Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

Pink thinks women who are not men are stupid

Wha?


So Paris Hilton is a twit, to put it kindly, we agree on that but she starts the video mocking a SAHM: Stay-at-home-mother. That is where she lost me. Then the young girl who Pink is trying to influence picks up a football, ignoring the dolls, and happily runs off screen to whip all the neighborhood boys in a pick-up game-at least in Pink's mind. File this song under Grrrls vs. party girls. Or I wish I was part of that group but since I am not I will make fun of them.



Lyrics, pure poetry.

Outcasts and girls with ambition
That's what I wanna see
Let's ignore the fact that everyone cannot be an outcast. Another link to the video. First link is not the full video but you won't get MTV putting cookies on your computer.

Anyone who takes the name Pink and whose first and only hit is about getting the party started when she shows up shouldn't be mocking anybody.

 

Chairman Fred Hampton Way

An ordinance sponsored by Ald. Madeline Haithcock would rename a section of a Chicago street after Fred Hampton, the late leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. Haithcock thinks we should ignore his advocacy of militant black nationalism focus on the positives of Hampton's work:
'I'm not going on the negative. I'm only going on the good things they did for the community. The Black Panthers were the first ones to start breakfast programs in the schools,' she said.

'I don't think their purpose was to go out and destroy police officers. Their purpose was housing, education, clothing and justice. They fought racism and discrimination. That's the part I was going on. Only the good things.'

Told that the police group was furious about the designation, Haithcock initially defended it. 'There's a lot of negative things that a lot of people have done. We're doing negative things right now in Iraq.'
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue gets it right:
It's a dark day when we honor someone who would advocate killing policemen and who took great advantage of the communities he claimed to have been serving.
Haithcock's ward is represented in Congress by former Black Panther 'Minister of Defense' Bobby Rush.

UPDATE: Wednesday's Sun-Times reports Haithcock will wait a month before seeking a full council vote. The issue has many local politicians nervous. Predictably, Bobby Rush's blood is up:
"We're engaged in battle now," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), a former Black Panther defense minister who said he fully supports Haithcock's proposal and "will stand right beside her and, if necessary, I will stand in front of her."

"I didn't seek this fight," Rush said. "I didn't go looking for this fight. But I am determined to fight for this street designation until the bitter end. It will become a reality in the city of Chicago."
Unfortunately, he may be right.

Mayor Daley called it a local matter. He's wrong. Honoring Fred Hampton in any way would be an embarassment for the entire city.

Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Former Taliban Spokesman Enrolled At Yale

Giving our enemies more than just a second chance

Astonished by this, John Fund wonders:
I don't believe Mr. Rahmatullah had direct knowledge of the 9/11 plot, and I don't think he has ever killed anyone. I can appreciate that he is trying to rebuild his life. But he willingly and cheerfully served an evil regime in a manner that would have made Goebbels proud. That he was 22 at the time is little of an excuse. There are many poor, bright students--American and foreign alike--who would jump at the opportunity to attend Yale. Why should Mr. Rahmatullah go to the line ahead of all of them? That's a question Yale alumni should ask when their alma mater comes looking for contributions.

President Bush, who already has a well-known disdain for Yale elitism from his student days there, may also have some questions. In the wake of his being blindsided by his own administration over the Dubai port deal, he should be interested in finding out exactly who at the State Department approved Mr. Rahmatullah's application for a student visa.
Good questions.

Rahmatullah admits he's fortunate to be free and taking courses such as Terrorism-Past, Present and Future at Yale rather than being held at Guantanamo Bay. Given his (former?) colleagues penchant for returning to the battlefield to fight against us, it seems incredibly foolish, if not suicidal, to allow him to enroll in any American university, much less an elite one. Yale should be ashamed of itself. We need to know who decided this guy was worth the risk and why.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

 

The Drug War: Worse Than Futile

Counterproductive at home, worse abroad

This is why our policies regarding recreational drug use must change:
The drug war has become costly, with some $50 billion in direct outlays by all levels of government, and much higher indirect costs, such as the expanded prison system to house half a million drug-law offenders and the burdens on the court system. Civil rights sometimes are infringed. One sharply rising expense is for efforts to interdict illegal drug shipments into the U.S., which is budgeted at $1.4 billion this fiscal year, up 41% from two years ago.

That reflects government's tendency to throw more money at a program that isn't working. Not only have the various efforts not stopped the flow but they have begun to create friction with countries the U.S. would prefer to have as friends.

As the Journal's Mary O'Grady has written, a good case can be made that U.S.-sponsored efforts to eradicate coca crops in Latin America are winning converts among Latin peasants to the anti-American causes of Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Their friend Evo Morales was just elected president of Bolivia mainly by the peasant following he won by opposing a U.S.-backed coca-eradication program. Colombia's huge cocaine business still thrives despite U.S. combative efforts, supporting, among others, leftist guerrillas.

More seriously, Mexico is being destabilized by drug gangs warring over access to the lucrative U.S. market. A wave of killings of officials and journalists in places like Nuevo Laredo and Acapulco is reminiscent of the 1930s Prohibition-era crime waves in Al Capone's Chicago and the Purple Gang's Detroit. In Afghanistan, al Qaeda and the Taliban are proselytizing opium-poppy growers by saying that the U.S. is their enemy. The claim, unlike many they use, has the merit of being true.
Leaving aside the infringements on personal liberty and societal distortions the 'war on drugs' has caused domestically, I rarely, if ever, hear arguments about legalization or decriminalization that take foreign policy or national security into account. Our hypocrisy on this issue clearly impacts both negatively. We squander scarce recources better employed secruing our borders and, for right now, fighting the 'long war.' Its time to acknowledge that by trying to 'keep our kids safe' we're risking the long-term security -- and thus the very existence -- of the country.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

 

The US Should Bid The UN Good Riddance

One way or another

I wholeheartedly agree with Scott Johnson:
Ultimately, the United Nations must be replaced or abolished, with an arrangement made for its service organizations that do some good. At the least, the United States should take its leave from it. Let us recall the immortal words of former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick's deputy Charles Lichenstein. Shortly after the Soviet Union shot down KAL 007 murdering its passengers, legislatures in New York and New Jersey denied Soviet aircraft landing rights. Some at the UN raised the question of whether that body should remove from the United States. And Lichenstein, fed up and in no mood for 'diplomacy,' said, 'We will put no impediment in your way. The members of the US mission to the United Nations will be down at the dockside waving you a fond farewell as you sail off into the sunset.'

The United Nations is an absurd house of horrors serving the interests of the enemies of peace and freedom. Witness its current Human Rights Commission and its proposed Human Rights Council.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 

Toonophobia


 

Illinois' Political Culture

Corruption, favors and conflicts of interest

I'm not sure, but I think its unusual for a US attorney to testify on behalf of a criminal defendant in federal court. But this is Illinois and now that we know this (registration required) it doesn't seem so unusual after all:
A federal prosecutor who testified on behalf of former Gov. George Ryan still owes money to creditors of Chicago-based Altheimer & Gray, the prosecutor's former law firm that went bankrupt in 2003.

Edward McNally, interim U.S. attorney for southern Illinois, has not been taken to court, but four other former Altheimer partners who have not paid their debts have been sued by the firm's court-appointed adminstrator to recover what is owed.

The administrator is represented by Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn, which also represents Ryan in the public corruption trial.
Winston & Strawn is representing Ryan free of charge. The Sun-Times has more:
Winston & Strawn has sued four former partners on Brandzel's behalf, seeking amounts ranging from $333,355.36 to $566,129.37. Based on McNally's 2 percent interest in the law firm, he owes LaSalle $574,750.63, according to a formula spelled out in court documents.

He could be on the hook for much more, according to Brandzel. Each partner who did not participate in the plan is "liable for whatever the deficiency is in the estate ... It's $8 to $10 million," he said.

The Winston & Strawn lawyers handling the Altheimer bankruptcy did not return calls seeking comment Thursday. Nor could legal experts explain why Winston would pursue some former Altheimer partners and not others.

