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Short-sighted win for Philly WiFi

Free the WiFi!
WiFi wants to be free!
As someone who's excited about the prospects for cities providing low-cost (or free) broadband access, the resolution of the wireless issue in Philadelphia is not nearly as positive as it might appear. While it is great that the plans for a WiFi rollout in Philly can go ahead, the fact of the matter is that the city had to negotiate with Verizon to get permission to make this service available to city residents.

The reason groups like MoveOn, Common Cause, FreePress.net, Muniwireless and local activists Philly for Change were working against Pennsylvania House Bill 30 was because of the power it gives communication monopolies to stop plans like the one Philadelphia hopes to implement. The fact that a last-minute deal had to be made in a back room between Gov. Rendell, Philadelphia and Verizon to get the telco's permission is awful — but we're supposed to believe it's a good thing.

Once the deal was struck with Verizon and the short-term issues had been taken care of, Gov. Rendell signed the bill into law. But the long-term issues remain: if Pittsburgh or Harrisburg or New Hope, Pa., want to implement a broadband rollout similar to the one in Philly, they'll be at the mercy of their local telco monopoly. Sure, Philadelphia residents will be okay, but the rest of the state is out of luck.

Score this one as a win for the corporate lobbyists.

Update: Micah Sifry has posted a good summary of this situation on PDF, finding several links I missed.

:: posted by Mike on Wednesday 01-Dec-04 at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1288)

A very GOP Thanksgiving

From Andy Borowitz in Newsweek: "Bush Kills Turkey, Pardons Tom DeLay

"I have political capital, and I intend to spend it—first by killing, and then by eating, this delectable turkey," Bush announced to the stunned onlookers, who watched as Biscuits was dragged away by two burly Secret Service agents.

Bush then said that he would use his traditional Thanksgiving pardon to free DeLay should he be indicted for political corruption charges in Texas, and then paraded the Texas congressman across the lawn to complete the festive holiday ceremony.

It would be funnier if it weren't so accurate.

:: posted by Mike on Tuesday 23-Nov-04 at 04:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (2368)

'Tis of Thee

(It's gone viral.)

:: posted by Mike on Thursday 04-Nov-04 at 11:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1342)

What now?

I think Arianna hit the nail on the head in her latest column:

Already there are those in the party convinced that, in the interest of expediency, Democrats need to put forth more "centrist" candidates — i.e. Republican-lite candidates — who can make inroads in the all-red middle of the country.

I'm sorry to pour salt on raw wounds, but isn't that what Tom Daschle did? He even ran ads showing himself hugging the president! But South Dakotans refused to embrace this lily-livered tactic. Because, ultimately, copycat candidates fail in the way "me-too" brands do.

Unless the Democratic Party wants to become a permanent minority party, there is no alternative but to return to the idealism, boldness and generosity of spirit that marked the presidencies of FDR and JFK and the short-lived presidential campaign of Bobby Kennedy.

:: posted by Mike on Wednesday 03-Nov-04 at 10:32 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1394)

Al Gore: recovering politician

The former vice president and winner of the popular vote in 2000 started his MoveOn PAC speech at Georgetown by describing himself as a "recovering politician." After a few minutes listening to his speech, it's clear that someone needs to contact his sponsor — he has fallen off the wagon.

:: posted by Mike on Monday 18-Oct-04 at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1377)

Thank you, Jon Stewart

Wonkette is calling it TuckerGate, but I think Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire was not so much about Tucker and his silly tie as it was about someone using his celebrity to call attention to the failings of the media.

I found the story on random($foo) by way of kottke, but it's making its way around the net. If you haven't watched it yet, pull down Leonard's copy or use one of the links in Wonkette's post. It's worth it.

:: posted by Mike on Saturday 16-Oct-04 at 11:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (11)


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