Saturday, January 31, 2009

Record-breaking heat scorches southern Australia

Record-breaking heat scorches southern Australia


Sat Jan 31, 5:58 am ET
A Spectator applies sun cream while others eat ice cream as they try to keep AP – A Spectator applies sun cream while others eat ice cream as they try to keep cool in the scorching heat …

MELBOURNE, Australia – Wildfires destroyed more than 20 homes while hundreds of thousands of others lost power as a record-breaking heat wave that began claiming lives maintained its oppressive grip on southern Australia on Saturday.

About six people died from heat stress in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, over three days before the temperature mellowed to 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) on Saturday, Victoria state Police deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe said.

Melbourne on Friday recorded its third consecutive day of temperatures above 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) for the first time since record-keeping began in 1855.

South Australia state authorities said Saturday that the heat had probably caused some of the recent 22 sudden deaths there. It was not yet clear how many, state Health Minister John Hill said.

Heavy air conditioner use caused a breakdown in Melbourne's electricity grid Friday night, blacking out 500,000 homes and businesses while pulling the plug on the city's electric train network.

"These events are unprecedented," Victoria state Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said Saturday. "In some respects, they are not unlike a natural disaster, impacting on a community like a flood or tornado."

Both Melbourne, capital of Victoria, and South Australia capital Adelaide have experienced localized blackouts in recent days as energy providers share electricity to cope with the unprecedented demand.

Ambulance services in both cities have reported increases in emergency calls because of the heat.

In Victoria, at least 23 houses were destroyed Friday night and Saturday by wildfires that burned 16,000 acres (6,300 hectares) of forest and farm land, Country Fire Service spokesman Paul Swan said.

About 400 firefighters and 12 water-bombing aircraft continued to battle the blaze, he said.

Adelaide is expected to match its longest heat wave in a century on Monday, with six consecutive days exceeding 104 F (40 C). The heat there buckled train and tram lines.

What Happens When Income Taxes Are Raised On The Wealthy?

What Happens When Income Taxes Are Raised On The Wealthy?

New York State Budget - Paterson, Legislature to miss first budget target

Paterson, Legislature to miss first budget target

ALBANY, N.Y. - Gov. David Paterson and the Legislature's Democratic majority leaders will miss the first target date under Paterson's accelerated budget process to deal with New York's fiscal crisis.

Tuesday's closed-door budget session resulted in no agreements, but was noteworthy for who didn't attend: Any Republicans.

The Democratic governor and the Democratic leaders of the Assembly and Senate said they hope to agree to budget cuts and revenue raisers next week to address a $1.7 billion deficit in the current budget. Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says he hopes there will be agreement by Feb. 4, while Paterson said he hopes for agreement by the end of next week.

Paterson's target to address the current deficit is Sunday.

Paterson, however, said it was a good meeting and he's optimistic that he could strike the deal with Silver and Smith next week.


But it may not be a great start.

"There's a disconnect between the dire, perilous budget situation on the one hand and the meetings that are all with Democrats," said Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "Doing things behind closed doors is not a good idea when the public is going to be asked to share the pain."

Silver said he was prepared to take action on the current $120 billion budget. Smith said he's discussed the deficit reduction plan in his conference and is prepared to hit the target of Thursday for approval. He said he plans to keep the Senate in Albany four days a week because of the urgency of the budget. Most weeks in the January to June session include three session days.

Paterson said he's confident he and legislators will close the current deficit soon and then take on the projected deficits of the 2009-10 fiscal year. That budget is due April 1, but Paterson's accelerated budget schedule calls for approval on March 1, for a Legislature that until recent years were known for annually passing budgets late, sometimes by months.

"One of the reasons I released my budget five weeks earlier than the constitutional deadline was to give us a head start," Paterson said. "We may not be able to meet some of the proposed deadlines of perhaps closing this budget deficit on February 1st, and closing next year's deficit by March 1st. But they were just general signals I was trying to send to the Legislature that the faster we're able to come to an agreement the more we will be able to cut into the deficit that we have."

Paterson's deficit reduction plan as proposed calls for spending reductions for Medicaid, which affects hospitals and other facilities, no midyear cut in school, and other cuts in programs and services announced in November. Paterson sought the cuts then, in addition to about a 10 percent cut he ordered in the executive totaling more than $1 billion. But the Legislature in a special session in November didn't take up the measures under pressure from special interests led by unions representing teachers and other public workers.

Lawmakers are counting on a federal stimulus package, worth as much as $5 billion under a plan pushed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. But New York won't know if federal funding is coming, or how much, until mid-February at the earliest.

"You do get the sense things are going to slip because they are going to wait until the last minute to see what the federal program is," Haven said. "Politically they say, `Why should we inflict pain and make enemies when we don't have to?"'

The budget process has also been delayed because of the unsettled majority in the Senate. Although Democrats won a 32-30 majority in November, three Democratic dissidents had threatened to side with the Republicans until early January.

Attending were Paterson, a Harlem Democrat; Silver, a Democrat from lower Manhattan; and Smith, a Democrat from Queens.

Paterson says governors traditionally meet first only with the Legislature's majority leaders.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Skelos complained that Paterson and Smith didn't follow through on pledges for reform and that the leaders' meetings be open and include minority leaders. Skelos said Paterson had made statements before the election about wanting to cooperate and work together.

"There are 32 Democrats in the Senate and there are 30 Republicans, and we deserve to be part of this process," Skelos said. He said he will only attend a so-called leaders' meeting if he and Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco of Schenectady attend.

"Today we saw it's about the dysfunction of the past rather than the reform of the future," said Skelos, who as a senior GOP senator when Republicans limited the ability of Democrats to pass bills and gave them fewer resources and staff than Republican senators.

"We had some discussions about inclusion of the minority leaders. As a former minority leader, I stuck up for them and I offered to meet with both the minority leaders today," said Paterson, the former Democratic minority leader of the state Senate.

