Court Rules AT&T Must Pay In Throttling Case

An unlimited data plan should be exactly that–unlimited. Instead cell phone companies often use the word unlimited to sell plans but don’t really mean it. For example, AT&T has been throttling down the speed of phones, even if not using very much data compared to limited plans. The phones still work, but they cannot be used to stream video, and web browsing becomes very slow.

Matt Spaccarelli sued AT&T, complaining that his phone was throttled after using only 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data during a billing cycle. In contrast, people purchasing a tiered plan for the same price Spaccarelli paid at $30 would get 3 gigabytes of data. Spaccarelli was awarded $850. Unfortunately AT&T’s small print prevents class action suits so each customer in his situation will have to sue individually.


Posted in Courts, Gadgets. 5 Comments »

Mitt Romney Loves Detroit Cars and Michigan Trees

“This feels good being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height, the streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.” –-Mitt Romney (There’s no need to even mock him. Just using his own words presents the message).

Quote of the Day

“Rick Santorum said today that during his 16 years in Congress, he was an outsider the whole time. You know what? After 16 years, you’re not an outsider. You’re just unpopular.” –Jay Leno

Republican Reality Free Debate Even Misquotes From Seinfeld

The Republican debate last night was another amazing display of people who are out of touch with reality. When I have patients who are as out of touch with reality as the four guys  on CNN last night, diagnoses are made and medications are prescribed. These guys sprout total nonsense which is rarely challenged. Wouldn’t it be great if debate moderators spoke out when candidates say things which are just totally off the wall?

Some of the misinformation spread has been reviewed by the media today, including Newt Gingrich’s false claim that Barack Obama voted for infanticide (although the media did seem more concerned with debunking his incorrect claim that the media never asked Obama about his vote than the fact that calling it support for infanticide is untrue). Romney’s recent attempts to rewrite the history of the auto bailout, repeated during the debate, have also been debunked. Unfortunately the media has not bothered to point out the vast differences between the fictitious president discussed during the debate and the real record of Barack Obama. That might be a matter better handed when one of these light weights faces the real Barack Obama in a debate.

While I noticed repeated false statements during the debates, I didn’t think to question one remark from Mitt Romney at the time, but on review of media reports I find yet another serious error on Romney’s part. He misquoted George Costanza according to Buzzfeed:

Romney, tonight at the Arizona debate (one he’s used before:

“What’s the George Costanza line? When they’re applauding, you sit down…”

The actual quote (from “Seinfeld” episode 172, “The Burning”):

JERRY: Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off.

The line wasn’t even from George,  but Jason Alexander had a great response on Twitter:  Thrilled Gov. Romney enjoys my old character. I enjoyed the character he used 2 b 2. If he’d embrace that again, he’d b a great candidate.

Want What Republicans Promise, Including More Money–Vote Democratic

If you want to evaluate the actual policies of each party as opposed to the rhetoric, just take everything which Republicans say and reverse it. National Security–which party blocked attempts to fight al Qaeda during the Clinton years and then ignored intelligence reports leading up to the 9/11 attack? In contrast, which party successfully stopped the planned Millennium terrorist plot, and which party killed bin Laden (along with other al Qaeda leaders)? Ronald Reagan might have talked about getting government off our backs, but it is the Republican Party which has been attempting to impose the beliefs of the religious right on the country while Democrats (not entirely consistently) have defended civil liberties. Republicans promote a revisionist view of the Constitution which exists only in their heads, ignoring key elements such as the creation of a secular government to protect freedom of religion for all, while Democrats support the Constitution as intended by its framers. Republicans support tax cuts–but only for the very wealthy, while Democrats have repeatedly pushed for tax cuts for the middle class. Want to make lots of money–then definitely vote Democratic.

There have been many analyses over the years as to how the economy and stock market have done over the years. As I’ve noted in the past, the economy has done much better under Democrats. Bloomberg has repeated the analysis, again showing that the stock market does better under Democrats:

While Republicans promote themselves as the friendliest party for Wall Street, stock investors do better when Democrats occupy the White House. From a dollars- and-cents standpoint, it’s not even close.

The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.

That’s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.

These differences are likely to be even greater in the future with Republicans increasingly creating huge deficits while in office while hindering attempts at economic recovery for political gain while in the opposition.

