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Congressmen Rated On Tech-Friendliness 270

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the in-touch-with-digerati dept.
Uncle Dick writes "CNET has released the results of a study ranking every US Representative and Senator on a scale rating their relative friendliness towards various technology and internet related issues. Republicans and Democrats fare similarly in both houses of Congress, although CNET gives the edge to the GOP. Big Winner? Ron Paul (R-TX). 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry (D-MA) does not fare so well."
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Congressmen Rated On Tech-Friendliness

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  • Re:Makes sense... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Friday November 03, 2006 @07:17AM (#16701169)
    That makes more sense than you think when you read their methodology. Many of their "tech issues" are just regular buisness issues that were backed by a few buisnesses that happened to be tech companies. For example- curbing class action lawsuits and accounting laws. In other words, its not really a tech rating.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday November 03, 2006 @07:49AM (#16701275) Homepage Journal
    Voting for the benefit of business is not the same as voting for the benefit of technology, or technological advancement.

    For example, if you voted "yea" for a bill that allows a two-tiered Internet, with toll-booths manned by AT&T, you wouldn't really be voting "FOR" technology, now would you?

    Or if a GOP congressman voted "yea" for a bill that requires all music to contain DRM, after getting a fat envelope from, say, Sony N.A., he would in fact be voting "for" the technology of DRM, but wouldn't be voting "FOR" technology, right?

    Let's say some fat, greasy Republican congressman, while buggering a teenage page, voted "yea" on a bill which gives enormous taxpayer-funded subsidies to an oil company or a multi-national pharma corp ostensibly to "promote research" you can bet he'd say (after shooting his best friend in the face) that he's "pro-technology". Well, he could say he's "pro-youth" too, but the young page might disagree.

    CNET, desperate for attention during this silly-season of campaign bullshit, needs to give a little more thought to their ranking methods, although Mr Paul is A-OK in my book. It's a shame that he had to switch his party affiliation from Libertarian to Republican in order to get to Congress. Whichever party, he's a decent guy.
  • Correction... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andykuan (522434) on Friday November 03, 2006 @08:46AM (#16701539) Homepage
    You're conflating "liberal" with "Democrat". The OP made no such connection so what he states is still true despite your attempt to redefine and drift his meaning. Besides, these terms lose their meaning over time. Yes, the Republicans freed the slaves, but that was almost 150 years ago -- I'd say the GOP's more than a little different now. In fact, all of those Democrats who sought to maintain segregation? They've long since switched parties and are Republicans now.
  • by jfruhlinger (470035) on Friday November 03, 2006 @10:11AM (#16702169) Homepage
    Apparently they aren't ranked?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday November 03, 2006 @10:47AM (#16702625) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, Congress' tendency to shy away from recorded votes means that some important events were not available to score.


    And many other ways in which Congress games the system to make laws and influence policies also make such an oversimplified rating as this one nearly useless.

    Did the raters rate those 20 bills on which Congress voted on overall "tech-friendliness"? Does voting against a tech-unfriendly bill score the same as voting for tech-friendly ones? Should it, if one is much more un/friendly? How many unfriendly votes can't be counted, and how much worse are they?

    How many tech-friendly bills couldn't be voted on because the majority party prevented the vote from even getting to the floor? The raters didn't rate the committees, all of which are controlled by even a bare majority party, but where practically all of the bills are killed or pushed to a floor vote.

    And who's so sure that "H1B visas" and other issues are "tech-friendly", and not just "tech corporation friendly", working against the interests of American tech workers, consumers, and perhaps the technology itself?

    20 votes across over a decade, to determine a career's rating? Where's CNet's history of producing political ratings, to get some kind of track record for accuracy and insight?

    The Tech Law Journal published a scorecard for the 1998 Congress [techlawjournal.com], part of their central mission to cover these issues. I'd be interested in an IEEE or ACM scorecard, but not so much in a Communication Workers of America or American Association of Manufacturers scorecard, unless some wizard could somehow combine them in a model that was simple enough for most people to understand and agree. Impossible, really.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday November 03, 2006 @11:59AM (#16703557) Homepage Journal
    Except that H1B (formerly known as a "person") in the next cube may be working for a lot less money than you are, because they return to their home country where their expenses are a lot lower than yours. Which country is cheap because it's polluted, domestic labor is abused and working for even less than the H1B does in America.