Jimmy Carter has a new book out about how to deal with Iran and the Mid-East

on CNN-TV he called the President of Iran an irresponsible blabbermouth.

Everybody gets a free STFU card and a go to the back of the class directive. Carter's new book IS the answer.

Delay of tax refunds and payments adds to Californians' struggles

Delay of tax refunds and payments adds to Californians' struggles

As state withholds $3.5 billion, people and businesses scramble to fill gaps. Vendors, Cal Grants, child care services and programs for the developmentally disabled are among those affected.
By Patrick McGreevy and Jordan Rau
February 1, 2009
Reporting from Sacramento -- Wendy Hansen, a 52-year-old single mom in Monrovia, says she cannot afford a delay in her anticipated state income tax refund of $1,800.

Without the check, Hansen said, she will have to put off debt payments, long-needed repairs on her house and treatment for a back problem that she believes has been aggravated by stress over finances.

Related Content
An estimated 2.7 million Californians expecting income tax refunds in February won't receive them then, because the state's prolonged budget impasse has emptied its treasury.

"It's horrendous," said Hansen, an office manager for a doctors' office. "I'm someone who counts on that refund every year to make ends meet."

State Controller John Chiang's decision to conserve cash by withholding nearly $2 billion in tax refunds, among other scheduled payments, starting Sunday means thousands of people and businesses that rely on state money will not be paid as usual.

With Chiang delaying for at least 30 days a total of $3.5 billion in state payments, county welfare agencies and universities are scrambling to make up the difference. They're trying to avoid interruption of tuition grants for students, child care for poor families, services for the disabled and treatment for Californians with mental health and drug abuse problems.

But local officials say that although they can cover one month's delay in payments, they may not be able to fill in the gaps beyond February. Meanwhile, companies that supply the state with goods and services are also bracing for a painful month.

The state pays about $250,000 a month to Western Mixers Inc., a Los Angeles company that provides produce to prisons, according to Jeff Foster, a sales manager at the company. He said the firm may have to delay paying its own suppliers because it won't get that money.

The cash crunch is even hitting close to Chiang's own office: It will not be paying $240,000 it owes to a company hired to help ensure that the controller's computers and databases operate smoothly.

That company, Sacramento Technology Group, may have to put off paying its own vendors, said George Usi, the firm's president. "It can impact our credit negatively."

Usi said he has enough capital to weather delays of up to 90 days, but if there is not a resolution by then, "it will be financial catastrophe" that would force him to lay off workers.

Most of the money the controller is withholding is an estimated $1.9 billion in personal income tax refunds and $81 million in bank and corporate refunds. Last year, the personal tax refunds the state issued in February averaged $853, according to the controller's office.

Even some of those who say they will not be hurt by the delay in refunds are angry that state lawmakers are gridlocked over how to solve the fiscal crisis.

"What I take offense to is that they can't come to a decision on the budget," said Bob Moore, a financial planner from Whittier who was hoping for a timely refund.

Chiang's plan to delay $13 million in Cal Grants has college students nervous on campuses throughout the state, even as college administrators say they are working on ways to make sure nobody is left out of the classroom.

"I'm extremely concerned," said Aresha Martinez, whose tuition at UCLA for the quarter that begins in late March is supposed to be offset by a $1,500 Cal Grant. "Without it, I would be strapped. I would have to try to get a private loan or transfer to a Cal State university."

Martinez, who is majoring in Latin American studies, said that her parents cannot pay for her time at UCLA and that she already had borrowed heavily to cover living expenses.

In January, the state paid universities 85% of all the Cal Grants promised for spring semester tuition. The California State University system is not asking students to make up for the other 15% right now, said spokeswoman Claudia Keith. University officials hope the state will provide the money once its fiscal crisis is resolved.

University of California officials say they are developing similar plans.

"The objective is to assure those students are held harmless," said Ronald W. Johnson, director of financial aid at UCLA.

Other payments Chiang is delaying include $280 million for services to people with developmental disabilities. But the regional centers that arrange those services say they have enough money from the state to issue checks until the end of March.

To many, March does not seem far away.

Mike Murphy, executive director of Empower, an Orange County center that provides programs for 67 developmentally disabled adults, said he would not be able to pay his 21 employees after March and then may have to shut completely.

"I feel horrible. Having to stop payments would be disruptive. There are a lot of people affected," said Murphy, whose center is in Stanton.

Raymond Whitney, 44, who has Down syndrome, said he looks forward every day to the education and work programs Empower offers, such as sorting recycled paper, which gives him a small paycheck.

"I'm upset," Whitney said. "My sister can't take care of me during the day."

Indeed, Wanda Bales, Whitney's sister and a kindergarten teacher, said she didn't know how she could take on that role.

"He has nowhere else to go during the work week," she said. "How would I go to work?"

Payments of $114 million to county welfare programs, including child care, are also being suspended.

Many such programs have enough money to get through February, but the suspended payments may mean the disruption of child care services for up to 10,000 Los Angeles County families by the end of March, according to Phil Ansell, an official at the county Department of Public Social Services.

David Oros, 42, a machine operator for a Long Beach company that makes envelopes, said he will have to find other care for his 3 1/2 -year-old son if he loses his subsidy. But, he said, he doesn't know what he could afford, because he is getting divorced and has three other children under 13.

"I would have to pay extra to somebody else, and I'm not going to be able to," Oros said.

The state is also withholding $188 million in grants to the blind and disabled.

However, the federal Social Security Administration, which pays a portion of those grants, will cover the entire cost until the state resumes its payments, said Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for Chiang.

Times staff writer Joanna Lin contributed to this report.

patrick.mcgreevy@

latimes.com

Storm-struck Kentucky calls up entire Army Nat'l Guard

Storm-struck KY calls up entire Army Nat'l Guard

By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press Writer Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 54 mins ago

Crews work to replace poles and lines in Paragould, Ark., Friday, Jan. 30, 2009,

AP – Crews work to replace poles and lines in Paragould, Ark., Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, after an ice storm knocked …

MAYFIELD, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear called up his entire Army National Guard on Saturday, tripling his troops with his state still reeling from a deadly ice storm that knocked out power from the Midwest to the East Coast.

