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Brain Drain, Admin Failures Threaten the FCC's Role

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the outsource-it-to-india dept.

Communications 121

coondoggie writes "The Federal Communications Commission has brain drain and administration problems that could decrease its effectiveness at a time when advanced service technologies such as wireless and broadband present significant regulatory challenges. On the brain drain front, a report out today (PDF) from watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office stated that from fiscal year 2003 to 2008, the number of engineers at the FCC decreased by 10%. Similarly, the overall number of economists decreased by 14%. While the total number of engineers and economists in the workforce has decreased from 2003 to 2008, the percentages remained the same. The GAO also criticized the FCC's public comment policy, saying, 'While FCC relies heavily on public input to inform its decisions, it tends to do so without giving the public access to the actual text of a given proposal. If parties are able to submit vague summaries that may not fully reflect meetings between FCC officials and outside parties, then stakeholders will continue to question whether commission decisions are being influenced by information that was not subject to public comment or rebuttal and that, in some cases, is submitted just before a commission vote.'"

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121 comments

First Post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30833652)

I hate teh FCC,

Yeah you know ME!

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30833708)

Well at least we have equality...

Re:Well (1)

haderytn (1232484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840270)

Stupid bitches fucked up the world.

Hmm (3, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833728)

Is this the same FCC that took a "save the children" stance over some wardrobe malfunction a while back?

I wonder why intelligent people would flee an organization guided by puritanism..

(FCC, free advice, stick to regulating wavelengths and you'll get more support from scientists and engineers)

"Republicanism" at work. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30833822)

This is just another case of "Republicanism" (that is, the stupidity inherent to the Republican Party in the USA, and to a lesser extent the Democratic Party) at work. The FCC is rife with it and people who support that attitude, after eight years of Republican rule. Not that the Democrats help the situation much, mind you.

Scientists, engineers, technologists, economists, and anyone with even the slightest bit of a brain just don't want anything to do with the typical Republican attitude, especially when it is so pro-religion, pro-"morality" and anti-knowledge. If you had to face Republicanism day in and day out at your job, you'd want to bail as quickly as possible, too.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1, Informative)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834054)

'Republicanism'? Ever heard of Tipper Gore?

We have 2 identical parties whose existence is based on fooling the public into thinking they differ in any meaningful way. Swallowing the partisan lie is the surest way to make sure nothing ever improves.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (0, Flamebait)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834702)

Mod parent "Troll"...
Sorry, pal, but Tipper's anti-obscenity campaign was a pale shadow compared to the puritanical bullshit that has managed to influence so much government policy ever since "The Moral Majority" came to power in the eighties. The remnants of that influence, which was arguably at it's zenith during the previous president's administration (search "Department of Justice" and "Liberty University"), remain strong in many departments of the federal government. That reasonable people quit in disgust is hardly surprising.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (2, Insightful)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835522)

I'm no censorship expert but I wouldn't consider the PRMC to be a 'pale shadow' of anything. Their kind of forced labeling enables policies like Wal-Mart censorship, which I think is just as destructive as any legallly-enforced censorship; it certainly hurts artists more.

Besides which, when did "less evil" become synonymous with "not evil"? It should be obvious that I'm no Republican sympathizer, and the zeal with which people jump to their party's defense is depressing and surprising. If the Democrats are marginally less inclined to asshole-ish behaviour, does that really make them any better? Hell, you could argue that they ought to know better. At least the Republicans seem to be upfront about being pricks.

Oh, and if your 1st line was a joke I give you all the credit in the world, but recommending that someone be modded 'troll' to limit their visibility in a conversation about puritanical censorship seems....pretty stupid.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836742)

If the Democrats are marginally less inclined to asshole-ish behaviour, does that really make them any better?

Well, yes - marginally so. Nobody's seriously suggesting that this two party system leads to anything more than the lesser of two evils, but by being less bad they are (by definition) better. Whether this marginal improvement is enough to win your vote, over something like a third party, is up to you.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837354)

Fair enough. Although I should say that I don't actually believe the Democrats are any better or worse. I think both parties are identical in every meaningful way, and our system is a shell game designed to manipulate people's anger so that the real aristocracy stays entrenched while any potential public power is dissipated on the wrong targets. It's a pressure vent to keep people from fighting back. So comments like the 'Republicanism' one tick me off: it's obvious that there's some righteous anger there, but it's wasted when you marginalize half of the audience. It doesn't matter who's in power, they're all pricks.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837726)

Welcome to the Five Percent Nation. Now just convince the other 85%...

Divide (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30838088)

Divide and keep them conquered. Works really well for the goons. It's the most effective idea tyrants ever had, beats even the bread and circuses dodge. 1% of the population, or even less, can control all the others completely and profit forever with it. The people who are getting really shafted will vent their anger on other victims, who are getting equally shafted, claiming it is "all their fault". All it takes is a little brainwashing of the children in the schools to get them conditioned in the first place, then life long "continuing education" adult brainwashing via their psyops combined propaganda "infotainment" corps.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30842806)

Everyone in power is a prick until you're in power. That's how the world has always worked.

