After losing the battle against net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has taken his fight to Congress. Today, Pai asked the House of Representatives to strip the FCC of funding it needs to enforce net neutrality rules.
“Congress should forbid the Commission from using any appropriated funds to implement or enforce the plan the FCC just adopted to regulate the Internet,” Pai said in prepared statements for an FCC budget hearing. “Not only is this plan bad policy; absent outside intervention, the Commission will expend substantial resources implementing and enforcing regulations that are wasteful, unnecessary, and affirmatively detrimental to the American public.”
Pai is one of two Republicans on the FCC. The three-member Democratic majority voted in favor of the net neutrality order. The decision reclassified broadband as a common carrier service and imposed net neutrality rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking or throttling content or prioritizing content in exchange for payment.
In the first weeks of 1964, the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” raced up the US charts, giving the Liverpool band its first American hit single and helping to launch the British invasion. At around the same time, the Rolling Stones were enjoying a number-three hit in the UK with “Not Fade Away,” as well as a number-one British EP. The Stones tried - but couldn’t immediately replicate - the Beatles’ stateside success, lagging behind by more than a year.
The decisive breakthrough for Mick, Keith and company came with the release of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in June of 1965. The song rocketed to the top of the US charts, partly fueled by claims that the lyrics referred to sexual frustration.
But “Satisfaction” was not the Stones’ first top ten single in the US. In March 1965 the band released “The Last Time,” which rose to the number-nine spot stateside, while topping the charts in the UK. Unlike “Satisfaction,” the story of this song is not one of scandal and rebellion, but rather one of admiration and imitation. It possessed stylistic flairs and influences that would ultimately foretell the band’s future stardom.
It’s been a while since we checked in with the F-35, the new strike-fighter also known as the Flying Swiss Army Knife, and a gigantic lemon from which no lemonade ever can be made. The money pit that is the F-35 program has now grown so deep that it is very possible that some of the money tossed into it is now turning up in Shanghai. The latest glitch finds us in a situation in which the plane won’t be able to carry its state-of-the-art ordnance for another seven years, at least.
What, precisely, is this woman’s major malfunction? For going on 30 years, she has been the target of every strange conspiracy theory that the half-bright mind of man can dream up. She knows they’re out there, pining to have a coldie with Vince Foster at the cocktail lounge of the Mena Airport. Just in the past six years, she’s watched the Benghazi, Benghazi! BENGHAZI! dreamscape blossom lushly with the wilder flora planted in the public mind by the seedpod that is the brain of Darrell Issa. So she knew that what began with a bust-out Ozarks land deal had not faded just because her husband had skated through his second term. And still, we have this.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
And let a thousand paranoids bloom.
She had to know what this would mean because she’s lived her whole life under The Clinton Rules, by which every glitch is a crime, and every blunder is a conspiracy. It’s not entirely fair, and we’ll get to that in a minute, but somebody on the nascent campaign should have been D’d up for this kind of thing. A campaign by Hillary Clinton is a different thing, and anyone who doesn’t know this by now is somebody who needs burping on the half-hour. This screw-up has all the earmarks of a campaign still laboring under the ghost of Mark Penn.
The Federal Communications Commission today voted to preempt state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories.
The action is a year in the making. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced in February 2014 his intention to override state laws designed to protect private cable companies and telcos from public sector competition. Wheeler took his cue from the federal appeals court ruling that overturned net neutrality rules; tucked away in that decision was one judge’s opinion that the FCC has the authority to preempt “state laws that prohibit municipalities from creating their own broadband infrastructure to compete against private companies.”
Nineteen states have such laws, often passed at the behest of private Internet service providers that didn’t want to face competition. Communities in two of the states asked the FCC to take action. The City of Wilson, North Carolina and the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee filed the petitions that led to today’s FCC action. Each offers broadband service to residents and received requests for service from people in nearby towns, but they alleged that state laws made it difficult or impossible for them to expand.
