June 22nd, 2010

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Link Harvest: FCC Working Papers on Public Safety, TV Auction

These white papers are essentially technical justifications of the policies the FCC laid out in the National Broadband Plan. The first addresses the proposal for creation of a national public safety network based on the existing Pub Safety spectrum allocation and auctioning the D Block (the 10 MHz of spectrum leftover from the DTV transition), while granting automatic priority and roaming on the rest of the band.

This paper focuses on the proposal to do another reshuffle of TV providers to allow for reclaiming and auctioning more TV spectrum.

I have no reason to doubt the technical veracity of these papers. But the real driver of the policy is, IMO, spectrum auction revenues.
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More on Moratorium Decision

This is the critical language, and the critical flaw in the reasoning of the court:
"If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all
airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavyhanded, and rather overbearing."

The problem is not that "all" equipment is a danger, but that it is impossible to tell at this stage which equipment or wells are suspect and which are not. Given the fact that any well is potentially a disaster waiting to happen, and that the consequence of a well failure is demonstrably catastrophic, the moratorium is not unreasonable as an opportunity to assess safety.

More to the point, it is explicitly prohibited for the reviewing court to substitute its judgment for that of the expert agency. Perhaps the judge feels this is "heavyhanded and rather overbearing." Perhaps he is even right. But it is not for a judge to make that determination. Especially here, where an expert agency must balance numerous competing factors it is utterly inappropriate for a court to substitute its determination of appropriate policy.

This may get reversed on appeal. It may even go up to the Supremes, given the impact of this decision on federal emergency power (and also because there is apparently a circuit split between the DC Cir. and the 8th Cir.)

Link to decision (hat tip to goldsquare).

UPDATE: Judge may have conflict of interests. Impossible to tell as latest financial disclosure forms not out. http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/06/judge-moratorium-case-stock-transocean
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Elaine Marshall Wins Primary

The Liberal challenger defeats the hand-picked party mainstain quite handily in North Carolina.

Someone tell Rahm he flushed $100K down the toilet.

Not sure what this does for the challenge to Burr overall. May close the "enthusiasm gap" among core Dem voters (who gave the state to Obama by a nose in 2008). Or may galvanise conservative base. Or both. Be fun to see the DNC party apparatchik's fall in line to back Marshall now.
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The Straight Guy At The Party Post

Seen on a couple of folks on my f'list.

To The Straight Guy At The Party Last Night.

For those not clicking through, it recounts a supposed adventure in which a homosexual male "apologizes" to a homophobic straight guy who flips out after discovering that the fellow he is having a cool discussion with is gay, then gets upset when people laugh at his freak out, culminating in homophobe getting his nose broken by Gay Guy's husband after he attempts to recruit him to "teach this homo a lesson."

I found the story amusing. I am surprised at how many commentors and people I've seen commenting assume it is true.

Maybe it's just me and the fact that I have seen too many things that feel the same making the rounds online over the years. I mean, it could be true. There's nothing in it that is obviously false. But it feels to me like a work of satire. It simply works out too neatly and feels too contrived to have the feel of a real event. For one thing, my experience with racist violence (which, while anecdotal, is first hand) suggests to me that no one walks up to random strangers and tries to recruit them to "teach uppity X" a lesson. Usually, there is a sounding out period and a "work up" period where racists work themselves up to attack, unless it is a planned ambush. But in that case, it is not done by trying to recruit random muscular guy. This feels like, if you will excuse me, a rather obvious punchline. But truth is stranger than fiction and for all I know it really happened.

All that said, my question is: does it diminish the value of the piece if it is a work of fiction rather than a factual event?