Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    Archive for November, 2014

    Internet “Fast Lanes”

    By on November 17, 2014 in See It Here

    You may have been hearing a lot of folks talking about “net neutrality.” I am one of them.  A  guy I know who I’ve always thought was up on current events told me he thinks it would be unfair if the net was moved closer to  Serena Williams so Maria Sharapova wouldn’t have to serve as far.

    He nailed the whole issue.

    Right now, The FCC is reviewing possible changes to rules after 20 years of Internet regulation which, if you think about it, is probably needed since Netflix hadn’t even been invented back in those prehistoric times. In short, the rules say it’s a level playing field and anyone with access gets equal speed to watch cat videos. This is “net neutrality.”

    One of my favorite people I rely on for facts is Texas Senator Ted Cruz who said “net neutrality is the Obamacare for the Internet.” His position was challenged by Minnesota Senator Al Franken on CNN’s “State of the Union” who said “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” As a result of what happened last November 4th, Cruz, may become Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, and doesn’t want government running the Internet (or health care) because private enterprise can do the job just fine.

    I know. I’m still stuck on Senator Cruz chairing that committee. Guess what? Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who says there’s no such thing as climate change, is likely to become the next Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Jon Stewart is going to be able to take the entire year of 2015 off.

    If Ted Cruz and the lobby group for Internet providers (called the Telecom Industry Association) get their way, we will have the opportunity to pay extra for “fast lanes” to download the cat videos. The shop talk phrase being used here in Washington is “paid prioritization.” You want speed, you pay for it. This applies to major websites like as well as your smartphone/computer.

    There’s no deadline for an FCC decision but I am on the side of keeping the “net” where it is, though I still think Serena has an advantage with her serve.

    A Positive Spin After November 4th

    By on November 5, 2014 in See It Here

    Let’s start by saying it’s always healthy to have differing points of view because (1) you can learn something and (2) the next step is to seek common ground. The only caveat here is acting like an adult rather than a sixth grader in the back of the school bus. Which brings me to Tuesday’s Republican Steamroller that gave control of the Senate. I suddenly heard the Minority-Leader-Soon-To-Be Majority-Leader tell an audience in Louisville after winning a 6th term, that there is work to be done with the White House.

    It wasn’t just Louisville where that occurred. In every GOP acceptance speech across the country last night, I heard the words “we have to work together because that’s what the American people elected us to do.” It made me wish every day was the day after an election because we all know what happens weeks-months-years after an election.

    The White House put out the word as the votes were showing Republicans were going to be winners that there would be a meeting a few days after Tuesday to talk about “common ground”.

    Yeah, I will say it right here: I wish President Obama would have scheduled a beer with Boehner and McConnell and whomever else had some time on Friday’s to talk about things—maybe not even pending legislation–just talk about stuff. He didn’t. Eons ago, House Speaker Tip O’Neill would go to the White House and have a drink/coffee/snacks with President Reagan. He told anyone who asked just how that came about and Tip responded that when he dealt with Republicans there was agreement that “we were  always friends after six o’ clock.” A few days after telling the president this, he got a phone call from Reagan asking, “Hey Tip, is it after six o’clock?”

    Sometimes you need to be hit in the head to see what has always been right in front of you. I am hopeful both parties have learned to grow up (Ted Cruz & Darrell Issa are the exceptions) and learn how to have a conversation again.  It really is doable, despite all the well-deserved cynicism Congress (and the White House) have earned over the past six years.