Once upon a time there lived a young man named Bo. A fine young man who could, at the drop of a hat, tell quite a tale. His gift of verse had won over many on the street he lived, and two, Harold and Nan, stepped forth and joined Bo as trusted friends and allies.
One fine morning, as the rays of the sun washed away the traces of a terrible storm that had drenched Bo's town for a fortnight, Bo and his friends came upon an older man leaning on an old car. The man, though frail, was friendly and inviting so Bo and his friends stepped toward him with nary a reservation. The old man smiled pleasantly, and beckoned Bo and his friends to come closer. Words softly floated from the old man's lips. "Hold out your hand" he said quietly to Bo. Trusting, Bo held out his hand and the old man's trembling arm stretched forth, his hand opened, and the keys to the old car fell softly into Bo's palm. "May it serve you as well as it has served me" was all the old man said. Then, with a wink and a smile, the old man turned and slowly walked out of sight, never to be seen again.
While Bo and his friends were elated at the generous gift bestowed upon them, they soon came to realize that the car had seen better days and was left in a sorry state of disrepair. Not easily discouraged, the three friends quickly set about repairing the broken down machine.
Now it must be said, that although Bo was a fine young man and well liked by many on his street, not all were so enamored. A group of devious young men had developed a rather strong dislike of Bo for their own nefarious reasons, and so they wished him fail no matter how decent Bo's endeavors. Bo's effort to repair the broken down automobile was no exception, and these deviants set about bad mouthing Bo and his car to all the neighbors while Bo and his two companions worked tirelessly to fix the car. While most neighbors knew better and were well served by ignoring these troublemakers, some fell for the slander and an unpleasant noise grew from a buzz to a thunder as each angry voice tried to out shout the last.
Failing to Finish Off the 2010 Elections
While Democrats are busy trying to figure out what went wrong, how to fix it, or just kissing up to the non-existent mandate, the Teapublicans are busy trying to convince the American People that the American People really did give them a mandate. They're trying to make us feel good about our new purchase after the sale. That's smart marketing, especially when the American People, as a whole, really didn't buy the product in the first place.
ATTENTION DEMOCRATIC LEADERS: Get out there and start convincing the American People that they just got hoodwinked by a bunch of extremists. In sports proper "follow through" is coached constantly and in the aftermath of the election the Teapublicans are doing just that. Unfortunately Democrats are actually helping them follow through instead of disrupting it.
Giving into Teapublican Demands
Democrats are already giving in to the Teapublican demands before they've been sworn in. For example, Harry Reid on tax cuts for the upper income brackets: "If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I'll have to look at that."
ATTENTION SENATOR REID: You are still the MAJORITY leader. Were the Republican leaders in the early 2000s, who held very slim margins, talking about caving in to Democratic demands? Hell No. Grow a pair or turn over leadership to someone who already has them. Er, make that a Democrat who has a pair. Given the current mentality I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats in the Senate simply handed leadership to the Teapublicans. Jeesh.
Talking about Compromise
Democrats have been (foolishly) trying to compromise for the past two years and look what it got us. Democrats watered down a number of bills with Republican demands only to have them a) vote against the bills and b) demonize the Democrats for those same bills. Do our Democratic leaders really think that the Teapublicans mean it when they say "compromise"?
ATTENTION EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T ALREADY KNOW: Compromise means one of two things to the Teapublicans: "NO" or "Do it EXACTLY like I say and I might vote for it. But I probably won't until a conservative is in the White House."
The only way to make Tuesday's losses worse is to help set up the Teapublicans for victories in two years. And Democrats are doing just that. Doh!
It's not because I cower in fear of our new Teapublican overlords after their history making, freedom loving, glory inducing, red, white and blue tour de force of Americana that pulled us from the brink of the abyss of patriotic damnation. It's not because the will of the people spoke, nay, wielded the sword of unyeilding and uncompromising truth, honesty, and justice to slay the foes of peace, democracy, and freedom. No, I'm worried about the Democrats uncanny ability to, as the saying goes, pull defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Democrats just got slapped around. Big time. No doubt about that. That's something we should be somewhat concerned about. But it's not something we need to be very concerned about, provided the Democrats in power and those running the show get their sh*t together and start taking advantage of wonderful opportunity the Teapublicans just handed to us. Make that three opportunities...
