Net Neutrality set for key vote

The federal government is poised to define how it regulates Internet access, with the long-awaited FCC vote on Net Neutrality set for Thursday.  The Hill reports on some “11th-hour drama” regarding potential rule changes, but the proposals announced last month – treating broadband providers like public utilities – are expected to pass.

The Wall Street Journal, however, reports that “industry jostling” means the FCC’s vote “won’t end the debate.”

What is net neutrality and what does it mean to me? USA Today

* Who will net neutrality rules cover?Forbes

* What you need to know FreePress

Or, of course, if you need a primer, there’s this from last year. Out of date a bit, but still hilarious…

(YouTube/HBO)

* POLITICS * Speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference – CPAC – get under way on Thursday. Newsweek says for Conservatives, it’s “Burning Man meets the Super Bowl.” A gaggle of potential Republican presidential candidates will use the opportunity to appeal to the younger, libertarian-skewed gathering.

Two prominent GOP-ers who’ve chosen to skip CPAC are John Boehner and Mitch McConnell – the apparently distant leaders of the House and Senate respectively – as uncertainty over the immediate future of the Department of Homeland Security bounces between the chambers; McConnell attempting to break the impasse only for Boehner to pull his best Marshawn Lynch impression, waiting for the senate to act.

(YouTube/Associated Press)

An important vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected on Thursday afternoon, which would advance the confirmation of the proposed new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch Her nomination is apparently still in the balance, despite a big endorsement from police chiefs. Politico writes:

“Conservatives are urging the Senate to reject her. Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) penned an op-ed in POLITICO demanding that his party do everything possible to reject Lynch’s bid for attorney general. And more than 50 House lawmakers called on senators who sit on the Judiciary Committee to oppose her nomination, alleging in a letter this week that Lynch has “demonstrated an unwillingness to depart from the politicization of justice we have seen from Eric Holder.”

In potential Democratic presidential politics, The Washington Post reports that the Clinton Foundation “accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration.”

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Foundation would reconsider its policy on overseas donations if Secretary Clinton was to run for President.

* WORLD * Three men living in Brooklyn were arrested in connection with plotting to aid ISIS. One of the men, an Uzbek national, had reportedly spoken about terror attacks, including assassinating President Obama. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the threat of lone wolf attacks inside the US was “real”. Meanwhile FBI Director James Comey said in a speech to the National Association of Attorneys General that extremists “exist in all 50 states.”

The relationship between the White House and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is growing increasingly tense ahead of next week’s address to Congress. National Security adviser Susan Rice warned that Netanyahu’s visit was “destructive to the fabric of the relationship”. She told PBS: “We want the relationship between the United States and Israel to be unquestionably strong, immutable… regardless of which party may be in charge in either country.”

* BUSINESS * Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers that a single, “cyber-armageddon”-type attack on US infrastructure is “less likely than a succession of costly computer attacks.” So we’ve got that going for us.

* CULTURE * Madonna took a tumble at the Brit Awards, apparently breaking only the Internet. Time looks at five other times she has “bounced back,” while the Material Girl also just happens to be the cover story in this week’s Rolling Stone.

* MEDIA * A compelling long read by aviation writer Jeff Wise in the current issue of New York magazine looks at his theories on the disappearance of MH370 and his appearances on CNN as part of their on-air “expert pool” during the network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the missing airliner.

There was no intro course on how to be a cable-news expert. The Town Car would show up to take me to the studio, I’d sign in with reception, a guest-greeter would take me to makeup, I’d hang out in the greenroom, the sound guy would rig me with a mike and an earpiece, a producer would lead me onto the set, I’d plug in and sit in the seat, a producer would tell me what camera to look at during the introduction, we’d come back from break, the anchor would read the introduction to the story and then ask me a question or maybe two, I’d answer, then we’d go to break, I would unplug, wipe off my makeup, and take the car 43 blocks back uptown. Then a couple of hours later, I’d do it again. I was spending 18 hours a day doing six minutes of talking.

and later:

..the story ended the way most news stories do: We just stopped talking about it.

Seriously – have a read of this fascinating piece. It’s well worth your time.

Also in aviation-related news, three Al Jazeera journalists were reportedly arrested on suspicion of flying a drone over Paris tourist attractions.

* SPORTS * As football continues to digest Fifa’s decision to switch the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the BBC‘s Dan Roan writing that the controversy “could tear the game apart.”

In short, expect the rifts and divisions that already blight football to be widened like never before, perhaps beyond repair, as the fall-out from Fifa’s scandal-ridden and bungled bidding process continues.

Finally, two coaches of whom much is expected in their coming seasons with new teams held their first team meetings, in Arizona and Ann Arbor.

ESPN reports that “Pitcher Jason Hammel heard the speech for the first time in six years, as he played for [Joe] Maddon in Tampa Bay from 2006 to 2008. He says it hasn’t changed.”

Meanwhile, according to Jim Harbaugh: “It’s like your birthday or New Year’s or Thanksgiving,” he added. “It’s like Christmas. It’s like a family reunion. It’s all of those things, all rolled in one. It’s happening. It’s like the first day of school — you lay your clothes out the night before, pack your lunchbox tight and you head to school.”

 

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