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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 10:18 PM
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Oregon Passes Its Own Net Neutrality Bill

By Mike Rogoway
The Oregonian/OregonLive

Oregon senators voted overwhelmingly Thursday for a bill that seeks to preserve net neutrality protections for the internet, sending it to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. She has previously indicated support for the issue.


Congress gave the federal government authority for setting the rules for the internet, so Oregon and other states came up with a workaround. House Bill 4155 mandates that state and local governments contract only with companies that abide by the principles of net neutrality.

The bill is unlikely to have a direct impact on the biggest internet companies. Comcast, for example, reported nearly $85 billion in revenue in 2017. By contrast, its contracts with the city of Portland totaled less than $1.3 million last year.

However, local rules could make internet companies think twice about going against net neutrality. And the online protections are likely to return with the next Democratic president.

HB 4155 passed the Senate 21-7 on Thursday after winning approval in the House earlier in the week, 40-17. Several Republicans in each chamber joined Democrats in supporting the bill.


Student Activists of MSD High School: They Were Trained for This Moment

They Were Trained for This Moment
How the student activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demonstrate the power of a comprehensive education.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Feb 28, 2018

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to class Wednesday morning two weeks and moral centuries after a tragic mass shooting ended the lives of 17 classmates and teachers. Sen. Marco Rubio marked their return by scolding them for being “infected” with “arrogance” and “boasting.” The Florida legislature marked their return by enacting a $67 million program to arm school staff, including teachers, over the objections of students and parents. Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill opted to welcome them back by ignoring their wishes on gun control, which might lead a cynic to believe that nothing has changed in America after yet another horrifying cycle of child murder and legislative apathy.

But that is incorrect. Consumers and businesses are stepping in where the government has cowered. Boycotts may not influence lawmakers, but they certainly seem to be changing the game in the business world. And the students of Parkland, Florida, unbothered by the games played by legislators and lobbyists, are still planning a massive march on Washington. These teens have—by most objective measures—used social media to change the conversation around guns and gun control in America.

Now it’s time for them to change the conversation around education in America, and not just as it relates to guns in the classroom. The effectiveness of these poised, articulate, well-informed, and seemingly preternaturally mature student leaders of Stoneman Douglas has been vaguely attributed to very specific personalities and talents. Indeed, their words and actions have been so staggeringly powerful, they ended up fueling laughable claims about crisis actors, coaching, and fat checks from George Soros. But there is a more fundamental lesson to be learned in the events of this tragedy: These kids aren’t freaks of nature. Their eloquence and poise also represent the absolute vindication of the extracurricular education they receive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.


Part of the reason the Stoneman Douglas students have become stars in recent weeks is in no small part due to the fact that they are in a school system that boasts, for example, of a “system-wide debate program that teaches extemporaneous speaking from an early age.” Every middle and high school in the district has a forensics and public-speaking program. Coincidentally, some of the students at Stoneman Douglas had been preparing for debates on the issue of gun control this year, which explains in part why they could speak to the issues from day one.


To be sure, the story of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students is a story about the benefits of being a relatively wealthy school district at a moment in which public education is being vivisected without remorse or mercy. But unless you’re drinking the strongest form of Kool-Aid, there is simply no way to construct a conspiracy theory around the fact that students who were being painstakingly taught about drama, media, free speech, political activism, and forensics became the epicenter of the school-violence crisis and handled it creditably. The more likely explanation is that extracurricular education—one that focuses on skills beyond standardized testing and rankings—creates passionate citizens who are spring-loaded for citizenship.

Perhaps instead of putting more money into putting more guns into our classrooms, we should think about putting more money into the programs that foster political engagement and skills. In Sen. Rubio’s parlance, Marjory Stoneman Douglas was fostering arrogance. To the rest of the world, it was building adults.


NRA sabotages law enforcement to protect political allies; attacks IC/Russia investigation

Dana told so many lies at the Parkland town hall... which we knew, but they are so in bed with the Russia stuff.

Cop Stoppers
How did the NRA become an enemy of law enforcement?
By William Saletan
Feb 28, 2018

The National Rifle Association knows exactly whom to blame for the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. The real culprit, says the NRA, is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the NRA points out, the FBI failed to heed warnings about the shooter. But there’s a bigger story behind this rebuke. To protect its political allies, the NRA has become an enemy of law enforcement.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, likes to talk about “criminals” and “good guys.” He uses police officers as props. But backstage, the NRA sabotages law enforcement. It limits inspections of firearms dealers and argues against penalties for violating record-keeping laws. It forces the destruction of background-check records. It impedes prosecutions of illegal gun sales. It blocks background checks for person-to-person sales. It opposes the use of police to execute background checks, as well as federal mandates that would provide the necessary information.

