Net Neutrality Update

Pop the champagne, folks, we did it!

UPDATE: Pop the champagne, folks, we did it!

‘The Senate today voted 52-47 to disapprove the FCC’s recent order replacing 2015’s net neutrality rules, a pleasant surprise for internet advocates and consumers throughout the country.’ – TechCrunch.

Now we’ve got to get this thing through the House of Representatives, and then, somehow, get it signed by Trump. And we have to do it before this Congressional session ends in December, or we start all over again.

Celebrate today. This is a win. But get ready to make some noise tomorrow. We aren’t done yet.


Today is the vote to save net neutrality. If it passes in the Senate, it’ll go to the House.

@fightfortheftr: “BREAKING: Republican Senators @lisamurkowski and @SenJohnKennedy have bravely stood up to special interests to side with the vast majority of voters from across the political spectrum and have voted YES on motion to proceed to a vote to restore #NetNeutrality. Final vote soon!”

@SenMarkey: “The motion to proceed on my resolution to save #NetNeutrality just passed. The final vote will be around 3 PM ET. Keep making your voices heard on the phones and online! Be a part of history.”

That’s about noon PST, folks. Stay tuned.

Articles

So about that ‘Lucifer’ finale. Spoilers, y’all.

Obviously we’re going to talk about the Lucifer finale, because it was awesome, and Fox just canceled the show, and it ended on a cliffhanger, and that is some serious BS.

Obviously we’re going to talk about the Lucifer finale, because it was awesome, and Fox just canceled the show, and it ended on a cliffhanger, and that is some serious BS.

Lucifer is based on an objectively silly premise. “He’s the actual Devil. She’s an LA cop. They fight crime!” When I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes so hard I pulled a muscle. Particularly after finding out it was supposed to be based on the Neil Gaiman comics, which I read about a hundred years ago and barely remember, but definitely didn’t involve an LA cop or any zany crime-solving shenanigans.

But then the pilot leaked and it was a pretty boring night so we checked it out, and you guys. This show. It’s hilarious.

Not only is it hilarious, but it’s also more than its silly premise suggests. Our protagonists are deeply flawed characters who are very human, for all their celestial origins. Lucifer is a frequently-skeevy narcissist with literally all of the daddy issues. Amenadiel is a sanctimonious, prideful prick. Mazikeen is a straight-up sociopath.

And while the show occasionally showed us a Lucifer who was only a charming rogue, or an Amenadiel with a hint of compassion, or a softer side to Mazikeen, in the first season, these hints were more the exception to the rule. The show made a point of showing us that these characters were assholes, but that there might be something worthwhile in them, and then put them all on a redemptive arc.

The redemption story is a pretty tried-and-true trope in writing. I can’t be bothered to go Google it at the moment, but I’m pretty sure the redemption story is one of the most basic and oldest narrative arcs in storytelling. Your character is a flawed asshole, damned, possibly even actually evil. Trials are faced. The character grows and becomes something more decent. We’ve been telling this story for thousands of years.

We’ve been telling it for so long that it’s basically trotted out in shorthand these days. We don’t often get to see the work and effort and trauma a character has to face to achieve redemption, particularly not in a prime time, network TV show. And we don’t often get a character so flawed as Lucifer (and Amenadiel and Mazikeen) to work with.

So it was pretty wild to sit down to “LA cop + actual Devil = zany crime-solving shenanigans” on prime time network TV and get… Lucifer.

One of the stand-out characters on the show is Dr. Linda, a therapist we meet in season one. Lucifer starts seeing her to work on his entire magazine stand of issues. This is often played for laughs, and you’d be forgiven for missing what’s going on here: actual therapy. Lucifer grows through these sessions. Dr. Linda’s advice is often cast as a punchline, but by the end of any given episode or story arc, she’s proven right, and Lucifer learns. The character grows.

By the end of season three Dr. Linda is gently shepherding all three celestials through their various flaws and traumas, and with her help, they’re becoming better people.

Plot forces these characters through other trials, and they face them, together. They triumph. They grow. They, step by painful, difficult step, redeem themselves.

