Archive (2009)

Health Care Forum

City Newspaper and the D&C have coverage of John Conyers' appearance yesterday in Rochester with Eric Massa. Conyers was here to discuss HR 676, the single-payer health bill.

Time-Warner / Frontier Update

Stop the Cap is on top of the Time-Warner story. TWC's CEO is still supporting the idea of caps, and Time-Warner's customer agreement still has cap language.

Stop the Cap is also on top of a story that has major implications for the future of broadband in Rochester. Frontier purchased a bunch of rural phone lines from Verizon. As the Wall Street Journal notes, and as Stop the Cap has been covering in great depth, Fairpoint Communications, a New England telephone company, got itself in big trouble with a similar move last year.

Frontier is trying to put a positive spin on the acquisition, but there's little to celebrate here. Frontier is promising to bring new technology to rural areas, but the fact remains that Frontier's core technology, DSL, does not work well unless the user is close to a DSL access point. Rural subscribers tend to be a long distance from the "central office". Also, with Frontier staggering under a huge debt load, its unlikely that they will make the massive investment necessary to upgrade any of its service areas to cutting-edge fiber technology.

For Rochesterians, this is just another signpost in the long decline of what was once a showpiece local telephone company, Rochester Tel. Frontier is nothing but token competition to Time-Warner, which has a superior network and is phenomenally profitable. Frontier's business of delivering voice service over copper wire will soon go the way of Western Union, and they'll be left with crushing debt and fleeing subscribers. This bodes nothing but ill for the future of broadband, and businesses that rely on it, in the Rochester area.

Odd Ad Targeting

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is launching a series of robo-calls and TV ads attacking Representatives who voted to quash an investigation of Nancy Pelosi's knowledge of torture. What's interesting about the ads is that Eric Massa, who voted with his party on this one, is not included in the ads.

In fact, the list of targeted Representatives looks like someone threw darts at a Congressional directory. I can understand why Majority Leader Steny Hoyer [MD-5] was included, since the point there is merely to annoy. But Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin [SD-AL]? Her district is rated a "solid D" by Charlie Cook.

In New York, only John Hall [NY-19] made the cut, and Cook rates his district as safer than Eric Massa's, Mike Arcuri's [NY-24] and newcomer Scott Murphy's [NY-20]. In 2008, Hall beat his opponent by 18 points, compared to the nail-biters experienced by Massa, Arcuri and Murphy.

The NRCC was incompetent and ineffective in the last cycle, and this ad buy signals that we're probably in for more of the same in 2010.

Wednesday News

Eric Massa is upset about high gas prices, happy about the Sotomayor pick, and appearing with John Conyers at a health care rally on Saturday in Rochester.

Massa Press Conference / Gillibrand

Over at the Albany Project, Robert Harding has coverage of today's Massa press conference. One of the topics was Massa's supposed reluctance in supporting Kirsten Gillibrand's 2010 run, which was the subject of a Gannett News Service article in today's D&C. Massa says he's "much more focused on my district. Period."

Golden Stethoscope

The Star-Gazette and WENY both have coverage of a health care rally in Elmira by Healthcare for America Now! Eric Massa received the "Golden Stethoscope Award" at the rally for his support of publicly-financed health care.

Where's Randy?

See if you can find Randy Kuhl in today's Corning Leader [pdf], sent by Reader Elmer.

News Roundup

Apple growers are happy about new legislation that will help with the availability of migrant labor.

Chemung County will be getting its share of the stimulus pie.

Massa is happy about the passage of credit card reform legislation.

He's also all over the district this weekend.

Finally, Massa is leading the effort to pass legislation to close US debt markets to Argentina unless it offers a better deal to creditors on whom it defaulted. Massa is being cast as a "friend of Argentina" because his father was a naval attache there.

Helicopter Not Looking Good

Massa Defends War Vote, Issues Medals, Is "Confused"

Reader Elmer sends Eric Massa's op-ed [pdf] defending his vote against the supplemental war funding bill. Syracuse News 10 has Massa on the phone defending the vote.

RNews reports on Massa's award of Congressional Awards to to Rochester-area young people.

Finally, here's one man's view on the Route 219 construction delay. Apparently, it was know long ago that building a road through "the middle of a landslide" would be fraught with environmental issues.

Massa on Rachel Maddow

Eric Massa appeared on the Rachel Maddow show last night to discuss the firing of General McKiernan. Video after the break:

Genuflecting to a Monopoly

Reader Vincent sends this Kansas City Star puff piece explaining why Internet rationing is a good thing. The story is chock-full of one-sided analysis, like this choice sentence:

Experts say that changes in the way people use the Internet - and the way some gorge on its endless cache of data - mean current pricing systems could go the way of your dial-up modem.

Characterizing heavy Internet users as pigs ("gorging") and treating price increases as an inevitable side-effect of new technology are two of the techniques used by Internet providers that want to justify higher prices for the same or more limited service. The Star writer never stops to point out that new technology generally leads to higher usage coupled with lower pricing, not the opposite.

Here's another bad analogy in the piece:

"It's sort of like the neighbor was watering his lawn and running his fountain using your connection," Knorr said. "Your water pressure drops, and you're paying his bill."

The difference between a water pipe and an Internet connection is technology: for less than $100 per user, a cable Internet provider can make the pipe 10 times bigger.

The prime example used by the Star is an Internet provider in Lawrence, Kansas, which recently began tiered pricing. The Star piece never deals with the elephant in the room, namely, the consequences of having a monopoly providing a valuable public service. Instead, the Star is happy to give that Internet provider a platform to justify its pricing and practices.

The Star is a McClatchy newspaper. The McClatchy motto is "Truth to Power", but, in this case, power got a puff piece.