Archive for the ‘Protest’ Category
To my knowledge, in the United States it is illegal to record conversations unless you have permission of the parties you’re recording. I believe the rules are more lax in some jurisdictions, but those exceptions are not that helpful if one wants to record a phone conversation with a company representative, because call centers are so dispersed over the planet. A representative could be anywhere.
I think United States Federal law should be changed to specifically permit consumers to record conversations they have with employees and other representatives of companies. Nothing stops me from asking for permission today, but I have never been granted permission when I have asked, so that’s why the law should be changed.
Companies routinely give themselves the right to record calls, so they should understand why a consumer would also want to have that ability.
I came to my recommendation January 29, 2013, after I had a frustrating conversation that day with Brian G., a supervisor at Godaddy, the Internet domain name giant. Brian’s email address is email@example.com. Brian refused to give me his last name, citing a Godaddy security policy.
On or around December 14, 2012, I learned a domain I’ve been wanting for a dozen plus years was in ‘redemption.’ This means the prior owner didn’t pay to renew it, so the registrar placed the name into redemption, a kind of holding place for domain names before they are eventually released to the public for purchase.
My heart raced. I was going to finally be able to reacquire the Hotpaper.com domain. I sold the name in 2000. My first reaction was to write to my friend Dan Luis and ask if I could pay the redemption fee to Purple, the company I sold the name to a dozen years ago, so they could retrieve the name from redemption status. This would then give Purple the right to transfer the name to me.
But after I composed the email to Luis, who I have been in touch with as recently as 2012, I decided to run this idea past GoDaddy, which was the registrar for Hotpaper.com.
I told the representative about my connection with Purple and proposed doing what I just outlined. The representative then advised me to not bother, and just sign up for GoDaddy’s Domain Name Backorder service, which cost about USD $20.00 and included a full year of registration. This made the cost for getting the domain about $8.00, which is just 1/10th what it would have cost me to pay Purple to get the domain out of redemption status.
The representative told me that since GoDaddy was the registrar for Hotpaper.com that they would be able to get the domain name for me through their backorder service. He said that if Hotpaper.com had been with another registrar then they would have had to fight to try to get the name. The representative assured me multiple times that in this situation their backorder service was a sure thing. Not once did he even hint that I would be rolling the dice. Had he alerted me that I was speculating, I would have hung up and pursued the sure thing of contacting Luis.
Either Luis would have redeemed the name for Purple to hold on to, or he would have allowed me to redeem it through Purple. Luis would not have ignored me and let the name hit the open market — he’s my friend, and even though we haven’t seen each other in ages, we share a bond, for we both sold our companies to the company that is now Purple. Why am I so sure of this? Luis is the one that keeps our association alive by saying hello to me from time to time, not the other way around. I believe Luis respects me and does not want to upset me, so he would not take an adverse position, especially on something like this that is of no consequence to Purple, since they retired the Hotpaper name around a decade ago.
I would have been fine had Luis redeemed the name and had Purple hold on to it for decades to come. My desire is for the name to not fall into third party hands, so it was great that Purple paid the registration on the name for so long after they stopped using it. I saved over USD $100 over the last decade thanks to the kindness of Purple. Thank you.
I have explained to GoDaddy that their representative promised to get me the Hotpaper.com domain and failed, and to fix this failure they need to buy the domain and give it to me for the backorder fee I paid. This is a case of an employee being insufficiently skilled and trained, and their failure led to this sad result. GoDaddy the company is at fault, I believe. Yes, there may be some fine print somewhere on the GoDaddy website explaining the backorder process is akin to gambling, but GoDaddy’s sales representative negated that fine print.
I believe I was behaving reasonably when I took the word of the GoDaddy representative.
I figured that GoDaddy would have an advantage in ‘catching’ domain names dropping from their registry in the same way that high speed Wall Street traders benefit from extremely close proximity to stock exchange computers, so much so that high speed traders rent space in premium Wall Street colocation space to get faster connection times, since the speed of electricity is only so fast.
I have never bought a domain through a name catching service, so I was not an expert when I placed the order. But I felt the representative I ordered through knew what he was talking about, because he was so articulate, well spoken and because his explanation of why GoDaddy would definitely get the name sounded technically and practically believable.
If I had recorded that conversation, I believe GoDaddy would buy Hotpaper.com on the open market and give it to me for the backorder fee I have already paid. The conversation was so crystal clear and frankly damning that GoDaddy would not want to risk the recording and this story hitting the front page of Reddit, where I predict GoDaddy would have taken a beating from the readers of that news site.
This domain issue is of little importance. I survived a dozen years without the domain, and I’ll be fine without it for the next dozen or three dozen years. I have Hotpaper.net if I ever want to do anything Hotpaper related in the future.
The right for consumers to record calls with businesses, without notice, however, is a right US residents should have. There are so many business that will only correspond with customers over the phone. All banks I know are like this, and will simply not engage a customer by writing emails or letters back and forth. If you try to send a letter, often you’ll get a letter back asking you to phone. Banks I am sure force business to be conducted by phone because they know there will not be a record the customer can keep and refer to or publicize if the customer is mistreated.