    Foreign labor from many countries unfairly competes against American labor with lower labor costs subsidized by foreign conditions not required to be as good or expensive as in America.

    A true free marketer could argue that American workers can live in foreign countries in the same worse conditions as our H1B coworkers. But those countries typically have labor laws for immigrants with money ("Americans") totally asymmetrical to American H1B laws. And that scenario is a good demonstration of how economics is not the only determinant of people's behavior: will Americans rather go without work than live 3/5 years in a Bangladesh village without electricity or smog laws? The economist will say they should, but the human will realize how economics doesn't really govern that scenario as much as noneconomics.

    That same true free marketer could argue that such disparity will eventually force the foreign countries to upgrade in order to compete. That does happen sometimes, but most foreign countries have demonstrated they accept the brain drain, and the subsidy mailed home, and the investments into their upper classes, without improving their environment or labor. At least not quickly enough to make a difference. Especially compared to the much faster rate of damage done there by American (and other) corporations outsourcing dirty/cheap/dangerous work to those other countries.

    Economics is, after all, just a description of human transactions. Which can be measured by economics, but are not determined by the economics rules. The economics rules, to be an accurate model of the human transactions, must often become extremely complex, imprecise, and less useful than sociological descriptions. Like "foreigners force Americans to lower our standards to compete for money". When those lost standards cost more than the extra money made, the economics win, and the humans lose.
  • What a crock... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zwack (27039) on Friday November 03, 2006 @12:41PM (#16704167) Homepage Journal
    Looking at Oregon (the state I know most about for obvious reasons) they rate Gordon Smith (R) at 50% and Ron Wyden (D) at 43%.

    Gordon Smith has voted in committee against Net Neutrality. Ron Wyden has continually voiced his support for it. Now there isn't a specific vote they could use to quantify that for all senators, but what is wrong with including such an important issue on their list?

    This list is as meaningless as a random number generator.

    Z.
  • by Quila (201335) on Friday November 03, 2006 @01:04PM (#16704587)
    Where would internet inventor Al Gore rank?

    Probably not well. While he did push for funding for what became the Internet, he was also big on preventing the people from using encryption unless the government had a key for it too.
  • by Darby (84953) on Friday November 03, 2006 @03:37PM (#16707395)

    I will agree with you on that, It just bothered me the parents post was equating right wingers with slavery... which is factually incorrect...


    Now you're trying to equate "right winger" with Republican, so you're wrong again.

    It is entirely factually correct. Slavery is entirely a right-wing thing. It's about as purely right wing an idea as it's possible to have.

    The problem is that you don't actually know what any of these words mean and so you come across as pretty silly when you try to correct others.

    "Right" and "Left" are best defined in terms of what they're right and left *of*, which is Liberalism.
    Classical Liberalism, that is.

    Liberalism in a nutshell: "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal".

    Left means you *agree* with that fundamental principle but further believe that the power of the state should be used against the individual to promote/enforce that equality.

    Right means you fundamentally *disagree* with the idea that people should be treated equally and further you believe that the power of the state should be used against the individual to keep them down and subservient to the elite.

    So slavery is 100% a right wing thing.

    Republicans and Democrats sometimes go along that left/right divide, but not always. For example, the current Republicans in congress are extremist right wingers which is perfectly in keeping with the fact that they are the most corrupt congress in our history by a huge margin. Giving huge gifts of our tax dollars to massively profitable companies is one of the more obviously extremist right wing actions they've taken.

    Seriously, the 3 main divides politically in America now are Conservative/Liberal which is totally meaningless since modern Liberals ain't Liberal and modern Conservatives ain't that either. Democrat/Republican which is a simple matter of party membership and Left/Right which most people, yourself included, don't even know what are yet you still use them.

    The fact that most "debates" in this country treat all 3 divides as the same jsut shows the hideous ignorance of our citizenry.

    Seriously though, you really should try to at least have a basic idea what the hell you're talking about before you twice try to correct people when they are right. It makes you look ignorant and foolish.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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