Wow.

Folks, I slept extra-late this morning. Then I read the paper extra-long. I made an extra-good breakfast (eggs scrambled with fresh spinach, garlic and cheese, Trader Joe’s heat-n-serve naan and the last grapefruit of the season, improbably sweet in its parting gesture). I do this because yesterday I started coming down with ANOTHER GODDAMN COLD, and I am bound and determined to kill this one in the cradle.

So, late start and empty head today. Glad I have Eric Zorn, who posted this clip from the White Sox’ opening day:

“Best play I’ve ever seen,” said Eric, and while I don’t have the wisdom to second it, it is pretty remarkable. The Sox obviously have the Obama mojo going for them. Back later, or maybe not. You folks talk amongst yourselves, like you always do.

Posted at 10:35 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

63 responses to “Wow.”

  1. Dorothy said on April 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Just yesterday my son was telling me he was going to Chicago for Fourth of July weekend, and the only available Cubs tickets were too expensive ($50). And I suggested the Sox. Think I’ll send him this link and suggest it again! Very, very cool play.

    Get better. Drink lots of water. And feel better.

  2. LAMary said on April 7, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Maybe you have allergies? Everyone in my office had the horrible respiratory thing a couple of weeks ago and it seemed to take forever to go away. Now some of us are sneezing and have gunky throats. I’m pretty sure it’s the trees around here. We were warned it was going to be a banner year for allergies.

  3. Deborah said on April 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I swear by Air-borne, but you have to take it a lot during the start of a cold or before you get one if you are exposed to lots of people with colds. Walgreens makes a generic version and it doesn’t seem to work as well. I haven’t had a cold for over a year (knock wood).

  4. john c said on April 7, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Two things I love about that play: Anyone who has ever tried to flip a ball with just their glove, as the great infielders seem to do more these days than when I was a kid, knows that it isn’t easy. The ball usually gets hung up in the floppy leather. Second: Konerko (the first baseman) making the bare-handed grab. It was like he held his hand up like a magnet, and the ball was just drawn to it. Plus, you know it took him by surprise.
    But best catch ever? Not quite sure about that.

  5. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Dorothy: You’re sending your son to a Sox game? But, but… that’s on the SOUTH SIDE!

  6. roy edroso said on April 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I’ve been out of work three weeks, and it’s amazing how quickly one adapts to not having to get up early, or rush breakfast (or anything else). And how one enjoys it.

    Perhaps your body is not breaking down, but trying to fool you into a better way of life.

  7. Julie Robinson said on April 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    My Dad took us to a few Sox games back in the 60’s. They have a shiny new stadium now but in the old days if a little boy offered to watch your car in the parking lot, you paid up. Otherwise your tires would be slit when you came out of the game. As a kid, it added to the excitement of the city.

    Our son just got called for a temp job at the Census Bureau, as a follow up person to those who didn’t send it in. It should be an interesting experience for him; I told him he’s going to talk to a lot of nutcases. He spent the last three summers in mosquito control and often had to ask permission to check property, so he’s kinda used to it.

  8. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Julie, I understand it used to be the same situation at the Stadium, only it was usually several kids roaming around in helpful bunches.

  9. Dexter said on April 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    JulieRobinson: I have attended about 300 Sox games over the years, driving across Indiana each time, and never had any incidents with cars and vandals, but in 1967 my dad was so afraid someone would “strip” his old Studebaker he let us go into the game and he “guarded the car”. He had been listening to what are called “the haters” now. Since 1983 i have been parking in a restaurant’s lot on Halsted and walking to the games…free parking, and stop in for a sandwich after the game and it’s all good.
    The shooting season has started with the Spring weather, so of course we avoid hot spots. I rarely go anymore anyway.
    In the mid 1990s the Cleveland Indians were baseball’s best team. A few years later Roberto Alomar joined Omar Vizquel to form a keystone combination so outstanding that almost every game those two turned in plays that were unbelievable. It was a treat, and I began driving across Ohio to see the weekend games. It was beautiful. While second base play gives ample opportunities to see great plays nearly every game, Buehrle’s play was unique.
    Most pitchers would not risk injury to try that play. Pitchers aren’t really supposed to do that—but this is Mark Buerhle, the greatest fielding pitcher in the game today. Last year a perfect game (27 up, 27 down) and now this play. He has a flair for the dramatic.

