Professional skate photographers Grant Brittain (The Skateboard Mag) and Mike Blabac (DC Shoes) talk about how they have embraced Instagram. Note: This was filmed BEFORE the policy change announcement on December 17, 2012.
Updates from December, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
^SK @sistergiant for all who are care about the state of women rights in this country
#Curiosity #NASA #JPL Best of luck to the MSL Team
No, now it’s something people all around you are creating for themselves — on computer networks, with flipcams and smart phones, on the radio — to advance their causes, to help guide their communities to a brighter tomorrow, to better our world.
You’re already doing some of that yourself, too, right?
So join us this Saturday at the “4th Annual Media Reform Summit: Media for the 99%” to learn how to do even more.
We’ll have headliners Robert Scheer, the renowned LA Timesman and Truthdig editor, and Craig Aaron, Free Press CEO and President.
We’ve got a dynamite “The Future of News Is Now” media panel with KCET’s Val Zavala, KPCC’s Sharon McNary, KPFK’s Maria Armoudian, and XM Public Radio’s Jesse Thorn. (More …)
The environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico has for a month now dominated news headlines everywhere, but getting accurate information about what’s really happening down there has become a real challenge. Disturbing reports have recently surfaced of journalists being turned away from oil spill-affected areas by British Petroleum flacks and government officials. Mother Jones magazine this week published a story showing a reporter getting the complete run-around by BP reps. Even photographers were getting yelled at by BP’s CEO. It wasn’t until a member of Congress publicly berated BP for releasing only partial footage of the oil volcano, that the company finally relented and made available live streaming video of the oil well. You can access the video here. What’s frustrating is that mainstream news outlets continue to rely heavily on information provided by BP and government officials, and that there aren’t greater demands for more access to spill sites. Photos of oil-covered wildlife – something that tends to galvanize public opinion against the industry – are still few. And not much attention has been paid to the 11 rig workers who lost their lives in the explosion that caused the spill.
BP officials insist that they are keeping the spill areas restricted for safety reasons, but if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. It’s in the company’s interest to keep people in the dark as much as possible as to how much they royally screwed up. The public has a right to see to what extent this irresponsible company, by its incompetency and recklessness, destroyed one of America’s most precious resources. In the meantime, intrepid Gulf environmentalists, independent news outlets like Mother Jones and DemocracyNow!, and blogs like Firedoglake continue to gather as much information as they can and get the word out. Huffington Post and BradBlog’s Green News Report contain headline roundups on the disaster. And environmental groups, like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation, are also reporting on the spill. One interesting blog is BP Slick, a site hosted by area environmentalists that contains eyewitness accounts and videos of aerial footage, such as the one below from Hurricane Creekkeeper:
It looks like more people have been paying attention to this than I thought. Too bad the only one ignoring the issue is the Mainstream Media. A petition at Change.org, scolding the Senate and advocating for the addition of a Fifth Tier of benefits has gone viral, and now has more than 26,000 signatures. If you would like to add your name, please go to http://www.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits. The sooner the better.
For anyone who thinks the Senate came to the rescue of unemployed Americans this spring, especially the long-term, guess again. In April there was a lot of attention paid to them extending unemployment benefits. However, they did NOT extend benefits by creating a new tier (Tier V), but only extended the filing deadline for already existing tiers to May 20. What this means is anyone who exhausts either their state benefits or one of the tiers before May 2o, may ONLY get another extension. Unless the deadline for that extension is extended, once that tier is exhausted, it is OVER No mas, and I’m not quoting Roberto Duran.
Never mind my feelings about how the Senate doesn’t blink an eye to save Wall Street or Corporations (don’t get me started). What we need now is action, and I am urging anyone who is interested in supporting the backbone of our country — our people — to contact their Senators and Congressional Representative to urge them to do something about this.
At the very least, the filing extension deadline should be extended into fall, but what would really be helpful would be to do that and add a 20week tier, so we can get through this year, still in our homes.
