Frank has high speed internet-how awful!Very occasionally the Knoxville News-Sentinel will run a story that will show its bias against real conservative thinkers and true believers. Today the KNS ran a piece attacking my State Representative Frank Niceley for-of all things-having high speed internet at his house in Straw Plains.
According to the KNS, Frank's neighbors are griping because Frank falls just inside the line where AT&T Digital can service him with DSL, while folks half a mile down the road can't get DSL, they fall outside the line. Quotes from the article include lines like this:
"The peons out here are torn up, "Because I've lived here for 45 years, I've paid this phone bill for 45 years, I've had this number for 45 years, and if anyone should get this service, I should."
I don't disagree with the woman. I don't like it anymore than she does that she can't get the same high speed internet access that Frank gets. However, I buy Frank's story which is that:
"It sounds to me like somebody's trying to stir something up, some of my Democrat neighbors or something."
I will not speculate as to the political persuasion of Frank's neighbors five miles away, but this does sound like somebody (or a group of people) trying to raise a stink over something that can't be controlled by Frank or anyone else-at least not yet. The people between the DSL terminal and Frank's house can get the service, but Frank is on the edge of the service area. There is a big digital "hole" between Strawberry Plains, Dandridge, and Jefferson City where people do not get high speed internet service because Charter, Comcast, and AT&T all say that the population is simply not high enough to run the lines. Frank lives on the edge of a population center, so he gets the service at his farm. Those who live in the "hole" in Eastern Jefferson County do not have the option of high speed internet service.
This is a common problem in these parts, unfortunately. I can get high speed internet at my house and so can everyone else in White Pine because we are close enough to Morristown. However, in certain parts of Cocke County to our east people still can't get high speed. There are some places between here and Dandridge where high speed access can't be had, either. No one likes this and a lot of people (Frank Niceley included) are trying to change that.
Is this a symptom of Tennessee's digital divide? No question. Was Frank singled out for special treatment, as some of these folks (and apparently the News-Sentinel) are alleging? I don't believe he was. I get high speed but some of my neighbors across the Cocke county line do not-I suppose I got treated special because I am a fairly well-read Tennessee blogger (Yeah, right).
Frank does have certain people and groups, however, who would like to bring him down. In the last Republican Primary, the Farm Bureau (which Frank and I are both members of) put up a candidate to run against him because of his strong stance against mandatory computerized animal identification. They tried to make a big issue of it, while Frank tried to tell them that most of the farmers in our district are opposed to this infringement on their property rights. The Primary came and Frank got 75% of the vote-some challenge! He was easily re-elected to the House.
Now Frank's detractors are falling all over themselves to try and find an issue to pick on Frank with. Since he is one of the most forthright and open Representatives in Nashville (he has an open-door policy-any constituent can meet with him at any time and he'll make time for you if he doesn't have a hearing to attend), they can't say Frank is insular. They can't accuse him of having a voting record out of line with the majority of his constituents because he does not. Rather than bring up legitimate issues, all they can do is harp on the fact that Frank Niceley has a high speed internet connection? Frank has access to the internet, so he'll be even more informed to serve the people of the 17th District even better-oh no!
This is all you've got? Frank has high-speed internet? Please...while a few grumpy stooges at the Farm Bureau and the News-Sentinel try to think up phony complaints against him, the rest of us enjoy the good fruits of the leadership of the plain-spoken jeans-wearin' farmer from Strawberry Plains.
Labels: Tennessee politics