Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

It’s well known I wasn’t a Bush fan. I may have more in common with Bush on ideology but in terms of his personality, I am glad he’s gone. I think Bush is a good man, I just don’t think he was well suited to be President.

Obama, on the other hand, is very well suited to be President.  He has far more empathy.  Pundits don’t realize how much credibility Obama gets from people when he admits mistakes.

The big bummer with Obama, of course, is that he doesn’t understand economics and seems to have a very weak knowledge of history.

If Obama had really wanted to stimulate the economy, he could have simply abolished the payroll tax for say 6 months.  That would have made quite a difference to people.

On the other hand, Obama has some truly good ideas that Republicans should acknowledge.  The free market is a lot like a wild garden. Sure, it will produce food and spread but I tend to think that the most productive way to grow food is to have a farmer (the government) providing infrastructure.

A little watering can make a big difference just like a little infrastructure can.  Better roads, better more effective court systems, more police, etc.

For example, if the government could provide universal Internet service, even if it was at a very slow speed, a lot of private sector growth could occur.  That would be a worthwhile project  - a basic level of network access. 

Similarly, spending money on roads is worthwhile for much the same reason. Anything that lets citizens communicate and mix better is likely to become an engine for economic growth.

That’s why this “stimulus” bill pains me. It’s such a wasted opportunity.

Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, I can only imagine the heights of support Obama might have enjoyed if he had launch an obviously beneficial and huge infrastructure project like a massive road infrastructure upgrade across the country or an endeavor to make sure all users have at least 512bps wireless net access anywhere that’s remotely near civilization.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 19, 2009

The internet and the infrastructure ideas are both great ideas and excelent ways to stimulate the economy by providing people with the opportunity to expand their businesses and lifestyles, keeping up with today's technology and providing a great way to allow people to communicate with the rest of the world. I mean, if we can provide free tv signals, free radio signals, why not free internet signals? After all, some people already benefit from free wifi from places like McDonalds, libraries, Gov't buildings and any open signal one can find in the neighborhood, why not simply provide a full scale access to a useful resourse such as the internet.

The concept is perfect for people to pay their bills, keep track of expenses thru online banking, have access to online programs (like the many google programs) for free (either downloadable or web based) without having to buy expensive software, stay in contact with family, friends, work and the rest of the world, have access to extensive online dictionaries, encyclopedias and all kinds of educational resources, etc.

As for Bush, during his 8 years was when I started to become interested in politics so I don't really have an opinion on whether I liked Bush or not since I did not and up to this point still have very little knowledge about politics and history to form a decent opinion. I thought he did a decent job but I also think he had many faults. But the who doesn't? Obama is, like you said, the perfect candidate to be President, except he lacks some of the most important traits needed for the kind of situation he inherited.

on Feb 20, 2009

This is good, sharing your "what would you do".  I think that the road projects are good because there are so many local governments where the bridges and roads are falling apart and who had to stop projects they started, or do without because of lack of funding.  This means more jobs for some and being able to keep their jobs for others.  I do like your idea of the universal internet service.

on Feb 20, 2009

My only beef with the government doing a universal internet is that it would put many people currently at work at different ISP's out of work. You also raise the spectre of  government "controlling" the internet. I could see a rural push to provide areas service where it is not economically feasable for private interests to go there. I agree that this stimulus bill is overkill, and in many ways I wish there were seperate appropriations bills for each category so we could debate each one more openly. I do think that spending on some targeted items such as infrastructure and energy research are good things and should be done. Hoefully it will jumpstart the economy, but really, I think we may have just lessened the length by a couple of months at best. 

on Feb 20, 2009

My only beef with the government doing a universal internet is that it would put many people currently at work at different ISP's out of work.

I disagree.  Does cable and satellitte tv put broadcasters out of work?  Of course not.  I think what is being suggested here is that the government provide free internet access but it would be incredibly slow so that if users want more speed then they have to pay for a service from an ISP and I think there will always be a demand for that.

I don't necessarily agree that free wireless access is the way to go, I think what would be better is have the government set up an ISP like what netzero used to be, a dial up service that was free to use for X hours each month.  That way anyone with a land line could get access to the internet for free, it would just be incredibly slow, they would then have to pay for faster service from a private ISP.

You also raise the spectre of government "controlling" the internet.

While the government may try that, they will never be successful.  The US government simply can't control something as massive and ever-changing as the internet.

on Feb 20, 2009

I would also like to see a few dozen nuclear plants in the plan along with an overhaul of the aging power grid, including backup systems and grid parts such as transformers. As it stands now if a solar storm were to occur and we're overdue for one, it would take a month or more just to make the mostly hand made replacement parts. You think the economy is bad now imagine no power for the entire county for months.

Foreseeing and preparing for these scenarios is the responsibility of the government and this would be a perfect time to overhaul our disaster plans and response capabilities.

More research into automation and robotics. Probably not going to do much for unemployment but nobody works cheaper than a robot and that would bring back manufacturing and increase the GDP. 

Oh and I think we should build a space elevator. Then we could build huge space labs and start sending base modules to the moon. The solar system is cool and loaded with opportunity, it's time time we thoroughly checked it out.

on Feb 20, 2009

My only beef with the government doing a universal internet is that it would put many people currently at work at different ISP's out of work.

I agree with el-duderino, I don't think it would put a lot of people out of work, maybe a few, but then so does every time something gets improved on. Look at how many TV repair shops have gone out of business as an example. The way it wqould work is as some have mentioned, provide a somewhat slow connection so that if people want faster service they can call their local internet providers.

