Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are there any pragmatic libertarians?

The emergence of the Fair Tax as a viable, well-researched consumption based alternative to the income tax should have libertarians (both small "l" and large "L") ecstatic. It is the first proposal in years to try to return power to individuals, and away from the Federal government and Washington lobbyists. However, many self-described libertarians seem opposed to the Fair Tax because of their unrealistic vision of a taxless American society. Or perhaps it is the natural conflict between well-researched pragmatism and political purism. I mean if you research something, you might actually be asked to do it.

Which brings us to the crux of the problem. Every journey begins with a single step. If you live in New York, but want fly to to California, you probably have to take some other form of transportation (train or car) to get to the airport. Libertarians seem like somebody who believes traveling by land from their New York residence to JFK somehow violates their vision of "flying" to California.

Because of this, many libertarians seem to be more comfortable as political outsiders, who would rather criticize from a position of political purity rather than roll up their sleeves and start the hard work of solving problems. They are like the proverbial dog chasing the car. What will the dog do with the car if he actually catches it?

This can also be seen in the Libertarian Party's intolerance with those who do not toe the LP line 100%. This was eerily similar what the Democrats did to Bob Casey Sr. Do we really need such political muttawas in American political parties? And how on earth can such a puritan party ever lead a multi-political party government?

While widely varying views on many issues are the norm in the Republican party, and even to some extent in the Democrat party, the LP would rather be small, pure, insignificant, and whiny, rather than actually lead. It's tiring, unproductive, and immature.

And I would add, I firmly believe the Libertarian Party (and many self-described small "l" libertarians) are simply jealous of the success Americans for Fair Taxation has had rallying tens of thousands of people to its Fair Tax rallies. I would not be surprised if more people have attended Fair Tax rallies in the last year than have attended LP national conventions over the last 10 years.

So if you are smug, you like to think you are better than everyone else, you like complain, you like to champion the impossible, you like to bitch, and you really, really do not have any desire whatsoever to actually lead, the Libertarian Party needs you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Return of In-Flight Broadband

I stumbled onto this purely by accident.

Like the mythical bird, Phoenix, in-flight broadband Internet access may soon rise from the ashes of Connexion by Boeing. Panasonic Avionics Corporation has improved upon Connexion's original concept in its eXconnect offering.

eXconnect improves on Connexion by leasing satellite Internet connectivity, reducing the breakeven point for the service. It also improves speed using newer technology. The airplane antenna is more compact and lighter, saving fuel costs. And Panasonic is looking to partner with existing airport WiFi vendors, so you can pay for your in-flight connection, and use the airport departure lounge WiFi prior to boarding under a single package. Finally, the goal is to start the service at a price similar to Connexion by Boeing, and get the price down to about $20 for the duration of long-distance international flight within a year of launching.

It makes total sense the in-flight entertainment companies are bringing back in-flight broadband, and as any second attempt, it should be faster, smaller, and cheaper.

Now if they would just bring back Concorde.


Panasonic May Relaunch Connexion

Aircraft Interiors: Panasonic plans broadband launch in fourth quarter