Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Well, this is just plain magical.
I just checked my bank account, and, after straightening out some problems
with access, found out that I was dinged about six times, to the tune of
over one hundred dollars, for the joy ride the two heathen children of Satan
took last week after stopping by my place, (more on that later).
When I went by the bank last week, I didn’t file a dispute, because as far
as the branch manager knew, no funds were obtained, so there was no need.
Now, I have to go back to the bank, file the dispute, sign an affidavit, and
take it down to the police station.
O God, please let it be Your will that one or both of the dirty little
children of whores choked on their Easter ham, and that they died very slow,
painful deaths as a result.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

A Welfare State With Illegal Immigration Offers Businesses a Better Deal Than Slavery
by Darnell MaGavock at Indpendent Conservative

Let me start by saying I don’t endorse either slavery or illegal immigration. But looking at things from the economic standpoint of a company that hires illegals today versus the use of slave labor in the 18th and 19th centuries, illegal immigration offers companies a better deal than any slave owner ever had. The reason is the modern day welfare state that is known as America.

During American slavery, the slave owner was responsible for the total care of the slave. Although slave masters did this “on the cheap” they had to provide housing, food, clothing and medical care for the slave and their entire family. This resulted in the institution of slavery being more of a loss than gain over time. The only other option was to grant freedom to slaves who were a great expense, but that involved the strain of possibly breaking a family. Separating families often resulted in the other slaves trying harder to escape to be with loved ones. Non-profitable slaves were not sellable, because nobody else wanted the burden. This was the slave master’s dilemma, that people like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin figured out. They realized that slavery was not financially good over time – because the “free labor” was not really “free”, given the need to provide full care to the slave labor force. This was in addition to the expense of buying a slave in the first place.

Today’s employer of illegal immigrants does not have any of the hassles experienced by slave owners. The employer of illegals offers them a very small salary and no benefits. Which means such an employer never runs the risk of going cash-flow-negative on labor costs. They can adjust wages at will, because they will always find an illegal that is willing to accept the rate. This is the reason Cesar Chavez once disliked illegal immigration. If one set of illegals tried to “strike” for better wages, the company would simply replace them with new illegals that were willing to accept the pay rate offered to them.

So the employer of illegals has no direct issues with having to fund housing, medical or the expense of educating the children of illegal immigrants. These are expenses that American taxpayers have been funding. Government (funded by taxpayers) helps illegals secure home loans and encourages banks to give them out. Government (funded by taxpayers) is picking up the medical expenses of illegals. Government (funded by taxpayers) is educating the children of illegal aliens.

You may have seen the CNN Special “Immigrant Nation: Divided Nation”. If you did, you saw profiles of illegals that live in my county of Gwinnett Georgia. The show often tried to make granting amnesty to illegals look like a good thing, but like the slave master’s dilemma, even the tax paying illegals do not come close to covering the expenses involved in caring for them.

Excerpts from, Transcript of CNN Special Report – Immigrant Nation: Divided Nation


HINOJOSA: Ten years ago when I first came to Georgia, I asked people if there was a Latino neighborhood, or barrio. I got a lot of strange looks.

Now I’m here in the heart of just one of the many Latino barrios in Georgia. I can get some of the best tacos outside of Mexico right here 24 hours a day. The home of Martin Luther King, the state that gave us the civil rights movement, is now home to half a million Latinos, a 300 percent increase in a decade.

HINOJOSA: Estimates vary, but somewhere between 7 and 20 million people are living in this country illegally, one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants in the world. Most of them come across this border. According to the U.S. government, over 1 million were caught last year alone.

This latest wave of immigrants has spread far beyond the southwest and the West Coast. Latino immigrant communities are now fixtures across the nation, especially in the south, in places like Gwinnett County, Georgia.

HINOJOSA: Rosa first came to Georgia two years ago, all alone.

Last year, unable to bear the separation any longer, Rosa paid a smuggler $5,000 to wade her children across the river at night, but they were caught at a checkpoint and immediately deported. Rosa faced a difficult decision.

ROSA (through translator): I told my daughter, you have two options. I either stay in Mexico with you, or I will leave for the States for another year in preparation to bring the two of you. Then my daughter told me to return to the States so I could bring them eventually.

HERCHEK: I’m afraid that America could become a third world country. We’re importing poverty by millions every year.

HINOJOSA (on camera): The numbers say it all. Ten years ago, these schools served very few Spanish-speaking students. In 2003, one out of 10 students listed Spanish as their primary language, $26 million will be spent in Gwinnett County in English language services.