Customers need to be able to believe what they’re told by company representatives, which, sadly, is a bigger and more difficult issue. I appreciate and recognize that I should have independently verified by reading the fine print on the GoDaddy website what the representative told me. I didn’t do it because the representative was so confident and self assured, and because the stakes were not material. Frankly, I’ll save hundreds of dollars over the years by not having to pay to keep the Hotpaper.com domain for myself, so you can even say GoDaddy did me a favor by the failure of their representative to explain how their backorder service works.
Companies should do the right thing by their customers when their representative makes such an obvious and glaring error. If a car dealer sells you a lemon, they’ll have to buy it back from you. If a doctor amputates the wrong limb, they’ll pay you plenty. If a lawyer drops the ball and forgets a filing deadline and you lose your case as a result, she’ll pay you.
Here we have a salesperson that sold me a product by misinforming me about its most important workings — whether intentional or not is irrelevant. This strikes me as fraud, though I am not a lawyer. GoDaddy should fix this apparent fraud by buying the domain and delivering it to me.
While researching this story, I found the website Anti GoDaddy, which collects GoDaddy horror stories from consumers. I posted a screen shot of this site’s home page at the top of this article. Notice the reach of GoDaddy — the embedded advertisement near the top of the page is for GoDaddy.
If this domain had been really important to me, I would have not handled the matter so casually. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Hotpaper.com domain ranks a 0.1. Note that I have not linked to the domain so as to not give traffic to the domain name speculator that ended up acquiring the name. The last time I checked, which was just once, there was a generic page offering to sell the domain.
The US Federal government should allow recording of conversations by consumers with businesses to reduce the harm that comes from currently insufficiently documented conversations. I suspect there are thousands of people that lost their homes in recent years because a bank told them verbally not to worry about their loan modification delays, but then foreclosed anyway. Had those promises been recorded by the consumers, the banks may have not been so quick to make promises they couldn’t respect, and homeowners could have pursued other options with more awareness of their true situations. The ramifications of only the business being able to record conversations are likely widespread and quite substantial, in every field, with every size business. It’s simply not fair to let only one party avail themselves of voice recording technology. Society would not stand for lopsided court reporting during trials, where the transcription was for the benefit of only the defendant or only the plaintiff. Why does society permit injustice with documentation outside the courtroom?
Laws need to change. I don’t know about the laws outside the United States, but I suspect this post applies to most of the planet.
Three days ago, on December 14, 2012, a human being apparently shot and killed 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut USA. Since that time there has been an intense focus in the media on this shooting, with thousands of articles written, and thousands of hours of television and radio coverage around the world, most of it by commercial entities that make more money the more viewers, listeners and readers they attract.
This media coverage probably incites others to commit mass murder, because one can easily see that mass murder is a sure fire way to get famous overnight.
The media outlets I presume secretly love mass killings, for they attract lots of interest from their customers, and the media outlets just have to be making a killing doing these stories about killing.
Every time there is a mass killing, the calls for gun control become temporarily louder.
I like the idea of requiring all firearms to be registered and insured, like vehicles are. All drivers must take and pass competency tests to get a driver license.
There should be a more stringent process to obtain a firearm license.
The license should be valid for just a limited number of years, and if it expires, the holder should have to sell or turn in all their registered firearms. When the firearm owner dies, the firearms should have to be turned in or sold by the owner’s estate.
This would help eliminate the dangerous situation I just saw first hand. A friend of mine saw her husband pass away. He left her four guns, two of which were loaded with bullets. My friend didn’t know how to unload the weapons or even how to determine that they were loaded. Thankfully, she recognized the danger and turned them in at a gun buy back on Saturday. I accompanied her, and I had to tell the police the guns may be loaded or not, that neither my friend or I knew. I wasn’t going to inspect the weapons, and I don’t know how to operate a firearm, and I don’t want to know. The police took the weapons away and came back to report two were loaded. They unloaded the weapons for my friend, who is a senior citizen.
I mentioned gun insurance above. How much do I recommend? USD $1,000,000 per gun owner, adjusted annually for inflation or deflation. I would still allow unlimited guns per owner, but since the insurance would probably be sold per gun, that will naturally limit gun ownership, like car insurance costs today keep people from amassing lots of vehicles.
I think the right to bear arms is a good right, as it serves as a check on the government becoming overbearing. It also will make it more difficult for an invading power to conquer the United States. I have never shot a gun, and I do not intend to. I did shoot a squirt gun as a child, and I wish I had not.
I approve of the second amendment to the United States Constitution.
If we are to allow gun ownership, how can we cut down on these mass shootings?
I suggest we outlaw the intense media coverage that accompanies mass killings.
The media makes money from mass killing.
As a result, the media industry has blood on its hands.
What I propose is not far out. Apparently some jurisdictions have so-called Son of Sam laws in effect. According to WikiPediA, some such laws extend to the friends and family members of the criminal. So all that’s needed is to extend the laws to apply to anyone.
For my readers not familiar with the phrase Son of Sam Law, ‘A Son of Sam Law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers,’ per WikiPediA. That same article goes on to say ‘In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.’
I propose to make it illegal to profit from mass murder.
Once the money is taken out of the intense media coverage, I predict that the coverage would naturally, and without additional laws, dwindle by 90% or more, and then future killers won’t be as motivated to kill, because they will know that they will not get famous.
