by Jessie Opoien

State senators will take up on Tuesday a proposal to eliminate Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases. But in the wake of a recent surge of gun violence in Milwaukee, Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee, says the timing “couldn’t be worse.”

A Senate vote is the next step between the bill and Gov. Scott Walker’s desk. The Assembly has yet to take it up. The governor has signaled his intentions to sign it into law.


April 24, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tracy Rosenberg, Media Alliance  (510) 684-6853 (mobile)

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Falls Apart

Department of Justice and FCC Cite Merger As Anti-Competitive and Comcast Withdraws Application

Oakland-This morning media justice advocates celebrated as the merger of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable came to an abrupt end with this morning’s withdrawal of the merger application.

The proposed merger, which looked unstoppable when announced in 2014, would have produced a vertically-integrated megacompany with monopoly power in high-speed broadband and a record of favoring their owned content over competing content.

Regulators, who have often been silent in the face of 20 years of intense media consolidation, drew the line at the Comcast-Time Warner cable merger and its anti-competitive implications across a stream of communications platform. The agencies indicated that both antitrust legal actions and further FCC hearings were on the plate if Comcast moved forward, and the company withdrew.

Media Alliance ED Tracy Rosenberg, who has worked actively against the merger in California’s CPUC proceeding, where Commissioner Michael Florio issued an alternate proposed decison recommending the utility commission vote to reject the deal, commented:

“The merger would have been a disaster for consumers already burdened with high prices and lousy service. Government hasn’t had a great track record with putting the public interest ahead of corporate profits, but today’s announcement shows that is starting to change. Accessible, affordable and non-discriminatory communication for all is an engine for human dignity, innovation and creativity. This anti-competitive merger was defeated by the voices of people around the country who said no more to gate-keeping and no more to monopolies.”

by Jeffrey Toobin

Since the midterm elections, President Barack Obama has been acting as if he feels liberated from parochial political concerns. After taking action on immigration, Cuba, and climate change, he should take on another risky, if less well-known, challenge by commuting the prison sentence of Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama.

Siegelman, a Democrat, served a single term in office, from 1999 to 2003, in the last days before Alabama turned into an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent the subsequent decade dealing with the fallout from the case that landed him in prison—a case that, at its core, is about a single campaign contribution. Siegelman ran for office on a promise to create a state lottery to fund education in Alabama. The issue went to a ballot question, and Richard Scrushy, a prominent health-care executive, donated five hundred thousand dollars to support the pro-lottery campaign. (Voters rejected the lottery.) After Scrushy had given the first half of his contribution, Siegelman reappointed him to Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board (the CON Board), which regulates health care in the state. Scrushy had served on the CON Board through the administrations of three different governors. The heart of the case against Siegelman came down to a single conversation that he had with Nick Bailey, a close aide of the Governor’s, about a two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar check from Scrushy for the lottery campaign. As summarized by the appeals court:

Bailey testified that after the meeting, Siegelman showed him the check, said that it was from Scrushy and that Scrushy was “halfway there.” Bailey asked “what in the world is he going to want for that?” Siegelman replied, “the CON Board.” Bailey then asked, “I wouldn’t think that would be a problem, would it?” Siegelman responded, “I wouldn’t think so.”


by Elaine Povich

With all the attention focused on California’s water woes, an observer might conclude that the Golden State’s drought is the exception. It isn’t. Forty states expect to see water shortages in at least some areas in the next decade, according to a government watchdog agency.

In a 2013 survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), state water managers from around the country said they expect freshwater shortages to continue into the next decade, even under what they described as “average” conditions. If those conditions change—whether because of rapid population growth, unusually low snowfall or rainfall, or accelerated economic growth—the situation could worsen.


The Vatican will host an international climate change summit involving some of the world’s leading climate scientists and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, reported The Huffington Post.

Despite Vatican and papal involvement in the summit, conservative Catholics are alarmed at the Catholic church’s involvement in the issue.


We all remember the controversy that erupted during the 2000 presidential elections when Florida votes were too close to call and forced a recount. Bush ended up winning Florida and, ultimately, the election.

During this time, George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, was the governor of Florida. Considering this, Jeb had a role in the Florida recount, reported TruthOut.


by Roxana Hegeman

A Wichita State University mathematician sued the top Kansas election official Wednesday, seeking paper tapes from electronic voting machines in an effort to explain statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts across the country.


by Eric Boehlert

Less than one week into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and it’s a blurry image from a fast-food restaurant security video that’s emerged as the defining media image. After “news” broke that Clinton, en route to Iowa to meet with voters, stopped in at an Ohio Chipotle for lunch and that the order was captured on film, the press corps basically went bonkers, treating it like a Tupac sighting and going all-in with fevered reporting.


by Cassandra Fairbanks

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has provided new details in the case of two Albuquerque police officers who are under investigation for brutality after allegedly beating a homeless man on March 20. According to Brandenburg, the person who reported the assault was a police cadet who has since resigned.


by Jonathan Spicer

(Reuters) – The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago.

Some market technicians have transferred from New York and others were hired at the office housed in the Chicago Fed, according to several people familiar with the build-out that began about two years ago, after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan.


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