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836932)

Oh, and if your 1st line was a joke I give you all the credit in the world, but recommending that someone be modded 'troll' to limit their visibility in a conversation about puritanical censorship seems....pretty stupid.

or wonderfully insightful, in a Fahrenheit 451 type of way?

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835758)

No shit, you stupid maggot. That's why he mentioned the 'Democratic Party' and 'Democrats' in his post.

Can you really not read? I know illiteracy runs rampant throughout America, but you take it to a whole new level. There are only five sentences in that post!

Re:"Republicanism" at work. (1)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835958)

Well you've convinced me. How could I have misunderstood how balanced that post was? Like if I were to say "Democrats are communist monsters bent on eating your children. And Republicans have some problems too." Totally balanced.

Anyone with even the slightest bit of a brain (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834208)

I find the partisans of both parties to be the biggest idiots around especially when they defend their own parties that have sucked for so long they should be indefensible.

The idiots of the right need to be more consistent on the so-called values of the republic even if that means staying out of the bedroom my bong or my womb (but I concede that protections of life , liberty do make the abortion issues squirrelly).

And the idiots on the left need to refrain from lectures on intellectualism and tolerance when they exhibit so little of it themselves.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833944)

Is this the same FCC that took a "save the children" stance over some wardrobe malfunction a while back?

I wonder why intelligent people would flee an organization guided by puritanism..

(FCC, free advice, stick to regulating wavelengths and you'll get more support from scientists and engineers)

Except it wasn't the FCC who really wanted to do it, but the fact that a puritanical lobby group got offended, and flooded the FCC with complaints. The Parents Television Council offers ways to easily send in complaints, and it's estimated that 99% of the complaints came from the PTC. Unfortunately, by legislation, the FCC has to act on these complaints, even if they're stupid.

Source: One boob == 963,000 FCC complaints [arstechnica.com]

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834554)

Except it wasn't the FCC who really wanted to do it, but the fact that a puritanical lobby group got offended, and flooded the FCC with complaints. The Parents Television Council offers ways to easily send in complaints, and it's estimated that 99% of the complaints came from the PTC.

IIRC, the FCC has since reformed their counting process specifically because of groups like the PTC.
The FCC now discounts cookie cutter and form letters because, like you said, they were making up 90%+ of the complaints.

[Citation Needed] but I can't seem to dig up any articles I had read on the topic.

Re:Hmm (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839920)

Ummm, then again, it may be that I got things backwards...
Which is why I couldn't find any citations to support my claim.

The change was that the FCC started counting form letters as individual complaints instead of glomming them together as one.
http://techliberation.com/2009/09/09/more-inflated-fcc-indecency-complaints/ [techliberation.com]

  • On July 1, 2003, the agency began tallying each computer-generated complaint sent to the FCC by any advocacy group as an individual complaint, rather than as one complaint as had been done previously. The advocacy group benefiting from that change had challenged the FCC to make the change by June 30th and boasted later that it was responsible for the FCC's redirection, citing reassurances of FCC commissioners.

I wonder if the FCC takes into account supportive e-mails and letters it receives in its complaint box.
If so, maybe an anti-PTC action alert system to flood the FCC with messages supporting 'indeceny' would be a good idea.

Re:Hmm (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835094)

I don't believe FCC is obligated to act on complaints - they have to investigate investigate complaints. Whether they take action depends on the circumstances. For example penalizing the network for the wardrobe malfunction was a choice FCC made internally based on an investigation into the facts and their established rules. The investigation was sparked by the complaints. Maybe a pedantic distinction, but there you are..

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835576)

Throwing the complaints in the garbage where they belong is acting on them.

Re:Hmm (0, Flamebait)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834396)

Yeah, it is the same FCC which will enforce the other "Puritan" view called .... "Fairness Doctrine".

And yes, I agree, stick to regulating the wavelengths and not what rides on them.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834746)

There is no fairness doctrine. It's been dead since 1987.

Re:Hmm (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835948)

It is only MOSTLY dead.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836522)

no.

It's completely, utterly and totally dead. It's pining for the fjords. It is no more. There is nothing even remotely resembling the fairness doctrine in american media.

If there were, AM radio would be radically different.

Re:Hmm (0, Offtopic)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837156)

Well, for the second time in 20 years, the Democrats, with full power, went way too far down the same rejected road: health care nationalization and "Fairness Doctrine", and just got bitchslapped, again, yesterday.

To quote Ellie in Contact, "Which is more likely, that you just 'can't get the message out'? Or that your message got out, loud and clear?"

One assuages your ego, and therefore should be suspect.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837474)

One thing I've never understood is that the same people who complain about the "liberal media" seem to think that liberals want to shove the fairness doctrine down the public's collective throat. Yes it's a bad idea, yes some bonehead dems bring it up every once in a while, but the thing has no legs. And whats more, if there were such a thing as the liberal media, the fairness doctrine would necessarily increase conservative views on the airways.

Now, to address your tangent, nationalization is what we did to GM and AIG.

Nationalization of healthcare would require the government to actually step up to the plate and fund healthcare, something Washington is clearly too chickenshit to do - probably because a government run insurance plan isn't likely to make campaign contributions.

If you want my opinion, the reason healthcare is now unpopular is because were the senate to take up the National Everyone Gets a Pony Act they'd probably attach a mandatory dog food provision to it.

