Jul 28, 2004

2005 internet phone war kickoff

Washington got busy. It's Time to Pray ... (Exerpt from July 28 NYT):

"...Supporters of the service generally agree that shielding Internet calls from traditional telephone regulations would allow the technology to flourish, leading to reduced costs for new providers and lower prices for consumers.

But disagreements abound over whether rules on 911 emergency service and payments to the universal service fund should apply to Internet phones. Meanwhile, issues that have dominated the phone industry battles over the last decade - like interconnection fees paid to local phone companies - have spilled into the debate.

Both Congress and the Federal Communications Commission have begun to draft changes to the old telecommunications rules, but the efforts are largely a dress rehearsal for next year."

Ted Turner: Washington closed the media market

Ted Turner's current article in Washington Monthly "My Beef With Big Media"

Jul 24, 2004

Liberals For Free Trade

As an American covering the conversion from Command Economy toward Free Trade in Vietnam in the late 90s, I saw a lot of pain and heard a lot of great arguments from smart American officials: hell, sold me. That's why these last few years here, back in the US, have really gotten me down. The NYT in its July 21 editorial, "Shrimp and Mischief," managed to cobble the two together.

"... In Vietnam, this shrimp protectionism is seen as only the latest example of American hypocrisy. Washington implored Hanoi to open up its economy and sign a trade deal that would help bring its farmers into the world of global commerce. But given what's happened since then, Vietnam now assumes that America doesn't really want it to succeed. Last year, Washington slapped unwarranted tariffs on another Vietnamese export, catfish ..."

Jul 22, 2004

Job numbers up -- But will engineers-turned-waiters save the day?

My years covering Vietnam's economy today made me sick of equating jobs and manufacturing output with a successful economy. When these two indicators started being used in recent months as evidence of America's upturn, that queezy feeling returned. At least the Times is pointing out Morgan Stanley's economist's observation, that a million new Starbucks baristas do not a revived economy make. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/22/opinion/22roac.html?pagewanted=print&position=

Even with that possible rise in minimum wage, from $5.15 per hour to $7.15. Although, at 40 hours a week per month, a worker could in fact earn enough for a month of health care coverage, and still have enough for a cup of coffee every day (or a Snapple).