Thursday, October 31, 2013

Free State Foundation President Randolph May To Participate in Nov. 1 Teleforum Call

Free State Foundation President Randolph May is participating in a Teleforum call on November 1, 2013, at 1 p.m. EDT, on The FCC and the States: A Division of Authority. The call is sponsored by The Federalist Society’s Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group. This Teleforum conference call will examine how the Federal Communications Commission and states can work together to address the transition from circuit-switched to Internet Packet (IP) telecommunications. Other participants include Mr. David W. Danner, Chairman, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, and the Hon. Paul Kjellander, President, Idaho Public Utilities Commission. If you would like to join the Teleforum call, the dial-in number is 888.752.3232.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No, the US Is Not Behind Europe!

This is a very well done blog by Richard Bennett responding to arguments that the U.S. is behind other countries with respect to broadband. I won't try to summarize because it's short, but well worth a read.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Map Shows Europe is Behind in Broadband Progress

A new map shows the shortcomings of broadband in Europe. The data recently released shows that there is wide variation in broadband availability across the continent, with large areas unserved by next generation broadband access services, and some areas lacking access to just average connection speeds.
Source: BCE 2012, Point Topic,
The map shows that there are some countries in Europe that are standouts in broadband, offering superfast speeds and boasting high rates of adoption. Denmark is one example of an EU broadband leader. However, such success is certainly not the norm in Europe.
The European Commission updated its Digital Agenda Scoreboard this summer, and also found that the EU still has a lot of work to do to meet the Commission’s “Connected Continent” goals. The update showed that in some countries, only about half of the population has access to average connection speeds, and other countries suffer from low broadband adoption. In France, Ireland, Greece, Croatia and Italy, less than 25% of households had access to high-speed services of at least 30 Mbps; these speeds were only available to 53.8% of households at the end of 2012. In Italy, 30% of citizens do not use the Internet at all and lack digital literacy skills.
Especially compared with the U.S., these reports are troubling for Europe. At the end of last year, 95% of Americans had access to high speed broadband from multiple networks. For the small percentage of Americans that dwell in mountainous areas, satellite broadband is available, as it is to 99% of Americans. As one report stated, “This is the envy of Europe.”
As I have noted previously, the data shows that the U.S. leads Europe in broadband speeds, connectivity, and value, and EU leaders are now acknowledging that Europe lags behind the U.S. in broadband progress. EU Commissioner and Digital Agenda Leader Neelie Kroes has urged European policy makers to look to the U.S. as an example of success in the ICT sector.
This latest map provides another indication of – and a way to visually grasp – the harms resulting from overregulation in Europe. In order to remain a world leader in broadband, the U.S. must continue to support innovation and growth by removing unnecessary regulatory barriers to network development and build-out. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Congressman Latta Delivers Keynote Remarks at FSF Event

We were pleased to have Congressman Bob Latta deliver keynote remarks at the Free State Foundation’s event last week, “A New FCC or the Same Old, Same Old.” Congressman Latta recognized the efforts of the Free State Foundation and of FSF President Randolph May in the areas of FCC reform and advocacy of free market-oriented communications policies. Congressman Latta then discussed the dramatic innovation in the Internet ecosystem over the past thirty years, and urged Congress to review laws and regulations to ensure that they reflect current marketplace realities, and that they do not impede further advancements in communications and other sectors of the economy.
In particular, Congressman Latta advocated for comprehensive review of the “outmoded”1996 Act. He also argued for reform of the FCC’s operations and role in the communications sector through his FCC ‘ABCs’ Act. He stated reform is necessary “to ensure that outdated and unnecessary legacy-era regulations don’t stifle current and future investment, innovation, economic growth and consumer choice in the digital age” and to make “a pro-investment, pro-competition, and, most importantly, pro-consumer framework a reality.” 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Parents Can Take Common-Sense Steps to Make Kids’ Screen Time Beneficial

On October 17, The Tennessean published a piece by Deborah Taylor Tate, a former FCC Commissioner, Distinguished Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Free State Foundation, the ITU’s Special Envoy for Child Online Protection and a board member of Common Sense Media. The article discussed the role of technology in childrens’ lives today and how parents can promote the best uses of these new learning, entertainment, and communications devices.

