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The Senate Commerce Committee is starting mark-up on the telecommunications bill today. On the table is a so-called "compromise" on net neutrality by Ted Stevens:

Sen. Ted. Stevens, R-AK, who authored the Senate telecom overhaul, recently amended his own bill to establish a way for consumers to complain about alleged violations of net neutrality. But Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HI, the committee's ranking democrat said those changes "utterly fail to protect consumers and preserve an open Internet."

Word is that we are as close as one vote away from killing this having the Snowe/Dorgan amendment (S. 2917) prevail in committee. The committee vote is likely to be on Tuesday, giving us five days to convince our Senators to vote against the Stevens legislation, and support the Snowe/Dorgan amendment (S. 2917).

Calls coming from the home state carry more weight than others, but don't let that stop you from being heard. Here's the list of Senators on the Committee that are our focus as being persuadable on this. (You can also call toll free at 1-888-355-3588 to the Capitol switchboard, and they will transfer you to any Senate or House office.)


    John McCain (AZ): (202) 224-2235; Fax: (202) 228-2862

    Trent Lott (MS): (202) 224-6253; Fax: (202) 224-2262

    Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX): 202-224-5922; 202-224-0776 (FAX)

    Olympia J. Snowe (ME): (202) 224-5344; FAX (202) 224-1946

    Gordon H. Smith (OR): 202.224.3753; Fax: 202.228.3997

    George Allen (VA): (202) 224-4024; Fax: (202) 224-5432

    Bill Nelson (FL): 202-224-5274; Fax: 202-228-2183

    Maria Cantwell (WA): 202-224-3441; 202-228-0514 - FAX

    Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ): (202) 224-3224; Fax: (202) 228-4054

    E. Benjamin Nelson (NE): Tel: (202) 224-6551; Fax: (202) 228-0012

    Mark Pryor (AR): (202) 224-2353; Fax: (202) 228-0908

Here is a list of the full committee membership, phone and fax numbers (thanks, FDL!). While the list above are the people supposedly on the bubble for us, it can't hurt for the entire committee to hear from us.

Update [2006-6-22 16:25:0 by mcjoan]: Note: I've updated the post to reflect that the bill as it currently stands contains the Stevens language that doesn't help us at all on net neutrality, and to focus on getting support for the Snowe/Dorgan amendment. When you call, focus on convincing your Senator to support Snowe/Dorgan.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stevens is pure Bushite Scum (0+ / 0-)

    So we can be sure that any amendment he sponsors will reward his rich cronies and be bad for the rest of us.

    Is Stevens due to retire soon, or do we have to wait for him to feed the worms before being finished with one of the Senate's worst?

    •  Steven's 'Bridge to Nowhere' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, realalaskan

      is the perfect analogy for the Bush administration.  Talk about a contrast with Bill Clinton's 'bridge to the 21st century!'

      Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

      by oldpro on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:09:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is the 'Bridge to nowhere' still funded? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        realalaskan

        Did Stevens keep the funding for this bridge or slip it in somewhere else?  Nothing would surprise me about Stevens, he is one of the worst Senators alive today.

        •  Last I heard it was (0+ / 0-)

          still earmarked in appropriations...he's not going to budge on this and the Repugs aren't either.  That was the whole point of the K-street project and it is alive and well, Abramhoff notwithstanding.  Reward your friends, punish your enemies and make big profits while ensuring reelection.  HEY!  Works for them!!

          Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

          by oldpro on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:50:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  no more bridge...for now (0+ / 0-)

          as far as we know, and according to http://www.c-span.org/ this morning ,and http://www.savetheinternet.com/  the bridge is out from the "bill" machine, but hey! we are talking about a powerful Senator with the deep pockets of Lobby Inc. at hand, and he insists its for his local community ,so who knows?
          this is a post in Senator Clinton story below about CPU's and in my opinion is paralell to the issue here because whoever controls the CPU's controls the process:
          "in my humble opinion, a) the Privacy Bill of Rights introduced by Senator Clinton is very important : there are 2 main manufacturers of CPU, the brain chip in a computer, Intel and AMD, and since 1999 the most advanced Intel chip factories are in Israel,where proprietary code and circuits have been added to Pentium4,Centrino,DuoCore,Itanium,etc.,risking in my opinion the security and integrity of these chips, and now New York State I hope gets to build the new AMD chip factory with a 1 billion dollar incentive for the 4 billion dollar plant,but the neocons of Silver,Havesi and Bloomberg with the candidate Spitzer are trying to put their own neocon orthodox team in charge of the plant,ORGANIZED GROUPS BY NATURE TRY TO CONTROL THE MARKETS AND FINANCIALS,which again i hope gets build in upstate New York State as soon as possible,but in that way would put all the CPU brain chips manufacturing and design in the hands of one single political-religious-military-financial group= that's un-democratic and un-constitutional, WE NEED DIVERSITY RUNNING THAT WONDERFUL PLANT!,and mostly also because these orthodox communities in the USA and specially in New York State ( Williamsburg,KierJoel,BrightonBeach,etc.)have never paid any income taxes and almost no real estate taxes while controlling ALL THE DIAMOND-GOLD-INSURANCE-REAL ESTATE BUSINESSES,RETAIL AND WHOLESALE IN THE STATE,all this makes this situation very Un-American,i hope Senator Clinton can get some light to shine on this evil plan of controlling all the the CPU which are the basic tool to access databases, Internet,to access private records on digital form,wired and wireless communications ,servers,switches, routers and plain old IRS or FBI computers,etc. the bread and butter of Digital America, the sweat and tears of all the USA Taxpayers."