This show tackles issues of family, betrayal, love, trauma, and shows its characters a path through and forward, and it does that while winking and laughing and telling you this is all a punchline. It’s just a joke. It’s only meant to be funny. That’s why season three’s whole story arc was about the weighty implications of free will and self-determination vs. divine will and predestined fate. Because it’s a joke. Right?

One of the main themes this season is the idea that you can’t escape “God’s will,” that your fate is set in stone, that you are what you are and there’s no other way you can be. This is set against the idea that these characters are all already becoming more and better than they were. The easy way out of this story arc would be to tie a tidy bow on the idea that “God” was putting the characters through all this hardship to make them better, but the show stepped away from that.

Lucifer said, no. It’s on you. It’s not carved in stone and you can be better, but it’s up to you to do that. You judge yourself. You make of yourself what you want. And the characters actually got to learn that, and make better people of themselves. Or start to, anyway.

Sure, the show wasn’t perfect. Season three got a bit messy plot- and theme-wise, and Chloe Decker has been grossly under-served as a character. She’s barely a character at all – Decker is arguably the least interesting and least developed character on the show and that absolutely needs to change if the show finds a new network.

Sometimes Lucifer spends too much time on the joke and not enough on the serious stuff, which is a detriment, because the serious stuff is where this show shines. I mean, that finale. Those last few minutes with the whole Lucifer vs. Cain fight scene? Holy crap. That was amazing.

And they really need to fix that makeup for the “Devil face” thing. Ug. I mean, it works in blurred flashes and low light tolerably, but on the rare occasion when you actually get to see it dead on in good light, it’s just corny as hell. Like, “Oh, the Devil is Freddy Krueger. Great. That hasn’t been scary since I was 10.” That has to get fixed because Tom Ellis is too good at doing scary to be saddled with that crap make-up job.

Another thing about Lucifer is the actors – they are way, way better than “LA cop + actual Devil = zany crime-solving shenanigans.” Tom Ellis, Kevin Alejandro, and Rachel Harris are standouts in a standout cast.

Lucifer deserves more time. It should, bare minimum, get a fourth season to put a bow on things, but I think there’s enough here for two-three more seasons, to wrap things up for each character.

I think Netflix and Lucifer could really do some favors for each other here. Netflix could get a good series show, and it would be pretty easy to turn Lucifer into 13-episode binge-able arcs.

(I think 13-episode binge-able arcs would actually dramatically improve the show’s handful of storytelling flaws. Not everything needs to be a full 20+ episode season, TV people.)

Plus, the show wrapped up on a huge – although patently obvious – cliffhanger: Chloe finding out all of Lucifer’s BS was actually true. (We totally knew that was going to be the cliffhanger heading in.) I’m pretty annoyed that we don’t get to see how that plays out.

Net neutrality, healthcare, Ta-Nehisi Coates & Kanye, David Foster Wallace, & Disney songs

Reminder: This Wednesday, May 16, is the Senate net neutrality vote. Be sure you’ve contacted your senators to ask them about voting to save net neutrality.

Reminder: This Wednesday, May 16, is the Senate net neutrality vote. Be sure you’ve contacted your senators to ask them about voting to save net neutrality. Particularly if your senators are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) or John Kennedy (R-LA) – they seem to be on the fence and might be inclined to vote for saving net neutrality.

5 Things to Read Today

For more information about the fight to save net neutrality, visit BattleForTheNet.com and EFF.org.

Vaping, incels, climate change, health care pricing, & free speech & white supremacists

Today’s articles cover vaping, incels, climate change, health care pricing, and free speech and white supremacists, so it’s a pretty heavy reading list.

Did you catch last night’s episode of Riverdale? Because it was amaaaazing. And why was it amaaaazing? Because Cheryl, y’all. That girl is my hero. I want to be Cheryl when I grow up.

Anyway, today’s articles cover vaping, incels, climate change, health care pricing, and free speech and white supremacists, so it’s a pretty heavy reading list. Also, you might want to check out the post I did about the Michael Avenatti/Michael Cohen/slush fund story, because I’m still updating it with new articles.

