Category Archives: politics

Voting – My Tweet storm from this morning.

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

This morning I was compelled to go an a small tweetstorm. Maybe you don’t follow me on Twitter (how dare you!) so I put the whole of it here because I really feel like this is important. As a whole, the citizens of the United States have gotten lazy about showing up to vote. There’s a bigger conversation to be had there, but my goal is to make sure people get informed – like actually informed and doing research and reading things – and then getting out to vote. The series of tweets are below.

Oh, and if you need to register here’s a handy website: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote 

And if you like your websites a bit “hipper” here’s this one: https://www.rockthevote.org/voting-information/

One of my favorite pieces of legislation passed in my lifetime was the Motor Voter Bill that allowed you to register to vote when you renewed your drivers license. When I was a teenager added registration cards to their long boxes. Getting registered is important.

Things are happening, people are upset, and there’s still an outrageous amount of money in politics but one thing that costs nothing and has a major effect on the direction our country takes is using your .

I’m not even asking you to vote for what I want (although I certainly wouldn’t mind, I tend to like the things I for). I do ask, though, that you actually become an That means you actually have to do some research & skip the talking points.

I see & feel the major divide in the country. I’m also not immune to it, but if you are truly an then at least you can vote for your candidate/policy with a clean conscious. As a heads up: if it’s repeated by multiple politicians or pundits that’s a

make for great TV, but are terrible for decision making & tend to be shockingly over generalized to make the problem seem simple. They aren’t. If the problems we faced were simple they’d be fixed already. So we all need to step up.

We are entering one of the most interesting times that I’ve ever lived through. And the elections of 2018 & 2020 will probably be some of the most scrutinized & covered elections in recent history so we have a responsibility as citizens to do our homework before going to .

 

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Filed under activism, advocate, education, politics, social commentary

Net Neutrality – The Fight is Getting Bigger

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

On February 5, 2015 the new rules proposal for broadband will be circulated for review. Later this month, February 26th, the FCC will vote on these regulations. They are reported to go the direction that Net Neutrality activists have hoped, and that’s a good thing, but the new Republican congress who benefits from an average of $350 million dollars a year in campaign contributions from the communications industry is attempting to derail all the progress that has been made. As described in the article linked to above, opponents to the idea of true Net Neutrality (personified by Sen. John Thune R-SD and Rep. Fred Upton R- Michigan) oppose the idea of reclassification and are proposing a separate bill that neuters the authority of the FCC thereby opening a backdoor to the kinds of actions that Net Neutrality activists were hoping to see squashed, like internet fast lanes.

In case you need a reminder of why reclassification is essential and why communication companies cannot be trusted to “self regulate” just check out this article which shows what happened when Netflix was forced to negotiate with Comcast.

On top of the big internet providers attempting to charge content providers, other businesses have been getting crafty as well.  A large penalty was just levied on Marriott Hotels because they were blocking private wi-fi hotspots, the kind offered by carriers like Verizon and Sprint, and forcing people to purchase the wi-fi through the hotel. Although they were caught and fined, this is likely just the first of many such attempts as large companies try to find a way to grab market share on internet service as it becomes part of people’s daily lives more and more.

Even though true Net Neutrality is so close, the fight is still on and it is important not to stop making our desire for an open and free internet known.  If you enjoy things like Netflix, Facebook, YouTube and even online dating then this effects you and your life.

You can follow THIS LINK to learn how to have your voice heard. Contact your representatives and let them know that you like your internet just fine and want it to stay free and open.

Keep up the fight!

 

 

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Filed under activism, Andelon, business, career, commentary, computers, goverment, internet, net neutrality, new media, politics, the future, Uncategorized

Good News for Net Neutrality?

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Things are looking good for Net Neutrality.

In a one-on-one conversation with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro on January 7th, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (sometimes referred to as a dingo) has implied that rules governing broadband communications will be based on Title II of the Communications Act – which is what most Net Neutrality activists and I have been hoping for.

HERE’S A LINK TO THE ARTICLE AT ARS TECHNICA

But for the TL;DR crowd here are some sound bytes:

“…it became obvious that commercially reasonable could be interpreted as what is reasonable for the ISPs, not what is reasonable for consumers or innovators,” Wheeler said. “And that’s the wrong question and the wrong answer because the issue here is how do we make sure that consumers and innovators have open access to networks. That led us to a more robust investigation of the well established concept of just and reasonable, which is a Title II concept. And as I said, Title II has always been something that was on the table. So last summer we began investigating various approaches using title II as a way to get to just and reasonable because it has the best protections.”

”What’s interesting also is that other ISPs, smaller ISPs, like the rural carriers, competitive ISPs, have all come in and said, ‘we like Title II, we hope you’ll do Title II,'” Wheeler added.