        •  I remember Stevens throwing a hissy fit (3+ / 0-)

          over a vote on the bridge.  It inspired the TDS "Coot Off" between him and Byrd.  

          Good times.

          Pumped and ready for "the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

          by sagra on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:53:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The House voted (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah

          to ensure that the money not be spent on the bridges. Our nutcase in the House, Don Young, vowed to kill that provision in conference committee.

          The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. ~ T. H. Huxley

          by realalaskan on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 01:24:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  A compromise from Stevens...that is funny (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mediaprisoner, boofdah

      You know, it would be better if real prostitutes walked the halls of congress rather than these whores like Stevens. At least real prostitutes provide a service and there is no deception in what the client is receiving.

      Telcos To Market Private Conversations As Reality Radio

    •  didn't he retire already? (0+ / 0-)

      hmm, maybe that was frank murkowski, i'm thinking of..

  •  fax via the web (4+ / 0-)

    weather forecast

    The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

    by Cedwyn on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:06:27 AM PDT

  •  No chance in Hell (0+ / 0-)

    that Senator Cantwell will support Ted Steven's ammendment.

    Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

    by oldpro on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:07:07 AM PDT

  •  Confused about it all? Here is a handy resource (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark

    Liz at Successful Blog keeps a page updated with links to useful Net Neutrality links.
    I've found some good stuff there.

    Eat 4 Today: Defeating Republicans through diet and exercise!

    by katiebird on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:09:20 AM PDT

  •  Frankly, maybe we should let net neutrality die? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mediaprisoner

    I wrote a diary about how we should call the telecoms' bluffs. But, in writing it, it occurred to me taht killing net neutralty may actually blow uopen the broadband market and foster actual broadband provider competition that will increase choices and drive down access costs.

    Think about it logically for a minute. If the Telecoms get tehir way, and start creating tiered data stream pricing, content providers will start investing in and seeking out alternative broadband sources. And, it just so happens that satellite and powerline broadbad are available alternatives right now!

    I think eliminating net neutrality will actually spur competition and actually force the telecoms to scrap their tiered pricing model in a desperate attempt to hold onto their content providers.

    Maybe we are on the wrong side of this fight? If the telc oms want to short-sightedly kill the golden goose with their stupidity, and it fosters a new era of broadband competition, who are we to stand in tehir way?

    •  Sorry. I saw what happened (5+ / 0-)

      when they killed the fairness doctrine.

      The best explanation of why net neutrality is important that I have heard is this: cable and phone company models for the internet are push models where they deliver content (for a fee). The internet we have today is a pull system where the user goes and gets the content they want.

      It is too risky to have the telcos/cableco's decide what content we get to have. They have distinct views of what they want us consuming - and consuming is the word, not accessing, visiting or browsing - sites like Daily Kos are not on that menu.

      •  That's a bad analogy. (0+ / 0-)

        The Fairness doctrine is a different animal.

        Your assumptions about what will happen if we scrap net neutrality are based upon the assumption that the telecoms have a monopoly on the privision of broadband. That isn't true.

        The bigger content providers, such as Google, can easily invest in and seek out alternative broadbad sources that will not charge them higher fees for a bigger pipe.

        This will create competition WITH the telecoms, and will give consumers more choices for broadbad than they have now.

        Thus, driving down prices and increasing access. It will also force the telecoms to invest in new technologies and markets in order to keep their market share.

        I think scrapping net nbeutrality, in the midterm and long run, would be a disaster for the telecoms.

        •  I disagree strongly. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          copymark, besieged by bush

          the only companies with the big dollars to invest in the infrastructure for new, bigger pipes are all companies whose history is to push content onto consumers.

