In a blow for freedom of information, the Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives voted down an amendment that would have protected 'net neutrality,' meaning that Internet service providers would have to provide their customers equal access to all websites. Major providers such as AT&T and Verizon have pushed to create a new economy on the Internet, requiring protection fees from organizations and individuals to ensure that their sites display properly. The House Committee sided with the business interests and passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE) without the protective Markley amendment, which failed by only 12 votes. This margin was slimmer than expected, with more Democratic support of net neutrality than in the subcommittee vote, which shows the effectiveness of grassroots organizing by progressive organizations and blogs.
Activists intend to continue pressuring Congress to protect a free exchange of information on the internet, as the COPE Act will now move to the floor for a House vote, and then to the Senate. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has come out in support of net neutrality, and growing public support for it could protect the Internet from the pay-to-play effects of media conglomeration.
A broad coalition of activist groups have formed SaveTheInternet.com to support guarantees of net neutrality. The bipartisan coalition includes such diverse entities as academic departments, nonprofits, prominent bloggers, and the American Library Association. Several major Internet companies have also joined the fight for net neutrality, including Yahoo!, Google, Amazon.com and eBay. Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, which is also promoting the fight for net neutrality, said "It's shocking that the House continues to deny the will of the people on an issue that affects everyone so directly – protecting the free and open Internet.”
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .
4/29/2015 Hillary Clinton Calls for Criminal Justice Reform and an End to Mass Incarceration - Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 18th Annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum today, addressing directly criminal justice reforms she would like to see to prevent another "incarceration generation."
"It's time the end the era of mass incarceration," Clinton declared to much applause, citing statistics about the disproportionately higher rate of incarceration that black men in America face. . . .