And what has Reichert done
recently ever that’s captured the imagination of national pundits?
And what has Reichert done
Um, I guess it’s finally time to take Chuck’s gun away from him…
Seattle Times editorial, titled “Snohomish County transit agency’s double-decker buses a success”:
The double-decked buses are proving to be practical, too. They can carry more passengers than an articulated bus, and can operate in worse weather conditions. During snowstorms, for instance, Community Transit has had to stop using the bendable buses, which can jackknife.
Then again, the top-heavy double decker buses have been known to tip over:
A deadly bus crash on I-15 last week has transportation officials changing the way they do business when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Officials say one week before the accident, drivers of the double-decker bus involved in the crash complained about the left tire.
I’ve struggled at times to explain exactly what “net neutrality” is, and why it is so important to the future of the Internet. But Damian Kulash Jr., the lead singer for the band OK Go, has no such problem; read his op-ed in today’s NY Times: “Beware the New New Thing.”
Most people assume that the Internet is a democratic free-for-all by nature — that it could be no other way. But the openness of the Internet as we know it is a byproduct of the fact that the network was started on phone lines. The phone system is subject to “common carriage” laws, which require phone companies to treat all calls and customers equally. They can’t offer tiered service in which higher-paying customers get their calls through faster or clearer, or calls originating on a competitor’s network are blocked or slowed.
These laws have been on the books for about as long as telephones have been ringing, and were meant to keep Bell from using its elephantine market share to squash everyone else. And because of common carriage, digital data running over the phone lines has essentially been off limits to the people who laid the lines. But in the last decade, the network providers have argued that since the Internet is no longer primarily run on phone lines, the laws of data equality no longer apply. They reason that they own the fiber optic and coaxial lines, so they should be able to do whatever they want with the information crossing them.
[… O]utright censorship and obstruction of access are only one part of the issue, and they represent the lesser threat, in the long run. What we should worry about more is not what’s kept from us today, but what will be built (or not built) in the years to come.
We hate when things are taken from us (so we rage at censorship), but we also love to get new things. And the providers are chomping at the bit to offer them to us: new high-bandwidth treats like superfast high-definition video and quick movie downloads. They can make it sound great: newer, bigger, faster, better! But the new fast lanes they propose will be theirs to control and exploit and sell access to, without the level playing field that common carriage built into today’s network.
They won’t be blocking anything per se — we’ll never know what we’re not getting — they’ll just be leapfrogging today’s technology with a new, higher-bandwidth network where they get to be the gatekeepers and toll collectors. The superlative new video on offer will be available from (surprise, surprise) them, or companies who’ve paid them for the privilege of access to their customers. If this model sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It’s how cable TV operates.
That’s net neutrality in a nutshell: do you want an Internet that operates like the one we have today, or one that operates like cable TV, where Comcast decides which content to carry, and offers it to you only in bundles of its own devising? Most folks simply aren’t going to subscribe to two internets, and those who choose the one with the high definition video on demand, very well may not have access to voices like mine. (Or for those on the other side of the ideological divide, voices like yours.)
You would think this is one issue on which we could all agree.
AND WHAT’S MORE:
Damian Kulash knows ping-pong, too:
Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a climate change bill that Yakima Valley legislators fear will lead to mandates on agriculture to reduce greenhouse gases under the Growth Management Act.
If we waited until we got the “thumbs up” from “Yakima Valley legislators,” we would be waiting a long, long time.
Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, had asked Gregoire to veto the second section of the bill that requires the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development to come up with methods on how counties and cities can respond to climate change, including how vehicle emissions can be reduced.
Warnick and other rural legislators worry that the state will tell agricultural communities how far trucks and tractors can travel.
The agriculture business just wants the government to stay the heck out of their bidness! (Except when they want the government to build them a multi-billion dollar reservoir. Then they’re OK with government.)
Gregoire on Tuesday vetoed other sections of the bill for technical reasons. In her partial veto message, the governor said opponents misunderstand the legislation.
“In my view, this section of the bill does not create a new mandate for local governments, and does not provide grounds for new litigation under the Growth Management Act,” she said in a statement.
She said the legislation “appropriately recognizes the differences between our urban and rural settings.”
As a westsider, I really don’t care how far a hops farmer in Zillah drives his tractor. I’d much rather get folks in big cities to drive less.