I am not suggesting the crimes be covered up and not reported at all. But I am suggesting that the proper amount of coverage should be a non dramatic story relegated to the inside of the paper, or its equivalent for online, radio and television coverage. Once reported, that should mostly be it for coverage. I don’t own a television or watch a television, but I can guess that the news channels in particular have been devoting a huge amount of time to this story. Instead, I suggest perhaps a five minute story the day of the event, and perhaps five more minutes a week later to follow up on what was learned in the interim.
To really strengthen these proposals, I would even make it illegal for everyone and every entity to print the names of mass murderers. This is an important feature of my proposals, because people are fascinated by such stories, and if they can’t get their ‘fix’ of information in the formal press, then bloggers and multitudes of regular people will take over and fill their Status Updates, Tweets and blogs with enough information to make the perpetrator famous, negating some of the benefit of my limit on conventional news reporting.
To those that say prohibiting publishing the names of future killers would violate the US Constitution’s first amendment right of free speech, I would point out that free speech has limits already. For example, one may not shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. I think that society’s interest to not permit a mass murderer to become famous warrants this tiny additional exception to freedom of speech. As you consider my bold proposals, please ask yourself the name of the shooters in some of the recent killings. I bet most people can name at least one mass murderer, and that far fewer can name any of those killed.
Note that many news outlets already don’t report the names of victims of sexual assault, so not reporting the names of mass murders should be easy to accept once the evils of doing so are explained.
If the radio and television outlets insist on wall to wall coverage like they do now, then the outlets should be criminally prosecuted and forced out of business, which is easy to do by revoking their FCC licenses. This may sound harsh, but people are literally dying now, by the dozens per year, so shutting down a few media outlets should be viewed as quite reasonable compared to the current situation.
Media outlets are routinely fined for allowing swearing on air, or for allowing the female nipple to be shown. Oh, the horrors of a female nipple! We won’t allow that, even though everyone has nipples and probably nourished themselves at a female nipple for months after birth.
However, we let the whole world consume dozens of hours of coverage about mass killings, which I think does make some people want to repeat the killings to boost their own fame.
As my hero Robert Reich likes to point out, we are not protecting our children from many dangers, including the danger posed by guns. We are allowing them to fall into ill health. We allow too many children to live in poverty.
Look at this great status update Robert Reich posted to Facebook today, around 5pm Pacific Time, December 17, 2012:
“Additional thoughts. Not only are we failing to protect our children from deranged people wielding semi-automatic guns.
We’re not protecting them from poverty. The rate of child poverty keeps rising – even faster than the rate of adult poverty. We now have the highest rate of child poverty in the developed world.
And we’re not protecting their health. Rates of child diabetes and asthma continue to climb. America has the third-worst rate of infant mortality among 30 industrialized nations and the second-highest rate of teenage pregnancy, after Mexico.
If we go over the “fiscal cliff” without a budget deal, several programs focused on the well-being of children will be axed — education, child nutrition, school lunches, children’s health, Head Start. Even if we avoid the cliff, any “grand bargain” to tame to deficit is likely to jeopardize them.
The Urban Institute projects the share of federal spending on children (outlays and tax expenditures) will drop from 15 percent last year to 12 percent in 2022.
At the same time, states and localities have been slashing preschool and after-school programs, child care, family services, recreation, and mental-health services.
Conservatives want to blame parents for not doing their job. But this ignores politics.
The NRA, for example, is one of the most powerful lobbies in America – so powerful, in fact, that our leaders rarely have the courage even to utter the words gun control.
A few come forth after a massacre such as occurred in Connecticut to suggest that maybe we could make it slightly more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain assault weapons. But the gun lobby and gun manufacturers routinely count on America’s (and media’s) short attention span to prevent even modest reform.
The AARP is also among the most powerful lobbies, especially when it comes to preserving programs that benefit seniors.
We shouldn’t have to choose between our seniors and children — I’d rather focus on jobs and growth rather deficit reduction, and sooner cut corporate welfare and defense spending than anything else. But the brute fact is America’s seniors have political clout that matters when spending is being cut, while children don’t.
At the same time, big corporations and the wealthy know how to get and keep tax cuts that are starving federal and state budgets of revenues needed to finance what our children need. Corporations systematically play off one state or city against another for tax concessions and subsidies to stay or move elsewhere, further shrinking revenues available for education, recreation, mental health, and family services.
Meanwhile, advertisers and marketers of junk foods and violent video games have the political heft to ward off regulations designed to protect children from their depredations. The result is an epidemic of childhood diabetes, as well as video mayhem that may harm young minds.
Most parents can’t protect their children from all this. They have all they can do to pay the bills. The median wage keeps falling (adjusted for inflation), benefits are evaporating, job security has disappeared, and even work hours are less predictable.
It seems as if every major interest has political clout – except children. They can’t vote. They don’t make major campaign donations. They can’t hire fleets of lobbyists.
Yet they’re America’s future.
Their parents and grandparents care, of course, as do many other private citizens. But we’re no match for the entrenched interests that dominate American politics.
Whether it’s fighting for reasonable gun regulation, child health and safety overall, or good schools and family services – we can’t have a fair fight as long as special-interest money continues to poison our politics.”
Reich posts frequently to Facebook, and he’s an impressive thinker.