Last night’s Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC highlighted how the conservative, anti-tax Tea Party movement has gotten much more attention from mainstream media outlets despite the movement’s relatively small numbers compared with other types of demonstrations. For example, last October, tens of thousands of people marched on Washington’s National Mall in support of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and the same large numbers demonstrated there in March in support of immigrants’ rights. And just yesterday, an estimated 15,000 Illinois state workers demonstrated at the state capitol in Springfield in support of a tax increase to avoid devastating budget cuts.
But it’s the tea partiers who have gotten and continue to receive the bulk of national, state and local coverage on our airwaves and in our newspapers. Never mind that a majority of Americans don’t subscribe to the tea party movement’s views or reflect its demographics. So tea party media coverage saturation at the expense of other movements distorts the real opinions of Americans, and gives lawmakers and the public an inaccurate picture of the public’s mood. And this kind of media distortion leads to bad public policy. Perhaps the corporate media finds the openly combative rhetoric of the tea party story sexier and more compelling than people demonstrating for human rights or for more government spending. Or perhaps, more likely, the tea party story simply jibes with the sentiments of corporations in general, and the corporate media in particular.
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While Congress is in recess, some California media activists are taking the opportunity to visit lawmakers’ offices to urge their support for net neutrality. On Tuesday, representatives from the Oakland-based Media Alliance, California Common Cause, LA Media Reform, and Lakewood-based Oceania Gateway gathered with concerned citizens to meet with staffers at the offices of Reps. Joe Baca and Loretta Sanchez. Baca’s district covers parts of San Bernardino County and Sanchez’s district covers parts of Orange County.
Both lawmakers were two of 72 House Democrats who signed a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski in October of last year expressing concerns about the commission’s proposal to enact new net neutrality rules. Net neutrality would prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from censoring or blocking access to lawful content they don’t like, or giving preferential treatment to specific websites or services. The telecommunications industry has led the opposition to net neutrality. This industry includes the nation’s largest cable and phone companies – AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon – who stand to profit handsomely if they are able to charge Web content providers a premium for delivering their data faster. Supporters of net neutrality include a bipartisan coalition of grassroots organizations, as well as tech companies like Google, Amazon, Ebay and Facebook. President Obama has also stated his commitment to protect an open Internet.
The 72 House Democrats, along with several organizations representing minority groups, say they are concerned that imposing new regulations on ISPs could hinder investment in upgrades to the current broadband network, slow down expansion of broadband in underserved communities, and worsen the digital divide. According to her staffer, Sanchez is specifically worried that net neutrality would cost jobs.
The lawmakers’ concerns are unfounded. In fact, allowing ISPs to discriminate against and block access to Web sites that they either don’t like or directly compete with them on content could very well lead to the problems these lawmakers and minority organizations are talking about. Already, the United States is 15th in the world in broadband access, and the speed and affordability of that access isn’t as good as in other developed countries. This is an embarrassment for the nation that invented the Internet and was at the forefront of the digital revolution. Our lagging behind other countries could seriously put a dent in America’s economic competitiveness. The naysayers contend that the free market and deregulation are needed to spur innovation and competition. Isn’t this the same tired baloney Wall Street has been feeding us for decades? And look where that got us (hint: the 2008 financial collapse, millions of jobs lost). Unfortunately, the lawmakers and minority groups who oppose net neutrality have bought into the telecommunication companies’ rhetoric. If deregulation was such a nifty thing, why didn’t ISPs upgrade their networks a long time ago? Why do rural and certain urban communities continue to lack access to broadband? Why hasn’t the digital divide improved? Why are we 15th in the world, instead of Number 1? It’s because certain areas in the country just aren’t profitable, and if the telecom companies can continue to gouge and make big profits from an antiquated system, why spend any money to improve things? If they aren’t forced to do the right thing, they won’t.