          Lets ignore Google for a second. Is Kos going to be able to switch to a provider with a bigger pipe? How about Wikipedia? Or e pluribus media?

          Even if you assume these people can find providers for those bigger pipes at affordable prices, how long until those providers come into being? Get rid of net neutrality now and the only infrastructure around is the property of the telcos and the cable companies. That gives them a hell of an advantage over newcomers to the field.

          •  That's just wrong. (0+ / 0-)

            Microsoft is already investing in a satellite broadband network. And power companies are investing in powerline broadband.

            Right now, it's hard for them to crack the market because they can't offer services any cheaper than the telecos. But if the telecos start their tiered pricing policy, and consumers are complainihg about slow load times for their favorite websites, guess who is going to step into the gap and offer an alternative? I think the powerline broadband techonology shows the most promise because you don't have to build brand new infrastructure in order to tie people into the network.

            I agree that short term, some providers will suffer. But in the long term, I think this spurs competition and undercuts the telecom near monopoly for provision of broadband.

            •  But ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AndyT

              Are most consumers going to subscribe to a second provider just to get to the content providers who have jumped there?  Not until one reaches a critical mass where a majority of the interesting providers have jumped.

              It's a nice thought, but I don't see it working.

              "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

              by jrooth on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:36:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You forgot the short run (0+ / 0-)

          Leveraging the short run might allow the telecoms to change the mid- and long-term consequences.  If they get away with this, they'll have clearly shown enough political and financial leverage to move more legislation in their favor.  What's to say they won't change the rules again?

          Even assuming your theory is correct, a political push-back now has many positive effects, one of which is to make them hesitate before changing the rules in the future.  Giving them a fight now shows them that there are major transaction costs for what they want, and changes the equation as to what they think they can afford and do, when, and how.

          •  Oh, I agree somewhat. (0+ / 0-)

            That's why I proposed that the Gvt start subsidizing the maintenance, upgrading and construction of the fiber optic network (instead of the telecoms) so that the telecoms can't use this to leverage more favorable treatment in the future.

    •  Technically a bad idea? (3+ / 0-)

      From what I've heard, satellite connections have a horrible uplink speed and powerline broadband has overall slower theoretical speeds than the cable/fiber connections.
      There are only so many ways you can push data around. Cable/fiber model is probably the best you'll get in the next 20 years or so.

      I'd love to say let the free market deal with this, but I don't want to get into a plan D situation here: ok, do I go with provider A which lets me do 75% of the stuff I want to do at 80% of my desired speed, or provider B which lets me see 90% of my stuff at 50% of the speed. Or provider C... and so on to provider #12743.

    •  i've thought about this same thing (0+ / 0-)

      there are a number of other methods of connecting to the web and as we've seen with GM's lobbying against CAFE standards, maybe the piper eventually gets paid either way..

    •  Total bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dianna

      dude is trying to muddy the waters.

    •  the problem is (0+ / 0-)

      that 'competition' won't happen. cartel will.

  •  A mystery (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, AndyT

    Why do we have Dems like Pryor, Cantwell or Bill Nelson still wavering on this issue? This is where Dems clearly stand up for the little guy, the consumer. I don't get their wavering positions.

    The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of crisis, remain neutral.

    by ten10 on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:11:37 AM PDT

    •  I'm not so sure. (0+ / 0-)

      I think busting the telecom near monopoly on broadband by letting the dolts raise prices and give and opening to their competition might actually be a good thing.

      •  Who would their competition be? (0+ / 0-)

        Satellite? that would be Dish Network - another push content provider. Again, in their interests to have us consuming not browsing the internet. I have no faith that companies like that will have any interest in websites like this, or blogs in general.

        Nor do I have faith that the just starting to grow progressive noise machine would survive the death of net neutrality.

  •  Kay Bailey Hutchison claims to be undecided (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, Janet Strange

    So come on Texas Kossacks! Hit the phones!

    I have called her office every day since I got back from YearlyKos and they have been very pleasant. If you need a script here is mine:

    Me: Hi, I'm calling to find out if the Senator has taken a position on S2917, the Snowe-Dorgan net neutrality bill.

    Them: (whatever they say. It makes no difference to my response)

    Me: Well I want to urge the senator to support S2917, the Snowe-Dorgan bill.

    Them: I'll let her know.

    Me: Wait! One more thing - tell her to support S2917, the Snowe-Dorgan bill UNAMENDED! Thank you!

