August 30th, 2006

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Victory Lap

With AT&T going from opposition to municipal broadband to viewing muni broadband as a business model, I declare the war to kill munibroadband by legislation effectively over. We won.

Now the real challenge of actually implementing community-based user-empowering broadband networks begins.

My take:
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T-Shirt Censorship

Grabbed from Filkentists.

Assuming the facts stated are true. A classic case for me of "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I will observe that:

(a) The right to wear offensive slogans (assuming the arabic on the t-shirt can reasonably be construed as "offensive") is a protected form of First Amendment expression. The classic case upheld the right of a person to where a t-shirt proclaiming "[expletive] the Draft" to a public courtroom in violation of the usual dress standards.

(b) Although JetBlue is a private company, it is regulated as a common carrier. While I am not familiar with the law governing air travel, it raises a profound question in my mind whether JetBlue or any other airline can refuse passage because they disagree with someone's t-shirt.

(c) The apparent active role of federal employees, operating under color of their federal authority in the course of their official duties, to deny this person his First Amendment right of self-expression, may give rise to a civil action against the employees and the United States.

OTOH, on the internet, no one knows if you are a dog. I will wait getting more angry until I see some other confirmation that the events described are real. Certainly a suifficient case has been alleged to warrant investigation by journalists, if not some competent federal or state authority.
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If you would understand motivations

A friend sent me this "open letter to the world" on Google video.

I do not offer it for proof of the matter stated or for its inherently persuasive value. Heck, I know that the Romans trashed Israel because they had an Imperial policy of supressing rebellion, and, as an historic matter, we ended up doing better than Carthage did.

And, as I myself have observed before, one could write quite a different open letter from the Palestinian perspective.

Rather, I offer it here because it is a well presented example of a fairly widespread view among Jewish supporters of Israel. It captures exceedingly well the perception that the current political reaction of the world to Israel's actions is merely the continuation of 2000 years of oppression at the hands of a hostile world that will never be satisified until every Jew is dead.

To events in the Middle East, it is essential to understand the historical context in which participants place the events. Arabs place the creation of the State of Israel and current events in the context of "western Imperialism." Jews, by contrast, place the current events in the context of the 2000 year experience following the Roman suppression of the revolt in Judea and destruction of the Temple.

It makes living in the now rather difficult.
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Harry Potter and Network Neutrality

This apparently went out to the Harry Potter Alliance. Harry Potter and Telecom Policy, two great tastes that go great together! I wonder if I can get into the Order of the Phoenix?

Cedric Diggory is murdered but the Daily Prophet refuses to post the truth about his death. Harry wants people to know the truth but aside from a tabloid paper that no one trusts, he has few places to turn.

Had Harry been in our world, he could have had his very own blog. On that blog, he could have posted the truth about what he witnessed in the graveyard.

And why is this?

Because Lucius Malfoy does not own the Internet. In our world, any one who has a voice can be heard online, not only those with money and power. You and I have a voice and that voice can be heard.

But all of that is about to change unless we do something about it and fast!

Attack of the Malfoys!
Big companies like Verizon and AT&T don't see the magic in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. They only see us as potential dollars signs...consumers who will pay them. And like Lucius Malfoy, they dont like that on the Internet, we are free.

They want to change the rules so that the Internet favors only companies with money. In other words, if you're NBC and you have tons of money, people can get to your web site super fast. But if you're a Wizard Rock band or a comedy group or a blogger and don't have much money, they are going to make it so slow for people to upload your site that no one will visit.

And suddenly, the people with a lot of money and power (like Lucius Malfoy) will start controlling what is seen and heard on the Internet the way that Malfoy controlled what was seen and heard in the Daily Prophet.

These companies are attacking our freedom to express ourselves, to express the magic in us, by using their power to pressure Congress people into overturning a law called Net Neutrality. But we can stop this from happening if we show our Congress people how much we care!

Now is your chance to fight for Dumbledore's Army. But we have to come together RIGHT NOW!

Today and tomorrow people all over the country will be holding events to show their Senators (who are all in their hometowns for August recess) how much they care about protecting Internet freedom and preserving Net Neutrality. We need YOU at these meetings, especially if you're a young person. We need young faces at these events to show our Senators that the youth of America care about the freedom to express themselves.

To find an event near you, go here.

Please remember that it doesn't matter what political party you belong to! Right now is a beautiful moment: leaders from MoveOn on the left and leaders from the Christian Coaltion on the right are coming together, putting their differences aside, and working to protect our rights. On that note, please keep in mind that the Harry Potter Alliance is not a partisan organization. We only fight for the magic of love that is inside of us to be free and for a world that encourages that freedom. As brave Republicans and Democrats in Congress are fighting for a free Internet, we need to show them our support. Once more, go here to find an event near you.

But if you can't make it to an event, at the very least, go here, find your Congress person and write them a letter.

If you have any questions about events or ways that you can get involved in this issue, write an email to -- I have spoken with them and they have promised to respond to your questions and comments quickly!

Thank you, each and every one of you. You are all beautiful and together we are making the world beautiful. Now let's get to our local event (and please report back to the Alliance to let us know how it was!).

Thanks once more, Fight On, and May the Fawkes Be With You,

Andrew Slack
Harry Potter Alliance