HINOJOSA: Federal law says people are entitled to emergency medical care, whether or not they’re in this country legally. In one year Georgia paid $58 million in emergency Medicaid reimbursement for undocumented immigrants.

The smugglers will be paid almost $6,000 by Rosa if they were successful, would show border agents false papers for the children. They didn’t make it.

Despite their fake papers, Junior and Rosita were detained. The smugglers were arrested. The children were returned to Mexico and reunited with their grandmother. Despite the set back, Rosa vows to try again.

ROSA (through translator): I will keep trying to bring them. The sooner the better. If in 15 days I find someone to bring them here, then we will try again with them.

Unlike slavery, with illegal immigration the burden of expenses is carried by the entire nation. So instead of individual plantation owners having to endure the expenses of supposedly cheap labor, it is a burden carried by taxpaying Americans.

It is my family that endures pain, while waiting behind illegals for medical care. It is my tax dollars that pay for education of illegals, that by school rules have 6 years to learn English and many drop out before ever finishing school. So they take up much space and expense, while not even learning much during the process. While school time is spent on illegals, it diverts resources and teaching time away from children in a legal family. And I’m not even going to get into the issues with gangs. (That would require its own post.)

The issues I see here in Gwinnett County, Georgia will only get worse with anything that encourages illegal immigration or makes them feel they will be rewarded. And the issues will get worse for America. The nation will not be able to sustain the expense of this dilemma for much longer. It is causing the nation to engage in a race to the bottom and then we all lose.

America’s borders need to be secured and the only means made for immigration should be via the current legalization process. What employers of illegals see as a “resource” is really a great expense. Immigration requires regulation to prevent this nation’s collapse.

__________________________________________


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I promised you all the back story to yesterday’s nasty little shock, and now seems as good a time as any to tell it.
I’ve been sitting on it for the last week or so, because it was just too traumatic to really go out there and tell the world about.
But I figure I should go ahead and put it out there as a warning, because this site’s going to probably get a lot more offensive to some people.
I was robbed and assaulted last Sunday night, (for those of you who are Jewish, the Sunday before Pesach, and for those of you who are Christian, Palm Sunday).
This time, it was at the apartment.
I got a knock on the door at about 11:30 at night, and, being half asleep, was more annoyed at being disturbed than at the fact that there was someone at the door I went out to the livingroom and asked who it was, and a man’s voice asked for me by name.
I opened the door to see what he wanted.
When I did so, the man stepped just inside, and asked what was up.
Someone else walked past, and that definitely bothered me, but in the sense of “Hey, I didn’t give you permission to just waltz on in,” not in the sense that something was about to go down.
I told the man I didn’t know who he was, and I wanted to know who he was looking for.
He told me he was looking for me, and that we were “real close friends”.
I told him again I didn’t know who he was, and that he needed to make sure he had the right address.
I assumed he was just drunk, because other people have come by looking for people while drunk, although never me, and they only knocked on the door before they realized they were at the wrong place.
The man pulled out a piece of paper, saying he needed to check the address.
He had said he was looking for apartment “letter-of-my-building”, and I told him that this entire building was that letter, and he needed a specific number.
He looked at his piece of paper, and said he had the wrong address.
He and his “friend” walked out, and I went to shut the door, but as I did so, the man grabbed me and threw me to the ground.
He put his hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream for help.
I thought he was either going to rape me or kill me.
He asked if I had any money, and removed his hand just enough for me to say yes or no.
I told him I didn’t have any, and he told me to be quiet, and got up, and took the TV off the stand, and took the DVD player, wires included, with him.
As soon as I got the door shut and locked, I dialed 911.
The police came, took a statement, and did a report.
I also had them call my friend Andrew to come over because I was totally freaked out, and because I needed someone to catalog what was missing.
It also turned out that my cell phone “walked” out, along with my keys and all my identification, and bank card.
The police, and everyone else, think this robbery is connected to the other one I was involved in, the one where an ex-coworker stole $320 from me.
They think she might have been the other person in the place, since she didn’t speak at all, most likely because she knew I would recognize her voice.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Now, I’m trying to deal with it, and that’s where the blog will get very politically incorrect, not like I made an effort to be pulitically correct in the first place.
As a result of this, I’m feeling several emotions, in no particular order: Fear, anger, and a certain degree of powerlessness because of not being able to make any identification.
And, to top it all off, I think the man is here at work.
I can smell the cologne he was wearing, along with the cigarette smoke smell that hung around him.
I think he’s made it a point to cross my path several times today, because he knows I can’t identify him.
Friday, that freaked me out really badly, and I went home and drank a lot.
Today, it really pisses me off.
I really hope the cops manage to get these bastards.
They took my bank card, and tried to use it fourteen different times in one day, several of which were major attempted purchases at 711 type stores, and some attempts to get gas, (which, if my bank account is any indication, they got), and some ATM attempts, even though they didn’t have a pin.
Someone had to have seen them, or gotten video, or something.
I just can’t believe that anyone could get away with something like this.
And if they do, I hope they die a really horrible death or something like that.
I mean, I hope that happens anyway, but I at least want them to know they’ve been caught and will have the book thrown at them.
I think this is one of the lowest crimes one could commit, alomst down there with rape and child molestation and domestic violence, and I firmly believe that they should be punished.
Not by going to jail where they have cable, I mean a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison, where they can become prison bitches.
Quite frankly, I’d like to have a hand in their punishment, and death if possible.
I don’t think they have any rights left.
And, in case anyone’s wondering, I’d say the same thing if they did it to someone else.
It’s very clear they used my blindness against me.
Not just took advantage of it, but actively used it as a weapon against me.
It’s really enough to drive a person to the very far right when it comes to oppinions on criminal justice, and I’ll post some articles on that later.
Right now I’m just trying to work through all of this, and I think this is one of the better ways to do it, because this is going to color my life for a while in one way or another.
I think this has been the most difficult post to write.
It’s taken me almost two hours to do it.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Al-Zahhar to Arabs: If You Don’t Help Us, Who Will?
17/04/2006