The question, in my mind, is why has public opinion on universal healthcare soured so dramatically since November 2008? The only answer I can come up with is that while no one wants to see good sausage being made, we've spent the last year watching Harry Reid let Nelson, Lieberman et al stuff that sucker with the foulest ingredients imaginable.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30842166)

The question, in my mind, is why has public opinion on universal healthcare soured so dramatically since November 2008?

Because, we are the option for countries with universal health care. People come here from Canada, England, and around the world to get "Health Care" that friggin rocks, and they don't have access to in their countries.

That awesome health care here won't exist if we move to Universally Bad Health Care. Don't FUCK with it.

And those people making fun of (R)s for their "do it for the children" crap, should take a long look in the mirror when it comes to their "socialism agenda", because they are NO BETTER.

Lastly, we have 30 MILLION illegal aliens in this country (call me racist if you want), how many more can we afford to give free health care to as they flood across the boarder when they figure out "Free" includes them?

Sorry, but Universal Health Care SUCKS every where it has been implemented. AND NO, it isn't going to be "different" this time, because we'll fix the problems.

You can't fix everything for everybody. Sorry, You just can't. Life sucks sometimes. Get used to it.

Re:Hmm (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30842824)

Radically different, but not what people want to listen to. The audience that buys goods and services of the advertisers, gets what they want.

Wait (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833734)

Similarly, the overall number of economists decreased by 14%. I can understand why the FCC needs engineers... but why exactly do they need economists to regulate communication?

Re:Wait (3, Insightful)

quatin (1589389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833782)

What? What don't they need economists for? The impacts that frequency block control on the economy is huge! You can't go willy nilly assigning chunks of spectrum out without considering the economic impact it will generate.

Ridiculous (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834138)

Of course you can. The so called experts are no match for the inherent genius of the free market. Just shrink regulatory agencies to nothing, and appoint graduates of Liberty University to all the top posts. With the Free Market unshackled and Good and Simple Judeo-Christians running the show, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Re:Ridiculous (3, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834410)

Disney?

Re:Ridiculous (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834812)

I'd rather have pure unshackled government than unshackled free market. Strict top-down controls by authorities are conducive to liberty and freedom. Noam Chomksy said so.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834910)

Hear, hear! I'll take fascism over socialist democracy any day of the week. We may all eat at McDonalds, but damnit, the trains taking me to my work camp will be on time!

Re:Ridiculous (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835114)

Your post got modded funny but it's not actually funny, right? It's sad. Making fun of the truth by restating it. Nice one.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834320)

What? What don't they need economists for? The impacts that frequency block control on the economy is huge! You can't go willy nilly assigning chunks of spectrum out without considering the economic impact it will generate.

That's true. You have to carefully consider the value with regard to campaign contributions and the overall impact on cronyism.

Re:Wait (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834648)

Uhh, can't that just outsource it? (To another agency, not India) How often does the FCC allocate spectrum? It seems like a rather rare event. Why keep those folks on FCC payroll?

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834900)

Uh.. the FCC does other things besides just auction spectrum. And pretty much every policy decision they make will have economic impact. Hence, economists.

Re:Wait (1)

quatin (1589389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835516)

How about regulating the communication industry? Can't out source that and claim any form of objectivity.

Re:Wait (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834086)

Because the frequencys are a limited resource. As such, it drives a very delicate market. Same as "diamonds".

Diamonds in quotes because that market is artifically limited.

More Than One Way to Deregulate (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833800)

Another regulatory agency being gutted right before our eyes. At what point do Americans call 'enough!' on corporate hegemony?

Enjoy your corporate deathburger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3pIDSQ1rdA [youtube.com]

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834528)

Enjoy your corporate deathburger

I eat at McDonald's, you insensitive clod!

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (1, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834768)

At what point do Americans call 'enough!' on corporate hegemony?

Why is it that people are so willing to put themselves under government hegemony instead? Neither options are good, but corporate action only exists if consumers exist or government funnels money to them. I guess love of government, love of the people that can slap you in jail (while hating those that charge you more than you like / more than they should for something more) on their whim after "justice theater" in the courtroom are just being fashionable for the times.

News flash: corporations can't do much to you if you don't do business with them. Any corporation could buckle overnight if people acted on principle. But people don't care about principle, and the fact that they can't even act in their own self-interest in business shows that democracy itself is untenable. I guess people just operate under the myth that if we just work hard enough, we can create a perfect government, which is nonsense since the corruption of most western governments is an emergent property of the overall democratic structures in the first place, and believing in a perfect government when people can't be good consumers on a collective level is pretty silly...

A yoke is a yoke no matter whether you label it "democratic" or not.

So, you're screwed either way. Just stop holding allegiance to government (and, of course, corporations).

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835718)

The government is better than a bunch of corporations though. Especially in this case, where the government merely regulates to protect *us* (or well, you, since I'm not American) from the corporations. If the free market goes completely free, you'll be ripped off at every opportunity. No thanks, I'd rather have an over-protective government if I had to choose between the two extremes, though I must admit a lack of freedom of speech scares me too. But at least I can personally do something against the latter.

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839110)

Come back to me when Microsoft Time Warner runs something akin to Guantanamo Bay.