"It could be viewed -- if viewed with great suspicion -- as a kind of quid quo pro. As in 'you testify for us, and we'll continue not to sue you,' " said Geoffrey Hazard, a professor of legal ethics at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law.
John Kass notes that 'McNally ripped the prosecution's case, which infuriated federal prosecutors here, because McNally was, at least on paper, one of their own.' Kass comments:
"Clearly, Mr. McNally has a huge financial stake in whether or not--whether and to what extent he is forced to pay that settlement in these bankruptcy proceedings," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Zach Fardon outside the presence of the jury Thursday.

"That's a huge financial conflict of interest. It's a significant bias issue in terms of Mr. McNally's motive to curry favor, to play nice with Winston & Strawn when they call him as a witness in this case," Fardon continued. "We should have known about that. I should have known about that. I should have had an opportunity to cross examine Mr. McNally about that and I didn't."

Ryan's lawyers from Winston & Strawn swore they didn't know anything about the conflict. It would be hard to prove they did. And I don't think they did know. It wasn't in their interest to know. Prosecutors took them at their word.

"Having said that, Judge," Fardon said, "the one person who did know that he had this financial hammer over his head with Winston involved is the witness, Ed McNally. I would have hoped and expected that that information would be forthcoming through whatever avenue, whether there are other folks at Winston who knew or McNally himself. It wasn't. That's a problem."

It is a problem.

Not only for this case but also for every other case of political corruption in the combine state, from the indicted Springfield Republicans to the Chicago Democrats who are waiting their turn.

So, what do taxpayers of Illinois--who've been trained to believe that corruption isn't important and politics isn't worth their time--call a U.S. attorney who decides not to disclose his conflict before testifying in defense of a combine master?

In Illinois, someday, you might call him "Your honor."
Sad but true.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

Romance Novel Covers


Hilarious Photoshops. (Via Ace)

 

Merrill Lynch Playstation 3 article "Fisked"

PS3Blog points to a fisking of the ML's analysis of the PS3.

To begin, let us look at the professionalism aspect. If this were a report written up for a college class, there would be red ink all over it, and I have no doubt the 'college project' mentality was exactly the one behind this product. It contains a lack of consistency throughout in the manner in which the upcoming Playstation is referenced; Playstation 3, PlayStation 3, PS 3, and PS III all being used interchangeably to describe the system. PS III?


Also, the ML analyst used a really large font to meet the number of page requirement of his boss.

"Add to that the fact that the die is mostly logic, not memory arrays that can be easily repaired, and you've got a part that looks like it will be difficult and expensive to manufacture."

I have to inform the reader here, that it is impossible to repair a microprocessor - it simply cannot be done. By 'memory arrays' Merrill is clearly refering (obtusely) to the cache of the PPE core, and/or the local memory of the SPE's. Indeed cache does incorporate a level of defect tolerance, but by no means are such defects able to be repaired, and the fact that the Merrill uses such language in their report indicates to me an analyst staff that on one level or another is ignorant of processor design. Of course, their analysis of the other difficulties facing Cell was enough to expose their lack of thoroughness in and of itself, but this quote referencing the repair of memory arrays comes off as particularly egregious.
Maybe a certain other Bill could comment on this. I would be interested in hearing/reading his opinion on the Cell chip and anything else for that matter. That's right, I am calling you out. Pithy comments aren't enough any more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 

I am woman, hear me explode...

Western values with a thirteenth century worldview. (Via Allah, yes that Allah.)

 

Sma-ah-ah-ah-shed Fer-fer-ferrari

Noooooooo. Throw away the key.

That man, whose name was not immediately released, told authorities he was
the owner of the Ferrari Enzo, but claimed that he was the passenger and that
the driver ran off after the crash,.

He was tested and allegedly found to be over the legal limit of alcohol
consumption for driving in California.

 

Hillary Special


 

Playstation 3 Delayed?

Or Microsoft dirty tricks?

Sony released a statement claiming their long stated release date for the PS3, spring 2006, is still "on track." Doesn't spring officially end on or around the 22 of June? PS3Week.com doesn't think that Spring is possible, at least for the U.S. PS3Week does quote the Kikizo article that claimed to have looked at devkit versions of three games for the PS3 which many think was bogus. However, I am inclined to agree with this analysis given that Sony has kept very quiet which means I get to save more money when I finally buy a HDTV.

Of course, this talk of delays and huge prices might be a Microsoft dirty trick. Naaaa. They wouldn't ask a Merrill analyst to badmouth Sony and I am quite sure that those Merrill analysts are of such a hearty moral stock that they would not even consider using their position to talk a stock up or down. Well that settles that.

Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Nerd Test and a pathetic way to spend your night

Nerd Test

57% scored higher (more nerdy), and
43% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

Somewhat nerdy. I mean face it, you are nerdier than about half the test takers.



How do you guys do? I did guess correctly. Also, do you know anyone who has said any of this to his significant other?

Diego's results: 91% scored higher (more nerdy), and 9% scored lower (less nerdy).
What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:Definitely not nerdy, you are probably cool.

 

Cynical Opportunism

A never ending cycle

Former M*A*S*H star and anti-capital punishment activist Mike Farrell took the stand last Thursday as a character witness in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. At an impromptu news conference afterwards, Farrell lavished praise on Ryan for his decision to commute the sentences of every convict on death row in Illinois. He proclaimed Ryan was "one of the most courageous public officials I've ever met."

There was nothing courageous about Ryan's death penalty actions -- it was crass political opportunsim. Ryan's scandal plagued administration desperately needed all the positive publicity it could get. Thus Ryan devised a clemency process which could be milked for maximum political effect. He is again using the resulting civic and international accolades to suit his own interests and deflect attention away from his record of corruption. And since corruption (as Ralph Peters notes) kills -- it certainly did in the licenses for bribes scandal -- it seems obvious to me that the celebrity human rights activist's opinion on the issue is relevant. If anyone in the media asked Farrell about it, I missed it.

Whether it be (indirectly, perhaps) in quest of higher ratings, to advance a pet issue, or in pursuit of self enrichment, all involved here seem to have done their best to uphold a hallowed local tradition best exemplified by the phrase: 'I saw my opportunities and I took 'em.'

Thursday, February 16, 2006

 

Did Cheney seek 'safe haven' by talking to Fox?

Would you want to face the harsh questioning of CNNs' Larry King?

Via Drudge:

"Now that he feels forced to talk, he wants to restrict the discussion to a friendly news outlet, guaranteeing no hard questions from the press corps," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a statement.

On CNN, commentator Jack Cafferty called the interview "a little bit like Bonnie interviewing Clyde. ... I mean, running over there to the Fox network -- talk about seeking a safe haven."

John O adds:


If my recollection is correct, Brit Hume recounted for the audience an encounter he'd had with a reporter earlier in the day. The reporter asked him about Cheney's reasoning for choosing Fox news to conduct the interview. Hume replied that Fox had largest audience of all the cable news channels. He also expressed skepticism that the reporter would ever broadcast that sound bite.

 

Outrageous Media Hypocrisy

Why the Abu Ghraib photos, but not the Mohammed Cartoons?

Michelle Malkin notes that this is a question many people are asking. I saw that the 'new' Abu Ghraib photos were published by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and broadcast on PBS's Newshour last night. As far as I know, none had shown the Mohammed cartoons.

The Mohammed Cartoons are newsworthy in that they help people make sense of the ongoing demonstrations and riots by Muslims world-wide. Responsible news organization have an obligation to publish them. The 'new' Abu Ghraib photos aren'’t newsworthy because they don't provide any new details to an old story. Its not exactally irresponsible to publish them, but there isn'’t any real reason to publish them either. A solid argument can be made that they not be published at all for reasons of national security.

Both the cartoons and the photos are inflamatory and offensive in their own way. Consistency requires media outlets that publish the photos to publish the cartoons, though not the other way around. Those media outlets that publish the photos and refuse to publish the cartoons owe the public an explanation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

Arab-owned American Ports?

Pure risk

The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment approved a $6.8 billion transaction allowing Dubai Ports World, a government-owned United Arab Emirates firm, to purchase control of some of America's busiest ports. The Washington Times editorializes:
We should be improving port security in an age of terrorism, not outsourcing decisions to the highest bidder. The ports are thought to be the country's weakest homeland-security link, with good reason. Only a fraction of the nation's maritime cargoes are inspected.