“It just so happens that 20 years ago I was the guy that negotiated on behalf of the wireless industry to establish Section 332,” Wheeler said. “Section 332 says that wireless should be regulated under Title II as a common carrier, except that the FCC is instructed to forbear from onerous provisions and inappropriate provisions of Title II, except for section 201 and 202, which is just and reasonable, and Section 208, which is consumer protection,” he added.

Shapiro summed up, saying, “what I heard you say is, without totally confirming it, is you’re going down the Title II path, [and] that the wireless model is a good model, and the wireless model said forbear by law except for a couple of sections.” Wheeler did not dispute that assessment.

Fingers crossed!

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Filed under activism, Andelon, business, commentary, geek, internet, net neutrality, news, politics, re-post, technology, the future

Election Day – It’s important, right?

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when “getting out the vote” was a big deal. A huge deal, really. The youth was getting pushed/energized in a very general way to “make our voices heard.” And it worked! When I was first voting it was a topic of conversation among friends. We’d discuss our understanding of the different things we were voting for and massive guilt trips were laid on those that didn’t take the time to get to their polling place. Admittedly I grew up in an upper middle class suburb where my biggest concerns were what my plans were going to be for the weekend, but based on the actual numbers from the day it looks like my little circle of friends weren’t the only ones feeling this way.

MTV was a big pusher and commercials starring celebrities popular with our demographic all encouraged us to get out to the polls. That stuck with me. It still sticks with me. I used to vote because it was what I was “supposed to do” but now, as I’m getting older, I feel like it’s something that I have to do, and I mean that with the utmost sincerity and gravatas.

I don’t like to get too political on my public forums, but there are several issues that are important enough to me that they get past the embargo:

  • Net Neutrality
  • Female Equality
  • Marriage Equality

You’ve seen my posts about them. They are important to me. They are things that require a voice in government.

You probably have things that are important to you too, things that also require a voice in government. This is one of those times in history when we’ll be able to look back and see the effects of our vote. This is a time of change and upheaval. Times that will match up in the history books to the 1860’s, 1940’s and the late 1960’s. Things are happening and, while you may not have direct control over every nuance of what’s going on, you do have a say.

Vote. It’s important.

Can’t find your polling place? HERE’S HELP

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Filed under activism, net neutrality, politics

Net Neutrality – The Fight is Still On

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

The internet is the most powerful information tool ever invented – in the whole history of mankind.

Think about that, this is not a small achievement.

The printing press revolutionized the world and it was limited to locality, expertise, specialized equipment and literacy in a time when none of the things on that list were guaranteed. In our modern times even people in developing nations have mobile phones and wifi. The internet is the great equalizer and it has been the backbone of social change and culture for well over a decade now…

…and this tool is in danger.

I’m not going to spout conspiracy theories or rage about corporate greed or the politicization of information, I want to speak to you as a fellow consumer and  user who prefers to have a freedom of choice and fair playing field. The internet we know and enjoy is in danger and needs us, as consumers, to stick up for it.

This New York Times article details one of the new proposals from the FCC that looks like progress but is really just a re-packaging of what the current ISP’s wanted in the first place.

Read it and contact your representatives and VOTE!

EDIT:

Reader Scott K. provided this link to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It is a great explanation of what is going on with the law of the internet. And it’s funny.

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Filed under activism, advocate, politics

Fun Video Friday! – Double Duty covering Kangaroos and Net Neutrality

Special Fun Video Friday this week. If you follow me on any social media then you may have seen my recent posts about trying to protect net neutrality and asking the FCC to consider the internet a title II common carrier so that the big ISP’s can’t have control over the speed or content that you receive online. You would think that in America of all places the internet would remain a bastion of freedom, but you’d be wrong. Right now the future of the internet is teetering and could go either way. We as citizens need to stand up! The first video for today covers, quite well, why net neutrality is important and how to take action. I’m sure many of you have signed petitions on the subject, but the best way to comment is directly to the FCC. I’ve included the link below. Please watch this, follow the link and help protect this vital communication system.


To put the “fun” back in Fun Video Friday here’s a video of a kangaroo petting a dog:



See you next time!

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Filed under animals, fun video friday, goverment, internet, net neutrality, politics, social commentary, social networking, video, videos, YouTube

52 in 52 Story 4 “Super-Beings and the Fall of the United States: An Oral History”

This story marks my first incomplete story of the challenge. Posting this was a tough decision for me to come to. I had an idea in my head about using super-heroes as a cipher for multinational corporations. Originally it was going to be a first person story re-telling the history of the rise of the super-heroes, how they helped to build up the country, and then describe their downfall and turn to villainy using the Great Recession as a cataclysm akin to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Very epic in scope and requiring a good deal of research to get the broad facts correct.

I was really excited about it.

