The Intercept credits an "unprecedented guerilla activism campaign" for the FCC's approval of vigorous net neutrality rules on Thursday, and it's true that we need folks who will get in decision-makers' faces to get things done as much as we need folks who contact our government day after day, year after year. Author Lee Fang also suggests that the complete lack of an "insider-grand bargaining political style" to the net neutrality fight greatly helped our success, which is a terrific way of saying government needs to stop talking only to its own various factions and start talking to the American people. We can encourage them to do that, of course.
Also from the good news file, President obama vetoed Congressional legislation that would have forced Executive branch approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Of course, the Executive branch's own process, including a State Department environmental review, might still recommend approval, but we'll keep encouraging them to do the right thing. And I hope Mr. Obama is fully cognizant by now that right-wingers will never approve of anything he does. He has, after all, given himself plenty of opportunities to learn that lesson.
A South Carolina bill would put pro-gun, NRA-sponsored curricula in public schools. And as someone generally sanguine toward gun ownership, and one who wouldn't even object to firearms training in public schools under the right circumstances, I say this bill is bat-guano insane like the rest of the professional gun-rights movement. Having the NRA do the curriculum (versus, oh, I don't know, teachers) is corporate welfare simple and plain. And yes they chose December 15 as their little Second Amendment Day because they're pricks. And saying gun manufacturer PTR relocated from Connecticut to South Carolina because it "didn't feel supported" after the Sandy Hook shootings makes gun manufacturers sound like whiners, which is, I would think, not the image they'd want to project. It's getting harder and harder to be pro-gun in America.
Under some pressure, the New York state Department of Education issues new restrictions on restraining and suspending students. We have retained some semblance of civilized behavior, to be telling teachers they need to resort to de-escalation of conflicts before calling 911 on out-of-control students. It would also help if we'd show fewer celebrity tantrums on TV. A lot of these folks just aren't good role models.
Speaking of which, actor/director/poet/musician Leonard Nimoy, most famous as Mr. Spock from Star Trek, has died at the age of 83. It would be hard to overestimate the positive effect Mr. Nimoy's Spock has had on popular culture: the calm, logical, and loyal First Officer taught us that diversity need not be feared, that passion need not be loud, and, perhaps most importantly, that intelligence not only makes you powerful but integral to your community. The man will be missed, but his work will, if you'll forgive me, live long and prosper.