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I snuck in under the deadline. I finally found the time tonight to write and submit my comment to the FCC on net neutrality. While there are so, so many reasons why net neutrality is needed, and should be maintained, I didn't feel that I had a compelling enough reason to submit a comment...but then I stopped thinking so hard.

I realized that some of my real work, my day and night job, would be impacted greatly. So that is what I wrote about. I hadn't heard anyone mention the topic of telemedicine and remote healthcare in the context of net neutrality, but I don't claim that it hasn't been discussed, just that I hadn't heard it. So, my letter is below.
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Hello,

In brief, I am writing to express my support for preserving net neutrality.

Telemedicine and smart and connected health systems are areas of current research that have huge future benefit for all people. Most research in these areas today is based on a model that all people have equal and fair access to the internet. The elimination of net neutrality could have a large, negative impact on this field because there will be looming questions about whether an internet-based personalized health network would be cost-effective or even usable.

A couple of examples:
-Without net neutrality, could a physician reliably operate on a patient remotely via a haptic robotic arm? Would the patient be required to pay more to get a fast lane for his/her operation? Without net neutrality, the entire field of remote telemedicine could disappear.

-Without net neutrality, the next generation of personalized health care and well-being technology will be disrupted. Ongoing research into new devices that monitor people's health in their home will be stalled without reliable internet access. The research required to develop this technology requires unfettered internet access. Without net neutrality, this research will also be more costly to undertake.

-Without net neutrality, new health technologies that are being developed and moving toward the market will be more expensive at best, and never come to fruition at worst. There will be little support for new technology and healthcare solutions that rely on an internet that will have access controlled by a small number of players, as this creates a huge unknown for the technology. Net neutrality is essential for these to have the major impact in healthcare and well being that will improve the quality of life for all people and reduce costs.

In summary, removing net neutrality would benefit a few select companies at the expense of almost everyone else. The benefits of maintaining net neutrality, for telemedicine and remote healthcare alone will be enormous. These benefits would come from the growth in jobs and opportunities in these fields, and in the improved quality of life for US citizens.

I urge you to support and maintain net neutrality. Thank you for your time.

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Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 07:45 PM PST

Voting for the top 2%

by snowbelt

The unemployed are being held hostage by Republicans in order to make sure that the top 2.018% of households (based on income in 2009) get a tax break. I understand that this is due to the Senate, but I think we need to look at how income of the population is represented in a hypothetical sense. In other words, why are the interests of 15 million unemployed citizens being bargained in order to give a marginal tax cut to some 2.3 million households? How is it that 296 Million people are being told your taxes go up if those 6 million over there don't get their tax cut? I look at it another way, graphically, below:

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The party of NO! is the victim according to disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He says the Democrats brought the threats on themselves because of their strong arm tactics and bullying that got the HCR bill passed. Wait you say? The same Newt that coined the attack phrases used by his party against President Clinton and the Democrats back in the 90s? Yes indeed...

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Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 01:02 PM PST

Breaking! - Palin's other hand!

by snowbelt

While it seems everyone was noticing (and in the case of Faux news, fawning over) Palin's crib notes in her left hand, no one seemed to mention what was on the other hand! I saw this in one photo, zoomed in, and voila! Notes on both hands! See below for more:

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Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 08:42 PM PDT

Follow the Money (with Graphs!)

by snowbelt

If you give it, they will vote...hypothetically anyway. Thanks to Opensecrets.org, we can look at the funding sources for all members of Congress. I was curious about members of the Senate Finance Committee because of their votes on the Public Option amendments introduced last week. Much to my surprise, there appears to be a relationship between the votes and how heavily an interested party has donated to the committee members. I am not saying the relationship is causal – that is far too difficult, nor am I saying it is quid pro quo, nor am I saying anything. Never-the-less, the numbers are below, along with a few graphs.

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Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 07:03 AM PDT

Proof! N. Korea visit=EPIC FAIL!

by snowbelt

Bill Clinton went to North Korea and was able to obtain the release of two reporters...Apparently, John Bolton (JOHN BOLTON!) was not happy, feeling that this weakened the US (see yesterday's WaPo). I thought that rather than rely on just one person’s (somewhat) biased opinion, it would be better to go over the facts of the situation to objectively determine if the "stunt" to free the reporters was a success or a failure.  I created this handy "Grade Obama™" quiz to help. Sure it’s still summer, but less than a month left before school starts, so time to dust off the grey matter. Quiz below:  

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Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 07:54 PM PST

The next day, a new day

by snowbelt

And what a day it was! November 5, 2008. Here in Buffalo the sky was a deep blue, brilliant sunshine, the remaining leaves glowing on the trees, temperatures in the upper 60s (F), and a new President.