For years, the telecommunications industry has tried to lobby Congress to stop net neutrality, and has given out hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to congressional lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans. Nearly all of the 72 House Democrats who signed the October 2009 letter have so far received over $1.3 million in contributions from telecommunications interests in the 2010 cycle. For example, according to OpenSecrets.org, in the 2010 election cycle, Baca has so far received $18,000 in contributions from political action committees (PACs) representing telecom interests. In the 2008 election cycle, he received just over $42,000. Sanchez has so far received nearly $23,000 from telecom PACs in the 2010 election cycle, and received $36,000 in the 2008 cycle. This is why concerned citizens doing grassroots face-to-face lobbying to counter this sort of influence from corporate interests is so important.
Led by Media Alliance’s Tracy Rosenberg, Tuesday’s lobby day group argued that net neutrality would actually increase entrepreneurship and create jobs because small Web-based businesses would be allowed to flourish on an equal playing field with Big Business. A discriminatory Internet, where those site owners with the big bucks can pay for the fastest data delivery, may prevent the next revolutionary company – say, from a college student’s dorm room – from ever taking off. A segregated Internet could also squelch grassroots activism and civic engagement, if poorer non-profits or your average citizen journalist/blogger can’t pay a premium for the faster lane, or if ISP’s are allowed to block political speech. The latter has already happened. No one should be naive to think these corporations won’t engage in more censorship in an environment where they call the shots. For more arguments in favor of net neutrality, go here.
The staffers at Baca’s and Sanchez’s offices were receptive to the lobby group’s concerns and said they would relay our input to the representatives. We are grateful that they met with us. Unfortunately, time is of the essence to make net neutrality into law. A federal appeals court on Tuesday effectively took away what authority the FCC had left to implement net neutrality. The court struck down a 2008 FCC ruling that said the nation’s largest ISP, Comcast, had improperly blocked customers from using the popular video file sharing site BitTorrent. The court said the FCC must have authority from Congress to regulate the Internet. The FCC can either appeal the court ruling, or overturn a Bush-era loophole put in place under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That loophole classified ISPs as an “information service” rather than a “telephone service,” thereby loosening regulatory obligations. The court ruling could put a monkey wrench in the FCC’s implementation of the National Broadband Plan that aims to improve and expand broadband access across the United States. Unless and until the FCC acts immediately, all Web users are at the mercy of the telecoms. Congressional legislation could take years to pass. The FCC is taking public comments on net neutrality until April 26. So far, more than 10,000 comments have poured in. We must make sure the FCC hears from net neutrality supporters, so consider taking the time to submit a brief comment about why an open Internet is important.
In the meantime, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey has introduced HR 3458 – the Internet Freedom Preservation Act - that would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and enshrine net neutrality as the law of the land. The bill so far has 21 co-sponsors. Tuesday’s lobby group asked Baca’s and Sanchez’s staffers if the representatives would reconsider their previous opposition to net neutrality, and instead support HR 3458 as co-sponsors. I would hope that despite their having taken campaign contributions from telecommunication interests, the Congresspeople answer to the constituents who vote for them, rather than to Verizon or Comcast.
Media Alliance and Common Cause will be setting up more lobby days to visit the offices of two other California Democrats who signed the October letter to the FCC – Reps. Dennis Cardoza of Modesto and Jim Costa of Fresno. If you would like to participate in the next lobby days, contact Anjuli Kronheim, Southern California Democracy Matters Organizer, California Common Cause, at email@example.com or call 213-252-4552. If your Congressperson is Baca, Sanchez, Cardoza, Costa or one of the other opposing Democrats, call or write to them to say you would like for them to support HR 3458. If your Congressperson is not a co-sponsor of the bill, contact him or her urging them to do so. If your Congressperson is one of the 21 co-sponsors of the bill, contact him or her to thank them. If you don’t know your Congressperson, go to http://www.congress.org to find your representative by zip code.