The ways we fight climate change will be as varied as are the different communities of Washington. We shouldn’t mandate how rural counties fight climate change, but we should mandate that they do fight it.
From the Seattle Times: “Home prices declining, inventory building around Puget Sound.”
From the Seattle P-I: “Seattle single-family homes prices stay steady in March.”
I’m so confused.
US House minority leader Rep. John Boehner sees a ray of hope in the ongoing nomination fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:
“When you start to look at the fallout from the Democratic nomination process – the Democrats not showing up to vote – you are starting to create a scenario where we are in better shape than people think,” said Mr. Boehner. “You are going to have people voting for McCain or not voting at all. The picture is not as bleak as people want to paint it.”
That’s right, the House Republicans’ only hope to avoid disaster at the polls in November is for voters not to show up. I guess you gotta appreciate his honesty, though it doesn’t really say much his party when the opposite of “bleak” is low voter turnout.
Um, not really political news here, but I just really loved the headline: “Clue to early Americans lies in origin of the feces.” (Not to mention the slug in the URL: “oldpoop04m.html”. And to think… they criticize me for my potty mouth.)
Margaret Talev in McClatchy has a dispatch from a wingnutty corner of Pennsylvania that is hard to believe:
“I like her backup man,” said retired machinist Ronald Duser, referring to former President Bill Clinton. “And her family’s from Scranton. She seems to be an honest person, just like my wife.”
Of Obama, Duser said: “I’m not crazy about voting for a colored guy, but that’s not why I don’t support Obama. I’m not prejudiced. I just like Hillary.”
A couple tables over, Jean Fetterman, a foster grandparent, said of Clinton: “Oh, I love her. She’s a very intelligent person, and she has her husband who went through this.”
She scoffs at the idea of voting for Obama: “I don’t want to be a Muslim!” She looks dubious when told Obama is Christian. “Then why did he go see what’s-his-name over in Iraq, that Lama?”
She isn’t clear about whom she means. She may have seen a photo of Obama wearing traditional clothing during a visit to Africa. “I don’t care what color he is, I don’t care if he’s pink,” she said. “I don’t think he’s got the same education Hillary has, and he’s so young. He’s arrogant, too.”
In the past, people haven’t believed me when I’ve told them that during the years my family lived in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania, we met people who still believed that Jewish people actually had horns. Hopefully, we’re all closer to understanding how that’s even possible.
Media criticism is really more Goldy’s thing, but I’m reading our newspapers’ reaction to plastic bag fee scheme announced today.
Forget the canvas sacks at home? Shoppers at grocery, convenience and drug stores will pay the price starting Jan. 1, if the City Council approves. A family buying six bags of groceries a week would spend $62.40 a year in bag fees.
That’s sixty bucks a year if you forget, every single time, when you go to the supermarket. That’s every single time. Who forgets every single time? If you’re that forgetful, maybe you have more pressing problems than grocery shopping.
You can read the P-I’s “Sound Off” on their article. When I go to the market, almost always, all of my purchases can fit into one (or maybe two) canvas bags. Of course, I often forget to bring my canvas bags along. If I had to pay twenty cents a shot, I’d remember every time. Or if I was one of those rugged libertarians, I’d pay the surcharge.
In a way, I’m glad we didn’t decide to ban plastic bags. Consumers have always had a choice: paper or plastic. Consumers can still choose, but their choices will better reflect the environmental realities, not to mention that giant floating garbage pile in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Banning the bags is a demand; charging a fee is a suggestion.
Speaking of jack-booted European-style socialism, I’ll be at this Transportation Choices Coalition house party.
Seattle House Party:
WHEN: April 3, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
WHERE: South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109
But don’t forget the 425:
Eastside House Party:
WHEN: April 21, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
WHERE: Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
Stalin (who made everyone ride trains!) would approve.
Next time the cashier says “paper or plastic,” think outside the bags. Think about ocean pollution, giant landfills and global warming, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says.
Then think to next year, when you might have to either pull out a reusable tote or pay 20 cents a bag.
Nickels and City Council President Richard Conlin proposed a 20-cent “green fee” Wednesday on all disposable bags to encourage customers to carry their milk and eggs home in their own bags.