Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Georgia's Internet Uprising

(Design: Bill Brown)
Also published at Huffington Post and BillMoyers.com

The movement to connect more people to high-speed Internet services scored a win in Georgia last Thursday. It’s a victory that should resonate in every U.S. community that is struggling to give people better Internet access.

A coalition of Georgia mayors, counties and local activists overcame an industry-backed bill that would have prohibited municipalities from building their own broadband networks.

The bill, HB 282, was defeated in a decisive bipartisan vote. The 94-70 tally marked the end of a string of legislative victories for those who seek to limit Internet choice to a few powerful companies.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Shadow Groups, Dark Money and a Silent FCC

The numbers are in and they add up to a big problem for our democracy.

Local television stations raked in nearly $3 billion in revenues from political ads in 2012, according to data released by the Television Bureau of Advertising.

In other words, American TV viewers had to sit through more than three million political ads during the election cycle.

That’s a hefty chunk of change for a whole lot of misinformation. This flow of cash to stations is often referred to as “dark money,” because the real financial sources behind political ads are rarely revealed to viewers — not in the ads themselves and not in the stations’ political files.

This money has fattened the bank accounts of the very media companies that are supposed to keep the public informed about these issues. That’s a problem.

Saigon in Living Color

Friends in Vietnam have shared some incredible color footage of Saigon street life around 1940. This glimpse back in time is both remarkable and remarkably eerie when you consider what has unfolded on these same streets since.