Once we get the guns registered and insured with generous automobile style liability policies that pay victims for accidental or intentional harm, society should outlaw violent games including violent video games. It is imprudent to allow people to practice mass shootings. We don’t allow child pornography because of the harm it causes, so society can enforce draconian penalties for violent games as well. I would outlaw paintball games and even squirt gun fights, as those games are also training for shooting people.
I was appalled in 2011 when I attended the Intel Developer Forum at Moscone Center in San Francisco. To show off how fast their computer chips are, Intel had set up a large booth in a central location where one could play an exceptionally violent game where one would fire full size physical ‘toy’ assault rifles at the large screen monitors, with the goal to kill the zombies on screen. I was so upset that I harshly criticized the Intel employees staffing the booth. They defended Intel by saying they characters were zombies. That the crazed somewhat human characters were zombies is not relevant. If the targets had been invading Martians, plague infected rats or malaria infected mosquitoes, I would still object. Intel was arming its customers with physical guns that they held and fired as if they were real full size guns. When they pulled the trigger and hit a zombie, blood-like fluid sprayed everywhere, just like with people.
It was revolting and shocking, and more shocking that Intel would associate its name with mass killing even of zombies.
I am happy to report that Intel apparently had no such booth at the Intel Developer Forum this year, based on my quick walk through. Whether it was my comment that nixed the booth I don’t know, but I applaud Intel for cancelling the violence.
I suspect that per capita gun ownership in the US was once much higher, and a century ago I don’t think there were multiple mass school shootings each year, though I have done no research to find out if my guess is true.
There are so many ways to conduct mass killings, and there are so many guns, that I don’t think trying to take away all the guns will eliminate the killings, which I predict will continue for decades.
Society needs to take away the impetus to conduct mass killings.
The first thing to stop is the circus style media frenzy of reporting. The second thing to stop is the training of killers by getting rid of the sophisticated killing simulators that we improperly characterize as games.
In the interest of brevity and because I don’t know much about the subject, I will not delve into other possible causes of mass murder. I agree there are many contributing factors and issues, including prescription drug use, illegal drug use, bullying, low self esteem, romantic relationship problems, job loss and many, many more.
If the National Rifle Association (NRA) uses its considerable influence to stand in the way of my proposals, I suggest that the association be purchased by the US Federal Government for fair market value using eminent domain powers, or new powers created by legislation if eminent domain powers are judged insufficiently potent. Once the government owns the NRA, I suggest it be disbanded, and the sale proceeds be distributed equitably to the many leaders and volunteers in that association. This will compensate the organization and its contributors for its tireless years of hard work. This payment is critical, to soothe their hurt feelings from loosing their important and powerful voice. When the purchase price is calculated, I suggest the opening offer start in the billions of dollars, since the NRA has perhaps the highest profile of any US lobbying organization, and such power took over a century of hard work to amass.
To prevent the NRA 2 from forming, I suggest that Federal law be enacted prohibiting the formation of lobbying groups for firearms and similar lethal devices. While law makers are at it, lobbying for firearms should itself be made illegal, to prevent each gun manufacturer from lobbying for their own benefit or for the benefit of the gun industry as a whole.
If representatives of the NRA discover this post, I want to emphasize that I support the 2nd amendment, and I hope that amendment lives on forever. I approve of responsible citizens owning even hundreds of guns if they wish, provided they are licensed as a driver would be to operate them, and provided the owner is insured in case of disaster.
It would be far better for the NRA to adopt and advance the proposals I suggest in this post. By doing so they would elevate their cause in the eye of the public, and they would not have to endure the taunts of the public after every mass murder spree carried out with a firearm.
If my proposals come to pass, now, or in a century or two, I would like to be remembered for this post.
Thank you for reading, and please share this post widely, while keeping in mind that I am not a historian and I am not particularly well informed about what I write about above. I wrote from the heart, and if there are errors, I invite my readers to share their opinions and knowledge so that I may form even more well reasoned opinions about this subject matter.
My heart goes out to those that have lost a loved one at the hands of a mass murderer.
Kevin Laurence Warnock
San Francisco, California USA
December 17, 2012
PS — This post was inspired by a widely circulated Facebook post published soon after the December 14, 2012 school shooting that was incorrectly attributed to actor Morgan Freeman. It was that text that opened my eyes to the media helping to incite mass killings, and I thank the anonymous author. See this Snopes article for details on this hoax.
I am dismayed with how the United States responded to four plane crashes 11 years ago this day, September 11, 2012.
Wars were started that still continue. Trillions of US dollars have been wasted destroying much more than just property and life.
Osama bin Laden still could have been found and brought to trial to determine his guilt or innocence, and we wouldn’t have wrecked our good will like we have with these needless and counter productive wars that are a drain on the world. Constant war is a drain on the mental energy of everyone in the world, I fear.
President Bill Clinton handled the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing as a police matter, and I recall that some of the perpetrators were located, tried in civilian courts, convicted and punished. That’s the way to handle both daily criminal and infrequent catastrophic criminal events.
I believe the people behind the 9/11/01 attacks were upset with how the United States conducts itself on the world stage. I think a sane and proper response would have been to admit to the world that the United States does overstep its place more than it cares to admit. We should have attempted to open a rich and ongoing dialog with those who attacked us to solicit their advice on how the United States could tone things down in the future so that others wouldn’t be so hopping mad that they attack us.
Would such a polite and measured response have worked? I don’t know. But I think it would have cost less in every measure.