In her article, Ms. Tate encouraged parents to utilize the resources and advice provided by Common Sense Media. The organization helps parents set limits on screen time, facilitates discussions about online issues, from cyber-bullying to good digital citizenship, and promotes parental participation in the technology that is transforming the lives of both children and their parents today. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FSF President Randolph May Testifies in House Hearing on the Evolution of Wired Communications Networks

 Yesterday, Free State Foundation President Randolph J. May testified before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The topic of the Subcommittee hearing was “The Evolution of Wired Communications Networks,” and the object of the session was to discuss proposals on how to best facilitate and complete the transition from copper-based time-division multiplexed ("TDM") services to digital broadband Internet Protocol (“IP”) services. Mr. May testified in favor of a free-market oriented approach to the transition, which would promote continued investment in the new networks, and remove unnecessary roadblocks to development and build-out. Mr. May testified that the FCC should not apply the out-dated public utility-style common carrier model to new IP-based networks: “The FCC and Congress should not look at the inevitable IP-transition just as an opportunity to implement a new free market-oriented regime fit for the digital age. Given the stakes, implementing such a new paradigm should be viewed as a necessity.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

A New FCC or Same Old, Same Old Week - In Spades

Since the founding of the Free State Foundation in 2006, a primary focus of our think tank has been advocating FCC reform, or to put it another way, advocating that the FCC, within the confines of its statutory authority, reorient its mission and its methods.

What do I mean by reorienting its mission and its methods?

I mean that, in light of the dramatic communications marketplace changes that have occurred in the past decade and a half, attributable in substantial part to technological advances associated with the transition from narrowband services to digital broadband services, the FCC needs to change its regulatory mindset from one grounded in traditional public utility-style and common carrier principles to one grounded in free market-oriented principles.

The FCC needs to implement this reorientation of its regulatory framework because the clear result of the dramatic marketplace changes referred to above – all part of what is often referred to today as the "IP transition" or Internet world – is increasing competition and consumer choice in all the now-converging market segments under the Commission's jurisdiction. And increasing competition and consumer choice means that, putting aside certain public safety and universal service concerns, the agency generally should not intervene in the marketplace absent demonstrable evidence of market failure and consumer harm.

Well, this is all just a brief preface to saying, that even though we focus on reforming communications policy on a day-to-day basis here at FSF, this week is going to be an especially busy one in that regard. Call it the "A New FCC or Same Old, Same Old Week – In Spades."

On Wednesday, I am testifying at the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on "The Evolution of Wired Communications Networks." It would not have been a stretch to title the hearing "The Revolution in Wired Communications Networks." Titles aside, there is no doubt that the ongoing IP transition, long in process, not only is changing the technologies employed by communications networks, but, more importantly, also the marketplace structure and the choices available to consumers.

I am sure the hearing will provide a good forum for focusing on the regulatory framework changes that should accompany the IP transition, and I commend Chairman Walden and the committee for holding the hearing.

As I write this, I am drafting my testimony with my other hand. Neat trick! I haven't finished and, in any event, I wouldn't want to give away my testimony here. But I know one thing I will say goes like this: The FCC and Congress should not look at the IP-transition that is inexorably moving forward just as an opportunity to implement a new regulatory model fit for the digital age. Given the stakes, it should be viewed as a necessity.

On Thursday, FSF is holding a lunch seminar at the National Press Club titled, "A New FCC or Same Old, Same Old." Congressman Bob Latta, Vice Chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, a leader of communications policy reform efforts, will deliver opening remarks. He will be followed by a session with a diverse panel of industry and academic experts.

With Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly expected to arrive shortly as the new FCC Chairman and Commissioner, the FCC will be back to its full five-member complement.  So, it's a perfect time, especially a day after the important House hearing, to further explore whether we can expect "A New FCC or Same Old, Same Old."

I'm confident we'll have an informed, interesting, and lively discussion, and, as always at Free State Foundation events, we will make sure we have some time for questions and comments.

If you wish to attend Thursday's lunch seminar, registration is complimentary. But you must register to attend. If you haven't done so already, you can register here.