  •  Toll-free line is busy; calling Sen. Bill Nelson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, AndyT, Gorette

    at his 202 number now. :)

  •  Left a message on McCain's machine. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndyT, Thorby Baslim, redcardphreek

    Without a real internet it would be pretty hellish down here in Arizona.

  •  Some Useful Links (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndyT, TheSourcesAss, wa ma

    Here are the main pages for the S. 2686, the Stevens bill (boo, hiss!) and S. 2917, the Snowe/Dorgan bill, which is co-sponsored by Wyden, Boxer, Clinton, Inouye, Leahy, Obama, Dodd and Cantwell.

    The Commerce Committee webpage for today's hearing is still pretty empty, but here are links for the three prior hearings on S. 2686, complete with all the prepared statements by senators and witnesses, as well as webcasts of the sessions:

    Here also is the page for the Judiciary Committee hearing held last week which dealt with net neutrality, "Reconsidering Our Communications Laws: Ensuring Competition and Innovation".  This was the hearing at which Specter and Biden expressed their reluctance to do anything now, preferring to wait until after there have been repeated instances of unpunished discriminatory behavior.  We can't wait for that to happen.

    •  Why is Inouye co-sponsoring the Stevens bill? nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  Alaska-Hawaii Compact? (0+ / 0-)

        My guess would be that it was part of the general agreement between Alaska's and Hawaii's senators to support one another, much of which relates to issues regarding native sovereignty for each of the states (neither state's natives are covered by the same laws and/or treaties that apply in the other 48 states).

        Note also that Inouye's co-sponsorship was made on the day Stevens introduced his bill, which was several weeks prior to the Snowe-Dorgan bill's introduction.  Inouye co-sponsored Snowe-Dorgan on its very first day as well, so he would seem to be trying to have it both ways.  We'll have to see what he does when it comes time to vote.

  •  Lautenberg (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndyT, mediaprisoner

    Just called his office and they tell me he is a supporter.

    "if all the world's a stage, who is sitting in the audience?"

    by KnotIookin on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:19:36 AM PDT

  •  Floridians MUST get on Bill Nelson's back!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndyT, Gorette

    To any Floridian Kossack reading this (and the Kos community as a whole):

    Nelson has been doing the DINO act during this election year to help squash Katherine Harris' assertions that he's liberal...  That and make nice with the in-state conservatives.  That beign said, Nelson CANNOT be allowed to pull his Democrat-in-name-only act with this bill!

    •  Gordon Smith (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet Strange
      His office said "He hasn't spoken on this."  I wonder if he is thinking or just counting phone calls.  He can be swayed. He's a Republican but he's an Oregon Republican and that's a different animal.  In Eastern Oregon where he lives they have embraced the internet like they once did the Sears catalog.  There is WiFi all the way from almost Idaho to Mt. Hood and they run the cop cars that way.  Isolated rural folks love the internet, left and right  so he should support it.  Someone just has to tell him.  Anyone in Eastern Oregon around today that could call the local radio talk show or the local blogs?  Yes, he's a Senator for the whole state but a buzz at home will get his attention.
        As was stated above this might not even be a good thing for the Telecom folks in the long run.  It ain't broke don't fix it.

      Everybody eats, nobody hits.

      by upperleftedge on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:37:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nelson's Staff SUCKS (0+ / 0-)

      I just called and got through to Bill Nelson in Washington and basically the staff member who answered the phone was busy with some such stuff in the background -- not sure what.  Basically she tried to hang up on me the moment I voiced concern Net Neutrality.

      "Thanks for your call, I'll make sure to pass that on to the Senator.  Goodbye"

      I had to stick my foot in the door to even make mention of the Stevens compromise and what was going on.  She told me she's "Very aware" of the bill and things.  

      Methinks we really dropped the ball not challenging Nelson in Florida this year...

  •  This should be the number one issue right now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thinkdouble, AndyT, mediaprisoner

    So if the telecoms take over control of the internet, where will we be in this country?

    If you read Kristof's recent article about the 30,000 internet censors in China, you can see that that is the old model.  He didn't mention internet neutrality in his article, and that was only two days ago.

  •  Called Sen Nelson this am. Will send another (0+ / 0-)

    email. Sent one last week too. Working on him!!!

    ....But there's something bubbling (up) in America that will be reflected at the polls. --John Kerry 5/31/6

    by Gorette on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:28:11 AM PDT

    •  Nice staff, Bill -- Not. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mediaprisoner

      just called and got through to Bill Nelson in Washington and basically the staff member who answered the phone was busy with some such stuff in the background -- not sure what.  Basically she tried to hang up on me the moment I voiced concern Net Neutrality.

