Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Issue - March 13-26

Election 2008: Camelot Lite?

The Kennedy’s were the closest to nobility this country could boast. With an infectious charisma and a lofty New England classiness that glossed over their playboy personas, they’re what America still wants. John Kennedy was a realist with a romantic streak and oozed authenticity – a combination that’s like walking a tightrope over troubled waters for politicians. His brother, Bobby, was grittier and unafraid of tackling the big guns on Capitol Hill. The dynasty was born with privilege and inevitable, prosperous political futures. Bobby, John and Ted adopted civil rights and urban poverty as their foundation, giving back to the other America they were lucky enough to have never lived in. The media has been painting Barack Obama and John Edwards as the next John and Bobby but it has fallen short – it’s like Camelot-lite.

In June of 1966 at the University of Cape Town, Robert Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends out a tiny ripple of hope.” Forty-two years later, we may be seeing another drop in the pond, another ripple of hope.

Voices From the Street
Ending Homelessness: Part II

A couple issues ago this paper covered the State Commission’s Five Year Plan to End Homelessness. I thought, for the most part, it was a good plan. It had some teeth and it may actually work. However, I also said there would be obstacles to making this plan work, and wouldn’t you know it? One of those obstacles dropped in my lap.

A few days ago I read a Boston Globe article about Governor Deval Patrick’s $10 million proposal to fund the meat and potatoes part Housing First, which basically puts people into housing and provides them with the services they need to keep it. There were some positive parts of the story...but then the article seemed to take a negative tone, not towards the Governor, but towards the whole notion of making Housing First work. The recurring theme of the article seemed to be Why are we going to invest all this time and money for these people and When is this ever going to work?

I was more than a little shocked by the tone of this article, and I was a little surprised to find this in the Globe. When it comes to Homelessness they’re generally fair and objective. Not so much this time. I was so angered by this article that I wrote a letter to the editor (naturally they didn’t print it). But the beauty of having your own column is that you can still get your point across.

It’s Not Comcastic

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a controversial hearing in Austin Hall at the Harvard Law School Monday, February 25. The conference dealt with the Internet service provider, Comcast, and its attempts to block, or otherwise hinder “peer 2 peer” file sharing programs and whether or not corporations and government agencies, such as the FCC, should be able to regulate the web. Representatives from networks Comcast and Verizon, representatives from the file-sharing program, Bit Torrent, engineers and other experts in the industry presented their cases and answered questions from the FCC.

A major issue the conference attendees addressed was network (or net) neutrality. Net neutrality is the belief that the Internet should remain largely unregulated. According to, a website dedicated to promoting freedom on the internet, net neutrality means that Internet Service Providers, such as Comcast, cannot discriminate against websites by slowing down or speeding up web content. The case caught the attention of the FCC when it was discovered that Comcast was deliberately slowing down content from the “peer 2 peer” file-sharing program Bit-Torrent. File-sharing programs like Bit Torrent allow users to trade large amounts of data, including copyrighted material such as movies and albums, at high rates of speed.

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