Perhaps youll want to razz SBC Communications CEO Edward Whitacre from a distance, or maybe anonymously from the crowd: He has a penchant for ham-fisted retribution. After members of the Illinois Commerce Commission fined and verbally battered SBC for poor service from its merger partner Ameritech, Whitacre got huffy and halted the Illinois expansion of Project Pronto — the high-speed Internet DSL service that megalopolis Chicago has been clamoring to get. Slow rollout aside, the action was clearly a response to the state regulators who had held SBC-Ameritechs feet to the fire because of faulty infrastructure that led to widespread and lengthy service outages last year. Led by the Illinois regulators, other states in the Great Lakes region took similar action — just not as severe. But Whitacres penchant for putting his finger in the eye of state and federal regulators has earned him some well-deserved currency as the playground bully.