More than half a million homes and businesses, most of them in Kentucky, remained with out electricity from the Ozarks through Appalachia, though temperatures creeping into the 40s helped a swarm of utility workers make headway. Finding fuel — heating oil along with gas for cars and generators — was another struggle for those trying to tough it out at home, with hospitals and other essential services getting priority over members of the public.

The addition of 3,000 soldiers and airmen makes 4,600 Guardsmen pressed into service. It's the largest call-up in Kentucky history, which Beshear called an appropriate response to a storm that cut power to more than 600,000 people, the state's largest outage on record. Many people in rural areas cannot get out of their driveways due to debris and have no phone service, the governor said.

"With the length of this disaster and what we're expecting to be a multi-day process here, we're concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their own homes," Beshear said, "and we need the manpower in some of the rural areas to go door-to-door and do a door-to-door canvass ... and make sure they're OK."

Thousands of people were staying in motels and shelters, asked to leave their homes by authorities who said emergency teams in some areas were too strapped to reach everyone in need of food, water and warmth. The outages disabled water systems, and authorities warned it could be days or weeks before power was restored in the most remote spots.

That uncertainty had many appealing for help and officials urging those in dark homes to leave, if they could — many were stuck in place by blocked roads and other obstacles.

"We're asking people to pack a suitcase and head south and find a motel if they have the means, because we can't service everybody in our shelter," said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown, who oversees about 9,000 people, many of whom spent a fifth night sleeping in the town's elementary school.

The storm that began in the Midwest had been blamed or suspected in at least 42 deaths, including 11 in Kentucky, nine in Arkansas, six each in Texas and Missouri, three in Virginia, two each in Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia and one in Ohio. Most were blamed on hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning.

As far away as Oklahoma, around 10,000 customers still had no electricity Saturday.

Laura Howe, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said the organization had opened more than 34 shelters for some 2,000 people.

From Missouri to Ohio, thousands were waiting in shelters for the power to return.

Doris Hemingway, 78, spent three days bundled in blankets to ward off the cold in her Leitchfield mobile home. News that it could take up to six weeks for power to be restored sent Hemingway and his husband, Bill, into a shelter at a local high school.

"I'd pray awhile and I'd cry awhile," Doris Hemingway said. "It's the worst I've ever seen."

___

Associated Press writers Roger Alford in Leitchfield; Janet Cappiello Blake in Louisville; and Betsy Taylor in St. Louis contributed to this report.

Here It Comes by Karl Denninger - Big Bailout Analysis of the day

Here It Comes by Karl Denninger - Big Bailout Analysis of the day

Friday, January 30, 2009

The internet will soon be outlawed.

Teacher Accused of Texting Sex with Student

Last Update: 2:44 pm

(Binghamton, N.Y.) AP - A social studies teacher is facing a federal charge that he sent sexually explicit text messages to a 16-year-old female student.

John Puglisi, a teacher at Newark Valley High School in Tioga County, is charged with one count of using a cell phone in an effort to engage someone younger than 18 in sexual activity.

A federal complaint says the 29-year-old teacher bought a phone for the student and began sending sexual text messages to her. "Naked photos please," reads one text.

Puglisi, who surrendered to police on Thursday, had been prohibited by his boss from communicating with the girl, according to the complaint.

His lawyer didn't immediately return a call for comment.
*********************************************************************************
The internet will soon be outlawed.

Only the card numbers were stolen, - yeah, right.

1-21-09: You may be getting a new set of credit cards in the mail soon; one of the nations largest payment processors has had their system hacked into, the second breach in the past few weeks.

Heartland Payment Systems processes debit and credit card transactions for more than a quarter of a million companies. Their system has been hacked into and credit card numbers and expiration dates have been stolen.

No personal customer information like your social security number, address, or date of birth was compromised, only the card numbers.

Check your statements carefully to look for any unauthorized charges. Visa and MasterCard are aware of the breach and banks will be re-issuing cards very soon to customers whose numbers were affected.

Lawless Federal Gov't.

Bozonian wrote: You people have a very bad misconception. You think that laws apply to people that high in the Federal Government. At that level the law isn't as important as power. If you have the support, you can violate any laws you want. If you don't have support, you can stay within the law, and still be destroyed.

California is about to go bust, in a very bad way. Prepare to evacuate.

1-16-09: Reporting from Sacramento -- State Controller John Chiang announced today that his office would suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, as a result of the state's cash crisis.
The payments to be frozen include nearly $2 billion in tax refunds; $300 million in cash grants for needy families and the aged, blind and disabled; and $13 million in grants for college students.

Olivia Waters, formerly of Mobuzz, has a lot of poise; but her brother seems to be a nutcase.

James Waters twittered: Dammit I hate being management already. You have to 'plan' rather than rely on ability to make it look like someone else's fault.
(also) Wondering why people are terrified of sitting next to me on public transport

Sean Bedlam is now suffering a week of 115 degree heat.

Sean Bedlam Twittered 1-12-09: Woke this morning and my Goodbye George video was at 666 views. The Dark One has spoken before I can even get a coffee into me!
1-14-09: 2,766,754 video views and still broke! Sean has private-ed almost all of his videos today, in rage.
1-15-09: I have 666 (Twitter)updates, which makes it beer'o'clock. Thanks Satan! about 1 hour ago from web

Too many Katrina-related favorites on my YT page recently.

Kristina Horner twittered 1-10-09:
People on YouTube... yeah... we're off to a bad start if you begin your email to me as Dear Katrina.

I know there's a reason for this.

Breakin' the FACE!, Breakin' the FACE!
Zebo the dancing dinosaur screaming as Sam pins him down and beats him upside the face with a microphone (on iCarly, 10-25-08).
Shout-out for Pak-Rat video game tournament!

Impeached Governor of Illinois

While refusing to attend the trial, Blagojevich made clear he would only defend himself through a media blitz.

