Sunday, November 18, 2012

We Deserve Zero-Sum Pollution, Now.

Let’s try this as a working theory.
No corporation, business, institution,commercial or government enterprise or other “citizen” has the right to change the environment and ecology in pursuit of profit, unless and until their processes become “zero sum” based; that is, restoring and/or improving the air and water used in their processes to the highest quality level, with the goal of zero pollution.
Recycling all waste to highest value use through re-manufacturing into other products, or ensuring downstream use by others dedicated to that purpose.
There is no inherent right for any commercial, industrial or government enterprise to be anything other than a zero-sum participant in the economy as regards pollution and the environment.
If fact, they have a demonstrable duty and responsibility to affirmatively ensure that any of these operations of government or commerce operate ONLY as zero-sum participants, making sure that the quality of air, water and other materials generated through operations are BETTER after the operation of their processes.
If Citizens take the time to reason this through, they may see that giving anyone the right to pollute, or otherwise harm the ecology and environment in the pursuit of profit cannot be allowed for the sake of current and future generations.
For hundreds of years government, industry and commerce have been allowed to ignore the effect of their operations on the health and welfare of others.
As long as Citizens are paying for the privilege of buying products and services, and supporting operations of commerce and government, the price will have to include making sure that participants in the economy operate under the zero-sum mandate.
To do otherwise is to further subsidize air and water pollution, even radiation pollution.
Licenses and permits MUST include necessary agreements to “do no harm” to the ecology and environment, both internally in plant and commercial operations, and externally by making sure that all by-products are recycled to highest value, treated to equal-or-better than the intake (as in water and air) to the net effect of “Zero Sum,” meaning no addition, dilution or subtraction to the environment from the materials, resources, and processes used.

That’s not only reasonable, it’s fair; to us, our children and our grandchildren of many future generations.

It’s likely that the cost of most merchandise would go up, and despite the hue and cry of many, we should insist that goods imported meet these same criteria; that is, their manufacturing and production must also be Zero Sum to their country of origin. That would have the  substantial additional benefit of spurring technology in the U.S., opening up U.S. markets for domestically produced Zero Sum goods and services, and using  government, state and local purchasing, plus environmental regulations to ensure that the 19% of the economy generated by government and military purchases at all levels provide a real incentive to producers to participate. The U.S. already leads the world in volume of goods produced, and consumed. It seems that a little leadership, garnished with a  cloak of environmental sustainability, would rapidly place the U.S. in yet another  leadership position; that of responsible steward of the U.S. ecology-and by direct influence through purchasing power, on nations dependent on the U.S.

It’s also reasonable to repeat the statement that, “Citizens have the right to demand that goods and services produced or consumed in the U.S., or operations of government and it’s suppliers have no effect on the ecology and environment, to the effect of Zero Sum Pollution; meaning no net contribution-to air and  water pollution and an improving environment over time.”

The accelerated pace of development all over the world, the  rate of resource usage and generation of air and water pollution, are not favorable for future  generations.

We can take action to mitigate manifest growing problems, or do nothing and let future generations suffer.

Inaction would evidence extremely poor “citizenship” of Planet Earth.

While the short-term economics of this action are likely to lead to much anguish, there can be no doubt that granting business, commercial and government the right to pollute our air and water, our foods and environment, is also a continuing violation of responsibility that must be remedied.

We are already paying a huge price in personal health degradation, in environmental degradation, and continuing ecological changes that are leading to a point in time that is not hopeful.

It takes just a little logic to establish the first and most important precept; neither government or business, institution or individual has the right to harm our environment.

When people say they want the world to be better for their children, here’s the chance to mean it.

Posted by Mediaman in 13:05:07 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, April 24, 2011

U.S. power questionable?

The Perception of Power as well as the Reality of Power are closely integrated. Projecting power, in the sense of government, must eventually be backed up by the reality of being able to exercise power, whether militarily, or economically, or both.
As Machiavelli noted (and I’m paraphrasing) “Sometimes the exercise of power only requires that others believe you will do so; even to the extent of acting on your perceived wishes, although unstated.”
Power un-utilized in the pursuit of goals, be they personal, or those of the state, gives rise to the perception of weakness, not a healthy thing in exercising power.

