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« Bad Guys, Good Guy, Austrians | Main | The Time is Now »

February 03, 2009

Political Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* I don't know about you but I'm certainly feeling much refreshed by all the "change" that I'm seeing in D.C.

* Ron Paul thinks that, at least where foreign policy is concerned, Obama means more of the same.

* Time to secede?

* Or maybe New York State should break up?

* Randall Parker wonders what's going to happen when other countries get tired of subsidizing our debt.

* Justin Raimondo thinks that an easy way for the U.S. to save some major bucks would be for us to give up our empire. Writes Raimondo: "You'd be surprised how much of our military expenditures amount to maintaining our overseas empire and really have nothing to do with the defense of the continental United States."

* Some retirees who played by the rules and saved their nickles are now in trouble, and are now having to look for jobs. Too bad there aren't any. Fun to live in a society where you get penalized for behaving sensibly and responsibly, isn't it?

* Do libertarians really have to love Wal-Mart?

* Heather Macdonald is pretty funny about the PC "gender" idiocies of the NYTimes' Natalie Angier.

* Arnold Kling notices a pattern.

* Remember the "digital divide"? A crisis! Something -- anything! -- desperately needed to be done! Well, it turns out that many of the people who don't have broadband ... don't want it. Yet more substantiation for The Official MBlowhard Guide to Political Action: Nine times out of ten, nothing really needs to be done.

* Andrew Klavan enjoys Roger Simon's memoir about moving from left to right in Hollywood.

* Edge's John Brockman poses a provocative question: What is going to change everything? A lot of excellent responses from a stable of high-powered brainiacs, 2Blowhards fave Gregory Cochran among them.



UPDATE: Virginia Conservative takes the time to make a serious case for secession.

posted by Michael at February 3, 2009


People who don't have broadband don't know what they're missing. I remember when I went from dial-up to broadband, only because my ISP was offering 3 months free broadband. When the installer was there, we got to talking and I told him my plan was to use it for free for 3 months, then switch back. He smiled knowingly and said, "No you won't." He was right. So for people who don't have it to say they don't want it I think isn't all that accurate.

That said, I'm not sure it's an imperative for people to have broadband access. I guess it would "create jobs" for installers, but there are probably more pressing things to get done.

Posted by: JV on February 3, 2009 5:24 PM

Anyone else catch Cochran's pun about Tycho Brahe's nose in that Edge interview?

Posted by: Evan on February 3, 2009 5:47 PM

broadband is passe. the new big deal is something called walking wifi, where yu download a program into your cellphone and it feeds the internet into all your wifi enabled devices including your computer.

Posted by: ramesh on February 3, 2009 10:18 PM

I know a surprising number of people who do not have broadband. It is beyond my comprehension. I have come to the conclusion it has to do with an inability to understand the technical issues of setting up a broadband modem. Also, they have lack of curiosity about pricing plans, assuming incorrectly that you have to pay in excess of $50 and require a 2 year commitment. (Often there are low cost versions available). Also, many are used to having access on their work PC to do surfing.

But let's not forget. Lack of broadband limits your ability to budget shop, gain access to information about laws, regulations and opportunities. lack of broadband also increases your commute time. These are the people who can't renew library books online, who end up going to the supermarket to pay utility bills and waiting inordinately to access basic information on the web. Most of these kinds of people just groan at the suggestion that they check the internet to find out when a movie starts or where a restaurant is located.

Curiously these same people have without fail cellphones --apparently being able to jabber while waiting in line at the supermarket is a mark of sophistication and culture.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on February 3, 2009 10:46 PM

Ah, a group of comments about extending broadband from individuals who live in well populated areas where broadband access and nearly complete cell phone coverage by multiple carriers is the norm. Sort of like folks in NYC back in the thirties making comments about how hillbillies in the Tennessee Valley don't really need electricity. What are they going to do with it; put a light bulb in the outhouse?

It took three years after we moved a mere 12 miles from the local big city before broadband became available. Having had it already we knew what we were missing. Many who live in rural areas assume that they won't need or use it because they get along fine without it now. If it were available in their area it is likely they would discover how and why it helps connect them to the rest of the world. Maybe it would make the blogosphere a bit different if folks from thinly populated rural counties were able to join the conversation more easily.

Posted by: Chris White on February 4, 2009 8:00 AM

Well, it turns out that many of the people who don't have broadband ... don't want it.

That's fantastic. It's also too bad. The world is increasingly moving to be online, and we're not going to continue to wait for the Luddites to catch up. As the article you references states "2/3 don't want it" which means "1/3 do". The 1/3 who want to have access to the Internet at usable speeds should not be held back by those who don't. Those who don't want it don't have to have it, but they shouldn't be allowed to prevent their communities from having it. And, as others have pointed out, those who don't have it don't know what they're missing and will probably convert when shown the potential. My mother fought it for the longest time and now that she has it wonders what was holding her back and will need to have her cable modem pried from her cold, dead hands.

Posted by: Upstate Guy on February 4, 2009 10:05 AM

Those who don't want it don't have to have it, but they shouldn't be allowed to prevent their communities from having it.

Huh? Is there a particularly strong movement anywhere of people trying to stop their neighbors from getting and paying for broadband themselves? Maybe folks don't want to be taxed to provide public services that they don't want to use, but that's a rather different story. If I live in a remote rural town of 500 people, and I poll the neighbors and find out that I'm the only one who wants broadband connectivity for the town, is it beyond the pale for those neighbors to refuse to help pay for my broadband internet connection via public subsidies?

Posted by: Brett on February 4, 2009 1:23 PM

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