      "Thanks for your call, I'll make sure to pass that on to the Senator.  Goodbye"

      I had to stick my foot in the door to even make mention of the Stevens compromise and what was going on.  She told me she's "Very aware" of the bill and things.  

      Methinks we really dropped the ball not challenging Nelson in Florida this year...

  •  Non-U.S. citizen participation. (0+ / 0-)

    My ex. is not a U.S. citizen, not for lack of trying, but at my behest has called and faxed and emailed our representatives on this issue, but I told him that was OK since he lives in the district and, actually, in this country, and they represent him too.

  •  Called Cantwell n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msstaley

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/brewsta

    by BeerNotWar on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:31:23 AM PDT

  •  Called Smith (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mediaprisoner

    And got a really sarcastic aide who interrupted me and tried to finish my sentence.  He mellowed a bit after I told him that I wasn't following a script, and that I work for a startup in Portland and that the Stevens ammendment would kill us and most of other Web 2.0 companies our size.

    If anyone's calling in based on a MoveOn or PFAW script, they might want to vary the sentence structure a bit.  I think they're probably filtering calls that sound scripted.

    The Devil crept into Heaven, God slept on the 7th, the New World Order was born on September 11th - IT<

    by tomaxxamot on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:41:55 AM PDT

  •  I called. It took about 2 minutes (0+ / 0-)

    The guy answered the phone real quick, too.  I expected (hoped for?) busier lines.

  •  psstt..mcjoan (0+ / 0-)

    in case you haven't heard, the fact that there is an ad on this site from the telecoms means that kos is bought and paid for...you really need to stop posting diaries against there position - don't worry, I won't tell anyone what i know....

    Make a neocon cry, buy un::Conventional - the YearlyKos experience in words and pictures.

    by ETinKC on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:54:16 AM PDT

  •  Let's think of a good name for this bill (0+ / 0-)

    This topic just goes to show you that us Dems aren't the masters of language, even after being beaten with it for the last decade.

    Let's declare this telcom bill "Death of the Internet" bill, and refer to it as such. Or some innovative name like that.

    Geesh.

    •  How about the 'Orange Barrel on the Information' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagra

      "Orange Barrel on the Information Superhighway" Act.

      or "The Telecommunications Double-Dipping Act of 2006"

      "Death of the Internet Act" is pretty good though.

      -4.88, -4.15 "It's all complicated; it's all connected. That's why we have to pay attention." - Jon Carroll, SFGate.com

      by Turbonerd on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:28:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just called Pryor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mediaprisoner, jsamuel, TheSourcesAss

    Nice staffer told me they were going into committee in about one minute. He wouldn't say which way Pryor was leaning. Typical Pryor. I asked him which way the calls he received were going and he said they were skewed because people were confused about the ads and info they'd seen. I asked him if he used the web much (heh), and didn't he think the telecoms were already making enough money? He dodged that pretty artfully and we both laughed. Poor guy just doing his job but I did get the impression he was on our side. Hopefully Pryor will come through.

    •  I think this issue is especially important in a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ralphie

      state like Arkansas.

      Competition is non-existant here and will be for a very very long time.

    •  'people were confused about the ads and info they (0+ / 0-)

      No fucking wonder they're confused when the same liberal blogs that are urging us to contact our Senators are running an Anti-Net-Neutrality ad for the Telecoms - I see it on on FDL,  MyDD, Atrios.

      When you click the ad there's a a nice little Flash movie telling viewers how very wonderful the internet will be if we 'Keep Our Hands Off the Internet' and 'Don't Regulate the Internet'. The ad is called "The Future of the Internet".

      The issue is confusing enough to the average user without these #$$%^&! ads.

      We Are Blorg. You shall be Kossimilated.

      by TheSourcesAss on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 04:58:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Telcos weighing in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna

    Working Senators that are "on the bubble" appears to be in the bad guys' playbook too. Alltel, while not the size of ATT or Verizon, is lining up behind the big boys on this issue. Alltel is framing it as a "reform" for the Universal Service Fund though. Corporate HQ (in Little Rock) sent this email yesterday to all employees:

    June 21, 2006
    Call to Action! Important Telecom Legislation Vote on Thursday
    The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee will vote on a very important piece of legislation Thursday, June 22. Senate Bill 2686, co-sponsored by Sens. Ted Stevens and Daniel Inouye, contains reforms to the Universal Service Fund, which plays a very important role in keeping local telephone rates low and universally available.

    The Universal Service Fund is dangerously out of balance, with costs rising and the revenue base shrinking. Rural phone companies and their customers need Congress to restore balance and create a solid financial footing for this very important program. This is not an issue that can wait until next year or the year after that. We need reform in 2006.