  10. Dexter said on April 7, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Sue: ? At Chicago Stadium, we always experienced lots of security in the paid lots. They were hard-looking orange-clad men who wouldn’t have allowed gangs to roam around harassing paying customers. Of course, this was a night Bulls game, maybe that tight security was a temporary response to some ugly incidents? I remember lots of cops, lots of lighting, and feeling safe there.

  11. Dorothy said on April 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    In 1993 we took our kids to visit my brother in Chicago – it was our first time there. Josh was really into Frank Thomas then, so we got tickets to a Sox game. We had no problems whatsoever, but my brother did caution us not to make any wrong turns and just use the directions he gave us and don’t stray into any other neighborhoods. I didn’t really have any idea what the area was like but it didn’t stop us from going. We had fun. We had seats waaaay up high in the new ball park. And a tremendous thunderstorm came up and I recall huge garbage cans being picked up and flipped on their sides in the concession areas.

    Funny story about that trip. Josh was 8 and we got up around 5 AM to hit the road for points west. I was making sure we had all the suitcases, back packs, distraction stuff for the car and suddenly his cute little 8-year old face came right up in mine and he said “Mum look what I’m wearing!” He had two watches on his left wrist. He heard about the time change and he told me this way he’d be able to always know what time it was back in Pittsburgh, but still able to tell the time in Chicago. My dad teased him about that for YEARS. If Dad and Mum had a trip planned to see Dave, he’d call Josh and say “I just thought you’d like to know I have my two watches on for my trip!”

    That cute little 8 year old turns 25 tomorrow. How the heck does that happen so fast?!?!

  12. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Dexter: maybe for Bulls and I know for Blackhawks, but I remember a Jethro Tull concert there long long ago with seemingly less security.
    Actually, the most important thing to do on the south side is avoid Cubs gear.
    And what did you think I was talking about, people? It’s those hard south side chicks you should be afraid of.

  13. Deborah said on April 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I’m going to that neighborhood this evening for a lecture at IIT. I’ll keep my eye out for the ruthless southside chicks.

    Have any of you seen the video of Randy Johnson pitching when a bird flies in the path of the pitch. The bird explodes. Randy Johnson is a weird looking dude, mullet and all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgrTSMPies8&feature=player_embedded

  14. brian stouder said on April 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Dorothy – a great story!

    Whenever the new Comisky was built, and the old Comisky still stood (1993?), my oldest son and I visited it. We had purchased tix off of Ticketmaster, and we, too, were literally at the very top of the stadium, in the extreme nose-bleed section.

    As the game unfolded, I noticed that the folks next to us had a snack in a Scotts bag (local supermarket) and I asked if they were from Fort Wayne, and when they said ‘yes’, I said ‘Ticketmaster?’ and they said ‘yes’ – and we laughed. (presumeably Stubhub is better in this regard)

    Anyway – we paid a guy ($5? maybe $10?)to watch our car, and tipped him when we left (I handed him all the change in my pocket – which was probably $2).

    I’ve done the same thing parking in the residential area near Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so this didn’t strike me as particularly odd or intimidating.

    btw – saw that play on Rachel’s show last night; good stuff!

  15. Julie Robinson said on April 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, Dorothy, you’ve got me feeling very sentimental.

  16. Peter said on April 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Dexter, your dad might have done the right thing. Back in the ’60’s there was no security at Sox parking lots and kids would break the antennas and jack open the cars.

    As for the Chicago Stadium, the old stadium had some parking issues, especially if you parked in an outer lot. I knew a Blackhawks season ticket holder who would park on the street about 1/2 mile from the Stadium, give some kids a few bucks, and it was all good.

  17. nancy said on April 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    If this isn’t on Photoshop Disasters yet, it should be: Good Housekeeping turns our stylish first lady into a giant-headed wax figure. I thought people who did photo editing for national magazine covers knew what they were doing. Criminy.

