It’s A Wonderful Internet: If the FCC Had Regulated from the Start

101223_TECH_fccTNThe FCC immediately determines that the lack of interoperability among the online systems harms consumers and orders that each company submit a technical framework by January 1994 under which all online companies will unify to one shared technology in the near future. The precedent for this are the technical standards that the FCC has been setting for decades for AM and FM, and for television. The online services threaten legal action again, and again Congress passes new legislation authorizing the FCC to do as it wishes. The online companies hustle to submit a technical framework. Microsoft wants in on the game, so it persuades the FCC to extend the framework deadline to July 1995. …

In late 1993, AOL and Delphi become the first online services to offer the Internet. The FCC orders both to drop the feature until the FCC’s labs approve it.

“We can’t have the online industry pushing out beta software on unsuspecting customers willy-nilly. Such software could compromise the users’ computers, interfere with other users’ computers, or crash the whole online world,” the FCC chairman says. …

In September 1996, Microsoft, whose biggest individual stockholders are Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer, who are raising millions for the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign, wins the FCC’s online design shootout.

Microsoft calls its online-unifier “Bob.”

“This award is made purely on the technical merits,” the FCC chairman remarks.

The FCC is particularly enamored of the “back door” that Microsoft has built into Bob, making it easier for police to monitor communications in real time. The commission also applauds Microsoft’s forward thinking because it has incorporated a virtual “V-chip” in Bob. The censoring software is analogous to the V-chip the FCC wants TV manufacturers to build into their sets to block violent and mature TV programming from being viewed by children.

The regulators also love Bob because it has created more “Channels” for police, fire, libraries, city councils, legislatures, courts, and public service messages than the other proposed systems. Bob testers complain that these channels leave little space for the data, information, and communications they expect to find on an online system. One compares Bob to a government designed version of the Yellow Pages, only duller. Another pines for the Wild West days of the unregulated online world when you didn’t have to pay virtual “parking” to your local municipality before you went shopping inside the online mall.

God, I love Jack Shafer.

Because What Does Freedom Have to Do With Voting, Amirite?

Via DailyCaller

A Dallas-area woman was denied the right to vote on Monday because she was wearing a button bearing a Gadsden flag — the rattlesnake under the words “Don’t Tread on Me” that has become the unofficial image of the Tea Party.

Katrina Pierson, who sits on the steering committee of the Dallas Tea Party and is also involved with the Garland Tea Party, told The Daily Caller that “around 11 o’clock yesterday,” a Garland Tea Party member, reported that she was told by an election official that she could not vote unless she removed her button. A second election official, Pierson said, did not recognize the button and did not understand why the other official was not permitting the woman to vote.


According to Pierson, the woman refused to remove her button, saying it was a violation of her first amendment rights, and called the sheriff’s office. The sheriff

passed the matter on to the Dallas County Election Department, which failed to act.

The woman opted not to vote until she had done more research and figured out whether or not the election official was allowed to do that. The Garland Tea Party is currently conducting that investigation on her behalf.

“If we have to file suit against the county, we will,” says Pierson.

Pierson said that she had heard of a similar incident in Waco, Texas, where a voter was not permitted to vote while wearing a Waco Tea Party T-shirt.

Election officials, apparently, were concerned that sporting such symbols constituted electioneering, which the Texas election code specifically prohibits within “within one hundred feet” of the polls.

But Pierson says, “It’s not electioneering, it’s not a candidate, it’s not a party affiliation.”

The Dallas Tea Party does not consider itself a political party. The code of conduct listed on its website defines the group as such: “The Dallas Tea Party is, and will continue to be, an expressly non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to citizen education, empowerment and engagement.” The code says the group will not “issue … endorsements of candidates” nor will it campaign for any candidate in any way. This is a significant difference from Tea Party groups such as the Tea Party Express, which endorses and campaigns for candidates.

The Dallas Tea Party has sent an e-mail to various Tea Party groups around the state notifying them of what happened, and is calling for people to not back down:

“We encourage you to wear a Gadsden Flag T-shirt or ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ button when you go to cast your vote,” the e-mail says. “If you are denied your right to vote because of your open public support of the tea party movement, we encourage you to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.”

