Ted Stevens on the Internet: Politicians Are Dangerous!

Lynne Kiesling

Senator Ted Stevens and his complete and utter incoherence and lack of understanding of the Internet is appalling. The fewer decisions we leave in the hands of politicians, the better off we will all be.

When will we go back to thinking about ourselves as a republic, and do sensible things like appointing Senators instead of electing them?


4 thoughts on “Ted Stevens on the Internet: Politicians Are Dangerous!

  1. Assuming that states even decide to elect the Senator (several states had popular elections even before the Amendment) why do you assume that Governors (or legislatures) wouldn’t appoint illiterate hacks like Stevens anyway?

    The only real answer is to curb the power that such incompetents have.

  2. Politicians, if they have any expertise at all, are typically only expert at politics. Individual representative and senator staff are frequently recent graduates with very good grades and life experience levels approaching zero. Leadership and committee staff are the reservoir of intelligent thought on Capitol Hill. However, they are hardly without their own adgendae.

    The principal limitation to the appointment of senators is that they would be appointed by state-level politicians, who by and large are merely less expert at politics than national-level politicians.

    The solution to the problem, assuming that it is not already beyond our grasp, is an educated and informed electorate. According to the current Secretary of Education, the current goal of our government schools is to have children reading by the end of fourth grade. Therefore, the “educated” electorate is beyond our grasp, at least for the next generation. The major “newspapers”, having abandoned the identification and delivery of news and turned their attention to the making of public policy, place the “informed” electorate beyond our grasp as well, at least through normal channels (although the “guided” electorate is within reach).

    Fortunately, there are enough mature, educated, intelligent bloggers willing to provide information and analysis; and, to “illustrate absurdity with absurdity”. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) the available supply of absurdity appears endless.

  3. Stevens was trying to explain a complex and weird thing to Senators.

    He didn’t actually do that bad a job, in context. (Though we normally call them “pipes”, not “tubes”.)

    (“They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.

    It’s a series of tubes.

    And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.”)

    That is actually a pretty good description, for Senators, of what internet congestion is like. That is , in layman’s terms, why your web pages load slowly when the kid next door is filling the entire shared pipe of your local Cable system with downloads of Anime via Bittorrent.

    That snarky idjits at Reason think it’s a terrible explanation suggests to me that they don’t know what they’re talking about, or that they’re too intent on snarking to ensure it’s reasonable snark.

    (That the first quote, about email, is plainly wrong, does not affect the second, which is quite correct. After all, again, we’re talking about a Senator talking to othe Senators about a technical issue. On that score, he’s doing quite well.)

  4. Hm, your cableco actually knows better than to let ‘the kid next door fill the entire shared pipe of your local Cable system with downloads of Anime via Bittorrent. They do have reasonably redundant audit tools, and know their legal requirements to the other customers. And they’re not downloads, because you-know-why, otherwise how would both pipe directions be filled?

    And yes, I wish that there were an interface for Senators like that of Routers, so that we could run all kinds of tests and watch the glitchy noise and mismatings happen and stuff before we actually tried to implement something on the important pipes. That would be a tolerable bit of canon.

    Dammit, I’m not going to have any luck uncapping my DSL modem, am I? Must be the over-20 thing.

    Anime rocks; check out some eps of Simoun.

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