If a prestigious entity with world visibility were created where we would yearly sit with our attackers and those who think of attacking, we would have taken the wind out of the sails of our attackers to a substantial degree. The entity would need to have power, prestige and money for it to be seen as more than window dressing by those who might attack us. It would need to make sure action was taken after meetings so all those watching would know their voice was being heard and acted upon. This would be one heck of an organization, and I don’t know how to pull it off, but it needs to be built. We know how to build huge, costly organizations that can cause action. The US military is one such huge costly organization, for example. The organization for good I propose might need to rival the US military in size, scope, power and budget. That might sound crazy, but what really are we getting for our military expenditures now? I would argue a lot less than nothing. We are building negative equity like at no time in the history of the United States. We could fund the organization I propose by reallocating half the budget of the US military as a start. With just half its budget intact, the United States would still have a huge military, but we would also immediately have the largest organization for world change on the planet, and just by having made that commitment, I predict more than half our ‘need’ for a military at all would evaporate. Half of our military is still a lot, and think of the new friends we would make with the new organization for change I propose. Far fewer people would wish us harm if we were doing good on such an intense global scale.
Now prepare yourself for the most provocative text I’ve written in my life…
Soon after the September 11, 2001 plane crashes, United States of America President George W. Bush should have said something like this:
“The United States is profoundly sorry and embarrassed.
Without an invitation, the United States has been acting like the policeman of the world.
We recognize that there are other valid points of view on how to live life. We don’t want to be attacked like this again, so I ask those of you who wish us harm to please share with us how we can avoid such attacks. We are willing to make big changes, and we’re willing to spend a lot of money to be a nicer world citizen. To demonstrate our resolve to change and see the point of view of others, the United States today is contributing USD $100,000,000,000 to get the ball rolling towards a more fair and sane planet. We will spend to improve the lot of the people that attacked us.
On behalf of the United States of America, I am sorry that this country has acted such that you believe you had to attack it. While this country may not agree with your points of view, it does recognize that you view your points of view as valid and worth advancing. Clearly, we need to talk, and we will talk. I personally will talk face to face with your representatives.
The United States feels so strongly that it will learn to play nice on the world stage that beyond the USD $100 billion I just spoke of, I am committed to working with the US House and Senate to gain approval to spend up to USD $3,000,000,000,000 over the next decade to fix what’s wrong with the world.
The United States is not a vindictive nation.
The United States could respond by starting wars and destroying entire countries, but we’re bigger than that, and we will show our attackers that the people of the United States are your friends, not your enemies. War is terrible. Peace is golden. The United States stands for peace, not war.
On behalf of everyone in the United States, including the families of those who lost loved ones today, I appologize for our actions, attitudes and positions that led others to believe that they had to attack the United States so violently to get our attention.
With hard work and determination, today will be the last time that any people of the world should feel that they have to attack us to get us to change our overstepping ways.
The United States in fact is ashamed that it has come to this, that we have upset other people so dramatically and profoundly that they have responded by flying airplanes into our landmarks, ending the lives of so many earnest people in the process.
Let us spend the following ten minutes in silence to reflect on the enormity of the events of today. Let us imagine a world filled with peace, happiness and enough to eat and drink. Let us cast aside our revengeful impulses so that we can come together at a meeting table to plan how the people of the world shall overcome the horror of today in favor of the brightness of a more promising future for all of humanity.
To the friends and family of those who lost their lives today, if you want to be upset with somebody, be upset with me and the past Presidents of The United States of America. What happened today was a reaction to this country overstepping its place in the world. It simply is not nice to tell other people how to live while we consume such a disproportionate percentage of the resources of the planet. In the decades ahead, we will need to learn to share our bounty with others more than we have done so far. Look on this redistribution of wealth as your insurance payment for the future safety of you, your property and your loved ones, not as a handout. The United States has been acting like a rich, spoiled kid on the playground eating the finest candy and laughing while others nearby starve and have little. We can remain a wealthy and prosperous and happy nation while at the same time leveling the playing field. We are a nation of thoughtful and ingenious innovators, and if we put forth our full effort, perhaps 100 times greater than what was required to place a man on the moon, we can solve the really big problems the world today faces.
Three trillion dollars is a lot of money. We can spend that amount building peace, love and goodwill. We can also spend three trillion dollars killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying countries.
I am certain that three trillion dollars of peace, love and goodwill is more valuable than three trillion dollars of rubble, hate and death.
May September 11, 2001 be viewed by history as the first day of the most kind and peaceful period the world has yet known.
For those of you that worship a higher power, may that higher power give you comfort on this historic day of new beginnings. Let us rejoice in the saved lives of the hundreds of thousands of people this nation will not kill in response to the events of today. Let us rejoice in the new lives of the hundreds of thousands of babies by coincidence born this historic day. It is tragic that the United States lost thousands of its residents today, but keep in mind more babies were born in the United States today than lives were lost in these four plane crashes.
The United States is your friend, not your enemy. The United States wants peace, prosperity and fairness for all the people of the world.
Tomorrow will be better.
I love you.”
Instead, President Bush said something genuinely and dramatically stupid:
“You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.”
This is such an unwise thing to say it sounds like something out of the mouth of a high school student at a third rate institution. Yet his short statement formed the basis for spending of even more trillions of dollars than I proposed the United States spend in my mock speech above.
