The Emperor has no clothes: Eden Hall campus’ promise of sustainability as nothing more than an elaborate illusion

Let’s not beat around the bush. Chatham University’s new addition of the Eden Hall campus is not fooling anyone. You can add all the fancy water filtration systems and solar panels you like–this new campus is not sustainable, nor will it ever be, so let’s stop pretending that it is.

In Fall 2015, the Eden Hall campus will be open for undergraduate and graduate residents and will be the new location for the majority of the Food Studies and Sustainability classes. Claimed to be, “the embodiment of a commitment Chatham makes every day to support sustainability and environmental education,” the campus sits on 388-acres of donated land in Gibsonia, PA which is a little more than 20 miles north of Chatham’s Shadyside campus.

Upon applying to the Masters of Sustainability program, I, like my fellow classmates, couldn’t help but feel impressed by the plans for Eden Hall. We were dazzled by promises of aquaculture, green infrastructure, gardens, solar panels, and, more importantly, the promise of an environment that would foster skills to promote societal change, which arguably is the main reason that many of us are here in the Falk School of Sustainability. However, these illusions fizzled as soon as the realities of this development became apparent.

At a recent town hall meeting on February 11, a slideshow of dorm arrangements and smiling “hypothetical” students was presented by the Dean of the Falk School of Sustainability Peter Walker to a group of undergraduate and graduate students from the Sustainability and Food Studies programs, followed by a discussion about some nitty-gritty details about what life would look like on this campus.

Quickly, it became apparent that this whole operation is geared towards undergraduate students, who fit neatly into the plans for residential life. Graduate students, however, do not seem to fit so neatly, stating concerns about transportation, housing, scheduling of classes, and the isolation from the rest of the campus and the city.

Something that stood out strongly to me was that there seems to be very little for sustainability students to do on the this campus if their focus is on business, urban sustainability, or transportation issues, or if they are Food Studies students who are mainly interested in urban agriculture or urban food deserts. Regardless, all students will have to make the trek out to this campus for classes.

Apart from the apparent complete lack of considerations for the “real” students that are going to be living at Eden Hall, this new campus falls extremely short of its main promise of sustainability and is nothing more than glorified green-field sprawl that separates the sustainable community of Chatham from the rest of the university and from the city of Pittsburgh. Concerns about this isolation are centered on the general desire to reduce the siloing of knowledge, an issue that those in the field of sustainability identify as an impediment to societal change and a creator of false dichotomies between us. Physically separating the sustainable community from the larger Chatham community is reducing the opportunity for connections and intellectual growth for everyone.

Isolation is not the only impact this campus will have. The largest concern weighing on my mind is the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the green-field development (as opposed to in-fill) of the campus and the fact that this development is outside of Pittsburgh. This distance equates to a lack of viable public transit options for students, who will instead have to depend on personal cars, university shuttles, a car-sharing program similar to Zip Car, or, if you wish to be carbon neutral, there is the feeble promise of a smattering of bicycle lanes. Walking–either to class or to run errands–is also no longer a viable option for transportation. But even if it was, to go where? To do what? Which points to the fact that this campus is located in an area that is arguably less attractive to the growing trend of city-loving millennials like myself. Students will now have to either stay on campus or drive off campus for any non-school activities–including trips to the local pub, which raises additional concerns about safety.

At the end of the town hall meeting, all of these voiced concerns were shrugged off by the Dean as mere fears of change. This is dismissive and insults us, the students who are becoming experts in issues of sustainability. While it may be too late for the development plans to be altered or halted, I urge those in the Sustainability program and the Food Studies program, as well as members of the community, to acknowledge what this really is, which is not the formation of a progressive sustainable campus, but mere greenwashing.

You just can’t help asking, why was this development pushed and then slapped with the sticker of sustainability? Who was pushing it? Couldn’t this plot of land have been used in a better way? How do the students in the Falk School of Sustainability move forward, particularly with the goal of remaining a part of the community at Chatham in Shadyside and in the city of Pittsburgh? These are questions that have yet to be answered.

American Horror Story: Sniper

In a perfect world, Chris Kyle would be alive and on trial for war crimes and mass murder. In this world, “Selma” would be the top-grossing film of the decade, and Clint Eastwood would have faded into obscurity after he stopped starring in Westerns.

Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect and a movie based on Chris Kyle’s life and war crimes is the top grossing film of January, while “Selma”–the movie based on Martin Luther King, Jr., a man that the FBI feared because he was a mover and shaker who threatened unfair power structures–is being largely ignored by the media.

“American Sniper” is based on the life of an Islamaphobic sniper with 160 confirmed kills and over 200 unconfirmed kills, who is also noted to have wished he could have killed more people.

“Selma” is based on the events that took place in Selma, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and covers large portions of what made Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greats of American history.

Guess which one the critics said was more patriotic.

At the beginning of “American Sniper”, there is a scene where Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper, who was so much better served as the voice of Rocket the raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy”) is on a mission and flashes back to hunting deer with his father in Texas.

This touching, all-American father-son moment is juxtaposed against the scene of Kyle casually murdering two Iraqi civilians–a woman who gave something to her young son, which (according to both the movie and Kyle’s biography) was a grenade.  This is one of the first problematic instances of the movie, and also the most dehumanizing: If the movie compares the murder of two Iraqi civilians to hunting deer, imagine the long-lasting real world impact that this is having on a community that is already at a high risk for hate crimes.

Without going into too much detail, this travesty of a film loves its animal metaphors. The average American–and most of the supporting characters in the film who are ‘good’–are portrayed (metaphorically speaking) as sheep. The ‘heroes’ like Chris Kyle–and I use this term with zero sincerity–are sheepdogs, protecting the dumb, unsuspecting sheep from the big bad wolves of the world, also known as anyone who is not American, Christian, or white.

Or at least that’s how ‘American Sniper’ has decided to portray the issue. The big bad wolves of the film are every Iraqi person who appears onscreen, whether they are innocent civilians or like the woman who picked up a grenade from her son’s corpse and tried to throw it at the soldiers who had killed him or the man who invited Kyle to his home for Eid, only to be revealed as “evil”  because he has a large stash of guns and bombs in his bedroom and is going to kill Kyle and lots of other ‘good’ guys.

In a perfect world, “American Sniper” would be seen for what it is: A film about a psychopathic mass-murderer who should have been on trial for war crimes. Instead, it is seen as a film about an All-American hero who is doing the world a favor by slaughtering Muslim people.

Do yourself a favor; watch “Selma” instead.

Why “The Interview” is almost justification for digital piracy

Cyber crime is one of the fastest growing (and most lucrative) illegal activities in the United States. Figures from the FBI put overall damages as a result of cyber crime activities at around 0.2 to 0.8 of the US GDP (somewhere between 24 and 120 billion dollars annually).

Due to these factors, cybercrimes like digital piracy are among the most heavily prosecuted in the country (although there is a concurrent low rate of arrests due to the nature of the crime and the sheer volume of people involved even as accessories).

Given that cybercrime and digital piracy are theft, I will allege that I don’t approve. This is, after all, related to peoples’ livelihoods. However, there are circumstances where not only do I approve of it, I would argue that it’s a civic duty to pirate the heck out of something. Case in point: Seth Rogen’s latest travesty, “The Interview.”

One of the first life lessons the average person learns, either via firsthand experience or watching some other poor idiot try, is that poking a hornet’s nest with anything is a very bad idea. Smashing an individual hornet is fine; there are very rarely repercussions for it. It’s when you get bolder after smacking the first hornet and decide to go after the nest that it becomes a problem. Usually, you’ll get stung so many times that you regret being alive–if the stings don’t kill you as an example to everyone else.

In this scenario, the hornet’s nest is North Korea, and Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Randall Park are the collective moron with a stick. And, carrying through with the hornet analogy, the stings are the capability for nuclear warfare. If you can imagine that, you’ll realize just how bad of a very bad idea “The Interview” was.

The Sony hack that almost ended the release of the aforementioned movie was a case of civic responsibility in an attempt to prevent World War III, rather than an attack on the freedom of speech. Here’s a tip: There’s freedom of speech, and there’s being an idiot. And then there’s Seth Rogen and James Franco.

“The Interview” makes fun of a man who is painted by the media as a silly buffoon and who is great for being the butt of a joke, while simultaneously forgetting that he has nuclear capability and is suspected of more military attacks than most neighboring countries (with the caveat that no one can prove it because he’s supposed to be a silly little comedic figure who threatens nuclear war but doesn’t do it because he’s after something).