LOST! - The END!

LOST reminds me of this episode of Cold Case I'm watching where a man with a huge inoperable brain tumor keeps hallucinating to another reality. (where can I find Wild Palms on DVD?)

Average tax cuts were what during Bush years?

BTW, this mortgage and loan default crisis will continue through the end of 2012.

If 99 houses sell for 1 dollar and 1 sells for 1 billion dollars, the median is 1 dollar and the average is $10,000,001.

They don't want me watching...

1-14-09 6:01 AM: I watched one minute of The Weather Channel and then all my cable channels went black.

YT is out to get anybody for nothing

12-12-08 annspade twittered: YT suspended both of Ysabellabrave's accts. So I deleted 38 videos from my channel.
Probably should delete more.
1-8-09: Ysabella Brave is back, minus her karaoke videos. (can't hum either?)

YT page top, atm

Add &fmt=18 to the end of YT URL's for
STEREO sound (on non-mono only videos) &/or better video quality.

Videos uploaded during July 2008 tend to have corrupted sound thanks to YouTube.

Playlists must be tagged if you want to update the Playlist Info (1-20-09).

From the Poison Pen Corp. - on my YT page atm

From the Poison Pen Corp.
1-19-09: I'm not talking to you, but I will text you and I will let you know that I'm not talking to you.

(Yeah, come here and say that without a word. Oh, you already did. Nevermind.)

Kicesie Tweeted 1-19-09: Met with our law firm today... 40 lawyers strong. Don't F' with me bitches! lol :-) Sweet!

SupaDupaFlyGirl Tweeted 1-21-09: So Joan Rivers came to my store. Ordered a tall decaf. She's flawless!!!! And was super sweet. Left a $10 tip!
(copyrights used to cost $10...)
(also)SDFG wrote: I have a dentist appointment at 6PM. Ahhhh nooo!
(The stars will steal copies of your dental records. Tell me if half a dozen or more celebs surround you in a huge ER waiting room for hours. Why would they be there?)
From JoanRivers Blog, 9-13-06: My assistant, Matt, and I finally arrived at the St. Francis Hotel (SF) and were met by a former Nazi (now a concierge) who insisted that the two of us needed three bedrooms I think she was planning to turn the third one into a gas chamber. She may have heard somewhere that she would get extra points at the next Bund Meeting for wiping out a Jew AND a gay at the same time.

Friday's bad posture alert

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Classic Premium Disasterpastor45 EDM thread with Frankie Bones

Lightning is striking again, and again, and again, and again.

**********************************************************
Mosk the Mosquito wrote on Saturday, January 26, 2008 2:01 PM:
Let me put it like this, basically nobody has to reveal their top prized gems. I totally understand Eric's point and to be honest my style would have never even dipped into Leo's world without those moments where Bodzin was first introduced to me in the form of Thomas Schumacher.

But what happened was I started to get a feeling for what Eric calls "Clicky Pop". That being Techno infused Electro-House. Call it what you want, Danny Teneglia proclaimed "Don't techno for an answer" and 15 years pass and the mother-fucker now says "Techno For An Answer" while trying to dress like me and then has the balls to do a interview and talks about Tommy Musto as if my old partner had anything to do with the NYC scene in the 90's.

What I am getting at here...Of course it would suck for Tiesto to take credit for a style we could possibly give him in 2011. But that is the thing, I don't give a f*ck that Teneglia is using me in his current sharade. My current sharade could have Kermit the Frog proclaiming I am trying to look like him...I know what the f*ck I'm doing when it seems like I have totally flipped the scipt.

I actually should be putting this in edm2, but it's cool. Like I said I know what i am doing......

And when the bells start ringing, We have fifty floors to go,

Tony Banks (of Genesis) - from "The Fugitive" album
Say You'll Never Leave Me - lyrics (mid-1983)


On a cold clear night in November,
All the people have gone to bed.
We found ourselves upon a cliff edge,
Looking out to sea.
Then a sight in the pale moonlight,
Made us shake our heads in dismay,
A wave taller than the tallest tree
Bore down on she and me.
All the hopes and dreams we had
Dissolved amidst the fear,
What I'd be... without you now,
Only the stars could ever tell.

From the window of our hotel room,
We look out on the city below,
Driven lights move randomly,
The never ending show,
And when the bells start ringing,
We have fifty floors to go,
What I'd be... without you now,
Only the stars could ever tell.

Say you'll never leave me, never leave me alone.
Say you'll never leave me, never leave me alone.

On a lake, we cling to the rail,
On the back of a sailing boat,
A mist falls around us,
Now becalmed we float,
Then from behind comes a warning sound,
We're helplessly adrift,
Still, we see nothing,
And then we see the ship.

High above it dwarfs us,
There's nowhere we can go.
What I'd be... without you now,
Only the stars could ever tell.

Say you'll never leave me, never leave me alone,
Say you'll never leave me, never leave me alone,
Say you'll never leave me alone,
Say you'll never leave me alone,
I'd be so lonely here without you,
So lonely here without you, my love,
So lost without your love.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This was about yesterday? Yes it was! (Not a joke!)




While getting my teeth cleaned yesterday...

the PA radio station heard me listening to them and played a song to let me know within 5 minutes of me sitting in the chair. This is not the first time this has happened...by far.


(I still haven't seen the movie Shrek. The local radio DJ playing the song, yeah, his name was Shrek since before the movie came out.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

ATTENTION - Your Settop Box Is Not Authorized For Use

Please call the 800 number.

Did I really have to turn on my TV set to read that? Yup!
**************************************************
I called and they asked me my phone number and confirmed my address. The operator on the phone did something on his end and the clock came back on the display of my cable box, but he wasn't sure that would happen.

I got my Program Guide back which has been missing for a few weeks.

I thanked him and the call was over in 3 minutes. Woot!

Then I tried to flip thru channels and it went 9, 12, 100, 200, WHAT????!!!????

