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December 4, 2017


Repealing Net Neutrality would allow giant chain media to work in concert with internet conglomerates to limit access to independent, alternative, and local news sites, according to LION Publishers.

The FCC is expected to vote on repealing Net Neutrality on Dec. 14.

“Giving a clear go-ahead for a tilted playing field would be the result if the Federal Communications Commission tosses out Net Neutrality,” said Dylan Smith, LION’s chairman and the publisher of TucsonSentinel.com.

Local Independent Online News Publishers is a national nonprofit organization with more than 180 members operating locally focused news sites in 42 states. The group issued a statement on Monday expressing deep concern about the FCC’s proposal to scrap Net Neutrality rules.

“Access to information and local journalism that holds government and other powerful institutions accountable is essential to a functioning democracy, economic well-being, and human rights,” said LION Executive Director Matt DeRienzo. “These pillars are already under severe strain from the dominance of a handful of large tech platforms, and the rapid consolidation of the newspaper and broadcasting industry under the control of a few enormous corporate chains.”

Local independent online news sites are springing up all over the country to fill gaps in local journalism, but they rely on an Internet based on a level playing field for all publishers and readers, regardless of size or resources.

If Net Neutrality goes away, big Internet and wireless providers will be able to charge individual publishers for levels of speed and access, a scenario in which a handful of big companies with deep pockets could squeeze out the kind of small, independent news publishers who are part of LION. This would severely limit citizens’ access to information and could be devastating to local news, which big publishers have whittled to the barest of bones.

Essentially, content from MegaChainNews or CorporateInterestNetwork would be served up as fast as possible, if those corporations paid up. Smaller publishers — including especially local indie outlets — would be shoved aside into a “slow lane.” With studies showing that many readers will abandon slow-loading pages, that means news that isn’t backed by the deepest of pockets would be far less likely to reach the eyes and ears of those who would be purposefully led toward more lowest-common-denominator clickbait.

“The FCC’s proposal would destroy the Internet as we know it by allowing IPSs to limit or block content,” said Charlotte-Anne Lucas, director of NOWCastSA in San Antonio and a founding member of LION’s Board of Directors. “Our news organization streams government meetings and public events, giving people greater access to government. Scuttling the principles of Net Neutrality would undermine our very democracy by allowing cable, phone and other Internet connector companies to throttle our content and limit the public’s access to government.”

“As a former ISP owner and telecom executive, I concur with the need to have the FCC prevent higher, faster, better service being provided solely to online media that pays huge extra tolls to telecom companies,” said Joe Hyde, the publisher of San Angelo LIVE! in Texas and a member of LION Publishers. “The companies that run the Internet backbone and provide direct customer connections have the ability on the tech end to throttle our small sites — which they can do in an overall or individually targeted way — making real local news less accessible than traffic for a chain media property that pays them. And that would stifle both future innovation and our ability to build sustainable, lasting local news organizations.”

“If you don’t like dealing with your cable company or picking a service package for your cell phone today, imagine what it would be like if all of your Internet activities were affected by what giant media companies were willing to pay extra for, behind the scenes,” Hyde said. “Without Net Neutrality, that’ll be what we all get.”

Added Teresa Wippel, publisher of the My Neighborhood News Network just north of Seattle and a member of LION’s Board of Directors: “This proposal threatens the very nature of open online access to vital news that in many communities is citizens’ only source of information. Any proposal that slows down or blocks to access to news content that people need to become fully informed citizens is unacceptable.”

Internet commerce has grown by leaps and bounds in large part because it has been an equal playing field. ISPs certainly should be able to base their rates on the quantity of data being transmitted, but they should not be in the business of setting rates based on the types of content that they convey to readers, viewers and users. They certainly should not be able to provide favored status to those content creators and data services who pay them more. The proposal to eliminate Net Neutrality rules would create an opaque layer of market manipulation that will serve to enrich the few at the expense of many, and undermine the free flow of news and information that is essential to our democratic society.

Matt DeRienzo
Special to KyForward

Matt DeRienzo is executive director of Local Online Independent News Publishers

 

November 25, 2017

GUEST EDITORIAL

I am conflicted about the newly adopted charter schools law for which regulations are now being promulgated by the Kentucky Department of Education.

William H. McCann, Jr. a playwright, poet, editor, and publisher whose edits the Kentucky Theatre Yearbook. He lives near Corinth.William H. McCann, Jr. a playwright, poet, editor, and publisher whose edits the Kentucky Theatre Yearbook. He lives near Corinth.Studies have shown that charter schools are no better than the public schools with which they compete. But since charter schools are paid for out of state education coffers the result is that charter schools will cause the Kentucky elementary-secondary schools financial pie to be cut into smaller pieces. Under such circumstances almost certainly school districts will reduce spending on the ‘frills’—band and orchestras, theatre and the fine arts.

I am passionate about the arts and believe that only by encouraging arts-based charter schools can public school arts programs be saved/expanded. As counterintuitive as it may seem those who support the arts should help start one or more charter schools that are based on an arts curriculum and—just as importantly– that the Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission assist such charter schools.

