Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Quaint" outrage in Illinois

Sasha Meinrath writes with outrage about the possibility that the local regional bell telephone company (SBC), rather than an elected legislator, might have written the telecom bill that threatens to shut down the rights of local governments to provide telecom services to its citizens (and, by the way, to remove a host of protections against the abuse of monopoly power at the same time it outlaws a whole class of competition). He vows to track down the true authors. Others join in calling the behavior outrageous.

All this has to sound quaint to our jaded ears here in Louisiana. When "Noble" Ellington handed his rural broadband bill number over to BellSouth's lobbyists last summer because, so sad, they'd missed the deadline to get one of their legislators to start a new bill entirely for them, no one pretended to think there was any possibility that Ellington had read, much less written, the legislation that bore his name. That bill slammed in at (really after) the last minute and was a close copy of a piece of teleco boilerplate legislation. (Incidently, that law would have used state power to make the project impossible. BellSouth's first instinct wasn't to bravely stand up for a vote. Its first instinct was to make sure we mere citizens customers had no right to consider it at all.)

No, in Lousiana, turning the legislature over to BellSouth lobbyists doesn't excite outrage; it is so commonplace that we don't even bother to much notice it.

It might be useful to develop a little sense of outrage. I think we would find it useful.

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