5.31.2008

Revisionist History? Mr. Rove Would Know - He's a Pro!

From the Wall Street Journal this week. Just had to write about it....
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121201747075327643.html

You smart people might have noticed this commentary on WSJ.com was written by none other than Karl Rove - former Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff for the President Bush. That should have been enough to stop me from reading it but, I couldn't help it........

Why is it that Mr. Rove thinks his world is the same as everyone else's? Just because he doesn't have any real friends, just because he would disown someone over a difference of opinion or some statements they made, just because he's ultra sensitive to the shallow nuances of public office (such as always wearing some derviative of red, white, and blue), doesn't mean the rest of the world is just as shallow.

The "revisionist" history - a word I'm sure Karl knows very, very well - he speaks of regarding Mr. Obama is sadly mislabeled. As I read the WSJ commentary, I was struck by the fact that each "revision" Mr. Rove cited was in fact consistent, with each "revision" shedding light on the situation.

In my world, there are many people with whom I have had a long-standing relationship, but we don't see eye-to-eye on all things. And in fact we may be polar opposites. So when Mr. Obama says that he didn't agree with Reverend Wright, but he would not disown him just because it is politically advantageous to do so, I understand. Karl Rove has never had such a friendship so he can't understand.

When Mr. Obama says that he wasn't present at the time the remarks were made, he is simply stating a fact. It does not change his original statement that the Reverend is like family. It simply means he wasn't in the congregation when the alleged statements took place.

Again, in my world, my friends, my pastor, even my family do not speak for me. I speak for myself. However, in THIS country my friends, my family, my pastor all have a right to say what they want. As a consequence I don't hold anyone responsible for what their family or friends say. Therefore Mr. Obama owes me no apology. This is something a Washington insider cannot possibly understand for all of his relationships are connected to money and power - nothing else.

Senator Obama offered his denouncement because he wanted the world to know that he thinks for himself. It wasn't a necessary explanation for us real people. But it was necessary for those like Mr. Rove or anyone else who can't separate the man from the company he keeps.

I don't know about Mr. Rove's intent or ambition, but I'm assuming he's still stumping for Republicans. If so, then I would advise him or the Republican Party to nix the attacks on Clinton and Obama. His "insight" carries no weight particularly among independents like myself. McCain needs all the help he can get in getting his message out. So Mr. Rove would best serve the GOP and America by trumpeting McCain's message instead because every word out of Rove's mouth or hand makes me more likely to vote for Obama or Clinton.

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Now for a lesson in what "revisionist" history really means.... To revise history is to contradict what has been previously known. It can also mean to "muddy the details" of what is not known. In any event, documenation or proof is essential in showing that the revised history is indeed correct. In Mr. Rove's case - he muddied the details surrounding his involvement with leaking the name of a CIA operative to the press. Neither his horrid memory nor shoddy documentation proved his point.

In Obama's case, one statement has not contradicted a previous one. He is allowed and will likely change his mind about some things, but an outright contradiction isn't likely. For example, he wants to open a dialouge with our rivals, particularly Iran and Venezuela. That does not mean he'll do so blindly. So it is very likely he would push each nation for some concession before visiting them. The point is, he will make every effort to address the concerns of nations like Iran and Venezuela - two nations vital to our energy supplies - in an effort to bring peace and stability.

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For the record, I'm fiercely independent. Every public official must earn my vote for I do not just give it freely to Democrats, Republicans, Greens or any other parties under any circumstance. I vote for whomever I think makes the best leader. As noted in a previous blog - I do not vote for politicians, I vote for leaders.

5.18.2008

Charter Communications - Gotta Love It!

Okay, I'm being facetious.....

This month features two ridiculous stories about Charter Communications here in Charter's hometown -St. Louis, MO.

First my mom's.... This is just what I know about. My mom is notoriously thorough when it comes to asking questions. When she ordered service from Charter, she asked the kind of questions she always does - how much, how long is the promotion, what happens after the promotion ends, etc. So she knew that she was getting a promotional offer, and actually created her budget based on what the non-promotional price would be. She was told the non-promotional price for TV, Internet and phone would be $75 or less.

Imagine her surprise when her bill topped $150. She called to complain and was told that her promotional time expired. When my mom complains to a company it's usually not a complaint as much as it is a declaration that she is unhappy and she's only paying $XXX and not a dime more. Anyway, she talked to a supervisor who agreed to accept the $75 payment, however the rest of Charter Communications never seemed to get the message. She's received at least 10 phone calls, 2 late notices, and every time she calls she's told they don't have record of that payment.

Services were scheduled to be disconnected, so Mom said "Go on, cancel it!" which wasn't a dare, but a request because she was tired of spending the better part of a week on the phone with these people. She calls me to tell me that her phone number that she's had for more than 30 years may soon be disconnected. I told her not to do that yet, because there are other landline carriers other than Charter and ATT (which she can't stand either of them). I suggested she call them back to stop the cancellation order and gave her the number to Birch Telecom to get service from them.

Mom called Charter back and was glad she did. The company magically found the check - 11 days after she mailed it, and restored service. Now Mom is ticked off because they didn't do what she asked them to do. Just took it upon themselves to assume that payment received = services restored. Because of the problems Charter is giving her home phone service for 1/2 price until September - just long enough her to find another provider!