Posted by Mediaman in 14:48:22 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Views and Ideas – North Korea, Voter Fraud and Eric Holder, OnlineGambling

  North Korea’s continued Threats meant to provoke a Confrontation, distract from crumbling government of Kim.

  North Korea’s Kim is a laughingstock in the world community, scorned, disdained, should be dressed in Joker’s costume….except he has nuclear technology. How did he get it? Mainly from Pakistan, but the missile help also came from Iran and China, maybe even indirectly from Russia.

  Kim’s apparent psychological profile indicates a narcissistic, somewhat paranoid personality (“everybody’s against me”). Kim has figured out that Agreements don’t matter except as tools for subterfuge, further negotiations to obtain more aid, more food,more, more, more. United Nations resolutions are laughable in their ineffectiveness, lack of enforcement by world community, who fear that they may soon hear the bell ringing for them to correct their excesses in human rights, genocide, slavery, drugs, and other offenses.

  One significant scare is the Kim is so irrational that when he is really pressed to behave, to conform, and sees no way out, that he would make the “Blaze of Glory” decision, shoot off whatever he has, provoke as much destruction as he can. Kim is definitely the type to rather die than be removed or impeded by anyone.

  Eric Holder and Voter Intimidation; failure to prosecute Panthers, Acorn and others shows bias, even racism.

  Attorney General Eric Holder’s failure to properly prosecute the Black Panthers, Acorn and other who work to defraud or intimidate the voting process shows clear bias. I suspect that Holder’s attitude more reflects the “don’t snitch” mentality than it does his Oath of Office.

  And where is the ACLU. the self-proclaimed “citizen’s defender” of Constitutional Rights? If situations were reversed and a white Attorney General’s failure to prosecute the Klu Klux Klan, or others for similar offenses were being highlighted and exposed, there would be civil rights demonstrations all over the place.

  Selective enforcement is rightfully decried by believer’s of Constitutional “justice for all.”

  If a judge’s Recusal can be justified on the basis of bias, can’t we consider a Recall of the Attorney General, or call on President Obama to dismiss Holder for failure to perform under his Oath of Office?

  American Official Attitude Towards Gambling is Laughable

  I have traveled, and gambled in over 20 countries around the world. MacaoLas Vegas , Atlantic City, London, Frankfurt, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, Brazil, Aruba, and more. In most countries, gambling of all types is allowed, even if licensed, taxed, and controlled.

  In almost all cases the governments do not own gambling rights, but licenses their availability, except in America where state governments are so vested in protecting their “taxes” -and that’s what most low-end gambling is (slots, scratchoffs, lottery, bingo, whatever), that rational consideration of the forms of gambling entertainment enjoyed by others- table games like Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Pai Gow, and many others, selected and enjoyed by different customers for different reasons, are rejected.
  Lower income slots and lottery players are targeted by states precisely because of their desire for entertainment,precisely because this type of gambling is the most economical to install,manage and control…and tax. Tax rates for slots and lottery, including scratchoffs are the highest, because they are the most profitable. Example? A “street” three digit bet -a Pick Three- odds are approx 900 to one.  Maryland, like other states pays only 500 to one. The difference? State profit (read taxes).
  That, my friends, is state cynicism at it’s best.

  In Maryland, my home state, slots proposals were so screwed up by the state legislative desire for strict control to satisfy religious groups that  the state is being sued by one bidder, and bids weren’t received for some state-selected locations because of doubts about the fees and level of taxes. The state knew that this was the “nose under the tent” for gambling, even legislative whispers expected legislation within a year or two to expand the scope of gambling to include “entertainment gambling” the type enjoyed by more upscale consumers who want a good meal, some entertainment by major acts; in other words the type of gambling seen the world over.

  Many voices, including mine were able to suggest the four or five best locations that were rational, most attractive to Visitors who wanted them as entertainment, and offered the most profitability (translate tax revenue”) for the governments.

  Now, the federal gambling aspect. From the Wall Street Journal article:

   “U.S. Deals Blow to Online-Poker Players.”

  The gist if this piece was Federal authorities in New York froze the bank accounts of 27,000 Online Poker players, worth over $34 million. Rep. Frank has introduced legislation that would legalize and regulate Interstate gambling. Good for him! It will be one of the few things he can do to make up for his egregious mistakes (along with others), some Trillions of dollars worth.

