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State senator sacked by broadband biz Frontier after voting in favor of broadband competition

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Holmes

Nice to see the oligopolies lose one

We have the finest lawmakers that money can buy, and with the money the oligopolies have accumulated by years of under-serving and overcharging us, they have plenty to bribe lobby those fine lawmakers, so losing one is a rare event for them. Not surprised Frontier took revenge on this senator, although with both houses strongly in favor of the bill, it's hard to imagine what they thought he could have done to stop it passing.

On another note, I'm in a state that has a (too) highly paid legislature, and they're plenty riddled with special interests. The problem is, nobody ever thinks they have so much money that they couldn't use a bit more.

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The one thing I'm not going to do here as Senate president is advance special interests, (anymore)

I may have fixed that.

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We have Frontier, which used to be GTE (Genuinely Terrible at Everything). The claim 6Mbps DSL but you're lucky to get 2.5Mbps. They refuse to expand their coverage of true high-speed or broadband. They use a Netgear modem/router that Netgear won't support and even ATT got rid of years ago. In other words, I'm not at all surprised they screwed over the Senator.

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West Virginians...

...sorry they lost a good leader. State has some fundamenal problems, such as lack of decent agricultural land, lack of any non-coal mineral resources, terrain is a PITA to build transport networks through...

But the people have always had some serious balls. Very tough, no nonsense people.

During the civil war (or as its known in my parts, the war of northern aggression) the WVa attitude was basically 'Youre all batshit crazy. Leave us alone or we will shoot you.' And thats why we have two Virginias - and the one to the right got hammered pretty extensively.

Now if we could just figure out how to grow a self-sustaining non-mining economy, we'd be cookin' with gas. Oh, wait....

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Re: West Virginians...

Northern agression?

Are you suggesting that Fort Sumpter was a False Flag affair?

You should tweet that to OPOTUS so we can all get a belly laugh from the retweet and the Fox News transcripts the next day.

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Re: West Virginians...

"the war of northern aggression"

My late wife (born in El Paso, TX) used to call it that.

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Re: West Virginians...

Secession was never prohibited by law. How about a British fort in New York harbor after 1783? Would attacking Americans have been the aggressors?

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Constructive dismissal?

And HOW is this not a constructive dismissal? I'd think he'd have a line of hungry ambulance-chasing lawyers.

Plus they wanted him to sign an NDA after they fired him?

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Orv
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Re: Constructive dismissal?

Sometimes in situations like that they make your severance pay contingent on an NDA or similar document that prevents you from talking about the situation. Since they generally aren't *required* to give you any severance at all, that's a pretty good incentive.

The vast majority of American workers are "at will" employees and can be fired (or quit) at any time, for any reason. There are some exceptions around protected groups, e.g. if a company fires someone based on race or gender, and they can *prove* it was for that reason, the company might be in trouble.

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I'm torn

On the one hand, good for him for voting that way despite such an obvious conflict. But on the other hand, how was he even allowed to vote given such an obvious conflict of interest? Lobbying (aka legalised bribery) is bad enough, as is the revolving door between government and certain large companies, but actually working for such a company while making laws takes it to a whole other level.

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Re: I'm torn

That's just American politics/business as usual.

Did you know that many bills put forth by Congress are written by lobbyists?

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Re: I'm torn

On the voting despite an obvious conflict of interest: my thoughts exactly. I've noticed that judges are also not recusing themselves anymore, when they should. It's troubling.

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WTF?

I dont get Americans...

Most of the Americans I know are pretty smart. And yet, when it comes to politics they are just willing to put up with all sorts of bribery, conflicts of interest and blatant corruption, with a smile and a shrug.

I mean unpaid legislatures went out in the early 1900's in the UK, because it meant you either had to have the super rich in parliament (i.e. Lords) or people who where on the take and representing "Special interests". Hell having paid legislatures was part of the people's charter proposed in 1838. And yet, in America you would prefer to have corrupt politicians with their hand in the trough rather than pay them a set wage and prosecute them for everything else they take...

I really dont get it....

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Re: I dont get Americans...

I mean unpaid legislatures went out in the early 1900's in the UK

Two things - he wasn't unpaid (he got $20K/year) and secondly, having unpaid[1] councillors is quite common here in the UK at parish & county level.

[1] Yes - they get their expenses paid and doubtless those get padded a little bit but still - they are essentially unpaid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I dont get Americans...

Some further information about West Virginia legislators: They are considered a "part-time" legislature, since they only meet for the 60-day regular session, plus "special budget sessions," and regular quarterly (<1 week) sessions. Also, in addition to the regular session pay, they get per diem to cover expenses related to traveling to the state capital. That works out to $333 per day for the regular session. I can't remember the minutiae of the per diem rates, but since they NEVER complete the budget during the regular session, and always need special sessions to deal with that, they always get more than $20000. Sure, it isn't much, but it nearly all of the legislators have careers outside the legislature. They are not professional legislators.