Kim Jong-un looks and acts like a buffoon. He is a great source of comedic news for the rest of the world to laugh at. His leadership and how he acts allows the rest of the world to point and laugh while forgetting that North Korea is a perpetrator of one of the longest on-going series of human rights abuses in the modern world.

Instead of going to see “The Interview” in theaters and supporting two morons who make fun of a country where people are literally tortured, imprisoned, and subsequently worked to death in labor camps alongside three generations of their family for doing things like listening to even a few notes of the wrong music, spend the money you’ve saved on Liberty in North Korea (LINK), a group that helps North Korean refugees, instead.

“The Interview” is not freedom of speech. It is not a comedy. It is a travesty.

Don’t make an effort to see it, and spend the money you saved on something worthwhile.

Keep calm and cast a recall

What? What’s that you say? A bunch of rich white jerks have been elected to Congress again? Hah. Don’t scare me like that. I thought you meant something catastrophic had happened!

Yes, another election day has come and gone. The world is still turning, the American government has not collapsed into all-out anarchy, and the Congress still has a white male majority. The only difference is that most of them are Republican now instead of closer to an even split.

It. Is. Not. The. End.

Stop panicking. A Republican-controlled Senate is not the end of the world. The American government has failsafes built in to make sure the government doesn’t collapse from the little things like Republicans being in charge. And, yes, that applies to the Democrats as well. They are not saints either.

If there is one thing to be learned from sitting through mind-numbingly dull lectures on how the American government works, it is that you eventually take away one shining little fact: the recall election is a glorious invention and exists for a reason.

The recall election is a wonderful part of the American election process, and is the only one that is not used as much as it should be. In essence, the recall allows voters who are dissatisfied with elected officials–for example, officials who aren’t doing their job or are not in line with the will of the people in the case of the Republican Senate, as seems to be the case–to remove them from office before their term is ended.

The recall begins when a sufficient number of voters have signed a petition calling for the official they elected to be removed from office. A sufficient number of voters is defined by the American government as at least 10 percent of voters from the previous election, although the actual figures vary from state to state.

While a Republican-controlled Senate may prove to be a disaster, there is no reason to believe that it will be any worse than a Democrat-controlled Senate or even a bipartisan Senate.

For those who are convinced that a Republican-controlled Senate will always be the worst thing ever, American history has proved that a single party controlling the Senate and/or the House will not make the government collapse. Over the past 100 years, the Republicans have had a majority in the Senate for roughly 34 years total.

The Democrats have had a majority for a rough total of 66 years. In the greater scheme of things, the Republicans have had majority control of the US House and Senate for far less total time than the Democrats have had–26 years in rough total compared to the Democrats’ rough total control of a cumulative 60 years, with an even 14 of bipartisan control.

The US government has survived for over 150 years. Two years of a conservative-controlled government will not make much of a difference. Yes, the Republicans are obstructionist and irritating and make a lot of really poor choices–the majority of which make people hate them, although usually for a good reason–but they have not managed to destroy the country yet.

Elections come and go. Politicians get elected. Life goes on.

And if the politicians are terrible, there is always the recall.

I’m not flattered: The problem with catcalling

Every once in a while when I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed, I see troubling things. However this past week I stumbled across a friend’s status that troubled me more than your run of the mill annoying selfie would. I saw the status of a friend–let’s just call him Joe. Now Joe, like a lot of people, watched the video that the anti-street harassment organization produced that went viral last week, and his response was essentially that the behavior displayed in the video was in some way complimentary.

When I made the rookie mistake of reading the comments on the video I realized that what my friend, along with a lot of people with a Y-chromosome, seemed to be missing is that what women are objecting to is not a simple “hello” or “you look very nice today”.

Like Joe, the consensus seems to be that “catcalling” is a form of flattery or as a commenter on the video put it, “the burden of being a beautiful woman.” Over half of women have reported experiencing street harassment or being followed in their lifetime. One in six women will be the victims of sexual violence. From whistles to the outrage over being “friendzoned,” we live in a culture where some men think that they are entitled to women’s bodies and time, and they react horrendously if they don’t get either.

Why is it considered overly sensitive to want to walk through the world without dealing with unwarranted comments about one’s body from total strangers? Why is having a total stranger follow you and tell you they’d like to see you naked supposed to be considered romantic as opposed to what it really is: uncomfortable and sometimes downright scary?