    The senators listed below are members of the Senate Commerce committee. Please contact the respective senator from your state and let them know that passing Senate Bill 2686 is important to you and to our business. Below you will find a suggested email to send the senators.

    Thank you for considering this request.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Senator:

    This week you will be asked to vote on universal service reforms contained within S. 2686, cosponsored by Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Daniel Inouye. It is vital to Alltel and employees like me that this bill be enacted in 2006.

    The Universal Service Fund (USF) is dangerously out of balance, with costs rising and the revenue base shrinking. Rural phone companies and their customers need Congress to restore balance and create a solid financial footing for this very important program. This is not an issue that can wait until next year or the year after that. We need reform in 2006.

    Senator, please join Senator Stevens and Senator Inouye in helping us win universal service reform this year.

    Arkansas
    Sen. Mark Pryor
    http://pryor.senate.gov/...

    Florida
    Sen. Bill Nelson
    http://billnelson.senate.gov/...

    Mississippi
    Sen. Trent Lott
    http://lott.senate.gov/...

    Nebraska
    Sen. Ben Nelson
    http://bennelson.senate.gov/...

    South Carolina
    Sen. Jim DeMint
    http://demint.senate.gov/...

    Texas
    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
    http://hutchison.senate.gov/...

    Mike Rhoda,
    Senior Vice President -
    Governmental Affairs  

    -4.88, -4.15 "It's all complicated; it's all connected. That's why we have to pay attention." - Jon Carroll, SFGate.com

    by Turbonerd on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:24:29 AM PDT

    •  My eyes keep rolling around in my head (0+ / 0-)

      whenever I encounter the phrase "this very important program."

      Pumped and ready for "the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

      by sagra on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seems like a pretty clear bribe (0+ / 0-)

        for smaller telcos (like Alltel) to line up with the big telcos. When ATT broke up the first time, the regional telephone companies were able to dump less populated, more rural (ie less profitable) territories, which created some opportunities for "independent" telephone companies in these small markets.

        For them, its not about Google "costing them money." Even if they wanted to, the Alltels and Centels and TDSs and Citizens couldn't threaten Google and Yahoo and other sites the way ATT can. The smaller telcos just don't have the customer base to be able to affect traffic to the megasites in that way. But by bringing them onboard, ATT & Co. can claim that "the whole industry supports the Stevens plan."

        -4.88, -4.15 "It's all complicated; it's all connected. That's why we have to pay attention." - Jon Carroll, SFGate.com

        by Turbonerd on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:41:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  you can also call (0+ / 0-)

    Joe Barton's office and thank him for introducing this piece of _____ in Congress and getting it to the Senate Floor. I urge everyone to call on this issue. I have been blogging on this for a long time. Thanks mcloan!

    Washington Office
    2109 Rayburn Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-2002
    (202) 225-3052 fax  Arlington Office
    6001 West I-20, Suite 200
    Arlington, Texas 76017
    (817) 543-1000
    (817) 548-7029 fax

    Ennis Office

    2106 A W. Ennis Ave.
    Ennis, Texas 75119
    (817) 543-1000
    (972) 875-1907 fax Crockett Office
    303 N. 6th St.
    Crockett, TX 75835
    (936) 544-8488

    (877) 263-2833 Toll free from areas in the Sixth District.

  •  Called Schumer....same old same old (0+ / 0-)

    Its so damn annoying to call my senator and get someone on the phone who dripes with indignation that a NYer actually bothered them by calling about an issue....this happens ALL the time with Schumers office.

    oh, Schumer 'has not made up his mind on (fill in ANY important issue) yet"   whatta surprise (not)

    "if all the world's a stage, who is sitting in the audience?"

    by KnotIookin on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:48:26 AM PDT

  •  For Texans (0+ / 0-)

    I just called Hutchison's office and they said she hasn't yet made a statement but is "very interested" in her constituents opinion on this.

  •  I've called Allen twice today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna

    as a constituent from Fredericksburg, VA. The first time was due to the Move On announcement this morning, and I asked for a letter in response, and I asked how the calls were going.  The intern said it was mostly for the Snowe/Dorgan bill.  The second time I called, I clarified that it should be without amendment as per this posting, but didn't request a letter...

    As an Iraqi-American born and raised in New Orleans, this voter is not pleased.

    by naltikriti on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:32:43 PM PDT

  •  Dem Retort: CUT the crap AND RUN the country! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KnotIookin

    Democrates need to answer Repubs with this retort:

    CUT the crap AND RUN the country!