The United States ruined itself by its unwise response to four plane crashes.
I don’t spend a lot of time delving into the deep details of world politics. I am not a historian. I am not particularly well informed about what I write about here. I admire Noam Chomsky and Dennis Kucinich. I think Chomsky and Kucinich would like what I have written here today. I hope to meet both men one day, perhaps in response to this post if I am really lucky.
I believe I possess a very fine and properly working moral compass. I am proud of and guard my moral compass. I’ve made profound and life altering changes in my life when needed to protect and guard and respect my moral compass, even when it would have been so easy for many others to compromise. Perhaps the above makes me look childish and unrealistic. Perhaps I will lose a friend or three by what I’ve written. But what I’ve written has been on my mind for ten years now, and today I decided to just say what I first thought starting about 2 seconds after I first heard about the first plane striking one of the towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City, New York, USA.
The United States has ruined itself by its response to four plane crashes.
PS – I am sorry for the loss of the family and friends of those who lost their lives in the events of and following September 11, 2001. By writing this post, I do not intend to upset anyone who lost a loved one. My heart also goes out to friends and family of those who have been killed or injured in the response to the events of 9/11, including those serving in military forces on all sides. I love the United States, and I love people generally, from all countries. I am so sad that all this death and suffering and hate has happened. It’s all so unnecessary and wasteful. Thank you for reading. I love you.
Kevin Laurence Warnock
San Francisco, California USA September 11, 2012
Note: I published this post on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Today, September 11, 2012, I published this post again, changing the first sentence from “I am dismayed with how the United States responded to four plane crashes 10 years ago this day” to “I am dismayed with how the United States responded to four plane crashes 11 years ago this day, September 11, 2012.”
I am proud of this post, and I plan to republish it annually on September 11th.
The tricky way Allied Insurance hit me with late fees for paying early, and what should be done about it
I have been a happy customer of Allied Insurance for years.
As of today, I am not happy, because I have learned they have been in essence stealing from me without my knowledge. Once I pointed this out to them, they refused to fix the issue. I plan to write to the CEO, but first, I am writing to you my readers.
I pay Allied Insurance using the reliable and free Bill Pay service from San Francisco Fire Credit Union. I instruct that the checks are to be mailed on the first of the month, as my due date is on the 10th of the month.
I live in San Francisco and the checks are mailed to a post office box in Los Angeles. That means the checks should arrive at Allied on the 3rd or 4th of the month. My April 2012 check was printed and presumably mailed on Saturday March 31, 2012. It should have arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 3rd, 7 days before the payment was due. But Allied did not cash the check until April 19, 2012. They put a USD $10.00 reinstatement charge on my bill.
Amy H. in customer support waived this fee, and I thank her for that. She recommended I reference my account number rather than my policy number on my checks. She said it can slow down check cashing by one day if you reference the policy number only. My concern is that 20 days elapsed between check mailing and check cashing. Ms. H. could not explain why my checks have been routinely held past the due date. It turns out this has happened on an unknown number of past occasions. I have seen these late charges on past bills, but I didn’t study what was happening other than verifying my checks went out 10 days before the due date. I should have been more inquisitive, I acknowledge.
But now that I have gotten to the bottom of the story, I believe the only acceptable resolution is for Allied to refund the late fees it collected from me on every occasion it was in possession of my check before the due date. I don’t know how many times this has happened, as Ms. H. did not tell me, even though I asked her to. She said she can only refund one late fee per 12 month period. I patiently and repeatedly reminded her I paid early each month and had irrefutable proof since my credit union scans the front and back of all cashed checks. I offered to send her all the checks for her to review. She did not take me up on the offer. She flat out refused to make an adjustment, even when I made it clear I considered Allied’s behavior to be exceptionally improper.
Recognizing I would get no further with Ms. H., I asked for the name and address of the CEO. She refused and instead provided me with the address to The Office of Customer Advocacy, at 3 Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH 43215. I told her that was not what I asked for. I asked her if she was refusing to give me the name of the CEO, and she said she was refusing. I asked Ms. H. for her name, and she told me her first and last name. I asked if there is an identification or reference number that she could provide me for her that would mask her identity, and she said there is not. So I omitted all but the first initial of her last name on this post, because my concern is not with Ms. H., but with the policies of her employer, which I explained to her several times. Ms. H. was pleasant throughout the conversation. Her statement that Allied would keep the money it took from me for paying early is what I have a big problem with.
I predict that I will receive a credit for all the past occurrences, but that it will take months for me to get it.
I advised Ms. H. that if a check is held for account number lookup that once the account number is found that the check should be credited as of the day it was received, not the day the account number was found. My name and correct address were on the checks, as were all the digits of my policy number. Ms. H. said I should have included the bill stub with my check. I explained that millions of people use bill payment services from the financial institutions, and that there is no way to include the bill stub as the check is printed and mailed automatically each month.
Allied needs to update its procedures, as I am certain I am not the only one being hit with improper late fees caused by Allied holding checks for days or weeks. I spoke with Ms. H. at about 8:30pm the evening of April 25, 2012.
I love my Apple iPhone.
I have an 850 Anytime minute plan, which is just about right. I have the basic 200MB data plan, which is also just about right. I’ve gone over on the data plan just once, and I’m very careful to not go over, which doubles the cost for data that month.
