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First POST: Impossibles

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 26 2015


  • This morning the FCC is voting to reclassify broadband service under Title II of the Communications Act. Public Knowledge's Harold Feld sums up the significance of this event:

    Reclassification was a thing that should not be possible, and which therefore nobody but a handful of us believed could happen. It did not happen because some powerful person or special interest wanted it. It did not happen because John Oliver made a funny video. It happened because hundreds of lawyers, grassroots organizers, and policy advocates persuaded over 4 million people to stand up for their rights and demand that the government act to protect them from the unrestrained corporate power of broadband access providers. It shows — to everyone’s surprise — that government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth.

  • Here's a somewhat cheesy but proud video from Fight for the Future recounting how those grassroots organizers won.

  • And here's David Karp, founder of Tumblr, explaining how he couldn't have created the platform without net neutrality.

  • There may not be a primary battle for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but the mayoral runoff election in Chicago - triggered Tuesday by incumbent Rahm Emanuel's failure to get 50 percent of the vote - looks like it is going to serve as a proxy, with netroots progressives and unions on one side backing Emanuel's challenger Chuy Garcia, and high finance and the Democratic establishment backing Emanuel. This Washington Post piece by Sean Sullivan about the race (from a week ago) helps set the scene.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo, who once promised that his would be the "most transparent and accountable in history" has begun deleting all emails more than 90 days old from the accounts of rank-and-file state workers, Jimmy Vielkind reports for Capital NY.

  • New York Times personal tech columnist Farhad Manjoo takes a close look at why Vivek Wadhwa's advocacy for women in tech backfired on him. Sarah Szalavitz, a design executive, sums it up well: “I think his intentions are good, but his message and his voice are actually damaging women. It has nothing to do with his gender or his ethnic identity, but what he’s saying and how he’s saying it.”

  • More than 300 civic hackers showed up for Open Data Day DC 2015, this past weekend, despite awful weather, reports Lalita Clozel for

  • New on techPresident, on civic tech and engagement: Matt Leighninger, of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, on why we need a "Yelp for civic engagement" to get the 21st century democracy we want.