    Thanks to Pamela from Iowa on The Young Turks last night.

    Help get the word out!

    The News Is Broken

    by Guy on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:34:05 PM PDT

  •  i called (0+ / 0-)

    cantwell, my new senator, and kb, my recent ex senator (whom i suppose still technically represents me since i haven't registered to vote in wa yet) and urged them to see things my way.

  •  Called the two Idaho Senator's, Craig and Crapo. (0+ / 0-)

    Their staff didn't know how they were voting.  Craig and Crapo's staff didn't know much about it.  

    It's so complicated, I felt bad for making them write it all down.  They didn't even ask who I was or anything.

    I'm currently a resident of CA but I live up there part of the year.

  •  I Think We Just Lost (0+ / 0-)

    I caught the very tail end of the live webcast of the hearing, and heard a voice say, "The Amendment is hereby passed, 14 to 8," or words to that effect.

    Can anyone confirm?!?!  I hope I got it wrong.

    •  I don't mean to be negative but... (0+ / 0-)

      Currently, what chance do we have when money and big business rule and when our party doesn't have power in the Congress.  

    •  Then Again, Maybe Not (0+ / 0-)

      I may have misheard the beginning of the remark, so this may well have been a vote on something else, perhaps merely procedural in nature.  The last thing said on the record before the audio cut off was a reminder to everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, and from what I can see, that's the day when the vote is supposed to occur.

      Ideally, I'd still like an ironclad confirmation one way or the other on this.

    •  I was there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Maven, KnotIookin

      No, we didn't lose, they were voting on an amendment introduced by Sununu. Completely unrelated.

      •  Thank You for the Info (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dianna

        I was away from my desk for a while and only heard those final 20 seconds or so, which is why I got so worried there.

        The Sununu amendment was about access charges for VoIP and would restrict some consumer protections, right?

        •  Three of his amendments turned into one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Maven, Dianna

          and were voted on. The staff was unsure about this, which goes to show that Nelson's criticism of the scope of the bill (as he pointed out) is valid. Dorgan had issue with it, particularly the possibility of limiting consumer protection. Your assesment is, without an overwhelming discussion, correct.

          The Vote
          Yea's
          Stevens(R), McCain(R), Burns(R), Lott(R), Hutchinson(R), Snowe(R), Smith(R), Ensign(R), Allen(R), Sununu(R), DeMint(R), Boxer(D), Nelson(D-FL), Cantwell(D), Lautenberg(D)

          Nay's
          Vitter(R), Inouye(D), Rockefeller(D), Kerry(D), Dorgan(D),  Nelson(D-NE), Pryor(D)

  •  Called McCain from AZ (0+ / 0-)

    That is, I am from Arizona and I called McCain's office about this amendment.

    Go Net Neutrality!

  •  Texas Residents, LISTEN UP!! (0+ / 0-)

    Sen. Hutchison's office told me point blank, "Sen. Hutchison has not issued a position statement because she is waiting to hear from her constituents!"  I asked, does the Senator mean she wants to get more info from the telecom companies, or more telephone calls from Texas residents?  I was told "more calls from Texas residents". So CALL HER!  Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX): 202-224-5922; 202-224-0776 (FAX)

  •  Just (0+ / 0-)

    got off the phone with one of "Uncle Ted's" staffers. They got the message from me and it sounds like others as well. We will see what happens. I don't hold a lot of hope that the old codger will come around. He gets more incoherent every day.

    The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. ~ T. H. Huxley

    by realalaskan on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 01:17:45 PM PDT

  •  Just e-mailed Sen. Nelson (0+ / 0-)

    least I could do.

    Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. -Thomas Jefferson [-4.75/-4.21]

    by weelzup on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 01:18:03 PM PDT

  •  Just got back from the hearing. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcjoan, Buzzer, TheSourcesAss, Dianna

    The Dems seem pretty unified on net neutrality. Snowe, a Republican, came out strongest in the clearest terms for it, which I thought was wonderful. (It's her amendment we want, btw.) Boxer, Dorgan, and Cantwell seemed solidly pro-Net neutrality. Allen spit out some telecom talking points but did a decent job of obscuring his position. Given Allen's precarious electoral position, I say he's the one we need to focus most on.

    McCain and Lott were gone most of the meeting, and Kerry and Rockefeller never showed up.

    The next meeting is on Tuesday at 10 am, I'll probably attend that one as well. Let me know if you guys want to know more, I may go buy a tape recorder before Tuesday.

    Oh, and Stevens had his eyes dilated twice today so he was wearing these ridiculous sunglasses that I couldn't stop laughing at. He took them off for most of the meeting.

