Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Public Airwaves/Internet for the Public Good
The federal government is on the verge of turning over a huge portion of our public airwaves to companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast—who will use them for private gain instead of the public good.
In June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will make a major decision: Use the public airwaves for the public good, or turn them over to big companies who will stifle competition, innovation, and the wireless Internet revolution.
"The public airwaves should be used for the public good. The government must protect our airwaves from corporate gatekeepers who would stifle innovation and competition in the wireless Internet market."
We'll deliver your petition signature and any accompanying note directly to the FCC's public comment record, which FCC Commissioners use to guide their decisions.
There are many innovative companies jumping at the opportunity to forge ahead with the wireless Internet revolution—bringing us high-speed wireless networks from coast to coast and all sorts of innovative wireless devices. But the old phone and cable companies are aggressively trying to block this progress. They've spent billions laying wires, and they enjoy having their customers locked in with few alternatives.
Without access to the public airwaves, wireless innovators can't enter the marketplace. So the strategy of companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast is to buy the administrative rights of our airwaves at auction—and then use those rights to block competition. They also stifle the development of new wireless devices by only letting their own endorsed products work on their networks.
They also shouldn't be able to tell their wireless Internet customers which websites they can access—as they do now. And just as phone companies can't tell customers what phones can be plugged into a wall jack, cell and wireless companies should not be able to dictate which phones or wireless devices people use on their networks.
The FCC is only accepting public comments for a few more days. Can you sign the petition to them today, and send it to your friends?
Thanks for all you do.
–Adam Green, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
PS—Most people haven't heard about this critical issue yet—so it's really important that we spread the word and get others involved. As you consider who else to tell about this issue, here's what innovation and competition in the wireless world means for regular people:
- Families would no longer be forced to choose solely between high-priced phone and cable Internet. A new wireless market—including lots of competition within that market—would mean more affordable Internet access for families.
- Poor and rural communities which phone and cable companies never bothered to wire with high-speed Internet access could now have high-speed Internet signals beamed directly into their homes.
- Blackberry and other handheld wireless users are currently blocked by phone companies from accessing Internet-based phone service and other innovative services.2 The FCC could stop these anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices by mandating wireless Net Neutrality.
- Socially responsible buyers could someday go to a store, scan the bar codes of products with an Internet-equipped cell phone, and find out which items are socially responsible. Phone companies can currently block such innovations from working with their devices (they often try to shake down innovators into giving them a massive cut of their profits)—but the FCC can prohibit such practices on these newly available airwaves.
- Technology consumers in America are currently denied all sorts of cutting-edge technology that people in other countries have—like using Internet-equipped cell phones to buy products, transfer money, or give to charity. By opening the doors to competition and innovation, the FCC can change that.
P.P.S. Can you support this people-powered campaign today? As corporations like AT&T and Verizon spend millions to get public policy skewed in their favor, we will win these fights because of the power of regular people. A donation of $10, $20, or more would go a long way. You can donate here:
1. Paper describing "warehousing" of airwaves by dominant companies to keep competition out of the market—by Simon Wilkie, Director of Center for Communication Law and Policy at the University of Southern California, March 26, 2007
2. "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband," Working Paper by Prof. Tim Wu, February 15, 2007
"Hooking Up," Prof. Tim Wu commentary in Forbes, May 18, 2007
3. "Use spare spectrum for the Net; High-speed internet should be one of the FCC's priorities as it auctions valuable airwave rights," Los Angeles Times editorial, April 13, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Coma in Algiers w/ Cry Blood Apache and DJ T-Rev -- 29 May 2007 @ Beauty Bar (Austin TX)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
say no to [political] censorship
i am not much for the mainstream media outlets and i have recently discovered that it was indeed possible for me to care less about politics, left or right. But i do not abide well with censorship, especially political & cultural. So, here is a message from the liberal-minded folks of MoveOn.org:
It took CBS two weeks to fire Don Imus for calling a college women's basketball team "nappy headed hos," but it only took them two days to fire respected retired Major General John Batiste for speaking out against the president on the war.
Batiste, a Republican, commanded troops in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He left the Army so that he could speak out against the president's reckless policy in Iraq, and CBS hired him as a part-time consultant to comment about it. (1) Last week, he appeared in a VoteVets.org TV ad speaking out against the president on Iraq. Just two days later, CBS fired him. (2)
It's censorship, pure and simple. We're aiming to get over 100,000 messages demanding that CBS re-hire Major General John Batiste by the end of the week. Can you take a moment to add your name? Clicking the link below will add your name to the petition.
CBS says they fired Major General Batiste because he engaged in advocacy—but they're holding him to a different standard than their other consultants.
For example, former White House communications director Nicolle Wallace is a consultant to CBS and consistently uses her position to push White House talking points. (3) It was even reported that she was advising the McCain campaign, yet CBS did nothing when she appeared as a consultant on their network to promote his candidacy. (4)
Plus, the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon also appeared on CBS as a consultant while advocating in favor of President Bush's escalation plan. (5)
CBS is sending a message that you can't be a consultant to their network if you're critical of President Bush and the Iraq war. That's political censorship and CBS needs to hear groundswell of outrage from concerned viewers right away.
Can you sign the petition demanding that CBS re-hire Major General Batiste?
Major General John Batiste is not the first general to speak out against the president on Iraq. Recently a number of generals and military leaders have spoken out against President Bush's failed policy—including Reagan's former NSA director, General William Odom, Vietnam veteran Major General Mel Montano and another former general from Iraq—retired Major General Paul Eaton. (6)
These generals must be heard, not censored for speaking the truth.
Thanks for all you do,
–Nita, Noah, Karin, Jennifer and the Moveon.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
1. "Army Career Behind Him, General Speaks Out on Iraq," New York Times, May 13, 2007
2. "CBS fires consultant Gen. Batiste over VoteVets ad; 'We went to war with a fatally flawed strategy'," Raw Story, May 11, 2007
3. "CBS Fires Batiste For Anti-Bush Advocacy, Hires Bush Aide To Engage In Pro-Bush Advocacy," ThinkProgress, May 11, 2007
4. "CBS Has Allowed McCain Campaign Aide To Advocate For McCain On Air." ThinkProgress, May 14, 2007
5. "CBS Fired Antiwar Batiste—But CBS Consultant O'Hanlon Advocated For Surge," Talking Points Memo, May 11, 2007
6. "Generals Express Outrage at Presidential Veto," National Security Network, May 2, 2007
7. Reid: Senate Will Have Opportunity To Speak On Change Of Course In Iraq, Reid Press Release, Monday, May 14, 2007