For the record, I don’t know a single couple that started with catcalling. This kind of behavior is a symptom of a larger problem, but that probably should not be all that surprising. We grow up in a world where an entire genre of movies revolve around love stories where women who say no just need to be won over with behavior that borders on stalking.

We live in a world where women’s safety is threatened for saying no. If you think I’m exaggerating, I could tell you the story of the night a group of young men followed me for two blocks because I wouldn’t give one of them my number. Although it definitely didn’t feel that way at the time, I was lucky in comparison to 27-year-old Mary Spears who was shot and killed for doing the same thing, or the 26-year-old woman whose throat was slashed for refusing to talk to a guy, and sadly so many others.

Comedienne Amanda Seales debated Steve Santagati on CNN and said, “Catcalling is not complementary. Guys think that by letting you know that they would be interested in sleeping with you, that it’s compliment, and actually it’s really just objectifying me when I’m trying to walk in my daily life.”

Instead of telling women how to dress, saying, “boys will be boys,” or encouraging young women to fluff the egos of men who are pursuing them for the sake of their safety, why not try to create a culture where men have respect for others’ humanity and can take no for an answer?

Costume commentary from Chatham’s Halloween Dinner and Mocktails

Costume 1: Dani Marcano dressed as the Reaper from “Children of the Corn” (or something like that).

Whatever she is, it’s frightening and shows her usual dedication to slightly unnerving characters from horror movies. Last year, she was dressed as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and the year before that, she dressed as Samara from “The Ring.” This year’s costume involves reaping for a harvest that should probably never be mentioned unless in the light of day.

Not pictured:  Her general irritation with “Sexy Freddy Kreuger” costumes.

Photo Courtesy of Student Affairs

Photo Courtesy of Student Affairs

Costume 2: As far as costumes go, dressing as a spider’s web with a butterfly caught in it deserves credit. It’s clever, cute, and mildly creepy when you think too hard about the theme.

Creepy cute is in this year, though, and the costume is fantastic.  Found materials are also awesome, and this one definitely deserves the “Most Creative Costume” award.

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Costume 3: Dragons are amazing. Everything is better with dragons (yes, everything). Costume contests are no exception to this rule. That is why a homemade dragon costume won Shannon Ward the prize for “Best Overall” costume, as per usual (although nothing will beat the awesomeness of her blue-ringed octopus hat from last year).

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Costume 4: Amber Neszpaul helped Banquo’s ghost make an appearance at the Halloween dinner, although there was no MacBeth to torment.

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Photo Credit: Dasha Jolly

Costume 5: The Sharknado (the funniest costume and possibly the most epic one of the night).

Photo Courtesy of Student Affairs

Photo Courtesy of Student Affairs

Diseases, illnesses, and infections, oh my!

Since the end of September, the only thing on peoples’ minds is Ebola, and whether or not they’ll catch it. Stories are flooding the media about how someone coming from Africa will bring Ebola with them and infect everyone who lives in the United States.

That being said, there is one concrete fact for everyone living in the United States: the best chance you have for catching Ebola while living stateside is breaking into the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and licking a petri dish with an Ebola culture on it.

With that in mind, here are five diseases, illnesses and infections deadlier than Ebola that you can catch at home.

Bubonic Plague: Over the past thirty years, somewhere between one- and two-thousand cases of Bubonic Plague (one of the diseases associated with the Black Death) have been reported every year. In that same timeframe, only 56 people have died from this disease.  Recent discoveries by the CDC have led to the information that the plague is, in fact, carried by rodents currently living in the United States. If you plan on going camping in the Midwest at any point, avoid the chipmunks. Other animals to avoid include marmots, groundhogs, woodchucks, and anything in the Family Sciuridae.

Seasonal Influenza: Over the past decade (2003-2013), the CDC has reported somewhere around 55,065 deaths from the seasonal flu. This is mostly due to the fact that people in the United States aren’t taking precautions like staying away from people when they’re sick or getting a vaccine (for those who can get one without risking serious harm to themselves). Due to the nature of the flu, the number of cases reported is not recorded on the CDC website, but it probably numbers in the high millions. Yes, you are more likely to catch the flu and die than to have the same thing happen with Ebola.

Whooping Cough: According to the CDC website, somewhere between 10 and 40 thousand new cases of whooping cough are reported each year, contributing to the 16 million cases a year reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO’s figures also put the death toll per year at somewhere around 195,000 people. In 2010, over 27,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the United States. Most of the cases reported in the United States were due to the fact that some people refuse to vaccinate their children for the basic things like the flu, whooping cough, scarlet fever, and other easily preventable diseases and illnesses.

