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R.I.P., Internet

Net Neutrality

The Article: Former Comcast and Verizon Attorneys Now Manage the FCC and Are About to Kill the Internet by Lee Fang in VICE.

The Text: The open Internet may soon become a thing of the past.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal dropped something of a bombshell with leaked news that the Federal Communications Commission is planning to abandon so-called “net neutrality” regulations—rules to ensure that Internet providers are prevented from discriminating based on content. Under the new proposed system, companies such as Comcast or Verizon will be able to create a tiered Internet, in which websites will have to pay more money for faster speeds, a change that observers predict will curb free speech, stifle innovation and increase costs for consumers.

Like so many problems in American government, the policy shift may relate to the pernicious corruption of the revolving door. The FCC is stocked with staffers who have recently worked for Internet Service Providers (ISP) that stand to benefit tremendously from the defeat of net neutrality.

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Why We Unfriend Each Other

Unfriending

The Article: Why We Unfriend by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic.

The Text: In the 1997 movie Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, the two title characters, worried that they haven’t done anything noteworthy to share at said reunion, decide instead to lie and claim they invented Post-it notes.

Their story quickly unravels, of course, but had the movie been made a decade later, even the very concept of the ruse would have been impossible. Everyone would have known about Romy’s daily slog at the Jaguar dealership through Facebook.

Or would they?

The ebb and flow of Facebook friendships has become fruitful territory for social scientists in recent years. At least 63 percent of people report having unfriended someone on Facebook, but what prompts these digital rejections can tell us a lot about both the nature of real-life friendship and about how we manage our online personalities.

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Obama, Deporter-In-Chief?

DHS

The Article: Is Obama Really the Deporter-in-Chief? Yes and No. by Caitlin Dickson in The Daily Beast.

The Text: To immigrant’s-rights advocates, President Obama is the “Deporter-in-Chief,” on track to deport more people than any president in U.S. history. To immigration enforcement hawks, he is soft on illegal migrants, using his executive authority to make the interior of the country a haven for certain classes of undocumented immigrants. So which is it? Who is right?

According to a new report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute that examines deportation trends in the U.S. over the past two decades, both sides are.

“There’s no question that there’s been a record number of formal removals, no question that enforcement has not tailed off,” Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of MPI’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program, told The Daily Beast ahead of the report’s Tuesday release. “But [Obama] is exercising a lot of discretion in the interior, a lot of people are coming across ICE’s radar and not being put through removal.”

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Youth Take The Government To Court Over Climate Change

Climate Change Youth

The Article: Youth Take The Government To Court Over Its Failure to Address Climate Change by Simon Davis-Cohen in The Nation.

The Text: In an unprecedented federal court case that has made it to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, young people from California are suing the EPA and Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Defense under the historic public trust doctrine for failing to devise a climate change recovery plan. In their legal brief, they argue, “Failure to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions and protect and restore the balance of the atmosphere is a violation of Youth’s constitutionally protected rights and is redressable by the Courts.”

The public trust doctrine has its roots in antquity, deriving from the Roman “Code of Justinian.” Elizabeth Brown of Our Children’s Trust, the group coordinating the legal efforts, explains that the doctrine is a duty all sovereigns have to safeguard public resources that future generations will depend on for survival. It is an “attribute of sovereignty,” “implicit in our constitution,” the “white board of our democracy,” she says.

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Six Studies That Show Everything Republicans Believe is Wrong

Ted Cruz

The Article: by in Rolling Stone.

The Text: The great 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes has been widely quoted as saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Sadly, in their quest to concentrate economic and political power in the hands of the wealthiest members of society, today’s Republicans have held the opposite position – as the evidence has piled up against them, they continue spreading the same myths. Here are six simple facts about the economy that Republicans just can’t seem to accept:?

1. The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Kill Jobs.

The Republican story on the minimum wage takes the inordinately complex interactions of the market and makes them absurdly simple. Raise the price of labor through a minimum wage, they claim, and employers will hire fewer workers. But that’s not how it works. In the early Nineties, David Card and Alan Krueger found “no evidence that the rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage reduced employment at fast-food restaurants in the state.” Since then, international, national and state-level studies have replicated these findings – most recently in a study by three Berkeley economists. Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos, has argued that a higher minimum wage would actually “boost the national economy” by giving workers more money to spend on goods and services. The most comprehensive meta-study of the minimum wage examined 64 studies and found “little or no evidence” that a higher minimum wage reduces employment. There is however, evidence that a higher minimum wage lifts people out of poverty. Raise away!

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