Anyway, it's "A New FCC or Same Old, Same Old Week – In Spades." So, let's get down to work.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Neelie Kroes, EU Digital Agenda Leader: Europe is Behind

At Hubforum in Paris last week, Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Digital Agenda Leader, advocated for reform of Europe’s digital economy. Ms. Kroes stated, “Europe can't afford to fall behind [in the information and communications technologies sector]. But we are.” 
Ms. Kroes has been a vocal advocate for reform of Europe’s digital environment, and she has highlighted the negative effects the current regulatory scheme on broadband deployment, investment, information sharing, and innovation. In August, she stated, "today’s guidance to regulators just doesn’t give businesses – old or new – the certainty they need to make investments. It’s time to change." She advocated for widespread reform in order to keep Europe from “losing the global race to build fast fixed broadband connections.”
Ms. Kroes has acknowledged the “regulatory mess” in Europe, and urged reform based on the triumphs of the telecommunications and technology industries in the U.S. She cited Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon as exemplars of success in innovation and business, and noted that there are no European companies among the global leaders of the digital marketplace. She stated, “I don't want us to be the US . . . But I do think we could learn from them, celebrate risk and support innovation.”
Free State Foundation scholars have previously reported that Europe lags behind the U.S. in the telecommunications and technology sector, and FSF has endorsed the benefits of deregulatory policies in the U.S. compared to overregulation in countries like France. 
While the U.S. certainly has more work in this regard to do itself, regulatory reform is in order for Europe, since reports project that its telecom sector will suffer a 10% revenue dip in the decade from 2006–2016. In contrast, the telecom sector in the U.S. is projected to grow by 35% over the same period.
Last week Ms. Kroes announced that European Union leaders plan to meet later in the month to discuss reform of Europe’s digital marketplace. Some items on the agenda are whether and how to harmonize telecommunications standards in Europe, and how to promote innovation that starts and stays in the EU.
Europe is right to look to reducing regulation to resolve these issues and to foster growth and innovation in business and broadband development as well as investment in the ICT sector. Hopefully, Ms. Kroes can lead the EU to become a “connected continent” by bringing EU policies more in line with less regulatory policies that prevail in nations like the U.S.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Congratulations to CenturyLink

Happy to see CenturyLink's announcement that it will bringing 1-gigabit service to Las Vegas. This is another in a recent string of announcements by private sector telecom companies that they are investing huge sums of money to bring high-capacity, super-fast broadband to America's cities.
CenturyLink should be commended for the making the investment. 
The story in Bloomberg Businessweek News is here. The first two paragraphs follow.  
"Las Vegas residents will soon have access to Internet connections 100 times faster than the average broadband system.
CenturyLink announced Wednesday that it would bring 1-gigabit Internet service to the northwestern neighborhoods of Las Vegas before the end of the year. The company plans to expand it even further in 2014."

Free Market Royalty Act Would Make Copyrighted Music Market More Free

A market is truly free when creators and producers can choose whether or not to sell their services or products and can set thesale prices they believe will give them a sufficient return. In a free market, government doesn't tell creators and producers that they must sell their services or products. Nor does government tell creators and producers the prices they must charge for their products or services.

When it comes to copyrighted music, the market isn't that free. Forced access mandates and rate controls are imposed on music composers and performers. Government regulations require copyrighted music be made available for sale. And in many instances, government sets the backstop royalty price that commercial music service providers can pay in order to transmit copyrighted music.

A bill just introduced in Congress would bring some needed free market reforms to federal policy regarding royalties for copyrighted music. H.R. 3219, "The Free Market Royalty Act," removes government forced access mandates and rate controls. Introduced by Rep. Melvin Watts, H.R. 3219 would make the market for copyrighted music more free. Congress should consider this bill or similar bills favorably.

I summarized the case against compulsory licensing and rate controls in my blog post, "Congress Should Make Way for a Free and Disruptive Digital Music Market." There I explained:

[T]he current compulsory licensing and ratemaking regulation for digital music content regulation tends to foster a market environment that is inhospitable to experimentation and to further waves of innovation. Government-prescribed rules constrain or even displace the risk-taking and knowledge-based decisions of diverse market providers. The difficulty is that when regulation prompts providers to forego promising innovations, the opportunity costs to consumer welfare are impossible to measure.