I fumbled thru Settings on the Remote and I guess that fixed it; I don't know what I did to fix it. Nobody has taught me how to use this remote yet. A lot of buttons and no clue as to how to work this thing...and I'm not normally a remote dummy. I gotta learn how to block the channels that take 25 seconds to tune in.

Internet cuts out for a few minutes each hour, 2005

Do Not Trust Time Warner!

Posted By: mjholly on 6/29/2005

Last week, our internet was going down for a few minutes each hour interval or so. We called Time Warner and they sent a repair tech to our home to fix the cable. Apparently, the repair tech did not do his job. Even now, our Internet still goes down at intervals for a few minutes. This is annoying! I pay the Time Warner bill every month and they are ripping me off! TW is the only cable Internet provider where we live. It's a shame!

Tsunami TWC, 10-20-2006

Horrible Support and Customer Service - Broadband and Email Access

Posted By: ezfindit on 10/27/2006

Location: Los Angeles, CA

My cable provider, Comcast, which had finally started listening to its customers, monitoring its networks, (I used to be the first one to notify them of an outage since I am online 12-14 hrs/day, and used to have to spend a good 30-40 minutes to convince them of that fact) and hiring tech folks with IQs higher than room temperature, was taken over by TimeWarner which is easily 3 to 4 times worse!!! High-school drop-outs without any IT training could rely on common sense and run this company better than the executives and managers in charge now.
It's like the Twilight Zone.

I have wasted a good 12+ hours since the forced migration heaped on me at the end of last week. I saw this coming the moment I saw the letter informing me that I will be switched on 10/20 and my email stopped working, without, get this, any kind of parallel running of their systems, roll-back options, or slow transition route. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

As I predicted, almost everything went wrong. With them forcing me to switch everything over and no grace period, during a weekend no less, it was a completed nightmare. I should have taped my telephone conversations with their "support" center. Comical and completely idiotic would not even begin to summarize the scenarios. Since DSL is not an option for me (too far away from the switch and SBC refused to moved it closer), fiber not ready (Verizon not even close), and no Wi-Fi providers, I am stuck with this monster of an incompetet company. It is beyond belief that such enormously stupid "telecommunications" company can exist and be allowed to take over accounts.

Average wait times during the weekend "migration" were 35-40 minutes. When I asked for better service, the "Support techs": (a) replied with useless help, (b) hanged up on me twice, (c) forwarded the call to the "if you want to make a call hang up and try again" black hole, and (d) bounced my call from the system.

Today (10/25) their email server was down for 8+ hours and I had to call 3 times and forward 3 bounce-back errors to convince them that the were having this problem.

My grandmother would have figured this out in 1/10th the time these idiots took to confirm their own email server problems. It's UNBELIEVABLE!!

I simply cannot believe that in 2006 we still have this kind of massive incompetence and idiocy running so rampant in so many US companies. No wonder so many Japanese, European, and now Chinese companies are beating it us to a pulp and taking over market share. The executives at Time Warner Cable are criminally negligent and completely reckless. They do not even know how to spell business or customer service. They would not be able to manage taco stand if they had to, let alone steer a multi-billion dollar telecomunications company. Pathetic, truly pathetic!!!

The only "nice" people TW has representing them are the ones who answer the phones when you want to place an order.

Time Warner Phone Not Ready for Prime Time - Internet is SLOW - Internet and Telephone

Posted By: pkduk on 11/22/2006

Location: Houston, TX

This product has stunk from day one. There is a constant hum on the phone line. People we call say we sound "scratchy". The volume of each call varies between being barely audible to being reasonably audible. Of couse, TW says it's our phones (even though they worked just fine when we had AT&T). I was willing to live with this inconvenience until Comcast (with whom I had a very positive experience in CA for four years) takes over TW in Houston in January.
Today, however, was the straw that broke the camels back. Sorry, Comcast.

TW agreed to contact me on my cell phone when the technician arrived to fix our phones (I told them I worked two blocks down the street from where I live). When they did call me they asked if I wanted to cancel my service call. The TW rep said the technician was at the house waiting and no one was home (duh!). I was home in less than 2 minutes. The technician exhibited obvious bad attitude the minute I steped out of my car. I suspect he was mad because no one had been home when he arrived. He came in the house and proceeded to be even more rude and continued to address me with a "Hello???" tone to his questioning. He asked me questions about the phone hookup which I had no clue as to what he was talking about. He eventually left but fixed nothing, citing that the problem was with me and/or my phones and not their cable line. The internet cable is still slow and their phone service is still unacceptable but even worse, now their "customer service" sucks equally to their products.

Today I switched the phones back to AT&T. I also dumped their internet cable service. For the first time in over 5 years I'll be using a DSL line. Nothing like taking a giant step backwards in technology. AT&T probably won't be anything to write home about but at least their staff and technicians have never treated me like TW's snot nosed, "couldn't care less about you PITA customer" telephone reps and technicians.

The only "nice" people TW has representing them are the ones who answer the phones when you want to place an order. Now ain't that interesting?

TW Executive Support - friend of a friend...

Cannot count on them for much of anything

Posted By: newfers on 12/3/2006

Location: Athens, OH

When Time Warner cable works, it's great. But since I use Time Warner for cable, internet, and telephone service, the frequent service outages are a big problem. Currently I am using a dial up connection since RoadRunner is down. It's been down for a week, and when our tech guy showed up to fix it yesterday, he said there was nothing he could do until at least Monday! I waited a WEEK for someone to come and tell me he couldn't do anything? Sheesh!


The last time we had an outage (there's one at least every 2 weeks), I used my cell phone to call them, but could not get a real person, after an hour on hold.
I finally had to hang up to go to work, but tried later, as did my wife...each time, we could not get anybody on the phone. Finally, the next day, a neighbor found out about our problem and contacted a friend of his, who is a Time Warner executive. Surprise, surprise, suddenly our problem was fixed!

Seriously, I love this service when it works... but it's expensive and unreliable. If there were more options in my area, I'd switch in an instant.

