June 29, 2005
"Ireland's advice is very simple: Make high school and college education free; make your corporate taxes low, simple and transparent; actively seek out global companies; open your economy to competition; speak English; keep your fiscal house in order; and build a consensus around the whole package with labor and management - then hang in there, because there will be bumps in the road - and you, too, can become one of the richest countries in Europe.
'It wasn't a miracle, we didn't find gold,' said Mary Harney. 'It was the right domestic policies and embracing globalization.'"
Free speech and the First Amendment cry out for just the type of independent speech blogging enables. The FEC should tread lightly with blogging, doing nothing, if they can.
My concern is whether the cellular networks are robust enough to support massive local traffic spikes created in emergencies. Further, are cellular sites all powered with standby generator power for those times when the electric grid fails?
"As young adults age, they are expected to drive the trend further away from landlines. Many 18 to 25 year olds grew up with cellular phones and have less apprehension toward never having a landline, Porus said. Older adults, however, who grew up with landlines, still see them as more reliable than wireless, and therefore important to have during an emergency.
'As (young adults) get older and have households of their own, you're going to see fewer and fewer landlines,' Porus said.
Cable operators have been moving quickly into telecommunications by offering telephone service over a high-speed Internet connection. This has prompted telephone companies to invest in building out the infrastructure for delivering TV over their own broadband products. Both sides are looking to offer consumers telephone, TV and Internet services in one package, called a 'triple play' in the industry.
But trends indicate that Internet telephony may be the weakest link in the package, since it would require a cable connection or landline. Consumers in the future would probably be more interested in cellular-phone service and a wireless Internet connection.
'VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) may be the least valuable, because it's more of a back-up service (to a cellular phone),' Porus said."
"...most experts agreed that because of technical difficulties, renewable energy sources like wind or solar power would never provide more than 15 or 20 percent of the world's energy needs. There is enough coal in the earth to keep the world running for centuries, but at an unacceptable environmental cost. As oil and gas fields peter out, Mr. Haug and others say, the world will be forced to turn to nuclear energy.
Comparing Fuels"We don't think fusion will remove fission from the production scheme," Mr. Haug said. "But it will probably be used along with fission because of the growing energy needs of man.""
June 28, 2005
I prefer they be targets in a place where our superb military can at least be able to eradicate some of them.
However, your oped as an attempt to upstage the President's speech later today exudes more politics than statesmanship.
"In 1922 Richard Pennoyer bought the castle, but in 1925 he re-sold it to a fellow American, the newspaper millionaire William Randolph Hearst. The castle was commandeered for training of army officers during the war and then in 1960 was taken over by an international school called Atlantic College, which is still thriving there."
June 27, 2005
But a major milestone has been reached in this seemingly endless debate over what portions of this industry will be regulated.
News.com has a clear synopsis of the decision and the (predictable) reactions of the players.
This Supreme Court decision basically says that cable modem service is not a "Telecommunications Service" (read the decision to really be confused as what this means) and remains unregulated by the FCC. This means that cable companies do not have to allow other Internet Service Providers access to their cable systems.
Soon the telephone companies will want the same for their DSL service. And why not? In most places both are available to the same customer, except that DSL service is sometimes limited by the distance between the customer and the telephone switching center from which the local line originates. It's high time that companies using either technology can play by the same rules.
Justice Scalia offers a spirited dissent from the ruling and is joined in parts of it by 3 other justices.
Here's my take on the decades of debate and legislation over the regulation or non-regulation of various communications services in this country:
1./ Courts, regulators and lawmakers have had conflicting goals. At a national level, most do not want to slow the growth of the engine of telecommunications and the Internet on the economy.
2./ The marketplace should have competition in our capitalist system and the legacy of telecommunications monopolies, once the accepted public policy of the country (Communications Act of 1934), had to be undone. (Court-ordered AT&T breakup in 1982).
3./ Many politicians decided to make points with consumers by claiming to protect them from price gouging or taking credit for reducing prices. In fact, the costs and prices of telecommunications (except for cable services) have gone down because of technology and market realities, with a little help from regulators.
4./ To accomplish 3./, contrived competition (resale/sharing/arbitrage schemes where little investment was required of new entrants who were allowed to ride on the existing investments of the landline telcos) was attempted and is still supported by some to gain time for investments and deployment of alternatives to traditional landline telecommunications. (alternatives particularly via cable systems and wireless systems). Other schemes set arbitrary local and long distance designations to allow the Baby Bells to provide local but not long distance services.
4./ Meanwhile, the telecommunications industry has undergone massive restructuring with 'Baby Bells' like SBC and Verizon scoffing up the remnants of AT&T and MCI while cable companies consolidated some of their holdings. And, unfortunately, some telecom and cable companies have had a few bad apples doing illegal stuff along the way (Adelphia and Qwest) and some, like the Rigases of Adelphia, going to jail.
5./ Now, we're at a point where the industry is mature enough and alternatives to the traditional landline providers robust enough that it's time for the FCC, the courts and the lawmakers to enable more free market forces to shape the future of U.S. telecommunications. In other words, stay out of the industry as much as possible.