Forced access and rate regulations of digital music are particularly unjustifiable in light of today's market conditions. Long gone are the days when radio and cassette tapes were the only ways to access music. CDs and vinyl are still widely available for music aficionados, along with broadcast radio. But consumers now have ample choice among cable music services, satellite radio, online on-demand services, as well as webcasting services relying on ad-based or subscription models.

A most welcome provision of H.R. 3219 would put an end to Copyright Act Section 114's compulsory licensing. Under the bill, music copyright holders would no longer be required to license their copyrighted music for public performances by commercial music services providers.

H.R. 3219 would also end over-the-air broadcasters' privileged position vis-à-viscommercial music service providers that use different transmission technologies and business models. Current law allows broadcasts of copyrighted music content without any need for copyright holders' mutual agreement.

Instead, H.R. 3219 would authorize broadcasters and non-interactive music services to collectively negotiate with SoundExchange – a common agent for copyright holders – for licenses to perform copyrighted music content. SoundExchange would serve – or rather would continue its existing service – as the collector of negotiated royalties and distributor of payments to copyright holders, featured performing artists and non-featured performing artists. Under the bill, where public radio fails to obtain licensing through negotiation, it would have opportunity to petition the Copyright Royalty Board for a rate proceeding under the "willing buyer/willing seller" standard contained in existing copyright law.

From a free market perspective, one may legitimately question H.R. 3219's provision expressly recognizing SoundExchange as the entity for collective negotiations between music copyright holders and music service providers. One might also question the bill's provision dividing up royalty receipts between copyright holders, featured performing artists, and non-featured performing artists. Keep in mind, however, that in these respects H.R. 3219 carries forward existing law. On balance, the bill is deregulatory in thrust. Where it changes the law, it ultimately does so in a free market direction.

One can hypothesize a future free market reform that goes a step beyond H.R. 3219 and simply allows for collective negotiation by interested parties but stops there. Yet even if H.R. 3219 leaves further reform work to be done, Rep. Watt's bill deserves praise forthe progress it would make towards realizing a truly free market for copyrighted music.

As I wrote in my Perspectives from FSF Scholars paper, "Putting Music Copyright Policy on a Free Market Footing":

Part and parcel of any legislative deliberations regarding reform to the existing music copyright royalties system should be concrete steps to eliminate compulsory licensing and ratemaking in order to finally transition to a free market for music in which copyright holders and users are all treated equally, regardless of the underlying technology involved.

H.R. 3219 succeeds by these standards. It would eliminate compulsory licensing and rate controls for public performances of copyrighted music content by commercial music service providers. And the bill would treat all music services equally.

H.R. 3219The Free Market Royalty Act – takes aconcrete step towards the realization of a truly free market for copyrighted music and Congress should carefully consider this reform measure.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Maryland’s Tax Climate Still Needs Improvement

The Tax Foundation just released its 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index. The Index considers over 100 variables in state tax systems which affect the competitiveness of a state’s business environment. Unfortunately, Maryland was named among the 10 worst states with respect to its business tax climate, ranking 41st. This is a clear indication that there is significant room for improvement in Maryland's tax policies. 

The Tax Climate Index describes some of the factors that contributed to Maryland’s consistently low rank. Problem sources include the individual income tax base, where statutory local rates in Maryland are often around 3 percent, while the effective local tax rate is approximately 1.5 percent. Other areas where Maryland’s tax structure ranked among the worst of the states are its property tax base and its unemployment insurance tax.
Maryland’s closest neighbors' business tax climates ranked much more favorably. Virginia ranked 26st, West Virginia ranked 23rd, Pennsylvania ranked 24th, and Delaware just missed the top ten by ranking 13th.
The Department of Labor reports that most mass job relocations are from one U.S. state to another, rather than to a foreign location. As such, if Maryland doesn't want to continue to lose private sector jobs to its neighbors, Maryland needs to remain competitive with its neighboring states and states in the same region that have more favorable tax climates.
Taxes are just one factor businesses consider when determining where to locate, and some give little weight to the impact of a state’s tax system on business success. However, states with tax systems that foster business competition also tend to attract new businesses, which generate economic and employment growth. Changes to the tax code can quickly improve a state’s business climate.
It would be wise for Maryland to consider the success of other states, particularly its high-ranking neighbors, and to implement changes which establish a climate that is more conducive to attracting and retaining private sector businesses.