On March 26, 2012 at 7:04am I received a text message from AT&T saying I had used 90% of my data plan for the month, which is the calendar month for my account. That meant I needed to consume less than 20 megabytes in the next five days. I was careful to limit my usage, staying on WiFi as much as possible and not checking my email in line at the grocery store, for example.
Thus I was upset when my bill arrived and it showed I had used 201 megabytes of data in March. That extra one megabyte cost me USD $15.00. I called to complain. I reviewed my data usage online during the support call with Brandon Hillhouse. I added up all the data I used on March 26-31, 2012, starting at 12:01am on March 26th. The total came to 17,970 KB or 17.548 MB. So I did not go over the 20MB that AT&T’s own text message said I had left as of March 26th.
Hillhouse told me that iPhone applications started on 3G stay on 3G even if you roam into WiFi coverage. He said the only way to force using WiFi is to shut down all apps explicitly via a menu I can not find on my phone. I have never heard of this, so I asked him if he was certain. He said he was. I then told him I was a journalist and planned to write about this and name him, so I wanted to be certain he was certain. He said he was certain, and he further said he deals with this issue on a daily basis. I advised him to write good notes on my account so that if he’s approached by his boss later he will remember our call well. He said he would write good notes.
I am wildly skeptical that Hillhouse has his information correct. I just don’t believe it. What’s the point of roaming into a WiFi area if you have to shut down everything to take advantage of the ‘free’ data on WiFi?
However, if Hillhouse is correct, this is news I think many people don’t know, which is why I am writing about it here. Let’s get a discussion going in the comments about this.
Hillhouse removed the USD $15.00 charge for going over. Thank you, I think. I told him charging me for an extra megabyte when their own bill shows 17.548 MB used after the text message looks like fraud to me. What’s probably happening is that text message was slightly incorrect, and probably should have not said 90% but the exact, precise value to several decimal points. According to the bill, I used 200.1924 megabytes in March. How nice for AT&T to round up rather than to the nearest megabyte. AT&T should send out accurate text messages that state exactly how much data remains. I suspect their messages are rounded to the nearest 10%, which caused this problem for me, because they probably rounded down. My long call with Hillhouse today must have cost AT&T at least USD $30 — a big waste.
I know I can buy 3 gigs of data for the price of 400 megs of data if I go over on my 200 meg plan. But I don’t want or need 3 gigs of data, and the data networks are already overtaxed, so I feel my frugality is bandwidth conservation, not cheapness. Also, I have a Verizon MiFi WiFi hotspot with 5 gigs of data per month, which I can use if I need to really consume a lot of data on the road from my iPhone. I justified getting that device and accompanying bill by cutting out my unlimited IPhone data plan that I had since I bought the original iPhone on launch day July 7, 2007.
Here’s my actual billing detail from the last charge on March 25, 2012, the day before the AT&T 90% consumed email. You can add up the numbers in the 6th column and learn that I did not use more than 20 megabytes of data during the rest of the month of March. But you can see in the 7th column on March 31, 2012 where AT&T decided to charge me USD $15.00 for going over 200 megabytes for the month.
|177||03/25/2012||09:46PM||phone||Data Transfer||1,757 KB||0.00|
|178||03/26/2012||09:58AM||phone||Data Transfer||29 KB||0.00|
|179||03/26/2012||10:43AM||phone||Data Transfer||39 KB||0.00|
|180||03/26/2012||12:20PM||phone||Data Transfer||48 KB||0.00|
|181||03/26/2012||02:35PM||phone||Data Transfer||35 KB||0.00|
|182||03/26/2012||03:20PM||phone||Data Transfer||328 KB||0.00|
|183||03/26/2012||07:45PM||phone||Data Transfer||16 KB||0.00|
|184||03/26/2012||08:10PM||phone||Data Transfer||7 KB||0.00|
|185||03/26/2012||08:19PM||phone||Data Transfer||44 KB||0.00|
|186||03/26/2012||09:19PM||phone||Data Transfer||236 KB||0.00|
|187||03/27/2012||10:13AM||phone||Data Transfer||1 KB||0.00|
|188||03/27/2012||10:13AM||phone||Data Transfer||1 KB||0.00|
|189||03/27/2012||10:25AM||phone||Data Transfer||67 KB||0.00|
|190||03/27/2012||01:14PM||phone||Data Transfer||418 KB||0.00|
|191||03/27/2012||09:17PM||phone||Data Transfer||21 KB||0.00|
|192||03/27/2012||10:22PM||phone||Data Transfer||3,791 KB||0.00|
|193||03/28/2012||04:15PM||phone||Data Transfer||5 KB||0.00|
|194||03/28/2012||04:25PM||phone||Data Transfer||14 KB||0.00|
|195||03/28/2012||05:08PM||phone||Data Transfer||90 KB||0.00|
|196||03/28/2012||09:08PM||phone||Data Transfer||911 KB||0.00|
|197||03/29/2012||03:46PM||phone||Data Transfer||7 KB||0.00|
|198||03/29/2012||03:58PM||phone||Data Transfer||184 KB||0.00|
|199||03/29/2012||09:38PM||phone||Data Transfer||1,148 KB||0.00|
|200||03/30/2012||01:26PM||phone||Data Transfer||7 KB||0.00|
|201||03/30/2012||01:51PM||phone||Data Transfer||32 KB||0.00|
|202||03/30/2012||03:37PM||phone||Data Transfer||8 KB||0.00|
|203||03/30/2012||04:24PM||phone||Data Transfer||296 KB||0.00|
|204||03/30/2012||09:43PM||phone||Data Transfer||2 KB||0.00|
|205||03/31/2012||01:27AM||phone||Data Transfer||10,088 KB||15.00|
|206||03/31/2012||07:32PM||phone||Data Transfer||97 KB||0.00|
University of California at Davis Assistant Professor calls for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign
I hope this letter doesn’t spell the end of Nathan Brown’s career and/or prevent him from being granted tenure.