In the final analysis, if the consensus is to expand broadband access to all of America, only those with deep pockets can afford to make the necessary investments and they are entitled to a return on those investments in a capitalist system...unless, of course, you believe the government should subsidize via low cost loans to providers for the expensive 'last mile' deployments, as was done under Rural Electrification in the '30s and '40s.
Piracy should not be encouraged. People and companies who create technologies and networks that enable, sponsor and advocate stealing music should not be encouraged by others or provided with the opportunity to do so.
The cases that were dismissed which fostered these appeals to the Supreme Court can now go forward in the lower courts.
The New York Times quotes the decision and comments from the industry:
"One who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice Souter wrote.
Movie and music industry executives hailed the decision. "If you build a business that aids and abets theft, you will be held accountable," said Dan Glickman, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, the lobbying organization for the major Hollywood studios. BMI, representing more than 300,000 songwriters and composers, called the decision "good news indeed for the creative community whose work has been blatantly infringed."
Here is a nice summary of the major players in the Supreme Cout case along with thier positions and brief rationale.
June 25, 2005
Land will be increasingly more precious as our population increases. Demands for 'public use' will increase. We must resist the dilution of private property rights, a bulwark of our democracies republic. The property rights of the little guy must be protected.
"Stevens was joined in the majority by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer."
"O'Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They wrote that the majority had tilted in favor of those with "disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
June 24, 2005
"Microsoft has yet to announce minimum Longhorn system requirements, but for PC buyers seeking insurance that a new system will run Longhorn, the company advises getting 512MB of RAM and a "modern" CPU--more than Windows XP needs. As with most of the recent Windows updates, the easiest way to get Longhorn will be on a new PC, and by late 2006 most PCs will be 64-bit. Reflecting that trend, all editions of Longhorn will include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions."
June 21, 2005
Will individual records be digitized going forward only, or will each individual's history of health care also be digitized?
The article fails to address this critical point.
"The bottom line is that better health care may not happen in the U.S. without better health-care information technology. Sooner or later all of us will probably be carrying around our medical history in a key-ring device or an ATM-type card or maybe even a surgically implanted chip. The benefits could be extraordinary. IBM sees opportunities to apply massive computing power to help doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions. New standard practices could be communicated to doctors within months rather than 15 years, the current lag between discovery and practice. Pharmaceutical companies with access to anonymous health data could improve and speed up drug development. There may even be a buck or two in it for consumers from what has been called information liquidity: If you want access to my data, pay me. Best of all, we could finally throw away those damned clipboards."
Suppose the porn stuff could be prevented. If several 'newspapers' tried this, do you suppose the 'final' product would be the same, i.e., homogenous for every newspaper, assuming the postings were open to everyone in the world and not edited by the host for legitimate content?
June 20, 2005
June 19, 2005
Syria is a terrorist ally and should be pressured by the civilized world to shape up or face dire consequences.
June 18, 2005
June 17, 2005
Now, if I've got this right, we implement Friedman's suggestion and plug our new hybrid cars in at night and half of American drivers would use the electric grid rather than petroleum to power their cars each day.
Please, Thomas, tell us how much additional electricity we must generate to substitute for petroleum and how we will generate it?
To provide this amount of electricity would require a substantial increase in our base load generating capacity. Will that come form coal, oil, hydro, nuclear, solar or wind?
I like your notion, but let's solve the electrical capacity part of the equation, too.
Adapting business culture to blogs, wikis and RSS by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Next week I'll be at the SuperNova 2005 conference in San Francisco. The focus of the conference is on the network as the platform for commerce, social interaction, work and entertainment. As a preview to the event, conference host Kevin Werbach interviewed Philip Evans, senior vice president at Boston Consulting Group; Janice Fraser, CEO of Adaptive Path; and [...]
June 15, 2005
Here in Vermont, the liberals and environmentalists think that new sources utilizing wind will help, but they can't agree to place 300' turbines on the ridgelines and spoil the view while producing only a drop in the bucket of our energy needs. Conservation is a worthwhile goal which could save far more than the turbines could produce. But that requires significant investment and behavioral changes, a difficult solution.
Meanwhile, we face the stark reality of the license expiration in 2012 for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which produces 1/3 of Vermont's needs. In addition, our contract with HydroQuebec which provides another 1/3 expires in 2016. The 267 page Vermont Energy Plan contains lots of 'warm fuzzies,' but few concrete action steps that can be implemented quickly.
Here's what the Vermont Plan's executive summary says about natural gas:
"There is considerable unrealized potential to replace other fossil fuel use with natural gas in Vermont.
The current pipeline infrastructure is the primary constraint to the expansion of use. A phased expansion by Vermont Gas Systems in its existing territory is underway. Additional transmission
pipelines through Vermont are another option, although two proposals in the recent past for new pipelines in Vermont have not come to fruition. Generation from natural gas is especially attractive if cogeneration or new technologies such as the latest combustion turbines or combined cycle plants are used, all of which improve efficiency and emissions.
