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The FCC Voted To Eliminate Net Neutrality

GettyImages: Chip Samodevilla

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to deregulate the broadband industry and eliminate net neutrality rules that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking and throttling Internet traffic.

The repeal of net neutrality rules came about a year ago when Donald Trump won the presidency and appointed Republican Ajit Pai to the FCC chairmanship. Pai and Republican Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr provided the three votes necessary to overturn the net neutrality rules and the related “Title II” classification of broadband providers as common carriers.

Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel provided bitter dissents in today’s 3-2 vote. Despite the partisan divide in government, polls show that majorities of both Democratic and Republican voters supported the rules, and net neutrality supporters protested outside the FCC headquarters before the vote.

Home Internet providers and mobile carriers will not be held by strict net neutrality rules. ISPs will be allowed to block or throttle Internet traffic, or offer priority to websites and online services in exchange for payment.  The Federal Trade Commission could punish ISPs if they make promises and then break them, but there’s no requirement that the ISPs make the promises in the first place.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communication Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. / FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communication Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

 

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Department of Justice sues To Block At&T /Time Warner Merger

All that Power

The Justice Department sued to block the company’s AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc.

 A judge will determine whether the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would give the new entity too much power in the fast-changing media landscape.

 It is assume that AT&T will surely press for a decision before April 22, the date before which the two companies can walk away without penalty.

The first major antitrust enforcement action to be brought by the Trump administration — dealt a blow to a tie-up that appeared to be sailing toward approval as recently as a month ago. That was before Makan Delrahim, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Delrahim contents that the merger would  harm American consumers enormously. Resulting in higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy. 

The White House has traditionally stayed at arm’s length from merger reviews. Trump told reporters during his recent trip to Asia that the deal might be challenged in court.

 Time Warner and AT&T combined, could use its control over programming like CNN and HBO to harm rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute the content, according to the 23-page complaint. The deal also would enable AT&T to impede competition from online video distributors, which would reduce choices for consumers, according to the complaint.

The government is open to dropping the lawsuit if the companies offer a proposal to fix the competitive harm from the deal, a Justice Department official said.

Currently there have been accusations that the Justice Department, driven by political meddling from the Trump White House, is pursuing a risky case that it’s bound to lose.

The Complaint

YouTube Cracking Downing On Weird Videos Targeting Children

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YouTube has new guidelines about which videos are able to make money through advertising. You need to have 10,000 total views on your channel before you can start making money off ads. You can’t make money on YouTube with hateful or incendiary content. And you can’t make a quick buck off the inappropriate use of family-friendly characters. or Pepper Pig drinks bleach.

The result has been a dip in income for some creators, who complained they had trouble knowing which videos were being demonetized and why. So today, YouTube is announcing a way for creators to understand which videos have been flagged as inappropriate for all advertisers and a way to appeal what they see as unjust advertising bans, restoring the flow of marketing money.

Age Restricted Content click here

 

They’re Now Editing Embryos Here In America

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MIT Technology Review has learned that the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon.

The experiment, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. None of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and they claim that there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—

Scientists claim their objective is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed “germline engineering” because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a brave new world of “designer babies” engineered with genetic enhancements—a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential “weapon of mass destruction.”

Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first U.S.-based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos.

OHSU/KRISTYNA WENTZ-GRAFF

A person familiar with the research says “many tens” of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the donated sperm of men carrying inherited disease mutations.

Mitalipov’s group appears to have overcome earlier difficulties by “getting in early” and injecting CRISPR into the eggs at the same time they were fertilized with sperm.

Tony Perry of Bath University, Successfully edited the mouse gene for coat color, changing the fur of the offspring from the expected brown to white.

Somewhat prophetically, Perry’s paper on the research, published at the end of 2014, said, “This or analogous approaches may one day enable human genome targeting or editing during very early development.”

Mitalipov was Born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the former Soviet Union. In 2007, he unveiled the world’s first cloned monkeys. Then, in 2013, he created human embryos through cloning, as a way of creating patient-specific stem cells.

His team’s move into embryo editing coincides with a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in February that was widely seen as providing a green light for lab research on germline modification.

The report also offered qualified support for the use of CRISPR for making gene-edited babies, but only if it were deployed for the elimination of serious diseases.

The advisory committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence. “Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people,” said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS’s study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In the U.S., any effort to turn an edited IVF embryo into a baby has been blocked by Congress, which added language to the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill forbidding it from approving clinical trials of the concept.

 

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Should There Be Another Constitutional Convention in New York?

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New Yorkers have the chance to vote whether they want to hold a constitutional convention to amend, tweak or otherwise improve the founding document of the state every twenty years. Voters have demuurred for the past 50 years. Come November, however, academics, good-government groups and others believe the outcome of the ballot question may be different. But before voters confront the ballot question, they will no doubt be barraged by aka “Con-Con”,  campaigns for and against a constitutional convention. Nonprofit groups interested in issues including campaign finance reform, redistricting, term limits and the legalization of marijuana have come out in favor of a convention. At the same time, unions like the United Federation of Teachers and state legislative leaders have argued against a convention, saying it could repeal hallowed protections.

Speakers waiting their turn at the opening session of the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1967 included, seated from left, Senator Jacob K. Javits, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Credit Bettmann, via Getty Images

Delegates assembled for the opening session of the 1938 constitutional convention in Albany. Credit The New York Times

If voters approve a convention, delegates would be elected in 2018, with the convention held the next year. It remains to be seen.

The COVFEFE ACT

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Special rules apply to the official Twitter account of the president of the United States (@POTUS) that do not currently apply to his personal account (@realDonaldTrump). The rules are described under the Presidential Records Act, which states that certain records generated by the White House do not belong to the US president, but are instead a matter of public record.

A new bill introduced in Congress this week is looking to enforce those rules with regard to Trump’s personal account since he often uses it to make announcements altering US policy, both foreign and domestic—even though there’s a zero chance in hell anything Trump tweets will ever disappear online.

It’s called the “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement” THE COVFEEFE ACT

https://quigley.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/quigley-introduces-covfefe-act

It was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley, the Illinois Democrat who in March brought us the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require the publication of White House visitor logs. (The Trump White House has decided to keep the logs secret, reversing an Obama administration policy of publishing them automatically.)

Hair Policing Children Of Color 2017

 

Just this past Sunday, the trustees of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, near Boston, suspended a dress code policy that banned hair extensions, including the braided variety that many black girls sport.

More Here

 

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