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Away From Home

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

My day with the PFF

I went to a conference today that was put on by the PFF. For those of you who are interested, the topic was a proposed "Digital Age Communications Act." Recognizing that (ReadersInterestedInThatTopic == 0), I'll leave it at that.

What I will mention is that there were two Congressmen there: Senator Ensign (R-NV) and Rep. Pickering (R-MS). Both had their interesting moments. Observe:

Senator Ensign was all about the soundbites. He talked about how awful it is that the US cannot regulate or tax Skype (since it's based in the Netherlands), but did not mention that the Act does not fix that problem.

He also served up this gem: "I like freedom."

Gee, thanks for the news flash. I never would've guessed.

Rep. Pickering's gaffe was far funnier, however. First, a little background: Several decades ago, the Supreme Court was fighting with the issue of how to define, and therefore ban, "obscenity." Justice Potter Stewart opined that he could not define obscenity, "but I know it when I see it."

Today, Rep. Pickering was talking about how it's difficult to ensure that universal service will be preserved into the future, since it's hard to define what exactly the goals of universal service are. He offered up this instant classic:

"It's like pornography. We know what we want."


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