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The Truth About 'Net Neutrality'
Saturday, 22 July 2006

If you watch much TV, you have probably heard a lot of advertising blather (primarily from the cable and phone companies) talking about 'net neutrality' and -- at least in this area -- most of the ads are talking about how terrible an idea it is. One ad that runs in regular rotation around here claims, in tones reminiscent of a negative political campaign, that neutrality legislation would give Google an unfair competitive advantage at consumers' expense.

According to interest groups representing the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), net neutrality would set back innovation and hobble the Internet with needless regulation. But this is a merely a fabrication crafted by some very talented liars.

I expect a certain amount of spin and exaggeration from interest groups in their efforts to convince people that their views are correct. I find it reprehensible, however, that many firms and interest groups who oppose net neutrality have stooped to the level of bald-faced lies. The ISPs have leveraged the complexity of the issue to make neutrality look like a bad thing when it, in fact, is what has made the Internet so successful. The principal of neutrality is at risk of being dismantled by greedy ISPs if not soon codified in law, and consumers will pay the price....

Religious & Political Reading Progress
Friday, 21 July 2006

Well, I've reached a fairly major breaking point in my religious research reading: I have finished reading the Hebrew Bible ('Old Testament' to us Christian types). There is a lot of crazy stuff in there -- brutal wars, murder, incest, famine, pestilence, and slavery. Yet there is an underlying theme that God really loves us, even though we humans generally behave like spoiled, ungrateful, easily-distracted children.

Now that I've completed the Hebrew Bible, I will read "Everyman's Talmud" by Abraham Cohen to complete my initial study of Judaism before moving on to the Christian scriptures ('New Testament').

Meanwhile, I've reached the American Revolution in my political studies. My reading to this point has included Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hume, Smith, and Kant. Still to come are the American Founders (Jefferson, Madison, etc.), Tocqueville, Hegel, and Marx.

Other than that, nothing too interesting happening lately. I've been a total slacker on writing for a long time, but I am hoping to have an opinion column ready soon (and I might even get back into the swing of writing fiction, if I'm lucky).

Israel Blockades Lebanese Ports; Mid-East Fighting Escalates [Updated]
Thursday, 13 July 2006

Following an armed Lebanese/Hezbollah incursion into Israel on Wednesday in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two kidnapped, the Israeli Defense Forces have retaliated with a blockade and bombings of Lebanese ports, including the destruction of all three runways at Beirut's international airport. Additionally, the IDF has attacked several strategic Lebanese targets including TV stations, goverment buildings, and an army air base.

This marks the latest in a recent spate of violence which began with armed attacks on Israeli soldiers and territory by Palestinian/Hamas and Lebanese/Hezbollah forces. Israeli officials have characterized these attacks as acts of war.

The escalation of tensions in the middle east began following the election of Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, to the head of the Palestinian National Authority in January. The election followed a period of relative peace (by middle east standards) during Mahmoud Abbas's leadership with the Fatah party after the death of Yasser Arafat. Since the election, the political situation in the region has continued to degrade.

With Hezbollah and Hamas still advocating the destruction of Israel and continuing terrorist activities -- and Israel tired of constant attacks and broken promises -- full-scale war is becoming a real possibility for the middle east.

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