Brown cites the November 18, 2011 pepper spraying of University of California at Davis students that had set up tents to protest as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Brown calls for Chancellor Katehi to immediately resign. He doesn’t soften his words. He concludes:
“I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.”
Yes, he called the Chancellor the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis.
I am proud of Nathan Brown, and I wish him well. I would take a class from him, for I suspect he’s an outstanding and conscientious educator. His friends, family and students should be proud.
Thank you to my friend Danae Sterental for bringing this powerful letter to my attention.
As far as I could detect, the Occupy Cal event wasn’t marred by the shooting of a Berkeley student by campus police earlier in the afternoon. That student later died at the hospital. That student, Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, age 32, was a transfer student from Ohlone College in Fremont, California.
Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons addressed the school’s students this morning. Later, Lyons posted this letter to the Haas Newsroom and publicized it via the micro-blogging website Twitter.
My friend Heather Sepulveda went to Ohlone College before she transferred to UC Berkeley years ago — a very strange coincidence to be sure.
There was a drum beat to the protest, thanks to the talented musicians that showed up. One of the musicians looked to be about 60, and he said he had participated in the anti war protests at UC Berkeley in the 1960s. I feature some of the music in the video I am editing from the event, which I hope to post tomorrow. I got some great video, including of the camping tents being carried into place.
The event incorporated a gathering of The Savio Lecture Fund, which originally was to take place indoors at the Pauley Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, also on the UC Berkeley campus. My guess is the change of venue was decided close to the last minute to benefit from the association with the Occupy Cal movement. I was not previously familiar with Mario Savio, I am embarrassed to admit. I concluded from the talks I heard last night that Savio would have embraced the Occupy Cal movement and message. Savio spoke on December 2, 1964 from the same steps of Sproul Hall where the speakers last night spoke from.
The Savio Lecture speaker last evening was former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who is a Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. I captured his speech to high definition video and presented it on my blog earlier today.
In the photograph above you can see some of the camping tents already in place, along with another tent being carried into place already set up. Organizers were distributing hot food on the Sproul Hall steps. Even though there were a lot of people there, it was possible to easily move among the crowd, and I had no trouble taking pictures and video, even though I had brought a tripod with me, for many of the time exposures I took to capture the low light images you see here.
I took the above shot right before I departed, after 10pm. The group front and center appeared to be in their 50s and 60s. The age mix of the crowd was inspiring — it definitely wasn’t just current students in their teens and twenties. I felt that people were really passionate about the Occupy movement, and that this movement will be long lived and will accomplish real change in the world. I am glad I made the trip from San Francisco.
I uploaded these pictures at full 21 megapixel resolution. To see them at full size, click on them twice, with a pause in between the clicks to allow the photographs to load in a separate window. If you’d like to use these pictures for something, please give me a link back to my blog. If you like this blog, please subscribe, and please add this post to your status feed on Facebook. Thank you!
Robert Reich – Class Warfare in America, presented by The Mario Savio Memorial Lecture series at Occupy Cal, November 15, 2011
I attended the Occupy Cal protest at University of California at Berkeley last evening, November 15, 2011. There were over 1,000 protesters there, including many approaching retirement age that indicated by a show of hands that they had earlier been there protesting in the 1960s and 1970s. It was an electrifying event that I will cover in detail in another blog post.
The event was made more thrilling by a speech given by Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at Cal. Cal is an abbreviation for University of California at Berkeley, for my readers unfamiliar with the word. The definition of Cal is well known locally, but on the world stage UC Berkeley is better known.
Reich was United States Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Reich is also a frequent commentator on NPR (formerly National Public Radio) in the United States. NPR is my favorite radio station, and I’ve heard Reich speak many times on the air. Last night was the first time I’ve seen him speak.
I brought my tripod and set up my Canon 5D Mark II camera with two of the legs touching one of the Occupy Cal camping tents that had earlier been set up before the steps of Sproul Hall at Sproul Plaza. This was a fantastic vantage point because the tent was already blocking the view of those sitting behind it, so my tripod didn’t appreciably further block the view. I simply sat on the pavement while the camera recorded. I recorded the full speech, and you can watch it in the video below. This is a compressed upload, but I have the full 7 gigabyte file in full HD. If you need the file for some project, please contact me.
Reich’s talk was very well received by the audience, including the tent dwellers sitting right next to me who graciously allowed me to set up there.
It was an inspiring and powerful speech. I am not going to try to summarize it since it’s brief and presented here in its entirety. I encourage you to watch it all the way through, and share it with your social network. I was so taken with it that I stayed up late into the morning editing and compressing the video so I could get this posted today during the day.