  18. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    The last season for old Comiskey Park was 1990. The new ballpark, U.S. Cellular Field, opened in 1991 as the Detroit Tigers spanked the Chisox 16-0 in the very first game. I still have the ticket stub.

    Prevailing wisdom is that things are okay west of the Dan Ryan Expressway and not so good east, but even that is changing. The miles and miles of towering public housing are almost totally gone, replaced by subsidized low- and middle-income developments. These efforts have been badly hurt by the recession, but they continue to crawl forward. Still, it’s not the shooting gallery it used to be.

    Before they began tearing down these boxes of crime and poverty, the Chicago police flooded the zone with coppers, so that Sox fans would feel safer. I always wondered what the people who lived in those buildings thought: cops were at a premium most of the time, but when the white folks wanted to go to a baseball game, by golly, they were on every corner.

    There is no comparison between the experiences of attending a game at Wrigley or Comiskey. Wrigley is uber-urban, surrounded by bars, restaurants, music clubs and retail. Most folks get to the neighborhood an hour or two before the game, where the array of places to drink and dine are staggering. U.S. Cellular aka New Comiskey aka Sox Park is essentially a suburban-style ballpark plopped down in the city. It is surrounded by parking lots, where pre-game tailgating is not only allowed but encouraged. As another poster has noted, if you walk west into Bridgeport, you will find some eateries and a few taverns, or you can walk north into Chinatown, but there is nothing on the scale of what the North Siders offer.

    Chicago has a frightfully high murder rate –far higher than NYC– but it is generally contained to a few neighborhoods where the gangs and the drug dealers fight for turf with no thought of the innocents who often get in the way. I don’t believe any place –large city or small town– is completely safe, but anyone who keeps their wits about them should have no trouble visiting any of the athletic venues in Chicago.

  19. Gene said on April 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Jeff @ 18, don’t forget Wrigley is just a playground for the unemployed. At least is was back in ’83. (Audio NSFW because of language.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv23pqH9iG0

  20. Dave K. said on April 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I recall a trip through the South Side with Pilot Joe in the early 80’s, returning from a rugby weekend in Chicago, or was it Milwaukee? We were driving our parent’s 1969 Ford Galaxy, white, plain hubcaps, CB antenna, and we both had long hair and beards. We spent an hour or so cruisin’ the ‘hood, pretending to be undercover cops. Probably not the wisest move ever. No one gave us any trouble, but we did get lots of second looks from the residents.

  21. Dexter said on April 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Good summation, JBorden. As my fave YouTub guru, Artistmac says, if you want to come look around where the Robert Taylor Homes were, don’t worry, there’s nobody there…period. Check out some of Artistmac’s Chicago videos. I’ll link it at the bottom of this post. He lives near the Ryan, around E. 47th. He chronicled the demolition of the projects. The story of the Chicago projects, especially the Robert Taylor homes, from start to finish, is a good read.

    In the mid-1970’s the Sox would provide city buses to ferry us from the ITT lots to the front gate. It was a sweet set-up…five bucks for a park and ride. We’d park beside that old El line there.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/artistmac#p/f/119/IecYC1vk2C8

  22. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    From SI.com vault, 1992:
    ‘Neighborhoods, either. The one around the Stadium is a bad one, dotted with gutted homes, barren lots and crime-infested housing projects. Most people coming to the Stadium would never see this area were it not for the games. “We get people walking in, saying, ‘Hey, I just parked for free over at the condos!’ ” marvels police lieutenant Walter Conrad, who oversees the 45 uniformed cops who work Stadium events. Most of the dummies, he notes, are Bulls fans. “Hawks fans are street smart, but Bulls fans are more of the yuppie type.” Collins once left the Stadium late at night after a game, got into his car and noticed that a security guard was being jumped by a mugger. Collins corralled the mugger with his car and held the man against the fence with his bumper until the police arrived.’

  23. moe99 said on April 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Nancy, where do we go to register our incredulity and deep seated anger with Good Housekeeping? I’d really like to let one fly there.

  24. nancy said on April 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    We love hearing from you! If you have comments about our features and editorial content, please write to the editors at:
    Good Housekeeping Magazine
    Editorial Offices
    300 West 57th St.
    28th Fl.
    New York, NY 10019.
    Or email us at GHletters@goodhousekeeping.com.