You can't do anything against a corporation? DON'T DO BUSINESS WITH THEM!

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835774)

Why is it that people are so willing to put themselves under government hegemony instead?

That is what a government is for - in democracies, to provide a system of organization whereby people, equally represented by a vote each, get together to decide what to do with their resources. It's based on the idea that humans have certain inalienable rights that cannot be trespassed upon by the rich and powerful. (I know, stupid idea - I don't know who came up with it.)

I guess love of government, love of the people that can slap you in jail (while hating those that charge you more than you like / more than they should for something more) on their whim after "justice theater" in the courtroom are just being fashionable for the times.

You'll have to clarify yourself. Do you think that the outrage against Goldman Sachs and Monsanto is of the same moral character that makes readers here despise Apple? Are you joking?

News flash: corporations can't do much to you if you don't do business with them.

Except put you out of business with a hostile takeover, buy your parent company out and fire you, sue you with a team of lawyers that collectively gross in a day what you do in a year, bribe a local politician to falsely imprison you... and that's just to a fellow citizen. God help you if you live in a country with no government large enough to protect your rights.

Any corporation could buckle overnight if people acted on principle.

On this we can definitely agree.

But people don't care about principle, and the fact that they can't even act in their own self-interest in business shows that democracy itself is untenable.

I think you'll find in most democracies that principles are very important. They are not perfect institutions, for sure, but you cannot live your entire life on the slippery slopes of political cowardice. Fascism is little better than Totalitarian Communism which is more or less as terrible and backwards as Monarchy and Theocracy. The only antidote to all of these provably broken systems of government is a secular, constitutional (as in law abiding) democracy that sensibly polices it's citizens and it's markets for the sociopaths and gold crazed sociopaths that will always blight the human landscape.

And a final point - you state that people can't be good consumers. I believe that they can, but first there has to be some penalty for lying for corporations. There has to be an entity, outside the direct control of corporations, that is itself policed by the press, which can act in meaningful ways to keep them honest. Throughout many parts of the world, consumers make the choice every day to buy food that doesn't harm the environment, products that don't exploit their producers, and lifestyle choices that make our modern world more sustainable. Informed choice is actually a prerequisite for a healthy market. However, when corporations break regulations on the press, turn them into an entertainment network, and then proceed to dismantle reality in order to perpetuate their own goals, real problems can and do and have developed. The cowardly answer is to abandon the whole process.

Personally, I'm not convinced America can recover without a cycle of real consequences for these choices. However, these choices still remain.

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837376)

News flash: corporations can't do much to you if you don't do business with them.

Except put you out of business with a hostile takeover, buy your parent company out and fire you, sue you with a team of lawyers that collectively gross in a day what you do in a year, bribe a local politician to falsely imprison you... and that's just to a fellow citizen. God help you if you live in a country with no government large enough to protect your rights.

But, the government that is supposed to be protecting your rights is the one taking bribes to put you in jail?

Any corporation could buckle overnight if people acted on principle.

On this we can definitely agree.

And the government would topple overnight if people would rise up against it; however, in this case there is the possibility that people would be required to bear arms in order to rise up. We can boycott MSNBC's liberal bias, or we can go to war with Obama's leftist government. Which is easier?

But people don't care about principle, and the fact that they can't even act in their own self-interest in business shows that democracy itself is untenable.

And a final point - you state that people can't be good consumers. I believe that they can, but first there has to be some penalty for lying for corporations. There has to be an entity, outside the direct control of corporations, that is itself policed by the press, which can act in meaningful ways to keep them honest.

So there has to be police that are policed by the press. But, why can the press just police the policed and eliminate the need for the police in the first place? (This could get fun 8*)

Overall, I believe it is two sides to the same coin. A overly strong FCC allows and even enables obamanations like the PTC and the Fairness Doctrine. To weak, and we get the corporations destroying net neutrality. There is a constant struggle for the right mix.

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839094)

That's just it. People expect the government to be this magical source of goodness and righteousness like a magical deity, somehow outside of the corruption of human behavior, if we only *try* hard enough, yet people can't possibly be good enough consumers to control a free market.

Then people whine on about fairness and "rights" when they use the words so nebulously they're devoid of meaning. What action is supposed to be "fair?" Of course, I'll get that person's subjective feelings on what "fair" is, while they chestbeat about how their personal opinions on how the world should be run are objective moral truths that they discovered by reading the Huffington Post.

The truth is, in a democracy such as ours there is an underlying free market in politics as well as business--it's ultimately up to the people to "regulate" government by voting (and in an ideal world) "regulate" business by witholding patronage, but people simply can't do it. Democracy is a sham. Just look at the replies I get, they tell me standard civics dogma like I'm unfamiliar with it and they laden it with all sorts of idealistic praise and unrealistic wish-fulfillment.

Government really is just a sort of deux-ex-machina of justice. It's supposed to "just be" good and not-corrupt and effective etc etc, and since people have that naive vision of government they go on pretending that if they wear rosy enough glasses government will become what they want it to be, and not what it is.

Instead what we really see, past all the democratic (lowercase D!) ideology, is collusion between business and government, with the ideologues putting on the blame on business and none of it on government, because Government Is Supposed To Be Inherently Good while Profits Are Bad.

