Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

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  1. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, almost 3 years ago

    “The public be damned! I am working for my stockholders!” — William Vanderbilt. (As quoted by his “favorite nephew” Samuel Barton, in 1886.)

    Some defend Vanderbilt as speaking good sense: businesses do not exist to serve the public, but to make a profit for their owners, etc. Other recognize that some businesses, like the railroads that Vanderbilt was speaking of, only can and do operate because the government created the conditions making them possible: giving the railroad millions of acres of public land, for example, for their rights-of-way. What those who approve of the Vanderbilt quotation (there is dispute as to whether he said it at all, or what meant by it, by the way) fail to see is that the public ARE stockholders in such enterprises, and deserve dividends: not in money exactly, but in service. It was once understood that broadcasters owe the public for the use of the public “airwaves” and a certain amount of “public service” programming, such as news programming, was required, and its profitability was not the first concern.

    Nowadays, the “Vanderbilt idea” is growing in popularity: that no one owes anything to “the public”: that everyone has to pay his own way, and no one should be asked to do anything for the “public” that does not further his own personal bottom line. This seems to me to be one of the things corroding our national life.

    I don’t know if the recent court decision will have a big effect: the devil is in the details, of course, but I am concerned at the possible abandonment of the notion that the internet is a public highway that ought to be equally open to all, rather than a pay-to-play toll road.

  2. Jase99

    Jase99 GoComics PRO Member said, almost 3 years ago

    I dropped satellite TV about 18 months ago. It’s not worth paying $100 per month just to watch the 10 channels you actually care about, especially since those channels show ads. I get my internet through a regional telecom whose head quarters are about 5 miles down the road. Never had an issue with them.

  3. d_legendary1 Demands Dr.C's Release

    d_legendary1 Demands Dr.C's Release said, almost 3 years ago

    It should be noted that the courts said that ISPs are not common carriers due to the FCC rulings while the War Shrub was in charge. Obama can fix this by asking his boy on the FCC to change the policy, but the man in charge is a former cable guy so don’t hold you breath.

  4. Fuzzy Thinker (I)

    Fuzzy Thinker (I) GoComics PRO Member said, almost 3 years ago

    Govt (voters) can organize a simple ISP that is paid for with taxes. Then let the telecoms charge for their value-added services.

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