Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
Check out this totally absurd clip from Lou Dobbs on immigration. His guest says that New Yorkers should order pizza and when the delivery guy shows up - arrest them for being an "illegal alien."
Well, that's about as good as any other plan I've heard of to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
No doubt, Tom Tancredo is calling Dominos right now.
Taking a quick straw poll here. I recently got into a debate with a friend and I want to know what you think.
Which ultra conservative policy sponsored by wing-nuts is more offensive?
a) putting a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border
b) making English the official U.S. language
I don't know who is promoting the Dixie Chicks, but they are doing one heck of a job. (not "heck of a job Brownie," style, their promoter really is doing one heck of a job) I can't get away from reviews about their new album. Although I like them, I don't love em. But, I appreciate anyone who is willing to speak up for what's right and stick by it even though it means losing some of their fans and ultimately their money. So, Chicks, the Café is stepping in to help you.
A new vaccine has proven to be 100% effective against HPV virus. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease; half of all sexually active people have the virus. Although there are often no symptoms, the virus sometimes causes cervical cancer in women and leads to thousands of deaths a year. Although the new vaccine can essentially eliminate the disease altogether, Christian conservatives are arguing against immunizing young people before they hit puberty. They argue that this vaccine will make people more sexually active by making them less afraid of STDs.
How totally absurd. Unfortunately, I am sure that the overwhleming majority of 7th and 8th graders have no idea what HPV is, much less are they afraid of it. Immunizing and educating them about HPV could actually be saving their lives.
Perhaps if ultra conservatives would pull their head out of the sand and endorse something besides abstinence only education, this lack of knowledge wouldn't be such a problem in the first place.
As Brook Gladstone put it, the issue of network neutrality is "as dry as it is crucial."
After all, the fight for an egalitarian Internet does not have many exciting visuals, nor does it offer any catchy slogans.
"What do we want?"
"To stop Congress from removing the regulations that made innovation and free speech possible on the Internet!"
"When do we want it?"
Basically, network neutrality isn't a good issue for big protests or heavy news coverage. But it a big fight, with deep interests on both sides.
The biggest, and to my knowledge, only, organization fighting network neutrality is Hands off the Internet. According to their website http://(http://www.handsofftheinternet.com/hoti_docs/aboutus/)">(http://www.handsofftheinternet.com/hoti_docs/aboutus/),
" Hands Off the Internet is a nationwide coalition of Internet users united together in the belief that the Net's phenomenal growth over the past decade stems from the ability of entrepreneurs to expand consumer choices and opportunities without worrying about government regulation."
Pretty lofty ideals. But then look at Hands Off's member organizations (http://www.handsofftheinternet.com/hoti_docs/aboutus/members.shtml): AT&T, Bell South, Actiontec, Cingular, etc. Hands Off the Internet is a front group for the Telecom industry, whose beliefs are expressed less eloquently but more honestly by AT&T chairman Ed Whitacre:
"Why should they [web sites] be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment, and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is
Now, I won't say that Whitacre or the other Telecom CEO's as intrinsically bad, but I will point out when they hide their true motivations. The Telecoms talk about net neutrality in terms of innovation, competition, and invention. But really, for Whitacre and the rest, this is about nothing more than profit.
But there are some heroes in the net neutrality fight. First among them is Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey. With several Telecom bills under consideration in Congress, Markey's is the only one to explicitly protect network neutrality. You can read the bill itself and it's key components here (http://markey.house.gov/).
Support is building behind Markey and the net neutrality cause. Tim Wu has been writing excellent columns for Slate.com publicizing the issue (http://www.slate.com/id/2140850/), and the New Yorker has covered it on its financial page. www.Savetheinternet.com has already gotten 700,000 signatures for it's net neutrality petition.
But this isn't going to be enough. The Telecoms realize the potential profit of destroying net neutrality and have decades of lobbying experience to get their way. Public response will have to be fast and loud on this rather long and dry issue if we're going to save the internet.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Absolutely go and sign the net neutrality petition www.savetheinternet.com there, we've even linked it for you, so that you have no excuse.
- I know it's lame, but write some letters to your newspapers. This doesn't work for every issue, but it will for net neutrality because it's something people tend to support as soon as they learn the facts. we just need to get the information out to voters.
