connects. That’s the one thing, with the iPhone 3.1 software it lost all my net passwords. Grrrr.

A successful night for Marriage Equality in Rhode Island

So this evening I had the privilege of attending a party for Marriage Equality Rhode Island in collaboration with Mass Equality that was held at the Newport, RI home of Esmond Harmsworth & Jim Richardson.

The Harmsowrth-Richardson home is absolutely gorgeous. E.g.

The “sun room” had great detail on the columns, wainscoting etc. We’re talking carved not molded. And the chandelier, a full candelabra chandelier with enough crystal to sink a ship. The “patio’ features a 15 foot high brass statue of Perseus, head on the shield and all. If this is a reproduction it was a damned expensive reproduction, gorgeous in its detail.

And the tech in me appreciated the digital music service throughout the house. I’ve heard of Slingbox and even the new Home Share on iTunes but this was both those services combined and on steroids. I wish I’d gotten some pix but alas, the camera was 25 miles away.

Great event. Some of the politicos who showed up:

  • Lincoln Chafee – Independent candidate for Governor of RI – speaker
  • U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – speaker
  • Providence Mayor David Cicilline – speaker
  • RI Senator Rhoda Perry – A sponsor of marriage equality bills in the Senate. – Speaker
  • RI Representative Frank Ferri – Openly gay Rep. from the Oakland Beach district of Warwick – Speaker
  • RI Representative Edith Ajello – I’ve spoken of her here before. She’s come out as an atheist. Wooo!
  • RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch – supporter of marriage equality – Speaker
  • RI Democratic Party Chair Bill Lynch – Brother of Patrick and supporter of Marriage Equality
  • And we had Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry. He made a very good point, we can never stop the fight for marriage equality. Never. We cannot rest until full rights and privileges are extended to all citizens of Rhode Island.

    There were other politicos from Providence there too but I neglected to get names for all of them. My apologies to all of them.

    Had a nice conversation with Senator Whitehouse, and got to express my best wishes to Lincoln Chafee. Our esteemed Mayor of Providence (Aka Little Napoleon) was rarer than a black pearl though. He just doesn’t stick around to talk to his constituents.

    But the best part of the evening, I invited my partner Keyron and our friends Nick and Beth. This was Nick’s first exposure to politicians on a one-on-one level and I’m glad I could get him into such a position to do so. He had a nice chat with Lincoln Chafee.

    I’m glad I could bring them with me. I’ve always said the key feature about RI politicians is the accessibility. They key is, you don’t see them in their offices as the layers of administrative fluff will keep you away cold, plus the fact that they’re in federal buildings for the most part means the security is off on the retarded end (E.g. no iPods, no cameras, no laptops). But out in the ‘field’ they’re accessible and open. I’m actually surprised Senator Jack Reed or US Rep Patrick Kennedy, or for that matter US Rep. Jim Langevin didn’t show up. Langevin’s opponent Betsy Dennigan showed up though and was actively soliciting campaign donations.

    And Keyron of course was the darling of the show in our group. Everyone loves him, enough so to say bad things about my fashion sense.In my rule book it says fashion takes a back seat to knowledge. As I’ve said earlier, I’m kind of in the Seth Brundle school of wardrobe management. I don’t want to expend thought on what I’m going to wear, clothes are pretty much functional things to me.

    Of course it was hugs galore for me when we walked in. I’m pretty much the guy who is helping rock marriage equality forward in Rhode Island by suggesting legislative strategies to move the membership in our favor. And kudos to C. Kelly Smith for elaborating on the canvassing/polling process to move legislators.

    The food was excellent, ‘finger’ food things like salmon on endive, or lobster tex-mex with an excellent guacamole. It was all awesome. And the caterer loves Keyron. Everybody loves Keyron. And the drinks were flowing smooth an strong, completely open bar.

    What stuns me most is we have so many sitting politicians and candidates who support the cause of marriage equality. Maybe we will see it happen by 2010.

    And by my rough count, MERI and Mass Equality raised roughly $30,000 at this event. That’s 130 people at an average $230 donation. At one point in the evening it was announced that a party would match up to $5,000 if someone were to donate right then and there. And a few people popped up to donate that plus a little extra.

    Great night and I’m extremely happy that MERI is getting something out of this.