In the pre-charter schools age that is coming to an end the common reason for reducing programming in the arts is “budgetary cuts.” Yet, two of Kentucky’s most effective and successful public schools are YPAS (Youth Performing Arts School) in Louisville and Lexington’s SCAPA (School for Creative and Performing Arts). Year in and year out these schools are among our best. Their students are always among those who attend the Governor’s School for Arts.

After graduation many will go to Juilliard, to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, to top-ranked colleges and universities in this country and abroad; it is arts training that is at the heart of their graduates’ success.

So now, along come charter schools whose budgets will come directly from public school budgets. And the public school boards—with less money for academic programs—will almost certainly reduce spending on the arts; only if individual student artists consistently get higher grades than ‘regular’ students might school boards reinvest in the arts.

Consequently, one response to such ‘good’ decisions by school boards is to open charter schools to directly compete with the art-starved districts which claim they “cannot afford” the arts. When arts charter schools succeed perhaps districts will discover how important arts programming can be to their own success.

Not far from where I live is the long-abandoned Mason Corinth School on US 25 in Grant County. Built in the 1930s the school it would require extensive renovation. But once fixed up its central location should attract students from Grant, Harrison, Owen, Pendleton and perhaps other northern counties. More such abandoned schools are no doubt to be found around Kentucky.

However, the biggest obstacle to arts schools are facilities. As academic subjects such as science require laboratory space and classrooms, so arts schools require stages, practice rooms, and studios not to mention computers, science labs, and the other necessities. Consequently, charter schools that repurpose previous public school facilities should be made eligible for funding from the School Facilities Construction Commission.

The Commission, headed by Chelsey Bizzle and headquartered in Frankfort, is the agency of state government which sells bonds in support of school facility construction and technology programs. It is this commission, who if its mission and regulations are changed, can also support the renovation and repurposing of former public schools as charter schools.

Charter schools will, soon be opening in Kentucky. The inevitable results of such schools will be cuts to arts programming. One way to fight such arts cuts is through successful arts-based charter schools. If school boards can be convinced—by the successes of arts charter school students—that the arts are a way for their students to succeed then school boards may expand their own arts programming. But charter arts schools must lead the way.

 

November 27, 2017

Sexual Abuse, Even To A Child

By Dr. Glenn Mollette

I was sexually assaulted when I was about twelve years old. Several of us boys from elementary school attended the summer 4-H camp.  Overall it was a great time. We had craft classes, volleyball, badminton, good food, dancing at night, vesper services all surrounded by the quiet Appalachian mountains.

One morning a classmate was exclaiming to a couple of us guys that some man had climbed into bed with him. What he was telling us, in a frightened tone, did not sound good to a group of twelve year old ears. I don't know if he talked to anybody else and we went on with the activities of the day.

Sometime in the early morning hours of the following night I was awakened with two huge hairy arms around me and two hands on my genitals. I had been dead asleep. Was I dreaming? Was this a nightmare? Yes, it was a nightmare for certain.

Many of us at camp shared bunks with classmates. A friend of mine was probably only a foot away from me in the same bunk. The night was so dead silent. The only sound was this strange man breathing in my ear as he molested me.

Becoming fully awake I started making sounds like we sometimes make when we are trying to wake ourselves up from a nightmare. It was somewhat of a humming sound. I hoped I could wake my classmate but it wasn't working. I was only about 5'5 at the time but that was tall for a sixth grader. I began pushing backwards as hard as I could as I worked to get this guy out of the bed, as my volume increased. He finally gave up and got out of the bed. Unbeknownst to me, he may have gone to someone else's bed.

The next morning I told one of the camp leaders about what had happened. The response I got was, "Yes, on these cold nights, Mr. John Doe is known to get into the beds with the boys to get warm." I didn't know what to say. I saw the man walking around the camp the rest of the week and he never got close to me again.

I wonder how many little boys Mr. John Doe not only molested that week but the entire summer and throughout his lifetime. I suspect the numbers would be startling. Even one is too many.

Little children often don't say anything. Like most, I was afraid to say anymore. I was afraid that I had done something wrong or would be punished, scolded or derided. I was afraid that my parents would never let me go to camp again if I told them or that they might be angry with me for some reason. This is why child abusers get by with so much. The abuser knows that children are easy to victimize.

Most people have experienced some kind of crap in life. We try to deal with it, learn from it and impart our wisdom to others. We try to get over it and emotionally/spiritually try to heal. Most of the time I never think about that event, but here I am writing about it today. This just goes to show what such events do to us and how they are seared into our minds. Often, they are buried beneath the deepest parts of our brains but then they surface.
Protect your children. Warn them about predators. Tell them what is off limits. Other people have no business ever touching them and certainly nowhere close to their private parts.

Sadly, many little children are abused and traumatized at young ages and often never get over it or get help. Keep the conversations going with your children and grandchildren. Be their parent and talk to them about everything. Don't sit in judgment or get religious. Just be loving, talk to them about life and listen a lot.

I was clueless as a child what a pedophile was or that men existed who got off on little boys. About the only thing I knew at that age was I loved life, sports and music. I was clueless about the real depravity of some human beings and that some adults are base enough to do anything, even to a child.


Originally from Martin County, Ky. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of twelve books.

He is read in all fifty states.

READ HIS NEW BOOK - UNCOMMON SENSE

Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   Learn more at www.glennmollette.com