If you’ve been investigated, arrested, or convicted, the NRA can help you. Are there police reports or drug arrests on your record? The NRA says they mustn’t be included in your background check for buying a gun. Nor should you be held back by a judge’s restraining order. The NRA opposed legislation that would let judges suspend firearm possession, even for just a week, when issuing temporary protective orders concerning domestic violence. It opposed a Justice Department rule that allowed federal agents to seize property “involved in controlled substance offenses.”


(Then the article transitions to Russia, Trump, how NRA is blaming the FBI for Parkland and tying it to the RUssia investigation.)

If the NRA genuinely believed in law enforcement, it might have deferred to the investigating agencies. (RE Russia) At a minimum, it would have kept silent. Instead, it attacked the agencies. NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield and NRA TV commentator Dana Loesch denounced the officials who had outed Flynn. Stinchfield called Flynn’s exposure “a concerted effort with Obama loyalists inside these bureaucratic agencies, from the Justice Department to the intelligence community, trying to undermine the president.”

A week later, addressing CPAC, LaPierre charged that the media, hysterical “over the Russian–American equation,” had “found willing co-conspirators among some in the U.S. intelligence community.” He went on: “A hundred years ago, if you use eavesdropped and published the affairs of the head of state, you would have been tracked down and hanged for treason.” Shortly afterward, Trump accused Obama of wiretapping him in Trump Tower. The charge was bogus, but LaPierre endorsed it.


FBI investigating NRA to determine if Russians laundered money through NRA to Trump campaign

Why are people not talking more about this? This is very much part of the Trump/Russia investigation. Thank you, Senator Wyden, for continuing to insist on following the money.


NRA, Russia and Trump: How 'dark money' is poisoning American democracy

The FBI is investigating the National Rifle Association to determine whether Russians illegally funneled money through the organization to help the Trump campaign.
Beyond Russian meddling, this allegation illustrates a problem of even broader scope in our political system.

As American communities continue to be victimized by gun violence — including the mass shooting yesterday, in Parkland, Florida — the National Rifle Association continues to wield immense influence over American legislators, primarily through enormous campaign contributions.

But when it comes to funding, the NRA may have finally gone too far: the FBI recently launched an investigation to determine whether a Russian central banker, and Putin ally, illegally funneled money through the organization to help the Trump campaign.

These allegations have prompted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission and an effort by Sen. Ron Wyden to obtain documents from the Treasury Department and the NRA. As shocking as other Russia-related revelations have been — attempts to hack voting machines, vast Internet propaganda, leaking of stolen campaign information — this allegation illustrates a problem of even broader scope.

Although much of the reporting on Russia has focused on whether there was "collusion" with the Trump campaign — a genuine concern — the investigation is also revealing another disquieting reality: that American democracy has a money laundering problem.

Both in their personal finances and in their campaign support, politicians are relying on money hidden to the public, money which threatens to make them answerable to interests beyond those of the citizens they represent. The only way to combat this problem is to start shining a light on the dark corners of our politics.

In the most conventional sense, money laundering describes the process by which illicit funds are made to appear legitimate in origin, so they do not attract the suspicion of law enforcement.

Lots more at link.
Seriously, guys, why are there not more people talking about this in light of all the attention on the NRA after Parkland? I remember something on Rachel about it (I think?) and hearing some things about it here a few weeks or so ago, but this seems to be completely missing from the narrative on gun violence and the NRA.

Stoneman Douglas teenagers fearlessly teaching how to effect change in Trump era (excellent)

The Student Teachers
The teenagers from Stoneman Douglas are fearlessly reimagining how to effect change in the Trump era.

By Dahlia Lithwick

In one short week, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have modeled power, eloquence, truth-telling, and hope. Because America seethes with dead-eyed monsters, they are being decried by lunatics as “crisis actors,” the tools of George Soros, and FBI plants. Despite the fact that these young people are now quite literally contending with death threats and mockery, as well as slammed doors, they are organized and organizing and we should all be taking notes.