This deal appears to be all about money. Dubai Ports World is "a business and its money is the same color as everyone else's, only it's got more of it," one banker told the Baltimore Sun. Where does the money come from? As a private company, Dubai Ports World's claim of 20 percent annual growth since 2001 is all but unverifiable, and its inner workings opaque. For all we know, Dubai Ports World is an undeclared arm of a foreign government.

The root question is this: Why should the United States have to gamble its port security on whether a subsidiary of the government of the United Arab Emirates happens to remain an antiterrorism ally?
We shouldn't. Congress or the President should nix this deal.

 

Saddam Tapes: WMD smoking gun?

ABC is to air secret audiotapes of Saddam Hussein on Nightline on Wednesday, 2/15.

(CNSNews.com) - Secret audiotapes of Saddam Hussein discussing ways to attack America with weapons of mass destruction will be the subject of an ABC "Nightline" program Wednesday night, a former federal prosecutor told Cybercast News Service.

The tapes are being called the "smoking gun" of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. The New York Sun reported that the tapes have been authenticated and currently are being reviewed by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Woohoo! Time to start monitoring DailyKonspiracyKos and DemocraticUnderground for paranoid, over the top ramblings.

If these tapes are authenticated I predict you will hear Moonbats saying that Saddam was forced to make these tapes. Either that or that Saddam is in league with the Bush Administration.

John O adds:

Harold C. Hutchison of Strategy Page reminds us that one of the biggest uncovered stories of the war on terror is the mountain of data and documents from Saddam's regime now in US possession. Their eventual translation poses problems for some:
These documents have another advantage – they will be words from the regime itself, and will be harder to mischaracterize as fabricated intelligence. These will also leave a number of media outlets, activists, and politicians in a real bind – as other documents may point toward Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (at least document title suggests that Saddam's regime carried out deception operation regarding the WMD programs), and others may provide details into the setup of the insurgency. The truth is out there – in millions of documents and on hard drives. It just has to be accessed, translated, and released.
Why the Bush adminstration hasn't placed a higher priority on translating this information is beyond me.

Matto:
Mac Ranger has a good post on this with several links and follow-ups.

What will be the best conspiracy theories from the left? I mean besides the easy ones like the tapes are fake?

 

More Leftist UN Propaganda

Recycling disinformation on behalf of America's enemies

A leaked a report from the UN Human Rights Commission, a body which includes China, Cuba, Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, proves yet again the UN is worse than useless:
A United Nations investigation has declared that the US committed acts amounting to torture at Guantanamo Bay and has called for it to close its holding pen for suspected terrorists.

The draft report from the UN Commission on Human Rights, widely leaked yesterday, does not, on the face of it, give the US much trouble. The Bush Administration yesterday poured scorn on the quality of the evidence and flatly disagreed with the legal opinion. But the report adds to the pressure on the US over its detention outpost on the shores of Cuba. Three years after the invasion of Iraq, with the military presence dropping, Guantanamo is the flank on which the US is most vulnerable.

The Commission’s experts conclude that:

# Detainees have been treated poorly, subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and sensory deprivation.

# Doctors have force-fed hunger-strikers in violation of UN Principles of Medical Ethics and World Medical Association standards.

# The system of justice is unfair, both in the tribunals used to try the minority of detainees who have been charged and in the access to lawyers.

"The legal regime applied to these detainees seriously undermines the rule of law and a number of fundamental universally recognised human rights, which are the essence of democratic societies," the report said.
Considering this New York Sun report, a more accurate description of the above list would read 'The Commission’s Leftists purport that:'
Authors of a report commissioned by the U.N. claiming that detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being tortured by American military personnel failed to visit the prison, despite an invitation from the American authorities.

"Any report that they may be writing would certainly suffer from the opportunity that was offered to them to go down there and witness firsthand the operations at Guantanamo," a Department of Defense spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday.

The U.N. representatives declined the invitation to visit Guantanamo because they were told that they would not be able to interview detainees during the visit, Mr. Whitman said. The 500 suspected terrorists, who are being kept without trial after being captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, are regularly interviewed by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which does not report on the treatment of prisoners.

Members of investigation, who will deliver their report later this year to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, have spent 18 months investigating conditions at Guantanamo and have relied for information about the condition of prisoners upon anecdotes provided by released detainees and family members and lawyers of those who are or have been detained from France, Spain, and Britain. Information has also been gleaned from the Department of State.
Via Captain Ed, who comments:
Yes, I can see where the confusion at Defense lies: they did not realize that the panel came from the highly regarded Psychic Friends Network, sent out by telepathic orders and able to visualize conditions anywhere from as far away as a five-star hotel in Miami. (Room service acts as a force multiplier in these conditions.)
These rehashed, unsubstantiated allegations amount to pure Leftist propaganda meant to undermine the US war effort by pressuring us into closing Gitmo. This would be of enourmous potential benefit to terrorists, which is why America's enemies desperately want this. Deroy Murdock has documented a dozen instances of suspected or convicted Muslim terrorists (138 or more of them) escaping from prisons in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, and Yemen. He comments:
U.S. officials could prevent more such chaos by canceling plans to shrink Guantanamo's current terrorist population 68 percent — from 510 to 164 — by repatriating 110 Afghans, 129 Saudis, and 107 Yemenis, as Josh White and Robin Wright revealed in the August 5, 2005, Washington Post. In fact, the Pentagon plans to ship these Afghan Guantanamites to Policharki Prison — the very same facility from which seven Taliban operatives escaped last January 22!

"We, the U.S., don't want to be the world's jailer," Matthew Waxman, a Pentagon detainee-affairs official, told the Post. "We think a more prudent course is to shift that burden onto our coalition partners."

Nonsense.

The stakes are too high — and too many people could be killed — to risk more overseas terrorist escapes, just to save a few million dollars in Koranically correct meals and laundered uniforms. There is ample room in the $2.77 trillion 2007 federal budget to offset the expense of indefinitely detaining as many bloodthirsty terrorists as can be shoehorned into Guantanamo.

More than Sing Sing, Leavenworth, or even a re-opened Alcatraz, Guantanamo is a dream location for harboring terrorists. Detainees are guarded by well-armed, patriotic American GIs unencumbered by bottomless anti-Americanism. Any combatant who tried to walk out would face hundreds of unsympathetic sailors with machine guns at the ready. If he eluded them, he would have to evade snipers in watchtowers, leap twin rows of barbed-wire fences, then tiptoe through the landmines installed by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. If he reached the beach, Haiti is only 110 miles southeast. Happy swimming, Hafez!

Of course, craftier enemy combatants could avoid these hazards by tunneling out. If they actually burrowed into the Caribbean, they are more than welcome to terrorize the sharks. As the CSP's Robert McLean says, "If there is a more secure location to detain these terrorists than Guantanamo, I would like to know."

Naturally, turning Guantanamo into a Yucca Mountain for terrorists will make Leftists wail. Let them. It's hard to believe, but the shrieks of liberals are easier on the ears than the blasts of bombs.
The US should stop funding, and participating in, forums which produce and disseminate anti-American propaganda. Instead of closing Gitmo, the US should close down the UN Human Rights Commission. Or better still, as it has once again demonstrated that it functions as enemy of the US, close down the UN itself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

 

NBC Downplays US Gold?

I haven't been watching the Olympics, but The Anchoress has. She comments on NBC's coverage:
One of the most moving parts of past Olympic broadcasts, and the most enjoyable to me (even back when I was a liberal Democrat) was watching some American Gold Medalist receive his or her medal and the playing of the national anthem.

I assume such things are still going on in Torino, but you wouldn’t know it from NBC’s coverage. Last night, we watched and noticed that at the end of the program…well, we saw the last 13 notes of the American anthem and then things immediately switched to a ceremony featuring a Canadian winner. We got to hear ALL of O Canada.

Tonight, the show closed with the Russian Anthem - and there wasn’t even a cursory glance at any American ceremony…not even 13 notes.

It cheats the athletes and the nation that wants to share in their triumph. It’s very nice that Canada won this or Russia won that, and I like to see them waving from the podium…but at the end of the day, it’s the US Athlete I want to see, the Star Spangled Banner I want to hear.
Quite sad, if its true.