Palestine Media Center – PMC [Official arm of the PA]
www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=1119

Iran and Russia have bailed out the Palestinian government, cash-stripped by
an Israeli, US and EU financial siege, while the Palestinian Foreign
Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar was touring Arab countries in on a fund-raising
mission.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran on Sunday that
Iran allocated $100 million to help the Palestinian people.

Mottaki made the announcement while addressing the closing ceremony of the
“Third International Conference on Qods and Support for the Rights of
Palestinian People.”

However, Mottaki did not say how or when the Iranian “gift” would reach the
Palestinians.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Muslim countries on
Friday that they had a duty to support Palestinians.

“The Islamic world cannot remain indifferent and silent to tyranny,” the
all-powerful cleric said at the start of the conference in Tehran.

Addressing the Palestinians he said: “Your martyrs are our martyrs. Your
pain is our pain. Islamic nations have the duty to help you in every
possible way, and help you along this blessed path.”

Separately the Syrian First Vice-President Farouk al-Shara said in Tehran on
the same day that the Syrian government is to open several banking accounts
to collect material aid for the Palestinian government and people.

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered opening of several banking
accounts for the Palestinians in order to prevent a human catastrophe in the
Israeli-occupied lands, al-Shara said.

Earlier last week Russia also said Moscow will grant the Palestinian
National Authority (PNA) urgent financial aid.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the pledge to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas in a telephone call.

A Russian foreign ministry statement said: “Mahmoud Abbas stated his high
appreciation of Russia’s intent, confirmed by Sergei Lavrov, to grant the
Palestinian Authority an urgent financial aid in the nearest future.”

Lavrov said on Tuesday that withholding aid to the Palestinians was a
mistake.

However, “Hamas should… recognize Israel and sit down at the negotiating
table. But for that it’s necessary to work with them,” Lavrov added.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said after receiving the
credentials of a new Palestinian ambassador in Moscow: “Russia is ready to
further render assistance to the leadership of Palestine, Palestinian
Government and Palestinian administration headed by Mahmoud Abbas.”

Meanwhile Palestinian Foreign Minister Al-Zahhar on Saturday urged Arab
states to honor and immediately carry out their financial pledges to the
Palestinian government.

Al-Zahhar was expected in Saudi Arabia from Egypt on Monday, on the second
leg of a fund-raising Arab tour that will take him to Jordan on Wednesday.

“We are not only looking to follow up on Arab aid, we would like to increase
it because the Israeli occupation bans us from accessing the 60 million
dollars per month,” he told 22 representatives of Arab states at the Arab
League’s Cairo headquarters.

Al-Zahhar held talks in Cairo on Saturday with Arab League Secretary-General
Amr Mousa. He told the Arab representatives: “If you don’t help us, who will
help?”