  The real key will be how to control gambling sites located outside the U.S. . They shouldn’t be licensed for U.S. business without strict regulation and onsite “Gambling Commission” regulators, qualified to detect and prevent the kinds of computer cheating that some sites allow, even engage in. One site is reported to have cheated players out of $24 million,maybe more. Other do the same.

  I don’t know why I’m surprised, even though gambling in and of itself is mind-bogglingly profitable, companies who cheat their players get even more.

  Las Vegas used to say, ‘We love big winners! They go home, tell all their friends, and pretty soon we’ve got all that back and more.”

  Let’s get Online gambling, fully vetted and regulated, only taxed as other corporations are (taxes are another column!), and let the free marketplace  perform it’s magic.

  The Internet is the way to provide more entertainment to more people, and continues to drive innovation in every aspect of world society, almost always for the better.

Posted by Mediaman in 21:02:39 | Permalink | Comments (16)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thoughts on Little and Big news items from everywhere

Ambien CR Commercials:

Doesn’t everybody go to bed with lip gloss on? Particularly light sleepers and insomniacs? After all, who knows when they could get “lucky” and meet a strange Rooster?

Guantanamo POW Base

Guantanamo is our 100 year leased naval base in the Caribbean; we need that base. It is now used to house terrorists that we have captured in firefights, skirmishes, counter-insurgency actions, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are others there, captured by our allies that we have taken control of, and more of those overseas in friendly countries.

The main point is that these ARE prisoners of our Declared War on Terrorists, whose leaders are Al Qaida, whose proxies include the Taliban and 4 or five other similarly motivated groups.

We owe no apology to anyone for our treatment of these terrorists. The fact that they don’t wear uniforms makes them no less soldiers; makes the fights no less fatal to our soldiers; makes our absolute justification for responding to terrorist attacks no less important for the time and distance necessary to punish those people.

In fact, we should repatriate these prisoners to the countries from which they were taken; they should be imprisoned there under the Geneva Conventions. They should be released when the war is over, or when the host country  determines. We can help control unjustified releases with agreements with the hosts.

Oh, and I don’t care about those who bemoan that some other country’s sense of justice is less considerate than ours; these people are terrorist soldiers, they did try, and in many cases succeed in killing Americans, over three thousand just in Iraq, Three Thousand in September 11 attacks, Somalia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and on and on.

Chrysler and General Motors Bailouts

Forcing an illegal,Constitutionally prohibited Bankruptcy Settlement on Chrysler and General Motors ,favoring Unions over Secured Creditors is just wrong. I hope the Pension Funds succeed in blocking the Bankruptcy package that allows the Fiat takeover. I hope Chrysler undertakes a different bankruptcy according to the law. I suspect the reason that they didn’t is because Chrysler would be liquidated, not reorganized. No other company wants the labor and other legacy issues associated with a second class auto manufacturer. (Whither the politics of hedge fund lobbying?)

In General Motor’s case, it’s a bigger version of the same thing, perhaps though General Motors and it’s surviving brands have a chance. But, there are enough venture capital funds to finance the deal in a normal bankruptcy, just not one that tries to save union jobs, union benefits, and other restructuring participants that shouldn’t be saved at the expense of pension funds and other bondholder investors who trusted the system to preserve their status. The unions and GM’s management are justly compared to the Wall Streeters who engineered bad financial products, sold them to their shareholders and outside investors, and now are looking around saying “Who? Me?” to explain or excuse their behavior.

America’s free market system can absorb the effects of even major bankruptcies; there’s plenty of capital available for the opportunities in restructuring.

Let’s give capitalism a chance, but not at taxpayer expense.

Posted by Mediaman in 21:02:32 | Permalink | Comments (80)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Non Profits Need New Mission

 Non Profits are looking up from the bottom of the same hole that federal, state and local governments are distressed with; how did we get here?