There are other variables in play, primarily religious views, but in general the Democrats have become the party of the more educated, affluent, upper middle class voters. Demographically Obama receives his greatest degree of  support from those making $100.000 to $250,000. Wealthier voters tend to be easily conned into voting Republican because of a lower marginal tax rate, even if the higher amount paid in taxes (often very small unless extremely wealthy) would be offset by higher business and investment income under Democrats. Less educated voters tend to be more easily conned by the entire Republican line.

Posted in Democrats, Economy, Republicans. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Rick Santorum and Sales of Chastity Belts

With Rick Santorum leading in the polls, birth control has become a hot topic. There’s a story going around today implying that Santorum’s discussion of  what he sees as the evils of contraception has led to an increase in the sales of chastity belts. They stem from this misleading title: Santorum Good for Chastity-Belt Sales? Manufacturer Says, “We’ve Had a Boost”

The quote is taken out of context in the title from an interview with Donald Hayes, owner of Chastity Belts USA:

VF Daily: Have you noticed an uptick in sales given the recent debate about contraception?

Donald Hayes, owner, Chastity Belts USA: We’ve had a bit of a boost in sales, but that’s typical this time of year, at tax time. I think [tax refunds] drive sales of any kind of non-essential items. People have some extra money, they say, Okay, I’ll buy some toys.

From this, it sounds that the boost in sales has nothing to do with Rick Santorum.

The article does provide information which I bet many were not aware of regarding the current market for chastity belts:

A quick, eye-opening search revealed that Amazon offers a couple dozen different models in its Health & Personal Care store, while eBay offers more than 200. It should be noted that many are models for men, and that the design and packaging of many belts made for men and women alike imply they are used for role-playing and bondage activities rather than strictly for ensuring continence. (Certainly a “ chastity belt G-string thong”  sends a mixed message.) But many other chastity-belt models look as if they will do the old trick.

David Letterman: Top Ten Questions on the Application to Become a Mitt Romney Look-Alike

David Letterman: Top Ten Questions on the Application to Become a Mitt Romney Look-Alike

10. Do you look like Mitt Romney?
9. Does Mitt Romney look like you?
8. True or False: You look like Mitt Romney
7. Do you not look like someone who doesn’t look like Mitt Romney?
6. If you wore a sombrero, would you look like Mitt Romney wearing a sombrero?
5. What do you feel is your main qualification, other than a strong resemblance to Mitt Romney?
4. During sex, does your wife ever yell out “Mitt Romney!”?
3. Do you know any fat, doughy guys who look like Newt Gingrich?
2. Can you smile while driving with a dog strapped to the roof of your car?
1. Do you mind being unemployed after November?

Quote of the Day

“Rick Santorum’s approval rating is 33 percent. His sweater vest comes in at 17 percent.” –Jimmy Kimmel

SciFi Weekend: Karen Gillan On Decision To Leave Doctor Who; Elementary Casts Sherlock; Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock; Homeland; Mad Men

Filming is starting this week for the upcoming season of Doctor Who and it is well known that Amy Pond will be leaving some time in the next season. In previous stories on her planned departure, it was often unclear as to whether this was Karen Gillan or Steven Moffat’s idea. In an interview with IGN TV, Karen described it as her idea:

IGN TV: How did you come to the decision that this coming season of Doctor Who would be your last?

Karen Gillan: Actually, I called Steven Moffat and arranged the dinner and then basically told him roughly when I wanted to go. He told me where the story was at and where it was going and then we kind of together came up with it. So it was really pleasant, actually. We had a lovely dinner and just kind of discussed what we both want and what’s going to happen and then came to the decision. That was ages ago, so I’ve known for ages!

IGN: Why did you think it was getting to be the right time?

Gillan: I wanted to go on a high. Also, Steven Moffat comes up with endless, amazing ideas anyway, but I wanted to make sure that I went on a high when the character was at her prime. There’s just something quite nice and appealing about that to me. I don’t know… It just felt right! I like to go on instinct.

IGN: You can’t say how many more episodes you’ll be in…

Gillan: I’m not allowed to say! But I know they’re going to be damn good. It’s so exciting.

IGN: So Steven’s told you how she’s going to leave?

