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JCP Week in Review, December 15

Jared Bentley • Dec 15, 2017 at 2:50 PM

The open internet as we know it may soon be a thing of the past.

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.

In a straight party-line vote of 3-2, the Republican-controlled FCC led by Ajit Pai, who you can see here laughing at tweets about the situation, junked the long-time principle that said all web traffic must be treated equally. The move represents a radical departure from a decade of federal oversight, and demonstrates once again that the will of the people, who overwhelmingly disagree with this move, is not a determining factor in our country’s governance.

83% of those asked say net neutrality should continue, including more than 75% of Republicans. Lawsuits have been filed on the behalf of several states, and now we just sit back and watch what happens from here.

 

Speaking of sitting back and watching, the country was watching this past Tuesday as a special election in Alabama received more worldwide attention than it ever expected.

In a stunning victory, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama’s special Senate election on Tuesday, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but sure in the age of Trump. It was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation’s already divided Republican Party.

The victory by Jones, a former U.S. attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen responsible for Birmingham’s infamous 1963 church bombing, narrows the GOP advantage in the U.S. Senate to 51-49.

Judge Moore still refuses to concede the election, but his concession is now simply an afterthought.

In a brief press release, Sheriff Ed Graybeal said 44-year-old Ralph Vincent Hamilton was found unresponsive in his cell around 11:05 a.m. on Wednesday. The Washington County/Johnson City EMS responded to the scene and Hamilton was transported to Johnson City Medical Center.

As with all inmate deaths, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will handle the investigation, but Graybeal said no foul play was suspected.

Hamilton is the second inmate this year to die while in custody of the sheriff’s office.

Carl Torbush, the man who ushered East Tennessee State University back into the world of college football, announced his retirement Thursday.

Torbush joined the program as head coach in 2013, coming to a school which had eliminated the football program after the 2003 season, had no equipment, no stadium and no players. Four-and-a-half years later, the program is on solid ground.

Thank you for all you’ve done, coach, and best wishes moving forward.

Don’t forget, this weekend marks the release of the latest chapter in the Star Wars Saga, The Last Jedi. Many across the region have already seen it, but for those who haven’t, don’t listen to spoilers, and have fun. If you want to know more about the film and how people in our area are reacting to it, check out Jessica Fuller’s article on our website.

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