Sep 01 2005

Strings Attached

Telecom industry’s spin machine casts net over community broadband

Over the past few years, the war over the Digital Divide has spread to a new technological turf: “broadband” Internet access. Broadband allows for much faster and more efficient data transmission than traditional dial-up modems. The catch: The telecommunications companies that offer broadband don’t necessarily offer it to all customers, and for those who can order broadband, it comes with a substantial price increase over dial-up. In response, public and non-profit entities are challenging the telecom industry with homegrown broadband-access schemes offering free or low-cost connections to homes, businesses and institutions. As the United States continues to fall behind other […]

Sep 01 2005

Media to City: Play Ball

Making New York safe from democracy

On June 6, a years-long civic battle over plans to build a combined NFL/Olympic stadium atop publicly owned rail yards on Manhattan’s West Side ended with a thud. After a hard-fought lobbying campaign that saw more than $42 million spent on both sides (Newsday, 6/16/05), New York state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver used his power as a member of the state’s little-known Public Authorities Control Board to veto bonding for the plan, effectively killing it for good. By all accounts, Silver’s decision was a popular one. Numerous polls over the years (New York Times, 2/20/05; Newsday, 1/20/05; AP, 7/21/04) had […]

Sep 01 2005

Letters to the Editor

Missing the Point of Torture Jacqueline Bacon’s article “Torturing Language” (Extra!, 7-8/05) is a very good review of how language can be used to confuse and mislead people, but it misses the main point. The torture of prisoners is not some closely guarded secret; the people of Iraq and Afghanistan know perfectly well what’s going on. And the fact that the U.S. military allows all kinds of pictures to be taken in maximum security military prisons in war zones shows that they want the information on torture to get out. It’s not an effective way to get information, so what’s […]