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Now for my story which actually happened in March 2008. I had Charter Expanded Cable TV and their 5Mbps Internet service. Which, aside from the usual installation hassles I've been satisfied (more like pacified). Looking to cut expenses, I called to reduce the TV service to Basic Cable and increase my Internet service to 10Mbps since I use the Internet now more than I watch TV. I called on a Saturday.

The following Tuesday, my Internet wasn't working. We had a storm or two in the area so I didn't think much of it. By the end of the day, Internet still wasn't working so I called Charter to find out why. This rather pleasant but woefully uneducated woman proceeds to tell me there are service outages in Missouri. Instead of looking up my address in Windows Live or Google Maps or something, she asks me are any of the following cities in my area. The cities she mentioned spans the entire eastern half of Missouri. I would think with that kind of outage it would have been on the news. Nonetheless, I let it go as a plausible explanation until I could find evidence to the contrary.

The next day - my evidence came. I spoke with several of my neighbors who also have Charter and all of their Internet services are up and running. So, I called Charter back, and the man who assisted me tells me my services were disconnected on Monday. Since I didn't request a disconnect and my bill is paid in full (actually overpaid) I asked who requested the disconnection. The man said I did on Saturday. Shocked and now ready for a fight, I asked for his supervisor which he promptly obliged.

Fortunately for the supervisor, he was quite apologetic and professional for I was ready to slice and dice him. But because of his professionalism I lost my steam and didn't cut him like I wanted. it was rather late in the day - almost 5.30pm so I knew getting a tech out to my house that evening wasn't likely, but I demanded it anyway. My services were disconnected because somebody didn't listen. So if that puts a technician over his work hours - tough noogies.

Charter has a convoluted method of dispatching technicians. They have to call some central processing center - usually a dispatcher from one of their contracted technicians - so Charter is in no position to address any emergency very readily. Yes the technicians have cell phones, but Charter isn't allowed to call them.

Anyway the sup I spoke with told me that IF he can get someone to my house today it would the Internet technician. TV techs were booked for the next 7-days. I told him to keep the TV service turned off and get my Internet up by the Thursday afternoon. He then said that a tech will be here between 9-1 and asked if anyone would be home. I said "No. You didn't need me to be home to turn off my service so you don't need me home to turn it back on". He then proceeds to tell me that they have to check the computer to make sure it works. To wit I replied the computer works just fine. I don't have Internet because it was turned off at the Charter box. Besides the technician can't do anything on my PC that I can't do and I don't want his grubby hands on my keyboard anyway.

That morning at about 9.30, I did indeed get a call from a tech who apparently was working quite hard. Although I appreciated his promptness, I was rather turned off by the fact he didn't receive or didn't read the ticket. He asked me when I would be home. I told him I'm not going to be home the ticket was to fix the box. Whatever has to be done to the PC and my home network I can do that myself. He obliged and I had Internet when I got home. Thank goodness I didn't have class assignments to turn in....

Then, there's more......

About 2 weeks after I got service back up and running I get a call AT WORK asking me if I wanted to get Charter TV. I don't like the fact he called me during work hours to begin with, but I wish I had more time to make my point clear to this knucklehead. I told him he had a lot of balls to call me asking for service. When I asked for basic TV service they cut if off. Now that I don't have it they want me to get it. Which is it? Do they want my business or not? Anyway, I proceeded to rapidly run down what transpired, told him I have no interest in getting Cable TV, he then interrupted me saying "it's only $5/mon", as if he's too stupid to understand that I wouldn't take it they paid ME $5/mon. I finished my story, thanked him for calling and hung up before he could reply.

Anyway, it has been more than a month since I've had TV in my house. I can still watch movies and such. Have to admit it's nice doing something other than vegetating in front of the TV each day after work.

Just Vote - Please...

It never ceases to amaze me how many people will complain about everything under the sun, but refuse to vote. If you feel taxes are too high, we're spending too much time in Iraq, and your child isn't being educated - vote the bums out! If you don't vote, who's to blame? The bums who are still in office or you? I say you. At least if you vote, you've made your point known.

Now who you vote for isn't as important to me as the fact you vote in the first place. But at least decide if you want a politician in office or if you want a leader in office. The difference is sublte yet profound. A leader takes us where we have to go to get to where we want to be. For example George Washington led us through the Revolutionary War (though not as president) - a battle many didn't want to fight but it was necessary to procure our independence. Abraham Lincoln could have simply let the South secede from the Union but opted not to because he realized our nation was much stronger together than apart. John F. Kennedy risked war with the Soviet Union in an effort to get them to back down. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, made the US look at itself in the mirror to see the injustice she inflicted on her own people. The point is each of these men did something that at the time may not have been well-received, yet was necessary and in the long run we have been better because of it.

A politican is essentially a puppet. He/she does whatever the electorate says to do and if that turns out to be a bad decision then they change their minds to say they made a mistake. My favorite example is the late Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama. In 1963 he stood on the courthouse steps to block two black students from attending the University of Alabama and to block integretion of Alabama public shools by delcaring "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". Yet, by 1983 not only was he governor again in a state that was forced to integrate its schools, but he integrated his own cabinet!

So choose carefully and remember - life is what you make it..... So make it a good one!

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