Going "Behind the Scenes" with Google Fiber

I was pleased to see Derek Slater's blog initiating a series of pieces on the progress of the Google Fiber projects in the Kansas City, Austin, and Provo (Utah) areas, and hopefully elsewhere too. This first piece in this new "Going Behind the Scenes" series is about how Google is trying to work with municipal governments to get the fiber deployments underway without unnecessary delay. As Mr. Slater explains -- and he is someone who knows the challenges -- the main areas of discussion with the cities involve access to existing infrastructure, access to existing infrastructure maps, and expediting construction permits.

The country can benefit from more, faster deployment of high-capacity broadband facilities, and the municipalities need to do their part by streamlining and expediting their legacy processes, wherever possible, to expedite such deployment.

From my perspective Google's entry into the broadband provider marketplace is positive -- as long as other similarly situated broadband providers, such as Time Warner Cable and Verizon and all the rest, can avail themselves of the same local streamlined, expedited processes available to Google.

I think more competition is better, so I'm glad Google is building out high-capacity broadband infrastructure. And Derek Slater and the Google Fiber team deserve credit for leading the way in getting some local governments to reform their processes and for sharing what they are learning the rest of us.

WSJ's Holman Jenkins: FCC Should Take "Yes" for an Answer

The Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins has a nice piece in today's paper, "Saying 'Yes' to Broadband," [subscription required] which provides an enlightening look -- for those who are not already familiar -- at the increasingly competitive environment for high-speed broadband. Mr. Jenkins chronicles the competition that is taking place across platforms, technologies, and companies.
The column is well worth reading, but here is the conclusion for those who can't read the whole piece. 
"Verizon, AT&T and Sprint-Softbank are all heralding a reality that has hardly yet entered the FCC's thinking—when mobile and fixed converge, becoming practical substitutes for each other. Verizon and AT&T not only are talking up the capacity of their 4G (and someday 5G) networks to carry high-def video in and out of the home. Both plan to devote swaths of spectrum to replicating in some fashion the broadcast TV business model. How this might work is far from clear, but a factor is the FCC sitting on the existing broadcast TV business, with its vast spectrum holdings, preventing it from finding its own place in the digital landscape.
All this renders even more quaint the scrap over 'net neutrality.' Verizon is battling in a U.S. appeals court the FCC's effort to impose this regulatory conceit on the broadband industry—with certain bloggers insisting that if Verizon wins, it will represent 'the end of the Internet,' because, you know, there's not enough competition to make sure broadband operators don't 'censor' the Internet in their own interest by blocking access to websites that compete with their own services.
Uh huh. The truth is, competition has been more than adequate so far to police the Internet, and now competition is getting jacked up a serious notch as the video explosion stimulates a deluge of new investment. Now if the regulatory establishment would just take 'yes' for an answer.
BTW, I have been urging the FCC to take "yes" for an answer for answer for well over a decade now.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