Whine about Monsanto either because they make GM crops (which are good unless you buy into pseudoscience, more food for people, but weren't made by the government so are therefore evil) or because they get ridiculous patents on planet DNA (which IS bad but let's totally ignore the entity that makes up the patent system and enforces it), or because a big business is offering you a business deal you don't like ("I deserve better than this! I HAVE ARBITRARILY-DETERMINED RIGHTS!")

It's also funny how people are so willing to regulate what kind of offers businesses can offer consumers yet they're totally unwilling to regulate politicians the same way. I expect to just see more of what people learned in civics class, more uncritical nonsense where governments are ruled by angels and not men and institutions that create war and kill people are more dangerous than institutions that mainly just offer whatever deal will make them most profitable (not that businesses haven't killed or such before).

Re:More Than One Way to Deregulate (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836956)

Another regulatory agency being gutted right before our eyes. At what point do Americans call 'enough!' on corporate hegemony?

Maybe when the government starts paying the going rate for skilled jobs that are in demand in the private sector?

Impossible! (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833844)

To have brain drain, one must actually have quality brain to drain.

Case in point: Kevin Martin. For a while I _really_ wanted to get on live TV just to say, "Fuck Kevin Martin of the FCC. Fuck him in the ass with a big rubber dick, and then pull it out and beat him over the head with it." Definitely not 'fleeting' profanity, and I'm sure Carlin would approve.

Family Guy's 'PTV' episode (S04E14) had a great musical bit about 'The Freakin' FCC'

Unfortunately neither the whole ep, or the clip are on Hulu. However, there's an nzb on a.b.tv , for those familiar with the thing of which we shall not speak.

Re:Impossible! (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835180)

For real. I have heard some really scary stories about his behavior (not personal, organizational) from folks inside the FCC. Most of the staff was literally cheering when Genachowski took over. They even wrote some custom xmas carols to celebrate the new leadership - which tells how bad it was before.

Wonder how this is Obama's fault (0, Offtopic)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833852)

(wait, nevermind. talking politics on Slashdot is a bad idea.)

You wonder? I'll tell you (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834360)

This all goes back to the days of Bill Clinton. The truth of the matter is, he didn't have sexual relations with any woman. There are even rumours that he is still a virgin. Chelsea is actually the result of Hillary reproducing asexually, under the reason that no one would want to regularily. This genetic mutation is considered an evolutionary advantage to some, so valuable that they want to keep it secret. This is why there was so much news surrounding Jenna Bush and none around Chelsea.

They ran some tests on CC. She has shown not only the ability to reproduce look alikes (see Hilary Duff), but also other another mutant power; laser eyes. Cyclops is actually an inspired character based on Chelsea. She currently works at Cern, powering the LHC with her amazing gifts. But as we all know, not everything is as it seems. We've all heard the stories about how the LHC is going to create black holes and destroy the Earth. It IS going to happen, in 2012, its a proven fact. It's all part of the Democrats plan. Why you ask? Despite beating the Republicans in the elections its never enough. They held a secret meeting in a hotel board room where they discussed ways to get rid of the Republicans for good. The vote was unanimous: Destroy the Earth.

So we were completely safe for 8 years while George was in power. He of course staged 9-11 to start the War on Terror so that he could reduce the amount of liquids allowed on airplanes, thus keeping the American population from over-hydration. A disguised way to protect us all from the looming threat of too much water. Water, angry in a fit of rage, retaliated with Hurricane Katrina.

And now we've got Obama back in power. How can you be certain he is in on the plan to black-hole the Earth? CHANGE. You know what another word for Change is? MUTATE. Remember Chelsea? Bingo! And look at those ears! They can't be natural! I know what you are thinking: What does all of this have to do with the FCC - the one loose knot left to tie. All the Engineers are leaving: Why? Joining CERN at the LHC. All the Economists are leaving: Why? They are needed to keep up the ruse that the economy is getting better, just long enough to keep order until the LHC can create a black hole. Of course the FCC's Administration is failing. It is under direct attack by the worlds most organized, powerful, and underhanded groups. A group which is hellbent on making sure the entire world is destroyed. And nothing, no silly Commission started a long time ago, is going to stand in their way.

Ladies and Gentlemen, its already too late.

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834542)

A disguised way to protect us all from the looming threat of too much water.

The threat of too much non-distilled water.

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835100)

A disguised way to protect us all from the looming threat of too much water.

The threat of too much non-distilled water.

Too much fluoridated water contaminating out Precious Bodily Fluids.

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834560)

Too bad I can't mod you Funny and -1 at the same time.

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834720)

Wow. Somebody picked up some bad milk for their Cheerios today. Next time, make sure the carton is sealed.

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835524)

oh my god! I dint know Rush Limbaugh reads slashdot! Welcome, Rush!

Re:You wonder? I'll tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30837166)

That is possibly the funniest forum post on the internet. Ever. Better than the review on Amazon.com of Steven Seagal's blues cd, and that almost made me pee my pants.

So what? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30833886)

...the number of engineers at the FCC decreased by 10%. Similarly, the overall number of economists decreased by 14%

Sounds like we're well on our way towards the national goal of "career choices" limited to creating web sites or making something Oprah likes.

