Nancy Scola

Nancy Scola is a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in Science Progress, Politics Magazine, AlterNet, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Recent Articles

A Tea Party Hit on Net Neutrality

The right gives its anti-Net-neutrality agenda a formal hearing.

Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, and his iPad
In that genre of political theater that is a political debate on what is already a foregone conclusion, yesterday's high-profile hearing on Net neutrality was a flop by almost any measure. The House Energy and Commerce Committee gathered its technology subcommittee to give a final airing to a resolution of disapproval, introduced by Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, that would annul the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to extend a modest proposal enforcing open transmission of Internet traffic by network providers. Walden's hearing was an attempt to make seem sensible the argument that requiring Internet service providers not to discriminate against websites or applications based on, say, whether they're Comcast's video service or Netflix's or Joe's Start-Up Streaming would destroy the Internet economy, leaving no incentive for the people who operate networks. That argument misfired, though, with the testimony of Tom DeRiggi, the owner of RapidDSL, a small...

Getting Sheened at the Ballot Box

Charlie Sheen is deserving of our attention. Okay, not the actor, exactly, but the nuances of his latest bout of woe. As the good folks at TMZ report, Warner Bros. has finally booted Sheen from "Two and a Half Men" for a litany of offenses, but in particular for ultimately breaking a provision in his contract that makes him fireable for offenses that, in the opinion of the producer, constitute "moral turpitude." Admitting to the abuse of several women over the years seems to have been permissible behavior, but the same can't be said for indulging publicly in a cocaine addiction (not to mention bad mouthing your show runner and ranting in public about tiger blood). The line of turpitudinous, she's a fuzzy one. Which is where Sheen becomes a reminder of something rather more important, and that's that moral turpitude, while sounding like a holdover from the Victorian era, also happens to be the ambiguous standard by which some states in the union judge whether someone once convicted of...

Why Tunisia Is Not a Social-Media Revolution

Our conversations about the transformative power of tech are maturing.

Following the weekly Friday prayer, people from the al-Fatah mosque demonstrated against the Ben Ali regime in Tunis, Tunisia. (Sipa via AP Images)
Tunisia's citizens have spent the last several weeks gathering their collective strength to depose their corrupt president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and his sclerotic regime. Throughout the turmoil, the populace has been tweeting, blogging, and using Facebook. Mindful of how quickly many rushed to brand the 2009 protests in Iran a "Twitter revolution," commentators have held back with Tunisia, emphasizing that the uprising is a product of the passions and convictions of Tunisia's people, not a 140-character status update. That's a good thing. It means our conversations about technology's transformative power are maturing past assumptions that the spread of the Internet means an inexorable spread of democracy. But now is the time, perhaps, for a little backlash against the backlash. Scrubbing the Internet from the Tunisian people's story leaves us with less than a full picture of this moment. Disgust has brewed for years in Tunisia. It came to a head in December when Mohamed Bouazizi,...

That Vision Thing.

Let it be said that the gentlelady from Tennessee has a decent point here : Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) decried the failure of her own party to create a national agenda for technology policy during remarks at the State of the Net conference in Washington on Tuesday. "We haven't laid out a vision for technology policy," she said, noting that Democrats have not done so either. ... "When Congress fails to move forward on an issue, bureaucracies step in," Blackburn said. She referred to an "alphabet soup" of regulators that businesses must face before they can get their efforts off the ground: the FCC, SEC, FTC. Public policy around technology is all FCC, SEC, FTC. (All of which is arguably still overshadowed by CES, as in the annual Vegas celebration of all things gadgetized.) Despite the fact that FDR's electrification of the American countryside serves as something of a formative experience of the modern Democratic Party, you rarely hear any effort to connect that with things like...

Best of TAP 2010: Waldman on Scapegoating Federal Workers.

First, a caveat: The American Prospect 's strength, in my opinion, is as a cumulative force. TAP is a place where a diversity of voices can debate the political process, geek out on public policy, and indulge in the notion that the world is a complex place worth understanding. That makes plucking out a single piece as a favorite of the year a particular challenge. Still, I've done it: Paul Waldman 's piece, "Scapegoating Federal Workers" from February, which quite accurately predicated that public workers were about to take a starring role in the budget-and-deficit debate. Why? Because Paul dove into the arguments driving the debate, pointing out, for example, that while government workers do make more their private sector counterparts, there are reasons for that -- the outsourcing of administrative jobs to contractors, for example. Paul also tied his piece to big questions about the quality of the public workforce and the targeting of unions in the American political arena. And he...