FCC Broadband Debate: How We Got Here

FPB logoppcommissioners-nov-2013-web-2

President Obama and the FCC have weighed in on Net Neutrality, increased government regulation, and the debates over universal access, “fast lanes,” taxes and fees, and “general conduct rules” – including possible rules on content. Congress and the courts will have their turn.

In the meantime, where did this debate come from?

It is critically important to the Internet’s evolution that it became widespread and commercial during the 1990s. Netscape, Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Google, Wikipedia, and the Drudge Report changed and created industries during an era of free trade, free markets and deregulation….  

But if the Internet had become mainstream after the security crackdowns after September 11, 2001, or during the re-regulation era following the 2007–08 financial crisis, it might have developed very differently.

More at Foreign Policy Association’s blogs

Eroding Authority of Government?

combo6When a senior defense advisor referred to an “eroding authority of government,” it got me thinking about what impacts that might have on foreign policy making.

I mused about it for the Foreign Policy Association blogs.

If the people don’t trust government, or, to be more precise, if citizens don’t view their government as having the “authority,” expertise, judgment, disposition, or political competency to make foreign policy, how does that impact the process and outcomes?

The “authority of government” has long been acknowledged as essential in successful foreign policy making.  The Weinberger Doctrine and Powell Doctrine noted the importance of the support of public opinion, as did Philip Crowl, head of strategy for the Naval War College.  So did Raoul Castex,Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. …

The Pew Research Center shows that millennials are less likely to identify with a political party – and less likely to trust people in general – than previous generations.  A similar pattern is emerging inscience, with scientists and the public increasingly far apart on climate change, genetically-modified foods, and vaccinations. …

You can read the post here – thanks very much.

College Graduates and Job Skills

Jeff Selingo, veteran journalist and author of College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, brings together some recent studies on what college students are not learning.

In short, they are not learning critical job skills:  according to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, “problem solving, decision making, and the ability to prioritize tasks.”  The Association of American Colleges & Universities survey of businesses found similar traits that were demanded but too often unmet:  a combination of field-specific skills and experience, and a broader educational background.  Technical training, internships, a liberal arts education – and people skills:  written and oral communication, team work, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply their studies to real-world problems.

And I want a 100-mph pitcher with a knee-buckling curve ball who also hits .300 and a few dingers.

In fact, this debate ebbs and flows – technical skills v. broad education.  In the legal industry, for example, the conviction that law school is the training of a mind for a noble profession, not merely a trade school, collides with complaints from law firms that their new hires need considerable training to do basic lawyering skills.

UPDATE (30 Jan 2015):  For more on the gap between legal education and what law students actually need, see this “audacious” reform proposal, from the ABA Journal web site,

One important surprise might be how little valued study-abroad is – see the chart below – this needs further investigation.

Read Selingo’s Washington Post article here, or more on Selingo here.

From http://www.aacu.org/leap/public-opinion-research/2015-survey-results


New Christian Divisions in Nineveh

ninevehplain-quirkFrom my Foreign Policy Association blog:

Last summer, ISIS took over and terrorized much of the Nineveh Province, home to many of northern Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi minorities. … 

Now some Christians – many of whom have recently fled from ISIS, others from earlier violence around Iraq, and others from the KR – have begun to take more responsibility for their own self-defense.   But they remain internally divided, and there are now two new Christian self-defense forces.

Read more at http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2015/01/16/new-christian-divisions-in-nineveh/


Obama to India summit with Modi

modi obama pic usedFrom my Foreign Policy Association blog:

The September summit led to commitments on space exploration, clean energy, e-governance and physics research, but also on U.S. help with clean water and sanitation, vaccines and railroad technology.  Additionally, President Obama arrives in an India facing increasing concerns about Hindu nationalism and freedom for religious minorities.

More at Obama Heads to India for Summit with Modi, http://t.co/r6q9Qw3VaV

The Best Magazine You’re Not Reading

IEEE Spectrum.

It’s that simple.  Unless you are an electrical engineer, you’ve never heard of it.  And you are missing out.   (I love Wired, of course, but you probably already read that.  If not, one place to start is its two security blogs.)

Celebrating 50, Spectrum reviews some of its historical highlights here, with access to classic articles.  But then look forward – debating wind farms in Mexico, Skype Translator, 3D printing of high-tech contact lenses, and what seem like weekly advances in robotics.

The argot is rarely out of reach of the gen pop.  Instead, you get a peek into what the rest of us will be reading about in biomedicine, software, energy, robots, more – and buying and doing and having done to us – in the future.  But you can read it here first.

Bienvenidos a Cuba

I thought this would be the first thing Obama did in 2009 – and in 2013.  A key question now is whether this is domestic policy (ideological, electoral) or foreign policy (countering a rise in Chinese influence?). Some of the other questions we will see debated endlessly in the near future include:
A Cuban perspective

– what was the role of U.S. gaming industry? agricultural exporters?

– will this advance democracy in Cuba? Is China instructive here?
– will this improve the economy in Cuba?  The obvious answer might be Yes, but look at Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti…. Disney Cruises and Diet Coke don’t make your economy boom.
– will this benefit “ordinary” Cubans? Who will benefit and who will lose – from the rise in tourism jobs but increased prices for everything from food to real estate….
– how will this influence Marco Rubio’s nomination prospects, or Jeb Bush’s?
– in 10 or 30 years, where will this rank in Obama’s foreign policy legacy?
– what is the role of Pope Frances in shaping this or other aspects of U.S. foreign policy?
– when do Spring Break Habana ads start appearing on Instagram?

Plan the work, work the plan.

Plan the work, work the plan.

Paul Clenen Bishop said this over and over, as advice to himself and to others.   Assembling train sets as a kid, as a high school student on a Liberty Ship, for more than 40 years in the United States Navy and as a Navy civilian, and as a small business owner working for the Navy, Paul would plan the work and work the plan.

His work was noticed, whether “inventing the Internet”, or keeping sailors and sea lanes safe, or helping with the Navy’s newest ship, or working with the Panama City Chamber of Commerce, and a wide range of other efforts. The Navy awarded him the Superior Civilian Service Award. He was a Senior Member of IEEE, and founding chair of its Marine Systems Coordinating Committee.

Away from work, though, he would sometimes go without a plan.  One familiar treat was a good meal on the road.  Often he would trust that treat to the waiter or waitress.  And what would you like, sir?  “Please bring me something good.”  Uh…. Can you give me guidance? What do you like? “No, I trust you. Surprise me,” handing back the still-unopened menu. Continue reading “Plan the work, work the plan.”