    Answer: Mission creep.
    I  see the same set of  circumstances today as have developed over the years, and ever more apparent today.
   Namely, non-profits, primarily charitable organizations, have allowed themselves to be convinced that their mission MUST expand because of the “need” and because Directors want larger organization to support more individual and staff pay.
   So where do they wind up?
   Not enough funds to cover expanded missions, but giving levels which would have been sufficient for their original mission.
   Why less funds? Partly because Directors are usually paid, and as NP’s get larger, some paid staff is added as well.
   More volunteers are needed, more space, more overhead and occupancy costs, and here’s the killer; each year the percentage of revenues devoted to salaries and overhead increase, absent a top line revenue growth occasioned by extraordinary fund-raising.
   So Directors expect more money (after all they are running a larger organization, and have more responsibility, right?), staff deserve raises, there ARE costs in acquiring, managing, and insuring volunteers, among other things.
   It all adds up to a self-serving expansion, and much whining, and gnashing of teeth when donations and fund-raising “dry up.”
   So if you want a suggestion for NP’s, here it is;
   Get Real! Reshape and rebuild your mission to one that normal levels of fund raising can support, even if that means forgoing expansion into another area, or adding new clients.
   It doesn’t help that NP’s are part of the fastest growing “industry” in the U.S., each justifying their creation and the “needs” that spur them, each in isolation to be commended for altruism.
   But, I wonder how they would manage their egos and motives if they had to devote their talents to supporting already existing NP’s with the same or very similar missions, locations, and importantly, fund-raising and donation sources.
   Think of how much more efficiently, and productively their “clients ” would benefit; how costs would go down, and revenues devoted to clients would go up.
   Anyone who thinks that NP’s don’t compete for Donors has their head in the sand. Anyone who thinks that NP directors don’t drive Boards to authorize ever-increasing efforts just hasn’t been there.
   It’s time to re-think fund raising and commit to an “endowment” goal in which a percentage of each years fund-raising is set aside, with the ten-year goal of generating enough inflation-adjusted income to support the basic mission, with a smaller percentage each year contributed to the trust, which would shortly allow for increasing support levels for Clients. And, the Board must absolutely be sufficiently independent to make sure that the endowment is used or diluted because of the “need.”
   Nobody will starve, counseling will occur, missions will be maintained.
   But, in the end, more will be done for more clients, and NP’s will have created an institution that doesn’t close shop because an economic downturn forces a re-examination of budgets and costs which have become onerous ,and/or a closure or reduction in services to those in “need.”
Posted by Mediaman in 18:12:11 | Permalink | Comments (18)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cap and Trade Wrong Solution, Much Better Ways to Manage Pollution

   Isn’t this discussion about Cap and Trade, misdirected? If you believe that Cap and Trade is just a substitute for Zero Pollution legislation, why would we allow anyone to pollute; allow anyone to profit from ephemeral “pollution licenses for non-polluting by accident of plant design or type.”   
   Worse, allow polluters to buy “pollution licenses” in a market set up by government? The goals and paths to reaching them should be:
   1. No pollution allowed from any new commercial or manufacturing activity. This means that any new manufacturing, extraction of any commercial or institutional activity would only get a license when demonstrating that they will treat all emissions to Zero pollution outcomes, and remanufacture, transform or design processes to utilize waste streams so that waste is 100% recycled or, if directed to landfills, a charge equivalent to the cost of processing and storage is enacted.
   2. Existing manufacturing, power production, extraction or any other commercial activity must develop a ten year (seven-year?) plan for closing the polluting facility, or redesigning and rebuilding facilities or operations to Zero pollution output. Replacement with new technology like coal gasification if we want coal utilization, Tax incentives could be provided to assist in the transition and development process.
   The Cap and Trade premise is specious; that pollution is “allowed” or grandfathered, or in any way permitted. Manufacturing, commercial activity, and other activities that generate pollution should be “Zero” output targets; with plant designs that emit zero process pollution.
   Humans emit CO(2), what about licensing them? Ridiculous, right? Same for farm and recreational animals, right? Dogs, Cats, Cattle, Horses.
   So, population control by means of a Cap and Trade for each birth would be helpful, right? Well, maybe not.
   I am one who believes that lack of population planning and population growth is driving many of the world’s problems, yet certain countries and areas are mismanaged to the detriment of encouraging healthy populations, while others are not operating “closed loop” societies, absorbing more resources than they generate.  The point is giving license to existing polluters is wrong; forcing Zero pollution through tax incentives, plant and process replacement would be better use of tax policy, and lead to better outcomes, quicker. (How about a $1.50-2.00 per-gallon-tax on gasoline, and transportation equivalents?
   Same for other energy resources to quickly encourage conservation and replacement). We could save four to six million barrels of oil a day just though “Cloud Commuting.”   
   There are plenty of technologically and culturally compatible alternatives to Cap and Trade; CAP just seems to be the politically desirable approach right now, and gives the government (surprise) control of a LOT more money, a dubious result in any case.
Posted by Mediaman in 18:40:45 | Permalink | Comments (40)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Redesign Health Care system, get more and better care