But it was a tough write, especially on a deadline. Things weren’t going as well as I hoped. But then I had a stroke of genius: make it an oral history so that some of the disparate ideas can be brought together in different voices that make sense to the facts! A general, a banker, a history professor, a personal assistant and a blue collar guy. These voices would be able to tell the story from a variety of angles and it would help broaden the scope of the story. That worked a lot better.

But then it was Saturday…

I said “screw the deadlines!”

Then Sunday…

Then on Monday and Tuesday I had no time due to schedule (it’s part of the reason why Monday is my post day).

So here we are, Wednesday, and the story isn’t finished and another is due in just a few days. I had to call it. I’m not ready to fall behind on all of my deadlines yet.

I’m taking a lesson from this about deadlines and how it’s important to find a way to work within them. This story was a bit too ambitious for the week that I had. It would have been better saved for when I had more free time – and maybe I’ll revisit it when I have that time – and I should have done something a bit smaller for a week that I knew ahead of time would be short.

All that being said, here is what there is of the story and, as usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

– Curtis

Super-Beings and the Fall of the United States: An Oral History
Dr. Robert Lanager, Professor of History, Harvard University –
It was the downfall of America. Sure, the rest of the world felt it, especially the Euro Zone, but the U.S. was hit hardest of all. They had the most sway here, most were headquartered here and those that were headquartered in other parts of the world made regular trips to the United States. It’s like the U.S. was the eye of the storm, so when the damage and destruction started we noticed it too late to do anything about it. They were super-beings with far more power and almost inexhaustible resources which allowed them to do just about anything they wanted and we, wanting to benefit from what they did, allowed them to doalmost anything they wanted. Oh, God, how foolish we were! I look back on the early days now and I get so angry at myself and at the country as a whole. In hindsight it’s so clear what was happening, where the road would lead and yet we didn’t listen to the people who warned us. They were derided and laughed off; completely dismissed by people, who thought they knew better, but none of us really knew and now it’s too late. The damage is done and, frankly, I have no idea how we’re going to get out of this one.
Walter Smith, Retired Banker –
I’ve been around since the beginning; I remember when they first started to show themselves. Bear in mind that we know now that they were always around, but they obviously they weren’t operating as publically. Actually, I take that back, there were a few that were active in the late 19th into the 20th century, I remember my father telling me about them. The beings helped build the infrastructure of the country. They had their hands in the railroads, minerals and energy. In some cases they even helped to report the news of the time. For the most part things were fine, but a few of the beings got a bit big for their britches and some started to consolidate power, keeping everyone they could under their watch. The fall could have come then, but the government put together legislation that seemed to bring them under control and, with those controls in place, most of them started going about normal, proactive lives – generally contributing to society without attracting attention – and then just fading away into the background.
Gen. Thomas Black, Retired Army General –
At first we called them super-heroes. Here they were these amazing beings with amazing powers that could defend us from enemies thousands of miles away. With the help of hundreds of thousands of human soldiers, they fought in every major combat through history: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, The Gulf Wars, all of them! And, in most cases, we won those fights and we couldn’t have done it without them. But that was part of the problem; really, we truly couldn’t do it without them. We knew it, they knew it and for while it was actually ok, a mutual appreciation society. They’d work for us and we’d work for them, building things together to keep this nation great.
Leslie Howard, Office Assistant-
                When they first started to appear, at least when I was growing up, people weren’t ready to believe it. I mean, who would? Suddenly, as if from nowhere, you had these magnanimous beings coming down from the sky to save us. It wasn’t even the powers they showed, movies prepared me for that, hell I expected it… but in real life, seeing people fly and having energy flowing out of their bodies… Sometimes it was too much to take.
Gen. Thomas Black-

If you look at it, the whole thing is kind of generational. We had our heroes start off loyal and patriotic. They believed in the people and what they could do. These were the folks that helped build the America that we call “The Good Old Days.” But as the heroes got older they were replaced by newer heroes, super-beings with different ideas about their contribution to society should be. Now, I want to be clear, these were not villains. While there were always a few of them that worked against society, by and large the heroes were no worse than anyone else. And I guess that’s the rub, they were like us. As the modern times made the world smaller, suddenly our heroes were branching out. They would go to foreign countries, establish headquarters there, and make alliances with the beings that were there. Were we worried in National Defense? A little, but frankly they were still something that we relied on so much that as long as we were the ones getting their “A” game we chose to turn a blind eye. I think that carte blanche may have hurt more than we realized. 

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Filed under 52 in 52, 52 stories in 52 weeks, failure, fiction, politics, projects, super-heroes

Fun Video Friday! – From the Vaults: 3 Minutes with Curtis & Dean “The Holidays”

I wanted to post something Doctor Who related today, but all the videos I wanted to post were not available to embed, so I dipped into the WiggyWebs vault to find something holiday related and I found this – Dean and I talking about the holidays with just enough information to get our feet stuck in our mouths.

