Word comes from Speaker Pelosi's office that she and Committee on House Administration chair Robert Brady are launching a program to drive up diversity on the Hill, so that someone watching C-SPAN hearings at home doesn't always see such a sea of monochromatic see of faces up on the dais. Harry Reid started something similar on the Senate side a few years back. And while statistics mustn't be kept on the sacred black box that is the Senate, reporting suggests that it's working.
A commentator on NPR's Morning Edition offered that Obama's presidential memo on LGBT hospital visitation rights, enforced through hospitals' taking of federal Medicare and Medicaid monies, wouldn't have much impact in New York, where it's already standard practice. The impact will be felt more, is the implication, in places like Florida, where Janice Langbehn was denied the right to see her partner of 18 years in a Miami hospital after she collapsed with an aneurysm. But that seems to fail to consider the psychological impact of Obama's visitation order even where there aren't policy ones.
In the wake of the FCC v. Comcastdecision earlier this week, a few possible paths forward on net neutrality opened up. Jack Balkin had a good rundown of them here. One option was for the FCC to claw back the regulatory jurisdiction that it gave away in 2002 by reclassifying broadband as a communications service. Another was the idea of having Congress expand the FCC's mandate to spell out its claim over broadband Internet. (There was waiting on the Supreme Court to overturn the D.C. Circuit, but that hasn't gotten much attention.)
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, left. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court dropped a major decision that calls into question the Federal Communications Commission's jurisdiction over the Internet. The case in question had to do with the FCC's 2008 reprimand of Comcast when the cable company throttled its customers' use of the peer-to-peer file-sharing software BitTorrent.
What the court rejected was the argument that the FCC has the power to regulate the networks that together make up the Internet under what's called "ancillary authority" extrapolated from the powers expressly granted to the FCC by Congress.
Harvard's Jon Zittrain is out with his critique of the iPad. If you've followed Zittrain's work at all over the years, then you likely won't be surprised. He's long been sounding the alarm that technological development is trending away from the wild and wooly Web. But here Zittrain nicely frames the essential truth that the iPad isn't the tablet computer many of us have been waiting for. Instead, the iPad is much more akin to one "big iPhone."