Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment. PGP public key.

Get my RSS |

Did Obama Just Signal That the FCC Will Preserve Net Neutrality?

| Thu Oct. 9, 2014 6:54 PM EDT
Obama speaks at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, California.

Did President Obama just signal that the Federal Communication Commission will preserve net neutrality? Speaking this afternoon at Cross Campus, a tech incubator in Santa Monica's Silicon Beach, he had this to say (emphasis mine) about the FCC's proposed changes to net neutrality rules:

I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality. I think that it is what has unleashed the power of the internet and we don't want to lose that or clog up the pipes...I know one of the things that people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers though the internet. That's something I am opposed to. I was opposed to it when I ran, I continue to be opposed to it now. Now, the FCC is an independent agency. They came out with some preliminary rules that I think the netroots and a lot of the folks in favor of net neutrality were concerned with. My appointee [to the FCC], Tom Wheeler, knows my position. I can't...call him up and tell him exactly what to do. But what I've been clear about, what the White House has been clear about, is that we expect whatever final rules to emerge to make sure that we're not creating two or three or four tiers of internet. That ends up being a big priority of mine.

Expecting the preservation of net neutrality is not the same as guaranteeing it. But this is the strongest indication yet that Obama won't allow the FCC to push through its deeply unpopular plan to limit open access to the internet.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

This Restaurant Is Trying To Be The Worst One on Yelp

| Thu Sep. 18, 2014 2:34 PM EDT

Botto Bistro wants to be the worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp. Fed up with the site's alleged manipulation of consumer reviews, owners David Cerretini and Michele Massimo have been offering a 25 percent discount at their Bay Area Italian eatery for each excoriating Yelp review, the Richmond Standard reports. Here are some recent entries from Botto Bistro's Yelp page:

Yelp has for years been accused of soliciting money from mom-and-pop restaurant owners in exchange for hiding negative customer reviews. In response to a lawsuit over the alleged practice, a court recently ruled that Yelp has the legal right to manipulate reviews and engage in "hard bargaining"—practices restaurant owners have called extortion. Yelp denies that it accepts money to alter or suppress reviews.

According to Inside Scoop SF, Yelp's only response to Botto Bistro has been a boilerplate email from its customer service division (see below), to which the restaurant sent a tongue-in-cheek rejoinder:

Inside Scoop SF

 

The Walmart Heirs Give a Measly Amount to Charity

| Thu Sep. 18, 2014 5:30 AM EDT
Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton at 2012 Walmart shareholders' meeting

The Walmart heirs are infamous for their wealth and penny-pinching. Christy, Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton wouldn't be the sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-richest Americans, respectively, if not for Walmart's relentless exploitation of its low-wage workers. But the Waltons' stinginess also extends to their philanthropy. According to a new analysis by the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, the Walton scions give way less money to charity than other über-rich Americans. In fact, the six other richest Americans have each donated many times more money to philanthropic causes than all four Walton heirs combined:

Making Change at Walmart

Typically, the extremely wealthy give a higher portion of their incomes to charity than middle and upper-middle income Americans. After all, you can only buy so many yachts, vacation homes, and Teslas before you start to look for other ways to spend money. But that doesn't seem to be true for the Waltons, who've redefined what it means to be a Scrooge. Americans' average net worth is about $650,000 per household (the median is only about $70,000), and the average annual charitable donation is about $3,000 per household. Meanwhile, the average Walton has a net worth of $36 billion and gives about $730,000 to charity each year. This means that the four richest Waltons have, on average, a net worth that's 55,000 times higher than that of the average American household, yet give, as a percent of that wealth, about 1/230th as much to charity in a typical year:

Thu Feb. 3, 2011 3:23 PM EST
Thu Feb. 3, 2011 7:03 AM EST
Wed Feb. 2, 2011 2:56 PM EST
Mon Jan. 24, 2011 7:20 AM EST
Wed Jan. 12, 2011 6:43 AM EST
Tue Jan. 11, 2011 7:10 PM EST
Tue Jan. 11, 2011 3:06 PM EST
Tue Jan. 11, 2011 6:00 AM EST
Mon Jan. 3, 2011 4:26 PM EST
Thu Dec. 16, 2010 8:05 AM EST
Fri Dec. 10, 2010 8:37 PM EST
Thu Dec. 9, 2010 7:31 AM EST
Wed Dec. 8, 2010 7:20 AM EST
Tue Dec. 7, 2010 4:27 PM EST
Tue Dec. 7, 2010 7:37 AM EST
Fri Dec. 3, 2010 7:20 AM EST
Tue Nov. 23, 2010 6:00 AM EST
Thu Nov. 18, 2010 6:00 AM EST
Wed Nov. 17, 2010 6:02 AM EST
Mon Nov. 15, 2010 3:51 PM EST
Wed Nov. 10, 2010 2:44 PM EST
Sat Nov. 6, 2010 6:22 AM EDT
Fri Nov. 5, 2010 5:00 AM EDT
Wed Nov. 3, 2010 7:45 AM EDT
Tue Nov. 2, 2010 9:06 PM EDT
Tue Nov. 2, 2010 6:05 PM EDT
Tue Nov. 2, 2010 11:44 AM EDT
Mon Nov. 1, 2010 7:38 PM EDT
Tue Oct. 26, 2010 5:36 PM EDT
Tue Oct. 26, 2010 6:50 AM EDT
Tue Oct. 12, 2010 1:05 PM EDT
Thu Oct. 7, 2010 6:20 AM EDT
Tue Sep. 28, 2010 7:00 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 22, 2010 5:31 PM EDT
Wed Sep. 22, 2010 1:09 PM EDT
Fri Sep. 10, 2010 6:30 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 6, 2010 5:00 AM EDT
Thu Aug. 5, 2010 1:53 AM EDT
Wed Aug. 4, 2010 6:58 PM EDT