  •  Dem US Rep Allyson Schwartz's response (0+ / 0-)

    I know we are talking about a Senate bill, but just today I got a letter from my US Congresswoman (Suburbs of Philadelphia) on Net Neutrality. This was in response for my asking her to support NN.

    The stupid reasons she opposes Net Neutrality are as follows:

    "First, the problems raised by my colleagues have yet to be established. The Internet has developed in an environment largely free from regulation. Considering this and that there is little evidence that the current approach has resulted in denials of Internet access, I believe we should proceed with caution when contemplating the imposition of additional regulations.

    Second, prescriptive network neutrality rules could slow down broadband deployment. The United States has fallen to 16th internationally in broadband penetration. To remain competitive in the 21st century, we must do better and our public policies must encourage broadband innovation and investment. I am concerned that this downward spiral would be accelerated if we imposed a strict regulatory structure on networks – denying them the opportunity to recoup and fund some much-needed investments in network development.

    Third, if Internet service providers are prohibited from sharing some of the costs for enhanced services with Internet content providers then it will shift the cost-burden to consumers. At a time when we should be working to promote universal access to affordable broadband, strict network neutrality regulations would likely put broadband access out of reach for many consumers."

    Congresswoman Schwartz is a Democrat, but I guess she feels the need to support Comcast, a locally based "Conglomeratelco". I was going to respond to her response but her thinking is so muddled, what's the point.

  •  I sent Sununu an email last night (0+ / 0-)

    Does anyone know where he is at?

    Also why is Snowe on the list of people to work, isn't it assumed she would support her own ammendment?

  •  SUGGESTION for future Action Items (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KnotIookin, TheSourcesAss

    Put the requested action in a blockquote like this:

    Call these senators urge them to support S. 2917, the "Snowe/Dorgan amendment"

    Don't make us search for it.

    Thanks.

  •  I called Levin and Stabenow and told them... (0+ / 0-)

    to support the Snowe/Gorgen language.  I don't know if this is true, but it sounded good, so I told them that Stevens was doing another corporate consolidation and that the media would only use the additional power to block Democrats.  I also sound that schools, churches and community website would be really hurt because they wouldn't be able to afford the band width.  I asked the staffers if they ever worked the internet on dial up or a slow computer???  They laughed and got it.  I said the non-profit sites and the kids wouldn't have fair access.  

    ....although the future is unknown, it will not be unblogged. David D. Perlmutter

    by dkmich on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 02:56:34 PM PDT

  •  pbs debate on net stuff (0+ / 0-)

    there were two guys in suits on pbs tonite debating the net legislation stuff. i got 1300 on the sat's in 1965 but my brain melts when this stuff gets discussed. for those of you who know what the fuck the deal is on it, this might be of interest.

  •  Fine! (0+ / 0-)
    Support the Snowe/Dorgan amendment. For that matter, support McCain's third-adjacency ruling to make room for more low-power FMs. But don't forget that even with better amendments, this bill, which has already passed the House, will KILL OFF LOCAL CABLE ACCESS across the country. This bill must be stopped!
  •  my letter to Sen. Lott (0+ / 0-)

    FWIW:

    "Dear Senator Lott;

    I write to ask you to support the Snowe/Dorgan net neutrality amendment, S. 2917.

    In many ways, the growth of the Internet is similar to the early growth of the phone system, and the early growth of cable television.  All feature the transmission of information over wires.

    The federal government put a requirement on the phone companies, requiring that phone lines be built into rural areas.  No such requirement was put on cable television companies.  As a result, I have a telephone in my house today; I don’t have cable TV, nor any way to get it.

    To me, the lesson from this is clear – unless the federal government requires that all available information be made accessible to consumers, consumers will have access only to the information deemed most profitable by the access companies.

    I’m not saying profit is bad; but if the telephone companies had been allowed to make all their decisions based only on profit most rural Americans (including a large percentage of your constituents, as you know better than I) wouldn’t have phone service, just as we don’t have cable television.

    I have also seen the argument made that imposing net neutrality will somehow hamper innovation.   This argument is troubling to me; what innovations have been generated by telecomm companies?  In terms of telephone service, I suppose features like call-waiting could be considered an innovation, but that seems to me more like putting chrome on a car than a true innovation.  The record of cable providers for innovation is even less remarkable.

    Net neutrality will not hamper the ability of access providers to make a profit, but will ensure that all Americans have access to all information available on the Internet.  Please support the Snowe/Dorgan net neutrality bill.

    Yours truly,"

    If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in - Grateful Dead

    by mississippi scott on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 06:29:42 PM PDT

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