Southern Poverty Law Center: Weekend Read: For incels, it’s not about sex. It’s about women.
“Incel” is shorthand for “involuntarily celibate,” and the term is used by a community of mostly male, mostly straight, mostly white men who congregate in the seedier crapholes of the internet to hate women together. They can’t get laid and they’re mad about it. “Mad” as in “angry,” and “mad” as in “insane.” Those who aren’t actively killing women already are cheering on the ones who do.

Vox: What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like
All current “save us from climate change” scenarios rely on heavy use of an industry that doesn’t actually exist yet: BECCS, or bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration. That is, burning plants to create energy while capturing the carbon that would create and hiding it somewhere it can’t hurt anything, like burying it underground. We’re well past the point of no return, and achieving any future where we’re not roasting-then-freezing to death while being relentlessly battered by catastrophic storm after catastrophic storm involves radical changes in lifestyle and policy that aren’t actually likely to happen. So, um. Yeah. Get ready to get your Mad Max on, folks.

The New Yorker: The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul
This is a great read about vaping (and more specifically, vaping with the Juul, a new personal vaporizer product). It underlines the “moral panic” components of the anti-vaping sector, talks reasonably about the (sadly minimal) science, possibly undersells the dangers of nicotine a smidge, and paints a portrait of young people vaping like it’s made of orgasms. Kids, if you’re vaping this much I think you might be doing it wrong. Maybe take it down a notch. Or, considering that climate change article, maybe don’t.

Vox: The absurdity of American health care pricing, in one chart
This one’s a short read, but let me sum it up: health care pricing is bullshit, folks. We’re getting screwed and someone should regulate this crap.

GQ: How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists
“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.” – H. L. Mencken.

I’m not going to pretend to know an answer here, but I will say that I’m pretty sure hate speech laws like the EU uses isn’t it. I think fixing America’s nazi/white supremacist problem probably begins with education.

Red Alert for Net Neutrality

The FCC voted to kill net neutrality and let ISPs like Comcast and Verizon ruin the Internet with throttling, censorship, and new fees. But the Senate is about to vote on a resolution to overrule them and save the Internet using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Via BattleForTheNet.com, “The FCC voted to kill net neutrality and let ISPs like Comcast and Verizon ruin the Internet with throttling, censorship, and new fees. But the Senate is about to vote on a resolution to overrule them and save the Internet using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). We only need one more vote to win. Write your lawmakers now!”

Use CallYourRep.co to make a phone call to your senator. Be polite, be brief, tell them you’re a constituent, and ask how they’re voting on net neutrality. If they’re voting to save it, thank them. If they aren’t, tell them you support net neutrality and a free and open internet and ask them to change their vote.

Phone calls work best. Everything else, except for an actual, through-the-mail letter, is more likely to be ignored or discounted. If at all possible, make the phone call. If you can’t, visit BattleForTheNet.com to write an email and join the protest in other ways.

Michael Avenatti ties Michael Cohen to shady LLC & payments from Russian oligarchs

On May 8, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, dropped a link to documents that showed that Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer who arranged hush money payments to Daniels, had been funneling money from a Russian oligarch and various companies through his LLC.

On May 8, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, dropped a link to documents that showed that Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer who arranged hush money payments to Daniels, had been funneling money from a Russian oligarch and various companies through his LLC. Avenatti claims this is how Cohen was paid back for paying off Daniels.

Avenatti’s documents appear to be SARs from a bank, and seem to outline a pay-to-play scandal between the Trump administration and various companies, as well.

Resources from May 8

Resources from May 9

Resources from May 10

Featured Photo: Michael Cohen, by IowaPolitics.com. (Source & licensing.)

SSL certificates are the actual Devil

A couple of years ago Google started downranking websites that weren’t using https protocol. So, if you wanted your website to show up well in Google Search, you needed to buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website.

A couple of years ago Google started downranking websites that weren’t using https protocol. So, if you wanted your website to show up well in Google Search, you needed to buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website.

This is, in my opinion, when building websites stopped being fun.

I have never not had this process be a giant BS hassle. I’m currently fighting with one right now and honestly. It’s enough to make me Amish.

5 Things to Read Today