    I bet they’re really not going to love hearing from Moe, however.

    Can you believe that picture, though? She looks plastic.

  25. Jean S said on April 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I just sent my letter…..

    edited to add: and got the out of office autoreply!

  26. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Others have noticed Michelle’s new look, too:
    http://jezebel.com/5511687/good-housekeeping-gives-michelle-obama-a-photoshop-facelift
    edit: ooh, and the comments are great! “It looks like Thomas Kinkaid took up portraiture”

  27. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    A NOTE OF WARNING TO ANYONE VISITING CHICAGO:

    I cannot stress strongly enough the vile and evil situation involving street parking. The city has hired thousands of young adults at minimum wage to cover the streets, ticket books in hand, looking for any excuse to write a $50 violation or worse.

    This morning I received two tickets. One was deserved as I failed to buy enough time. The other was so arcane I was forced to call City Hall and inquire about my offense. It turns out the city prohibits the clear plastic covers some people like me put on their cars to protect the license plate. (I’ve lived in Illinois for 21 years and have had exactly two plates. There is no scheduled date for replacement of the current tags.) It is a $60 ticket.

    The parking decks and lots are no bargain, but trust me, you want to avoid street parking if at all possible. Enforcement is super aggressive. You will be treated worse than dirt if you try to challenge. And God help you if you are towed. In addition to having your vehicle roughed up with careless handling, you will pay $165 for the tow, $30 for a “storage fee” and whatever the dollar amount on your parking violation. You’ll also enjoy the sublime treatment of Neanderthals working the creaky levers of the basest form of bureaucracy under Lower Wacker Drive, where the vocabulary has been reduced to grunts and nods and even the simplest of questions cannot be answered.

  28. Dorothy said on April 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Jean – Maybe you reached the computer of the Photoshop expert there, and he/she is out applying for unemployment.

    (Sue your link is identical to the one Nancy posted!)

  29. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Oh, sorry, I thought it was just the photo when I clicked it.

  30. Joe Kobiela said on April 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    But Gee Jeff, hiz honor da Mare, has done such a great job in Chi-town, yooze can use dat park where all dem rich folkes used to keep their airplanes. And then you can enjoy all the wrought iron railing his buddy’s put up.Gosh I hope nobody ever comes out of the Chicago political machine and gets elected Presi- oops to late there. Dave K, that was coming home from a Packer Game, but not the one where you threw up in front of the nuns.
    Pilot Joe

  31. Deborah said on April 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Do what I do Jeff B – walk everywhere in Chicago. I never have to worry about parking. It can be a pain when I’m carrying heavy grocery bags, but think of the exercise value.

  32. coozledad said on April 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Heh. TBogg rips fake journalist and atrocity apologist Colby Hall a new one:
    http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2010/04/06/war-is-hell-just-like-a-wang-chung-video/

  33. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Joe,

    You won’t get any argument from me about Rich Daley, a petty little tyrant who has worn out his welcome and then some, but frankly, you know absolutely nothing about Barack Obama. I understand the right-wing shit-pushers are always linking him to the “Chicago Machine,” but the fact is he was never involved in any city politics. He spent his time in Springfield, where he was never touched by even the hint of scandal.

    You can poke at Obama all you want, Joe, but I thank God every single day that John “Soul for Sale” McCain and that brainless buffoon from the Land of Exxon were defeated. As tough as things are, they would be so much worse if those idiots were in D.C. At base, I believe you know that, too.

  34. coozledad said on April 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Jeff Borden: Here’s the multitasker they love to hate. Contrast with child of privilege Wattles McCrashy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JAtl3Jm3k
    H/T The Subtle Rudder.

  35. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Two major tenets of Chicago machine politics are
    1. making moves blatantly designed to enrich your friends while looking voters in the eye and denying it, and
    2. making sure everyone down the line works toward your and your party’s re-election, no matter who gets hurt.
    Which of Obama’s friends will get rich on health care reform?
    How many Dems are in political trouble for voting in favor of health care reform?
    Mike Royko would disagree with you, Joe.