*No* customer service. - High Speed Internet

*No* customer service. - High Speed Internet

Posted By: PLM1973 on 12/15/2006

Location: Playa Vista, CA

I wish I could say that I had poor customer service with this company, as others have, but sadly, I have had NO customer service. A few nights ago I came home, booted up my computer and found I had no internet access. No big deal, that happens.

I looked at my cable modem and found that the "power" light was out.
I tried flipping the power switch a few times, unplugging it and plugging it back in, switching outlets, etc. Nothing happened. So I figured either the modem itself or the power cable was toast.

I called my ISP, Time Warner Cable. I used the automated menu to request technical support and was told by the recording that the estimate wait time was over 30 minutes. Annoying but ok. So I waited....and waited...and waited. I made dinner and ate it. Did some laundry.
Did the dishes. Went out and got some Christmas shopping done (I was on hold on my cell phone). All total I was on hold for 2 1/2 hours and no one ever answered. Finally I gave up and went to bed.

The next night, I called in again. Same thing. This time I only waited 2 hours on hold before giving up. I drove down to Fry's and just bought a new cable modem myself. To heck with it. It's not worth hours and hours of listening to their hold music and every 10 seconds "Your call is very important to us and will be answered in just a few more moments."

I wish I had gotten through to *someone* just so I could suggest that they hire more customer service techs!

Employee of TWC says ....the only course of action that would produce results would be to start cancelling en masse.

You think being a TWC customer is bad... - Employment

Posted By: RememberCoudersport on 12/30/2006

I was with Adelphia during the last few weeks of it's life, working in a call center in a small town in Pennsylvania, one that TWC has decided it doesnt need anymore, and will be closing in Febuary, leaving upwards of 500 people without jobs in an area where there aren't many other options. Granted, everything that I say here is the truth, and I've hated working for TWC since long before they told us we were getting shuffled off (a few weeks before Christmas, they called everyone together, gave us the bad news, and then told us to get back on the phone)
Anyhow, when it was Adelphia, our call center was referred to as "Retention".
We were the ones you call if you want to cancel your cable. And in that capacity we posted major results, we saved as many customers as we could, and in the grips of bankruptcy, Adelphia depended on us to hit the mark, and we hit it time and time again. Under Time Warner, our role moved instead to one of more generalized customer service. Billing questions, video troubleshooting, and the like, and for the first little while, we did pretty well. Right up until the Los Angeles region decided to lose their minds.
It wouldnt have been so bad if they had taken time to consider the ramifications and requirements. See, when Adelphia went away, its holding split between TWC and Comcast, as did its call centers and reps. So from day one, we were short staffed. Which again, wouldnt have been a problem if they had just left well enough alone. Instead, they decided to change everything around.
Needless to say, this caused more than a few service interruptions, which of course TWC advertised as not likely. So an inordinate amount of calls started flooding into the regional Call Center in Ontario. Ontario was instantly over-powered, and the decision was made to route the overflow calls to another center, to my center in PA.

Now that wouldnt have been so bad either, if it had been temporary, but it wasnt, and four months later it's back to back calls all day long. So when you wait on hold, understand that your waiting on hold because there are so many people calling in that it's overflowing TWO call centers.
But it wasnt just a problem of VOLUME. During the migration, all the rate codes were being changed, and in many cases our training in the new system consisted of a 3 page packet given to us 15 minutes before we get on the phone. And based upon different stories from different people, we would alternate between applying new rates, recovering old rates to correct errors, and then reapplying new rates to correct other errors. And the shuffle, some of the codes we sed pretty often just dissappeared from our systems, such that we had to track down a spervisor whenever we needed to do something very simple.
TWC finally realized they needed more people, so they hired about 45 people at West Hollywood and Ontario, and 4 weeks later, they are transferring calls to or center becase they "Don't know how to do this" Waiting about 45 minutes in OUR queue, which is an overflow for THEIR queue, and just building up the wait time. And the local techs and supervisors werent much better. We have a system called a Customer Assitance Tool that allows us to send information to the local offices to resolve issues, and it is not uncommon to have a ticket sit idle for several days, if it's looked at at all. And more than a few CAT tickets have been listed as "Completed" when nothing was done.
So it's not just a problem of the VOLUME of calls, its a problem of complete impotence. Becuase service in Los Angeles region is horrible, and they route your calls to a call center that can only pass information along to the local staff, which doesn't appear to be in any big hurry to fix the problem. And you can expect it to get worse, becuase TWC has decided to take their already inadequate staff and cut 500 more. Customer Support and Internet Tech Support reps are all getting axed in Febuary, at which point, if the rumors are true, your unaswered calls will be sent to Buffalo instead, which is having its own psychotic breakdown (basically their raising the rates on anything more then very basic digital cable and internet and hoping no one will notice)
At this point, if our calls werent being recording randomly for training and quality assurance purposes, everyone you spoke to here would suggest you get a dish. And when you call in and tell us that TWC service sucks, and that the hold times are unacceptable, trust us, WE KNOW, but we're not allowed to say that we aggree with you for the exact same reason.
And some areas of the Los Angeles Region arent even going to change over to late January, so we can only hope that in Febuary the service will get better.
I wish all TWC customers well, beleive me, we feel your pain. Stupidity offends us just as much as it offends you. I guess the only course of action that would produce results would be to start cancelling en masse. So if you think you can stand the 30-120 minute hold times, give us a call and make your point by refusing to give TWC your money. Worst case scenario, TWC closes down operations in LA.
Come to think of it...that might actually IMPROVE service quality.

Oh...that station is just too far away for cable.

Area-wide problem... - cable television

Posted By: comler on 1/15/2007

Location: Coolville, OH

I thought that maybe with the takeover of Adelphia's system by Time Warner, that they would take care of the maintenance that was badly needed on the system. I subscribe to Broadcast Basic, which is the minimal amount of channels on regular (non-digital) cable. In the past, I had asked the Adelphia technician about poor reception problems with certain channels on the system.

