All posts by Honest Abe

From 1999: “FCC Chairman Kennard Launches Cable Consumer Bill of Rights Campaign” – what a joke!

10 years later and many of the promises made by the FCC Chairman at that time still remain unfulfilled. 

To view the original press release  “CABLE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS CAMPAIGN”  on the FCC website (as of this moment, it’s still posted there), use this FCC Chairman Kennard Launches Cable Consumer Bill of Rights Campaign link.

CABLE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS

Effective tomorrow, April 1, 1999, the FCC’s statutory authority to directly regulate rates for cable television service expires as a result of a “sunset provision” enacted by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  In ending the FCC’s rate regulation authority, Congress indicated that it expected that competition in the video programming marketplace would serve to keep cable service prices reasonable. At this point that has not yet occurred. The FCC will continue to open up the video marketplace by working to remove barriers to competition.

In the meantime, all cable users in the country should be aware of options available to them, so today I am launching a consumer education program to make consumers aware of what they can do in a deregulated marketplace:

From your cable company:

(1) Consumers should expect a fair deal from their local cable company, with reasonable rates that fairly reflect the costs of doing business.

(2) Consumers should expect an explanation from their cable companies whenever rates for the programming service tier are raised, particularly when cable companies attribute price rises to increases in the cost of obtaining programming.

(3) Consumers are entitled to write or call their cable companies whenever they have complaints about the cable services being provided on the various channels, or about program cost increases, and they should expect a speedy response.

From your local government:

(4) Consumers are entitled to file complaints with their local government (i.e. city, town or county) regarding basic tier cable rate increases and service quality.

From the FCC: 

(5) Consumers are entitled to provide their own inside wiring for cable hookups.

(6) Consumers will soon be entitled to purchase and use cable set-top boxes at competitive market prices.

Additionally:

(7) Consumers have a right to contact local, state and national consumer advocacy groups with grievances that are not being adequately resolved by their cable providers.

(8) Consumers unhappy with their local cable company should explore competitive alternatives for video programming service available from DBS (direct broadcast satellite) and other providers.

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer comes clean about market manipulation he engaged in

Did Jim Cramer (of CNBC and thestreet.com fame) improperly manipulate the stock market back in his hedge fund management days?  After watching this video of him being interviewed in 2006, it would certainly seem so.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, peruse this article.

Piqua submits 71 requests totaling $84,592,840 for stimulus funding

In a recent (02/25/09) Columbus Dispatch article about statewide requests for federal stimulus money, it was reported that:

The Ohio Department of Transportation has the most projects — 607 — followed by the western Ohio city of Piqua, with 71.

We investigated this further and found out that the state is compiling all requests from all entities into one big messy Microsoft Excel formatted spreadsheet. [ The state’s link to the most current release of their spreadsheet is constantly being changed so it would be futile for us to link directly to it.  But if you want a copy of it, you’ll find how to download it at the bottom of the page residing at:  http://recovery.ohio.gov/more  ] 

If you only want to see the details of the 71 requests that comprise the $84,592,840 that Bill Lutz  had requested as of 02/25/09, we’ve extracted only those 71 records from the state’s data and sorted them (amount of the request, descending order).  And don’t blame us for the typos, misspellings, etc. — we are simply quoting the text verbatim as it appears in the state’s official spreadsheet.     

Continue reading Piqua submits 71 requests totaling $84,592,840 for stimulus funding