Did your US House Rep Sell Out the Internet?

After reading MediaGeek’s blog post about how his US Representative voted on COPE (Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act) I was inspired to make a list. I’m happy to say that my Representative David Price voted against it. So did Rep. Brad Miller who represents part of Wake County (Raleigh). It’ll be interesting in the future to create a graph on how they voted on all the bills set to protect and destroy Network Neutrality. COPE is one of the bad ones. Incase you were wondering voting ‘Yea’ for COPE is bad.

This controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight.

via: Democracy Now!

North Carolina

District Representatives Party Vote
1 Frank Balance D ?
2 Bob Etheridge D Yea
3 Walter Jones R Yea
4 David Price D Nay
5 Virginia Foxx R Yea
6 Howard Coble R Yea
7 Mike McIntyre D Yea
8 Robin Hayes R Yea
9 Sue Myrick R Yea
10 Cass Ballenger R ?
11 Charles Taylor R Yea
12 Melvin Watt D Yea
13 Brad Miller D Nay

Source for data above

My Council Members Approve Resolution to Impeach Bush

The Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution calling for the Impeachment of the decider in chief George W. Bush! Thank you Council members!

I believe this resolution reflects the opinion of the majority of citizens who vote in local elections. An overwhelming majority of them are liberal democrats. They’re tolerant and loving people. This atmosphere allows for very liberal people to have a friendly home. Especially in conservative North Carolina. We really are lucky here.

Lest you think the only people who vote here are liberal college students, the petition that brought about this resolution was submitted by local citizens group Elders for Peace. I signed that petition as soon as I was asked!

PDF : Petition to Impeach Bush from Elders for Peace

Drinking Liberaly Chapel Hill Style!

The Chapel Hill chapter of Drinking Liberally will be meeting this Thursday, April 6, at Tyler’s (back in the Speakeasy) from 7pm until 10pm. To keep up with goings-on, you can sign up for the chapter mailing list here. A word or two about DL:

An informal, inclusive progressive drinking club. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don’t need to be a policy expert and this isn’t a book club – just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it’s not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces – you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space – build democracy one drink at a time.

Via: OrangePolitics, BlueNC

Obama’s Podcast Aint Bad

US Senator from Illinois Barack Obama has a podcast. It sounds really good. He’s mostly speaking as if he’s having a conversation with you. Fortunately it doesn’t come off like a pre-packaged speech. I really felt like I got to know him better. There is something about the human voice that can touch you this way. But it’s obvious he knows what he wants to say and has said it before. This podcast is an excellent way to learn about his politics and issues in general.

Now that US national politicians are adopting podcasting – are they working for bottom up control of government or just using the latest hyped communication medium?

Senators, let me hip you to something. Podcasting didn’t come about to reinvent radio and PR. Podcasting was nurtured on the energy of individuals with their own messages. This is the very core of a grassroots democracy. Share more of your process of governing with all the people who live in America. (Citizens and non-citizens) Let them have a hand in your government. Let them be creative! For tips on how to do this look at how local politics are conducted. I’m talking about a town or county level. Reproduce that nationally!

NYT article about Anarchist household in Greensboro

Ed Cone links to a really well written article in the NYT by Liz Seymour called Inviting Anarchy Into My Home. It’s about her experience growing an intentional community run with consensus – aka anarchist collective – in Greensboro, NC. It’s such a beautiful story.

I hope it will help people learn about these lifestyles and have respect for them. So much fear and ignorance abounds. Even the most progressive democrats I know are terrified by the ideas behind Anarchism. It isn’t just made up of the violent, no rules, black hooded, molotov cocktail throwing crowd.

Fear of Anarchism is truly perpetuated by governments. Mainly because some Anarchists suggest that governments aren’t necessary. Some are against ANY government and some are against national governments only.

One of my favorite parts is:

After Isabell came home from college an anarchist herself, I began to put aside my preconceptions about these people — as disorderly, violent and destructive — and to see them as a community dedicated to replacing hierarchy with consensus and cooperation. (Isabell once described them as Quakers who swear a lot.) Over time I found myself drawn to their hopeful view that people know best what is best for them and to their determination, naïve or not, to build a better world right away. Anarchism, at least as practiced here, seemed to be more about building community gardens and making your own fun than about black bandannas and confrontations with the riot police (although it was about those things, too).

If you want the facts about Anarchism I recommend you read An Anarchist FAQ Webpage. But the only way to really understand is by getting to know people with an open heart.

AT&T plans to buy Bell South

AT&T eats Bell South like Pac Man! In a deal reported to cost $67 Billion in stock AT&T is calling its child back home. That’s right Ma Bell lives again!

