Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Black Hole at the Center of the Uverse

Scientists have theorized that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, devouring suns and interstellar hydrogen at a truly prodigious rate. It is further theorized that such a black hole is likely to be found at the center of most galaxies.

I theorize that a similar black hole can be found at the center of AT&T's Uverse, specifically their dispatch. I will detail the evidence here. You decide if my theory is valid.

On or about, October 28th or 29th, I telephoned AT&T and ordered their Uverse service, including DSL, 200 channels and two set top boxes. I was told then that the earliest install date available was Saturday November 22nd. Yes, almost a month later. I agreed, thinking that the delay was a result of manpower being diverted to repair Ike damage. I was to discover later that in fact, this is typical.

On November 22nd, I was to have a installation window between 8 and 10 am. at 8:15 I get a call from "Jerry" the Premesis Technician ("premtech") that he would be there shortly. At about 8:30 I recieve another call from him stating that he is being delayed at the office but would be there soon. At about 8:45 I get another call stating that he is being dispatched to an urgent (but minor) repair for a very unhappy customer before he gets to me but that he would be there before 10:30 at the latest. At 9:45 Jerry arrives. He is a personable young man who quickly starts planning how and where he will install the equipment. About 10 minutes later, after he has worked out where he plans on installing everything and how he plans on utilizing the existing wiring, he leaves to go two streets over where the local node cabinet is located to "move a couple jumpers" and put the Uverse signal onto my line. In the process he disconnects my DSL service unknownst to me at the time. Jerry returns about 15-20 minutes later and begins by connecting his portable network analyzer to the line coming down from the pole to verify that he has network connectivity before he begins wiring up the equipent. He discovers that there is no signal. None.

At this time I discover that Jerry has not been trained, and is therefore not allowed to, climb the pole in order to trace where the signal is being lost. He must instead call and open an I&R (Installation and Repair I must assume) order ticket to have someone who IS trained to come out and diagnose and repair the problem. Further, I&R will not say how long it will take to dispatch anyone, So Jerry, being an ambitious young man concludes that it is pointless for him to stay there and wait on I&R because he could be sitting there two hours or more doing nothing useful waiting for I&R. Of course he COULD have gone ahead and done his wiring while he was waiting but that I suppose would have been asking too much of the young man. At any rate, he did not wait, he instead left, saying that he would be re-dispatched when I&R had completed their repairs. It was by this time about 10:45 or so.

Around 11:45, when I had not seen hide nor hair of an I&R technician, neither at my house nor at the local node, nor anywhere in between, I decided to call AT&T to find out what was what with the order. The first number I called was high speed internet tech support, thinking that they would be the ones handling repairs and installations. I was mistaken. Apparently they handle DSL, not Uverse. But they WERE kind enough to give me the number to Uverse's dispatch. I called Uverse Dispatch and after navigating their screening system I was placed in the hold queue awaiting a human operator. After sitting on hold for the beter part of half an hour, I was finally connected with a human who assured me that the ticket was in the queue but that no technician had yet been dispatched but that he was sure that it would be dispatched that day. And if the I&R ticket were closed that day that they could dispatch another premtech first thing Sunday. They also made a point of stating that I would be unlikely to see the I&R tech and that I was therefore probably not going to know if they had completed the job or not until I got a call to reschedule the premisis technician.

At 3:30pm Saturday, when I had not heard from anyone, I called dispatch back to check status on the order and after waiting another 20 minutes on hold was told that the order had still not been dispatched. So I informed them that I had an appointment and I had to leave but that I was putting my dogs inside, leaving the gate unlocked, and that I was leaving my cell phone number as well as my wife's cell number with them so that the technician could contact me if needed. Nobody called during the 2-3 hours we were gone. When I got home I attempted to check the order status again but was unable because the office had closed.

Sunday morning around 9:00am, I contacted Uverse Dispatch and was told that the order still had not been assigned to a technician.