Re:So what? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836320)

You're missing the really exciting news in the article. The number of engineers at the FCC has increased 4% relative to the number of economists.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30833888)

FCC is almost unnecessary anyway.
This de-staffing of people that actually know stuff means it's just a bunch of whiny lawyers and accountants and make work bureaucrats anyway.
It's time to de-regulate. This is not China. FCC is prime territory for downsizing.

Re:So what? (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834140)

Obvious troll. I'll bite.
Learn some rudimentary electronics and facts about the electromagnetic spectrum (dangerous thermal radiation, what frequencies are ideal for emergency transmission because of transparency in the atmosphere). Then come back and say we need no regulation with a straight face.

I'll agree with you if you mean the FCC doesn't need to be the morality police, but you'll have to fight the entire social conservative movement to get that to change.

Where to begin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834104)

So who do we blame for this?

An education system that discourages math and science?
The uncertainty from the Judicial Branch, and Congress, to effectively outline the role of a regulatory body, and its involvement in the rapidly advancing technology age?
A corporate environment that lobbies to unheard of levels of government manipulation?
The public for being complacent with what they have?

Sadly, the points here, FTA, and in the report, merely scratch the surface of the larger problem at hand within the U.S.

Politics, lobbying, and keeping your head above water, have made this country ripe for corruption, uncertainty, and complacency. It's hard to progress as nation, when corporate interests determine your path of progress on the taxpayers dime, while the elected officials stab each other in the back for more floor time.

Solutions? Sure. How about end all lobbying in Washington. That might change things a little. I'd recommend violence, but media manipulation squashes any effectiveness that might have.

Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (5, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834132)

"...from fiscal year 2003 to 2008, the number of engineers at the FCC decreased by 10%."

Gee, that wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING, would it?

Some idiot with a microphone will soon start blaming the education system. It's NOT the education system. It's the MONEY system. No rational, self-interested human is going to spend a lot of time and money to enter a field where they get to compete with people making $12 per hour. If the government is serious about getting more engineers in the USA, there's a simple, easy answer. PAY THE ENGINEERS WHAT THEY'RE WORTH, not "What the wage-arbitraged market will bear."

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834234)

FACT: In 2005 the FCC outsourced it's entire IT operations to a single large federal contractor called SI International in order to save lots of money. Existing federal employees were given decreased roles or given the boot. That's probably around the time things started hitting the fan. Bad decisions lead to their current situation.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834832)

Of course, being a government agency, bad decisions don't affect it as a whole. Some people may get fired some things may change new people will come in and make the same bad decisions. It's not like the FCC is going to go out of business.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (5, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834386)

The problem is the rest of society is not paid a wage-arbitrated market value :P
A large part of the economy is the public sector which just negotiates its pay with government and is not market based.
Doctors and lawyers limit their market supply and increase their demand via regulations ...

As such an engineer faces a severe imbalance in the West. They are talented enough to enter one of these jobs with an inflated pay scale not tied to the market. That is where they are going.

If we were all paid a market arbitrated wage, then there would be no problem. The market would in fact sort out these kinds of issues. Globally, I am probably worth $15 dollars an hour as an engineer. Globally, a teacher is probably worth $8 dollars an hour... There is a reason most western countries have severe structural deficits.

That portion of their society receiving non market arbitraged wages is grown too large relative to the market wages... and have not been corrected.
As Detroit's economy collapsed and high paying manufacturing and engineering jobs were lost... should that not have translated to lower wages for the public sector, doctors, lawyers... in that region?

We need to pick one system and stick to it as much as possible.
Either we let freedom reign and let people pay others what they think they are worth (market system).
Or we have some abstract pay scale where people negotiate their wages with the government.

Either way, it has to apply to most of society equally.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834588)

I have no problem with wage-arbitrage as long as it's concomitant with price-arbitrage. To some extent, this is the case, with the fairly major exceptions of real estate, energy, pharmaceutical products and local services such as medical services.

Bottom line? If they want to pay me Indian wages, I'd better be paying Indian prices.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834804)

What their worth IS what the market will bare. If you think you're worth more than go somewhere else and do it. If what you do is worth more, then sell it your self and/or start your own company and compete. Don't whine because of achieving what you're actually capable of rather than what you dreamed to do.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835378)

When I'm able to outsource my housing, local services, pharmaceuticals, etc. to match the levels paid in other cheaper countries, I'll take that statement seriously.

Bonus points for figuring out why prices in the USA are still high.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836234)

Sorry to cut and paste, but to answer the bonus question:

"What their worth IS what the market will bare."

I grantee that if nobody could afford to buy a house that the prices would go down.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836738)

Incomplete.

The reason everyone else can and a competent engineer can't is....

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30838788)

1) Better life decisions
2) More productive product
3) Older and saved more
4) Just plain lucky and won lottery
5) slightly less lucky but did well in investments
6) curbs bad habbits (drinking, smoking)
7) limits partying to a reasonable level for their income

should I go on?

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840680)

A bare market? I don't think they allow that in this country. You're generally required to wear shoes and shirts. I suppose you could go bottomless though.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836980)

If the government is serious about getting more engineers in the USA, there's a simple, easy answer. PAY THE ENGINEERS WHAT THEY'RE WORTH, not "What the wage-arbitraged market will bear."

