Eminent Domain

In an article written by Tod Newcombe, Mr. Newcombe explains why Gov. Bredesen wants to bring Tennessee’s governmental operations up to a new scale.

Bredesen said his goal is to modernize how state operations run – and that includes information technology. “My priorities have been twofold,” he told Government Technology magazine. “I want to leave behind better internal systems than the ones I found when I became governor. Second, I want to keep exploring how we use IT to deliver services to the outside world. That’s a little more complex than putting up another Web page.”

But what interesting is how he states that industry should lead the way to expanding technology and not municipalities.

But government should have a limited role in pushing broadband infrastructure in the state, according to the governor. First and foremost, neither the state nor localities should be in the broadband provider business, he said. “When I was mayor of Nashville, I never had an interest in [providing] citywide wireless. I don’t think we could do that particularly well, and we would always be behind the times.”

Instead, government should concentrate on removing legal barriers that hinder broadband growth and provide targeted subsidies or tax incentives to encourage private-sector growth.

But does the governor practice what he preaches… of course not.

So far, the decade-long transition to digital broadcasting has mostly been about pain. Beginning Thursday, the public might  start to see the gain. That’s when the government will begin auctioning off the airwaves that are being made available thanks to the transition. The auction will raise billions for the U.S. Treasury and the transition will free up badly needed space for emergency communications.

The airwaves are currently occupied by television UHF channels 52 through 69. The spectrum can carry lots of information across long distances and easily penetrate walls. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says it is so desirable that analysts have taken to calling it “beach-front property.” It is the “key building block” in making wireless Internet service competitive with cable and DSL (digital subscriber line) offerings. Customers could do things like watch TV shows and transmit loads of data “wherever and whenever” they want.

Congress first ordered an end to old-technology, analog broadcasting in 1997. But it wasn’t until 2005 that it set a hard sunset date. All full-power television stations must stop broadcasting an analog signal by Feb. 18, 2009.

The commission also approved a plan to combine 10 megahertz of commercial spectrum with a portion of public safety spectrum to create a shared public safety communications network. The plan relies on a private bidder to pay for and construct the network.

A new company stacked with former government officials and Silicon Valley investors, Frontline Wireless LLC, was expected to make the minimum bid of $1.3 billion for the public safety portion of the spectrum but failed to qualify. To be eligible to bid, the company was required to submit a $128 million upfront payment. Other qualified bidders include the nation’s two largest cell phone providers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless; a host of smaller, regional phone companies; several cable providers and one very large newcomer: Mountain View, Calif.-based Google. The company has become more involved in wireless technology as Internet searches have gone mobile. Google lobbied hard for the open-access provision that will allow so-called “smart phones” to more easily use Google’s search engine and other products.

Bidding starts Today, but the winners may not be known for weeks or even months.

I sort of hate to have to do two newsletters in the same day about Compete America’s peridy against American workers, but when I went to their website to do research for the first newsletter about their fix for H-1B, I couldn’t help but see an annoying graphic that changes between a “blue card” and a “green card” as you move your mouse over it. They also offer a PDF file that they claim is an advertisement, so apparently they plan to unleash their propaganda on the unsuspecting public.

In typical fashion Compete America is being highly misleading because the “blue card” has far more in common to the H-1B than “green cards”. Like the H-1B visa, the blue card would be a temporary visa that would be used primarily for high-tech workers, and because the employer owns the visa, the worker is indentured. Blue card holders are given visas for 2 years and in similar fashion H-1Bs are for 3 years. Some people argue that the H-1B is quite different because blue cards offer a path to citizenship, but that too is a misconception because H-1B is a “dual intent” visa that allows visa holders to apply for permanent residency.

So, considering the fact that Compete America isn’t stupid, why are they holding onto the myth that blue cards are like green cards? I suspect their motivation has less to do with facts and more to do with clever marketing.

The cheap labor lobby knows all too well that H-1B comes with some heavy baggage and negative connotations, whereas green cards are adored by all the media darlings, pundits, politicians, and even dumb engineering associations like the IEEE. If I read Compete America’s intent correctly, they would be OK with green cards if we had a whole lot more of them, and we gave them to anyone that Intel, Microsoft felt deserved them.

To see their animated graphic, go here and put your mouse over the blue square — you can download the PDF ad on the left side of the page.


Speaker Pelosi, House Minority Leader Boehner and Treasury Secretary Paulson met over breakfast at the Capitol yesterday morning to start working out the fine print of an economic stimulus package. Discussions so far, including a meeting Tuesday between congressional leaders and President Bush, have focused on broad parameters of a $150 billion package, and both sides have given some ground. The remaining obstacles include agreeing on who will receive tax rebate checks and how much aid will be directed to businesses.

Business in the hands of fools…..

CBO yesterday estimated the FY08 budget deficit will grow to about $250 billion, largely because of the weakening economy. But the CBO, countering the opinions of many economists, does not forecast a recession this year. Some Democratic lawmakers argue that the CBO report was completed before retailers reported a disappointing holiday-sales period, a recent jump in unemployment and the congressional push for a $150 billion economic stimulus package. Senate Budget Chairman Conrad estimated the stimulus package would boost the deficit to more than $350 billion.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee picked up an endorsement from former competitor Duncan Hunter, the congressman from California.

Hunter dropped out after the South Carolina vote following a respected but unsuccessful attempt to win the Republican nomination.

“I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Hunter said in a statement. “Mike Huckabee is a man of outstanding character and integrity. I saw that character over the last year of campaigning and was greatly impressed,” Hunter added. “The other Republican candidates have many strengths and I wish them all well. My personal choice is Mike Huckabee.”

I found this somewhat surprising considering the political positions the two men differed on.

Don’t look to crown any presidential nominees on Super Tuesday. The race for delegates is so close in both parties that it is mathematically impossible for any candidate to lock up the nomination on Feb. 5, according to an Associated Press analysis of the states in play that day.

President Bush signed an executive order Wednesday to implement a law Congress passed last year to tighten national security reviews of proposed foreign investments.

May God Bless and  Keep You This Day Till Tomorrow

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