Asked why, as this seems counterproductive if members will not be permitted to vote, Pierson explained:

“They’re Tea Party members, and we stand for constitutional rights, and the first amendment being a very important one. If being an American citizen disqualifies you from voting, then we have a bigger problem than we thought.”

Yeah, see, the Gadsden flag is not a symbol of any party. It’s one of the banners flown in the American Revolution.

All this shows is they didn’t tar and feather near enough people back then. Or now.

So When Are Muslims Not Raging? Never, That’s When

Is the problem really some redneck preacher burning some dumb book, or the fact that everyone — left, right, Muslim, Christian, non-believer — agrees that the mere act of burning that book in some backswamp part of Florida would spark worldwide violence?


We’re talking about a primitive belief system that can’t tolerate the right of free speech and the right of people to criticize them for their primitive beliefs.

For Einstein’s sake, they murder filmmakers and condemn cartoonists to death.

Michelle Malkin hits exactly the right note with her column today.

The eternal flame of Muslim outrage
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Shhhhhhh, we’re told. Don’t protest the Ground Zero mosque. Don’t burn a Koran. It’ll imperil the troops. It’ll inflame tensions. The “Muslim world” will “explode” if it does not get its way, warns sharia-peddling imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Pardon my national security-threatening impudence, but when is the “Muslim world” not ready to “explode”?

At the risk of provoking the ever-volatile Religion of Perpetual Outrage, let us count the little-noticed and forgotten ways…

Read the rest of the column here.

The Kid Has Balls As Big As Churchbells

This high school kid is undaunted in the face a raging mob of Mohammedian jihadists.


Islamic Indignation is a Blast


This is a cartoon of the violent 7th Century [edit] warlord and pedophile known as Mohammed.

I would (Don’t) hate to (throw) be reported (me) to one of (into) the local (that) Islamic organizations for (briar) perennial indignation (patch).

Because then I’d have to deal with the kind of cretins that the esteemed Christopher Hitchens eviscerates here.

Health Care and Brown, Take 2

An old chum and lawyer has a different take on what’s what for government-run health care now.

So now for something completely different…


Oh noes! People are saying bad things on the Internet!

Daily Comments Thread

Sound off.

Tim pulled a little boner in declaring Brint Ryan had his Chazz Redd moment. I’m thinking this is going to be Ann Margolin’s shirtless with guns experience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Daily FB (and other) Comments Thread

Here it is again. Speak your piece on FB items such as the running Burl Osborne commentary on whether the new media will destroy the old. (Initial post, and yesterday’s first follow up.) Or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Also, check Matt Pulle‘s latest story for Texas Watchdog on how the Republicans are striking back at the man who brought down Rep. Tom DeLay.

Or get into whether a mere girl who sometimes blogs American Idol can also provide witty commentary and depth insights into bigger issues. (My vote is yes.)

Then there’s the debut tonight of Dallas DNA which looks at the ongoing exonerations from DNA evidence of now a score of Dallas prisoners. Can’t wait.

Sound off.

A Comment About Comments, and the Daily FB Comment Thread

We got the rush of FB bashing comments on Day One, and then a slowdown on Day Two. But since then, comments have been coming in at great volume and of great quality, despite the point made in friend Gordon‘s but-gusting Quick column.

So we continue the daily FrontBurner comment thread. Have your say on any FB topic (ID it with the FB headline and link if you know HTML) and speak your mind.

Or talk about any topic that strikes your fancy, FB related or not. Links are always good. Fire away.

Usual rules apply: no excessive goddamn obscenity, clever forgives much, attacks on me are always encouraged, and while I’ve only ever deleted comments at a commenter’s request, I reserve the right to pull anything too far over the line. Note: It hasn’t arisen yet because everyone has been great, but I won’t create a list of rules people can play outhouse lawyer with, though I will explain my reasons if I ever pull a post.