   As long as we’re questioning the astounding growth in health care costs, let’s get a discussion of WHY out in front.

   More new drugs coming to market, all for symptom relief, virtually none for cures. Does that strike you oddly?

It does me.

  And considering that the side effects of many of these drugs are more threatening than the underlying disease, why do we -the FDA, Congress, us as Citizens, continue to allow conditions, programs and processes that are so obviously at the expense of the American public, the health care consumers like the retired and disabled?

   Everybody in the health “food chain” blames the other guy; remember the old criminal defense, “SODDIT” (Some Other Dude Did IT)?   When nobody takes responsibility, nothing gets done. The one “cure” that almost everybody with a vested interest seems to agree on is some version of Universal Health Care, with”Uncle” paying the bills.

That won’t work, just drives up costs. And we can’t keep saying the government (meaning taxpayers) just has to pay for it. It is only when we get individual responsibility for health care decisions and personal responsibility that we will get the system under control.

As long as somebody else pays, everybody wants a piece, and the bigger the better. Lots of people remember when “insurance” meant just that-you paid your premiums, the insurer paid the bills. What went wrong? Lots of people can add,  and the cost of a family of four health premium on average is up to $8000.00 a year, in some areas and groups, up to $12,000, even more.

   Who can pay these ridiculous premiums, and then have to pay deductibles and have caps on benefits even after all that? How much individual care would that $8,000 buy if consumers made the decisions? I’ll bet if we gave consumers the chance it would surprise us, as long as the delivery system were structured along modern designs.

   Yes, the “health denial” system needs reform; yes, there is a structure which would use free market economics to control cost, while INCREASING the quality of health care and delivery.

   And, how about still using mostly hundred-year-old infrastructure in the health care industry, when we have a new twenty-first century capability to deliver more, for less. (If the Internet and Computer industry changed at the same rate as the medical industry, we’d still be using Abacus, sheepskins  and quills)

   And, if the system were restructured, doctors might welcome Medicaid and Medicare (Universal care) patients, rather than finding ways to ”beat” the system to get paid. We can do better; we must, if the system is to survive for all of us.

 America spends more on health care than any other country, yet ranks 12th to 15th in Quality of Care and in overall ranking. How can that make sense?

   Throwing more taxpayer money at the problems is just not going to work without consumer-driven reforms.There is a solution that would work, if we can get past the “whose ox is being gored” phenomenon.

    Here it is.  

   First, nationalize the Health Insurance industry, or make them part of the restructuring process by integrating insurance with the health care delivery process through ownership of health care facilities.  Insurers  collect hundreds of Billions of dollars in premiums and huge profits for managing the claims process and making non-medical coverage decisions, some unfairly, some efficiently, if not considerately.  

   Second, change the delivery of health Care by instituting a national system of privately-owned walk-in clinics, utilizing accepted national standards of health care, and staffed mostly by fully trained and licensed Registered and Practical nurses, along with salaried medical professionals, including an Internists or GPs, a Pediatricians, and an OB/Gyns. These folks would be rewarded by typical private business incentives like profit sharing, bonuses and so on, based on typical health care measurement standards like outcomes, quantitative and qualitative standards of health status

   In areas where privately owned clinics do not choose to operate, and there should be few of these considering the profit potential, government-sponsored clinics with salaried professionals would practice. It is not hard to budget this approach since all the logistics are known(number of people to be served per clinic, square footage and equipment needed, minimum staffing requirements).   

