What about the right to publish?

Still catching up with my blogging from last week. As reported on BoingBoing, FCC Chairman Michael Powell last week articulated four Internet Freedoms that he believes Americans are entitled to:

  1. Freedom to Access Content. First, consumers should have access to their choice of legal content.
  2. Freedom to Use Applications. Second, consumers should be able to run applications of their choice.
  3. Freedom to Attach Personal Devices. Third, consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes.
  4. Freedom to Obtain Service Plan Information. Fourth, consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service plans.

Nowhere in this list is anything that indicates that “consumers” (as Powell meaningfully calls Internet users) could be anything but consumers. The reality is that the Internet has always been, to abuse a phrase, a “World of Ends.” Remember, no one owns it, everyone can use it, anyone can improve it. Including “consumers.”

I want to see a fifth right added here: the freedom to publish. Unfortunately, restrictive ISP service agreements that prohibit running servers, plans to “improve” the Internet to prioritize broadcast traffic over that generated by mere “consumers,” and other restrictions on the “two-way Web” promise to keep this “right” off the list for good.

“Compassionate” “conservativism”

So this is our compassionate conservative president. Don’t know how good his grasp of the English language is, but Bush’s proposal to amend the constitution to ban gay marriages strikes me as fairly uncompassionate and surprisingly radical.

Lots of people up in arms about this one, e.g.:

And all for what? To keep people like Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, who had been together for 51 years, from celebrating their commitment to each other.

phyllisLyonDelMartin: Lesbian activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, together for 51 years, after their marriage in San Francisco. Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP). From the article <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4351828">Wedded Bliss</a> on MSNBC/Newsweek.

Maybe we ought to be amending the Constitution to do something about Bennifer and Britney. But Phyllis and Del? And my gay friends whose relationships illustrate new dimensions of love, respect, and fidelity? I say, leave my Constitution alone.