A 21st Century Canidate?

16 02 2008

I was doing some reading tonight online and I visited the Obama campaign web site.  I’m still undecided as to who I will vote for 10 months from now but I did take the opportunity to learn a little about Obama.  I’m pretty impressed with his talking points although, in reality, they are not that much different from Clinton’s points.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that Clinton will offer much the same thing her husband did in the 90’s with a few twists.  On a side note, my bias right now is that I would really like to see a woman as our president because I think the white male establishment needs a good swift kick in the ass from a hot headed woman!  What I don’t see from her though is an indication or understanding of the importance of technology or youth culture.  Now whether Obama truly gets it or not is a matter of judgment I think.  I’m sure the creators of his web site are good spinners of his general generic messages.  I was struck however by the amount of time he spent detailing his plans for technology.  If you’ve read this blog much you know that certain things piss me off.  One of them is the lack of choice I have when it comes to technology access out here in red-neck land.  Obama appears to acknowledge this problem and he offers some policy points for consideration.  I’ll post them here and you can read the full list here.

  • Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and Obama will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Full broadband penetration can enrich democratic discourse, enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits. Moreover, improving our infrastructure will foster competitive markets for Internet access and services that ride on that infrastructure. Obama believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives. Specifically, Obama proposes the following policies to restore America’s world leadership in this arena:
    1. Redefine “broadband:” The Federal Communications Commission today defines “broadband” as an astonishingly low 200 kbps. This distorts federal policy and hamstrings efforts to broaden broadband access. Obama will define “broadband” for purposes of national policy at speeds demanded by 21st century business and communications.
    2. Universal Service Reform: Obama will establish a multi-year plan with a date certain to change the Universal Service Fund program from one that supports voice communications to one that supports affordable broadband, with a specific focus on reaching previously un-served communities.
    3. Unleashing the Wireless Spectrum: Obama will confront the entrenched Washington interests that have kept our public airwaves from being maximized for the public’s interest. Obama will demand a review of existing uses of our wireless spectrum. He will create incentives for smarter, more efficient and more imaginative use of government spectrum and new standards for commercial spectrum to bring affordable broadband to rural communities that previously lacked it. He will ensure that we have enough spectrum for police, ambulances and other public safety purposes.
    4. Bringing Broadband to our Schools, Libraries, Households and Hospitals: Obama will recommit America to ensuring that our schools, libraries, households and hospitals have access to next generation broadband networks. He will also make sure that there are adequate training and other supplementary resources to allow every school, library and hospital to take full advantage of the broadband connectivity.
    5. Encourage Public/Private Partnerships: Obama will encourage innovation at the local level through federal support of public/private partnerships that deliver real broadband to communities that currently lack it.

I obviously spend a good deal of time on-line and I am a hard core broadband advocate.  When the “internet was invented” I was in collage and I was able to immediately take advantage of high speed access at school.  At home I had to suffer with dial up access and today many people still have to deal with this ancient technology but I was a very early adopter of high speed cable internet and subscribed even when it cost me over $100 a month to do so!  Even today a MAJOR factor in deciding where I live is whether or not there is access to high speed internet.  If there isn’t, I will not consider living there, end of story.  Dial-up is DEAD.  I knew it then and I know it now.  To do anything online anymore you need to have speed and it should be available to anyone, anywhere in the country.  CHINA is further ahead on their broadband initiatives than we are and they are barely considered a developed nation!  What I’m seeing in Obama’s pledges are a connection to young people and some of the things they expect to have available to them.  As a young person (well mostly) I expect certain things to be available.  I don’t care about cost, I care only about availability.  The internet in many ways keeps people connected.  I expect to be able to move anywhere in the country and still be able to connect with people through use of the internet.  The world has become smaller thanks to the internet and I (and many others) do not think that is a bad thing!

I’ll keep reading about Obama, maybe I’ll even vote for him.  Certainly this issue alone won’t decide what I do but his acknowledgment of something I care about does matter.  Just think, if we didn’t have the internet, would we be able to make fun of dip shits like the owner of this store?

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