New pipeline expansion could provide an alternative source of energy and additional options for gasfired generation. Vermont could see natural gas become available in the Northeast Kingdom from a pipeline that is planned to go through the northeast corner of the state. Natural gas service also is possible in the southwest part of the state. A major factor in the expansion of the natural gas transmission system in Vermont is siting electric generation facilities that will use natural gas. Such generation facilities serve as Â?anchor tenantsÂ? and justify the expense of expanding the transmission system. Without transmission expansion, VermontÂ?s future natural gas usage is constrained by the size of the present transmission system Natural gas is used to heat homes, schools and hospitals. Equally important are the commercial and industries customers that depend on adequate supplies of natural gas at predictable prices to produce many essential products and services used every day. There should be a focus on all energy options, including: fuel choice mixture and flexibility; gas supply source diversification; faster permitting for infrastructure modernization and expansion, including LNG facilities and pipelines; development of new technologies and natural gas market transparency and efficiency.
Under a rate case settlement reached between the DPS and Vermont Gas in the Fall of 2003, Vermont Gas agreed to accelerate its expansion of natural-gas service in Vermont, whether from its existing system, from other natural-gas pipelines or local-distribution companies or by other means, and to work cooperatively with the DPS and other agencies of the State of Vermont to promote the extension of natural-gas service throughout Vermont where economically feasible. Additionally Vermont Gas has agreed to increase its capital investment in Vermont over and above historical levels and, for 2005, above the amounts that were originally planned."
June 14, 2005
The Heritage people ought to ask Dr. Dean to speak so they can learn what radical liberals think. The interns might find some common ground with Dean's fiscal conservatism...unless that's changed since he left Vermont for the DNC chairmanship.
"Democrats have opposed Mr. Schwarzenegger's proposals for a variety of reasons, but the main opposition has been among public sector unions that object to the proposed budget changes. The measure would automatically limit state spending, including that for schools, in an attempt to keep the state's mandatory spending programs in line with revenues. The unions see it as an attempt to cut jobs. As it became apparent over the weekend that Mr. Schwarzenegger would call a special election, the governing board of the state's biggest teachers' union imposed a $60 temporary assessment on members to help pay for fighting the proposals. The union, the California Teachers Association, estimated the fee would raise $50 million over three years"
June 13, 2005
June 12, 2005
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(quoted from The Sun, October 2003.)
"The deal on Saturday was expected to ease the 18 poorest countries' annual debt burden by $1.5 billion. They are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. All must take anticorruption measures.
Gordon Brown, the British chancellor of the Exchequer, asked at the news conference whether debt relief was also conditional on good government practices by the recipients, said part of the deal was for poor countries to use the money they saved on debt servicing for health, education or the relief of poverty."
"The problem is that while treatment is a technical problem, prevention is not. Prevention is about changing behavior. It is getting into the hearts of people in their vulnerable moments - when they are drinking, when they are in the throes of passion - and influencing them to change the behavior that they have not so far changed under the threat of death."
June 11, 2005
June 10, 2005
June 9, 2005
We risk Vermont becoming a 'museum' for tourists and the well-to-do.
"There is an unrealistic atmosphere here in Montpelier. Every day I am out and about in our state, listening to hundreds if not thousands of Vermonters. They cannot afford more taxes; they are taxed to death. They face higher utility bills and insurance premiums, business faces a huge regulatory burden and high workman’s compensation costs. We need to build a more cooperative environment. The payroll tax could make the difference in companies’ investing or not, relocating or not, coming to Vermont or not."The legislature acts like and thinks that they are just playing a parlor game. They are playing with Vermonters lives and livelihoods. Like physicians we have a duty to, first do no harm.’"
June 8, 2005
Keep talking, Governor, the media loves it. But when you piss off Joe Biden, that's a problem.
Oh, BTW Howard, what's your policy for health care reform?
June 7, 2005
The FCC requires the Baby Bells to grant 911 system access to direct landline competitors--companies such as Global Crossing or Level 3, for example--but does not require the Baby Bells to offer similar access to VoIP providers; nor does it put any limits on what they can charge for such access. So essentially, the FCC is making demands on the VoIP companies to get their E911 act together, but isn't giving them any assistance. Consequently, complying with the FCC's ruling is likely to be a huge financial undertaking for any VoIP company, and it's possible that some of the smaller providers will disappear--or services that are in development now may not see the light of day.
In the end this problem will be fixed as well it should. The next tough issue will be loss of phone service and E911 access when the power goes out. Consumers beware.
June 5, 2005
Try it you'll like it!
"Corteo, which means "cortege" in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful, carries Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality."
June 2, 2005
"The governing parties of the left and the right are saying the same things to their people: that painful, free-market economic reforms are the only path toward rejuvenation, more jobs, better futures. And the people, who have come to equate the idea of an expanded Europe with a challenge to cradle-to-grave social protections, are giving the same answer: We don't believe you."