Thursday, December 27, 2012

FCC, High Speed Internet Access and Telecom Oligarchy

From Crooks & Liars:
This is from "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age", a book by Susan Crawford, a former adviser to Obama on science, technology and innovation issues. In this excerpt, she homes in on the monopoly extended by the Comcast/NBC merger:

To those who argued that the merger would stick U.S. consumers with high-priced, homogenized entertainment and second-class Internet access, Comcast had only to respond that the situation for consumers would not be any worse than it already was. If opponents could not decisively prove “merger-specific harms,” the phrase Comcast employees repeated endlessly to staff members across Washington, the deal could not be blocked.
By February 2010, the accepted wisdom in Washington was that the deal would go through. And it showed Americans their Internet future. Even though there are several large cable companies nationwide, each dominates its own regions and can raise prices without fear of being undercut.

Talk show host Rick Smith on Meredith Attwell Baker, the NBC/Comcast merger, and FCC corruption.
Wireless access, dominated by AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon, is, for its part, too slow to compete with the cable industry’s offerings; mobile wireless services are, rather, complementary. Verizon Wireless’s joint marketing agreement with Comcast, announced in December 2011, made that clear: Competitors don’t offer to sell each other’s products.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Other developed countries have a watchdog to ensure that all their citizens are connected at cheap rates to fiber-optic networks. In South Korea, more than half of households are already connected to fiber lines, and those in Japan and Hong Kong are close behind. In the U.S., only about 7 percent of households have access to fiber, and it costs six times as much as in Hong Kong.

Rather than try to ensure that the U.S. will lead the world in the information age, American politicians have removed all regulation of high-speed Internet access and have allowed steep market consolidation. The cable industry has done its best to foil municipal efforts to provide publicly overseen fiber Internet access. Now, the U.S. has neither a competitive marketplace nor government oversight.

In the subcommittee hearing, Roberts never faltered, and his performance was judged a success. In the end, the Antitrust Division allowed the merger, and the FCC followed suit.

Compared with people in other countries, Americans are paying more for less and leaving many of their fellow citizens behind. Perhaps they will start to care when they see that the U.S. is unable to compete with nations whose industrial policy has been more forward-thinking.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut Shooting

If anyone's looking for more information on the school shootings in Connecticut here are some local sources.  I grew up about an hour and a half from where it happened.  I didn't learn until just recently that one of my older cousins on my dad's side lives in Newtown and has small children enrolled in school there.  I hope they're ok, but don't know yet. (local CBS affiliate) (Hartford Courant Newspaper) (The Danbury Patch--Danbury is the nearest "city", maybe 20 minutes away) (The New Haven Register Newspaper) (A Danbury based blog/paper) (a really good Connecticut blog)

Update: just found out my cousin did have children in that school (Sandy Hook). One in first grade and the other in second.  They're physically safe, thankfully, but God Damn!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Michelle Alexander-author of "The New Jim Crow" to talk at Dillard University: Wednesday, November 28

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow and Associate Professor of Law at The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, will be giving the Ortique Lecture at Dillard University.  The talk will take place this Wednesday (i.e., tomorrow) at 7pm in the Georges Auditorium.  It's free and open to the public.  Definitely worth seeing.   More information below.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


This is hilarious.

$380,000/year = The 1%

Who's the 1%? It's probably not you or anyone you know.  This if from Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks.  He's a bit annoying, but makes good points. 2:00-2:45 is when he really hits on how most of the 1% aren't taxed around the 30% rate most people are.  Instead they're taxed around 15% because of the different ways they can claim their money.

Here's an article on how we got to this point of wealth/income inequality. Big surprise, both republicans and democrats are [almost] equally guilty.

Global Wealth Inequality by Nation:

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on the 2012 Election and Obama's Progressivism

Here's a discussion with Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West on Obama's record as a progressive, poverty, and other issues related to the latest presidential election.  They also discuss their latest book: "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto."  This is courtesy of Democracy Now!.

Part 1: On the election.


