By Bruce Kushnick | June 17, 2018 | Original article here.
I was asked to summarize the current communications situation in light of the Net Neutrality decision (being refreshed until the next challenge), and the “ridiculously bad” AT&T-Time Warner merger going through (decision here) — and what we should do about it.
This current FCC has created over 20 inter-locking proceedings, each designed to give the phone and cable companies more power, screw-by-screw— literally reducing our democracy, our freedoms and worse — giving us no serious competition; just crap service at continually increasing prices, among other harms.
AT&T et al. maneuvered a bunch of patsies to be FCC Commissioners to do their bidding and follow their plans, which AT&T gave then-newly-appointed-Republican Commissioner, now Chairman (and former Verizon attorney) Ajit Pai, in 2012. Coincidentally, this same plan appears to have been developed at the American Legislative Exchange Council, “ALEC”, (the American Exchange Legislative Council, which is funded by both AT&T and Verizon), and it has been used as “model legislation” in state-after-state and updated regularly — to help just a few companies.
What’s In Store for You Online? Higher Prices, Fewer Voices.
By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief | June 14, 2018 | Original article here.
Two major developments this week promise to change the way you access and use the internet, both for the worse.
First, AT&T won approval Tuesday from a federal judge to purchase Time Warner, which owns CNN among other properties. Donald Trump had opposed the $85 billion deal, his comments laced with invective against CNN’s coverage of him. The deal cannot close for at least six days so the Justice Department has time to appeal if Trump so orders.
The ruling by Judge Richard Leon is likely to signal more mergers among telecom giants, something I wrote about four years ago as a major economic and political problem when Comcast tried to buy Time Warner. While there is reason to feel some sympathy for AT&T because of Trump’s personal grudge and its lack of news channels and movie studios like those owned by competitor Comcast, consumers benefit when we have more competition, not less.
The second adverse development came the day before with the end of net neutrality—treating equally all users of what we used to call the World Wide Web. In this action by the Federal Communications Commission, the Trump administration embraced what the cable companies know is good for them, but not what’s best for you. This major policy change is one more example of the bait-and-switch con artistry of Trump, who said he would drain the swamp and has since turned Washington into a profiteering paradise for swamp monsters.
By Bruce Kushnick; New Networks Institute | June 10, 2018 | Original Medium article here.
The Mergers that Created Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink Were Failures
AT&T= SBC, Southwestern Bell, Pacific Telesis, SNET, Ameritech, BellSouth and the original AT&T.
Verizon = Bell Atlantic, NYNEX, GTE, Alltel, and MCI
CenturyLink = US West turned into Qwest
For the full story, read: The Book of Broken Promises; $400 Billion Broadband Scandal, now a free download.
In 1980, the original AT&T (“Ma Bell”) was the country’s major Telecom Utility and it held monopoly power over America’s telecommunications services and critical infrastructure: it controlled nearly 80% of US Wireline services as well as “long distance”, calls that cross state lines. Following a lengthy trial, in 1984, Ma Bell was broken up into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), also called "Baby Bells" with the goal of providing increased competition, innovative services and lower prices — especially for long distance service.
GTE, SNET and Alltel were then independent, incumbent State Telecom Utilities that covered only about 20% of the United States.
After years of legal wranglings and cases, (one of which involved a long distance upstart, MCI) each RBOC controlled a group of states. Meanwhile, AT&T was spun off and it kept the long distance business and would later also offer internet and local phone service, as would MCI.
Print edition, Monterey Herald; Sunday, May 13, 2018
Watsonville, CA residents just dodged a bullet. Or did they?
With no quorum at their May 8th meeting, the City Council could not vote on a new ordinance that eliminates public hearings and Planning Commission review of “small cell” towers next to homes, schools, and businesses in Watsonville.
The same law firm that tried to con Monterey into believing that
“recent state and federal laws and regulations have preempted the city’s authority over permitting wireless communication facilities” is at it again in Watsonville.
Sadly, with small cell applications waiting for the new ordinance to be approved, the mayor, city attorney, and assistant city clerk have already signed onto the resolution to make the process a simple administrative permit.
By not showing up, the council created a problem:
There is an FCC deadline on these pending cell towers applications.
By letting the shot clock run out on applications deemed complete, these towers become approved.
Watsonville, please wake up. Your rights are in the process of being destroyed by your own city government.
By Kevin Kelly | Bay Area News Group April 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm; Original article here.
Hillary Gitelman, planning and community environment director for the city of Palo Alto, is resigning from her post. Her last day is May 11. (City of Palo Alto). Jonathan Lait will serve as interim director starting May 14, when Hillary Gitelman leaves for private sector job.
Hillary Gitelman, who became Palo Alto’s planning and community environment director in late 2013, has accepted a new position with San Francisco-based Environmental Science Associates, according to a news release. Her last day with Palo Alto is May 11, and Assistant Director Jonathan Lait will step in as interim planning director.
Gitelman’s accomplishments include overseeing an update of the city’s comprehensive plan through 2030 and working with the City Council to establish an annual cap on office construction, new rules for accessory dwelling units and new housing impact fees.
“In Palo Alto, the Planning Department is at the center of many complex and demanding initiatives, and Hillary and her team of dedicated employees have shown great resilience and adaptation to meet the community’s high expectations,” City Manager James Keene said in the news release.
City publicist Claudia Keith said Gitelman’s departure is not expected to delay ongoing planning projects, such as the council’s housing work plan.