 

The US vs Iran & the Left

The game is on. The stakes could not be higher.

It seems the US has begun psychological operations aimed at making Iran rethink its chosen course of action:
Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a 'last resort' to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.

Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

They are reporting to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, as America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive fails to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. Teheran claims that it is developing only a civilian energy programme.

'This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment,' said a senior Pentagon adviser. 'This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months.
The international Left has begun its own propaganda offensive aimed at undermining the US:
A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today.

Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War.

The research coincides with reports that strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for "a last resort" strike if diplomacy fails. Plans for an assault have taken on "greater urgency" in recent months, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Tacticians at central command and strategic command, who report to Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, have been identifying targets and the weapons needed to hit them.
The ORG report concludes:
A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.
Kofi Annan warns the US:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday warned President Bush not to "escalate" tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions because the world wants to "find a way out of this crisis."

"We need to be able to resolve it, and I hope there will be no steps taken to escalate this approach," Mr. Annan told the president at the end of a meeting in the Oval Office.

Mr. Bush did not publicly mention Iran, although he discussed the topic with Mr. Annan before reporters were ushered in at the conclusion of the meeting
Polly Toynbee argues that, as Iran cannot be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, we must capitulate to the mullahs before its too late:
The pretence is that the world united can deflect Tehran: there is still a small chance that Russia's offer to strike a deal could work. But the experts expect an aggressive stand-off, with a risk of futile air attacks. Even if no blood is spilt, the west may find itself in a cold jihad with a God-driven, nuclear-armed adversary, and no solution in sight. Nothing suggests that sanctions and fiery words will make the more moderate forces in Iran overthrow their mullahs and choose westernisation: under external pressure in this clash of civilisations, history suggests they will close ranks. Meanwhile, oil-hungry nations will do dirty backdoor deals: oil tends to trump UN resolutions.

Fantasy diplomacy is ready to fight all the way to stop the mullahs getting the bomb. Reality suggests there is a difficult choice: if you cannot win, give up at once to minimise the damage. Get off the high horse and start to negotiate terms on which Iran can be allowed to enrich uranium. It amounts to turning a blind eye to their weapons potential while striking a deal that saves their face, affords them some dignity and entices them economically into becoming a more stable force.

It takes some swallowing, but what if there is no alternative? Either they have nuclear weapons and we are at cold war, or else they have nuclear weapons and we have an uneasy kind of peace. But that decision has to be made before UN sanctions ratchet up the rhetoric to no-turning-back resistance.
This is absurd. Aside from the fact we are already at war with Iran in Iraq, Wretchard notes the problems of Toynbee's approach:
Your hear it all the time: let's stop fighting; let's negotiate. Of course, the key problem being why anyone should be willing to negotiate with a party which is willing to surrender at the drop of a hat. As every MBA (but presumably not Polly Toynbee) knows, the unspoken alternative to negotiation is the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement or BATNA.
BATNA is a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 bestseller, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In. ... In the simplest terms, if the proposed agreement is better than your BATNA, then you should accept it. If the agreement is not better than your BATNA, then you should reopen negotiations. If you cannot improve the agreement, then you should at least consider withdrawing from the negotiations and pursuing your alternative (though the costs of doing that must be considered as well).
My teachers put it this way: BATNA is the penalty you pay when you walk away from the negotiating table. Since Polly Toynbee argues that Teheran should face no penalty for walking away from the negotiating table then there is no reason it cannot continue to do whatever it wants. Indeed the question is why it should negotiate at all since nothing is to be gained by negotiations. Iran is free to advance in whatever direction it wishes without opposition.
Dr Sanity gets it right:
Being attacked by either the U.S. or Israel will, on the contrary, likely confer on the fanatical Iranian regime a legitimacy they could never have obtained otherwise in the eyes of the world.

They will be VICTIMS! They will be OPPRESSED! They will be taken to task by the evilist daddy of them all - America.

I say "the world", but I really mean "the left"--and all their minions in the news business--who even now, I'm sure, are preparing the rhetoric that will undermine the U.S. no matter what course it chooses. The article cited above will be the basis of how evil we are; how inhumane and insensitive we are to human life; how warlike and aggressive against the poor mullahs.

And a second and separate set of rhetorical exigencies are ready and waiting to be used if we do not act before the Iranians nuke Israel or provide the means by which Al Qaeda can nuke the U.S.

Damned if we do act and damned if we don't act. At least that makes it easy for us.

Since either way, the left and the international media will blame the U.S.; deploy the Iranian victimhood card; and sensitively and compassionately fail to hold the thugs ruling Iran accountable in any way whatsoever-- our way is clear.
USA Today polled Americans about Iran and reports:
Americans are deeply worried about the possibility that Iran will develop nuclear weapons and use them against the USA, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds, but they also fear that the Bush administration will be "too quick" to order military action against Iran.

Nearly 7 of 10 of those surveyed over the weekend say they are concerned that the United States will move prematurely to use force, but they also seem to recognize the quandary that policymakers face. There is almost as much concern that the Bush administration won't do enough to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear arsenal.
(I wish the poll had asked responants point blank if a nuclear Iran is acceptable. That would have clarified considerably where Americans stand on the matter.)

That the Bush administration has no discernible policy concerning Iran is reflected in the polling results. Americans are ambivalent about what course the country should take. The poll results suggest that the country would likely be receptive to a Bush administration campaign outlining the reasons Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear technology and advocating military action to prevent this should it prove necessary. The Bush administration should devise such a campaign immediately and begin preparing the nation for an overt, protracted conflict of one kind or another with Iran. An international public relations offensive must accompany this in order to counter the inevitable Iranian/Islamlist/Leftist propaganda.

Whatever the cost, Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Cheney's Hunting Accident

Its a matter of supreme indifference to me

And, I suspect, to much of the country. It is newsworthy, perhaps, but the media hysteria concerning the matter is absolutely ridiculous. It perfectly illustrates just how insular and out of touch they actually are. If only they focused their energies on important matters like, say, progress in Iraq, the deranged president of Iran or publishing those controversial cartoons.

(Subheading via The Black Adder.)

UPDATE:

Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank went on Keith Olberman's MSNBC show wearing a reflective hunting vest and orange stocking cap while talking about Cheney's hunting accident. This Confederate Yankee photoshop mocking Milbank's appearance is hilarious. (Via Polipundit)

UPDATE II:

Thereisnospoon comments:
The Cheney shooting story isn't about to die down. I predict that the press is going to run with this story for days, if not weeks--and it has very little to do with the possibility of Cheney's being drunk, or with the 18 hour delay, or anything else. And this story is going to be much bigger than what we've seen so far in the White House Press Briefings.

It's because this story is a perfect metaphor for this administration's foreign and domestic policy. It says everything you need to know about Dick Cheney personally, and the way this entire administration operates.

And the press does this all the time: they run with little things that display flaws in character: Al Gore's "Internet" quote to highlight his weakness for exaggeration; Kerry's "Voted for it before I voted against it" to highlight his weakness for equivocation.

In this case, we have Cheney and the entire Bush Administration foreign and domestic policy in a nutshell. Especially in Iraq and Katrina.
Yikes.

Though laughably wrong about the reason, thereisnospoon is probably right that the press won't let this die down any time soon. Bookworm gets it right:
...the MSM collectively feels incredibly slighted that the first phone call was to Cheney's 911 squad, and not to the Press.

It's this last point that has the press in a frenzy, and allows a reporter to characterize his questions about this non-event as "serious." This once again explains why the American media, which is, after all, a business concern, is in free fall. Americans know what is serious: terrorism, freedom of speech, the economy, etc. And the MSM knows what is serious: its ego, and its effort to derail the Bush presidency. That's a Venn diagram with no overlap.

 

Bubbles and Canaries II

In August 2005 I wrote a post suggesting Google would be a good stock to watch in that it might lead the market. I was right about that but wrong about the direction. Google shot up from 300 to 474 on January 12th. The stock market has been strong all throughout that period.

Now things have reversed and Google is showing signs of a stock that is in trouble. As of this moment Goog is 345 and the trend looks for lower prices. 474 should be a high that holds for awhile. Will Goog keep going lower and will the stock market follow? With a stock market that is still expensive and a real estate market that is weakening I would not bet against it.

More Google news.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

 

Bus Drivers Strike in Tehran

Media omissions and distortions

I found this report interesting:
The media have barely mentioned the story, even though it cuts through the nonsense about a clash of civilisations between the 'West' and the 'Muslims'. The Muslims of Tehran are proving themselves to be anything but a monolithic bloc happy to follow the orders of the ayatollahs and their demented President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are huge class divisions to begin with, and close to the bottom of the heap are the city's bus drivers. The authorities refused to allow them an independent trade union and ruled that an 'Islamic council' in the offices of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company would represent their interests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pious have not proved the doughtiest fighters for better pay and conditions. The bus drivers claimed that managers were stealing money from their pay packets. They formed their own union and threatened to strike at the end of January.

Ahmadinejad won the rigged Iranian elections last year with a promise to stand up for the little man against the Islamic Republic's corrupt elite. Faced with a choice between sticking to his word and carrying on with despotism, he showed his true colours by allowing the most ferocious crackdown Tehran has seen since the religious authorities crushed dissident journalists and students in 1999.
Having failed to break the strike through indimidation, the regime has resorted to mass arrests and to roughing up the driver's wives and children.

The article goes on to note:
Even if you take the lowest estimate, there are as many striking bus drivers in prison in Tehran as rioters prepared to play the worn-out game of throwing Molotov cocktails at Western embassies.
The aspirations of Tehran's bus drivers appear to be the same as those of most people on the planet: To be treated fairly and to be allowed a chance to improve their lives.

Cartoon riots or not, this type of repression should always be newsworthy. But the mullahs know how to manipulate the media so that most Americans get a distorted impression of Iranian society, the one the mullahs want to convey.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

 

Very Cool Toy

The Ultimate Toy Airplane

Friday, February 10, 2006

 

T-Mobile and International Dialing: A Wide Ranging Scam

I am not the first person who has had problems with T-Mobile about international dialing

While researching my problem with T-Mobile I discovered I was not the first person to have this problem and others have been presented with much higher bills.

This morning I receive a phone call on my cell from a T-mobile rep. They told me that my bill was past due for $5768 dollars!!! I ALMOST FAINTED!!! I asked the rep. what's going on. They told me that someone had been using one of my SIM to call some where in EGYPT started from MAY 12 until now which is around a month!! When I opened an account with T-mobile I opened 4 phone line so that I can get an expensive free phone from the phone store. I regularly use 3 of the 4 numbers that was provided to me. I never used the other number to call anywhere EVER! This morning I just realized from the rep. that the SIM Card that I never used was lost/stolen and used to call EGYPT for the total of $5768 dollars!!! I never know anybody from EGYPT !! I am chinese and would never ever call anyone in that continent!! and who in the right mind would use their cell phone to call international for that amount!

At this moment I was terrified! I ask the rep. what can I do? Please help me! I never made those calls!! They cold heartedly told me that I have to pay the whole amount ASAP! and they make it sound like I am a liar because I didn't report the SIM CARD lost. I just know about it as of when the representative called me in the morning!! They gave me an address and fax number to inform my situation to customer relations department in new mexico. I also ask the rep. if my primary phone number will still be active, they said yes. So I frantically typed up a letter explaining my situation and provide them with my cell phone number to call me back. Then an hour later I tried using my cell phone to call some lawyer to ask for advice and noticed that my phone was deactivated!! I can't use my cell phone now either!! I then had to type another letter informing them my home phone number. I can't stay at home all day because I have a job! They would not give me any phone number to call the customer relation department either!!

I called again to t-mobile customer service to plea to them for any kind of help. I ask for them to sent out my latest statement and they said you have to wait for the cycle or somthing like that and told me again that I am responsible to pay the whole amount!!. Then I tried to look at that phone number's calling details online so that I can print out and go to the police station, I couldn't because I have to register the number and type in the password to be able to see the bill which obviously I couldn't do that.

I am so desperate, t-mobile would not help me do anything at all, they told me since I didn't call to cancle or report the lost SIM CARD, I am responsible for the whole bill. There is no way I can afford to pay this ridiculous amount of money! especially since I didn't make the calls!!! I am already on a tight budget with my college bills. I am attending USC rightnow and it cost me a fortune already since I didn't use any financial aid. I would like to know if anybody can recommend me to do anything any suggestion! PLEASE HELP ME! I really want to commit suicide because of this matter.

PLEASE HELP ME ANYBODY!


Except for the amount of money and the fact that my sim card was not stolen this is exactly what happened to me. I am reminded of the scene in Goodfellas. You don't have the money! F*** you (slap) pay us! The problem is that T-Mobile is allowed to extend you credit without limit and that most people don't realize that the cell phone companies have no obligation to monitor fraudulent or abnormal activity on a phone. My credit card companies have frozen my cards if there is a charge, even a small one, in an unusual location. Then I call them and the account is unfrozen. I am grateful for this but also I know that I have 60 days to report my card stolen and they are responsible for charges made on that card. T-Mobile, Verizon, Cingular, etc. have no such responsibility so they are not concerned when a customer runs up thousands of doallers making overseas calls.

Another person on the mobiledia forum had a similar problem as boorapper. Mrdillo111 wrote:

My story is similar without getting into the details my phone bill is $4763. My FIGHT with TMobile is I was unaware that international dialing is allowed on all TMobile phones. I would have turned it off in a split second.
Did you know you had international dialing on your phone?
Did you dial overseas with your phone?
Did you have any intention of using that expensive feature?
Would you have barred it (turned it off) if you knew it was on?

I have fought them with all I got and they do not want to move or work with my on what I owe them.

I have sent an entire package to the FCC and if you want I can send you the same stuff and you should contact the FCC too in fact you should ASAP contact the same FCC rep I have to show this pattern of abuse TMobile is doing.

My strong feeling is they allow all customers access to their expensive international dialing purely for profit. Our 2 accounts equal to over $10,000 on a service neither one of us asked for or knew we had.
Go to your welcome guide section 1 page 11. It clearly states under international dialing that if you want to call over 220 countries you need to add Worldclass service. This is the main subject of my fight.
They tell me one thing (that international dialing is on every phone) but their welcome guide and their web site tells a different story.

Contact me at danny@usnextel.com and I will forward my 7 page complaint to the FCC.

My account may go to collections and if it does I will take TMobile to civil court for failure to accurately and properly disclose their calling policies. If my account goes to collection my credit score, which is well over 700, will be plummeted to low numbers screwing me and my family. They will not get away with this. I can help and if both of us complain to the FCC and more of us get on board we may be able to make a difference. Thanks


Mrdillo111 fought his bill and, I discovered after I emailed him, he had this reduced by more than 90%.

I have filed a complaint to the FCC about TMobile based on their policy on international dialing. My case is being reviewed but would like the help of everyone if you can. I have a $4733 phone bill based on this topic.

1. Did you know all TMobile phones (except for Smartaccess) has international dialing from the US to over 220 countries?

2. Did you know in their welcome guide section 1 page 11 it states to this day that
With Worldclass service you can * Make calls from the US to over 220 countries? But you need to add the Worlclass service.

3. Would you consider this a feature (calling overseas) a service you have to add to use?

4. Would you remove the international dialing feature if you had it?

5. Did you know up to May 11th 2005 their web site under the heading
I’m staying at home but my calls go everywhere. (Calling overseas)

It used to say this:

To call over 200 other countries, you just need to add Worldclass service to your phone. Adding the service is free.

By May 28 2005 it changed to this
Every T-Mobile phone can make calls to over 220 countries and locations. So if your business dealings are multinational, T-Mobile has you covered.

Now to finally confuse everyone in their flyer
T-Mobiles We’re Serious About Coverage

Whether you’re traveling abroad or calling abroad, T-Mobile’s Worldclass international service ensures you’re never out of reach.

With Worldclass roaming, you can call to or from almost any corner of the globe.

6. Did you know in the contract you sign and the terms and conditions pages, Worldclass is not mentioned 1 time?

7. Did you know that to stop international dialing you must request it barred or removed otherwise everyone over Smartaccess credit class, has this expensive feature?

8. What changes to their contract or policy would you recommend to make this clear to all signing on?

I need everyones help to show TMobile their policy is vague, confusing and has the potential for massive fraud and abuse. Thanks


I is good to hear that the little guy can stand up to a big corporation. It would be better if the corporation would not let huge bills run up in the first place. Being trained in the dismal science I can understand why they might act this way. Yes, I know it doesn't make sense to alienate customers but the truth is if they can collect a few thousand from a customer at one time eventhough that customer ends up hating that company then they might end up ahead. The key is how difficult it is to dispute these charges and how often the customers wins if he does dispute them. That is a quantifiable risk. T-Mobile has decided they rather lose me as a customer paying $60.00 per month if they can get me to pay $728.16. I would have to know more about T-Mobiles cost structure to know if this was a smart risk.

Finally, on the mobiledia.com forum there were several people badgering Boorapper and Mrdillo111 including a moderator named Samsung. Turns out Samsung is a T-Mobile employee.

Yes I am on payroll, I work for the company and my personally feelings towards you are that you're a goof. I have read your website and think its a joke. I dont have to answer your questions as they will be answered in court. I hope that you lose your lawsuit and that T-Mobile makes you pay for their lawyer fees. You sound like an irresponsible person who cannot/will not pay for your VALID charges, however I will tell you the same thing that I tell escalated callers who threaten not to pay.... thats your perogative and thats what collection agencies are for.

OH and just a FYI MR. Dillo, I have let your rants and raves go on for TOO long and im sure most of the T-Mobile Talk members would agree, so I will enforce one of our forum rules (woohoo):

Ettiquite
18. This forum is not a venue for personal or private vendettas. Keep your personal business as just that - personal. This forum is not a venue for the resolution of personal disputes with members or companies.

Therefore this and all your threads have been locked. Take your issue elsewhere please. Adios!


T-Mobile must look for deceit and rudeness when they hire for their customer service department.


 

New Google Maps Feature

For those of you who have explored every inch of the US via Google's satellite map program, here's a new feature to help you waste time: Google Moon. Zoom in for a closer look of the lunar surface and let us know if you find anything interesting!

Happy Friday,

Bill O

Bill C:

Here is a neat new tool for looking up real estate values. Zillow

Matt O, is that house across the street from you still for sale? Zillow says it is overpriced by about $200,000 if i have the address correct.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

 

Imparting Selective Respect For The Law

Lessons in political expedience and evading responsibility

WorldNetDaily reports:
The largest school district in Texas hopes to get the law changed so it can hire illegal aliens as bilingual teachers.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa of the Dallas Independent School District says he hopes to work with other urban school systems to pursue changes that would allow hiring illegals to help fill a significant need for teachers who speak Spanish.

According to an Associated Press report, Hinojosa told board members in a policy meeting yesterday: "We are going to follow the law, but if there is the possibility to modify the law, we should."
What kind of lesson is this to teach to children? Why can't the DISD advocate the importation of legal bilingual teachers, rather than rewarding aliens who disrespect our laws? That this logic escapes those responsible for educating American children simply amazes me. Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Hinojosa and the DISD that if laws in this country were properly enforced, the school district wouldn't have such a dire need for bilingual teachers at all.

 

Able Danger Hearing

Finally

The House of Representatives will finally hold a hearing about Able Danger on February 15th. Nice to see. It should prove very interesting.

Via Able Danger Blog.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

The Daily T-Mobile sucks post: Cramming explained

I you read yesterday's post, I won't blame you if you didn't get all the way through it, I ended with a someone's experience off a Harley-Davidson messageboard.

t mobile truly sucks. now that sprint has combined with nextel, these suckers are tying to squeeze their customers. they have enabled international dialling on the phones and not let the customers know that well in advance , since its a policy change to extract money. u make a calling card call and it is dailled "incorrectly" and still the number gets through and all u can see on ur next bill is the heftier than ur paycheck!
way to go, t mobile!!
bastards


This is exactly what happened to us. We used an international calling card and were charged T-Mobile's international rates. This happened 10 times according to T-Mobile. I don't believe Inna made 10 mistakes when that is about the total number of times she called home. Of course, i won't know for sure until next month when I get the bill. A short aside: yesterday a T-Mobile customer care representative promised I could access these charges via their website after I begged them to help me. It involved jumping through some hoops, since it was late I opted to try this this morning. I just spoke with Ann 0252088 and was told that accessing my charges is impossible. Only if I agree to pay half of the amount will they let me see the billing statement before it is mailed out. Naturally I refused.

As I said yesterday, after looking through my service agreement and the terms and conditions of my service I found no mention of international service.

My contract is clear in that it says I will be getting weekends and nights free, mobile-to-mobile free (between the two of us), and nationwide calling. According to their "help" desk, with nationwide service comes international calls- for a fee, a really big fee. They said that customers used to have to call and activate this service but they stopped doing that at some point in the past. Also, I asked them specifically where it says on my contract or in the terms and conditions where I would get international calls and they said it was not on paper. "It was implied." And, "We don't have to put it in the contract."

Let me add that T-Mobile said that simply by using the international service I agreed to accept it. The FCC has a name for when telecom companies put unauthorized services on a customer's phone. It is called cramming.

Cramming also occurs when a local or long distance company or another type of service provider does not clearly or accurately describe all of the relevant charges to you when marketing the service. Although you did authorize the service, the charge is still considered “cramming” because you were misled.

T-Mobile seems to have this scam down. You use their phone to call overseas with a calling card and they charge you for an overseas call and accuse you of dialing direct and using their international calling function. T-Mobile told me that international calls used to be a feature the user had to turn on. I remember when I was planning a trip to Russia a couple of years ago I looked into having this service turned on but decided against it because the price was too high per call. My next step is to go to the T-Mobile store and tell them I know what they are doing is wrong and give them a last chance before I go the legal route. I am not optimistic.

I will fight this and I will keep you informed.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 

T-Mobile Stinks, T-errible, Ripoff, Sucks, Bad customer service, Holocaust deniers

T-Mobile has turned off my phone, long story, and I need you guys to send me your email addresses so I can get in contact with you. I need to know who has good cellphone service in Chicago.

John, are you still happy with Vonage? I just realized the necessity of having a landline. :-(

Update: Nevermind about the email addresses, I figured out how to download them from Earthlink. I do need to know what cell phone service is good in Chicago and I would like to know your opinion about my situation.

I set up a calling card for Inna to call Russia and Kazakhstan. T-Mobile says she was dialing Russia directly and they charge $1.64 per minute. They say we owe them over $900.00 and they suspended my service. At this point I am ready to run out and get a new cellphone provider but I really don't want to pay T-Mobile anything. (Also, I now appreciate the system they had in Russia. You had to buy cards at kiosks and add the to our phone in order to use the service. If you ran out of money you could not use the phone. No surprise $900 phone bills.) I did not even know we could call overseas using the cellphone.

I have to figure out how I can dispute this charge. I know that I will not be using T-Mobile again.

Update II:

I got ahold of my service agreement and read it and I read the terms and conditions of the contract which is on the T-Mobile website. Look at the bottom of the page if you are feeling masochistic and want to read them. My contract is clear in that it says I will be getting weekends and nights free, mobile-to-mobile free (between the two of us), and nationwide calling. According to their "help" desk, with nationwide service comes international calls- for a fee, a really big fee. They said that customers used to have to call and activate this service but they stopped doing that at some point in the past. Also, I asked them specifically where it says on my contract or in the terms and conditions where I would get international calls and they said it was not on paper. "It was implied." And, "We don't have to put it in the contract." That is my loophole. There are two possibilities. She either dialed the right 800 number and the phone picked up on it and started billing international or Inna absentmindedly dialed direct on 10 different occasions. The first scenario has us paying for the calls twice. I think her total number of calls, some of which I dialed myself, to Russia and Kazakhstan were 10 so the first scenario is likely. I won't know for sure until one month from know because they are refusing to send me the bill because my account is inactive. Nice catch 22.

So tomorrow I send a nice letter to their customer service dept., legal dept., and an T-Mobile executive's office saying my contract never specified I wanted international calls and that it is clear from the billing that we were trying to use a calling card to call overseas. If they refuse to budge then I file a small claims suit which will keep my credit record clean as long as the suit is not settled and I find another mobile phone company.

T-Mobile did point out to me that I was lucky that they told me about these charges before they got larger. Yup, I feel soooo lucky. Also, I changed the title of this post to make it easier for those thinking of using T-Mobile to find.

More dissatisfied T-Mobile customers:

T-Mobile is T-errible.

T-Mobile: Ripoff Report.

Defective Phones.

Another catch 22 leading to lost in phone tree land.

T-Mobile treats its customers like dirt.

2. In December 2005 I called T-Mobile with a question about my bill. I was upset, the rep corrected me,I realized my mistake and accepted it. When asked about the name on the account I mentioned that my husband was dead. The rep was annoyed to have to deal with me and we hung up. One hour later I tried to use my phone and it was CANCELLED. When I call T-Mobile, I was told flatly "That's our policy. When someone dies, we cancel the account." Not a hint from the rep I spoke to! I was livid. I spoke to supervisor "Shane" who convinced me to remain w/ T-Mobile, he would activate my account right away, no activation charge. It took ONE WEEK to activate my phone, which is my life-line to elderly parents and teenagers. [Nice...Emphasis added.]


Gizmodo, the giant blog of everything gadgety complains about T-Mobiles customer service. If this guy can't get good service what chance do I have?

So I'm heartbroken. I've just spent a week using the T-Mobile Sidekick II, and I think it's probably one of the best mobile devices I've ever used. And I can say, with total conviction, that I will never, ever purchase one and neither should you. In fact, after the experiences I've had today with T-Mobile, I'm not sure I can ever recommend one of their products again.

You may have noticed I'm a little slow on posting today. The reason is, besides being really, really high, is that I've spent about two hours on the phone with various customer service reps trying to resolve an issue that's been plaguing my primary account for the last three months. I've stayed away from mentioning it on Gizmodo, because I didn't want to turn my personal experiences into an overall anti-T-Mobile bias, but after my experiences today, with the yelling, the lies, and the misdirections, I am finally leaving them for good, and I have received such consistent horrible, deceitful service that I've come to realize it's indicative of a larger overall problem with the company - and that's worth telling you about.

...

Now honestly, if you just have to have the Sidekick II and don't care a whit about customer service - I mean, you will eventually, I promise you, but sometimes gadget lust is hard to resist - then this would be where you can leave off. I'm going to make this short and sweet, though, because god knows I've made this review long enough as it is. Still, I feel like this needs to be made clear.

I have avoided writing about my problems with T-Mobile because, well, shit happens, and as the editor of this site I feel like I have to suck it up sometimes even when I might know some higher-ups to call to make everything go away when I have a problem. Part of that is because I don't want to be an asshole and use Gizmodo as a personal platform of hate, but part of it is because I want to have the same experiences with these companies as anyone else would. But now I feel like the latter is sort of negating my concern about the former, and my experience as your everyday customer with T-Mobile overrules any extra weight writing about it might give it.

Basically, I've been lied to, over and over again, by various customer service representatives from T-Mobile. Without going into every last boring detail, I had tried to purchase a SIM card from a third-party reseller in Brooklyn instead of ordering one through T-Mobile and waiting a week for them to send it. After the guy tried to rip me off, I walked out without paying but he still placed the order. I immediately called T-Mobile and told them to fix it, which they said they did, but it's been screwed up ever since.

So for the last three months, I've been going back and forth with T-Mobile trying to get my service working and my account to where it should be. Everything seemed to be fine, after about eight or nine separate phones calls - I had the second line I wanted, there was a slight billing error that was being looked into, but service was happening and they would let me know what was up with the overcharges.

So then last week my service was canceled. I called them up, they noticed there was a billing investigation going on, and said, "No problem. Sorry we shut you off. We'll let you know what happened."

I was never contacted. Today, my service was disconnected again.

When I called and reached a rep named Patty, I explained what had happened - something I always have to do, despite asking many times for it to be noted properly on my account - and after about an hour was able to finally reach the resolution that the overcharges on my billing would be removed. Keep in mind that this is after she had told me that she would be willing to credit back about a third of them if I "admitted and understood that T-Mobile had done nothing wrong in this matter." Of course, I told her that was rank bullshit, and pressed on. Finally, after speaking to her manager she was able to get approval to make a one-time charge. Already pissed, I asked her, "So are you saying that in this case, T-Mobile was actually wrong?"

"I'm not saying that, sir, but I'm not saying you were wrong, either." That sort of milquetoast response wouldn't have saved me from leaving if it weren't for one thing - dreams of my very own Sidekick II, available only via T-Mobile. So I said fine. She calculated the refund, with tax, told me the amount, answered a couple more questions for me, and we hung up. I had just spent an hour of prime news-posting time dealing with something that should have been fixed three months ago, but I had finally gotten everything taken care of.

Until I tried to use my phone. It was still off, so I called T-Mobile again, not twenty minutes after hanging up with Patty the first time. Long story longer? There was no notes from Patty about giving me a credit. She lied to me. The refund - the one she calculated the taxes for - was a lie. She even made notes on my account indicating that she'd tried to placate me, but ultimately I was inconsolable.

So I lost it.

I worked customer service for AT&T for almost two years. Despite my daily vitriol here, I am the sweetest cupcake of a customer you will ever find to customer service reps - especially those that work for the phone company. You can put me on hold, ask me to wait while you figure out what's wrong, call me back, whatever. I'm a prancing pony of politeness.

I lost it bad.

So... god, this is all so pathetic. But honestly, I don't know what else to do. I'm going to take a $200 service cancellation fee just to escape their clutches. I'll fight it, of course, but they'll probably just mindlessly pass it on to a collection agency, where my refusal to pay it will attempt to deep six my credit (beat you to it, suckers!)

And if it were even one lie, and one screw up... I ignored this for three months, giving them chance after chance to make it better. To continually screw it up, inconvenience someone who was just trying to use their service, who paid bills early is just incredible, and is indicative of an overarching deficit of concern throughout the entire company that I'm finally starting to recognize. I'm used to shitty service - I am an American, after all - but this has been so beyond the pale that I can't justify using their service any longer, nor can I in good faith recommend them to anyone else.

The last person I spoke to was nice, and wanted to let me know how much he sympathized with me, but ultimately said he was powerless, and that in this instance - and I made him verify this to me, repeat it back so I could make sure I heard it - he had to trust T-Mobile over me. My only recourse, he said, was contacting Customer Relations via email and hope they got back to me with some resolution. No one within Customer Care - the people you can speak to on the phone - had any power to resolve my problem.

So goodbye, T-Mobile. I joined up two years ago because you were making smart decisions, had a good price and lots of free features (many of which have been slowly taken away). You guys have a lot of great phones, but until there is a massive, fundamental change in the way you treat your customers, I can't in good conscience recommend your products and services to anybody.


Why T-Mobile sucks. Includes phone number of execs, probably dead but worth a try.

At T-Mobile, communication seems to be a big problem.

It seems as that the phone number to T-Mobile's Bellevue Washington office, the only place you can get anything done, was disconnected in 2003. Hmmm, I wonder why?

Googled: T-Mobile sucks. 314,000 hits. Geesh.

In a nutshell.

I agree that t-mobile stinks, to say the least. I was waiting for my contract to end (started July, 2003), to switch to a different company. I did switch, back in August, 2004. But, it seems that when I had changed my plan, to increase the number of minutes, it changed the contract as well. The "new" contract wasn't supposed to end until the end of September. So, I got charged $200 termination fee. It's partly my fault since I didn't make note of the change. But, it seems like t-mobile is the type of company that relishes on customer ignorance, or mistakes, since that brings to them profit. When I was cancelling, all they had to do was warn me that I was still under contract. I would have waited a month to prevent $200 termination fee. But, they didn't. And in orther things, like the first month I was on the plan... I didn't know how much minutes I had to plan for. I didn't have a cell phone before. So, I chose the basic. When I was over, I chose to change to more minutes... that's where they get you. They charge more to change (another activation fee) and the new contract is VERBAL only. I dont' know about others, but it's hard to remember the detail when you are just waiting for the date specified on the written contract. So, terminate early... and they charge you, without warning you first when you cancel. That's t-mobile for you. Now, I tell anyone who would listen NOT to get t-mobile. I know I won't be going back to them. I have a happy service with Cingular at the moment. STAY AWAY FROM T-MOBILE, they are blood-sucking leeches... profiting from your ignorance and mistakes.
It seems like someone else has been ripped off via the enabled international call/calling card. If this guy is right then T-Mobile is deliberately stealing business from other companies in order to over charge customers.

t mobile truly sucks. now that sprint has combined with nextel, these suckers are tying to squeeze their customers. they have enabled international dialling on the phones and not let the customers know that well in advance , since its a policy change to extract money. u make a calling card call and it is dailled "incorrectly" and still the number gets through and all u can see on ur next bill is the heftier than ur paycheck!
way to go, t mobile!!
bastards

Monday, February 06, 2006

 

Iran is preparing for war.

