The Baltimore Sun

Should your cell phone company decide who can send you a text message? Should your Internet service provider block your Internet movie because it doesn't like the file-sharing service you're using? We suspect that most consumers would say no. When people sign up for a communications service, Big Brother shouldn't come with the deal.

However, some corporations are willing to stick their noses in their customers' business. The Federal Communications Commission should tell them to butt out.

If the FCC won't, Congress should.

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Year after year this decade, the Bush administration shortchanged the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the federal budget, despite warnings that the price of fossil fuels was rising and would only continue to do so. At the end of last year, after a lengthy debate and standoff between Congress and the White House, Congress had to settle for a bill that increased the $2.6 billion LIHEAP program by only $409 million.

It took a few weeks of bitter cold across the nation as the new year began to convince President Bush that the funding level was inadequate. The president released additional relief from a contingency fund, but more is clearly needed.

Look at the data in Connecticut to assess the toll that soaring fuel prices are taking:

Nearly 17,000 eligible households, a large portion represented by elderly homeowners, have already requested "crisis" winter heating aid, the next step beyond the basic LIHEAP grant. Those requests total almost twice as many as last January, when 8,700 households requested crisis aid.

In addition, the number of households already asking for "safety net" benefits, a step beyond the crisis stage, shows a dramatic increase. Last year at this point, only 98 families requested such aid. This year, there have been 2,125 requests.

- The Stamford (Conn.) Advocate

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