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Big news on the net neutrality front yesterday. The New York Times editorial board explains:
After weeks of being criticized for a proposal that would have divided the Internet into fast and slow lanes, the Federal Communications Commission put forward a new plan on Thursday. While more balanced than its earlier approach, the commission still seems to be leaning toward creating a two-tiered system that could discriminate against smaller companies and restrict consumer choice. [...] Mr. Wheeler has said he wants to adopt final rules by the end of the year. But the F.C.C. should take more time if it needs to, as one Democratic commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, has suggested. These rules are too important to rush through.
ICYMI, read this post by Joan McCarter:
We've got 120 days to push Congress, push the FCC and even push President Obama to urge the FCC to reject this rule and do what really needs to be done to save the internet: Reclassify broadband companies as public utilities and allow for real regulation.
Take one moment and let's keep up the pressure. Please sign our petition to the FCC to keep a free and open internet.

More on this and other top stories below the fold.

Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School calls out FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:

Perhaps I am naïve, but I usually assume that people mean what they say. At Thursday's F.C.C. public meeting, Chairman Tom Wheeler declared, with Lincolnesque firmness, that he would stand second to no one in his defense of net neutrality.

 [...] I believe that Wheeler means it, but there is a gap between his speeches and the actual rules. The rules say, for example, that “our proposed no-blocking rule would allow broadband providers … to negotiate terms of service individually'' with content sites provided that they are commercially reasonable, and don’t harm Internet openness. That sounds an awful lot like the fast lane that the chairman says he will not allow.

Perhaps what Chairman Wheeler means is that his personal enforcement of the rules would prevent a fast lane from emerging; but of course he will not be chairman forever. As it stands, it feels like the chairman and his rules are sending conflicting messages. We have several months: the final rules should match the rhetoric.

Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, calls out President Obama:
In a democracy everyone's ideas and innovations should have the same chance to succeed as those of wealthy corporations.

Wheeler’s proposal leaves the door open for an exclusive fast lane for wealthy corporations, while relegating the rest of us to a second-class, censored Internet.
For this reason, the rules recently proposed by F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler were disappointing. They left all options on the table, even those that would allow “paid prioritization,” destroying the free and open Internet.

President Obama is partly to blame. As a candidate, he campaigned on maintaining net neutrality. He should stay true to his word. Now is not the time to give mega-corporations like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon the green light to discriminate against content they don't like.

Switching topics, Jay Bookman takes a look at the Republican strategy on immigration reform:
For years now, immigration reform has been something that certain segments of the Republican Party have promised to do "soon." As party elders said in their autopsy of the 2012 election, after they lost the presidential race as well as seats in both the House and Senate, "we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."
Yet "soon" never seems to get here.
Jimmy Williams writes against judicial nominee Michael Boggs:
It seems President Obama has nominated Georgia state judge Michael Boggs to be a federal district court judge as a part of an all-or-nothing group of nominees. Boggs was a member of the state House of Representatives for four years before being elevated to the state judiciary. During his time in the state House as a Democrat, Boggs took a few votes that are raising the eyebrows of more than a few U.S. senators and progressive constituency groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, Human Rights Campaign and the Congressional Black Caucus. And that leads us to the whole Confederate flag mess.

In 2003, Boggs voted to retain the Confederate flag as a part of the Georgia state flag. His response back then? He was “representing” his constituents’ views. Well, the white ones at least.

Boggs voted to ban gay marriage in 2004. When asked about his current position by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Boggs responded: “My position on that, Senator, may or may not have changed since that time — as many people’s have over the last decade.”

Eugene Robinson takes a look at how Republicans are already frothing at the mouth over Hillary Clinton:
Republican panic at the prospect of facing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race has suddenly reached Godzilla-nearing-Tokyo proportions.

The election is more than two years away, and Clinton hasn’t even decided whether to run. But none of this seems to matter to the GOP strategists and spinmeisters who are launching the whole arsenal at her — smears, innuendo, false charges. Already, they’ve moved beyond distorting her record to simply making stuff up.

As these damp squibs clatter harmlessly to the ground, it’s useful to remember that Clinton has seen it all before. And I mean all . Anyone who thinks she’ll be rattled or intimidated hasn’t been paying attention the past few decades.

Dana Milbank turns his eye to Chris Christie:
Chris Christie’s presidential prospects are sagging — and it has nothing to do with those steel cables spanning the Hudson River.

The sprawling controversy, which began with bridge lane closures in Fort Lee, N.J.., to punish a political foe, has given the governor a reputation for running New Jersey in a vindictive and even thuggish manner. But this would hurt him less in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries than the loss of the central rationale for his potential candidacy: that he returned New Jersey to fiscal health.

And, on a final note, take some to read this column by Paul Krugman:
Once upon a time it was possible to take climate change seriously while remaining a Republican in good standing. Today, listening to climate scientists gets you excommunicated — hence Mr. Rubio’s statement, which was effectively a partisan pledge of allegiance.

And truly crazy positions are becoming the norm. A decade ago, only the G.O.P.’s extremist fringe asserted that global warming was a hoax concocted by a vast global conspiracy of scientists (although even then that fringe included some powerful politicians). Today, such conspiracy theorizing is mainstream within the party, and rapidly becoming mandatory; witch hunts against scientists reporting evidence of warming have become standard operating procedure, and skepticism about climate science is turning into hostility toward science in general.

It’s hard to see what could reverse this growing hostility to inconvenient science. As I said, the process of intellectual devolution seems to have reached a point of no return. And that scares me more than the news about that ice sheet.


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