A number of Republican-led states are considering tax changes that in many cases would have the effect of cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on the poor.
Conservatives are known for hating taxes but particularly hate income taxes, which they say have a greater dampening effect on growth. Of the 10 or so Republican governors who have proposed tax increases, nearly all have called for increases in consumption taxes, which hit the poor and middle class harder than the rich.
Favorite targets for the new taxes include gas, e-cigarettes, and goods and services in general. Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine, who wants to start taxing movie tickets and haircuts, is also proposing a tax break for the lowest-income families to relieve some of the pressure.
At the same time, some of those governors — most notably Mr. LePage, Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina and John R. Kasich of Ohio — have proposed significant cuts to their state income tax. They say that tax policies that encourage business growth provide more jobs and economic benefits for everyone.
In his inaugural speech in January, Arizona’s new Republican governor, Doug Ducey, struck a budget hawk’s tone while staring down a $1.5 billion budget shortfall. “Fair warning: The budget will not meet with general approval among special interests.” he said. “I can assure you that a more efficient government is not only necessary, but sensible.” But there was one special interest group that must have been pleased when Ducey rolled out his budget proposal: the private prison industry.
Ducey’s austere budget plan slashed $384 million in state programs, including $75 million in funding for Arizona’s public universities. But it earmarked $5 million for a new, 3,000-bed private prison that even the state’s most notorious law enforcement official, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, argues is unnecessary.
Critics of the plan have argued that funding a private prison is not a one-time expense. The state would be locked in for $100 million in operating costs over three years, and as much as $1.5 billion over the next two decades, according to the Grand Canyon Institute, an Arizona think tank. Beyond that, depending on contract specifics, Arizona is required to keep private facilities at 90 to 100 percent
Republicans are launching a multi-pronged assault on the net neutrality plan proposed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, held a press conference Tuesday denouncing Wheeler, saying the plan goes further than the Democratic chairman admits. Pai referred to the proposal as “President Obama’s plan” because Wheeler decided to reclassify broadband as a common carrier service after Obama asked him to do so.
Wheeler says the plan does not impose rate regulation on Internet providers, but Pai said, “the claim that President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet does not include rate regulation is flat-out false.”
Although the FCC won’t decide on rates initially, home Internet customers or companies that interconnect with Internet providers would be able to complain to the FCC that rates are unreasonable.
Oh good. Another investigation.
Congressional Republicans are accusing the White House of having “an improper influence” over the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on net neutrality, and are launching an investigation.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today demanding documentation of all communication between FCC personnel and the White House, as well as calendar appointments, visitor logs, and meeting minutes related to meetings with the White House, and all internal documents discussing the views and recommendations of the White House.
“Reports indicate that the views expressed by the White House potentially had an improper influence on the development of the draft Open Internet Order circulated internally at the Commission on February 5, 2015,” the letter from committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said. “Specifically, there are questions regarding the FCC’s decision to promote the reclassification of broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.”
Chaffetz asked Wheeler to make staff available for a briefing and provide all documents by February 20. He reminded Wheeler that the committee “has authority to investigate ‘any matter’ at ‘any time.’”
Any matter. At any time. I wouldn’t put it past them to demand the records of everything the First Family has eaten since 2009, just because they can.
Verizon Wireless generally doesn’t compete against AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint on price, instead relying on its strong network to hand customers the largest bills in the industry.
But the company might be feeling the heat of competition, as yesterday it announced some new, cheaper pricing options.
“More specifically, Verizon’s 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6GB shared data plans are all dropping $10 a month to $30, $40, $50, $60, and $70 per month, respectively,” DSLReports explained. “The company’s 8GB shared data plan is dropping $5 a month, from $90 to $85. Verizon’s also offering a 500MB plan for $20 a month.”
“The carrier’s 10GB/$100 plan will remain the same, but Verizon is adding a 12GB option ($110), 14GB ($120), and 16GB plan ($130),” FierceWireless wrote. “The company’s 20GB plan is dropping to $140 from $150.”