Do you own a smart phone? Do you know how easy it is to break the law using only that smartphone?
It’s this easy: After your current contract with your wireless provider (perhaps Verizon) expires, change the software on your phone such that you can use it to make calls with a different provider (say, T-Mobile). There, you just broke the law.
That’s right: Using a phone—purchased by you—to legally connect to another mobile network has broken federal law since October 2012. But on Thursday, the lead regulator of the mobile phone industry took a major, formal step to not only making phone unlocking legal—but making it easier, and making it free.
This dispute has long pitted consumers and their advocates against some of the major mobile carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and US Cellular among them. Some mobile carriers, including T-Mobile and Sprint, already allow unlocking.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
First of all, Cuba may be changing but they’ve been pushing some progressive measures since before Castro got sick. They offer free health care; people may be poor but they have good teeth. Free education through college. Because their main trade in sugar has crashed (even without the embargo, hard to compete with the US in sugar) farmers are paid to go to school and learn new trades. They have state-run vegetarian restaurants to fight the rise in heart disease.
I’m not saying they don’t have problems. They do. Every country does. And for some of the countries, the worst of the worst, we embargo. But Cuba is not the worst of the worst. Cuba does not have the corruption of many of the US’s trading partners. Mexico comes to mind. We’ve made some questionable trades with Nicaragua and Columbia. When you start to compare, it doesn’t make sense that Cuba is singled out.
Second, the point about Florida tourism is an interesting one. Personally I don’t give a damn if people visit Florida, but I can see where it pays to be strategic. The politician who says “every tourist is going to go South” is thinking small. Sure, Florida may lose some American tourists should a new wonderland become available South of the border. But he’s surely ignorant of what a huge tourist draw Havana is. People from all over the world go there, and if they could combine it with a short flight to Miami or Orlando, why wouldn’t they? If you’ve flown ten hours go get to Havana, a puddle-jumper flight to Florida feels on the way. You’d see a lot of international tourists coming to Florida, maybe not a big a jump for Disney but probably a lot more for Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Keys.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor is asking President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to
"open talks to lead to greater trade and travel opportunities. "Cuba is changing," said Castor, D-Tampa. Easing the restrictions would offer the United States a variety of benefits, Castor said: a new market for manufacturers who cannot sell to Cuba now, more influence over a Cuban offshore oil drilling industry whose antiquated technology could threaten Florida beaches, and an opportunity for Tampa to become a tourism gateway to the island.
Now here is the parallax view.
Because the economy in Florida is greatly based on tourism, would opening Cuba to tourism hurt Florida?
"If the travel ban is lifted, there ain’t going to be a tourist in our neck of the woods for five years, because every tourist is going to go south," Tampa lawyer and longtime anti-Castro activist Ralph Fernandez has said.
Cuba IS in a period of potential change. President Raul Castro, who succeeded his ailing older brother as president in 2008, has been pushing through cautious reforms. And Fidel, 81, announced last month that he would step down as president after his second term ends in 2018. But how do we know how much of the money is going to support the government? Or is it going to is extending the regime’s credit?
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Bart Gellman speaks to Terry Gross about breaking the story of the PRISM surveillance program, where internet companies (like Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc.) collect data and give it to the government:
The thing the intelligence community most wanted to protect in that first story [we wrote], the most they asked us to hold back was the names of the companies. And we cooperate to a considerable degree with security requests, but my argument back to them was if the damage that you’re worried about consists of the companies being less willing to cooperate or suffering a blow to their businesses because the public or their customers don’t like what they’re doing or don’t approve of the program, that’s exactly why we have to publish it. That’s the core duty we have in terms of accountability reporting.
The same can be said of counterinsurgency, a strategy that’s come to define 21st century conflict. Unlike conventional warfare, counterinsurgency makes little distinction between combatants and civilians, or between battlefields and civilian territory. In an effort to “win hearts and minds,” counterinsurgents target civilians to “remake the social relations of a place,” whether through propaganda and economic development, or through dislocation and terror. Frequently what this boils down to, Parenti explains in Tropic of Chaos, is social disintegration. By design, counterinsurgency “ruptures and tears (but rarely remakes) the intimate social relations among people, their ability to cooperate, and the lived texture of solidarity.”
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Why This Modern World is still my favorite comic.
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