4 years after the FCC revoked net neutrality, the internet is better than ever

Exactly four years ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed Internet regulations known as net neutrality, which forced Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all content identically in terms of, say, download and streaming speeds. Since popular policies were created during the Obama administration and stripped during President Donald Trump’s term, its demise was treated as the end of the Internet as we know it by panicked #resistance liberals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predictably said the Republican attack on net neutrality was an attack on democracy itself. (What not?)

The condition net neutrality was conceived in 2006 by law professor Tim Wu; his big idea was that the government needed the power to limit the ability of ISPs to offer different levels of service to different customers. “Throughout the 2000s and into the late Obama years, Wu warned that without rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all traffic and content equally, the Internet as we had come to know it would cease to exist,” he wrote. RodeElizabeth Nolan Brown, summarizing Wu’s position. “Large companies would create a digital highway for wealthy users and content providers, while average people would suffer from slow service and limited access.”

The fact that the Internet has worked for years with minimal government intervention and never produced such a two-tier system didn’t stop Wu, and the Obama administration eventually codified net neutrality under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. (Wu now serves as Technology Policy Advisor to the Biden Administration). When then-FCC chairman Ajit Pai overturned the policy on December 14, 2017, Democratic policymakers and pundits widely expected the end to be near.

Again, that was four years ago. Today, the internet is still here and still functioning properly. Expectations that ISPs would engage in widespread and inappropriate discrimination were not met. Rather, the internet is basically better and faster for everyone than it was when net neutrality ended – in fact, it’s better and faster than ever before.

Nathan Leamer, a former advisor to Pai and director of current public affairs, pointed out on Tuesday that the little folks at net neutrality have never recanted their bleak predictions.

His Twitter thread contained fascinating examples. The front page of CNN.com declared “the end of the Internet as we know it” under a breaking news tab: in other words, this was a news story, rather than an opinion piece.

Senate Democrats made an equally extreme claim: that without net neutrality, the Internet would load one word at a time.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. None of them did. Enemies of net neutrality were clearly right that the internet didn’t need the government to save it, and without federal leadership and regulation, everything is fine.

Boston University’s mandatory Title IX training forces participants to affirm that they would intervene in a situation where one person compliments another person’s spouse or family, even if the comment leads to smiles and laughter. According to The Washington Free Beacon:

Several scenarios involved “bystander intervention,” the idea that spectators should avoid harassment by inserting themselves into potentially inappropriate encounters. In one vignette, an Asian woman is told that her white husband is “handsome” and that “half-Asian babies are the cutest.” When asked ‘what should you do’, students and teachers had to select ‘intervene’ to continue through the training. Although the woman “smiled” at the compliment, the training explains, “she may still have felt uneasy” about comments about “her race, her husband’s appearance, or the prospect of having children” herself.

The training also required students and teachers to confirm that people “rarely” make false accusations. “You may be surprised to learn that false reports are rare, and frivolous claims are almost non-existent,” the training says. “Sometimes” was not an acceptable answer, although one study found that as many as two-thirds of hate crime allegations were found to be false.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, which has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), works very well against the ommicron variant, according to new research from the company. “We believe that, if authorized or approved, this potential treatment could be a critical tool to help contain the pandemic,” Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said in a statement.

According to The New York Times:

Last month, Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve the pill, known as Paxlovid, based on a preliminary set of data. The new results will no doubt bolster the company’s application, which could mean Americans infected with the virus will have access to the Pill within weeks.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Pfizer said that when administered within three days of the onset of symptoms, Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent. When given within five days, the risk was reduced almost as much, to 88 percent.

The results, based on an analysis of 2,246 unvaccinated volunteers at high risk for serious disease, are broadly consistent with the company’s first, smaller analysis of the clinical trial, released last month.

Pfizer said 0.7 percent of patients who received Paxlovid were hospitalized within 28 days of participating in the study, and no one died. In contrast, 6.5 percent of patients who received a placebo were hospitalized or died.

Maybe the FDA can act a little faster, please?

  • twitch suspended two popular streamers – Hasan and Vaush, a self-proclaimed “libertarian socialist” – for using the word cracker during a flow. The platform considered this a racist statement.
  • A QAnon supporter was jailed for 28 months for making death threats against Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
  • The Air Force fired 27 soldiers who refused to be vaccinated.
  • Newark, New Jersey, wants to make it illegal to feed the homeless.

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