The trouble is, that's what they are worth; and I say this as an engineer.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837126)

OK, then in another dozen years or so, you'll have almost no CS or engineering graduates coming out of USA schools. No engineering innovation. We'll make our money on farm products and finance products :O

But hey, if the USA can't live up to free market economic standards, well then by golly, it needs to declare bankruptcy and sold piecemeal to other countries like China and India. It's the sacred capitalist way! Make sure you guarantee it by voting Republican next November.

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837882)

OK, then in another dozen years or so, you'll have almost no CS or engineering graduates coming out of USA schools. No engineering innovation. We'll make our money on farm products and finance products :O

Or, demand will outstrip supply and salaries will go up. Part of the problem is many engineering students study what is hot and ignore market realities. When I worked in Silicon Valley, companies were desperately looking for EE's that could design analog systems; and paying big bucks. Friends in the utility industry have raised concerns that there will not be enough power and nuc engineers to meet future demands as the current crop retires; let alone meet anticipated growth needs.

But hey, if the USA can't live up to free market economic standards, well then by golly, it needs to declare bankruptcy and sold piecemeal to other countries like China and India. It's the sacred capitalist way! Make sure you guarantee it by voting Republican next November.

It isn't so much an R vs D issue; the market exerts it's pressure no matter who is in power and politicians pander to their own special interests in the naive belief that they can somehow better control the economy.

Professions that have been able to regulate supply to keep up wages eventually succumb to market forces (Pilots, Lawyers, Doctors and Autoworkers as examples)and either see real wages drop or jobs go away.

Do you really think for a minute if the government set engineering wages we'd not see companies move abroad where cheaper engineers are available?

Re:Wouldn't have anything to do with OUTSOURCING? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30838122)

"...Do you really think for a minute if the government set engineering wages we'd not see companies move abroad where cheaper engineers are available?"

No, probably not, and I concede to the inevitability of market forces.

What galls me, however, is that everyone so mindlessly accepts the dichotomy of "The market does it or the government does it." I find the lack of imagination or thought depressing.

What I still suspect will happen is that within the next 50 years or so we get useful human-ish AI, after which all bets are off. At that point, you have robots that do almost anything, answers to all the questions that have answers. I'm not even sure if money exists or matters in whatever system emerges from that.

All this assumes tech progress doesn't slow down, stop or get diverted into laudable but dead-end projects like "green power".

Uh, this is why they need economists... (1)

Primitive Pete (1703346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30838278)

...because they have to have somebody on hand who understands the simple fact that what the market will bear IS what engineers are worth. By definition.

Brain drain at the FCC (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834200)

There was someone at the FCC that had brains? You would never have known it. ugh, forget it.

Who needs them anyway (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30834366)

We should deregulate all of it at let private enterprise work it out through competition and unrestrained capitalism. That's the answer to everything. I know, Fox News told me so. What, worried about your privacy? Hire a privacy consultant from a company that makes money protecting your privacy. It's the American Way (and why should I pay for your privacy anyway?). Worried about pr0n broadcasts? Why, they'd make more money than damn near anything else. And after all, money is the only thing that matters. Oh wait, you're worried about the children. I suggest you hire a nanny (more private enterprise) to watch them when you're not around (and why should I pay to protect your children anyway?).

Re:Who needs them anyway (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834716)

What is private enterprise going to do when some jackass starts spewing noise all over a chunk of spectrum? Hire the mafia to take care of it? Send a mob with pitchforks and torches to tear down the antennas? When I get pissed off at you and decide to park a van on top of a nearby hill and blast your house with cellphone signal, completely destroying your ability to make calls, who are you going to turn to? Batman?

Re:Who needs them anyway (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834756)

What is private enterprise going to do when some jackass starts spewing noise all over a chunk of spectrum?

Wait, how is this different from what Rush Limbaugh does now?

And I should point out that your sarcasm detector appears to be faulty.

Re:Who needs them anyway (2, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835166)

And I should point out that your sarcasm detector appears to be faulty.

It's not faulty, it was just suffering unacceptable interference from an unshielded device

Take a number, FCC (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834502)

From late 2007 on, the federal government has been "quietly" laying off contractors left and right. It just so happens that most federal engineers are contractors...

Bitch all you want about the state of things, but the fact is that it's cheaper for the federal government to outsource this work. Contractors can be fired without mercy and don't require a pension (more pay up front in exchange for no pension is a deal for the tax payers, especially as life spans climb.)

Re:Take a number, FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835708)

i'd like to agree with you except you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about

what both the government and the contracting companies have been preaching since Clinton/Gore is hourly wages - those contractors take home less per hour than their government coworkers, plus they work harder! the truth is the contractors are all subject to the same frakked up rules and regulations - i.e. they CANNOT work harder/faster due to red tape

but more importantly, the hourly rate paid to the contracting _company_ is often MULTIPLES of what the government employee costs, even with benefits considered

bottom line, with contractors, the taxpayer spends much more money to get the same crappy service

so where does the extra money go? big benefits at the contracting companies for CEOs, CFOs, VPs, et al, who spread some of that wealth back to Congress, the Executive branch, probably even the courts, in order to keep that gravy train rolling

and this whole "firing" of contractors is just laughable. it's the same people who won't fill out the paperwork to fire govt workers who won't fill out the paperwork to fire contractors. plus it's all confrontational and contracting companies have LAWYERS!!!

