Member since: Sat Aug 28, 2010, 11:23 AM
Number of posts: 2,082
Number of posts: 2,082
According to a recent study by Ookla Speedtest, the U.S. ranks a shocking 31st in the world in terms of average download speeds. The leaders in the world are Hong Kong at 72.49 Mbps and Singapore on 58.84 Mbps. And America? Averaging speeds of 20.77 Mbps, it falls behind countries like Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Uruguay.
Its upload speeds are even worse. Globally, the U.S. ranks 42nd with an average upload speed of 6.31 Mbps, behind Lesotho, Belarus, Slovenia, and other countries you only hear mentioned on Jeopardy.
So how did America fall behind? How did the country that literally invented the internet — and the home to world-leading tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook, Google, and Cisco — fall behind so many others in download speeds?
Susan Crawford argues that "huge telecommunication companies" such as Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T have "divided up markets and put themselves in a position where they're subject to no competition."
How? The 1996 Telecommunications Act — which was meant to foster competition — allowed cable companies and telecoms companies to simply divide markets and merge their way to monopoly, allowing them to charge customers higher and higher prices without the kind of investment in internet infrastructure, especially in next-generation fiber optic connections, that is ongoing in other countries. Fiber optic connections offer a particularly compelling example. While expensive to build, they offer faster and smoother connections than traditional copper wire connections. But Verizon stopped building out fiber optic infrastructure in 2010 — citing high costs — just as other countries were getting to work.
Crawford told the BBC:
We deregulated high-speed internet access 10 years ago and since then we've seen enormous consolidation and monopolies… Left to their own devices, companies that supply internet access will charge high prices, because they face neither competition nor oversight.
Other countries have done more to ensure that the market is open to competition. A 2006 study comparing the American and South Korean broadband markets concluded:
he South Korean market was able to grow rapidly due to fierce competition in the market, mostly facilitated by the Korean government's open access rule and policy choices more favorable to new entrants rather than to the incumbents. Furthermore, near monopoly control of the residential communications infrastructure by cable operators and telephone companies manifests itself as relatively high pricing and lower quality in the U.S.
And the gap between the U.S. and Korea has only grown wider since then.
The idea of a regulated market being more conducive to competition may be alien to free market ideologues, but telecoms and internet is a real world example of deregulation leading to monopolization instead of competition in lots of markets.
So, many — including Crawford and others — are now calling for stronger regulation of the existing market. At The New Yorker, John Cassidy argued last month:
What we need is a new competition policy that puts the interests of consumers first, seeks to replicate what other countries have done, and treats with extreme skepticism the arguments of monopoly incumbents such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
But he's skeptical we'll get it, noting that: "The new head of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, is a former lobbyist for two sets of vested interests: the cell-phone operators and, you guessed it, the cable companies."
more at the link
think anyone is paying attention?
Posted by littlewolf | Sat Mar 8, 2014, 08:18 PM (30 replies)
not sure if this is BS or not, havnt seen anything from HHS.
The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal, according to a pair of new surveys.
Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new marketplaces enrolled as of last month, one of the surveys shows. The other found that about half of uninsured adults have looked for information on the online exchanges or planned to look.
The findings emerge as the Obama administration has been revising a series of rules that define how the 2010 law works in practice. According to a variety of health-policy experts who support and oppose the law, the changes are in response to consumer hesitancy and political opposition that linger — at least, in the early going — as the law’s major provisions have taken effect.
The rule changes have postponed or relaxed aspects of the law, sometimes to adjust for technical problems, other times to push into the future controversies that have arisen from specific groups of consumers or parts of the health-care industry.
This week, administration officials said that people could keep for three years health plans whose benefits do not meet the law’s standards. Last week, they said the government would pay for people in certain states to collect federal subsidies for insurance policies outside the exchanges. Two weeks before that, they gave medium-size and large employers two additional years before they must offer coverage to their full-time workers.
The McKinsey survey shows that of people who had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces by last month, about one-fourth described themselves as having been without insurance for most of the past year. That 27 percent, while low, compares with 11 percent a month earlier.
The survey also attempted to measure what has been another fuzzy matter: how many actually have the insurance for which they signed up. Under federal rules, coverage begins only if someone has started to pay their monthly insurance premiums. Just over half of uninsured people said they had started to pay, compared with nearly nine in 10 of those signing up on the exchanges who said they were simply switching from one health plan to another.
much more at the link.
Posted by littlewolf | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:02 AM (0 replies)
Opponents of President Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division prevailed in blocking his confirmation Wednesday, as he failed to clear a procedural hurdle.
Eight Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), joined with Republicans in voting against Debo Adegbile, whose nomination was adamantly and vocally opposed by conservatives due to his participation in an appeal filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal -- an internationally-known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
The vote was expected to be close -- with Vice President Biden on hand to potentially cast a tie-breaking vote -- but the final tally was 47-52 in opposition to the appointment.
so because he defended someone convicted of murder he can not be in charge of
the civil rights division at DOJ?
Posted by littlewolf | Wed Mar 5, 2014, 01:04 PM (3 replies)
ads for reverse mortgage on TV ....
Posted by littlewolf | Tue Mar 4, 2014, 01:15 PM (1 replies)
VA house district 100.
there was a special election recently. (we got the ads on the TV that is how I know.)
Linwood Lewis Jr. held the seat and won in Nov 5 election. he won with 72% of the vote. he left to take Lt. Gov. Northam senate seat.
Willie Randall (D) vs Robert Bloxom (R) I saw lots of anti-bloxom commercials.
never saw anything from the (R), I figured and ez win for the (D)
I mean it is a fairly safe district. the (R) won 60% to 40% for Randall.
how did this happen? was Randall that weak a candidate?
all info appreciated.
