"their constituents are all so partisan that they're afraid to question the actions of their own representatives."
This seems an unlikely explanation, since most of the members of either party are not actually as partisan as this implies. I interpret it a bit differently: I think that most people fall into one or two categories.
One (the largest group) is the people who just want to live their lives and have their hands full doing so. They don't have the time or energy to put into politics except when there's an issue that they perceive directly and immediately harms them.
The other is a very large group of people who believe that they are powerless and that nothing they can do will actually make anything better. They've given up.
I went through a few of those links you provided, but none of them are examples of what I was asking for: of where Techdirt's position was that simply because a law is old, it's bad.
In all of the links I looked at in that list, the age of the law was certainly discussed, but also the actual, practical reasons why the law was objectionable. I don't see an example of anyone arguing that a law is bad purely due to age.
Satellite is awful. i don't think it should really qualify as broadband, personally, but it doesn't require local physical infrastructure to work. Performance-wise, though, it's really only one step up from dialup.
I think the general consensus was that Rome "fell" (a process that took a long, long time) as a direct result of its military belligerence. They ended up having more frontage than they could economically defend.
"But what did I know when 'everyone' from CNN to the NY Times was drinking the Kool Aid!"
And they always do. It's a mistake to think that technical claims in these sorts of media outlets are anything like accurate. All they're doing is reading press releases, often verbatim.
"oddly enough I had more trouble with the "name brand" CDs than the (easily scratched) cheap generic silver ones, all of which held up quite well."
That's actually not odd at all. A "name brand" is not an indicator of quality (in fact, most "name brands" are the exact same discs as the generics, but with different labeling). You can't tell quality from the brand or from the price. Your best bet is to search for "archive quality CD-Rs" and read reviews to select a high-quality blank that you can get through a local or favorite online retailer.
"Oh dear that's so bad - whereas in Islamic countries - even supposedly moderate ones you end up dead. or sentenced to death or, if you are lucky in prison"
As has been the case in the US. That really only changed here relatively recently, and even now there are parts of the country where it persists.
"You are comparing what has happened in countries that are full of people who are officially Christians over long periods of time to the relatively few attacks that have been mounted against these countries from the muslim minorities within them over a short period."
If I understand what you're saying here properly, then no, I'm not.
"Look instead at what happens in muslim countries and on their borders and you will see that Islam is conducting this kind of thing on a vastly bigger scale than any other group has ever done. There is a good reason for this - it is mandated in their scriptures."
Again, what you're describing here applies 100% to Christianity-driven wars in centuries past. Including the reason for it.
My point is that there's nothing inherent in Islam that isn't also inherent in Christianity that leads to violent action. There are murders happening in the US because some Christian whackjob decided that someone else isn't Christian enough.
The problem isn't in the religious texts. The problem is that extremists and whackjobs exist in all religions. It's incredibly misleading to blame an entire subculture for the actions of a tiny minority of extremists.
Also, be careful about pointing to the scriptures as proof that Islam is somehow evil: the Christian bible is chock full of equally outrageous declarations, and those declarations have been used to excuse the commission of atrocities as well.
I would be much more productive, and much more accurate, to put the blame where it really belongs: on the heads of those people who are committing the atrocities.
As the payer, I have no choice about what payment system to use. If something requires PayPal, then my only "alternative" option is to not pay at all. Most of the time I take that option -- but sometimes I can't.
Although it's good that Google backpedaled, that doesn't change the fact that Google has shown (yet again) their willingness to make arbitrary, apparently offhand, decisions that harm people foolish enough to rely on Google services.
"The Islamic definition however includes democracy, education in anything but religion, (especially of women), freedom to follow other religions or be an atheist and a whole host of other things that you and I would regard as just normal life."
It wasn't all that long ago in the US that the exact same arguments that are made about democracy in some islamic circles were about communism and socialism in the US. In a large minority of the population, they still are.
If you wanted to avoid religious persecution in the US, your religious belief better be some variant of Christianity or Judaism. Atheists were routinely and legally discriminated against and denied employment, housing, etc. In many places, they still are.
The definition of "corruption" used by Islamic extremists is pretty much the same definition that has been used by extremist groups everywhere (including the US) for as long as there has been extremism. In other words, for as long as there have been people.
I don't see anything new or unique about Islamic extremism. It's just plain old extremism, and is a problem with a tiny minority of the larger subculture. It's just as silly to blame all of Islam for it as it is to blame all of Christianity for the parade of horribles that Christian extremists have done.
I think that's too broad of a statement. For all the problems (and there are many) you might be surprised at how much it does work. The problem is that when it works well it is essentially invisible to the general public.
"I tried that, but the store would not give refunds if the box was opened, saying it had to be sent to the manufacturer"
This is actually the very thing that small claims court was intended for. If this happens to you again, you should try that. It's cheap and easy, and requires no lawyers. On the downside, all you'd get would be a judgement in your favor, which amounts to a legal debt to you. It'd still be up to you to collect that debt (but with most companies, this isn't really a problem.)
"I have the uncomfortable feeling these are the same folks who, while proclaiming to champion reason, logic and fact, disregarded all precedent and historical fact in committing to the absolute belief that Obama was that rara avis, the "honest Chicago politician""
I you really think this, I think that you are severely misunderstanding where people are coming from on this issue. It has absolutely nothing to do with Obama or partisanship. At all.