It’s been a while since we had some really good news around which to build a show, but today, we do!
Just around 9 months ago, the new chair of the FCC floated his idea of Net Neutrality that included things like a fast lane for big corporations and other provisions that are the antithesis of what Net Neutrality really is.
But yesterday, Tom Wheeler – the former telecom industry lobbyist turned FCC chairman -published an Op-Ed at Wired in which he signaled a full 180 degree turn toward ACTUAL Net Neutrality!
After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months. …
Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.
That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.
Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.
Of course, it’s not done till it’s done. The actual details will be distributed to the other commissioners today, and the final vote will be held on February 26, three weeks from today.
Tim Karr, senior director of strategy at FreePress.net joined me today for an early celebratory lap, noting that we’re not ready to pop the champagne cork just yet. As the LA Times wrote yesterday, there are still lots of questions that need answering, we we’ll have to pay extra attention to the lurking loopholes… but good news is certainly better than the alternative!
If you’re just now learning about Net Neutrality, certainly read up on it at FreePress.net, but take the 13 minutes or so to watch this segment from John Oliver that motivated millions to comment at FCC.gov!
I began the show by noting the epic face-off in the House of Representatives between congressmen from two of the more idiotic states in the nation, as spotlighted on last night’s Daily Show, Texas and Florida.
Florida’s Alcee Hastings really got the best of Texas’ Michael Burgess during a debate in the House Rules Committee hearing over the Affordable Care Act (yes, the GOP is at it again)… See for yourself…
In 1981, Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts ofracketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. In 1983, he was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders).
In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. He was then convicted in 1989 by the United States Senate (also controlled by the Democrats), becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of theUnited States to be removed from office by the Senate. The Senate, in two hours of roll calls, voted on 11 of the 17 articles of impeachment. It convicted Hastings of eight of the 11 articles. The vote on the first article was 69 for and 26 opposed, providing five votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office.
The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but did not do so. …
Hastings attempted to make a political comeback by running for Secretary of State of Florida, campaigning on a platform of legalizing casinos. In a three-way Democratic primary, he placed second with 33% of the vote, behind newspaper columnist Jim Minter‘s 38% of the vote. In the runoff, which saw a large dropoff in turnout, Minter defeated him in a landslide, 67%-33%. He won only one of Florida’s 67 counties: Miami-Dade.Minter lost the general election to incumbent Republican James C. Smith. …
Hastings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, representing Florida’s 23rd district. After placing second in the initial Democratic primary for the post, he scored an upset victory over State Representative Lois J. Frankel in the runoff and went on to easily win election in the heavily-Democratic district. From that point on he has yet to face a serious challenge for reelection. Subsequent to redistricting and the 2012 election, Alcee Hastings represents Florida’s 20th district beginning January 2013.
But that’s not all!
Sarah Palin controversy
On September 24, 2008, Hastings came under fire for controversial comments made regarding Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Hastings, speaking in Washington D.C. to a conference sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council, said “If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”
Sexual harassment investigation
In June 2011, a lawsuit filed by one of his staff members, Winsome Packer, alleged that Hastings made repeated unwanted sexual advances and threatened her job when she refused him.A Congressional Ethics Panel investigated these claims. Packer was being represented by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. Hastings denied the claims and called them “ludicrous.” He stated that “I will win this lawsuit. That is a certainty. In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated.”In February 2012, it was reported that Hastings would be released from the lawsuit, and it would only continue against the Helsinki Commission
Least wealthy congressman
In a 2011 survey of U.S. lawmakers, the Center for Responsible Politics named Hastings the “Poorest Member of Congress,” with a 2010 average net worth of −$4,732,002. His congressional financial disclosure form indicated that, as of 2010, Hastings did not have any earned income, he had a bank account with a balance in the $1,000 to $15,000 range, and he owed several million dollars in legal fees to several attorneys stemming from 1981–1989 charges.
Number 1 in nepotism
In 2012 Hastings was ranked No. 1 out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for paying salaries and fees to family members. A 300-page report published by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington found that Hastings paid his girlfriend $622,574 over the four-year period 2007-2010.
FloriDUH – an embarrassment
Finally, the Gliberal Goddesses™ gathered again today! GottaLaff, Amy Simon and I get together every second Thursday to talk about whatever is on our minds. Today, I brought up the big media fail of the week, NBC News’ Brian Williams somehow mis-remembering that time in Iraq when his helicopter wasn’t shot by an RPG by somehow remembering that it was!
Laffy told us that conservatives live shorter lives than we liberals do!
And Amy reminded us that this is Black History Month, so we did a couple of short segments from She’s History (the show) about Sojourner Truth and Shirley Chisholm.
And finally, we learned that Chris Christie’s presidential exploration committee is funny to everyone, not just us. The acronym for his website, LeadershipMattersforAmerica.org is LMFAO. And I still am!
Tomorrow, America’s obsessions with mass murderers, and The Wild Colonials on Flashback Friday… radio or not!