- Get you congressmen and women to officially support net neutrality this summer. It's an election year, and since so many of us are working on campaigns, we have the ears of a lot of elected officials. See if you can get them to make a short statement or press release on the issue
- Think long term. Since an actual vote in Congress probably won't take place until 2007, Let's petition our schools to drop any internet providers that want to tear down network neutrality. It isn't an impossible goal: schools have divested from Sudan and South Africa, so we know they can respond to social causes. Plus, such a threat to the Telecoms will not be a zero-sum proposition: there are many, many providers out there, some of whom have not made explicit moves against net neutrality
- post your own ideas. The best part of the internet is it's interactivity. So don't let this blog be a boring screed. Tell us what to do to save the internet
Through the "Dump Farallon" Campaign, coalitions of students around the country are targeting an investment company Scripps College is invested in due to its egregious social and environmental policies. Scripps, along with about 30 other schools around the country, invests endowment money through a secretive hedge fund called Farallon Capital Management, LLC. We are hoping to pressure Scripps, which currently has 4.2 percent of its endowment invested in Farallon, to divest from this highly questionable and irresponsible company.
Unlike investing in public stocks and bonds, which the Securities Exchange Commission oversees, Farallon mostly invests in privately held companies. As a result, it is not required to disclose most of their investments. Because Farallon is a private investment fund, also known as a hedge fund, it is not required to register their private investments under federal securities laws. It is not even required to disclose their investments to investors like Scripps College.
One private investment that is particularly alarming is Farallon's investment in Halliburton, a company profiting from the Iraq war, as well as other questionable investments in Indonesia, Argentina, and Russia. As of December 2003, Farallon has held up to 140,000 shares in Halliburton, worth a total of $3,640,000 at the time of reporting. As of February, Farallon owns 646,000 shares in Corrections Corporation of America (which is one of the largest and most notorious private prison corporations), making Farallon one of CCA's top institutional investors.
Private prison corporations are one of the most controversial and problematic industries in this country. They make their money off of an unjust incarceration system and have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars. They have chronic employee turnover, higher rates of violence than corresponding public facilities, and are notorious for cutting corners on basic inmate services. Within the last 25 years in the United States, public and private investments in the prison industry have fueled an explosive growth in the prison population--and to the detriment of education and socially responsible policies. Private prison corporations have not simply waited and responded to the demand of state and federal prison populations in order to fill their beds. Instead, CCA, as part of a national network of conservative legislators, helped draft model punitive criminal justice legislation ensuring a steady flow of prisoners.
Prisons are especially bad for women due to the devastations they cause to families and communities. The United States is the world leader in incarceration, and women of color and economically disadvantaged women are the fastest growing prison population. The criminal justice system severely punishes women who have committed crimes for survival. Women who are incarcerated for drug felonies are denied public housing and food stamps in many places once they are released, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Women in prisons face the threat of sexual violence on a daily basis. High occurrences of rape, sexual assault, extortion, and groping have been reported on the part of prison guards. Women are forced to cover up this abuse in order to avoid further physical violence. Furthermore, prisons are known to foster and perpetuate the injustices inherent in the criminal justice system. Prisons render human rights expendable, even though the courts define these rights as essential.
While anti-violence movements seek to protect us by advocating for more police involvement, in some instances, this strategy is counterproductive. Prisons do not make us safer. Communities of color and immigrant communities disproportionately face a threat of violence from the very same law enforcement authorities that are charged with their protection. Women are left with no recourse in the face of violence from both batterers and law enforcement officials. There are alternatives to prisons and we must explore community-based responses to violence that don't rely on a corrupt and corporate criminal justice system to end violence and advance human rights.
While it might appear that there is more power to be had with Scripps keeping its money invested in Farallon and pressuring it to change its practices, decisions regarding investment should not only be based on financial returns but also just as importantly on social responsibility. We know the extremely negative threats that private prisons have on women, and seeing as Scripps and Mills, currently the only two of three known schools in California (Stanford is the other) that are invested in Farallon happen to be women's colleges, it should be a high priority that their investments in Farallon are reconsidered now.
In a mind boggling sequence of events, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a grand jury can no longer indict cabinet or staff members of scandal embroiled Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher.
Basically, the whole "sketchy Fletchy" gang, otherwise known as his cabinet, have been indicted for firing state employees simply because of their political affiliation and replacing them with administration cronies.
In what can conceivably be called an admittance of guilt, the governor granted a blanket pardon to his cabinet for any indictments brought against them, or that might be brought against them in the future.
With this ruling, the Kentucky Supreme Court essentially declared Kentucky a lawless state. Yesterday's ruling (4-2 decision) says to Kentuckians that citizens with enough wealth and clout to be friends of the governor are above the law.
