I have a couple of phone lines at home, I use different long distance
carriers on them, and I like it that way, so that if either Sprint or
ATT or MCI fail, I have a backup choice of just picking up another

If I understand John's argument right, he is playing the same game by
having multiple service providers, presumably at his extra cost, using
them as backup for each other. Sounds like a good idea to me,
especially given the lousy quality of the network at large that I hear
complaints about from people all over the country lately (someone
should do a survey with end users to qualify this). He does not want to
renumber every time this Sprint routing loop appears (or whatever
problems any of the providers may have). He just wants enough
flexibility to attain the services he needs.

Well, the CIDR stuff was kind of neat, as it helped prolonging the
current addressing agony, but have we really taken the next steps
(short of saying there will be more bits to confuse routers with in the
future)? CIDR may actually be more useful in areas with less
competition and less AS diameter. CIDR clearly can work well in a
backbone-regional-campus, or a PTT-client, or so, model. It works less
well of there are more mesh-demanding levels (like some edge service
providers needing redundancy with their long distance ISPs that
operate on their behalf).

This is not a protocol problem, it is an administrative and
architectural problem of how to design a system that accomodates the
needs of at least 95% of the Internet clients at a satisfaction level
above the 95th percentile. It is not clear to me whether anyone is
really working on that (I think NANOG and the IEPG should). That will
have to accomodate "lower level" service providers (as well as end
sites) to have robust and redundant interconnections with multiple
service providers. Once you provide dial-tone percentile levels of
services, they may go back to a single service provider. Until then...

I know you know all this, but I thought I throw it in anyway.