Gillan: I think it’s the best ever. I can’t say anything, but oh god, I’m dying to say something!

IGN: Are there certain things you’d like to see happen, as far as closure for her?

Gillan: I want to see her go with everything that she wants, because initially, when we met her, she was just seeking what she wants, you know what I mean? And she was kind of in this lost, transitional period, where she didn’t have a stable life. So I just want to see her get what she wants.

IGN: We’ve seen some Doctor Who companions in the past leave and then make guest appearances. Would you be up for that if the door was open?

Gillan: I really, really want to have a final exit and then be able to look back on that as a final exit. I don’t know… I just don’t want to take away from that exit by making cameos in the future. I’d quite like it to be final and for people just to remember it fondly.

IGN: Are you hoping for a happy ending for her and Rory?

Gillan: I don’t even know what I’m hoping for. I just know that whatever I hope for, I read it and it’s always better!

More information is out regarding the planned comic crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who. The series will be called Assimilation, featuring the Borg and the Cybermen.

Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) returned to The Office last week.

Earlier in the week I posted a second annual set of Doctor Who Valentine’s Day cards. This resulted in a jump in traffic from Google searches which generally is only seen with pictures of nude or scantily clad actresses. (A old picture of Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory from Maxim has been popular lately.)

Last year Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternated in the the lead role in a West End production of Frankenstein. Now they are going to play the same role as Sherlock Holmes. Cumberbatch has stared for two seasons (with a third planned) in Steven Moffat’s updated version of Sherlock for the BBC. Miller has been signed to star in Elementary, a present-day version of the Sherlock Holmes stories for CBS. The similarity in ideas could lead to legal action:

Elementary has already been threatened with legal action by the producers of the BBC’s Sherlock, amid concerns that its modern-day scenario appears to borrow elements from the hugely-successful series starring Cumberbatch.

Sherlock producer Sue Vertue hinted that CBS are now sniffing around her team for casting clues. She told The Independent: “Johnny is a very fine actor, who I saw recently in the theatre when he and Benedict played alternating roles in Frankenstein. Let’s hope their pilot script has stayed further away from our Sherlock than their casting choice.”

As I’ve said before, my guess is that they have nothing to worry about. It is very doubtful that a weekly American network television series could compete with Sherlock in terms of quality. If the CBS show is a success, it very well might generate more buzz, encouraging people to watch the far superior BBC version which they stole the idea from.

The use of Rock, Papers, Scissors, Lizard, Spock to settle disagreements returned to The Big Ban Theory this week. Video above, which includes additional Star Trek references.  The original scene from 2009, along with the rules and a t-shirt, can be seen here.

Ever since Homeland began, I wondered where the series would go if the plot lines from the first season were resolved and the show went on to a second season. Some aspects were left open in the first season finale, and casting news provides a further clue. Navid Negahban, who played the terrorist leader Abu Nazir, will be a series regular. The role of Carrie’s snoop Virgil, played by David Marciano, has also been upgraded to a regular role. Claire Danes won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her role as Carrie Matheson.

Mad Men returns on March 25

Santorum Upset That Obama Agenda Not Based On Bible

In a post yesterday I contrasted the false conservative narrative that liberals support a big government to impose their views upon others with the actual fact that a large segment of the conservative movement actually does see the role of government as imposing their religious views on the country. Rick Santorum repeatedly demonstrates this,  doing so again yesterday in attacking Obama for having an agenda which is not “based on Bible.”

Newt Gingrich has made similar arguments with his attacks on Obama as a “secular socialist.” (Besides being wrong in seeing secular as undesirable, he is wrong in calling Obama a socialist.  Gingrich is using the new conservative definition of socialism as supporting a few percentage point increase in the marginal tax rate of multimillionaires and lower tax rates on the middle class, which has nothing to do with any conventional definition of the term.) Ron Paul has also shown a preference for theocracy, while Mitt Romney is willing to take multiple positions on the issue.

Contrast Santorum and Gingrich with a previous Catholic candidate for president, John F. Kennedy:

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish, where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

John Kennedy and Barack Obama are both following in the tradition of the Founding Fathers who understood the importance of creating a secular republic with separation of church and state. Nobody should be able to use the powers of government to impose their religious views upon others.