  36. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Cooz,

    And yet I understand the right-wing loons were aghast at his poor ceremonial pitching before the Nats home opener, suggesting he “throws like a girl.” I guess when you’re out of power, out of ideas and out in the cold, you have to go with whatever tiny crumbs you can scavenge.

    As noted above, I am thankful the right man was elected. I sure wish he was a lot more liberal, but I’ll take what I can get while awaiting the slow but inevitable death of modern conservatism. A political movement built almost entirely on angry, older, less educated white people who wish it was 1955 again is a dying movement and thank God for it.

  37. Dexter said on April 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Ha ha!! “I just drove over a body!” ha ha!
    This story is sickening, and it’s murder, and it’s the tip of the iceberg.
    All US civilians owe it to themselves to watch these short videos.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/6/massacre_caught_on_tape_us_military

  38. nancy said on April 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    If you accept the stipulation that a little corruption creeps into politics everywhere — even squeaky-clean places like Minnesota — I think the greater question should be this: Does the system, however corrupt, work? In Detroit, it’s a resounding no — the city is a dysfunctional hellhole, and the people who are stealing from the public here are stealing from one of the poorest cities in the country.

    But Chicago? Chicago, generally speaking, works pretty well. I think JohnC blew through here a year or so ago and made a pretty eloquent defense of the ward system there. Con: It cedes power to the mayor, but at the street level, it takes an enormous city and divides it into very manageable pieces. I think John said he woke up one morning and found someone had parked in front of his garage, and he couldn’t get out. In many cities, it would cost him a day trying to find the right department and getting someone to authorize a tow truck. He called his ward office, and someone was there in half an hour.

    Meanwhile the city is thriving, is a huge draw for young people wanting a more vigorous career than those offered in smaller cities, and is a damn nice place to visit. It’s half-price New York. I’d live there in a heartbeat.

  39. LAMary said on April 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I thought McCain had sold out completely when had whatsermukluks in her leather jacket shilling for him in AZ last week, but then last weekend he actually said he was never a maverick. I remember having respect of a sort for McCain a few years back. Now I know he will do or say nearly anything to get elected.

  40. nancy said on April 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Is this where Dorothy’s daughter works? If so, I hope she ends up on top.

  41. Sue said on April 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Send good thoughts to my daughter’s friend, a peace corps worker newly arrived in Kyrgyzstan. The place has exploded and no one’s heard from her.

  42. brian stouder said on April 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Sue – consider good thoughts sent. I just tripped through a few news stories and was taken aback at the ferocity of whatever is happening there.

    I have a request for the Proprietress – or anyone else hereabouts:

    ‘splain this “Net Neutrality” story to me, ’cause I read it and I don’t get it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html

    Kim Kommando (for one) thinks “Net Neutrality” is ridiculous and that this is a great Appeals Court decision. But I don’t trust Comcast, nor Google, for that matter, (presented as a sort of ‘victim’ here, since their Youtube content is used as an example of excess) at all.

    It appears to me to be an argument about who gets paid, and who gets to decide who gets paid. Comcast seems always to be in the center of these pig-scuffles. It marks me as an old fogie – but I recall when there was a concept of “the public airwaves”, and a concurrent public responsibility upon broadcast networks. Is that a dead concept? Are we going to “slow lane” whole regions of the nation (rural America, for example), because Comcast (et al) wants to make that last dollar?

    Anyway, as a consumer, my suspicion is that however this gets sorted out, it only means I get to pay more, or be relegated to “the slow lane”

    Isn’t it funny that no matter how big and powerful and flush-with-cash companies get, they STILL will fight to the knife for every last potential dollar they can get?

    Or am I missing the ‘real’ Internet Neutrality story here? (as I suspect I am)

  43. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Nancy,

    Your assessment of Chicago is pretty accurate for an out-of-towner, lol. The aldermen vary greatly in their abilities and constituent services, however. I am lucky to be in a ward with a fairly effective alderman. He even voted against the parking meter debacle. But for all the good things about Chicago –all the things that keep me happily esconced in my small frame house at a tax rate that would suggest I live in baronial splendor– the facts are that our school system remains a wreck, our murder rate is out of control as kids are slaughtered on the streets every day by gangbangers, the CTA is slashing service even after rate hikes, the sales tax in Cook County is the highest in the United States, etc.

