Friday, February 26, 2016

Last Call For Free Nerdland

I admit it's been a while since I've groused about MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry having GOP talking heads on her show to take potshots at President Obama, but that's in part due to the fact Harris's weekend morning news show has been MIA for weeks now, pre-empted by political primary coverage...without her on-air at all.

Melissa Harris-Perry said she was refusing to go on the MSNBC show she hosts this Saturday, following several weeks of pre-emptions and what she described as a loss of editorial control. 
In an email sent to people she works with this week, which was obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Harris-Perry said that her show had effectively been taken away from her and that she felt “worthless” in the eyes of NBC News executives. 
“Here is the reality: Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season,” she wrote. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.” 
In a phone interview, Ms. Harris-Perry confirmed she would not appear on the show this weekend. She said she had received no word about whether her show, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, had been canceled, but said she was frustrated that her time slot had faced pre-emptions for coverage of the presidential election. She said she had not appeared on the network at all “for weeks” and that she was mostly sidelined during recent election coverage in South Carolina and New Hampshire. (She was asked to return this weekend.) 
In her email, Ms. Harris-Perry wrote that she was not sure if the NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, or Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, were involved in the way her show was handled recently, but she directed blame toward both. 
I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.” 
Ms. Harris-Perry is black, and Mr. Lack and Mr. Griffin are white. In the phone interview on Friday, Ms. Harris-Perry clarified her remarks and said she did not think race played a role in her recent absence from the air. 
“I don’t know if there is a personal racial component,” she said. “I don’t think anyone is doing something mean to me because I’m a black person.” 
An NBC News spokesman said in a statement, “In this exciting and unpredictable presidential primary season, many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including M.H.P. This reaction is really surprising, confusing and disappointing.”

I'm going to say that given the way MSNBC has gone down an ugly path since scrapping basically Everyone Who Wasn't Maddow Or Hayes in the name of political expediency with their new corporate masters at Comcast, that I think MSNBC deliberately provoked a response from Harris-Perry and boy, did they ever get one.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to the show now, but I have to admit that like Maddow, I haven't watched it in months, if not a year or two, other than the occasional clip.  I really don't have any interest in watching soft-pedaled both-sider nonsense on other news channels, so why would I go looking for it actively on MSNBC?

I do wish her luck, however.  Seeing how badly the network treated Joy-Ann Reid was bad enough. But you know what makes me think MSNBC just tried to get her fired by pre-empting her show until she got fed up and left?

MSNBC hiring Rick Tyler, Ted Cruz's recently fired spokesman.  You know, the one Cruz fired this week for telling lies that even Ted Cruz was ashamed of.

The Fetid Whiff Of Desperation

Realizing that Trump rolling to victory on Super Tuesday next week means the nomination is effectively his, both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz launched broadsides against The Donald, resulting in a GOP debate even uglier than the usual garbage fire proceedings have been.

Rubio in particular came out hot, seemingly dumping his opposition research on Trump as he attacked the billionaire on his eponymous university, his business record and his core political beliefs.

Trump, for his part, mostly kept his cool through the two-hour debate in Houston even as he was the focus of relentless attacks from Cruz and Rubio. 
Both Cuban-American senators are trailing Trump badly in the delegate race, and need to do something fast to turn around the race. 
A dozen states and U.S. territories will hold contests on Tuesday in the biggest day of the primary yet. Trump is leading polls in a majority of states, and has dominated the last three contests, in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. 
As a result, Cruz and Rubio were desperate on Thursday to take Trump down a peg. The front-runner, for his part, dished out a series of counter-attacks while repeatedly returning to a singular theme: that he was the one non-politician on the stage who could provide answers for the nation. 
He also largely dialed back his stage presence, seemingly content to run out the clock and protect his lead. 
Rubio had the best attack line of the night while badgering Trump about his plan is to replace ObamaCare. 
Trump responded by repeatedly saying the centerpiece of his plan would be to allow insurers to cross state lines. 
“Now he's the one repeating himself,” the Florida senator said, cracking a big smile as the crowd erupted in cheers and laughter.

Like most bullies, Trump showed that he can dish out the insults, but that he can't take them at all (which is why I'm not too worried about him taking on Hillary or Bernie, they'll smash his mouth a few times and he'll fall apart like he did last night.)  But it was an abysmal affair even by GOP debate standards, with Wolf Blitzer and Hugh Hewitt losing any semblance of control roughly three seconds into the proceedings.

But the line of the night? Sleepy Dr. Godwin!

Can somebody attack me, please,” Carson pleaded at one point.

These guys don't have a chance in hell.

Reach Out And Sue Someone

Here in Bevinstan, if you thought Kentucky was somehow friendly to competition and technology just because our Governor is a "small government libertarian" type, well, you haven't been paying attention.  Because when Louisville got serious about looking into Google fiber to help make the city more attractive as a tech hub, AT&T has now promptly sued the city to keep its stranglehold on the state's internet.

AT&T filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday alleging Louisville lacks jurisdiction to allow high-speed Internet service providers such as Google Fiber to install equipment on its utility poles. 
The telecommunications giant says it welcomes competition in providing Louisville residents with faster online access but that the so-called "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance passed this month is unlike any other in the U.S. and violates state and federal rules. 
"AT&T pursued this course of action because the Metro Council has no jurisdiction to regulate pole attachments," spokesman Joe Burgan said in an interview Thursday. "Because of this, the ordinance is invalid." 
High-speed Internet providers are now allowed to install their new equipment on utility poles owned by AT&T and possibly move other companies' installations thanks to the measure, which Mayor Greg Fischer's office supported as a way to lay the groundwork for Louisville's fiber-optics network. The council approved that measure unanimously over objections from AT&T and Time Warner Cable, which lobbied heavily against the proposal. 
In the 11-page suit, AT&T asks for a federal judge to clarify that the authority to regulate poles are reserved to the Kentucky Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. 
Fischer's office declined to discuss the suit when reached by a reporter, saying it does not comment on pending litigation. Claims made in a lawsuit represent only one side of a case.

Neither AT&T nor Time Warner Cable will stand for Google Fiber coming into Kentucky, and locking down utility infrastructure is how AT&T can effectively make it impossible for Google or any other fiber optic provider to ever do business in an area.  Louisville's OTMR ordinance goes right around that, and AT&T has figured out that unless the law dies screaming in lawsuits, Google fiber will move right on in and put overpriced internet out of business.

Ted Smith, the city's innovation chief, told The Courier-Journal this month that Google Fiber was making "very good progress" in assessing whether it can install a fiber-optics network. If installed, city officials have said it could mean Internet speeds around 20 times faster than conventional broadband that tech entrepreneurs and others have said would bring faster times for downloading material, streaming movies, gaming and other activities.

20 times better for the same price?  You'd better believe AT&T will do everything they can to crush that utility pole ordinance.  There's a reason why America has the most overpriced, least competitive and outright oligarchical internet system in the industrialized world, folks, and it's because big companies like AT&T own so much utility infrastructure.

If this ordinance stays on the books, they are done, and they know it.


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