If Sen. Alfonse D'Amato was looking for good theater and lots of publicity the other day, he got them. The media gave extensive coverage to the Senate Banking Committee's hearing on fees charged by banks for use of their automated teller machines.

I happened to be in the Republican senator's home state of New York at the time of the hearing. I sent about a dozen E-mail messages from my hotel and was charged $3.91 to $4.65 per call. When I send similar E-mail messages from my home, the long-distance charges average about 50 cents.

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