Arab leaders meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in late March pledged
to pay more than 50 million US dollars to the PNA per month.

However, only Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have so far paid their
contributions.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

State-controlled Al Gomhuria calls Monday’s suicide bombing ’sacrificial,
martyrdom attack,’ warns more attacks to follow
YNET – Associated Press 18 Aprill 2006
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3241041,00.html

An Egyptian state-controlled newspaper praised Monday’s suicide attack in
Tel Aviv, which killed nine people and wounded dozens, calling it an act of
sacrifice and martyrdom.

Egypt has always taken pains to condemn the violence by both sides in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is exceptional for one of the country’s
three biggest newspapers, whose editor is effectively appointed by President
Hosni Mubarak, to endorse a Palestinian attack on Israeli civilians.

“It is not required of the Palestinian people that they raise their hands in
surrender, accept the daily Israeli attacks and watch waves of settlers
occupy their land and build settlements,” Wrote Al Gomhuria in an editorial
of its Tuesday edition.

“It is not required of the Palestinian people that they clap Israel and its
allies while they mobilize the whole world to besiege the

heroic (Palestinian) people … Because they have chosen Hamas,” The
editorial said, referring to the United States and European Union’s cutting
off funds to the Palestinian Authority because its Hamas government refuses
to renounce violence. “For all that, the sacrificial and martyrdom attack
occurred in the heart of Tel Aviv, and there will be more later,” The daily
warned. In the Islamic faith, a martyr goes to heaven.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo declined to comment on the
editorial because he had not yet read it. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
condemned the attack. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and numerous Western
governments denounced the attack, but the Hamas government defended it as a
legitimate response to Israeli “aggression.”

The Islamic Jihad terror group, a rival of Hamas, claimed responsibility for
the bombing. Its members celebrated the attack by handing out pastries in
the streets of Gaza.

Israel said it held Hamas responsible for the attack – even though Islamic
Jihad had claimed responsibility

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Joanna Glasner
Wired News

02:00 AM Apr, 18, 2006

www.wired.com/news/technology/wireless/1,70620-0.html

An ambitious plan to build a national cell-phone directory looks
increasingly like a wrong number.

While no one has officially killed the 2-year-old project to create a
“wireless 411″ service, the effort, originally expected to roll out
last
year, is not moving forward. There’s still no planned launch date and
apparently little public demand for the service.

“It’s not dead, but it’s not alive,” said Patrick Cox, CEO of Qsent,
the
company hired to manage the 411 data by a working group that includes
most
of the largest U.S. cell-phone carriers. “We’re sort of in this
holding
pattern.”

Initially touted as a service for wireless customers who wanted to
give
friends, family and colleagues a way to find their numbers, the 411
project
drew fire early on from consumer- and privacy-rights advocates, who
worried
that an improperly managed service could expose numbers to
telemarketers
and shatter mobile users’ expectations of privacy.

“Because these devices are so personal, people want to control who
gets
ahold of their numbers,” said Keith Mallinson, wireless analyst at
research
firm Yankee Group.

According to Cox, directory planners have taken measures to address
all
privacy concerns: Only people who choose to participate would be
listed,
data could be removed at any time and numbers would be available only
through an operator, never online or in print.

Even so, carriers aren’t eager to roll out wireless 411.
Representatives
from Cingular and Sprint — two of the project’s original backers,
along
with T-Mobile USA and Alltell — said no plans have been announced to
move
forward with the service.

Even with protections in place, privacy concerns remain pertinent as
more
people depend on wireless phones for their primary communications
devices.

Today, Yankee Group estimates that about 10 percent of all U.S. phone
users, and more than 20 percent of young adults, have no land line.
Those
who have both a land line and a cell phone, meanwhile, make a growing
share
of their calls wirelessly.

Qsent’s Cox argues that a directory is even more relevant with this
“wireless substitution” on the rise.

“It’s the largest network of its kind in the world without a
directory,” he
said of the mobile-phone system. “It doesn’t allow people to connect.”

A survey commissioned around the inception of the 411 project revealed
public support for a directory. Research firm Pierz Group found that
53
percent of mobile users surveyed would want their numbers in a
directory,
provided strict privacy protections were in place.

Still, Yankee Group’s Mallinson said he’s not aware of any successful
mobile directory efforts outside the United States. And while it is
possible, for a fee, to list a wireless number in most traditional
phone
directories, few people do so.

Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, sees the interminable delay in the 411
project
as vindication for the company’s early and continued opposition to the
project.