Anonymous because I work for a state agency in WV

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Go

Re: I dont get Americans...

Alright, so I was a bit misled by the article. But I still stand by my inability to understand Americans acceptance of political corruption.

The fact that this guy was able to vote on legislation about Broadband rules, whilst working directly for a Broadband Company, is such a flagrant breach of conflict of interest rules, that in any actual democracy he would either have been forced to recuse himself from being involved in the legislation process entirely, or he would be behind bars for not revealing the conflict of interest (ok in this case, more likely the former, since i doubt he could have hidden having a full time employer!). The fact people are celebrating that he didnt vote for thie big Company, rather then being angry that he even got to vote, says it all about politics in America...

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Re: I dont get Americans... 4 CrazyOldCatMan

20 grand is below the poverty line, even in Virginia.

It is also a big sign saying Will protect your interests for a reasonable sum pinned to each and every senator upon election.

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Re: I dont get Americans...

I still stand by my inability to understand Americans acceptance of political corruption.

I'm American, and I share your opinion. We haven't been a democracy in some time. We're a plutocracy. It's been that way since before I was born. We know it. We feel powerless to do anything about it.

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Re: I dont get Americans...

I still stand by my inability to understand Americans acceptance of political corruption

It's not so much acceptance but especially at the Federal or big state level it's more a matter of somebody has to do the job. The honest folks who are smart and likely would be the best aren't interested1 because it's essentially a disgusting ball of snot and requires too much money and fame. That pretty much leaves stupid, evil, and rich megalomaniacal prats to run for office. It's a little different in small states where it's more a matter of people voting for someone because it's John from down the way and he seems so nice when I bump into him at the market. Each state is going to have both factors but in differing degrees but in the big state model corruption is simply a given in politics and the small state model it gets overlooked because, well, it's John from down the way.

Not really knowing WV, I'm guessing that with about 14,000 residents per legislator it's probably something like 75-80% small state. Compare that with California at one end of the spectrum which is over 325,000 residents per legislator where you're well into big state territory, probably over 99% and New Hampshire at the opposite end which is two orders of magnitude lower at about 3,100 residents per legislator likely being nearly entirely small state model. None of that changes the actual level of corruption but it does change the perception of it.

1 - Sure, you get some of your civic duty types who will do the job because they find meaning in it just like you'll find folks who don't mind or even actually like jury duty and take the impartiality bit very seriously.

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Re: I dont get Americans...

"They are not professional legislators."

I want to highlight this comment because it's the key to understanding the situation. Americans *hate* the idea of professional politicians. There's an idea that people who work regular jobs will be closer to the interests of The People than those who make a career out of getting elected to office. Part-time, low- or un-paid legislatures are thus seen as a virtue, and the more conservative the state, the more true that is. Texas's legislature only meets once every two years, for at most 140 days (barring special sessions) for example.

There's a certain logic in it, but legislating is such a complex job that I tend to feel there's no crime in having people who specialize in it. A doctor may not have much in common with a coal miner in therms of lifestyle, but I doubt many coal miners go to other coal miners for medical diagnosis.

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Re: I dont get Americans...

>There's a certain logic in it, but legislating is such a complex job that I tend to feel there's no crime in having people who specialize in it.

Sorry, I'm from IL. It looks remarkably easy to me.

Show up, argue, accomplish nothing, collect pay. Rinse, repeat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I dont get Americans...

Americans *hate* the idea of professional politicians.

And yet we keep electing mayors, lawyers and judges to the legislatures.

There's an idea that people who work regular jobs will be closer to the interests of The People than those who make a career out of getting elected to office

Which directly contradicts the following:

Part-time, low- or un-paid legislatures are thus seen as a virtue

There are no construction workers or mechanics, no fast-food workers in the Texas senate.

There are a smattering of retired military, accountants and engineers but those to ten to fit into the "business owner" category.

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Re: I dont get Americans...

You're right -- in the end, what we end up doing is electing the career politicians who most successfully put on an act of being outsiders. I didn't say it was in any way a good sentiment, just that it seems deeply woven into our culture.

The other problem is if we *do* prevent people from making careers in politics -- say, by term-limiting them -- the only people who have relevant experience in writing legislation are lobbyists. And they end up writing most of it.

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Coat

Neil deGrasse Tyson would be so proud.

We're a plutocracy

Is that like a dwarf democracy?

Mines the one with The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Solar System (sic) in the pocket

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