Sunday at around 12:15, I tried to call dispatch again and sat in the hold queue for half an hour before I gave up. But Jerry the technician had told me that he was working Sunday, and that he didn't even come in until 11:00. So I knew the technicians were working Sunday. Sunday evening around 5:30, I finally spoke to someone who seemed to be able to find his ass with either hand. He recheduled the I&R technician for Monday between 12 and 4, and then scheduled a premesis technician for between 4 and 6. I got a confirming email that a premesis tech was scheduled between 4 and 9 pm (they apparently assume the install with take 3 hours.). I left work at lunch, skipping out on the Thanksgiving lunch put on by my coworkers, ran home and put the dogs in. Then left at 3:45 and raced home to meet the premesis technician. And waited... and waited.... and waited.... at 5:50 I called and was told that the technician was running a little behind but that he would be there and that a supervisor would be calling me back shortly to verify that someone showed up. That call never happened. At 7:05 I called and was told that no, no technician was coming that apparently I&R had not closed the ticket and that they didn't know why anyone would have told me otherwise. A supervisor named Mike was very apologetic, and he promised to call me back first thing in the morning with an update since dispatch closed at 7:00pm.

This morning around 9:00am, Nov. 25th, when I did not recieve a call from Mike (as I suspected would be the case), I called to check on what happened. I was transferred from the order center to dispatch where "Laquisha" answered and informed me that a technician had been dispatched at 6:15 this morning and that they would be at my house between 8 and 10 am this morning. I told them that they would find nobody home because nobody had bothered to contact me and let me know they were coming. Additionally I told "Laquisha" that this was unacceptable and that I wanted to speak with her supervisor. Instead of her supervisor however, I was sent back to the beginning of the telephone queue where I had to start all over again. I finally spoke with a person who did seem to give a crap but was unable to connect me with dispatch because they apparently no longer accept calls from customers (funny how that happened after I read "Laquisha" the riot act), but he did confirm that a technician is scheduled for today between 4 and 6 (which means I have to take off work AGAIN to meet them) and they gave me some additional discounts to make up for all the crap I've had to put up with. We'll see if they bother to show up this afternoon. I'll update when I find out.

Therefore I posit that Uverse's dispach system, being impossible to obtain any information from, and impossible to get any work out of is in fact a black hole. It sucks in orders and spits out nothing, not even light.

Update 1: Mike just called (apparently he works in a later time zone and just got in to work) and says that dispatch is telling him that I&R has NOT completed their work and that they are sending someone this morning. and that the crew has been paged to be told to call me on my cell if they need access or to tell me that the work is completed. "Rico", the supervisor I spoke with last who assured me that they were coming today between 4 and 6 was supposed to have sent me a confirming email, that has not yet occurred.

Update 2: apparently I&R DID do their thing. "Ron" arrived this afternoon at about 4:15 and started work, and had another crew member come to help him shortly thereafter. They completed their work by about 7:30. Now there are just some issues of how to connect the DVD and VCR in the bedroom and getting my notebook connected but we are making progress....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Too big to fail

A lot of people are claiming that all of these bailouts are necessary because these companies are "too big to fail" which does not mean what it sounds like it means. It SOUNDS like it is saying these companies are so large and well funded that it is impossible for them to fail, but in reality what they are saying is that they are too large to be allowed to fail because of the economic damage they would cause if they did. But that begs the question: What happened to the Sherman Anti-Trust act? Wasn't the point of the commerce department ruling on mergers and acquisitions to keep companies from becoming too big and too powerful? How is it that so much money and power got concentrated in so few hands? And more importantly, how do we prevent a recurrence of this in the future?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dallas ISD Commits Identity Theft, Makes up SSN's for Illegals to Teach