“It’s a really bad idea,” said Verizon spokesman Jeff Nelson. “The
zone of
privacy that’s unique to wireless would just be torn up.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

In honor of everyone’s favorite day of the year, Terry and I decided to
grab his camcorder and catch up with some of the foot soldiers in the Fair Tax campaign.
Of course, April 17th was D-Day since April 15th fell on a Saturday, so we ventured
to the main U.S. Post Office for Birmingham, Alabama, camcorder in hand. If you
are one of the prudent souls who actually plans ahead in their preparation, watching
your fellow denizen is quite comical on Tax Day. A post office branch is no less
similar to that of a colony of ants as they scurry about battling their fellow procrastinators.

We hoped to catch some perspectives from fellow volunteers to illustrate
the appeal of the Fair Tax, and to illustrate how everyone who reads this BlogBurst
can see how easy it is to get involved as we all attempt to have this proposition
move forward in Congress. Further, this just goes to show what each of the BlogBurst
participants know, but, hopefully, it will move forward in showing how inefficient
our current system truly is. Regardless of whether these individuals procrastinated,
this is needless wasted time and energy that could be better spent.

Click the link below to view the video. It will open in a separate window.

target=”_blank”> width=”136″ border=”0″ />

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The
Right Track Blog
and Jonathan of target=”_blank”>Publius Rendezvous. If you would like
to join us, please e-mail Terry
or Jonathan.
You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

We actually have some work-related, non-Jaws-help-quotation news.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.
The client sent a URL for me to try, but the syntax is bad.
They had spaces throughout the whole thing.
I tried replacing the spaces with %20, (you can’t have spaces in URLs), but that didn’t work either.
I learned that you can’t have spaces in URLs way back in my “intro to Windows” (it was actually Introduction to Computers), in my freshman year of college.
If this was passed to the go-between by the actual programmers, then we’re in big trouble.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Caroline E. Mayer
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 19, 2006; D02

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/18/AR2006041801
607_pf.html

Debt collectors are asking the Federal Communications Commission for
permission to use automated dialers to call a debtor’s cellphone about
overdue bills.

ACA International, the trade association that represents collectors,
said
federal rules formerly permitted collection agencies to call
cellphones
using a computerized system that stores and dials numbers. But a
change in
FCC rules in 2003 barred collectors from using such technology to call
cellphones. They may use dialers to call land lines, but they must
dial
cellphones manually.

Earlier this month, the FCC said it would review the request and
sought
public comments which are due next month. Its review comes as
complaints
about debt collectors continue to mount.

The Federal Trade Commission last week issued its annual report on the
collection industry, showing consumer complaints rising to a high of
66,627
in 2005, up 13.5 percent from 58,698 in 2004. More complaints were
filed
about debt collection than any other industry. They accounted for 19.1
percent of all complaints filed with the FTC in 2005, up from 17
percent of
all complaints in 2004.

The FTC said that, given the millions of collection calls made to
consumers
each year, the number of complaints it received is a “small percentage
of
the overall number of consumer contacts.” However, it said it thought
the
number of consumers who complain is only a “relatively small
percentage of
the total number of consumers who actually encounter problems with
debt
collectors.”

The debt-collection association argues that the FCC ban on cellphone
calls
was inadvertent, part of the commission’s attempt to curtail abusive
telemarketing calls by auto-dialers that randomly or sequentially
called
cellphones.

The ACA says collectors don’t dial randomly, but rather selectively
call
consumers who owe money. “We’re not buying lists of consumers just to
call
them for the fun of it; we’re not looking for cellphone numbers we
don’t
have,” said Rozanne M. Andersen, the ACA’s general counsel. Andersen
added
that creditors and collectors have the cellphone numbers because
consumers
provided them when they applied for credit.

Not being able to call cellphones with auto-dialers will be “extremely
detrimental to the industry and consumers,” she said. According to the
FCC,
6 percent of U.S. households now rely exclusively on wireless service,
up
from 1.2 percent in 2001. “We have generations of people moving
exclusively
to cellphones, and there is no practical way for creditors and debt
collectors to communicate with them,” she said. The ACA says creditors
could lose billions of dollars annually if the rule is not changed.