His reply made it clear he knew of the problems - he knew before I mentioned that we were having problems with channels 6 and 10, the ABC and CBS affiliates out of Columbus, OH. He made the claim that the problem was due to the distance my town is from Columbus. I knew he was just trying to appease me, as with cable that shouldn't be an issue. Besides, stations from Charleston, WV were coming in just fine, and they are just as far away.

So, I was relieved to find out that Time Warner took over and called customer service to request that someone come out and experience the problem in order to figure out where the fix should be applied. I made a service appointment for the next morning. Stuck around the house and by the phone, but no one called or showed up. When I called, they claimed the service call was canceled because it was an "area-wide problem" they were aware of. They claimed to have fixed the problem, so I just waited.

It wasn't soon after that the reception problem occurred again. This was not a constant problem, but quite erratic. It was not time-dependent, neither did temperature or weather have any affect. However, it did seem to occur more during programs that were very popular.

This canceled service call scenario occurred two or three more times, so I began to talk to supervisors. That didn't help much, though. They appeared to be sympathetic, and even promised that a technician would show up - to pick up a DVD I recorded of the problem.

However, their promises were empty.

One day, while viewing channel 10, WBNS (CBS - Columbus, OH), reception became so poor that another channel appeared. I could clearly see the WILX logo, and the NBC peacock symbol. I recorded this on my DVR and burned it to DVD. I called the customer service desk, asked for a supervisor and described in detail what I saw. She said that it sounded like a "head-end" problem, and that she would put in a work order. Well, it's a good thing I didn't hold my breath. That was a month ago, and I still am having the same problems today. The odd thing about the other station bleeding through - WILX is in Lansing, MI, more than three times farther away than Columbus, OH. I have to ask, why would a customer in southeast Ohio be getting a bleedthrough of one network onto another from a station that is hundreds of miles away?

That's a good question, but I'll bet Time Warner has no idea.

I really hope they come through and fix this problem. This is a service my family pays for. We have been very patient and very understanding in regards to waiting for them to fix the problem. I understand they took over a great number of systems that were badly in need of repair, but they need to get on the ball and start repairing the systems that are not functioning properly. We only get 13 channels on our plan, but 2 of them are usually unwatchable. That's not a good percentage considering the cost of service. I hate to moan publicly about this, but what am I to do when customer service reps keep making empty promises?

What's the 411?

Bogus Charges on Billing Statement - Digital Phone

Posted By: pattipatch on 1/26/2007

Location: columbus, OH

Every month I get billed for 411 calls , which are directory assisitance calls. I do not make any such calls. I decided to pay my monthly bill, in person, and make a complaint. I heard other customers complaining, about the same thing as I stood in line waiting.They said someone made the calls, although There is just myself and my husband.
I accused him and we ended up in an arguement.After 8 months of being charged $10 to $15 per bill for these, I demanded a breakdown of what numbers were called for. They informed me that a third party is providing the service so they do not have that information!Then they offered me an alternative to have the service blocked from my phone! Fine ,I do not use it anyway, I just pay for it. Supposedly the calls are $1.25 each but the amount is always an even 10, 15 ,16 dollars plus tax. When you do the math it does not add up to anything short of theft.Why didn't they offer the block of the service when I first complained, before I paid over $100 ?

Late Fees - I was told it was not possible to speak to anyone....

Time Warner is AWFUL!!!!!! - TV, Internet

Posted By: honestReviewsOnly on 1/31/2007

Location: los angeles, CA

Time Warner is a perfect example of how pathetic and atrocious big business gets when any company has a total monopoly over a service region.

This company is completely and utterly PATHETIC!!!

I have had cable television in Los Angeles for over 10 years. Never before have I been harassed for fractional late payments, had my cable actually cut off for partial overcharges, and DAILY phone calls hounding me for money.

My bill is approximately 150.00 a month for TV and internet.
This company decided, not only to levee a late fee against my account, (which I don’t actually understand) but they then shut off my cable for my failure to pay it within about 8 days. That was ten days ago. I was forced to make a 30.00 credit card payment over the phone to turn service back on. It took me 48 minutes on hold to speak to someone; within minutes we were "accidentally" disconnected.

I then spent another 43 minutes on hold to get reconnected a second time. The customer disservice rep told me I had an additional balance due on Feb 1st of 150.00 dollars - give or take. I told him I would mail that in and that I didn't want to pay it yet. After paying my "late fee"(30 whopping dollars) I asked to speak to a supervisor about my dissatisfaction with this whole process.

I was told it was not possible to speak to anyone but they would call me back within 24 hours. I asked for clarity about this and they ASSURRED me I would be contacted within the next 24-48 hours by a supervisor.

I never did hear from anyone. NOTHING.

As disgusted as I was, I decided to just let it go anyway. It simply wasn't worth the another hour and a half of my life to try again.

Ten days later I went to order a pay per view movie (January 31st) and this feature was blocked due to "billing related issues."

That's odd, I thought.

How could I be late again, I just paid my bill current ten days ago? The automated phone system then told me I had a balance of over 320.00!!!!!!

WTF!??!?!?!?!

In a moment lapse of reason I chose to walk down the path of shear madness and absolute stupidity and called in to speak to customer disservice again.

This phone call set a new personal record for hold times to speak to any organization... 1 hour and 14 minutes!!!

Wouldn't it be nice if massive multi-billion dollar corporations like Time Warner could actually hire enough people to handle customer service calls with... well, SERVICE!??!?

After cooking and eating an entire meal while on hold, I was greeted by a harsh and impatient woman who began by telling me I now had a 38 days past due balance of 152.00! This was very strange, since only a week and a half ago I paid my bill current... and was told that my next payment of 152.00 was due on February 2nd.

***scratching head while looking bewildered***

What's more, she was totally unable to tell me when this past due amount was originally due! I checked my check stubs and I have sent in payments of over 140 dollars monthly since at least October. The mystery grows larger…

I told her I wanted a copy of my “ledger” which is a breakdown of the last six months of service, payments, etc.

