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West Virginia Won't Release Broadband Report Because It Is 'Embarrassing' 183 183

An anonymous reader writes "The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia hired a consulting firm for over $100,000 to investigate the state's use of Federal stimulus money (which included the purchase of $22,000 routers for tiny buildings). Unfortunately, the state government is now refusing a FOIA request to release the firm's report. The reason? The findings 'might be embarrassing to some people,' according to Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette."
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West Virginia Won't Release Broadband Report Because It Is 'Embarrassing'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:29PM (#43220177)
    So isn't this the purpose of the General Services Administration? To streamline the process of fulfilling the needs of agencies such as these so that this kind of stuff doesn't happen? Let me guess, someone approved a PO and bought the equipment from a friend who sold it to them at a high commission.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @11:04PM (#43220395)

    of a lot of jokes. Yeah, they screwed up... Again. However, most people don't know that West Virgina was part of Virginia up until the Civil War. They believed so strongly in free labor (as opposed to slave labor) that they succeeded from their state. I can forgive them for a lot of crap after that. It's sad seeing them struggle over basic internet access, but I think it's always been a challenge in WV.

    Half of my family came from there and I can say that they are facing huge technical problems. Even cell phone service is spotty. There's very little line of sight in the state due to the mountains so they have to depend on lines. It's hard enough keeping roads passable since they wash out regularly. The coal companies used to help with tax dollars but that's been seen as a drain on corporate profits so the tax base is miserable so there's little money to address critical infrastructure so the internet comes in a very distant second to everything else. It's one of the poorest states as well so few people have computers to begin with. Just to spike the ball corruption is rampant. FYI he's one of the ones that isn't corrupt but my mother's second cousin is Governor so I have connections with the state. Another FYI I got a lot of nasty looks for daring to point out West Virginia was a northern state when I was growing up. Most of my mother's family still considers it part of the south. My guess is when the check showed up some one said "yeah internet routers, please" and put the money into his brother's company that fills pot holes.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @11:16PM (#43220463) Homepage

    That's all well and good. However, you don't want the local city/state funding said local press/paper. Conflict of interest and all that. Would you trust them if there was a financial connection? Political connections are bad enough with the press, but understandably unavoidable. Don't make it worse.

  • Yeah, pretty much. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @11:20PM (#43220475)

    West Virginian here. It is very embarrassing. Unless you live a couple miles away from the interstate, good luck on finding an ISP delivering more than 5 megabits down, if that. If you're one of the lucky ones, 25Mb is the high-falutin', rip-roarin', dad-gum best it gets. My cell phone often gets faster speeds than my cable connection, and your choices there are Comcast, Suddenlink, or Frontier. Huntington was in the running for Google Fiber, and had we won, it could have sparked a sort of a renaissance in this area. But instead we were too afraid of change, too paranoid of the future, too lazy to make a difference.

    Thanks for running this story. Maybe lighting a fire under their ass will encourage them to lay down some fiber. At least I wouldn't have to worry about the internet going out because some methhead is stealing copper down the street.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:20AM (#43221003) Journal

    The reality of the Civil War was a *lot* more complicated. Slavery was only the third or fourth most important issue until Lincoln turned it into the moral justification for the war. Which was a brilliant PR move on his part, since even a century later we're believing in it.

    The difficulty with your version of history is that it is directly contradicted by documents and statements made before and during the Civil War.
    Here are Declarations of Secession [utk.edu] from the four States that decided to explain their reasons

    I could give you an almost endless list of primary sources to dig through,
    but if those declarations aren't convincing, I don't know what else would do it.
    Anyone who says that slavery was not central to the issues of the Civil War is engaging in historical revisionism.

    And, Lincoln didn't really want to end slavery in the South [nytimes.com], his plan was to prevent any new States from having slaves, thus allowing slavery in the South to die out in its own time.

    If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

    Ignore whatever you learned growing up and go straight to the sources.

  • Re:FOIA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:23AM (#43221403)

    FOIA pertains to federal government. Each state generally has their own versions of it or other "sunshine" laws. This is a document that really should end up on Wikileaks.

  • Re:FOIA (Score:5, Informative)

    by headwes (728006) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:25AM (#43221425)
    The FOIA that we all know and love is a federal law that applies to federal agencies. West Virginia, like most states, has their own public records law [state.wv.us] that applies to their state agencies which you'll need to read to know whether they're in violation. Maybe they're claiming exemption #13:

    (13) Computing, telecommunications and network security records, passwords, security codes or programs used to respond to or plan against acts of terrorism which may be the subject of a terrorist act;

  • by Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:32AM (#43222569)

    Even you are being to overly generous to the parent. The only

    point Lincoln would not bend on was not allowing slavery into new territories.

    So when the South seceded to pursue their "God given right" to push slavery into new territories, where exactly were these territories going to come from? The CSA was boxed in on the north by the Union, the West by Union owned territories, the south by slave-free Mexican, plus the growing list of slave free nations in the Caribbean.

    The southern states seceded specifically because living in peace was insufficient.

    The CSA was built on a promise of spoils of war. Unless the southern politicians were all liars, there was no logical reason to believe that peace was possible. The CSA offered war, war, war, and more war from the get go. Once the southern started up the shooting and murdering*, raising a Union army was Lincoln's only reasonable option.

    * Yes, murdering. For example, secession was hotly contested in Texas. Dozens of pro-unionists were murdered in broad daylight for voicing their political views. That is hardly the only example.

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