Sunday, March 18, 2007

How to Hit the Nail on the Head

Sunday is a good time for reflection and I try to put out a link to something thought-provoking on that day. This morning's candidate is a solid set of articles by Bruce Dixon. He offers up some clues about how having a place to stand in the world makes a difference in how well we think about it. LPF, I'd like to think, has a distinct place--Lafayette--and takes a stand in favor of that place. Dixon does something similar.

Dixon takes a stand in favor of his community. He's a writer at both the Black Commentator and the Black Agenda Report. The article that caught my attention was: Black Lawmakers Digitally Redline African American Neighborhoods. Finding that--and admiring it--lead to locating The Black Stake in the Internet. The articles cover the spate of state video franchising laws (like the one we barely escaped last year here in Louisiana) and the issue of net neutrality.

They're both damn good on their topics. Better, in fact, than almost any article I could name. There's a very clear depiction of the context, the basic actors and the basic facts of the matter. You know who the players are and what effect their acts have on people with whom the writer is concerned. As a reader you are informed. Cutting through the BS and getting down to the meaningful consequences for your and yours of public policy is the real point of covering politics.

Having "standing" makes a difference. Here are some teasers from the excellent redlining article.

On political malfeasance:
Last year big cable and bigger telephone companies deployed platoons of lobbyists and up to a hundred million dollars in an attempt to enact national cable franchise legislation. They greased its way through the House of Representatives, proving along the way that willful ignorance and lots of corporate cash could make two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus vote for the digital broadband redlining of their own communities...
On the corporate FUD strategy:
Sometimes phone companies appeal to ratepayer dissatisfaction with the quality of cable service by appearing to campaign against cable companies, but it's a good-cop-bad-cop kind of act. Cable franchise legislation has nothing to do with competition or lowering rates. The nation's handful of giant phone and cable companies know a few things about their own business model and about the market that most legislators and ratepayers do not. They know that current and next-generation fiber optic cable systems are and will be for some time to come the only economical way to deliver telephone service, remote medical diagnostics, medical and resource monitoring, interactive on-demand video and the media-rich total presence advertising which corporate marketers are itching to bring you --- all over the new high-speed broadband internet...
On the excuse that letting media corporations do what they please fosters "innovation"
Big phone and cable have never been about competition, fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, or any of that garbage. Like all media marketplaces, cable and telephony are characterized by government regulation of a scarce public resource - the public right of way along which network lines are laid in one case, or the broadcast spectrum in another.
That's clarity of thought. And clear thinking is in short supply regardless of your cultural history. So take a gander, you don't have to be Black or Left-wing (Dixon is both) to appreciate what he has to offer.

And for lagniappe: reflect a little on the difference that actually knowing who you are fighting for makes.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

John
I hear there is another suit that will be filed before the end of March. Do you know anything about it?

John said...

I haven't heard of such--which doesn't mean much.

I'd thought the incumbents had gotten smarter than that; with there being no longer any possibility of challenging the bond sale they cannot stop the project. Completely stopping the project is the only way that the PR price they've paid to date would have been worth the cost to their reputation. Stopping the project is no longer possible. Creating hostility toward yourself and sympathy for your competitive opponents just at the moment their new service is starting up is just not smart economic strategy. (IMHO)

But the incumbents have been completely brain-dead about the cultural politics of Lafayette since the tried to pass that embarrassingly biased "academic" forum off on us and put a Tyler Texas Cox exec up to pretending to be a Lafayette blogger named "TJ Crawdad."

So, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there has been any response from the "class action crew" on the outcome of the last suit?

John said...

Nope. Sorry. (That crew is down to a class of one) I doubt that she'd want to talk to me.