    The natives are restless. The usual sort of corruption –making sure friends and allies get leases at O’Hare or the wrought iron fence concessions or the bond business– are one thing. We’ve long grown used to seeing our tax dollars sluiced to those with the juice. We get it. But the city’s constant search for an extra buck is really stepping on the toes of the average citizen. Whether it’s the $150 “red light camera” fine or the $75 fine for using a cellphone without an earpiece or the $50 ticket for an expired parking space or the $75 for a city sticker plus the $25 for a permit parking sticker plus $20 for 20 guest passes if you ever want to let your company enjoy dinner without worrying about a $60 ticket on their mirror when they leave. . .it never stops.

    I’m not leaving Chicago because a bunch of bureaucrats keep thinking up ways of dinging me for a buck here and a buck there, but it gets pretty fucking tiresome.

    If we had two parties, perhaps we could expect better. Perhaps Mayor Daley might work harder to curb corruption. But the Illinois GOP is an absolute joke with nothing to bring to the table but the usual right-wing bullshit. I can’t even consider throwing a vote to the Republican gubernatorial candidate, a knuckle-dragging homophobe who wants a Defense of Marriage-style act passed in Illinois, or the Republican senatorial candidate, who is running on a platform of repealing health care reform and who sought the endorsement of She-Who.

  44. prospero said on April 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I’m Catholic. I find large chunks of doctrine kinda hard to by into you, Historically, this is pretty easy approach to buy into. Papal infassibility, oh, around 1870.

    I went to Jesuit school in High School. I was esucated in one spectacular manner. Before that, I was tortured by nuns.Not really tortured beccause we ave back what we g0t

    It’s my belief that recovered memory is horseshit and when you think there’s cash hand you’ll lie you’re ass off.

  45. prospero said on April 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Catholics are pedophiles and THE OTHER denominations arent? Give ne a break. Kiss my ass, it’s ridicu;ous

  46. Deborah said on April 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Nancy, you nailed Chicago. My sentiments exactly. It works. Period.

  47. Jolene said on April 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Brian, “net neutrality” is the idea that Internet service providers (e.g., Comcast et al.) have to treat all content providers (e.g., Amazon, Google, NYT, nn.com) equally. ISPs do not currently differentiate among content providers, but the suspicion is that they would like to do this, both as a way of producing revenue in general (e.g., by charging sites like YouTube, which use lots of bandwidth) more and, potentially, by favoring content that they own (e.g., Comcast favoring NBC programs, assuming the proposed merger goes through).

    As I understand it, net neutrality is currently standard practice, but not a legal requirement. There have been a small number of exceptions, such as Comcast’s treatment of BitTorrent, which prompted this case. The FCC ruled that Comcast didn’t have the right to charge BitTorrent more, even though it was consuming huge amounts of bandwidth. Comcast sued, saying the FCC did not have the right to tell Comcast what it could charge various customers, and the court agreed.

    Content providers worry that this decision, and the increasing reliance on the Internet (as opposed to the airwaves) to distribute all kinds of things, will prompt ISPs to institute fee structures that may be disadvantageous to both large companies (because they will incur large costs) and small companies (because they won’t be able to compete).

    And yes, as a consumer, you would be faced w/ a choice of whether to pay fast -lane or slow-lane prices.

    The big ISPs (Comcast, Verizon) have said that they’re not planning to change their current practices, so the question is whether we believe them–and, also, of course, whether net neutrality is, in fact, a good idea or whether it is, as the usual anti-regulation argument goes, it will simply result in mediocre service for everyone.

    Did that help? And, did I get it right? Please amplify or correct as waranted.

  48. Jim Neill said on April 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Brian,

    – edited as Jolene posted her comment while I was composing mine –

    The concept of net neutrality is that internet service providers (ie: the Verizons and Comcasts of the world) should provide equal access to all data on the ‘net. As Jolene mentioned, service providers can’t differentiate between content providers. The FCC has supported this.