FCC Reform: Putting Consumers First

Even while the government is in shutdown mode, here at the Free State Foundation we continue to work hard. In other words, we keep on thinking. 
After I founded the Free State Foundation, when my mother was alive, we had this little routine going. She would say: "Randy, I don't get it. What do you do in a think tank?" 
And I would respond: "We think!" 
And my mother would say: "Randy, what do you think about?" 
And I'd always answer: "Well, Mom, I've got to think about that first!" 
Well, over the weekend, as I was looking back over our work from the past couple of weeks, I found myself thinking about consumers and consumer welfare – and about how the focus of our work is, or at least always aspires to be, about promoting consumer welfare, and not the interest of any particular company or industry segment over another. 
In other words, it's not about whether any particular company, product, or service ultimately thrives or survives. Some will and some won't. It's not about "leveling the playing field" for the benefit of one company or another, for, in reality, "level the playing field" pleas are often just cries for government intervention by one set of competitors seeking advantage over others. 
No, it's about whether the marketplace is working – or, especially with respect to the communications marketplace, whether the marketplace is allowed to work – in a way that enhances consumer welfare. 
Our orientation at FSF is, unabashedly, in the free market direction. That is to say that when sufficient marketplace competition exists, such marketplace competition generally protects consumers better than government regulation. Or put in more economic lingo, the costs of relying on government regulation in such a situation generally are greater than the benefits. Or, in such a situation, the marketplace is more efficient and welfare-enhancing in protecting consumers than government regulation. 
Now, I appreciate that there are differing views as to the extent of competition that is sufficient to forego regulation and the extent of competition that presently exists in various communications market segments. Fair enough. 
I don't propose to resolve those differing views here. I'll just say, having watched – and participated in – the evolution of the communications marketplace for over thirty-five years now, in my view sufficient competition now exists in most communications market segments for the FCC to regulate considerably less than it presently does. The agency needs to rely more on marketplace competition to protect consumers and less on regulatory mandates. 
In reading over several of our pieces this past weekend, I was reminded how effectively – at least to my mind – they make the case for less regulatory intervention by the FCC and more reliance on the marketplace, all with the welfare of the consumer foremost in mind. Here I just want to list some of these pieces, with their links, in case you haven't had a chance to read them, or would like to take another look. The subject matter ranges from net neutrality mandates to video navigation device deregulation to incentive spectrum auctions and more. 
It's The Consumer, Stupid!Randolph May 
Let Them Eat Cake and Watch NetflixJustin (Gus) Hurwitz
*  *  *
Now, a final note: At the outset I mentioned the government shutdown. And throughout this piece, I have suggested that the FCC ought to be intervening in the marketplace less, considerably less, than it presently does. It follows that if it implemented this less regulatory course and reoriented its mission, the agency could, and should, be slimmed down.
But this does not mean that there are not, at present, important functions for the FCC to perform, or important work for the agency to do. And nothing I have said is meant to imply that the FCC commissioners, and the vast majority of the staff, are not dedicated, knowledgeable public servants. They are. When the shutdown ends, I'm sure they'll be back on the job doing their best.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Two Sides of the Internet’s Two-Sidedness: A Consumer Welfare Perspective

The FCC’s Open Internet rules have kept lawyers, government officials, industry groups, and scholars buzzing since December 2010. But last month, the oral arguments in Verizon’s case challenging the FCC's rules really fanned the flame. In that hearing, one argument was that broadband Internet providers are part of a so-called two-sided market, and that the Open Internet rules have a negative effect given this fact, particularly from a consumer perspective. Earlier this week, Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, a member of the Free State Foundation's Board of Academic Advisors and University of Nebraska law professor, focused on this issue in his piece “Two Sides of the Internet’s Two-Sidedness: A Consumer Welfare Perspective.”

Mr. Hurwitz explored whether broadband Internet providers are part of a two-sided market (or could be, absent the FCC rules), and how this factor will affect the development of the broadband Internet market – and ultimately how it affects consumers. He argues that whether ISPs are part of a two-sided market or not, “today’s broadband Internet market is precisely the sort of market in which the FCC’s ‘prophylactic’ approach is inappropriate.” Instead, the broadband Internet market is one in which “we should seek out opportunities to experiment with multisided price structure – and even reward firms for taking the risk of experimenting – in order to maximize the value of the Internet to consumers.” Overall, Mr. Hurwitz finds that the Commission’s Open Internet rules hinder the development of the Internet marketplace and result in harm to consumers.

If you had not had the opportunity to read the full piece, it is well worth exploring this clear and useful explanation of one fascinating element of the Open Internet debate.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Breaking Bad: Online Users Still Prefer Pirated Content

Given the widespread proliferation of pirated works online over the past decade, more and more consumers have been “breaking bad.” No, consumers are not ditching their day jobs to begin dealing methamphetamine. But they have been taking up the habit of illegally viewing and downloading pirated material. Today, new business models have dramatically increased the availability of legal content online. However, as Ashley Morgan says on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Free Enterprise blog, consumers still forego legally available content in favor or pirated material. So instead of breaking the habit, why do they keep breaking bad?