At our party last night, we were monitoring the results on-line and on old-fashioned TV. When Pennsylvania was called for Obama, which was not a surprise since I felt all along that the whole PA push by McCain was propaganda, it was a relief. Watching as numbers were rolling in from VA, GA, FL and Indiana...Kept refreshing the Indiana numbers to see things going back and forth, but all the while noting that Lake County hadn't reported anything yet (the county where Gary is, and right next door to Illinois). Since that IN was tight, it was only a good thing. (more below)

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Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 06:14 PM PST

GOTV phonebanking edition

by snowbelt

I just finished doing a stint phonebanking for Obama...Since I am in NY State, my calls were going out of state. While I was at the calling location, the Polish Cadets Hall, there were probably 30-40 people there making calls. Very business-like. Nobody was taking anything for granted, everyone calling, reminding people to vote (for Obama, of course), providing polling location information, and asking if people needed rides. Most of my calls were to Milwaukee, but the previous shift of callers were calling Floridians. Apparently, people were commenting that the Floridians seemed to be a bit more, shall we say, vocal when not supporting Obama, than those we called in Wisconsin.

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Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 06:35 PM PDT

Bush: Gone with the Words

by snowbelt

No More!

When I looked at my George W. Bushisms-a-day calendar the other day (we have only 89 days left!) I thought about the words and/or phrases that have crept into our vocabulary that really need to be washed out as of inauguration day. The first one that popped into my head was War on Terror. It was a stupid, meaningless phrase when it was invented, and it remains so. Homeland Security is another that makes me queasy, and of course enemy combatant is another that reeks of wrongness. But, others came to mind as well, so I decided I needed a list. Some of the ones I came up with are a little tongue in cheek, but the others are words and concepts that really ought to be dropped once Bush is gone (I’d say once Bush is back in Crawford, but we all know that prop is has a ‘price reduced’ sign out front, or at least being shipped back to the Hollywood soundstage it came from).   Since I am a liberal, I know we can’t erase history, but we should work to take back the language and make words means things again. Think of it as hosing down the stall.

So, here is my list of words, phrases or concepts that should never again be used. (Please feel free to contribute)

-War on Terror
-March to war

<continued below the fold>

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Today, John McSame introduced his "new" economic plan in a campaign speech in Pennsylvania. After reading the article in the New York Times, I decided to do a little fact checking, as my initial reaction was that it sounded like McSame's plans would really only help the wealthiest. So, first is a summary of McSame’s "proposal" excerpted from the text of McCain’s speech in the NYTimes, followed my the facts.

  1. "On my orders, the Department of the Treasury will guarantee one hundred percent of all savings accounts for a period of six months."
  1. "Current rules mandate that investors must begin to sell off their IRAs and 401Ks when they reach age 70 and one half years old. Those rules should be suspended... Under the emergency measure I propose, we will also cut the tax rate for withdrawals from tax-preferred retirement accounts to ten percent."
  1. "I will cut in half the capital gains tax on stocks purchased and held for more than a year -- from a rate of 15 to 7.5 percent."

Continued Below:

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Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 08:17 PM PDT

McCain is losing to win

by snowbelt

A funny thing happened on the way home from work today...I realized that John McCain was actually winning the election. I realized this after I listened to a story on All Things Considered.  The transcript from ATC on NPR:

"The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Senator (Harry) Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them,"

So let’s break this down.

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Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 09:19 AM PDT

Ahoy there me hearty!

by snowbelt

Sorry for the short diary, shiver me timbers, but Cap'n Snowbelt thought that all you landlubbers and scurvy dogs needed to remember to celebrate today...That's right, its Talk Like A Pirate Day, me chumbuckets!

What better day than this to celebrate the raisin’ o’  Cap’n Obama’s  polls? He can barely sail into port before the crowds o’ land lubbers come runnin’ to greet ‘im. Change is in the wind like the flyin’ o’ the mainsail and the riggin’ o’ the yardarm!

Now don’t get me started on that dirty dog Pegleg McSame and his first matey, Bridges. There’s two of the worst scalawags that set foot on the sea (so to speak). Many a time did we try to rope in that Pegleg McSame, but, blast ‘im, he keeps escapin’ to one o’ his other houses, drat it!  But, mind, you, I hear he’s get a load o’ treasure somewhere! Thanks to one o’ his wenches and her rum runnin’

Now get out there and raise a pint o'grog or rum, as ye see fit!
Arrr!

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