One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Friday, February 23, 2007


Continuing the pay-it-forward meme scheme developed by Leonard Pierce, here's my capsule interview with Hayden Childs...

1. What's your favorite show you've seen at the Ryman?

Oooh, you are already establishing yourself as a tough interviewer. I would have to say the 2004 show featuring Elvis Costello and the Imposters, where they were touring behind their release of The Delivery Man. Costello really showed up for that show, which he so often does when he's in Nashville. One of the most memorable moments was when he sang "A Good Year for the Roses" without any amplification. I was sitting in the rear of the balcony and heard every note.

Runners up would include Wilco in 2003, Steve Earle & the Original Dukes 25th Anniversary of Guitar Town reunion/concert, Merle Haggard in 2002, and the Johnny Cash public memorial.

(There's a quick top five instead of one. I love many of the shows there for many reasons.)

2. What was the point of telephone deregulation with the benefit of hindsight? Does it have a future?

Well, the point of it was to provide universal, cheap access to communications and information services. At least, that was the public face of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. There were some positives there, including the establishment of the Universal Service Fund and of e-Rate, so that schools could take advantage of the emergent Internet. That, in and of itself, would have been enough.

However, the point was not as dramatic as the outcome. The outcome, of course, was the re-consolidation of big incumbent local exchange carriers. That was helped along greatly by the robber baron philosophy of Bernie Ebbers -- and as the robber that he was, he wound up being sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud.

Now, what we are witnessing in the industry today is the death of long distance and the emergence of IP. The two most lucrative markets left: 1) wireless, and 2) broadband access.

This is a much abbreviated history.

But in answer to the second question, the short answer is "yes." I think that regulation has a future, and its name is "net neutrality." I don't think that it has much of a future, but I must commend Commissioner Adelman and Commissioner Copps for standing up to AT&T and making sure that NN provisions were attached to the BellSouth merger as a precondition.

3. Do you have a favorite place to take photos?

I try not to limit myself, but I find myself taking most photos when on hikes. Trees, flowers, birds, sunsets, landscapes. I probably don't take as many pictures of people as I could, unless I'm at a concert.

As far as a single favorite, I'd have to say that Alaska has really captured my imagination. This year's vacation will be to Galápagos, however, so we'll see if that remains at the top of the list.

4. Mike Watt & The Pair of Pliers (Watson/Meghrouni) or Mike Watt & the Black Gang (Baiza/Lee)? Why?

Black Gang -- but the version of the Black Gang that I saw (on the "puttin' the opera to bed" tour) was Bob Lee and Nels Cline.

And now that you know that, I think the answer should be obvious. That's the show that made me a Nels Cline fanatic.

I'd still probably lean towards Baiza & Lee if that was my only choice. As long as Watt's in the mix, though, it's all good.

5. Will the Dems take Tennessee in 2008? Which Presidential candidate has the best shot and why?

Depends on what the Dems are attempting to "take" in Tennessee. The senate seat, currently held by Lamar! Alexander is going to be tough to take back. Right now, the D's have a majority in House seats (5 of 9 of TN's districts), they hold the governorship (nominally, since Bredesen is such a sellout), they continue to hold the TN House, and are within a couple of seats of taking back the Senate. Since the governor's office isn't vacated until 2010... I'd say they hold 5 seats in the House delegation unless Davis (TN-4th) runs for Lamar's seat.

Among presidential contenders in TN... hm. Let's just go with who I think will win the prez primaries, given who's in right this moment: McCain (R), Obama (D). I don't think there's much chance for Hillary to win here unless she is riding a huge wave, and even then, it'll be tough.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Growing pains?

This year, I have come to be acquainted with two people who've gone to prison.

Having gone almost 40 years in my life, I don't think I've ever really even tangled with anyone who went to jail, much less prison.

(That time that my dad got busted for fireworks possession hardly counts.)