Activists: Why We Spent $7,000 to Fly Grumpy Cat Around the Comcast Center

Grumpy Cat flying around the Comcast Center

Photo courtesy of Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane — no, wait, it’s … Grumpy Cat?

Yes, last Friday Philadelphians could see Grumpy Cat in the sky. It was part of a stunt pulled by three groups: Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press. They were all celebrating the FCC’s ruling the day before that reclassified the Internet as a utility — a victory for those in favor of net neutrality.

The plane was actually supposed to fly on Thursday, the day of the ruling, but bad weather prevented it from going up until the following day. “It was a good opportunity to take a literal victory lap,” Demand Progress Director of Operations Mark Stanley says. “When you mess with the Internet, the Internet’s going to fight back and going to win.” Read more »

The Odd Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Comcast

Byron Allen, in happier times. | Shutterstock.com

Byron Allen, in happier times. | Shutterstock.com

We’ve honestly not been sure how much attention to give the following item, because it’s just a little odd.

But here goes: Comcast is being sued. By Byron Allen. (Older folks will remember him from the show Real People; younger folks might recognize him from his syndicated celebrity interview show, Kickin’ It With Byron Allen.) For racial discrimination. And the proof of that racial discrimination? Well … Comcast has Al Sharpton on the payroll.

Yup. Read more »

Protesters Flying Grumpy Cat Banner Around Comcast Center

Above: The banner behind a plane flying around the Comcast Center today. Inset: A closeup of the message.

Above: The banner behind a plane flying around the Comcast Center today. Inset: A closeup of the message.

UPDATE: The activists behind the Grumpy Cat banner explain why they spent $7,000 on the stunt.

ORIGINAL: The group Demand Progress and two other organizations are flying a banner with Grumpy Cat on it around the Comcast Center today to gloat over yesterday’s FCC vote that affirmed new net neutrality rules.

The banner has a photo of Grumpy Cat and reads, “COMCAST: DON’T MESS WITH THE INTERNET.” The protest was organized by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press. Read more »

Why Net Neutrality Is Good for Comcast

COMCAST-TWILIGHT-jeff-fusco-940x540

So what if Thursday’s net neutrality vote by the FCC isn’t that big a deal for Comcast?

Yes, we know that Comcast wasn’t happy with the outcome. We know that lawsuits will ensue. We know that maybe (maybe) the Time Warner Cable merger is in question.

But  could the conventional wisdom be wrong?

The Christian Science Monitor says yes:

Despite the outcry, however, nothing about the way companies like Comcast and Verizon currently do business will change, at least in the near term. No ISP actually offers a “fast lane” for premium content, nor do they block or slow down certain websites. Financially, the specter of regulation hasn’t had much of an impact, either. A group of telecommunications CEOs sent the FCC a letter in May warning that governmental overreach could have an “investment-chilling effect.” But as Tim Wu pointed out in the New Yorker Thursday, stocks for broadband providers actually jumped after Mr. Wheeler first announced net neutrality rules on Feb. 4, and they’ve stayed high.

This is all par for the course when it comes to regulating communication, says Chip Pickering, CEO of COMPTEL, a lobbying group for Internet content providers, in a phone interview. He argues that the biggest telephone and cable companies have always opposed regulations that would create a more competitive field, from the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s to the overhaul of the Telecommunication Act in 1996. “Incumbent [companies] always oppose it,” he says, “but in every case their values increased and their services got better.” In five years, he argues, companies like Comcast and Verizon will have benefited as much as start-ups.

Read more »

WATCH: Anti-Comcast Activists Disrupt Penn Trustees Meeting

Protest at Penn Board of Trustees

[Updated with David Cohen comment on FCC vote.]

Anti-Comcast student activists disrupted a meeting of the Penn Board of Trustees this morning, protesting the company’s stance on net neutrality and its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.

They took video of the event, in which they unfurled a banner emblazoned with the hashtag #Don’tBlockMyInternet:

“Students demanded that Comcast stop its advocacy and lobbying against Title II net neutrality at both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in Congress,” the activists, who are working with Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project, said in a press release. “They also spoke out against Comcast’s push to merge with its biggest competitor, Time Warner Cable.” About a dozen students participated.

One problem: David Cohen — Comcast’s executive vice president and chairman of Penn’s board — wasn’t there to see the protest directed at him. According to the video, however, the meeting was adjourned rather than have trustees persist in the face of the disruption.
Read more »

Comcast Made $68 Billion in 2014

COMCAST-TWILIGHT-jeff-fusco-940x540

It was another great year for Comcast.

The Philadelphia-based company earned $68.8 billion during 2014, officials said in a quarterly earnings report this morning. That’s a 6.4 percent increase over 2013’s take of $64.6 billion; excluding the Olympics, which brought the company $1.1 billion through its NBCUniversal division, revenue was still up 4.7 percent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.28.25 AM

The result of all that success? The company is increasing its stock dividend by $1 per share — the seventh consecutive year of a dividend increase — and announcing it will buy back $4.25 billion in stock during 2015.

“2014 was a great year financially, operationally, and strategically for Comcast NBCUniversal,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a press release. “We enter 2015 with great momentum and significant opportunities ahead, and we look forward to receiving regulatory approval for the Time Warner Cable merger.”
Read more »

Comcast Makes $50,000 Donation to Tom Wolf

wolf-comcast

Here’s one of the spoils of political victory for Gov. Tom Wolf: The friendship and support of Comcast, the biggest cable company in America.

During the 2014 gubernatorial election, Comcast threw its weight behind incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, despite early signs his candidacy was doomed: Vice President David Cohen even held a fundraiser that netted $200,000 for the Corbett campaign.

Now Corbett’s gone. Wolf reins in Harrisburg. And the money is flowing a little differently.
Read more »

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