Articles Worth Reading 

There’s a lot going on lately. Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across a few articles that I think are worth reading, as they express more coherently some thoughts I’ve had.

Ben Thompson Is Wrong About the Deregulation of ISPs

Ben Thompson of Stratechery wrote an article talking about why he thought the current FCC plan to undo the Obama-era Net Neutrality Title II classification was wrong. I felt that Thompson’s arguments were wrong, but aside from the idea that there’s any ISP competition in the US (there’s not, which is a significant issue), I couldn’t quite put my finger on where his argument fell down. Well, Nick Heer put his finger on it, and then put 4 more fingers on it and punched Thompson’s argument square in the mouth. It’s a wonderfully straightforward takedown of Thompson’s argument as well as the entire Ajit Pai (who legitimately must be soulless) argument for repealing Title II classification. My favorite part, referencing the idea that, should ISPs try to do anything untoward, that the government will step in, or consumers will fight back with their dollars:

This is completely disproven by countless instances of corporate wrongdoing in modern American history. Banks and hedge funds already have a terrible name for helping cause the 2008 financial crisis, but many of them are still around and more valuable than ever. BP is still one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies despite causing one of the world’s biggest environmental catastrophes.

Moreover, it isn’t as though ISPs are revered. They regularly rank towards the bottom of consumer happiness surveys. It’s not like their reputation can get much worse. And, with a lack of competition — especially amongst fixed broadband providers — it’s not like Americans have many options to turn to when their ISP suddenly starts behaving badly.

The Case for Normalizing Impeachment

It’s easy to pile on the call for impeachment because the current president is clearly unfit for office and is using the office to wage a petty war against his perceived enemies and to grow the wealth of the very people he campaigned against (leaving those who voted for him behind, while he uses Fox News to convince them that it’s somehow not his fault). Like I said, it’s easy. But Ezra Klein makes a reasonable argument that impeachment was put in place, with a somewhat vague definition of what is impeachable, for the very reason that at some point, we might elect someone who, it turns out, isn’t very good.

The pertinent graf:

it is profoundly reckless. We have made the presidency too powerful to leave the holder of the office functionally unaccountable for four years. We have created a political culture in which firing our national executive is viewed as a crisis rather than as a difficult but occasionally necessary act. And we have done this even though we recognize that the consequences of leaving the wrong president in power can include horrors beyond imagination — World War III, as Sen. Corker suggested.

I Had Never Touched a Gun Before the Las Vegas Massacre. Then I Bought One.

Sean Nelson’s attempt to understand gun culture after the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. Really interesting article, that I think is pretty fair minded about arguments on both sides. Now, I say that as someone who grew up around guns, enjoys shooting them, but doesn’t own one and is fully supportive of increased gun control measures. So I like to think I’m not biased, but I probably am. Anyway …

On the way to Heathrow Airport, the day after the Sutherland Springs massacre, my very chatty cab driver, a man who’d moved to England from Jamaica in 1966, heard my accent and asked me, unprompted, “Why you all so crazy with your guns?”

I said I had no idea, though I had a few. I didn’t mention my own gun, which I had of course left at home, cleared, unloaded, and locked away in an empty apartment. We talked briefly about the constitutional issue, the cultural divide, and other facets of the debate, but he scoffed at the idea that it was complex. To him, the reason to have a gun was to kill someone.

I found I couldn’t disagree. And before we reached the terminal, I’d decided that the best way to exercise my Second Amendment right was to waive it, and get rid of my gun as soon as I got home.

Worth a read.