Tuberculosis (TB): In 2013, 9,852 verified cases of TB were reported in the United States.  Around the world, nine million cases are reported a year, and about 1.3 million people die.  Tuberculosis is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world (the CDC and WHO estimate that about one-third of the world’s population has or has had TB). There are currently two categories of TB–latent and disease (one is incubating in a host body, and the other is an active agent)–active around the world. Both categories have drug treatment programs that can prevent the spread of the disease or kill it before it becomes active. However, if not treated, TB will be fatal and spread.

Malaria: Malaria is currently one of the deadliest illnesses in the world, caused by a parasitic infection of a Plasmodium parasite (transmitted by mosquitos). The WHO estimates that approximately 207 million cases of malaria exist around the world, and roughly 627,000 deaths occurred. The CDC reports that 97 cases of transfusion-transmitted malaria have occurred in the United States between 1963 and 2011, although there was a 40-year high reported in 2011, topping out at 1925 reported cases. The CDC also reports that somewhere between 1,500-2,000 people, mostly travelers, have caught malaria while abroad.

Now, about Ebola…

A letter from the editor: On the topic of going coed

Last year, when Esther Barazzone, president of Chatham University, announced that the Board of Trustees was considering going coeducational, there was outrage and heartbreak and confusion. There was a flood of complaints and protests. Friends and colleagues were torn apart by differing opinions.

As a journalist, I have an inherent excitement that comes with big news. This was the biggest news of my Chatham generation—and also just the biggest news in years. Chatham was about to be in headlines everywhere and I could not have been more eager to be at the center of it.

However, that does not mean that the announcement did not rattle or upset me.

I never had any particular interest in women’s colleges. That is not what drew me to Chatham at all. But after being here for a while, I had changed my mind. I had never felt safer walking alone at night. I loved that I could walk from the theater to Fickes at midnight, and not be afraid that somebody might assault me in the dark. I loved that I could be part of a learning environment where my opinion was always valued and seen as equally important.

When President Barazzone made this announcement, I felt betrayed. I felt that I had signed up for four years at a women’s college, and this was a breach of contract. They had promised me that experience for four years, and instead I would only get two.

Being at a women’s college had changed me. If I told my pre-Chatham self all of the things I could accomplish after finding my voice at Chatham, the old me never would have believed it.

I was afraid that bringing more men onto campus would snuff out my voice, and the voices of my fellow Chatham women. I had fears that they would come tearing onto campus and demand leadership positions—or take them by force. The thought of losing the Communiqué terrified me. I had put my heart and soul into this paper, and by my junior year, a man could rip it from my hands.

But we cannot lose our voices. We cannot let them quiet us. Feminism is not the idea that women should be more important than men—it is the idea that we are all equal and deserve equal opportunities.

I am a feminist.

Chatham has always been a place where feminists could find justice, and there is no reason why it should not continue to stay that way. The introduction of men should never stop us from fighting for equality; fighting for things like equal pay and respect.

Although I sincerely wish that Chatham would take more time with the transition to make sure that it goes more smoothly, I understand the time crunch. And I agree that I would rather see Chatham transform than disappear.

My hope is that in the big picture of things, Chatham will never change. We may introduce men, but they will be feminists. I hope that Chatham will remain a unique environment: a coed campus that is still safe, a school that makes an effort to teach feminism in everything it does, and a school that fosters empowered women no matter the circumstances.

Chatham may be changing, but my only concern at this point is that Chatham maintains its dignity and history. Just because men are coming does not mean that we can no longer be a proponent for change and equality. We have an incredible opportunity to educate men, and we cannot be afraid to take that first step.

How fair is Fair Trade?

The fairness of Fair Trade coffee is debatable.

At the core of the Fair Trade ideal is the idea that coffee farmers should receive a fair price for the coffee they grow and export, without having to deal with shady middlemen or corporations that would exploit them.

The purpose of the various Fair Trade organizations around the world–the majority of which are part of Fairtrade International umbrella organization–is to ensure that growers are paid a fair market price for the goods they provide, along with ensuring that regulations against child and forced labor are followed.

