One passing remark about AT&T and Censorship. This company has thrived under the very freedoms that it chooses to take away from others. It is obvious from the remarks of its recently departed CEO; it's secret NSA closet; it's walled garden with the iPhone (which some blame has to go to Apple as well here); and its censoring of the Pearl Jam webcast (listen for yourself at YouTube).
AT&T paid one lobbyist $160k and another $240k - in just 6 months this year. This is just 2 of the hundreds of lobbyists and company employees that have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars getting laws passed in its favor; getting rate hikes for promises unmet (where's our fiber?); and to decimate the Telecom Act of 1996. In 2006, at&t spent $23 million on lobbying [opensecrets.org]. The other empire, VZ, only spent $13M.
And it paid off, too. Both RBOC were allowed to buy not only the 2 biggest long distance and internet backbones, but the 2 most vocal CLEC's - and silence a majority of the competition in a fell swoop. Meanwhile, LD rates and local rates are increasing. Gee, could that be from lack of competition?
And it paid off in other ways: at&t owns the cellular company with the most subs: 61 million. Even when people decry the handling of the iPhone and the false advertising (no dropped calls, fast data network), Cingular has still been able to rack up 61 million suckers, I mean, customers. I just don't get it. Why spend your money with a company that will snoop on you and censor?
When are you sheeple going to wake up? Nothing seems to get the public excited. Your rights are being trampled upon or stripped away and no one seems to care. Sending an email to your Congress Critter is not the same as protesting. Today, they know you don't have it in you to really protest. It's all about the cheapest, the easiest, the quick fix. [stepping down from the soapbox now, shaking my head].