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AT&T and ALEC Unite to Fight You

Yes, all these telecommunications corporations are going to unite to fight things like municipal broadband. It goes against their business model and threatens their existence. This is like health insurance corporations fighting universal healthcare coverage.

AT&T is waging a war against rural communities across America. Using the powers of the secretive lobbying group ALEC, AT&T is lobbying state legislators directly and through ALEC to make it illegal for communities to offer broadband, even when Big Telecom refuses to provide service in their areas.
Now even AT&T’s shareholders are asking questions, and the largest proxy advisor– a firm to help shareholders vote on issues in the company – is advising shareholders to demand AT&T come clean about its spending on politics and lobbying at AT&T’s upcoming annual meeting. 
Maybe the telcos need to take a better approach to all of this. Rural communities can really benefit from municipal wi-fi. It allows a local government to build out a network of connectivity for its citizens who may be living in remote areas. The telcos could still operate in the cities.

Photo by Mikasi

Protesting Luxury Housing in NYC

It’s about time that communities demand more from real estate developers than the status quo of gentrification and the displacement that comes with it. What’s worse is when this displacement is subsidized with tax payer money.

Take a look at what’s happening in hipster-laden, gentrified Brooklyn:

“We’re here for affordable housing, good jobs, and responsible development,” Local 79 organizer Lenny Anselmo said, as about 100 people assembled in front of the 42-story Avalon Fort Greene building. “If they’re going to use taxpayers’ money, they should use union labor, and people should be able to afford to live here. I make a decent living, and I can’t afford to live in these places.

This is happening all over the country, even in Arlington, VA where I live currently. On Columbia Pike all developers like B.M. Smith seem to be building is luxury apartments. They’re about to shut down a local coffee shop so that they can raise it’s building to put yet another luxury apartment complex on its grounds.

Photo by dpstyles™

The institutional racism of John Hopkins Hospital

I’m not sure if the institution itself is cognizant of what it has done to the Baltimore area. Take the example of the current strike by hospital workers who are also members of the SEIU Local 1199.  

“Hopkins says they don’t have the money [to lift union wages] but they own most of the community,” charged union member Michelle Horton at an April 9 solidarity meeting of strikers and local supporters. Horton’s comment touched on another raw spot in Hopkins’ relationship with Baltimore’s African-American community: The hospital and related institutions are currently engaged in a long-term effort to re-develop and gentrify the low-income residential neighborhoods that surround the hospital, prompting charges of racial discrimination and unfair dislocation.

They just spent a billion dollars to construct a new hospital building. How about investing some of that money in human capital?

Photo by badgerworks

These workers made the ultimate sacrifice

PA: This judge, principal and police force attacked a 15 yr old

I hate bullying. It’s one of my “issues” you could say. I’ve experienced it first-hand as a adolescent and teenager growing up in that horrible and nasty NYC borough they call the Bronx. Thank goodness my mother moved us out of there when I was 17, as I don’t know how much more I could have taken. Bullying ruined me. I still cannot find myself attractive and am still pretty much alone in my mid-thirties. I think I’m intelligent but I disdain how I look. I don’t think that will ever change for me, but I want this to change for young people someday.

During your adolescent and teen years you are extremely vulnerable and are forming views about yourself that will stay with you forever. This is why stories like this that deal with bullying trouble me so.

From Think Progress:

A 15-year old boy with ADHD, comprehension delay disorder, and an anxiety disorder recorded classmates bullying him in school. But instead of reprimanding the tormentors, school officials targeted the boy for wiretapping — and he was later convicted of disorderly conduct by a district judge.

The boy recorded his classmates abusing him because he had run out of ways to get the pathetic school administration to notice. But instead of helping the real victim they become all thug-like. Bullying can be a thing of the past. It takes educating children and young adults about the effects of bullying. You reach out to those who do the bullying with patience and understanding and you get them to change their ways. You reach out to those who are prone to be bullied with support and understanding too. After all, these are young people we’re talking about here.

What I don’t like is how the district judge, principal and police officer acted in this situation. Even these people need to know that the decisions they make can have good or bad consequences. If they want to act like this then they have to also know that people are going to hold them accountable.

Contact all of these people and express your outrage:

District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet-

295 Millers Run Rd Bridgeville PA 15017
(412) 221-3353

South Fayette High-

Administration Building
3680 Old Oakdale Road
McDonald, PA 15057-3544
412-221-4542, Ext. 411

South Fayette High Principal Scott Milburn

smilburn@southfayette.org 

This is the local police station in McDonald, PA-

(724) 926-2105

Photo by Eddie~S

Why are these British Muslims so happy?

