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Thursday, December 23,2010

In case you missed it | Obama fails again



Obama fails again

Al Gore invented the Internet, and Barack Obama gave it to the corporations. In yet another act of pitiful compromise, FCC Chairman Julian Genachowski oversaw this week’s passage of supposed “Net neutrality” rules, weak regulations that place some limits on how big corporations can rule the Internet.

At the moment, when you go online, the entire Internet is available to you. No one can block your access to any kind of legal site or service. You probably pay a flat rate for usage, based on the speed you desire.

Now, thanks to the Obama doctrine of compromise at all costs, ISPs will be able to block smart phone access to websites they don’t like. They’ll also be able to charge websites for access to faster delivery. Big companies like Google won’t have difficulty paying to ride in the fast lane, but small businesses and bloggers will. And rather than having one big, open Internet, we’ll have public and private Webs with levels of access that depend entirely on how much money you can pay.

This week’s action on the part of Genachowski and the FCC amount to nothing less than a government-mandated corporate handover, taking what has largely been a public resource and using government regulation to create new ways for the big companies like Verizon and Comcast to profit. And guess what? Those “small government” Republicans were all over it, wanting even stronger pro-corporate rules.

Small government our ass.

Coffman’s spear is limp

Just a few days before Congress passed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, our own Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, decided it would be good to send out a press release bending over backwards to explain his opposition to the repeal. He failed miserably. But he did manage to work in some phallic imagery, which was amusing.

His “point,” for lack of a better term, was that the repeal is bad because of its impact on “combat forces at the tip of the spear.” He goes on to whine about how he wants more analysis of a recent military survey about the repeal, because he’s just positive that there has to be more opposition to it, especially in really brave, heterosexual branches like the Army and Marine Corps, which have done “the toughest fighting” and have suffered the largest percentage of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Um, maybe we’re missing something here, but what the hell does that have to do with homosexuals in the military? Is he trying to say that gays aren’t as tough or as willing to die as other members of the armed forces?

Why won’t he just come out and admit that he’s a bigot? He should know better, having served in both the Army and the Marines, a fact he loves to brag about. With his experience, he should know that you simply follow orders in the military, and if those orders change, no survey results or personal opinions are going to matter. You’ll still answer, “Sir! Yes, sir!” If he has as much confidence in the professionalism and discipline of the armed forces as he says he does, he and his fellow right-wing nuts should stop implying that a soldier is going to do something bad because of intolerance toward gays.

It’s insulting to our service members. We’re sure none of them are dumb enough to do something like that, despite this wink and nod from our elected leaders.

No speaky Engrish

It’s pretty much business as usual for newspapers in China: You still can’t criticize the government, only now you also can’t do it in English — or any other foreign language, for that matter.

China’s state press and publishing body has banned newspapers, publishers and website owners from thinking — oh, sorry, we mean printing — non-Chinese words in Chinese-language media. According to the General Administration of Press and Publication, all those filthy foreign words have “seriously damaged” the purity of the Chinese language and have had “adverse social impacts” on the cultural environment.

If a word absolutely must be written in an inferior language, it has to be accompanied by an explanation in Chinese. Hybrid words, “coined terms” and the arbitrary use of English are all prohibited. Seriously, who do these guys think they are? France?

Though to be fair, maybe they’re just trying to avoid more embarrassing “Chinglish,” like “Slip and fall down carefully” and “If you are stolen, call the police at once.” (You can see a whole mess of examples at www.engrish.com/category/chinglish.)

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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