    The service providers would like to create a two tiered system, the so called “fast lane” and “slow lane” system. Companies would pay the providers to have their content delivered on the “fast lane”. Companies and individuals who choose not to pay would be relegated to the “slow lane”. There is some concern that an internet provider could use the “slow lane” to block or impede content that they might find objectionable, or to favor preferred (meaning revenue generating) providers.

    The FCC has ruled that net neutrality is good and has been trying to set regulations to enforce such neutrality. The appeals court ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to impose these restrictions. This is a big win for telecoms, cable companies, and large content providers. It’s my understand that user of the search engine won’t have to pay, but it could make it harder to find the content that you want.

  49. jcburns said on April 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Arrgh, Media General. Their PR quote: “Over the past 10 years, Media General has consolidated and centralized a number of broadcast functions, including traffic, master control and graphics, and newspaper functions, including printing and distribution and various call centers. This approach allows the company’s properties to focus on their local communities while creating resource groups that both increase quality and provide significant process efficiencies.” Um, no, what that has done has left hollow shells of TV stations. And now, it’s the papers’ turn.

  50. jcburns said on April 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    The only thing I’d add to the net neutrality debate is that it’s not like BitTorrent is one of their customers and then there’s Joe Q. Public. We ALL use all kinds of different protocols (http for web pages, imap for mail, and other flavors of TCP/IP packets for voice communication, YouTube, Skype, other video and audio, and yes, file sharing and exchange.) But at the service provider level, it’s all generic packets in varying quantities. Comcast and pals want to sniff inside the generic packets’ envelopes and charge more or less for varying quantities and/or types of bits, depending on who they’re competing with (like phone companies) or who they think they can get away with soaking. I say they shouldn’t, and I’m hoping the FCC grows whatever kind of spine is needed to say bits is bits.

  51. brian stouder said on April 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Jolene and Jim – many thanks!

    The two key things that make my eyes glaze over is this idea of “equal access”, and then the (altogether arbitrary, no?) – “two tiered”, fast lane/slow lane system.

    I would have thought that equal access would simpy mean that if I point my browser to a site, I can get there. What an Internet Service Provider actually does, though, must be more involved – and (presumeably) they (the ISPs) are saying that they want to charge more money for providing service to particular points. Back in dial-up days, we would go onto the internet via phone, and you had so many hours per month (I recall 6 hours, but maybe it was 10) – and beyond that, you paid more. Is that what this is actually about – raising rates?

    Or is it really a matter of what used to be called “payola” – where the content providers are being made to pay-for-play (as opposed to the classic “our site is popular, and if you shake us down we won’t pay, and then your ISP competitors – who DO ‘carry’ our site will have a leg up on you”)

    If that is the case (and I have no earthly idea whether it is), it looks just like the interminable skirmishes in cable TV-land, wherein Fox and/or Comcast and/or Time Warner seem always to reach impasses that make customers’ TVs go dark, just before the Super Bowl or the Olympics or what have you.

    But still, why the clunky “fast lane”/”slow lane” paradigm?

    Why not either a metered service or paying for one data-transfer rate? So that, for example, if I want to stream War and Peace, I have to either wait two weeks for it to download (and then watch it) or else pay incrementally more for a higher data transfer rate?

    Or does this have nothing to do with data transfer rates, but instead something else?

    edit: JC – Thanks! “Bits is bits” is the takeaway quote of the day; it makes sense

  52. moe99 said on April 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I think that this FCC decision may have a silver lining–it will force Congress to legislate and actually give the FCC the powers they need to regulate this industry. I hope.

  53. Jolene said on April 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    As you may have seen, the Virginia governor’s proclamation of April as Confederate History Month evoked lots of outrage on the Interwebz and even a slap by the Washington Post.

    Although I found the idea of any kind of honoring of the Confederacy repulsive, others were most offended because his proclamation did not refer at all to slavery. Even the priggish right-wingers objected to this.

    Late today, Governor McDonnell issued both an apology and a revised proclamation. In his various statements, he mentioned that part of the reason for reinstituting this commemoration (the two previous Dem guvs had refused to issue such proclamations) was to attract tourists who might want to visit the state during the four-year sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

    I can’t wait to see what sort of events are organized to “honor” the Confederacy over this long period.