   These are NOT hospitals, but clinics who can take advantage of the volume of “customers” to achieve economies of scale.  Since these clinics are the “first line” in health care, they would be the emergency centers as well, able to diagnose conditions, and forward patients to hospitals as necessary. This would be the Intake point-of-contact for indigents, immigrants and others, whose use of high-cost emergency care in place of doctors or other medical alternatives are a significant upward cost driver. This would also be a good place to initiate home country bill-back for care of illegals. No refusal of care, just a better method of delivering needed care, and a way to make someone responsible for the cost.

What happens to the existing Doctor/Specialty Practice/hospital integrated system?  It gets changed to accommodate the needs of twenty-first century health care business models. In the transition, the existing medical infrastructure must change to accommodate the new. There may be much crying, and gnashing to teeth, and huge lobbyist expenditures to preserve the status quo.

   The status quo doesn’t work.

   Full-service hospitals would handle true emergencies like heart attacks, accidents, major incidents that require trained staff professionals to handle, and surgeries, Intensive Care, and the other things that hospitals are  equipped to do.   

   Future hospital designs and remodeling of existing facilities could incorporate the walk-in model, could even take over the walk-in model if they were properly restructured. The idea here is to lower the cost of Intake and Management through lower-cost operations and overhead, while at the same time increasing efficiency to handle the required well-person maintenance.   

   Three. Alternatively, as noted above, existing hospitals could be formally restructured to become part of the Well Person management and Intake process. However, hospitals cannot be allowed to use their traditional, high-cost model of Operations and Administration to set rates; rates must be set on the Clinic Intake model, even if at a later stage, patients are admitted for tests, procedures and surgeries that would more likely have the higher costs associated with them.

   The concept and business model is to introduce the efficiencies of a large -scale care business model, and modern technologies that such a structure would virtually force into the marketplace, computer aided procedures, even including computer-aided diagnoses models. Modern medical technology applied at the Intake point of contact with the health care consumer would and should, revolutionize the industry, to the substantial betterment of the health care consumer. 

   (It should be noted here that one of the most talked about Cloud Computing applications includes medical devices for home use that monitor, measure and manage a consumer’s everyday health care, even providing Alerts when conditions exceed established standards. More on this another time).  

   If we consider that a “tiered” health care system offers real efficiency, while devoting the level and capability of resources when and as needed, we could provide more healthcare with less expense. At the very least, more people would get health advice and annual check-ups at overall costs that would allow more eligible people to be covered. Since the current system is forced to deal with the effects of demands of high-cost care from uninsured, and underinsured consumers, the opportunity for better care, more consistently, at lesser cost, is overwhelming.   

   The current system uses the highest cost care model, at all  levels of intake, which obviously makes little sense.   The current, practice-based medical business model, along with the unreasonable cost of using highest cost- determination model of care- the hospital complex-can be restructured to the “best practices” medical business model, delivering better care, to more people, at lower per-patient and overall annual and continuing costs. 

   Current health care practices, primarily the insurance costs, are in reality a “tax” on each of us, a huge tax and cost not justified by the social and economic needs for health care by American Citizens.  This restructuring of the system, at the outset, would incur some expense, primarily during the transition to tiered care, and the building of the infrastructure. But, rapidly, the cost per patient, and the continuing cost of care provision would decline as better health care outcomes, reduced undiagnosed disease and well-person maintenance programs become part of the mainstream.

   Some back of the envelope calculations indicate that consumers could pay out-of-pocket for all normal costs like Annual Health Checkups, Over-The-Counter medicines, and most prescription medicines, as well as pay a nominal amount for Catastrophic Care Coverage, and have several thousand dollars left over. Right now, healthy people pay for sick, insured pay for uninsured, and the system doesn’t work.

  If you believe that access to affordable health care is a Citizen’s right, then the system has to be restructured.

   This is one way.  
   As part  of the restructuring and provisioning of care, require/suggest that EVERY person in the U.S. who is a Citizen gets an annual physical through the clinics. This process would enable early intervention when intervention-type care could be most needed,  providing “well-person” health advice, looking at a person’s or child’s health and discerning conditions or changes that the person  might not have noticed, or whom would benefit from this type of health care advice. 

