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December 13, 2017

The chief technology officer of the Federal Communications Commission apparently has some serious doubts about his agency’s plan to repeal net neutrality, Politico reported Wednesday. The FCC is expected to vote to repeal the equal-opportunity laws Thursday.

Net neutrality rules instituted under former President Barack Obama banned internet service providers from blocking or degrading online content, as well as forbade these services from taking money to create "fast lanes" for lawful material. Fans of the guidelines say repealing them would allow ISPs to block certain content — even if it is legal — or create tiered pricing for online content, thus undermining the idea that "all internet traffic is created equal."

FCC CTO Eric Burger wrote in an internal email Wednesday to commissioners that removing these guidelines would let ISPs essentially dictate which online content get priority, while also allowing the agency to block lawful content. "Allowing such blocking is not in the public interest," Burger wrote.

Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who appointed Burger, has disputed claims that scrapping net neutrality would result in ISPs dictating web traffic, telling Marketplace on Wednesday that repeal "means better, faster, cheaper internet access." In response to Politico's story, an anonymous FCC official said that Burger's worries had been "fully addressed" in the hours since he sent his email.

The FCC's plan to repeal net neutrality is deeply unpopular. On Wednesday, 18 state attorneys general wrote a letter to Pai asking him to delay Thursday's vote to allow time to investigate complaints about the FCC's public comment process on net neutrality repeal; during the comment period, more than 2 million online comments were reportedly made using stolen or fake identities, most in favor of repeal. Kelly O'Meara Morales

July 18, 2017

Conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham conceded Tuesday that there's "no point pretending that the GOP will pass major legislation on its own." "Must either work [with] Dems or do nothing," Ingraham tweeted.

Her brutal assessment of the Republican Party's efficacy came the morning after Senate Republicans' plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare crashed and burned. Even with a majority in the upper chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was forced to admit that his health-care bill would "not be successful" after another two Republican senators came out against it, effectively dooming the bill's chances of passing the Senate.

Republicans' next plan of action is to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it later, but already moderates have indicated they're not in support of that strategy. Democrats certainly won't get behind that plan, either.

Which, if Ingraham is to be believed, leaves "do nothing" as the only option. Becca Stanek

June 30, 2017

Jerry Springer, the talk show host known for mediating vulgar and sometimes violent fights between cheating couples, is shaking his head at President Trump. In a tweet Friday, Springer deemed Trump's behavior not just unpresidential, but beneath "that of any decent man":

That's a harsh assessment from an entertainer whose website asks potential guests if they have a friend who is "always getting drunk and stealing your men" or if they "have a ratchet person trying to interfere with your relationship."

Springer's criticism came a day after Trump went on a sexist Twitter rant about Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, calling her "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and claiming she was "bleeding badly from a facelift" when she tried to join him at his Mar-a-Lago resort over New Year's Eve.

Springer has long made it known he is not a fan of Trump. During the presidential election, Springer suggested Trump was "the only person who's ever run who is opposed to the idea of America." While his show may contain a lot of chair-throwing, Springer said at least his guests "aren't making up lies." "They're upset. They're angry," Springer said. "That's totally different than Trump." Becca Stanek

June 9, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) claims he still wouldn't be calling for impeachment even if a Democrat were in President Trump's shoes, but former GOP congressman Bob Inglis isn't buying it. In a tweet Friday morning, Inglis chided Ryan, writing, "You know this isn't true."

When CNN's Jake Tapper retweeted Inglis' post insisting that Ryan "would be inquiring into impeachment" if a Democrat's conversations with a fired FBI director were the topic of a congressional hearing, Tapper noted that Inglis was once a Republican congressman. Inglis responded, reminding Tapper what else he once was: a member of the Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton.

Inglis argued that Trump's case was worse than Clinton's:

Inglis, who represented South Carolina from 1993 to 1999 and 2005 to 2011, tweeted to Ryan that while it's not yet "time to draft articles of impeachment," it's certainly "time to pursue the Russia investigation with vigor." Becca Stanek

May 24, 2017

At this point in the game, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn't super optimistic Senate Republicans can pass the American Health Care Act. "I don't know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell told Reuters in an interview published Wednesday. The GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, which recently passed the House in a narrow vote, is now up for debate in the Senate.

Though McConnell doesn't plan to reach out to Democrats on health care or tax reform because the "differences between the two parties are too stark," he did seem more optimistic about the latter. He deemed chances of passing tax legislation "pretty good" — though he admitted it would still be tough, just not "as challenging as health care." Becca Stanek

October 13, 2016

Donald Trump's campaign is closing up shop in the key battleground state of Virginia, NBC News reported Thursday. The decision, which NBC reported was confirmed by two staffers, was announced in a conference call late Wednesday.

Resources will be reallocated to the races in Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, battleground states that are seen as more competitive for Trump. At this point, Trump is "running essentially a four-state campaign," a person "with knowledge of the decision" told NBC News.

Still, another Trump staffer insisted the decision to pull out of Virginia was not yet a done deal. "There have been conversations about shifting resources, but I haven't gotten any definitive answer on anything," this staffer told NBC News.

If Trump does pull out of Virginia, some — including Trump's former Virginia chairman Corey Stewart — contend Trump would basically be handing the state's 13 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton. Stewart, who was fired recently for staging a protest outside Republican National Committee headquarters, slammed the decision as "totally premature" and said it would make it "next to impossible to win the state." Becca Stanek

October 3, 2016

More than 40 percent of Americans don't know the names of the men who could soon be second-in-command. An ABC News/SSRS Poll released Monday, just a day ahead of the first and only vice presidential debate, revealed that when Americans were asked to name Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's running mates, they came up shockingly empty: Forty-one percent of respondents couldn't name Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, while 46 percent couldn't name Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.

After Tuesday night's vice presidential debate though, this very well could change. ABC News found that 64 percent of Americans are planning to tune into the debate tomorrow night — just 10 percent short of the percentage that tuned into the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump on Sept. 26. However, only 10 percent of Americans think the face-off between Pence and Kaine could affect which candidate they vote for in November.

The poll, taken from Sept. 29-30, surveyed a "nationally representative sample of 245 respondents age 18 and older." The margin of error is plus or minus 8.1 percent. Becca Stanek

June 24, 2016

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed Friday that it had suspended the laboratory assigned to handle drug testing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The decision, which comes just six weeks ahead of the opening ceremony, was based on a "'noncomformity' with international standards," The New York Times reports. The suspension took effect Wednesday, and the lab has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

However, this isn't the first time the Rio lab has been suspended by the WADA. It last happened in 2013, a year prior to Brazil hosting the World Cup. While the WADA decided to reinstate the lab last year, after nearly $60 million was invested in its facilities and an additional 90 technicians were trained, it has deemed the lab still not up to snuff for the Olympic Games.

The lab will not be allowed to test blood and urine samples during its suspension. So, for now, drug tests are being sent to a lab outside of Brazil to be analyzed. The New York Times reports that it "was unclear Friday if the issue would be resolved — and the suspension lifted — in time for the Rio Games." Becca Stanek

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