Despite the alleged good that Fair Trade organizations do, there are major downsides present within the system itself, such as what the growers actually make, what the consumers are charged, and the fact that Fair Trade is, at its heart, a marketing organization with a good angle, among other problems too numerous to discuss in a short space.

The price of a bag of Fair Trade certified coffee can range as high as $30 a pound, while a pound of coffee from Maxwell House costs about $5 a pound after sales tax. The average subsidy for a grower in a Fair Trade certified commune per pound of coffee produced is about $2.35 ($1.50 on the general subsidy, plus an extra $0.80 for the market pricing).

For an $8 bag of Fair Trade coffee (one pound), this works out to a 3.4 percent mark-up. For a $30 bag of Fair Trade certified, the mark-up is closer to 13 percent.

While the markup on the price of coffee doesn’t sound like it’s too high, other costs have to be taken into consideration: Fair Trade co-ops need a lot of money to run smoothly; infrastructure to transport the coffee is a general requirement, and Fair Trade practices require adequate housing and other standards, all of which are outlined in Fairtrade International’s 31-page book of coffee-related and general standards.

All of this adds up to a large amount of money put towards development. At the end of the day, the average take per pound of coffee per farmer works out to be closer to $0.20 to $0.30 a pound in wages.

Mark-ups and price-wage discrepancies aside, the question still remains of impact and the efficacy of fair trade. According to Fairtrade International, Fair Trade practices reduce poverty among coffee growers and reduce the negative impact of growing coffee on the environment.

Looking at FTI financial records, though, brings more discrepancies to light: for each pound of Fair Trade certified coffee sold, Fair Trade International (or the organization under their umbrella) makes $0.10 in licensing fees.

Given the already-low wages, it starts to seem as though coffee growers would be better off working with companies not following Fair Trade standards, especially given that no impact studies have been conducted with enough conclusive evidence to prove that Fair Trade standards work in even the most basic terms.

How fair is Fair Trade?

Rest in peace, net neutrality

Net neutrality is dead and Tom Wheeler killed it.

Since 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in proceedings to discuss the issue of network neutrality–the principle that Internet Service Providers must treat all electronic data equally, without discrimination or different charges based on user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.

Corporations involved in the issue tend to lean towards the side of internet fast lanes–charging users more to use certain sites–and other methods of restricting the internet in violation of current net neutrality doctrine, which is covered by common carrier regulations.

Common carrier regulations are a previous FCC ruling that forced phone companies to treat all calls equally or without preference. Until September 10, 2014, communications providers were forced to treat the internet under common carrier regulations.

As the FCC has struck down prior rulings–one as recent as last year (“Verizon Communications, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission”)–on net neutrality with this new decision, drastic changes may be coming. The internet, predictably, did not respond well to the news of these happenings.

Over the course of the last year, internet users have broken the FCC website twice with the sheer volume of complaints filed on the subject of net neutrality.  Figures as recent as September 10 put the number of complaints in the area of 3.7 million.

Due to the volume of complaints, the original comment period of five months that the FCC had opened had to be extended for over a week due to server latency issues.  On September 10, over 220,000 complaints were registered on the site over the course of the day. The average number of calls to the FCC during the Day of Action was around 1,000 calls per minute.

Contributing actions in favor of continued net neutrality and the volume of complaints issued to the FCC were internet-wide blackouts and server slow-downs by various sites, including Tumblr, Netflix, Reddit, and other sources–including a widely viewed segment by John Oliver from “Last Week Tonight.”

One of the possible outcomes from this decision is that last year’s victory over Comcast–in which the company’s merger with Time Warner was only approved if they agreed to maintain net neutrality until 2018–may no longer be enforceable.

Comcast has since joined Team Cable, which comprises of Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T; coincidentally, these are some of the most reviled companies in the United States.

However, this may not be the outcome as there does exist the grandfather clause in their original agreement on the Comcast-Time Warner merger wherein they will have to protect network neutrality for their users until 2018, barring renegotiation with the FCC.

Despite the rulings and possible outcomes of the rulings, organizations like Free Press and Battle for the Net are still running active campaigns and organizing petitions to keep the net neutral. Battle for the Net currently hosts downloadable code to make an artificial slowdown on websites and blogs, with links to more information.

It is still possible to crash the FCC servers and tie up their phone lines to express your displeasure with their ruling on net neutrality.

For Internet complaints, visit

For phone complaints, call 1-888-225-5322 or 1-888-835-5322.