Posted by littlewolf | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 10:10 AM (2 replies)
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit presented its first full road map for climbing out of bankruptcy Friday, outlining an elaborate plan to restructure $18 billion in debt, demolish thousands of blighted homes and invest in the broken-down infrastructure that has made the city a symbol of urban decay.
If approved by a judge, the sweeping proposal would mean sharply reduced payments to some retirees and creditors. Pension holders could expect to get 70 percent to 90 percent of what they are owned, while many banks would receive as little as 20 percent.
The plan, which is sure to be the subject of court challenges, envisions a leaner, cleaner and safer Motor City after financial burdens are lifted.
"There is still much work in front of all of us to continue the recovery from a decades-long downward spiral," state-appointed manager Kevyn Orr said in a statement.
Orr's so-called plan of adjustment "provides the best path forward for all parties to resolve their respective issues and for Detroit to become once again a city in which people want to invest, live and work."
The governor called the plan "a critical step forward." But it leaves unanswered many questions, including whether creditors and labor unions will accept the deal or fight it, and how long that process might take.
The package calls for awarding police and fire retirees at least 90 percent of their pension after eliminating cost-of-living allowances. Other retirees would receive at least 70 percent.
more at the link
Posted by littlewolf | Sun Feb 23, 2014, 09:49 PM (0 replies)
Posted by littlewolf | Sun Feb 23, 2014, 08:58 AM (8 replies)
I have a real bad feeling about this.
NEW MEXICO — All new police cadets will be trained to use more deadly force, thanks to a new curriculum by director of the state’s Law Enforcement Academy. That training emphasis will take place in a cadet program that has been shortened by six full weeks.
Jack Jones, a retired Army colonel, was granted sole authority by the LEA over the training curriculum given to all of New Mexico’s new recruits. He says the old model was too restrictive with the use of deadly force.
“Evil has come to the state of New Mexico. Evil has come to the Southwest. Evil has come to the United States,” Jones said to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
A former instructor named Phillip Gallegos says he was fired by Jones because he refused to teach cadets Jones’ controversial philosophy about shooting fleeing vehicles.
“This is the thing — why are you shooting at a car? You should be shooting at the individual that is shooting at you,” Gallegos said.
Another thing Mr. Jones disagrees with is teaching cadets to go for their baton when an unarmed person goes hands-on with them as an officer. The new director believes that is “too restrictive” on the use of force.
When journalists filed an official request for a copy the academy’s new curriculum, Jones refused, saying it would give criminals an edge.
“I’ll burn them before you get them,” he told The New Mexican.
The decision to train cadets to shoot at fleeing vehicles comes at a sensitive time for New Mexicans. In October of last year, a New Mexico State Trooper opened fire on a minivan containing a mother and 5 children that was fleeing a traffic stop. A month later, a New Mexico State Police officer shot a female driver in the back of the head for trying to evade a traffic stop.
These officers were trained under the old standards that were too “restrictive” for the modern cop.
Should New Mexicans expect a rise in deadly shootings from the students of Col. Jones?
Posted by littlewolf | Thu Feb 20, 2014, 10:30 PM (29 replies)
I think this is a good thing. I wonder who it was licensed to /s
the only thing I am wondering about is what else they did to it.
but if the only thing they changed was its ability to resist fungus it is a good thing.
(Newser) – It's about 175 years late for those who perished in the Irish Potato Famine, but British researchers think they've created a potato resistant to blight, reports the Irish Times. They borrowed a gene from a South American spud and added it to the common Desiree potato. After three years of crop tests, they've declared success in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Not one of their potatoes fell victim to fungus, as opposed to regular potatoes planted nearby, reports the Scotsman.
Researchers already have licensed the product to a US company but expect slower going with EU regulators over the genetically modified crop. "This kind of product will likely be on the US market within a couple of years, and if we are lucky within eight to 10 years in Europe," the not-so-happy lead scientist from Sainsbury Laboratory tells the BBC. Proponents say the potato will reduce the need for chemicals to protect crops, but skeptics says the "GM" label will be enough to put off consumers. And how do they taste? Researchers weren't allowed to eat any, so that's not known. (Last year, scientists zeroed in on the specific pathogen responsible for the famine.)
Posted by littlewolf | Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:22 AM (3 replies)
A call to my childhood rapist teacher
The following description is in the accusers own words:
"I am 28 years old and have been waiting years to get up enough courage to report a teacher for sexually abusing me for years. When I finally got up enough courage to report her, I found out that the statute of limitations was up and she will never have to pay for the things that she did to me.
I decided to call her and make a video to let the public know what kind of person is around their children. Her name is Andrea Cardosa and works with your children at Alhambra High School in Alhambra, Ca."
The accused in this case has allegedly resigned. Go here for more on this story.
here is part of the quote:
JAMIE: "So what happens when a student comes in and says that they're having a sexual relationship with a teacher?"
TEACHER: "I would involve law enforcement."
JAMIE: "So how is that any different from what you did (years ago)?"
TEACHER: "It's not."
JAMIE: "Do you realize that you brainwashed me, and you manipulated me, and that what you did was wrong?"
TEACHER: "Yes. And I regret it."
JAMIE: "You should be so ashamed and so disgusted with yourself."
TEACHER: "I am. I am."
Carillo spoke at a press conference outside Alhambra School on Monday, telling reporters: "The reason why I wanted to do this was to expose her for what she really was and to protect other kids, because she shouldn't be around anyone's kids."around anyone's kids."
Police have now launched an investigation, though the statute of limitations may get in the way given that the alleged abuse took place over 10 years ago.
Posted by littlewolf | Tue Jan 21, 2014, 08:19 PM (4 replies)