   This would be the perfect place for health care counseling regarding diet, family planning, and all the things that medical professionals agree would mitigate, even prevent, the rapidly growing numbers and kinds of conditions and diseases that early intervention would prevent, or lessen.

Posted by Mediaman in 18:02:11 | Permalink | Comments (42)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Web MD site slows down due to ad servers

My Comment to Web MD regarding increasing difficulty of navigating their site and retrieving Content.

Navigating your site has become increasingly difficult due to the slowness of yours and affiliates (Yahoo? other? ) ad servers in delivering an increasing number of streaming and animated ads, taking more and more space on any page within the site, or in waiting for Site Search results, or Content Page delivery.
Therefore, I urge you to reconsider/redesign/or otherwise “cure”this problem.
No matter the value of your Content, it denigrates to little value if it causes angst and frustration at the process of getting to view it. You have competitors now, with more coming, some significant.
I am in the Marketing Strategy business, write blogs, and otherwise make my opinion known.
You can be sure I am not by myself, and I venture that I am not the first to have contacted you regarding this problem.
If you wish for me and others to remain loyal users, please deal with this.
“Greed overcomes most inhibitions, caution avails to the wise.”
Posted by Mediaman in 17:23:04 | Permalink | Comments (42)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Free Speech isn’t really Free, and shouldn’t Be

First Amendment to the Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Pretty simple, right?

Yet hundreds of court judgements, similar amounts of Supreme Court reviews and Opinion (why is it an Opinion, not a Final Order?) affirming, modifying, declaring, opining, and other descriptive terms point towards the continuing need for affirmation of Free Speech as a bedrock component of Democracy, at least as practiced here in the U.S.

Now comes the recent case involving the woman who masqueraded as a boy, terrorizing a young girl, deliberately intending to harm the girl through SPEECH, with, some folks claim, direct responsibility for the young girl’s suicide. The woman was found guilty, and may face jail time; some feel that she should get life for what she did, and caused. The way the woman was found out was through inspection of the girl’s computer and Chat activity, and tracking down the woman.

 In Maryland, a lawsuit for damages is pending, waiting for a decision on whether an Anonymous web site poster may be identified for purposes of legal action for damages, originating from claimed defamation. Other cases either resolved in determining identification, or still pending, attempt to argue that Anonymous speech is inherent in the right of Free Speech, constitutionally protected.

I don’t think so.

The Right of Free Speech, in my opinion, carries the concurrent right and responsibility to “claim your speech” as well.

Why? Because the Founding Fathers contemplated the absolute right to petition the government, in whatever forum, at the time town center speeches and postings, “cry outs” in meetings, articles and letters in  newspapers, and literally every way possible to let a voice be heard, and protected in the process, even encouraged. The Founding Fathers occasioned the founding of United States as a result of Free Speech activities, considering that our founding was precipitate upon the ability to create speech in the form of a government expressing self-determination, with, for instance, the Vote being a form of speech.

In the Maryland case, anonymous Internet posters claimed that plaintiff’s business, an eating establishment, was dirty, unsanitary, polluted the area, and more. The web host, a newspaper publisher, defends the poster’s anonymity as a Free Speech right. Plaintiff claims that without knowing the Anonymous poster, truth, motive, intent are open. Plaintiff’s harm may be substantial; poster’s claims untruthful, defamation may have occurred.

While the court decision is Pending, my hope is that the poster’s identity will be revealed. I feel that Anonymous posting offers the opportunity for free speech to be used in “evil pursuit,” at least as far as potential harm to people is concerned. The American system of justice must protect Speech of all types, be it whistle blower evidencing government, corporate or Citizen misdeed., or Citizens expressing Opinion of politicians, institution, or commerce.

The need for and right to Anonymity stops at the point where untruth, defamation, or other damage occurs, giving civil right to those harmed to pursue civil damages, as prescribed by law. Whether in actuality untruth is claimed, harm is caused, monetary damages are justified, al all to resolved in a Civil Court, and rightly so.

“Juries can most easily determine the fairness of a thing, and the rightful outcome.”

In essence, we must take responsibility for our speech, and be protected in the Right to present speech. Our responsibility extends to accepting the consequences for our actions, when necessary.

“There is little Truth in perception or in subjectivity; Truth reveals itself in the examination of the facts.”