Today, we get word that Dallas ISD has for several years now, been making up bogus SSN's in order to hire illegal aliens to teach bilingual classes. To make matters worse, these bogus SSN's were submitted during background checks, thereby making those checks worthless. This has endangered students. I can't even eat lunch with my daughter at her school without supplying photo ID and having a background check performed when I sign in at the front office. But here we have people hired to teach students on a daily basis who were not subjected to background checks. How many are sexual predators? or have outstanding warrants? How many are under deportation orders? There is no way DISD could know because of their willful violation of federal law. Every single person who was aware of this and did nothing should be charged with a whole list of offenses, starting with conspiracy to commit identity theft, conspiracy to commit federal immigration fraud, and conspiracy to commit child endangerment. DISD administrators need to be six feet UNDER the jail.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CoH Jumps Feet First Into the Bailout Pool

The City of Houston is looking to forgive somewhere between 60 and 100 million in bad debt. Why? Because Jolanda Jones' mom got a big past due bill and she didn't want to pay it. Here's the deal. When you skip out on a water or sewer bill, the bill never goes away. If you come back two years later and apply for service again, you will get a bill for the past due amount. Now they do not charge interest (which I think they should.) but they NEVER EVER forgive the debt. This is not unusual, I am not aware of a single municipality that does. Apparently a couple weeks ago during the council "pop-off" session, Ms. Jones had both her mother and a constituent that had outstanding bills come before council to whine about getting such a large bill. Boo Freaking Hoo. Pay your damned bills jackass! Now why Ms. Jones didn't just pay her mom's bill and be done with it I don't know. It's been ten years after all, and it's not as if she is broke or anything. So instead of making these deadbeats pay up, (bleed the taxpayer) White has decreed that PW&E must forgive all debts older than 2 years on a sliding scale. In order to do that however a new city ordinance must be crafted in order to do so. White is apparently very hot to trot to give away money, he has sent a memo to PW&E insisting that they get cracking on writing that ordinance, like, RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

Now it's not as if the city, or PW&E in particular, is swimming in cash. They are, in fact, flat broke. PW&E is supposed to be self-sufficient, but the city has been using water and sewer income in order to make the financial status of the city look better than it really is so that they can float short term paper to finance day to day operations, and have forced PW&E to cut back on infrastructure maintenance and repair in order to keep more of the reciepts in the bank making the city look flush with cash (which if that truly were the case, they wouldn't need to borrow the money now would they?). What with the economy being what it is, the city has to show even more collateral sitting in the bank to get the short term loans. They have also forced PW&E to cut back on hiring people to read the meters, and maintain the wireless meters that have been a major reliability problem (the city has finally clawed it's way ahead of the replacement curve, but if they are forced to cut back they'll fall way behind the curve very quickly.) and to start and terminate service. Without those people, they will be unable to maintain even their current level of profitability. Now to be fair White HAS allowed PW&E to hire a FEW people, but they are still suffering from long term neglect that started under Lanier and really blossomed under Brown.

Now not all of that money is recoverable, but with the manpower problems that PW&E has, they only have the ability to disconnect about 25% of the people who have not paid their bills. So the city's ability to make long term deadbeats cough up the cash is partially offsetting their lack of ability to make the current deadbeats cough it up. As it stands, on average the City accumulates between 1 and 3 mil worth of bad debt a year, which considering that PW&E has about $650 mil of income a year, that ain't bad. But storm clouds are on the economic horizon and Ike has already caused a spike in delinquent accounts from apartment complexes. PW&E can't disconnect those apartments without having council members crawling up their ass and raising hell. So as a result the apartment complexes skate. PW&E has no leverage to make them pay and they know it. If the city starts forgiving this bad debt, NOBODY will have any incentive to pay any of the debt. If they wait long enough it will just go away. PW&E is barely keeping it's head above water now, an economic downturn will have them circling the drain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A little something to help California with it's loss

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We are Judged by the Company we Keep UPDATED

