As you know, political discussion is usually off limits here at BCB, and for good reason: I well understand that we all have different political views, and the unifying thread for us is baseball and the Cubs.
Today, I'm going to break that (with the approval of The Powers That Be), because this political issue is important to all of us, and further, it transcends partisan politics, and ought to.
I'm talking about a bill that was recently passed in the US House of Representatives -- the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006," or COPE Act (H.R. 5252), which if also approved in the Senate, could allow the largest Internet providers -- companies like Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T and Comcast -- to be "gatekeepers" for the fastest broadband connections, and perhaps even charge extra for access to websites that they don't have on their "preferred" lists. If this bill becomes law, you could wind up having to pay extra to read BCB, or some of your other favorite sites, or even not have access to them at all.
"Net Neutrality" -- the idea that BCB, and other individual sites, can appear on your computer with the same access as big news, shopping and video sites -- has always been the hallmark of a free and open Internet.
Fortunately, there is something you can do. There is a bipartisan bill in the Senate, introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006" (S. 2917), which would help provide meaningful protection for the idea of "Net Neutrality". Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, we ALL have a vested interest in preserving a free, open, equal-access Internet. Email or call your Senator or Representative and let them know how you feel.
To find out more about this critical issue, check out SaveTheInternet.com, which has much more information, an online petition you can sign (over a million have already done so), and useful links.
I am indebted to the excellent Twins blog Bat-Girl for pointing me in the right direction on this critical issue.