Wasn’t there a good reason to split up Ma Bell in the first place? Times certainly have changed but duopolies (AT&T and Verizon) are just as bad as monopolies. The deregulation of the telecommunications industry has been a disaster for consumers and the free flow of information. It has lead to the consolidation of corporate competitors who once provided a mediocre amount of choice, service, and pricing. Now our choices could be fewer and worse. (Choice is one of the consumers greatest powers.)

This new corporate giant could make it much harder for our Congressional representatives to resist the privatization of the Internet. A bigger company has more resources to create armies of lobbyist with pockets full of cash.

The effect upon localities could be big too. Having a large multinational corporation breathing down your neck when you try to negotiate any kind of deal for your citizens is going to be hard. Not to mention the notoriously bad customer support AT&T provides. Not just bad for individuals but bad support for towns themselves. (I snagged the graphic from MediaGeeks site. Thanks man!)

This news raises the urgency level even higher. Local communities need to create their own municipal networks. (Voice and Data) Citizens need their cities and towns to provide them equal access to municipal networks now more than ever!

To get much better analysis and links to lots of good info about this merger read MediaGeek‘s blog posts It’s Confirmed — AT&T Planning To Gobble Up BellSouth, Public Interest Be Damned and Recreating a Monopoly.

NYT sues Pentagon for NSA documents

It seems the New York Times has FINALLY become more aggressive in getting to the bottom of exactly who, what, where, when, and why the National Security Agency and others spied on US citizens. This Reuters article called NYT sues Pentagon over domestic spying has more info. (Reuters says the Pentagon is the NSA’s parent organization.)

An important point they leave out in this article is that fact the NYT held onto the domestic spying story for over a year. They even consulted the government before going public with it. Bush can call the leak a “shameful act” all he wants but he allowed it to happen and knew it was going to happen way before the general public did. Why? Because Bush and his cronies want to maintain an appearance of government as usual, plausible deniability, protect a falling approval rating, etc. If they held this news any longer they’d be impeached by now.

Context is so important to news stories. Main stream media doesn’t provide context very well. You either have to be paying VERY good attention or know someone that you trust who does. This is a big reason why blogs are so important! Blogs provide context and connect the dots in the media history landscape!

A GRIM Report

Crossposted from OrangePolitics.org
Guest Post by Alan McSurely

Alan McSurely gives an update on efforts to get our member of congress, David Price, to support impeachment of President Bush. There’s been a community forum, two meetings with Price, and now…

We present the Case for Impeachment on Tuesday, February 28th at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill Town Hall. Michelle Cotton Laws and Rev. Robert Seymour will participate, along with Prof. Dan Pollitt and myself. We will be announcing the formation of GRIM, and asking for your help to build the Movement.
Continue reading “A GRIM Report”

Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way!

I just discovered an interesting bit of protest poetry on Tim O’Reilly’s blog at O’Reilly Radar. It seems David Isenberg gave a talk at the O’Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference. It’s a Dr. Suess style rhyme about protecting our Freedom to Connect to the Internet and it’s called Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way!. It also happens to be a advertisement of sorts for the upcomming Freedom to Connect conference in Washington, DC on April 3 & 4, 2006. Click the more link to read the whole rhyme.

Continue reading “Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way!”

Public (Not Private) Internet Access for Chapel Hill

I wrote a guest post on our local politics blog Orange Politics called Public (Not Private) Internet Access for Chapel Hill. Check out the discussion about it over on that thread. Here it is in it’s entirety.
Chapel Hill provides many public services to its citizens. Over the years we’ve recognized the importance for all people to have equal access to basic necessities like water, sewer, electricity, telephone, transportation, roads, sidewalks, parks, etc. (The ones the town doesn’t directly provide the state regulates.) As the town moves into the twenty-first century we find that other types of access are just as important, especially in the new global economies.

One of those new types of access is Internet access. (Wi-Fi is one way to access information on the Internet.) It is steady stream of information that allows people to do all kinds of valuable and important things. In only a few years we have seen this access move from a mere toy to an extremely valuable tool. Very soon Internet access will be more than a tool but a resource that we all can not live without.

In order to assure that public Internet access is consistently provided, maintained, upgraded, and use education is made available we need a long term solution provider. This Internet access provider must have the resources to continue services well into the future. This robustness requires the service provider to function through difficult and prosperous economic times. Because of technologies swift rate of change, profit can not be the primary goal if public Internet access is to be consistently provided.

For these reasons and many others we have a public non-profit entity called OWASA provide our water access. They have the support of the town and county governments and a mandate to continue providing equal access to water resources indefinitely. This type of organization is the best kind to provide public information access to the Citizens of Chapel Hill. Let’s all work together to facilitate the creation of a new non-profit organization to provide public Internet access for all citizens of Chapel Hill.