Oh look, they’re regular people just like you and me. Imagine that.

Photo by Shazron

Torrents of rain could not stop them from fighting for Ukraine

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These people are true fighters for freedom from Putin.

What Cosmos would look like if conservatives created it

Creationist Cosmos from Funny Or Die

Photo by ShotHotspot.com

Why you should never go to a for-profit college or university

It’s a really weird racket that the federal government is responsible for creating. They’re actually giving for-profit schools money so that they can in turn come back and bite the hand that feeds them. The phrase “stop hitting yourself”comes to mind.

From The Nation.

Today, 13 percent of all college students attend for-profit colleges, on campuses and online—but these institutions account for 47 percent of student loan defaults. For-profit schools are driving a national student debt crisis that has reached $1.2 trillion in borrowing. They absorb a quarter of all federal student aid—more than $30 billion annually—diverting sums from better, more affordable programs at nonprofit and public colleges. Many for-profit college companies, including most of the biggest ones, get almost 90 percent of their revenue from taxpayers.

If you’re someone looking to go to college, the worst thing you could do is go to one of these for-profit institutions. I wonder if this actually isn’t just a money laundering scheme for taxpayer dollars created by for-profit schools and their supporters in the government. The government first gives public funds to these schools, next these schools use that money to enrich their management, board of directors and shareholders. Then these for-profit “education” entities complete the circle by coming back to the government to lobby its members and donate to their campaign funds.

Photo by TrishaLyn

My Samsung Tablet and Phone are killing people

I like Samsung. Actually, I’m quite smitten with their current set of gadgets. They are quite remarkable. From their form factor to the high-resolution displays, what’s not to like? I even like how their televisions look. Whoever is responsible for the industrial design of Samsung’s products is doing a really good job. It is quite obvious why the people of South Korea have so much pride in the company. Samsung like South Korea itself has come a long way and are now major players on the global stage.

For me personally, I own a Galaxy Note 3 and a Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. I recently acquired these gadgets this year. Also, the next laptop I get might also be a Samsung, simply because the design of their ultrabooks impressed me tremendously. Besides Samsung, my second favorite computer manufacturer would be Lenovo, however that also means I am a fan of American-based IBM, the original creator of the Thinkpad.

We as consumers are apt to fall in love with our gadgets and software, whether they come from Google, Samsung, Nokia, Lenovo, BlackBerry, HP, Sony, Motorola, Apple or etc. We embrace new technologies with gusto like high-definition displays (except for the 3d thing however) or even artificial intelligence applications like Apple’s Siri.  What we don’t ever really think about however is the flip side to our embrace of all things high-tech.

The data centers that power all the social media sites we visit and all of the things we do via Google, are contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, all of these websites and services are working with intelligence agencies, like the NSA in the United States, to collect petabytes of information on us all. Lastly, let’s not forget about the low wage workers toiling away in factories, some even dying, to produce our computers and other gadgets.

We’ve heard the stories coming out of China where it concerns manufacturers like Foxconn who have done work for Apple and other big tech firms. Apple has since begun to try and make amends, but still has a long way to go. Now however, alarming news is starting to get out about one of Apple’s major competitors in Samsung, and the factories they run in South Korea.

BusinessWeek has written a feature-length article discussing the consequences of working at a Samsung manufacturing facility.

The doctor told Hwang his daughter had acute myeloid leukemia and asked for permission to start treating her immediately. “I thought I was blinded. I felt darkness and hopelessness,” he says. He knew little of leukemia but did know the disease often could be fatal. Yu-mi was inconsolable, her mother says, even though the doctor gave her good odds for a recovery.

In this particular case young women who were working to produce the computer chips that go into Samsung devices were becoming seriously ill. The sad truth is that none of this is new.

Despite the reliance on cleanrooms, semiconductor manufacturing has never been a particularly clean business. Chipmakers have been using extremely hazardous chemicals since the early days of Silicon Valley.

These are only a few examples of the dark side to our embrace of technology. Throughout history this has always been the case. Possibly hundreds of thousands have died from labor practices during the Industrial Revolution that swept the globe. We’re still polluting the planet and killing people to extract the fossil fuel energy to power it all too.

Now is the time for us to rid ourselves of the past. Progress should not equal pain for anyone in the 21st century. Those who control global capital flows need to learn that lesson. There are lessons for consumers, especially in the West, to learn as well. If we must pay a little bit more to have a better world then it is a small price to pay. Instead of progress equaling pain, we should be building and buying humanely and with sustainability in mind.

Photo by Janitors

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