A question about net neutrality

Can somebody explain to me how Amazon buying its way to Sunday delivery is any different than a company such as Netflix paying extra to have a “fast lane” on the internet?

-JD Cross

Language matters. Especially important language.

The Supreme Court is hearing an Obamacare challenge this week that – popularly, at least – is about four words.

Try to ignore for a moment how you feel about Obamacare and who should or should not be in the business of providing or requiring individuals to be insured. Instead, just think about what it means to write the actual language of what is indisputably the most important US regulation in this decade and of BO’s Prezidency.

Don’t you think that – as a writer – you’d be precise?

Don’t you think that you proof read it?

Don’t you think that you’d double check things? That you’d talk about things with your colleagues and spar a bit and debate what things might be interpreted one way or another?

Don’t you think that you’d make sure that there was ABSOLUTELY NO AMBIGUITY!

I have no sympathy for the NY Times editorial board’s argument. Those who drafted this bill f-ed up in a massive way. Shame on them. May they reap what they have sown. If individuals are harmed as a result (for example, by losing health insurance), then it is on the drafters and those who passed the bill. It is those individuals who were sloppy that ought to bear the burden of having failed in their duty as “public servants”.

-JD Cross

Evolve: basket studies

It’s not all bad news at the Federal level. The FDA is changing certain approval and screening policies to allow for more widespread use of basket studies. This means that more patients will have access to drugs that haven’t gone through the traditional – arduous – FDA approval process. This means that more people will have access to potentially life saving drugs.

This is fantastic news.

Always remember that when you think about regulatory agencies like the FDA taking steps to “protect” people, you never hear about the people who die because drugs aren’t approved. You only ever hear about people who die because something went wrong with drugs that are approved. While it’s impossible to say with any certainty, it is likely that in many cases, the number of people who die because drugs aren’t approved outnumber those who die because of mishaps with approved drugs*. Relaxing approval processes will surely help prevent some of these “silent” deaths.

-JD Cross

* – This is the distinction between type 1 and type 2 errors. Type 1 errors (approved drug kills somebody) are self-correcting; the victims’ families go on Oprah and the drug company is destroyed and/or the FDA pulls approval for the drug (never mind that the drug still may be useful for millions of other people). Type 2 errors are not self-correcting; people die and nobody can definitively point at the lack of available drugs as the culprit. Type 2 errors being non-self-correcting, and the result solely of regulation, are much more insidious and dangerous.

DHS: Is there a threat, or not?

We are supposed to be “particularly careful” when going to the mall, says the Secretary of the DHS.

Why? Not because of anything credible, DHS spokesperson said later:

“As a general matter, however, we are not aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center,” she said in a statement.

Uh, OK.

Oh, maybe the threat that we’re all supposed to take seriously is the potential halt in funding for DHS.

Pretty shady move by the Secretary of DHS – feigning a real threat to real people in an attempt to ensure that he maintains his paycheck.

-JD Cross

Fracking in Upstate NY, or is it Pennsylvania?

Towns in New York’s Southern Tier are banding together in a far fetched attempt to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania. New York recently banned fracking whereas Pennsylvania allows it.

Something about this article makes me smile…what is it? Or yeah, it’s the ideas of democracy and economic freedom.

Here’s a thought, New York: rather than banning fracking and thereby destroying billions of dollars of wealth, why not just buy the land and not frack it? A far fetched idea, you say? Not so. With the amount of money these people have and could raise – and have already spent trying to outlaw tracking – they could have readily bought vast tracts of land throughout the Marcellus Shale region. They chose the tyranny of law when they could have chosen the free market. Now how’s that for “democracy” and situational irony?

-JD Cross

FDA: watching the watchmen

It appears as if the FDA is covering up bad research.

This is the FDA, the agency that is charged with protecting Americans from bad drugs.

Now tell me, why is it that you want more regulation?

Harriett McGrady takes over the FDA and bad things happen; life imitates art. The novel isn’t science fiction.

-JD Cross

Self-driving cars and the fallacy of sustainability

100 years ago, the personal automobile basically didn’t exist. Now, it’s inconceivable to imagine a future without automobiles. Yet, the almost certainly won’t be any. Self-driving cars are part of the evolution of the car; they are probably part of the “evolutionary death” of the car.

This is one of the biggest problems with the concept of sustainability. Namely, that the future will be nothing like the present. To think about building a present that is sustainable…what does that mean when there is good reason to believe that significantly all technologies of the future will be fundamentally different than they are today, and as such, many things that are resources today won’t be resources tomorrow?

-JD Cross

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