Skip to main content

Sprint and T-Mobile Getting Scrod?






Old joke.


A traveller who is a huge fan of seafood arrives in Boston for the first time.  He leaves the airport and hails a cab.  After he gets in, he excitedly says to the cabbie, "Hey, I'm new in town.  Can you tell me a good place to go to get scrod?"  The cabbie replies [in a thick Boston accent], "Pal, I've got to congratulate you.  I've heard that question a lot over the years, but that's the first time I've ever heard it in the pluperfect subjunctive."


That joke is so old that it was first told in an era when large numbers of people could explain what the pluperfect subjunctive is. [You can google it if you like, but of course it won't help. You either find the joke funny or not regardless.]


Anyway, I can't help but wonder how badly T-Mobile and Sprint are finding themselves scrod by the recent FCC ruling on an airwaves auction.


So far as I understand it -- The FCC has set the rules so that most of the available bits of wirelessness will end up sold either to Verizon or AT&T. The two second-tier companies, T-Mobile and Sprint, will get something, but they will remain clearly second tier firms when its over. Indeed, the rules seem to lock the tiers into place.


Also, the rules came along with a stern admonition against merging. Presumably if Sprint and T-Mobile did merge then the combined firm could be in some sense first tier, entitled to a seat at the grown-up table at this auction. But no ... that's not allowed. The rules are designed so that the FCC can re-write them to the disadvantage of any parties that seek to merge with each other while the auction is pending. According to the news account to which I've just linked you, one FTC commissioner, Ajit Pai, said: "We all know what the item has in mind here."


What the item has in mind. A strange expression: does the agenda item itself have intentions? Does it have a mind?


Anyway, it seems that the FCC is telling those two firms that not only have they been consigned to the kiddy table, but that any effort to move to the adult table will get them exiled from the feast altogether.


Somebody tell me if I misunderstand.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …