The Jury Talks Back

8/30/2009

September 11th Conspiracy Debunking

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 8:02 pm

On Monday, August 31, the National Geographic Channel will air “9/11: Science and Conspiracy“.  National Geographic assembled engineering experts and other scientists to test the official version and the conspiracy theories.  Through a series of simulations NGC will demonstrate how science supports what every rational person knows really happened and how science utterly refutes the various theories proposed by 9/11 Troofers.

8/26/2009

Seven Months Later

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 8:28 pm

We are well into the eighth month of the Obama Presidency and already The One is getting tiresome.  You don’t hear the same joy in his supporter’s voices, far fewer cars sport the Big O stickers, and Hope and Change seem like distant memories; often jokes.

In foreign policy, he has managed to bow to a Saudi king, shake hands and joke with a brutal dictator — and then take that dictator’s side against a US-built democracy that dared to stand tall.  Overseas, Iran is further along in building its bomb, and FRANCE seems more likely to face them down that than “the Leader of the Free World.”   Go France! Under Obama, we are losing the war in Afghanistan and seem likely to lose the peace in Iraq.  It is Bush’s fault, they say.

Domestically, we have historic unemployment (16% if you count those who’ve given up); a budget deficit unseen since World War II (and with no end in sight).  His only legislative “victory” is a “Global Warming” bill that lines pockets and hobbles industry — without actually helping the transition from fossil fuels (solar power stocks are down 80% in the last year).  The newest cause is a health “reform” bill — remaking one-sixth of the $20 trillion US economy — that the President hasn’t even read.  His advisers don’t pay their taxes and no one seems to care.  His Congressional leaders don’t either, but insert language into unrelated bills that would hold unconnected taxpayers liable to huge penalties for harmless and innocent tax errors.  This too, is Bush’s fault.

After campaigning against everything Bush did to keep the country safe, Obama has adopted most of W’s positions while trashing the service of the people whose ideas he steals.  Now, he’s going to prosecute some of them for the crime of catching the 9/11 organizers and getting them to reveal their follow-on plans.  Apparently there are rules in a knife fight.  The rest of the world must stand in amazement at the appalling idiocy of this act.  Even leftist agitators know you don’t shoot your own soldiers in the back while there’s a war on.  A war that Obama cannot lose and survive.  But might; glad I don’t live in New York.   Somehow, it’s Bush’s fault here, too.

There are elections in 2010.  I am beginning to think, should this go on, that Impeachment as a campaign issue might be a winning one.   Yeah, I know, too early.  I’ll ask again in March.

Update (8/29):  As if I didn’t have enough to be worried about, we have the Marxist appointed as “FCC diversity czar.”

Why we will treat Sen Kennedy better

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 12:03 am

Why?  Why – at the least – express sympathy for his family and not list his failings, when his party and those who will attempt to beatify him treated President Reagan and Tony Snow as they did?

It’s simple, really.

Reagan and Snow were good, decent, moral men – men of character and with a deep and abiding faith in God.

They would not – even if they somehow could, having seen their treatment at the hands of the Left – speak ill of the man.

We should treat the late Senator Kennedy as we wish they had been treated, because they would want us to.

I’m not saying we should forever be silent, but its been less than 12 hours.  Give the man and his family at least 24 hours.  Heaven knows this story won’t leave until at least the weekend.  And when we do start to talk about the man and his life without the rose-colored glasses, do it with decency, and with some level of respect.

Ronald and Tony would expect nothing less.

8/25/2009

Requiescat in Pace Senator

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 9:35 pm

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D – Mass) has passed away.

My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.  I agreed with almost nothing he did or believed in, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a human being, with people close to him, who cared about him and loved him.

I hope he went peacefully.

Labor Leader to Head NY Fed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 9:18 pm

Seriously?

I’m starting to lose my idealism…

Oh Sweet…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 5:18 am

Futurama’s on…

No, wait, that’s not right…

Oh yeah…  New downloadable content for Mass Effect has been released.

Only 400 points for an excuse/reminder to play more of this game?  Nodn’t mind if I do…

New CBO numbers coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 3:43 am

The CBO’s website states that they will be available at 10am Eastern, with a pad & paper briefing at 11 (Gods I’m a geek, I wish I could go…)

I’ll post about them when they hit, and after I get a chance to read them.  I’m out and about today, but I’m taking my laptop out with me so I can work on this.

8/24/2009

Giant LADWP Water Rate Increase Proposed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 8:46 pm

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display on the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.’” — Douglas Adams

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is sending out a 4-page bilingual “Notice of Proposed Water Ordinance Modifications.”*   The notice leads with a number of increases to discounts for low-income persons, but down near the bottom of the first page is the operative section:   “Water Rate Tier 2 Technical Adjustment.”

God save us from “technical adjustments.”  After already reducing the Tier 1 allowance in June, Tier 2 rates will be going up rather a lot.  But you have to fight through several pieces of misdirection and obfuscations to glean this from the notice (which was mistitled to begin with).

  • First piece of misdirection:  They are going to reduce the Tier 2 rate from the Summer rate of $3.28/HCF and the Winter rate of $2.69/HCF to a year-round rate of $2.34/HCF.
  • Second piece of misdirection:  The current rates include a “Water Procurement Cost” (WPA) of $1.42/HCF.  (This is actually extraneous information and only offered to confuse the situation.)
  • First hidden fact:  The new “lower” rate does not have the WPA included any more.  That is now extra.  $1.48/HCF extra to be exact.
  • Second (well) hidden fact:  The added WPA fee is variable, and the example of $1.48 is for November and December when water use is at its minimum (and the current WPA fee, above, is from July when water use is at its maximum).

Luckily, I took algebra.  There is in all cases a rate increase not a decrease.

  • The summer rate goes up from $3.28/HCF to at least $3.82 (a 17% increase) — and possibly much more depending on what the DWP pays for water next summer.
  • The winter rate goes from $2.69/HCF to at least $3.82 ( a 42% increase) — and possibly more if the current estimate for winter water is low.

If you live outside the City of Los Angeles but get your water from DWP, they add another $0.12/HCF on top, because they can.   And, the notice concludes, all water rates might be going up another $0.06/HCF in January, depending on a DWP Commission vote.

Unmentioned in all this is the long-standing fact that any surplus DWP funds go to the General Fund for the City.  If Edison did something like this, they’d call it dishonest and greedy.  But no one seems to bat an eye over municipal greed.

*Note: the notice is not yet online.  Current DWP water rate info

8/22/2009

Still looking for a travelling buddy for Quincy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 10:26 pm

I can help with gas, food and a hotel room Friday and/or Saturday night, if needed.  I’m off Friday and Saturday, and Sunday can be an off day for me.

September 12th…

Lemme know.  I’m planning on bringing a digital video camera and a digital camera, along with a laptop to save and load photos to Youtube and such.

8/20/2009

Mark Casem – Apparently competent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 9:52 am

So at 10:34am Mark gave me a call.  I explained how the problem got fixed, and how pissed I was over it.

Because if it was a failure to properly authorize the account, or the signal, or whatever, that’s just bush league.

I also re-iterated my intention to keep looking for a new provider for our services.  I mentioned the incentives offered by companies like Verizon.

He said that the netbook is for new customers only, and they usually don’t let people sign up for a new deal when they have signed on for another until it runs it’s time.

As a reminder, the free HD DVR that started this is such an offer.  That my offer to let them try and keep me as a customer would prevent an attempt to make this situation – I think the term I used was “pooch screw” – better doesn’t thrill me.  He said he would make some calls and see what is possible, and thus far he’s been the one person (aside from the guy that turned my internet back on) that’s shown even a modicum of ability to do his job, so I’m going to let him try.

So as it stands, the problem with the cable has been fixed, but the problem with Comcast itself is still up in the air.

Props to Mark.  He’s done good so far, here’s hoping he doesn’t drop the ball now.

If you’re reading this, Mark, I’ll stop the provider search if a Dell Netbook were to arrive (or the tracking number that would precede such an arrival).

Comcast Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 4:31 am

Well, in about 30 minutes we start the “morning” part of my “Morning prefference” for the appointment.

I don’t expect them to show in that window, but you never know.

I have Casem’s number in my phone, so I’ll be making a call should they fail at fixing their fail.

Update @ 9:00am - Just got a call from the local Comcast office.  They say in the next 45 minutes a tech should be here.

Comcast needs to really hope he fixes the problem.

Update @ 10:18am - Well, it wasn’t 45 minutes, but at just before 10am the tech arrived.  We go to the box, I turn it on, and lo and behold, it was working perfectly.  You see, before he came out here, he was at the local office, and send an authorizing signal – apparently just to be sure.

The God Damn local office didn’t properly authorize my God Damn box!!!

My respect for Comcast at this point reached new lows.  But he was nice enough, so I thanked him, and he went on his merry way.  Then a few minutes later, Comcast calls me, saying they were sorry for my troubles, and would have a tech out soon.

It’s like they are putting special effort into being horrible at what they do.

I explained that the tech had just left, and that apparently the solution had been to authorize the box at the local office.  I then begin, in my best and most civil “you incompetent moron” voice, to inquire what they were going to do to reduce my displeasure.

At first, it was the offer to credit the account the box fee ($10) to my next bill.  Now, hearing this bothered me, since the box is supposed to be free for a year.  As you will recall, this was their attempt to keep my business, but which came to highlight every reason why I would want to take my money elsewhere in the first place.

I would add that, after the offer was made for the free box for a year, and the order placed, my internet went out. I spent a few hours checking into things, and it turns out that somehow – Jesus only knows how – when they put in the order they turned off my internet.  This should have been the sign that we REALLY needed to go elsewhere for our services.

Anyways, I stated that $10 credit for a box that was free anyways wasn’t exactly what I would call satisfactory, so the poor soul on the other end of the phone then offered a free month’s service – I’m actually not entirely clear how that will work since it is a bundle service price, but we’ll assume they will credit what the service WOULD normally cost and foolishly pray for the best.

I was, as yet, unconvinced of their desire to actually continue to be my provider, and so I reminded her – and a good thing, since apparently a system that details all problems on once is beyond the capabilities of Comcast – that Saturday when I initially put in the order, they broke my God Damn internet.  Again, how that could happen is beyond my understanding, but now falls completely within the levels of idiocy I expect from Comcast.  She then offered credit for that as well.

I remained unhappy, but could tell I would get nothing more from this woman.  I could tell that she had neither the authority nor the connections to do more.

In a new post I shall share the call that came at 10:34am, from Mark Casem.

This much credit I shall give Comcast – they follow up on stuff like freaking gang-busters.

8/18/2009

Comcast – worst company I have ever interacted with (updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 8:46 pm

So lately we here at Casa de la Jacobs have been getting fliers for Mediacom, a company that provides such services as cable, phone, and internet.  They have some nice deals, so I gave them a call.  After some questions, it seems that for what we here pay Comcast, we could be getting all they offer (including up/down speeds that are better) in addition to an extra HD DVR.

This being a household where two TVs are watched for vastly different content, I found this to be a lovely deal.

The person that pays the Comcast bill, however, was convinced that a switch would be a hassle, so I called Comcast to see if they could match the competition.  They agreed to toss in a free HD DVR for a year, so I agreed, and we set up an appointment for today to pick up the extra box – why come and hook it up, I am fully capable of hooking up the coaxial cable to the box, plug it into the wall, and connect the HDMI cable from box to TV.

Well, the first box was picked up around noon, and it was found to not work right.  Wouldn’t show a picture.  I saw the “menu” and everything, but no actual service, so we returned it and exchanged it for another box identical to the one was already have.

Now, that one will show me the local channels, but the picture is horrible and I get nothing besides the very basics – about 20 channels or so.  I called Comcast back (called the first time to authorize the box, where the lady on the other end said to wait 45 minutes and by then everything would be fine) and explained the problem.  She tried a few things, but failed at even being able to remotely command a box reset.  Declaring it to be a line/signal issue, we went to the “setting up an appointment” phase of the call.

THURSDAY?  I have to wait until God Damn THURSDAY before you assholes can get one of your trained simians out here?  You are aware that tomorrow is Wednesday, right?  That you are failing for two whole days to provide a service I God Damn pay you for?

And not just Thursday, mind you, but ALL of Thursday.  From 8am till 8pm, I get to lurk around this place waiting for your idiot to show up and fix a signal issue?  I swear to God in Heaven, if he says that he can’t fix it, I can not be held legally responsible for my subsequent actions.

So in closing:

  1. Comcast is one of the most incompetent companies on the planet, and they continue to have customers only because they rarely have any competition what-so-ever, forcing you to use them for their shitty, shitty service.
  2. I should have demanded we switch to Mediacom, and I highly advise you do the same if you are able.

If you’ll now excuse me, I must attempt sleep, as I have to be up in less than 6 hours.

Update: Pons suggests that I am wrong when I call Comcast “one of the most incompetent”, stating it is the most incompetent.  I must disagree.  I’ve dealt with amazingly stunning levels of fail.  Comcast does not meet that “high” standard, but it does come very close.

Update x2: Mark Casem (an apparent employee of the above mention Company o’ Morons) posted a wonderfully apologetic reply, asking that I e-mail him with numbers so he might contact me and try to correct the issue.  As of 10:22am (central time) I did so.  It is now 2:45pm (central time), and I have yet to receive either an e-mail or phone call from anyone at Comcast.  It is possible that this annoys me more than the original shitty service.  Offering to try and make things right and then not following up after I contact you is not simply incompetent, but absolutely rude and completely unforgivable.  At this point the only way Comcast could fail me more is if, when I return home at about 9:30 or so tonight, I find that some service or combination of services have been turned off through yet further stupidity on the part of Comcast.

Note to Comcast: Juan is very much correct.  I received such a rapid offer of assistance because I am fortunate enough to be able to avail myself of a blog with a readership that extends beyond people in my High School.  Were I without this means of making my grievance known, I would not have even this much – which, let me remind, remains an empty offer due to further fail on your part.  Should 5pm central come and go without you numb-skulls contacting me, I am very afraid that I will have to look into other means of getting my story out there.  This website is not without friends, and I’d hate for this story to get link all over Hell’s Half Acre.

You have a chance – albeit a small, slim one – to make this right.  Please don’t chose to ignore that chance.

Update x3: Just got off the phone a couple of minutes ago with Mr Casem (4:23pm).  He’s said he will try (note it isn’t “will”, but “try”) to make it a morning appointment (my choices consisted of “morning” or “afternoon”).  This was the extent of it, aside from saying it was likely the would swap the box for a newer model (the model I picked up the first time – the one that failed harder than the current box).

I have to admit that I am, as yet, very unsatisfied with the solution.  I would get virtually the exact same resolution to my complaint by never having posted this, and continuing to suffer in silence.  I don’t believe I am out of line by saying that I feel as though Comcast should attempt to got the extra mile, here.  A second box failing to work when one already does is not acceptable on any level, and “signal issues” sounds like a cop-out.

Comcast offers as an incentive to new customers signing up for a 1-year agreement (or whatever they call it) a free Dell Netbook. The least they could do is offer one as a concession.

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