Just look at the reaction of its neighbors.

Iran demands halt to broadcasts from West; Dubai complies

If you want to know their is trouble in the forest look in which direction the small animals are running. This is also a good barometer of American strength in the Middle East. If countries like Dubai are so afraid of Iran that they will shut down radio stations they must believe that Iran is a danger. And it is considering the beliefs of its President.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is close to the messianic Hojjatieh Society, which is governed by the conviction the 12th Imam's return will be hastened by "the creation of chaos on Earth." He has fired Iran's most experienced diplomats and scores of other officials, presumably those who don't share his belief in apocalyptic conflagration.
The Iranian leader's finger on a nuclear trigger would be disquieting under any circumstances. Positively alarming would be a nuclear weapon in the hands of a man who badgers Israel, the U.S. and the European Union in belief a pre-emptive aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will hasten the return of the missing Mahdi. Such an attack presumably would trigger anti-Western mayhem throughout the Middle East.

As Iran prepares for/attempts to start the end of time will the left walk up out of its pacifist stupor? Rhetorical question. If that were likely Dubai would not have any reason to fear.

 

The left and selective intelligence.

What backs us up is credible, what doesn't is invidious.

Our friends on the left are apoplectic over the thought of a military response to Iran's approaching nuclear weapon. According to someone named Philip Giraldi at the American Conservative in August of 2005, the Bush administration is planning a nuclear attack on Iran to coincide with a 9/11 type attack on the U.S. (The American Conservative is the neo-isolationist webzine co-founded by Pat "Better in the Original German" Buchanan.)

In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
The obvious flaw in this argument being that the military always draws up contingency plans for any given scenario and the would not be told what would be a triggering event for implimentation of that plan. That would be a political decision. IOW, beyond their pay grade.

Buchanan has thrown his hat in with the loony left over the Iraq war and has flirted with the Hitler wasn't such a bad guy crowd in the past. Buchanan is giving way too much respect on the right which is embarrassing. Naturally, the neo-isolationists and the anti-war left have made common cause and feed off each other. This piece of intelligence appears to be a canard. Did Dick Cheney tell a high level military official that the plan was to attack Iran with nukes using the next terror attack as an excuse? The problem is that you can't prove this to be false. What you can do is say that this scenario is extraoridinarily unlikely. Cheney would have to be a boob of the first order to say, "Hey we want to nuke Iran a.s.a.p. so draw up that plan."

Of course when the left is confronted with intelligence that refutes one of their cherished beliefs, there were no WMDs in Iraq and Bush knew that and lied about it, then they become skeptics.

First of all, in evaluating this claim, we have to take into account things that don't fit the facts. First of all, we don't even know what these WMD's supposedly were. How would we be able to fit them into a Boeing plane? If we are talking massive rockets or tubes, then it would be impossible to fit them into a commercial airliner, because the doors would simply not be wide enough for them to fit inside of a commercial airliner. Remember that Sada alleges that these were civilian aircraft.

Secondly of all, there were only two aircraft being used and 56 total flights (supposedly) between the two of them. It defies reason to suggest that merely 56 flights would be enough to get a whole country's WMD program out of Iraq into Syria without detection of any kind. Given the massive nature of the WMD program that Bush and Powell so hyped up, it would be impossible for Saddam to smuggle all of the evidence for his programs in just 56 flights in aircraft not designed for the purpose.

Thirdly of all, this tall tale defies the laws of physics. How could you smuggle these labs, alumunum tubes, rockets, and other such WMD's out of Iraq without weighing down the plane so much that it could not fly?

Nothing wrong with asking these questions. In fact, these, and others, must be answered in order to give Sada's claims credibility. But let's not jump to conclusions. Sada has claimed he heard this from two Iraqi pilots who can be tracked down. The specifications about the Boeing airplanes can be assertained. These are facts that can be verified. These are not anonymous sources in the Pentagon. I imagine that some intrepid reporter is working on these details at this moment. (From Reuters, hahahaha.)

Sada might turn out to be wrong. That is something I think most people on the right are willing to accept. We want to know the truth about WMDs as much as the left. No scratch that. They want to have their preconceptions reinforced. For me, it doesn't matter whether WMDs are found or not. Sure it would be nice to have a "I told you so moment" but that would not change anything about what we are trying to accomplish on the ground in Iraq which is a peaceful, democratic government which was one if not the most important goal of the invasion. Yup, bringing democracy to Iraq was why we invaded. Bush said this before the invasion and after and we continue to see progress every day. Boy that must hurt.

Friday, February 03, 2006

 

Border Incursion Had Helicopter Escort?

The Arizona Republic reports on a border incursion from last April:
Ayers remembers hearing the heavy whirl and chop of helicopter blades cutting through the sky above the Tres Bellotas Ranch, a sprawling swath of oak trees and barberry brush right on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Even from inside the ranch house, Ayers could tell it must be a big helicopter. He headed outside, thinking it might be U.S. customs, maybe a drug bust.

Instead, Ayers walked right into a group of armed, masked men speaking Spanish and dressed like agents from the Federal Investigative Agency, Mexico's FBI.

The encounter on U.S. soil would be investigated by the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol and Mexican authorities, one of the latest in a long list of suspected incursions from Mexico into U.S. border states.

 

The Cartoon Controversy

This just keeps getting more interesting. Who knew that a dozen cartoons, cartoons for God's sake, would cause so much anger and waste so much internet bandwidth.

My contribution to byte wasting is an update on this furor. Michelle Malkin has a great roundup. And of course a new blog has been dedicated to this bizarre controversy. A sample:
It is suddenly coming to our attention that Islam is not, cannot, and will not be integrated or assimilated to the values of freedom and democracy. Islam is not only a religion; it is a totalitarian and expansionistic political ideology.

It is now a moment of truth. The current events unfolding all over the world are opening our eyes. 12 cartoons have touched the soul of the free societies: The right to speak freely without fear.
And Gateway Pundit shows that this ruckus may all be due to false propaganda:
The organisation Islamic Society in Denmark toured the Middle-East to create awareness about the cartoons, bringing 3 additional images, which HAD NEVER been published in any media source.
The three additional images truely are offensive, as well as amatuerish. Just as in the Koran flushing fish story, can this be yet another example of Muslims themselves desectrating Islam in order to generate anti-western publicity?

And Dr. Sanity (Trackback doesn't seem to work right, go here and scroll down) observes:
Just as the false promises of socialism and communism were found to lead to misery instead of happiness; poverty instead of wealth; enslavement instead of freedom--so too, have multiculturalism and political correctness, instead of harmony, brought lethal discord.
It's ironic that simple cartoons may be the catalyst that opens the world's eyes to the dangers of appeasing radical Islam.

more:
Victor Davis Hanson makes an excellent observation at NRO:
Ever since that seminal death sentence handed down to Salman Rushdie by the Iranian theocracy, the Western world has incrementally and insidiously accepted these laws of asymmetry. Perhaps due to what might legitimately be called the lunacy principle ("these people are capable of doing anything at anytime"), the Muslim Middle East can insist on one standard of behavior for itself and quite another for others. It asks nothing of its own people and everything of everyone else's, while expecting no serious repercussions in the age of political correctness, in which affluent and leisured Westerners are frantic to avoid any disruption in their rather sheltered lives.

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