Category Archives: activism

Net Neutrality 2017

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

So we saw the FCC vote against Net Neutrality on December 14, 2017. If you follow me on social media (those links are here on this page) you know that this is an important topic to me for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the free exchange of information on the internet is so important. I wanted to put in one place several media items that I feel are fair and explain why Net Neutrality is important:

First and foremost this Twitter thread:

Click on it, read the whole thing. It gives context and background on why Net Neutrality is important.

Here is a video from Vox that also helps explain what may come next:

Here is popular YouTuber CP Grey explaining why the internet needs defending:

If you have 153 minutes you can get a full breakdown of the actual law via this podcast:

CD163: “Net Neutrality”

And, because it’s super popular and easy to watch, John Oliver:

Net Neutrality is NOT regulation AGAINST innovation. It IS a level playing field in an ever expanding market.

Have a different thought on this? Let’s hash it out in the comments.

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Filed under activism, internet, net neutrality

Rock the Vote #1stVote16 Tag

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

My buddy Jeff Garvin tagged me in the #1stVote16 tag to help encourage first time voters to get registered and vote this election and I couldn’t be happier to participate! There is a lot of cynicism wrapped up in this election season but that is no reason not to participate. In fact, if anything, it’s even more of a reason to participate. I started voting back when Rock the Vote first came into being. I still remember watching the commercials on MTV back in the day. It was exciting and it felt like a big deal. It felt empowering. For the first time in my life it felt like the “grown-ups” actually cared about what I thought, and they all desperately wanted my vote for whatever they cared about. Although I may have complaints about how the presidential election process happens, there is SO MUCH MORE to vote on this November! Important, important things! 88% of congress is up for re-election – THAT’S HUGE! California as a state has 17 statewide ballot proposals to vote on, and it’s big stuff like marijuana legalization and the death penalty, not including all the local initiatives – and local initiatives are important, just ask John Oliver.

All of this is to say that you should register, get informed, and vote. It’s important, it counts, and it’s your duty as a citizen. Here’s my video:

Need help getting registered? Here are some links to help you:

Visit http://RockTheVote.com to REGISTER & learn more!

First timer? Rock the Vote has a special site just for you!

And here is a handy YouTube Channel about How to Vote in Every State.

 

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Filed under activism, history, video, YouTube

Net Neutrality: The FCC Votes Tomorrow

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Tomorrow is a big day for the Internet, the FCC will vote on the proposed rules to govern broadband. Even if these open Internet friendly rules pass it looks like the Internet Service Providers are going to take the whole thing to court. What does that mean? The fight is far from over. It’s up to each of us to let our representatives know that an open Internet is what we want.

Still confused about why you should care? Mashable put together a short video about the history of the internet and why Net Neutrality is important. And if you’d like more than you can check out some of my PREVIOUS POSTS.

Keep up the fight!

Ready to reach out to your representatives? Go here: SAVE THE INTERNET

EDIT: Update from today’s successful FCC Open Internet vote.

See you next time.

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February 25, 2015 · 6:17 am

Net Neutrality – The Fight is Getting Bigger

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

On February 5, 2015 the new rules proposal for broadband will be circulated for review. Later this month, February 26th, the FCC will vote on these regulations. They are reported to go the direction that Net Neutrality activists have hoped, and that’s a good thing, but the new Republican congress who benefits from an average of $350 million dollars a year in campaign contributions from the communications industry is attempting to derail all the progress that has been made. As described in the article linked to above, opponents to the idea of true Net Neutrality (personified by Sen. John Thune R-SD and Rep. Fred Upton R- Michigan) oppose the idea of reclassification and are proposing a separate bill that neuters the authority of the FCC thereby opening a backdoor to the kinds of actions that Net Neutrality activists were hoping to see squashed, like internet fast lanes.

In case you need a reminder of why reclassification is essential and why communication companies cannot be trusted to “self regulate” just check out this article which shows what happened when Netflix was forced to negotiate with Comcast.