You also raise the spectre of government "controlling" the internet.

Also as duderino said, they will try but fail and either way if you pay for your service you won't have the restriction. Either way I have been to Gov't offices such as the county clerks office and they have free wifi, I don't see the big deal in some restrictions. Especially when the internet use will be for basic stuff not necessarily for things like downloading huge files or playing online games. The purpose would be to simply provide basic access to the internet.

 

on Feb 20, 2009

I don't necessarily agree that free wireless access is the way to go, I think what would be better is have the government set up an ISP like what netzero used to be, a dial up service that was free to use for X hours each month. That way anyone with a land line could get access to the internet for free, it would just be incredibly slow, they would then have to pay for faster service from a private ISP.

I'll have to disagree with you there buddy. The free dail-up internet would require people to have a phone line and with cell phone services being so cheap these days, many people probably don't even have phones at home. I didn't have one till a few months ago and mine is VoIP. Besides, dail-up is not slow, it's like going in reverse. That's like putting a Ferrari in the middle of New York traffic. Dail-up should go away like movies on VHS have.

on Feb 20, 2009

stubby,

I am confused with your post. Part of it seemed as if your were being serious and the other as if you were being sarcastic. Would you explain some more?

on Feb 20, 2009

Bush hates me because I am an atheist. ("I do not think atheists should be considered true citizens or patriots, this is one nation under god" - multiple interviews, years apart).

Obama hates me because I am white (many interviews, his church, his associations, his policies, etc).

Personally I find it more detestable to hate someone because of their genes (skin color) rather than their personality (your faith is one of the most important parts of your personality).

 

I don't know why people all go gaga about obama... they say he is a good speaker... admittedly he can debate well, but the POINTS he champions paint him as an ignorant racist who has no understanding of human nature, no understanding of economics, no understanding of math... basically a typical liberal. I find it disgusting, not appealing. Admitting mistakes is fine and all, especially if I was interested in having a friend or co worker... But this is a person who is in a position of power over me, who directly affects my life and economy. At that sort of relationship "admitting he made a mistake" is not enough. He should have listened when people told him that it was a mistake, not admitted it later when it failed miserably as everyone with half a brain knew it would.

on Feb 20, 2009

I'll have to disagree with you there buddy. The free dail-up internet would require people to have a phone line and with cell phone services being so cheap these days, many people probably don't even have phones at home. I didn't have one till a few months ago and mine is VoIP. Besides, dail-up is not slow, it's like going in reverse. That's like putting a Ferrari in the middle of New York traffic. Dail-up should go away like movies on VHS have.

I will use broadcast tv as my basis here.  You have to purchase rabbit ears (or some kind of antennae) to receive the channels over the air.  So why not require someone who wants free internet to have to get a land line.  You can get a land line just about anywhere in the US which makes it more usefull than wireless which would only be available in urban centers for the most part.  Yes dial-up sucks, but we are talking about getting something for free and since most of the infrastucture is already in place to support a national free dial-up service the cost to the government would be minimal (which is good).  And most likely anyone wanting free internet isn't going to be utilizing a lot of bandwidth anyway (mainly e-mail access and moderate surging) so dial-up should be sufficient.

on Feb 20, 2009

it makes more sense to transfer all the phone and TV communication over to interner lines. Have high bandwidth fiber lines going to every house, and put phone, tv, internet, etc on those lines.

on Feb 20, 2009

I have to respectfully disagree.  Bush is someone you could sit down and have a beer with and chat.  Obama would just make you feel bad about being successful.

on Feb 20, 2009

CharlesCS


stubby,
I am confused with your post. Part of it seemed as if your were being serious and the other as if you were being sarcastic. Would you explain some more?

No your right, I was being a little sarcastic with the robotics and space elevators. I think they're great ideas just not quite ready to be part of stimulus package.

Carbon nanotubes are still a decade away from having the necessary tensile strength to support a space elevator and computers are still too slow for any meaningful advances in robotics. However compared to some of the crap that's in this package they don't look so bad.

 

on Feb 20, 2009

I will use broadcast tv as my basis here. You have to purchase rabbit ears (or some kind of antennae) to receive the channels over the air. So why not require someone who wants free internet to have to get a land line. You can get a land line just about anywhere in the US which makes it more usefull than wireless which would only be available in urban centers for the most part.

May I point out a flaw in your example? Once I pay for rabbit ears for my TV I pay one time only and no one can ever take my TV signal away (except now of course because of the change to digital but that's not the point). With a phone, you have monthly payments with multiple fees and taxes which will make the initial price higher once you get the first bill, not to mention it requires to make an appointment in most cases to have it installed. And once you miss payments you lose the service, with rabbit ears there is no service fee, TV is free.

on Feb 20, 2009

May I point out a flaw in your example? Once I pay for rabbit ears for my TV I pay one time only and no one can ever take my TV signal away (except now of course because of the change to digital but that's not the point). With a phone, you have monthly payments with multiple fees and taxes which will make the initial price higher once you get the first bill, not to mention it requires to make an appointment in most cases to have it installed. And once you miss payments you lose the service, with rabbit ears there is no service fee, TV is free.

True.  But I still think it would be easier and cheaper on the government to create a free dial up service then creating free wireless.  You can get a fairly basic land line phone package relatively cheap.  the government installing wireless networks would only be feasible in urban areas which leaves out the people who would benefit the most from free internet access.