February 2009 Archives

February 16, 2009 5:53 PM

Quoth the Banker, "Watch Cash Flow"

Whaaat?  Isn't this blog supposed to be about telecom policy?  The title of this post is from a poem by the same name originally written by Herbert S. Bailey, Jr. and published in 1975.  The poem is familiar to many, because it has found its way into successive editions of a very commonly used finance textbook.  However, when I was doing an exercise in policy issue forecasting last year, these words popped into my head, as (regrettably) a good way to read and predict government actions in the telecom policy arena.  So, read the poem - it's a good parody of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe--but just keep the title in mind; it'll be a frequent source for getting some of the material you'll see in this blog.  Call it "street" political science!

Here's a short counter-example from earlier this week, and it has to do with a timely issue - the stimulus package.  The language below is verbatim from the Conference summary report on the Energy and Commerce provisions on broadband in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009:

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February 6, 2009 6:02 PM

The Week in Review -- Dante Alighieri Would Have Been Proud

This "week"-- from a legislative perspective and, given the current interregnum , from an FCC perspective as well -- was a short week, due to the retreat scheduled for House Democrats.  The week may be best remembered for the withdrawal of some notable, high-level nominees over tax problems.  The takeaway -- for all of us -- was the "make no mistake" reminder that politicians (humans?), like the subatomic particles that comprise them, are still subject to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.  They behave differently when observed than when not observed.

Furthermore, the circumstances of HHS-nominee, Tom Daschle's withdrawal--failure to report and pay taxes of around $140,000--on car services (provided to him by former-telecom exec-cum-financier Leo Hindry) should be a reminder that Dante's Contrapasso is yet another rule of the Universe.  The regrettable fact is that, frequently, we are chastised for our misdeeds in embarrassingly ironic ways.

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February 1, 2009 4:48 PM

We blog, Weblog, Why blog?

Ok, this is my initial post, and I have a confession to make that is as important as it is rare for a DC telecom policy professional: I'm not the smartest guy in DC, and I'm not the most connected DC "insider" (if I can even be called an "insider" at all). And, in those rare situations where I happen to really know a lot about a subject--or have an "insider's" view, I won't be writing about it on this blog, because someone is paying good money for that information, or analysis, and it wouldn't be fair to just give it away.

So why should you read? If you're an advocate, I can help make you better. Every once in a while, I'll give out some "tricks of the trade" (although, most of them can be reduced to not being stupid, rude or lazy). If you're a policymaker, I can help you see some perspectives that you might not hear from the lobbyists who come by your offices. And, if you're just someone with an avid interest in telecom policy, you should really get another hobby. Just kidding, sort of, but you'll get a different point of view on this blog than you'll probably get from other sources.

Continue reading We blog, Weblog, Why blog?