Tales of the Sausage Factory

What the FAA?

How the heck did the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) get into regulating the wireless industry (both licensed and unlicensed)? The FAA has proposed requiring pretty much any wireless service with an antenna to fill out a form for every antenna and antenna change. Right now, only services with big antennas (like broadcasters) near airports fill out FAA paperwork.

As the FCC gently points out in its own filing, the FAA does not seem to understand just how much this would increase paperwork for the industry — and for the FAA to process. Given that the FAA does not seem to have any reason to think that these antennas will cause rampant interference and bring planes out of the sky, maybe the FAA wants to rethink this?

Other industry groups, such as the National Association of Broadcasters, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, and various professionals have all stopped by to politely sugest to the FAA that, perhaps, the FAA HAS LOST ITS BLEEDIN’ MIND AND DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE HECK IT IS TALKNG ABOUT.

What’s interesting for me is that this is yet another demonstration of how the various components of the Bush administration just don’t seem to ever speak to each other. During Katrina, the FCC outshone just about every other federal agency in the competence department. But as the FCC’s Katrina Report (and testimony from my friends in the wireless community who came down to help in the crisis) shows, there were huge problems getting the other government agencies to respect FCC authorized damage control teams and FCC licensed services. Meanwhile, we have the Patent and Trademark Office negotiating a major overhaul of broadcaster rights at a WIPO treaty, with apparently no involvement from the FCC or any other potentially impacted agency. The Chair of the Federal Trade Commission has announced it will set up its own task force on net neutrality — again without any apparent involvement of the FCC.

And that’s just the stuff in my own little corner of the world. Look around Washington these days and you see little effort by the Bush administration to require any kind of cooperation among the various agencies. We get overlap, paralysis and turf wars galore. But we don’t seem to be getting much done.

It’s not all bad, of course. Traditional relationships, like between the FCC and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) appear to be working just fine. But something is seriously wrong when the FAA just decides to issue a notice about all antenna structures in the United States, and apparently does not even think about picking up the phone first and calling someone at the FCC and saying “Hi there, we’re thinking of doing a rulemaking on stuff that impacts industries you closely regulate; can we get together and chat first so we don’t horribly embarass ourselves?”

Stay tuned . . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

A Network Neutrality Primer

For those just tuning in, Network Neutrality (aka “NN”, becuase every public policy deserves its own acronym) has gone from sleepy tech issue to major policy fight. So I have prepared a rather lengthy primer below for folks who want a deeper understanding of what’s happening (at least as of today, May 3, 2006).

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Quick Updates

A quick update. Regretably, I have been too busy since coming back to type up my notes from the last day of the Media Reform Conference. I will say that Bill Moyers gave an amazing speech about the current attempt by the Bush administration to co-opt public television. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write up my take on the conflict around the Corporation for Public Broadcasting later. For other updates, see below . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

They Just Don't Get It

My jaw dropped when I saw this article in in Time Magazine online describing how the Bush administration is now punishing industry folks who supported Kerry. Don’t these people understand how a _stable_ democracy works, as opposed to an unstable one?
More below . . .

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Wetware and Hard Science

Nature's take on Bush V. Kerry

By Nature, of course, I mean the the magazine. In a (mostly) free area the position of the candidates on various scientific issues is discussed, from stem cells to climate change to nuclear waste and weapons. Also, they rehearse the Bush administration’s apparent manipulation of science for its own ends.

Those needing additional grist for the mill can find it in the specials – us election page.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Clear Channel Settlement Signals Indecency Running Out Of Steam

The FCC and Clear Channel reached a settlement on all pending indecency proceedings involving Clear Channel. You can read a copy of the Consent Decree and the statements of the various Commissioners here. As usual, I’m more interested in what it means. To me, this says “the Bush Administration wants indecency to go away as an issue.” Surprised?

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Inventing the Future

President Bush is no Hitler.

I have a number of friends and relations that have supported George W. Bush in the past. It’s pretty hard to admit you’re wrong, and these folks still support him. So I’m going to write this out in one burst, for fear that I won’t have the balls to click “submit” if I bother to make this a coherent argument.

I feel that if we return George W. Bush to office, we’re a bad people. While what the Bush administration is doing is not as bad as what the Nazis did, folks who work to keep Bush in power are doing the same thing in their turn as those who supported the Nazis when they knew what they were doing was wrong. This includes folks who have given a record $200 million dollars directly to Bush’s re-election cause and the untold more to soft money. If you honestly and thoughtfully disagree with me, ok. But failing that, support for Bush’s re-election is equivalent to support for keeping Hitler in power.

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Wetware and Hard Science

Bush wants only friendly scientific opinions, example N+1

From my corner of “Tales from the Sausage Factory”: There’s been a lot of buzz in scientific circles about the Bush administration politicizing scientific policy. The recent issue of Nature reports that Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, an eminent molecular biologist, is being ousted from the US president’s Council on Bioethics. Blackburn disagrees with many of the administrations positions, including stem cell research. She has publicly stated her concerns that Council reports have distorted scientific findings.

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Posted in I Fear These Things, Wetware and Hard Science | Also tagged | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
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