A National Embarrassment

I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today. The persecution and long imprisonment of Wen Ho Lee, who was only freed from solitary confinement after pleading guilty under outrageous duress to a felony count, is a dismal chapter in American history.

At least President Clinton has had the decency to be modestly contrite, saying he was “quite troubled” by the way the case was handled. Clinton’s attorney general maintained the Justice Department’s arrogant stance.

FCC Looks into Open Access: Too Little, Too Late

The Federal Communications Commission, at long last, is going to look into the question of whether cable companies should be required to allow other Internet service providers than the ones they control to offer access to cable-data customers, according to the Washington Post.

This is a long-overdue move, and it’s probably too late.

The context is America Online’s grossly anti-consumer buyout of Time Warner, which is moving along pretty much as expected despite worries from people like me. If the FCC had really cared about this issue, it would have moved much sooner.

AOL Time Warner will be a powerhouse in all kinds of ways. Consumers will be losers. This is what happens when the people charged with preserving competition hide their eyes.

Go, Courtney, Go

Upside: Courtney Love demands some MP3.com cash. Universal executives said in court papers, on Web pages and in one well-publicized speech that they were battling MP3.com at least partly to protect Universal’s performers, a group that includes everyone from rap star Eminem to soul crooner Barry White to Love’s own grunge-rock band, Hole.

But share the windfall — the gains Universal may make from its MP3.com lawsuit — with the artists? Ha ha. Good joke.

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