I understand the twin temptations to shelter them from what’s to come and to lecture them about the ways they may be doing it wrong. But I, for one, have found myself humbled to near-silence by these brave teenagers, and not just because they are media savvy and seemingly without fear. They are extraordinary. With each spin of the news cycle, these students are offering a lesson for all of us about what protests can look like, and how we can reimagine social justice, in the Trump era. These kids aren’t naďve. They are just better at this than we are. Here are a few of their insights:

1. Give Donald Trump Precisely 5 Percent of Your Mental Energy

These students aren’t wasting their time and energy on the president. Outside a handful of tweets on the day of the shootings, and a line or two in speeches and television appearances, the student protesters are modeling how to essentially ignore Donald Trump. They have no interest in talking to him or even about him. They have internalized the lesson that he is a symptom of the problem but unworthy of credit or blame. I suspect that if the rest of us ignored the president half as ably as they have, we’d all have vastly more emotional energy for the fights that really do matter.

2. Don’t Waste Time Fighting People Who Don’t Share Your Values and Goals

The Stoneman Douglas students don’t seem to be wasting their time debating or negotiating with the gun lovers on the other side. They are simply working to get gun legislation passed, to raise awareness, and to energize other young people. As someone who has devoted the greater part of the past year to an intramural media debate about whether to give up completely on the other side or to strive to change hearts and minds, it’s refreshing to see that this doesn’t really matter. Stoneman Douglas can’t be bothered with David Brooks. Endless progressive debate over engagement with opponents or the lack thereof and the complex moral nuance of allyship is a luxury these kids cannot afford and aren’t bothered by. Good for them. They have work to do. If Wednesday night’s CNN town hall proved anything, it was that the National Rifle Association and GOP senators literally have no answers for them. They aren’t wasting time on gentle persuasion. They know when they are being lied to.

You gotta go read this. The whole thing is excellent. There are two more points that are even better than the two above.


Another amazing, articulate Parkland student on why this time is different & they won't be stopped

Interview with Delaney Tarr. I've seen her photo in groups but had not heard her speak. She is as extraordinary as the other Parkland students we've heard, and is very insightful about what is different this time and why it can bring change.

"A week ago, Delaney Tarr was thinking about prom. Now she’s trying to change gun laws."
“We are teenagers who have nothing to lose.”
by Jen Kirby


Tarr says she and other Parkland activists are taking as many opportunities as possible to talk to politicians and the public through social media. They are using what power they have for now, until they can go to the polls themselves.


It is surreal, this movement that began not even a week ago, Tarr says. She and others are still trying to navigate the world of activism, even as they’re sure of the message. They will take a bus hundreds of miles to Tallahassee to speak with legislators, and to rally. They will join a CNN town hall for a dialogue on gun control. Next month, they march on Washington, DC.

“We are still, of course, grieving, and we do lash out at moments,” Tarr says. “But ultimately, we are not making this a partisan issue. We are making this, like I said, a life-or-death issue.”

Tarr says she and other Parkland activists are taking as many opportunities as possible to talk to politicians and the public through social media. They are using what power they have for now, until they can go to the polls themselves.

Jen Kirby:
What is motivating you to take on this advocacy now?

Delaney Tarr:
For starters, getting shot at is a big motivator for trying to prevent that from happening again. But this has always been an issue that needs to be fixed. It’s been decades of us just not doing anything about the gun legislation. People have tried to act out, but ultimately, we are given this platform.

The media is paying attention to us, we have social media at our advantage, and we are educated, we are loud. It’s just giving us this chance to promote such advocacy that hasn’t been able to be promoted before.

Jen Kirby:
What do you think it is about this group of students in this particular moment that feels like a break from the past?

Delaney Tarr:
There’s a whole array of factors that have played into us making this a different change because if you look at previous shootings, say Columbine was the first, so it wasn’t as much of a push; there wasn’t as much technology for them to use to their advantage.

Sandy Hook, unfortunately, was the children who passed. So ultimately it wasn’t the victims speaking up for themselves. It was the parents trying to make a difference. But we are teenagers who have nothing to lose. We don’t have jobs to protect. We don’t have anything that we need to conserve right now. We are just teenagers who were victims, and we are ready to speak out.

We are lucky enough to come from a very affluent neighborhood. We go to an amazing school that’s been giving us so many opportunities to learn about government, to learn about policy, to learn about social issues. We have so many clubs and classes dedicated to this type of thing, so we know what we’re talking about. And we’ve always been ready to speak out about it, but this has hit so close to home that we have to speak out about this, right now.

Jen Kirby:
It sounded a bit as if you guys might have already been pretty politically active — if that’s the right word.

Delaney Tarr:
It’s absolutely true. One of our members of the House of Representatives, Ted Deutch, he actually came down just weeks before [the shooting] to speak to us because we’ve been so politically involved. So many of us are in politics clubs. So many of us are in AP government.