I am no lawyer, but it doesn't take a scholar to know that this ruling is politically based. I certainly believe in the judicial system, but yesterday's decision seems to leave Kentuckians without fair and reasonable judicial recourse to hold corrupt politicians accountable.
Fletcher's actions have caused me to propose a new state logo.
So, supposedly, Thursday, May 17, 2006 (gee that's a lot of commas), a fight broke out between detainees and guards at Guantanamo Bay, a US military base in Cuba.
Oh, well, that makes sense. The prisoners were probably trying to escape and the guards had other ideas, right? Nuh uh. Nope. See, the guards came to the prisoners' communal living area to stop the fourth suicide attempt of the day and the prisoners fashioned weapons out of some knick knacks they had lying around like light fixtures and fans according to the Associated Press. Maybe it's just me mis-reading this, but I immediately get the impression the other prisoners were defending the detainee's right to hang himself in peace, as it were. Wow. Just wow. But it's Guantanamo Bay military base. Who would want to check themselves out here? This place is a resort town!
For any unfamiliar with the horrors of Guantanamo Bay, bless you, but read up. Amnesty International, a well-respected human rights watch group, has called it "a human rights scandal." Notice my interchangeable use of the words "prisoner" and "detainee". But apparently "detainee" is a very specific classification. In the US military book of blights and blunders, page 45, a "detainee" apparently is a person who has no right to a lawyer, no right to see his/her family, to be formally charged, to be tried by a fair and impartial court but who is magically known to be a "killer" whose values "are not our values," if you're asking President George W. Bush. But who IS asking?
Let's add this US torture and death camp to the already impressive list of US military and political hypocrisies. Uh... gays shouldn't marry because it defiles the sanctity of marriage. And that 50% divorce rate reflects which part of "until death do us part," exactly? Uh... we don't like those immigrants, they're taking our jobs. Sure, there are a lot of Americans submitting their resumes to Monster.com to work for minimal pay and no benefits, packed into trucks with other workers to pick oranges in the blazing sun and sit for hours a day at their factory jobs. Yep, those jobs are really in demand, alright. And America can't base any of its present day economic or political gains on the contributions of immigrants. We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps!
Whatever, America. I love you, but when will you figure out the key to fighting terror is to STOP TERRORIZING PEOPLE. To paraphrase the great social commentator, Chris Rock, America is like the uncle that put you through college...
but molested you.
Beware: The next time you use Facebook might be your last.
Well, probably not. But the egalitarian arrangement of the Internet that made sites like Facebook, Google, and MySpace possible could be coming to an end. Right now, the Telecom companies that lay the physical cables of the Internet make their profits from internet subscribers. But the websites themselves are accessed at no cost to the site itself. This `network neutrality' established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 prevents the Telecoms from playing favorites with websites, insuring that every site can be accessed equally fast.
But with the Telecommunications Act under congressional review, deregulation could change everything. Companies like AT&T and BellSouth may soon be able to charge not only internet users, but websites too, creating a tiered internet where web sites will be charged for premium access speeds.
Why does this matter? Because only the most profitable web sites will be able to afford these premium access speeds. Smaller sites like non-profits, blogs (ahem), and liberal advocacy groups (ahem hem) will load slower and be unable to provide the same quality of content. A tiered Internet will give a competitive advantage to big companies and stifle innovation.
Imagine if Facebook were invented in a tiered-internet world... It wouldn't. Facebook was the product of one college sophomore, not a huge corporation. Without the capital of a Microsoft or AOL, Jeff Zuckerberg would never have been able to pay for `premium access', and the site would have probably lost out to similar ventures by big businesses. But of course, the fight isn't just to protect Facebook, which by now is big enough to afford premium access. This is a fight to save the future of the web, and unfortunately, the fight thus far has gotten very little press coverage. Next post I'll give my suggestions for saving network neutrality, but I really don't have the answers. Post your ideas and plans for organizing, and let's figure out how to save the internet.
A nice middle of the week blog for your reading pleasure...
Well Folks, it's finally here. The day we have all been waiting for. Today we unveil our new blog team.
And the blog team is:
Adam Conner -The George Washington University
Brendan Ballou-Kelley -Columbia University
Linda Rigas -Scripps College
Ben Wells -Southern Methodist University
Kamaria Moir -Howard University
With that, our first blog team post.
Take it away Brendan