Comcast vs. competition
John Cassidy at The New Yorker on the Comcast-Time Warner merger: “As residents of the country that came up with Hollywood, Silicon Valley and the Internet, we like to think that we lead the world in communications and entertainment. And we’re certainly ahead in one way: We pay far more for broadband Internet access, cable television and home phone lines than people in many other advanced countries, even though the services we get aren’t any better. All too often, they are worse. …
“Why are things so different, and so expensive, in the United States? There are various answers, but by far the most important ones are competition and competition policy. In countries like the U.K., regulators forced incumbent cable and telephone operators to lease their networks to competitors at cost, which enabled new providers to enter the market and brought down prices dramatically. The incumbents — the local versions of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T — didn’t like this policy at all, but the regulators held firm and forced them to accept genuine competition.”
Satirst Andy Borowitz got hold of a letter Comcast sent to subscribers with some FAQs about the merger with Time-Warner. Among them:
Q: How will the merger affect the price of my cable service?
A: There is no clear answer to that. But we will be introducing financing options, roughly similar to those that enabled you to attend college.
Q: Will there be any adverse impact on customer service?
A: A technician will be at your home between the hours of eight and never.
Q: How frequently will you turn off the Internet, and are you going to deliberately crush Netflix by making it impossible to stream its movies?
A: Often and probably.
Hoisted by a racial petard
Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens issued the following statement in response to allegations by the American Federation of Government Employees that the Department of Labor has followed racially discriminatory promotion policies dating back to 2009:
“It is the ultimate irony that Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is facing a union crisis at the department he leads that is largely based upon racial discrimination claims built around the discredited disparate impact theory that he has long sought to impose on private employers.
“The racism claim from Labor’s public employee union local is based upon statistical analysis of job promotions rather than a critical look at the comparative candidates who were being considered. Under Perez’s own enforcement of the law while at the Justice Department, the merits of individual candidates don’t matter, the only guideline for racial discrimination is if the correct proportion of each race and gender are represented. Now, he faces a complaint that accuses his predecessor and many of his subordinates in the department with being branded with the scarlet R of racist due to their promotion practices.
“Now Perez and [President Barack] Obama himself are being hoisted on the very petard they have been using as a cudgel against private employers.”
The psychology of Hillary
Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post: “Hillary Clinton is our national Rorschach test. What you see says more about you than it does about her. Whether the inkblot depicts a menacing monster or fluffy cloud depends on your preexisting perspective.”
Ms. Marcus is responding to the report at the Washington Free Beacon website, which got hold of diary entries from Ms. Clinton’s late friend Diane Blair — just in time for 2016, of course — which revealed, among other non-earth-shattering claims, that voters saw Ms. Clinton as “ruthless” during the 1992 election.
Ms. Marcus: “But she also comes off as smart and erudite (the documents read like a Blair-Clinton book group); insightful about the foibles of the capital and its inhabitants; relentlessly tough and disciplined, in stark contrast to her husband; and, alongside the ruthlessness, tender toward family and friends.”