It’s one thing as a consumer to go through the frustrating experience of calling for customer service and getting lost in a maze of “Press one for…” and “press two for…” and inevitably being sent to the wrong extension, misunderstood by a bot, or simply cut off and forced to repeat the process. But it’s another to encounter it as a reporter trying to get in touch with companies that make these so-called interactive voice-response systems. Each request made to speak with a living, breathing human for this story was met with a recorded instruction to leave a voicemail. In short, IVRs systems practice what they preach. “We purposely designed it to have bad customer service”
Can someone punch this Dennis Lennox guy in the face, and tell him to pass it along to Ted “Calgary” Cruz?
The Cruz campaign has dispatched political consultant Dennis Lennox to Guam to organize in advance of that island’s GOP caucuses. The decision to send Lennox, a former county drain commissioner in his native Michigan, to Guam represents the most zealous outreach of any presidential campaign to the US island territory located nearly 8,000 miles from Washington DC, in bid to scoop up nine delegates from US island territory
Years ago, in the early ’90s, I took a copywriting class at a large Chicago ad agency, and the teacher told us a story about how, a few years earlier, he tried to persuade the indie band Timbuk3 to allow his client — I think it was Procter & Gamble — to use its song ‘‘Hairstyles and Attitudes’’ in a commercial, but the musicians refused. I was struck by his contempt for their decision, and how fresh his anger seemed. He kept sputtering the reason they gave for turning down his agency’s offer — ‘‘They didn’t want to sell out!’’ — as if it constituted not just an unthinkable betrayal but also a reprehensible moral lapse. He seemed to expect us to mirror his indignation, but we just sat there, feeling uncomfortable.
You may remember Kristen McQueary from such op-eds as “oh, if only death and destruction could come to (poorer than me) people so that Chicago could be rid of Rahm Emmanuel’s uncompromising socialism.” The most offensive parts were quietly scrubbed without a note after the initial reaction, but even what remains is appalling. McQueary responds to the criticism her staggering inhumanity received in a manner that is, in its own way, appropriate: Many readers thought my premise — through my use of metaphor and hyperbole — was out of line. I certainly hear you. I am reading your tweets and emails. And I am horrified and sickened at how that column was read to mean I would be gunning for actual death and destruction. Now that’s how you do an “I apologize if you were offended by my extremely offensive remarks” non-apology, everyone.
The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013.
If people consistently make logically incoherent, ignorant arguments, the duty of a commentator is to say just that — not to mislead readers by pretending that they’re actually serious and making sense. You shouldn’t make gratuitous insults — I have never, to my knowledge, declared that someone’s mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. But stupid/ignorant is as stupid/ignorant does, and influence changes nothing. Where I’ve been getting pushback lately is in my pronouncements that the whole Republican field is talking nonsense on economic policy. That’s a terrible thing to say, I’m told. But what if it’s true? And of course it is.
Wineries and breweries should brace themselves for some unusual competition. Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, will get its first “weedery” in early 2016. The $35 million project, Colorado Cannabis Ranch and Amphitheater, the brainchild of Christian Hageseth, is set to open in Denver. Its greenhouses represent a major shift because producers have largely cultivated marijuana indoors; there will also be a performance space, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, a gift shop and, of course, a marijuana dispensary. Mr. Hageseth, who founded the Green Man Cannabis marijuana company and chronicled his adventures in the medical and legal marijuana business in the book “Big Weed,” says he enjoys his own product but shatters stereotypes.
Record production in the United States, along with a drilling frenzy in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as the prospect that Iranian oil will again flood world markets, have spooked traders into abandoning their positions. What’s more, the very productivity here in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale fields, and the efforts by the oil companies to make them increasingly efficient, are contributing to the glut as well.
Based on courtroom transcripts, Densmore works up a cautionary tale of the ugly collision of art and money. Densmore writes that the opposing legal team attacked his character and labeled him un-American and a communist for not taking the Cadillac deal. "They tried to convince the jury I was an eco-terrorist because I am involved with a handful of peaceful, credible environmental organizations," said Densmore, who was once arrested with Bonnie Raitt for protesting the cutting down of old-growth trees. "I couldn’t believe some of things I heard them say. I felt betrayed, hurt and very alone. . . Now, you can probably google my name and al Qaeda will come up. Great, let’s go to Abu Ghraib! It was really disturbing." During the trial, several musicians –including Raitt, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, Tom Petty, Tom Waits and Randy Newman – all showed support for Densmore.
CHICAGO — Police destroyed a million-dollar racket when they trapped a powerful gang of counterfeiters dealing in American Express Company’s travelers’ checks. Working on information received from a stoolpigeon in the underworld of Pittsburgh and aided by the double-crossing of several of the gang’s Eastern distributors, police arrested nine men, including the notorious George H. (“Bugs”) Moran, once claimant to the throne of Chicago’s gangdom. The counterfeiting gang was organized on the ruins of the mob which once ruled Chicago’s North Side under the iron leadership of Moran. The thugs who made up the old mob were killed or scattered in gang warfare with the henchmen of Scarface Al Capone, the South Side mobster who is now serving an eleven-year term in Alcatraz for income-tax evasion. A remnant of the old gang carried on until the repeal of prohibition broke its back. Police heard little of Moran until about six weeks ago. …
The image recalls work that Mr. Sanders did for an even more famous screen project. In 1966 he was asked by Stanley Kubrick, who had seen some of his experimental, noncommercial collages, to spend months with unfettered access to the set of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and illustrate scenes from the filming. Most of the images remained unpublished for decades. (Kubrick, famously averse to set photographers, seemed to have been ambivalent even about drawings.) But the experience was a formative one for Mr. Sanders in honing an illustration style that balanced slightly trippy abstraction with a concrete feeling of reportage.
Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic – Makes Children and Adults As Fat As Pigs.
For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009. In announcing a settlement with the state on Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Illinois of claiming that it had been properly funding public workers’ retirement plans when it had not. In particular, it cited the period from 2005 to 2009, when Illinois also issued $2.2 billion in bonds.
As veteran critics of the post-crash financial industry well know, one thing that has allowed big banks to maintain their rosy outlook is a rule change from the Federal Accounting Standards Board that allows these entities — still flush with toxic assets — to avoid having to mark their assets “to market.” Instead, banks are allowed to essentially treat these assets as “marked to fantasy,” a hoped-for future value that is unlikely to ever be realized. The banks have fought, and beaten back, any attempt to return to a “mark to market” regime, and it’s easy to see why: Reality comes with a cost. Should they ever have to realize the true value of the assets on their balance sheets, their false façade will fall, and it will be revealed that they are more structurally insolvent than they prefer to let on.
You might ask why, in that case, much of Obamacare will run through private insurers. The answer is, raw political power. Letting the medical-industrial complex continue to get away with a lot of overcharging was, in effect, a price President Obama had to pay to get health reform passed. And since the reward was that tens of millions more Americans would gain insurance, it was a price worth paying.
But why would you insist on privatizing a health program that is already public, and that does a much better job than the private sector of controlling costs? The answer is pretty obvious: the flip side of higher taxpayer costs is higher medical-industry profits.
So ignore all the talk about too much government spending and too much aid to moochers who don’t deserve it. As long as the spending ends up lining the right pockets, and the undeserving beneficiaries of public largess are politically connected corporations, conservatives with actual power seem to like Big Government just fine.