During this conversation, I told her about the previous “engagement” with customer service. She asked if I would like to speak to a supervisor right now.

“WOW!” I thought. Just like that?

A few minutes more hold resulted in her getting back on and saying that she couldn’t transfer me, but she would be glad to have a supervisor call me back within 24 hours… blah, blah, blah…

Truly amazing. Why do we not have an open and competitive market when it comes to cable TV?

Needless to say, I am going to switch to direct TV. These scum don’t deserve the 2000.00 dollars annually they get from me. If they cared at all, they would man their phones, solve problems, and come up with some real answers to customer concerns.

If you have a choice, DO NOT GET TIME WARNER CABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…if you have a choice, that is.

Who B Disconnectin' dat PHONE!?! Life on HOLD!

Poor customer service and misinformation - Cable television

Posted By: deevot on 2/5/2007

Location: charlotte, NC

On October 31, 2006, I moved to Charlotte, NC from Connecticut where I lived for a year and before that from San Diego, CA, where I lived for 7 years. Upon arrival, I signed up for the only television, internet service in my neighborhood (due to regulation standards). I purchased the bundle package.
Upon install the telephone and internet never worked, I constantly lost connectivity. We would call TW and literally I kid you not wait on hold for no less than 45 minutes (in fact as I speak, 6 mos later I am on hold w TW, my counter reads 21:18 so far) this went on for over a week, all in all I waited over 10 hours on hold at separate times throughout the week waiting for them. Finally I could stand it no longer and canceled the service, went w DSL, signed up for Direct TV and found a local analog telephone installer. Fast forward 6 mos. Direct TV HiDef channels do not work in my neighborhood, so I am forced to cancel service with them and go back to Time Warner (ask me about this decision later). As of today, I am being told I have to pay for ESPN Hi Def seperate from the existing, so I call TW to get an explanation and first it takes an act of God to speak to a human, when you do (after a 20+ minute wait) the phone mysteriously hangs up... seriously it has happened five times today, we will be transferred and the phone hangs up or shorlty after speaking to someone, the phone disconnects. I wish I had choices. I am so frustrated right now I want to scream, in fact I just did.

The service tech picked up my phone modem but never turned it in to the warehouse.

Time Warner Can't Get It Right! - Cable/Phone/Internet service

Posted By: kfree on 2/22/2007

Location: Kansas City, KS

I was a Time Warner customer for 4 months, and for 4 months I fought with them on mistakes made to my account. First, they disconnected my previous phone carrier when I specifically asked them NOT to, and I had to work diligently to correct THAT mistake. The service tech picked up my phone modem but never turned it in to the warehouse.
The $130 modem was charged to my account three months ago and is still on my account, and TW hits me with late fees every month for not turning in a piece of equipment that I DON'T HAVE!! On top of that, the TW salesman promised me HBO and DVR FREE for 3 Months. The Customer Service rep doesn't know anything about that, of course, so I only got 1 month free. Every issue I've had with them stems from fundamentally POOR COMPANY POLICY---> the salespeople never talk to the cust service reps who never talk to the service techinicians.

Oh, yeah-- I went on vacation last week, set my DVR to record my favorite shows (like I've done several times before) and it DIDN'T WORK.

I am cancelling my TW service today. I hate this company.
kfree.

Dialing THIS down!

Internet down ALL THE TIME - rude customer service personnel - Internet service - Roadrunner

Posted By: Uilani on 3/2/2007

Location: Los Angeles, CA

I've had enough of Time Warners poor service, poor response, broken promises and poor connection. How do they stay in business? If you're considering getting Roadrunner internet service, forget it! Look elsewhere! I ordered Verizon DSL last night and expect my DSL modem etc to come in 5 days or so.

Yes, I realize that DSL is NOT faster than cable, but hell! It's got to be more reliable, at least, than TWC! I've had internet down times for hours - even days at a time with TWC and all I get when I call TWC is a bogus prerecorded message that their technicians are working on the problem. I finally persisted and actually (after numerous tries and HOURS on hold) got to speak with a live customer service rep that basically said I was lying about the amount of downtime I was experiencing! When I asked to speak to a supervisor I got put on hold and finally hung up after waiting fifteen minutes. I'm through with TWC. I never had this problem before TWC bought Comcast in my area. TWC SUCKS!

How do you get credit for days without service?

Poor Reliabilty and Poor Service - Internet/Cable Service

Posted By: georgers on 3/4/2007

Location: Oxnard, CA

Time Warner internet service was down. I spend 7 hours, mainly on hold, to be told that my modem was bad and a tech would be at my home to replace it in 4 days. Would they give me credit for the 4 days until it was fixed. No, not unless I called after the tech left and waited on the phone for who knows how long. They know when the system is down and they know who is affected. They should provide automatic credit to the affected customers because they charge for providing the service not for the use of the service. Besides all this their customer support and tech support folks are ingnorant, rude, condescending, unhelpful, disrespectful and their service is practically abusive.

Deceitful Advertisement - Advertisement of Online services

Deceitful Advertisement - Advertisement of Online services

Posted By: jandd on 4/3/2007

Location: Santa Paula, CA

I received an advertisement for Roadrunner Online services for $19.95 per month. They said because I did not have digital cable the charge would have to be $24.95. After arguing that their advertisement did not say you had to be connected to digital TV, but actually invited you to ask about their other digital services for better packages (better pricing) I still had to pay $24.95.
As far as I'm concerned this is bait and switch advertising or just plain deceitful.

I did call when the next flyer came because they were offering the new digital cable for $39.95 @ mo. and you could get online service for $19.95. Free installation for 2 TVs. But no, (it did say for "New Neighbors", but the person I talked with says the actual price would be $49.95 if you actually wanted TV channels. $39.95 is only the "access fee", if you actually want to see something on your TV you have to pay extra.

Don't their lawyers look at this stuff before it goes to press. This is extremely misleading.