Part 2: On Obama and Poverty.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breakdown of the Popular Vote by Precinct

Democrats and Non-Whites Experience Longer Voter Lines

I'm not in the least bit surprised by this.  Courtesy of TalkingPointsMemo. We can critique the source of the study all we want, but lets not pretend that these changes in voting polices don't have any real effect and that it's not random.  Plus, we should pay attention to who's calling for shorter early voting periods. Nobody's gonna support policy that hurts their own parties or groups.  This needs to be fixed.  Plus, I always wondered why election day is not a national holiday.  Seems like it's important enough to warrant time off so we can take care of our civic duties.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Short Take on the Reducing Lethal Violence symposium at Loyal University

I attended the symposium on preventing violent crime at Loyal University on Friday.  I planned on attending the whole day, but got caught up having to take care of other responsibilities during the lunch break that took a while.  I listened to the some of the second half of David Kennedy's talk, but unfortunately missed Nikki Jones' talk.  Female crime and violence is an under-studied area of criminology and she's making some good contributions.  I saw Ronal Serpas, Robert Sampson and Karen DeSalvo speak.

I haven't heard many police chiefs speak or address the public, but I get a sense that Serpas does more than most, and he's willing to accept the limitations of policing for solving violent crime way better than most.  There's no doubt room for improvement, but he's pretty good for what's usually the case.  At the beginning of his talk an audience member called out a question on police brutality.  It's a necessary question, and while it was the wrong time to ask such a question it brought up an important issue.  While Serpas didn't answer his question then, during the Q&A period he discussed recent work to create a new form of assessment within the police department that is more closely aligned with the department's goals of better "customer service." This might help address what that questioner yelled out.  Regardless, the question brought up the need of constant oversight of the police department.  Institutions that formally give people power over others, such as the police, are inherently susceptible to abuse and need to be independently monitored.  The city has an independent police monitor, but from what I've heard, she doesn't have much power to do anything.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stephen Colbert and Donald Trump

This is too good to pass up. It's Stephen Colbert's counter offer to Donald Trump's offer to donate money to a charity of Obama's choosing if he releases his college application and records (I'm guessing this means transcripts), and passport records. I post both offers below.

Here's Colbert's:

Here's Donald Trump's offer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Preventing Lethal Violence: A Symposium at Loyola University

This looks like an amazing event. Some of the leading researchers on crime and violence will be speaking on Friday, October 26th at Loyola University. I cut and pasted the line-up after the break.  Click here to go to the site.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Florence + The Machine: Dog Days are Over

I'm totally hooked on this song right now, like crazy hooked.  I heard it in spin class and then at Cold Stone.  I had to ask the guy behind the counter who sang it.  He told me the band's name, but didn't know the specific song so I hunted it down. Now it's on a constant loop at my place.  My step son is going crazy. I see it as revenge for having to listen to Naruto all the time.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Clemency for Women in Louisiana

This is impressive.  A former student of mine was working on a class project (not for my class) that a number of students wanted to continue when the semester was over.  Their goal is to advocate for women who were victims of domestic abuse, killed their abuser, and then were incarcerated for their actions.  The name of the organization is called Clemency for Women in Louisiana.  They're writing petitions, taking part in demonstrations, and asking Louisiana residents to contact parole boards, representatives and Governor Jindal on the behalf of these women.  Check out their website and see how you can get involved.

Here's a sample letter they crafter that you can use if you're not sure what to say (below the page break).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heads Up New Orleans: Juvenile Delinquency Preventions Programs that are Effective

These are taken from Crime which is the research evaluation based branch of the Office of Justice Programs. These are brief summaries of the programs that are effective (thus the V+) and can be implemented in New Orleans to help reduce youth violence.  Crime Solutions also has data on corrections and reentry, courts, drug and substance abuse, law enforcement, victims and victimization, and other areas.  I encourage you to check it out.