    As you might guess, Ta-Nehisi Coates, my second favorite blogger, had an eloquent statement re this flap. Check it out on The Atlantic’s web site. (Can’t link cuz I’m writing on my phone.

  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Alert, alert — David Simon about to appear on Colbert Report!

  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 7, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Gloriaficiemus — just heard Ashley Morris named on Colbert after a clip from “Treme” of John Goodman defining coolness.

  56. basset said on April 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

    back to the front page for a minute, and another Basset thread-killer – that Sox stuff was impressive but this is a memorable play right here:

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100407/SPORTS0602/100407041/2197/SPORTS

    (college game, liner back to the pitcher, broken kneecap, he still got the out, another reason to stop using metal bats)

  57. Denice B said on April 8, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I remember going to Chicago the year they moved to the new White Sox stadium. I went to the old Comisky Park and scraped some paint chips off of it as a keepsake. Still have them.

  58. moe99 said on April 8, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I’ve been refighting the Civil War all day with some attorneys who’ve taken the mcDonnell flap to proclaim tha the north was just as bad as the south because they had slaves too. Talk about a false equivalence argument. Luckily I found this to keep me amused. Although I may get accused of an antiCatholic bias now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeO_GIdsHOo

  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 8, 2010 at 7:03 am

    This is the heart of what’s known as the “cornerstone speech” by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, early in the Civil War to a Savannah, GA audience, March of 1861:

    “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

    The North’s error was to tolerate slavery as a lesser evil than the other ills they feared (and the Civil War proved those fears somewhat correct), but the South’s error was to literally build their culture and society on the belief Stephens stated here.

    Teaching early American history to college students, I never fail to have a class in any given semester where someone will bring up that the Civil War really wasn’t about slavery. I do my best to inform them that in fact it was almost entirely about that question, and the Union as an outgrowth of how that question would be resolved — and at the very least, tell ’em “look, if you really think that this is a modern argument by later historians that the Civil War was fought over slavery, I would request that you read the letters home of some two dozen soldiers on each side; they’re easy enough to find, you can even find the originals in local archives if you feel that suspicious. Do that, and then come back to me and make your case.”

    I had one take me up on that, and it was after about four or five on each side when he came to class and said to me in front of his fellow students: “I had been told incorrectly that slavery was not why the war was fought; North and South, that was the main motivation for soldiers on both sides, as their letters clearly state.” That was a good day in my sporadic, adjunct-y teaching career.

  60. Jim Neill said on April 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Brian,

    While the ISPs haven’t released details of how the expidited access will work, the major issue surrounding net neutrality is who decides which content you can receive. Right now, you as the consumer have unfettered (within legal bounds) access to any content on the internet, no matter where that content resides. Presumably, if net neutrality is eliminated, ISPs would decide which content is available to you, based on the content provider’s willingness to pay and/or the ISP’s determination of which sites best support it’s mission. For example, if your ISP is Comcast, and you want to visit nnc.com, nnc.com would have to be on Comcast’s list of available content. Nancy could get on the approved list be either being part of the Comcast “family of channels” however Comcast would define that family, or by paying Comcast some fee to provide access this her site.

    The other issue is who will advocate for the consumer. If the FCC doesn’t have jurisdiction over ISP’s, then who will look out for the common good?

  61. Dorothy said on April 8, 2010 at 10:23 am

    No that’s not who my daughter works for, Nance. She’s here: http://pilotonline.com/ and they are owned by this company: http://www.mediaowners.com/company/landmark.html

    Sue thinking lots of good thoughts for your daughter’s friend. Let us know when she surfaces.

  62. del said on April 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    JTTMO,
    Thanks for the news about Ashley Morris’ mention on The Colbert Report. Here’s a link with a video clip:

    http://righthandthief.blogspot.com/

  63. coozledad said on April 8, 2010 at 10:36 am

    For those sick of hearing about New Orleans:
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/04/new_orleans_cop_explains_how_police_gunned_down_ci.php?ref=fpblg