“If you must speak, declare publicly, be known for your portrayal, be confident in your righteousness. Let those who disagree debate publicly as well, with vigor and similar righteousness. Let the public decide the right of it all.”

The Constitution provides for the protection of Speech, and provides for the responsibility of Government to vigorously, energetically, and constantly be alert for the need to protect Speech, both it’s Right, and Responsibilities.

It’s one thing to opine that a politician reminds you of a Groundhog, only sticking his head up to see what the weather is like; it’s another to suggest Anonymously that he collects bribes for constructing the burrow. In the first instance satirical humor is offered, in the second, a claim of criminal conduct requires the identification of the poster if the politician claims damages, AND if the poster is the only Proof of the claim.

Similarly, it’s one thing to Anonymously claim that a MySpace Friend really isn’t, didlles your boys and girls, has HIV, or others claims which are false, and defamatory. The Accused must be able to confront the Accuser, and our system of justice demands an avenue of redress; I suggest must even assist in the pursuit of redress, such responsibility inherent in providing a Guaranteed right of Free Speech.
The Constitution provides for the right of the Accused to confront their Accuser. The government, at the instance of prosecution, even discovery, acquires the absolute responsibility to protect the accuser.

In this country let no man be afraid to stake his claim to opportunity, nor be afraid of declaring the same; let no auspice of government interfere, but protect equally.

Posted by Mediaman in 19:15:28 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ATT position on Net Neutrality leads to Questions

As we move closer and closer to the realization that Internet is a Utility, then we must realize that usage-based pricing must prevail. Combined with open access to Content providers, this will finally allow consumers to be the determining factor in fair and reasonable pricing. When consumers can select Content a la carte, and choose the provider based on the best “value package” combination of pricing and Content selection, then true net neutrality is achieved. Anything less is just more industry control. But, not forcing the FCC to adopt reasonable Access rules, including reasonable pricing, will only achieve more industry control of pricing. Industry-cable and telco, and now wireless- have always had reasons to be restrictive in Access. No more. Wireless provides one avenue to deliver Content with full bandwidth and consumer choice. Usage-based pricing, if determinedly regulated open access to Content providers, offers the best chance for consumers to get the widest choice of Content at the most reasonable price. We’ve too long allowed cable and telco to restrict access. Forcing separation of Content and Infrastructure, as we did with TV in the 60′s, opens up the possibility of greater Content choices for less cost to consumers. If you believe that Anything, Anytime, Anywhere is the grail of Consumers regarding usage and content; that a Universal Connect Appliance is coming, then it must follow that usage-based pricing with reasonable access open to Content providers of all stripes, is the best way to ensure maximization of satisfaction. Industry should be required to take reasonable risks for reasonable rates of return, that’s a free market system. The jumble of monopolies and regulatory favoritism must cease in respect of open access. Since when did we decide to reduce risk for industry by providing regulated monopolies, in favor of overcharging consumers(some $200 Billion plus-that’s Billions with a big “B” folks-since the eighties)? Would the cable industry have never gotten started without monopolies to reduce risk and insure profits? In most other countries, governments did not provide subsidies to build, favorable tax rates and so on, but we did here. That’s not a free-market-based system, it is a system of politically rewarding a chosen few, whereas open competition would have led to more choices much earlier than today.Even allowing for the political atmosphere of wanting to encourage cable build-outs to service consumers, cable has long ago recovered their investment, and lots more! Fourteen other countries have greater broadband penetration at less cost! We can, and must force open access for Content, separate Content from infrastructure provisioning, and develop a business model that is usage based. Some of us remember that the early days of TV were a problem for TV Content providers, who didn’t have an audience until someone bought a TV. When TV penetration became widespread, then Content competition created channels, choices for consumers. There are obvious lessons for the current Content industry, including communications, entertainment, business, education, health and more. There are great opportunities for Content competition, greater consumer choices and benefits, and much more. Usage-based pricing, combined with force reasonable access, is the way. Infrastructure can be compensated with reasonable rates of return for their investment in infrastructure, but in today’s market they want to have it(the access to the consumer and high profits) and eat it too (restricted competition). That’s not the American way!
Posted by Mediaman in 19:54:20 | Permalink | Comments (71)