We dedicate ourselves to this. We dedicate ourselves to learning about this. So we are in a place where we are lucky enough to know what to say, to know what to talk about, and to know what changes need to be made. And it’s sad to think about us being lucky at a time like this, but we have the ability to do something that others may not.


There is much more here, and it's well worth the read. A lot of things I haven't heard said before that provide insight and hope.


This'll go viral in minutes. Stoneman Douglas drama students singing song they wrote for Town Hall.

They sang this at the very end of the town hall, for anyone who didn't see it. Scroll down to see video. This will go viral so fast. These kids are amazing. So impressive in every way. It won't let me access a direct link to the video. If someone knows how to do that, please post in a reply.


Anyone know where I can live stream CNN (don't have cable) for the town hall tonight?

Anyone doing an official discussion thread on it?

"I'm a teenager. And I'm fed up with adults' excuses for weak gun laws."

Article very worthwhile. Something that is really coming to the forefront since Parkland is how much fear students live with every day in school as shootings have become more commonplace:

I’m a teenager. And I’m fed up with adults’ excuses for weak gun laws.
We’ve grown up with the looming threat of school shootings.
By Elizabeth Love

On Thursday, in his statement on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump assured America’s children that we “are never alone.” As a 17-year-old and a senior at West High School in Salt Lake City, I found this strained attempt at consolation empty and infuriating.

I was born in April 2000, a week shy of the Columbine massacre’s one-year anniversary, the event that marked the beginning of the modern school shooting epidemic. By the time I started kindergarten, there had been five more fatal school shootings in elementary, middle, or high schools.

As I near the end of my senior year, the number has swelled to 32 since 1998, not including suicides or gang-related violence. School shootings are etched into the timeline of my education as clearly as talent shows and picture days.

President Trump’s statement is meaningless. We have been alone for 20 years.

When Congress failed to pass gun reform after Sandy Hook, it was baffling. If 20 dead first-graders were not a call to action, then a call to action would never come. But that does not mean we’re stuck.

In 2016, the Associated Press found that only 15 percent of Americans believed gun policy should be a top-five political priority of that year. Though 92 percent of Americans support universal background checks, gun reform was a less significant issue to voters than terrorism and the economy.

But I can feel this changing. For older voters, gun violence may not feel so dire, so personal. But for those of us in school, there is nothing more personal. I was in seventh grade when Sandy Hook happened. I saw a school that looked like mine, with kids that looked like me, suddenly turned into a war zone. I spent the weekend after Sandy Hook terrified to return to school. When I did return, I was anxious whenever I was on my school’s first floor, reasoning that the second was safer.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the layout of my sister’s elementary school, worrying that her classroom was too close to the school’s entrance. I eyed closets and windows in my own classrooms, imagining where I would hide were a shooting to happen.

The teachers led drills, telling us to crouch beneath our desks. One sketched a diagram on the whiteboard to show us how to turn our desks into a barricade if the day came. “Lockdown” drills were routine.

My experiences are not unique. In American schools, the fear of gun violence always looms. Last week, even before Parkland, a car backfired outside my school, interrupting class with a sharp pop-pop-pop; adrenaline shot through my veins as I grabbed a friend in panic. All 32 pairs of eyes in the class widened as our teacher rushed to the window to confirm it was only a car.

For the students in Parkland, the ever-present fear turned into reality — and heightened worries in other schools. My friends whisper about who they fear would attempt something similar. They discuss how hard it would be to escape were an attack to happen on the lawn where we eat lunch.

More at link-very illuminating article:

Anyone seen this excellent Ted talk by Sue Klebold, mom of Dylan Klebold, Columbine shooter?

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters who committed the Columbine High School massacre, murdering 12 students and a teacher. She's spent years excavating every detail of her family life, trying to understand what she could have done to prevent her son's violence. In this difficult, jarring talk, Klebold explores the intersection between mental health and violence, advocating for parents and professionals to continue to examine the link between suicidal and homicidal thinking.

And yes, she does address the issue of access to guns.

This is thought provoking and shows there are not easy answers, but makes it very clear that more and better mental health care and limiting gun access are both paramount.


Here is the transcript, if you'd rather read it:

"It has taken me years to try to accept my son's legacy. The cruel behavior that defined the end of his life showed me that he was a completely different person from the one I knew. Afterwards people asked, "How could you not know? What kind of a mother were you?" I still ask myself those same questions."

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