1. Mandate? The Teapublicans are certain of the mandate they were just given. Unfortunately for them it really wasn't an all powerful mandate, but that won't diminish the bravado or self righteous power trip they're high on. Polls are divided about whether this was even a referendum on Obama's policies - much less a rebuke of his efforts, Teabaggers were elected in a number of races but were also crushed (as loons) in other high profile races meaning they don't have the across-the-board appeal they think they do, the American people have been giving Congress ridiculously low approval ratings so some change had to come, the economy still isn't good (better than it would have been, but many are still hurting) so some change had to come, Obama's huge victory two years ago put some Democrats in power that normally wouldn't have been in those districts so it's natural that those seats would be in great danger, the Democrats in general have done a HORRIBLE job messaging and marketing (see Lowell's post on the issue), the minority base is usually more motivated and was so in this case with rank-and-file Republicans showing higher enthusiasm, and so on. Point being, any rational analysis of the Teapublican victory would have to conclude that the reasons for their various victories are many, many of those reasons have nothing to do with their platform, and there is certainly no mandate.
Anyway, it really was crazy crowded down there. I don't think the organizers saw THAT coming. Although they should have. Unfortunately (yeah, right) I missed the Glenn Beck rally but I'm sure that this rally drew a whole lot more people. Sane people win!
Theme of the day:
A big Congratulations to the Virgina Tech team that just won the 2010 European Solar Decathlon Design Competition, held in Madrid this year, with their entry "Lumenhaus". The stated goal of this architectural design-build competition is to challenge "collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive to boot."
While solar power is certainly not the one and only solution to our energy needs, it
will should be an important component of our energy future. Cost-effective and energy-efficient are also major pieces in this energy puzzle.
Now, if a certain Governor would drop his fantasy of seeing tar balls beautify the Virginia coastlines and instead get behind things like the award winning work of students from our own Commonwealth, Virginia could start making real progress toward being a leader in 21st Century energy production and use instead of being a follower in the long-past-it's-prime 20th Century energy disaster.
C'mon Bob, they're right here in Virginia.
Turns out Americans not only like Barack Obama more than the Tea Party, but that they actually like the IRS more than the Tea Party. At the height of TAX season no less!
Oh heck, just check out the FOX NEWS Poll directly from FOX... http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/040810_Obama_HC_2010_web.pdf
But this post isn't about the plan in general, just a specific aspect - the viewing and collection of download speed data. Under the heading of Consumer Broadband Test on the site you can test your current internet connection speed. The stated purpose:
The purpose of the Consumer Broadband Test (Beta) is to give consumers additional information about the quality of their broadband connections and to create awareness about the importance of broadband quality in accessing content and services over the internet. Additionally, the FCC may use data collected from the Consumer Broadband Test (Beta), along with submitted street address, to analyze broadband quality and availability on a geographic basis across the United States.
I highly encourage everyone to participate (at least give it one try) for two reasons:
1. It'll give you some information about your download speeds. It probably won't come as a big surprise, but to see some actual numbers against what you're paying your internet provider for could be eye opening.
2. If you're not paranoid about the government (yes, they do ask for your location) spying on you, this will give the FCC valuable information to help them move the National Plan along.
Wait, there's more...
If you have an iPhone or an Android based smart phone you can do the same test for them from anywhere.
For kicks I downloaded the iPhone version and so far it's told me that AT&T isn't doing a great job in the D.C. area. Check out some data points from random tests I've done the past two weeks (all speeds in Mbps):
Compared to Chicago (where I had a chance to test briefly last weekend).
Uploads weren't great in the Windy City, but the two download data points smoked the average I'm getting around D.C.
Not ground breaking (yet), but overall this is an ambitious and potentially awesome plan and I recommend everyone at least check it out. And participate with the data collection if you can.
Followers of The Daily Show know that Jon Stewart has been going after (to put it kindly) the Wall Street
geniuses leaders scum bags crooks who had a major hand in the recent financial crisis and then got a major hand out from us. All because they were too big to fail or some such nonsense. Or maybe it was because no one got the number of the bus that just hit us so we had to take their word for it.
Anyhow, Jon transforms himself into a corporation to describe how we, the people, have been screwed. Technically this piece is called "In Dodd We Trust" as it begins with Senator Dodd's efforts to put some new financial regulations in place. But stick around for the "Jonco" explanation of big business. It's worth the wait.