PRIVATIZE IT. (3, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834728)

Seriously. The Corporations know what the American people want more than the FCC. The Corporations will give America all the sex, drugs, and American Idol they want. FCC? Friggin' bunch of crazy Jesus freak Catholics pretty much.

Re:PRIVATIZE IT. (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835678)

Troll. FCC is staffed with a bunch of people from different backgrounds and beliefs - it's a pretty diverse place. FCC leadership varies and some of them from the past might be characterized along the lines you suggest.

Re:PRIVATIZE IT. (2, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837070)

Seriously. The Corporations know what the American people want more than the FCC. The Corporations will give America all the sex, drugs, and American Idol they want. FCC? Friggin' bunch of crazy Jesus freak Catholics pretty much.

Actually, most of the Catholic's I've met have no problem with nudity, alcohol or people enjoying themselves. The Baptists, however, seem to be in a constant state of worry that someone, somewhere, is having fun and that might lead to dancing...

Split it (1)

LarrySDonald (1172757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834902)

Split "censoring airwaves" and "managing frequency blocks". I know they sound similar, but when it was mostly about managing what went where in the spectrum, there was cred (sometimes grudging) from those transmitting. There was some hate, but kind of like hot rodders v highway cops. Censorship of what has already been let onto a frequency or spectrum gets no real respect - you have to pay for talent in full dollars with a little extra for the anti-cred you get for being involved in it. Split them into two parts (and then feel free to take the second out back and shoot it, but that's a pipe dream) and the people doing actual sorting of spectrum can perhaps get some talent that wouldn't touch F*CC with a ten foot pole.

Effectiveness? (1)

CBob (722532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30834938)

The FCC has effectiveness? (not joking)

They're more like one of the examples of "lack of".

The timelines they use for decisions & the resources they use are & have been for years generally the models of "How Not To Do Things".

FCC is like the Fed... end it now! (1)

Plugh (27537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30837894)

The FCC is unconstitutional -- the legislature gave wide-ranging power to an unelected bureaucracy, which it is not authorized to do (not that the US Constitution matters a damn nowadays)

The FCC does nothing to protect my life, liberty, or property. In 99% of the USA, there is so much wide-open bandwidth, there will never be a serious problem with conflicting signals in the electromagnetic spectrum.

If it were not a Federal crime, I'd probably throw up an antenna and broadcast community radio in my town. But for the tens of thousands of dollars in license applications and hours of paperwork, it's not worth my while. Sure, there's Part-15 [freetalklive.com] radio, so weak you're lucky if you can hear it 3 blocks down the street -- not worth it either.

Government does what it does best -- squashing the little guy, protecting the larger moneyed interests, all in the name of keeping us safe.

Cognitive Regulatory Capture (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 4 years ago | (#30838864)

This is an example of Cognitive Regulatory Capture, a term recently applied to the US Fed and Wall Street by Willem Buiter, a British economist. He said:

The Fed listens to Wall Street and believes what it hears. This distortion into a partial and often highly distorted perception of reality is unhealthy and dangerous.

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2008/08/fireworks-at-jackson-hole-buiter-lets.html [economicpo...ournal.com]

This is what happens to many regulatory bodies, like the US Fed, FCC, US Patent Office, SEC, FDA, FERC (Federal Electric Regulatory Commission), etc. They end up promoting and defending their institutional clients rather then performing honest regulation.

The problem is made much worse by revolving doors, money and right wing ideology. The FED is a horrible example of the revolving door: just look at Paulson. When he was in charge of Goldman-Sacks they successfully lobbied to change the leverage ratio of banks (like Goldman-Sacks) from 20:1 to 30:1. This made the crash even worse. Then when he was the Treasury Secretary, he bails out banks at the expense of the national deficit. And by the way, he also helped preserve his own personal wealth. (Why is Pauson not under indictment for fraud?)

As for the corruption of money, a lot of lead researchers at the FDA in charge of specific programs were on the payroll of he very companies that were applying for FDA approval on their topic. All undisclosed to anyone, and all legal under the then current rules. Can you say conflict of interest?

Or look at FERC during the California energy chrisis when ENRON was gaming the system. The energy lobby got a bunch of pro-industry/anti-regulation hacks (some of whom owned energy monopolies) appointed to FERC, and when the chrisis hit they refused to do anything. On top of that, they blocked California regulators from doing anything. After the damage was done and Califonia wanted to get out of the bad deals that wer made during the worst part of the problem, FERC ruled that the contracts were valid, and the court backed them up. As a result California is still paying for the bad results of deregulation to this day. For some details see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/blackout/themes/ferc.html [pbs.org]

Here's An Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30842176)

How about just disbanding the FCC? We can regulate ourselves just fine. I could understand if a childrens show showed something horrible, but do we need to have people watching ADULT oriented shows (like some of the cartoons out now, such as Family Guy or South Park) then complaining about the humour?

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