On top of the big internet providers attempting to charge content providers, other businesses have been getting crafty as well.  A large penalty was just levied on Marriott Hotels because they were blocking private wi-fi hotspots, the kind offered by carriers like Verizon and Sprint, and forcing people to purchase the wi-fi through the hotel. Although they were caught and fined, this is likely just the first of many such attempts as large companies try to find a way to grab market share on internet service as it becomes part of people’s daily lives more and more.

Even though true Net Neutrality is so close, the fight is still on and it is important not to stop making our desire for an open and free internet known.  If you enjoy things like Netflix, Facebook, YouTube and even online dating then this effects you and your life.

You can follow THIS LINK to learn how to have your voice heard. Contact your representatives and let them know that you like your internet just fine and want it to stay free and open.

Keep up the fight!

 

 

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Filed under activism, Andelon, business, career, commentary, computers, goverment, internet, net neutrality, new media, politics, the future, Uncategorized

Revisiting Wiggy Webs and Dog Rescue

Wiggy Logo NO Sub Heading

Rene and I are doing a lot of re-branding and building of our web presence since our commitment to take control of our careers this year. This happens to coincide with the end of any contracts that existed with my old production company, Wiggy VonSchtick Productions. The only thing that came out of that dissolution in any way intact was the YouTube channel Wiggy Webs where we auditioned some web content.

The most popular videos were a series called Make-up with the Wolf where award winning make-up and F/X artist Myke “The Wolf” Michaels demonstrated how to do Hollywood level make-up effects on a budget. I’m proud to say that the most popular video is of Rene getting transformed into a Buffy style vampire.

But as I was looking back at the video manager I found a video that I had almost forgotten about and thought was worth featuring today. It was for a group that was trying to rehome over 80 dogs because the rescue that had been their home was being shut down. A group of photographers, including Lori Fusaro, and dog clothing manufacturers got together to take good, happy adoption photos that helped get all of these animals new homes, most at a rescue in a different state.

Watching this again, I remember being at the rescue site and how all the dogs could tell that something was going on, even before all the photoshoot started. Some were nervous, but many were so happy to have as much human interaction as they got that day. With the number of unwanted animals in the United States, rescues and shelters serve as savior to many animals that would otherwise die. If you would like more information about how to help or adopt animals check HERE.

Even though Wiggy VonSchtick is shut down, Wiggy Webs is going to stay up as long as people keep watching it. And if we make the odd nickel every few months from Google AdSense that’s ok too.

Now back to the new stuff!

See you next time.

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January 21, 2015 · 8:41 am

Good News for Net Neutrality?

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Things are looking good for Net Neutrality.

In a one-on-one conversation with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro on January 7th, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (sometimes referred to as a dingo) has implied that rules governing broadband communications will be based on Title II of the Communications Act – which is what most Net Neutrality activists and I have been hoping for.

HERE’S A LINK TO THE ARTICLE AT ARS TECHNICA

But for the TL;DR crowd here are some sound bytes:

“…it became obvious that commercially reasonable could be interpreted as what is reasonable for the ISPs, not what is reasonable for consumers or innovators,” Wheeler said. “And that’s the wrong question and the wrong answer because the issue here is how do we make sure that consumers and innovators have open access to networks. That led us to a more robust investigation of the well established concept of just and reasonable, which is a Title II concept. And as I said, Title II has always been something that was on the table. So last summer we began investigating various approaches using title II as a way to get to just and reasonable because it has the best protections.”

”What’s interesting also is that other ISPs, smaller ISPs, like the rural carriers, competitive ISPs, have all come in and said, ‘we like Title II, we hope you’ll do Title II,'” Wheeler added.

“It just so happens that 20 years ago I was the guy that negotiated on behalf of the wireless industry to establish Section 332,” Wheeler said. “Section 332 says that wireless should be regulated under Title II as a common carrier, except that the FCC is instructed to forbear from onerous provisions and inappropriate provisions of Title II, except for section 201 and 202, which is just and reasonable, and Section 208, which is consumer protection,” he added.