Still, what’s the internet for if not to talk about ideas and then see if people get upset? So I hope you enjoy this and if not feel free to eviscerate us in the comments.

See you next time!

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Filed under 3 minutes with curtis and dean, fun video friday, holidays, politics, religion, video, Wiggy VonSchtick, wiggy webs, YouTube

9/11 – A Post Revisited.

Found on the Internet, Copyright unknown

Two years ago I wrote a post about how I felt on the anniversary of 9/11. You can read it here:

For the most part my feelings on the matter really haven’t changed, although I’m glad that the new tower and memorial are in place. That was a very big deal to me, apparently, and I didn’t realize how much so until I looked at the post again.

But while the physical space may have been changed, a lot of the other issues that I mentioned are still left unfinished.

I hope that our law makers take the time today to not just pay lip service to these issues, but remember that there is still a lot of work to do.

See you next time.

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Filed under politics

Thoughts on Things & Stuff

It’s been a light blogging month which can be attributed to two major things things: time – the incessant excuse – and lack of writing topics.

Time I only have excuses for. I’ve been working on other projects, mostly for corporate clients so I can’t really share the results directly, and been getting ready for a speaking engagement in Chicago this September, more info on that later.

Topic wise it isn’t so much that there haven’t been topics to discuss as they are topics I don’t like to discuss here. When I started this blog it was just a writing exercise. It was just supposed to be a place where I could put my thoughts down and practice getting ideas out that maybe a few other folks would enjoy. As I started to like it and as the readership grew I tried to write with a point. We have the Actor 101 posts, the Project: Iron Man posts and the performance announcement posts. Those are all working out well and I really like doing them. Something I’ve always avoided on this blog are the “dangerous two” topics of polite conversation: politics and religion. They are polarizing subjects and it’s easy for points to be lost in translation. Rarely does it cause discussion because it seems like everyone is more interested in yelling louder than actually finding solutions. It’s been a tough season to avoid thinking about politics. With the Zimmerman trial being all the craze on the cable news networks, the uprisings in Egypt and Edward Snowden there are major things happening in our world and in our country right now that just can’t be ignored. Rene and I have spent a lot of time talking about it, debating things and actually researching things (my high school teachers would be so proud!).

I’ve sat down to write here several times only to delete what I’ve written because I don’t want to break my rule: no politics, no religion.

It’s getting hard to avoid because this rush of ideas is building up in my mind. So to help stave off a burst blood vessel and maintain my rule I’ve actually made a list of some of the documentaries that I’ve watched recently that I have enjoyed because they have made me think and I think they are good enough for you to watch. Clicking on the image should take you to the Amazon link where you can rent or buy the movie. I watched them all on Netflix.

– Revenge of the Electric Car

I don’t like cars. I’m not a car guy. If I could I would never own a car…
…but I live and work in Southern California and so not having a car is not an option. If I have to own a car I don’t want to pay for gas. In fact I’ve got a whole newsstand worth of issues with oil companies, but that’s not what this movie is about. This is a great look at the resurgence of the electric car and how it really is a viable option and not just some hippie pipe dream. I’ve always wanted my next car to not require gas and it looks like the major car manufacturers are going to help make that dream a reality.
– The Yes Men Fix the World
If you aren’t familiar with the Yes Men check out the link. Rene and I were at the Sundance Film Festival the year this movie was accepted and I wanted tickets to it SO BAD, but we just couldn’t get them. Every available ticket was gone as soon as it was available –  and it was one of the years when we had our corporate sponsorship with all the special ticket privileges and everything, it was just that popular. This thought provoking film forces the veiwer to face the idea of corporate ethics and the disparity between the importance of profits versus common sense and people. Their pranks are also very entertaining, even if their end results are not as world changing as they had hoped. 
– Hot Coffee
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the case of the woman who sued McDonald’s because her coffee was too hot. It has been the butt of jokes for decades, hell I’ve even made some myself. This shows the real story behind the case, how severe the injuries really were (seriously, be ready for some very shocking and graphic images) and how changes in tort reform are effecting the civil justice system. Very eye opening and, as a guy who regularly uses a mediation clause in his contracts, it made me examine my personal motivations as to how I build my contracts. If you have any interest in the civil justice system, and you probably should have at least a passing interest, this is good to see.
– Kumare
This is one of my favorite documentaries ever. A man presents himself as a yoga guru and builds a practice in the self-help world telling his followers the truth in a very skillfully built lie – but is it really lying? Challenging notions of what it means to be a religious leader versus a marketing leader, this film leads you down the rabbit hole as one man seeks out his own path to faith. Seriously, take the time, it’s so worth it.
I look forward to your thoughts on these. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
See you next time!

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