Gitelman recently drew the ire of the United Neighbors citizens group after she upheld an advisory board’s decision to allow Verizon to install 11 small-cell antennas atop utility poles in four residential neighborhoods.
May 9, 2018 CHE Webinar — Invisible Hazards: RF Microwave Radiation Hazards and Steps Needed for Policy Changes
Grassroots groups fight utility’s plan to install 11 Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas (CPMRA) too close to homes in four residential neighborhoods
Verizon’s plan to install CPMRA antennas in Palo Alto neighborhoods has sparked an outcry from residents who consider the fixtures an eyesore and want them covered underground.
The first phase of the plan calls for 11 small antennas in four neighborhoods, part of a Verizon Wireless project to install 93 utility pole-mounted systems throughout Palo Alto to boost wireless service.
“The only reason Verizon doesn’t want to vault its equipment is that under-grounding it is more expensive than placing it on utility poles,” Annette Fazzino, widow of former Mayor Gary Fazzino, said in a statement by United Neighbors, a grassroots group which has filed appeals with the city against the Verizon project.
“But saving money is not Palo Alto’s responsibility. Palo Alto’s responsibility is to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and we see no reason why this company should get a pass on adhering to the same aesthetics ordinances that the rest of us abide by.”
United Neighbors said the cities of Bern, Switzerland, and Rancho Palos Verdes require all or most telecom equipment to be stored in underground vaults.
In a statement, Verizon said it has worked with the Palo Alto community for more than two years on its small-cell design. “The appeal will only further delay our ability to provide the necessary network improvements to keep our customers connected,” Verizon publicist Heidi Flato wrote by email.
Given the intensity of the outcry, city staff decided to hold a public hearing on the Verizon project at the May 21 City Council meeting instead of placing it on the consent calendar as would normally happen.
Ruling in favor of Verizon, the city’s Architectural Review Board last month recommended allowing the devices to stay above ground. Verizon maintains it would not be able to underground the equipment while still meeting the city’s noise ordinance and other rules. The board advises Hillary Gitelman, the city’s Planning and Community Environment director, on project designs.
In appeals filed over the board’s recommendation, members of United Neighbors stated that Gitelman has given Verizon “the go-ahead to install hundreds of pounds of equipment on the utility poles at each location.” The 11 antennas are planned for the Midtown, Palo Verde, St. Claire Gardens and South of Midtown neighborhoods.
“It is our view that Palo Alto should be a leader in ensuring that the equipment required to support this service is thoughtfully integrated into residential neighborhoods,” United Neighbors member Jeanne Fleming wrote in her appeal.
“This means hiding it, not — as the Director’s decision would allow — mounting cheap, oversized equipment next to people’s homes — equipment that, in the words of Architectural Review Board member Robert Gooyer (who voted against the plan) — is ‘butt ugly.’ ”
3/21/18 — by Alasdair Philips, Denis L. Henshaw, Graham Lamburn, and Michael O’Carroll; Original paper here.
To investigate detailed trends in malignant brain tumor incidence over a recent time period.
UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) data covering 81,135 ICD10 C71 brain tumors diagnosed in England (1995–2015) were used to calculate incidence rates (ASR) per 100k person–years, age–standardised to the European Standard Population (ESP–2013).
We report a sustained and highly statistically significant ASR rise in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) across all ages. The ASR for GBM more than doubled from 2.4 to 5.0, with annual case numbers rising from 983 to 2531. Overall, this rise is mostly hidden in the overall data by a reduced incidence of lower grade tumors.
The rise is of importance for clinical resources and brain tumor etiology. The rise cannot be fully accounted for by promotion of lower–grade tumors, random chance or improvement in diagnostic techniques as it affects specific areas of the brain and only one type of brain tumor. Despite the large variation in case numbers by age, the percentage rise is similar across the age groups which suggests widespread environmental or lifestyle factors may be responsible.
A clear description of the changing pattern in incidence of brain tumor types
The study used extensive data from an official and recognized quality source
The study included histological and morphological information
The study identified a significant and concerning incidence time trend
Some evidence is provided to help guide future research into causal mechanism
May 3, 2018, by Ron Elving; Original article and audio file here
Anyone who has followed the saga of Senator John McCain or ever reacted with emotion to his words or actions will recognize the man speaking in this valedictory volume. The voice and manner are familiar enough that we can almost hear and see him on every page. It recalls his previous literary efforts (he has written seven books with longtime collaborator Mark Salter), but it also ventures deeper into our collective memories of McCain and his world — as we prepare to part with both.
The Restless Wave is a plain-spoken and often painful personal accounting; a résumé of a contentious career and a defense of controversial political decisions. It may inspire or enrage. But it is less an effort to provoke such conflicting responses than a paean to McCain’s idea of America.
McCain wants to celebrate the America he knew — or perhaps only imagined — in the full flower of its global pre-eminence. Call it heritage or call it myth, it is a concept of America that McCain clearly feels he personifies, and one he senses is passing even as he reaches the end of his own life.
At 81, McCain is battling the same kind of brain cancer that claimed his Senate friend and frequent antagonist Ted Kennedy. McCain knows the odds and even notes that he may not live to see this book published.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure announce that our two companies have reached an agreement to come together to form a new company – one that will deliver lower prices, better service — using T-Mobile’s 600 MHz and Sprint’s 2500 MHz Spectrum.
Comments to follow . . . following some more research.