Shapiro summed up, saying, “what I heard you say is, without totally confirming it, is you’re going down the Title II path, [and] that the wireless model is a good model, and the wireless model said forbear by law except for a couple of sections.” Wheeler did not dispute that assessment.

Fingers crossed!

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Filed under activism, Andelon, business, commentary, geek, internet, net neutrality, news, politics, re-post, technology, the future

8 Pit Bull Lies You Might Believe…and just a little bit of commentary.

As you are probably aware, Rene and I are big fans of pit bulls. Rene’s family have had pits for decades and our beloved Frankie is a pit mix (although probably mostly red nose). The dogs have a bad rap, as you are probably aware. The fact of the matter is that they are great dogs who are villainized and have some of their best traits turned to the dark side. The folks at Buzz Feed have produced a great short video about some common misconceptions about pit bulls and I wanted to post it here! Also, because it isn’t directly addressed in the video, pit bull jaws do not lock. They are no different than any other dog jaw. The more you know.

See you next time.

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January 5, 2015 · 9:00 am

2014 Personal Favorites: Net Neutrality

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

It’s weird to call this a personal favorite, it is more appropriate to call it a favorite cause. While specific bills have been stopped this last year, the fight to keep the internet open will still rage as long as the people don’t stand up and help protect it. This post has a lead on a lot of good information to help give you a primer on why the fight for Net Neutrality is important. I’m not saying it is the most important cause of all time, but it is important.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

Net Neutrality – The Fight is Still On

See you soon.

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Filed under causes, net neutrality, year in review

Election Day – It’s important, right?

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when “getting out the vote” was a big deal. A huge deal, really. The youth was getting pushed/energized in a very general way to “make our voices heard.” And it worked! When I was first voting it was a topic of conversation among friends. We’d discuss our understanding of the different things we were voting for and massive guilt trips were laid on those that didn’t take the time to get to their polling place. Admittedly I grew up in an upper middle class suburb where my biggest concerns were what my plans were going to be for the weekend, but based on the actual numbers from the day it looks like my little circle of friends weren’t the only ones feeling this way.

MTV was a big pusher and commercials starring celebrities popular with our demographic all encouraged us to get out to the polls. That stuck with me. It still sticks with me. I used to vote because it was what I was “supposed to do” but now, as I’m getting older, I feel like it’s something that I have to do, and I mean that with the utmost sincerity and gravatas.

I don’t like to get too political on my public forums, but there are several issues that are important enough to me that they get past the embargo:

  • Net Neutrality
  • Female Equality
  • Marriage Equality

You’ve seen my posts about them. They are important to me. They are things that require a voice in government.

You probably have things that are important to you too, things that also require a voice in government. This is one of those times in history when we’ll be able to look back and see the effects of our vote. This is a time of change and upheaval. Times that will match up in the history books to the 1860’s, 1940’s and the late 1960’s. Things are happening and, while you may not have direct control over every nuance of what’s going on, you do have a say.

Vote. It’s important.

Can’t find your polling place? HERE’S HELP

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Filed under activism, net neutrality, politics

Net Neutrality – The Fight is Still On

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

Photo: Act.Watchdog.Net

The internet is the most powerful information tool ever invented – in the whole history of mankind.

Think about that, this is not a small achievement.

The printing press revolutionized the world and it was limited to locality, expertise, specialized equipment and literacy in a time when none of the things on that list were guaranteed. In our modern times even people in developing nations have mobile phones and wifi. The internet is the great equalizer and it has been the backbone of social change and culture for well over a decade now…

…and this tool is in danger.

I’m not going to spout conspiracy theories or rage about corporate greed or the politicization of information, I want to speak to you as a fellow consumer and  user who prefers to have a freedom of choice and fair playing field. The internet we know and enjoy is in danger and needs us, as consumers, to stick up for it.

This New York Times article details one of the new proposals from the FCC that looks like progress but is really just a re-packaging of what the current ISP’s wanted in the first place.

Read it and contact your representatives and VOTE!

EDIT:

Reader Scott K. provided this link to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It is a great explanation of what is going on with the law of the internet. And it’s funny.

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Filed under activism, advocate, politics