Evidence RatingSummary
Aggression Replacement Training® (ART®)
Effective - More than one study
A multidimensional psychoeducational intervention designed to promote prosocial behavior in chronically aggressive and violent adolescents using techniques to develop social skills, emotional control, and moral reasoning.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Community-Based Mentoring (CBM) Program
Effective - One study
A one-to-one mentoring program that takes place in a community setting.
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention of College Students (BASICS)
Effective - More than one study
A preventive intervention for college students designed to help students make better decisions about using alcohol.
Career Academy
Effective - More than one study
Schools, within schools, that link students with peers, teachers, and community partners in a disciplined environment, fostering academic success, mental and emotional health, and labor market success.
Families And Schools Together (FAST)
Effective - More than one study
A multifamily group intervention program designed to build protective factors for children, to empower parents to be the primary prevention agents for their own children, and to build supportive parent-to-parent groups.
Family Matters
Effective - One study
A family-directed program to reduce tobacco and alcohol use among 12- to 14-year-olds.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
Effective - More than one study
A family-based prevention and intervention program for at-risk youths ages 11 to 18.
Good Behavior Game
Effective - More than one study
A classroom management strategy for children ages 6 to 10 designed to improve aggressive/disruptive classroom behavior and prevent later criminality.
Guiding Good Choices
Effective - More than one study
A multimedia family competency training program that promotes healthy, protective parent–child interactions and addresses children’s risk for early substance use.
Harlem (N.Y.) Children’s Zone – Promise Academy Charter Middle School
Effective - One study
A charter middle school that seeks to give students in grades 6–8 a well-rounded, high-quality education. The Promise Academy is part of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a 97-block area in Harlem, N.Y., that combines “no excuses” charter schools with communitywide initiatives to address some of the problems faced by underprivileged children.
Kirkholt (England) Burglary Prevention Project
Effective - One study
A burglary reduction program that involved working with burglary victims, their neighbors, and potential offenders to remove opportunities and motivations to commit burglary.
LifeSkills® Training
Effective - More than one study
A classroom-based tobacco-, alcohol-, and drug abuse–prevention program for upper elementary and junior high school students.
Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers (LIFT)
Effective - More than one study
A program designed to prevent the development of aggressive and antisocial behaviors in children within an elementary school setting.
Midwestern Prevention Project (MPP)
Effective - More than one study
A school-based comprehensive program intended to promote an antidrug message throughout communities and prevent substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) among middle school students.
Multidimensional Family Therapy
Effective - More than one study
A manualized family-based treatment and substance abuse prevention program developed for adolescents with drug and behavior problems. The program is typically delivered in an outpatient setting, but it can also be used in inpatient settings.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care–Adolescents
Effective - More than one study
A behavioral treatment alternative to residential placement for adolescents who have problems with chronic antisocial behavior, emotional disturbance, and delinquency.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
Effective - More than one study
A family and community-based treatment program for adolescent offenders who have exhibited serious antisocial, problem, and delinquent behaviors.
Multisystemic Therapy–Substance Abuse
Effective - More than one study
A version of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) targeted to adolescents with substance abuse and dependency issues.
Nurse–Family Partnership
Effective - More than one study
A home visitation program for low-income, first-time mothers to improve family functioning.
Operation Ceasefire (Boston, Mass.)
Effective - More than one study
A problem-solving police strategy that seeks to reduce gang violence, illegal gun possession, and gun violence in communities in Boston, Mass.
Operation Peacekeeper
Effective - One study
A community and problem-oriented policing program based in Stockton, Calif., that aims to reduce gang involvement and violence among urban youth aged 10 to 18.
Perry Preschool Project
Effective - One study
Provides high-quality education for disadvantaged children ages 3 to 4 to improve their capacity for future success in school and in life.
Positive Action
Effective - More than one study
A program that is designed to improve youth academics, behavior, and character and that can be used by schools, families, or communities.
Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS®)
Effective - More than one study
A prevention program that promotes emotional and social competencies and reduces aggression and behavior problems in elementary school–aged children.
Safe Dates
Effective - One study
A school-based prevention program for middle and high school students designed to stop or prevent the initiation of dating violence victimization and perpetration.
Second Step®: A Violence Prevention Curriculum
Effective - More than one study
A universal prevention program designed to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior in children and adolescents by increasing their social competency skills.
SNAP® Under 12 Outreach Project
Effective - More than one study
A specialized, family-focused intervention for boys under 12 who display aggressive and antisocial behavior problems.
Street Lighting in Dudley (England)
Effective - One study
A program to reduce the prevalence and incidence of crime by improving street lighting in residential areas.
Street Lighting in Stoke-on-Trent (England)
Effective - One study
A program that upgrades street lighting on residential roads and footpaths to decrease crime and fear of crime.
Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14
Effective - More than one study
An adaptation of the Strengthening Families Program that aims to reduce substance use and behavior problems during adolescence through improved skills in nurturing and child management by parents and improved interpersonal and personal competencies among youths.
Strong African American Families (SAAF)
Effective - One study
A 7-week alcohol-, drug use-, and early sexual activity–reduction program concentrating on rural African American youths (ages 10–14) that improves parenting practices and family communication and teaches the youths resistance skills.
The Incredible Years
Effective - More than one study
A parent training, teacher training, and child social skills training approach to reducing challenging behaviors in children and increasing their social and self-control skills.
Triple P – Positive Parenting Program
Effective - One study
A multilevel system designed to enhance parental competence and prevent or alter dysfunctional parenting practices. By enhancing parenting practices, the program aims to reduce family risk factors for child maltreatment and children’s behavioral and emotional problems.