Some ink has been spilled and many electrons have been annoyed on the subject of Obama's associates over the last two years. They include Tony Rezko, Jeremia Wright, Bill Ayers and his wife, Rashid Khalidi, and so many others. We can add one more: Rahm Emanuel, tax cheat. It would seem that Rahm formed a 501c3 non-profit to launder his charitable donations through. He has declared his $500,000+ house as the offices of the NPO in order to avoid property taxes (which would run around $6000 per year.) . One of the recipients of the NPO's largesse is his kid's private school. Now, Are these actually charitable donations? or are they tuition? Has Rahm Emanuel figured out how to not only duck property taxes but income tax on his kid's private school tuition? The way this might work is that he donates the amount of the tuition to the school from the NPO as a scholarship endowment with a requirement that it go to pay for the tuition of children of jewish heritage who live in the 4200 block of North Hermitage (or some equally narrow description that leaves only his two kids as possible recipients.). In that way, his kids go to school tax free. I don't KNOW if this is the case HERE, but it is not at all uncommon for this sort of thing to occur.

It would appear that a payment was made, on the vacant lot next door. But there would still appear to be questions about this. Why the vacant lot? they don't get mail there and it is the address that gets mail that is usually on the tax rolls. Is the donation to his kid's school truly a donation or is it tuition? and the $13,022.60 seems kinda low.
H/T Illinois Review

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Where do we go from here?

Ladies and gents, The forces of evil have us down, but not out. At least not yet. We have a lot of work to do. We need to get busy and do it. Here is what I think needs to be done:
  1. Obama does not have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. This is a starting point. We need to ensure our remaining republican senators hear us loud and clear on issues such as immigration, defense, pork, energy, entitlements, and most importantly, taxes. Some of our remaining senators are pretty squishy. They need to be reminded what unemplyment REALLY means and who has the power to make them unemployed, because it won't take many of them squishing on us to give them the majority the Dims need.
  2. We need to select a true conservative for Senate Minority leader and we the voters need to back him or her to the hilt. I've heard Tom Coburn's name floated and I think he would be an excellent choice. There are probably others that would also do a good job who's names have not occurred to me yet.
  3. The Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, just in time for the 2010 congressional and senatorial elections. This needs to be a front and center issue. We need to take back control of congress, pocketbook issues are the way to do that.
  4. Republicans need a new "Contract with America". One that deals with economic issues in a sane, rational, logical way. One that works to reduce taxes and MORE IMPORTANTLY, government spending.
  5. That means entitlements must be dealt with. Social Security is running on fumes. Medicare's fuel light is flashing. Both of them are going to blow a gasket real soon. The exact date is subject to debate because of differeing definitions of bankruptcy. But irregardless of which definition you use, it is going to happen. It is inevitable if reforms are not implemented. We need to keep it fresh in everyone's mind who's programs these are and who has fought every attempt at reforming them.
  6. We must fight EVERY SINGLE ISSUE. Make the Democrats work for every single victory. We must be obstructionist on those issues that count. If we do not fight, we will most assuredly lose.
We have two years to put our party back together. We can put the same pieces back together the same way we did before, or we can find a new way to put the pieces together, with new parts. The old way is a proven failure.

Going Dark....

Readers may note a change around here. My template now reflects my mood. I am in mourning for the United States and our impending loss of freedom. It will remain dark until this scourge upon our nation is lifted.

Monday, November 03, 2008

If you are Jewish and Voting for Obama...

You are a fool. Worse, you are a traitor and a Judas, not just to America but to Judaeism as a whole. Obama cares nothing about the survival of Israel. He has made it clear to those who wish to wipe Israel from this Earth that he will not raise a finger to protect Israel. As I type, Syria is massing troops on the borders of Lebanon, their goal is annihilation of Israel and every Jewish man, woman, and child. Obama has promised a 250,000 man strong "Civilian Defense Force" as well equipped and funded as the US Military, with powers equal to or exceeding those of the US Military. Where will those troops be sent? Not overseas. No! They will be sent to American cities to seek out and suppress all opposition. Just like Hitler did with the Gestapo in the late 1930's. I hope all of you remember who you supported when the jackbooted brownshirts come to drag you and your family away to the reeducation camps. I for one will not go quietly. I will take as many thugs as I can with me before I go down in a hail of their bullets. I will not live as a prisoner, I will be free, one way or another.