The National Consumer Law Center, a public-interest consumer advocacy
group, has already filed an objection to the ACA’s petition, saying
consumers will be “hard pressed to see the benefit” because the
automatically placed calls will use up high-cost daytime minutes. The
NCLC
added that a consumer giving a cellphone number when applying for
credit
shouldn’t be considered as giving permission to a debt collector to
call
that number later.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-fcc20apr20,1,2083645.st
ory?coll=la-headlines-frontpage
Documents are sought from Clear Channel, CBS, Entercom and Citadel,
sources
say. The agency’s step comes after settlement talks stall.

By Charles Duhigg
LA Times Staff Writer

April 20, 2006

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched formal
investigations into pay-for-play practices at four of the nation’s
largest
radio corporations, the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery
since
the congressional payola hearings of 1960.

Two FCC officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that
the
agency had requested documents from Clear Channel Communications Inc.,
CBS
Radio Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting
Corp.
over allegations that radio programmers had received cash, checks,
clothing
and other gifts in exchange for playing certain songs without
revealing the
deals to listeners, a violation of federal rules.

The FCC requests, known formally as “letters of inquiry,” are the
first
step in investigations that could result in sanctions ranging from
financial penalties to the revocation of stations’ licenses.

An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment. Representatives of the four
radio
companies could not be reached for comment.

In the past, radio executives at firms including Clear Channel, the
nation’s largest station owner, have said that company policies
prohibit
accepting gifts for airplay and that internal probes have not revealed
widespread wrongdoing.

The four broadcasters have been negotiating with the FCC for weeks to
forestall a federal inquiry by offering to discontinue certain
practices
and pay limited fines. But those talks stalled last month over the
issue of
how much the broadcasters should pay.

Clear Channel proposed a fine of about $1 million, according to people
with
knowledge of the negotiations. Some commissioners were pushing for as
much
as $10 million, those sources said.

“We were in the process of trying to reach settlements, but when talks
were
inconclusive, we decided we needed more information,” said an FCC
official
who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was
continuing. “We will continue to speak with the parties and to hold
those
who have violated commission rules accountable.”

The FCC requires that radio listeners be informed anytime there is an
exchange of items of value for airplay of specific songs.

The FCC’s action comes amid New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer’s
pay-for-play probe, launched in 2004, which has alleged wrongdoing by
both
music and radio companies. In February, Spitzer sued Entercom,
alleging
that high-ranking executives had implemented scams to trade cash for
airplay of songs by such artists as Avril Lavigne, Liz Phair and
Jessica
Simpson.

Entercom has denied the allegations.

The other three radio companies are also under investigation by
Spitzer,
who has shared his evidence with the FCC.

Radio programmers at stations around the country say that fear of
regulatory scrutiny has scared them into airing fewer new songs.
Instead,
many stations are sticking to less diverse playlists.

Bryan Tramont, who served as chief of staff to former FCC Chairman
Michael
K. Powell and is now an attorney in private practice, said the inquiry
appeared to be more than a fishing expedition.

“The FCC would only launch a formal investigation if they had
information
leading them to believe possible violations have occurred,” he said.

Other FCC insiders said this new stage of investigation could put
broadcasters more at risk of previously undiscovered evidence of
wrongdoing
being found. The investigation could give the FCC access to millions
of
previously unexamined documents. It could also expand to include
stations
and radio executives across the nation.

“Until now, we’ve been limited to the evidence Spitzer gave us, but a
formal investigation will compel the radio companies to answer certain
questions, which are usually pretty exhaustive,” said another current
FCC
official familiar with the inquiry. “It will all be on the record now,
and
once we start demanding documents, we can keep on going until we’re
convinced we’ve found everything.”

Spitzer has been critical of the FCC’s negotiations with radio
companies,
saying that if the federal government allowed stations to settle it
would
undercut his efforts to force tougher sanctions and rules on the
industry.

“Unfortunately the FCC, contrary to good public policy, has not
pursued an
investigation of the underlying facts,” Spitzer said in April. His
representative could not be reached for comment.

The last time the FCC took action on pay-for-play allegations was in
2000,
when it fined two stations in Texas and Michigan $4,000 each for not
disclosing payments received from A&M Records in exchange for playing
songs
by Bryan Adams.

But the investigation launched Wednesday was evidence of the FCC’s
vigilance, said federal officials.

“The chairman has always taken these allegations seriously,” said one
FCC
official, referring to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin. “We’re not
worried
about criticisms.”

The FCC’s new investigation is the largest federal radio bribery
inquiry
since Congress opened hearings on pay-for-play in 1960. Those
inquiries
resulted in the first federal “payola” laws and killed the career of
famed
disc jockey Alan Freed, who pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial
bribery and was fined $300.