Thursday, 19 December 2013

K-MART'S NEW LOW IN ADVERTISING

Ken Berwitz

"Jingle Bells", as "jingle balls".  How very clever.

If you watch TV you probably have seen the K-Mart ad, with 6 or 7 men facing you, wearing boxer shorts with their legs spread, and gyrating their lower body to "Jingle Bells".

What a disgusting, offensive display.  K-Mart should be ashamed of itself.  I hope it loses business over this.

BOB W This is one example why they will go out business after many years of decline- OVERPRICED, DIRTY STORES, NO STOCK and inept buyers. The ad is question just shows how they waste their money- they will never hold a candle to WALMART who is total class (12/20/13)


OBAMACARNAGE (CONT.): YES, OF COURSE. THEY KNEW Ken Berwitz


Would you be surprised to find out that the Obama administration knew the ObamaCare web site was a security nightmare before its October 1st launch, but allowed it to launch anyway?

Unless you are a hopelessly committed Obamaniac, I assume the answer is yes.  And, if so, you are, of course, 100% right.

Excerpted from Elizabeth Harrington's piece at Washington Free Beacon:

Documents provided to the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform reveal that the Obama administration knew of security vulnerabilities within Healthcare.gov prior to Oct. 1, but launched the website anyway.

Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.) said Health and Human Services (HHS) officials showed a "disturbing lack of judgment" by going ahead with the site's launch and putting Americans' personal information at risk.

Results of a security assessment conducted by a contractor on the site, MITRE Corporation, found that 19 security vulnerabilities remained unaddressed on Oct. 1.

Eleven of the 19 vulnerabilities "significantly impact the confidentiality, integrity and/or availability of the system data," MITRE said.

Furthermore, the full extent of security weaknesses is unknown because the website was not completely built when it launched. MITRE was "forced to omit significant portions" of the security assessment of Healthcare.gov "due to software still being developed." HHS said 30 to 40 percent of the website had yet to be built in November.

In other words, President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knew that the ObamaCare web site was not secure.  They knew that people who signed up for ObamaCare would be sitting ducks for hackers, identity thieves, etc.  But they allowed it to launch anyway.

Are you at all surprised that Obama, Sebelius & Co. would do this?  If so, I would love to know why; it certainly is not out of character for them.

And will you be surprised if our wonderful "neutral" media, which currently is hard at work trying to convince the public that ObamaCare is vastly improved/well on its way to being perfection on wings, will do its best to either downplay or ignore this devastating information?  Let me repeat what I said in the previous paragraph:  if so, I would love to know why;  it certainly is not out of character for them.

ObamaCare is an unworkable monstrosity.  And - as we have noted in the past and this new information further confirms - it is an identity thief's wet dream to boot.

The only logical remedy is to dump this disaster and start over again...which will never happen.  

I count the seconds until noontime, January 20, 2017.


CONSUMER ALERT

Ken Berwitz

Consumer alert:  I urge you to beware of cleverly worded solicitations, which might cause you to unwittingly incur expenses for things you do not want and do not need.

Let me give you what I consider to be two egregious examples.

1.  Some time ago, I received what looked like a billing invoice from a company called United Directories, Inc., for my marketing research business. 

It has a "let your fingers do the walking" graphic, and the words "this is not a bill" were prominently displayed.  It looks for all the world like a free renewal of a yellow pages listing which a business owner, a secretary or administrative assistant, might think nothing of signing and sending along.

But if you read the fine-print information at the bottom of the page, you find that "We are not affiliated with your local phone company and the directory is not distributed to all local telephone subscribers".  You also find that "a customizable webpage is included with each listing of $396.00" -- which might suggest that there is an optional $396 charge for subscribers who want that web page.

Only if you read the even finer-print material on the back of the page - paragraph 13 of 15 - do you find out that "The current listing fee is $396 for one listing" and "Unpaid accounts will incur a 10% late charge". 

In other words, you owe the $396 whether you use the web page or not...and if you do not realize that your signature has incurred this cost, you will, subsequently get nailed with a $39.60 late charge as well.

Is this technically legal?  I suppose it is.  I'm sure United Directories, Inc. has checked with lawyers and made sure of that. 

But is it grossly misleading?  Is the intention to fool unsuspecting people into paying about $400 for something they don't know a thing about and don't want?  I can't prove it....but in my opinion that is exactly what I was sent. 

And it is not the only one.

2.  Yesterday, my wife and I received a yellow card from A. J. Perri, which I've always thought of as a pretty reputable plumbing company.  It is very official looking and has the words "Service Notification" in large white letters encased in black, for maximum impact.

You turn the card over and, at the top, there appears to be a bill for $89.00, with the notation "Annual Maintenance:  Call within 30 days."  Immediately below, the first words you see are "Dear Homeowner:  "As a property owner, you are responsible for annual required maintenance on your furnace."

Looking at this, you would swear for all the world that it is a renewal of maintenance work you had done last year, which you are required to do again this year. 

Well, it is not.  It is nothing but a solicitation. 

And, to make matters even worse, you have to read down to the bottom of the second paragraph to find out that "...this service is only $89.  (Oil furnaces $159)."  So if you have an oil furnace, the actual cost is almost double what is so prominently displayed at the top of the card.

As with United Directories, Inc., I have little doubt A.J. Perri has had lawyers review the wording and assure them that, technically, it is nothing more than a perfectly legal solicitation for services.  But, in my opinion, it stinks just as bad as United Directories does.

The moral of this story?  Do yourself a favor and take nothing for granted.  Be sure to read the fine print of anything that appears to be free.  And read "bills" before you pay them - because some of them may not be bills at all. 

It used to be that a fool and his money were soon parted.  Now, sad to say, it all too often is an intelligent person who wasn't paying 100% attention.  Don't be that person.

Zeke .... .... In the days when Ma-Bell was the only phone company, no one thought to copyright "Yellow Pages" and some other key phrases and graphics. . . . .. Accordingly, they passed into the public domain. . . . . (12/20/13)


THE BUDGET CUTS TO MILITARY VETERANS

Ken Berwitz

I'll make this short and to the point.

The budget deal just enacted by congress includes a lessening of pension payments to a great many military veterans.  Specifically, for all veterans under the age of 62, instead of pensions being tied to the rate of inflation, they will be tied to inflation minus 1%. 

The savings we would realize on the backs of our brave men and women?  Maybe $6 billion dollars - which, in a total budget of almost $4 trillion dollars, is little more than petty cash.

The pettiness directed at our military veterans is sickening.  These people have voluntarily risked their lives to defend us.  Many have suffered physical and psychological injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives.  Is this how we thank them?

We need the $6 billion that bad?  Find it somewhere else.  God knows there are plenty of other places where it is a lot less necessary - and a lot less meaningful.  

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is leading the fight to restore the $6 billion.  I wish him every success in his effort. 


THE DUCK DYNASTY CONTROVERSY Ken Berwitz


With the disclaimer that I have never watched "Duck Dynasty", and have no particular interest in doing so any time soon, here are my thoughts about the suspension/possible firing (depending on whose account you read) of its star, Phil Robertson, because of the anti-gay comments he made in a GQ interview:

-Robertson has a right to say anything he wants;

-A&E has a right to find what he said offensive and to dump him for it;

-Sarah Palin should have been smarter than to stick her nose into this situation;

-And, finally, why in the world would GQ - Gentlemen's Quarterly - interview this guy?  He looks, sounds, and dresses like an out-take from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Ok, back to politics...where just about every day is a chainsaw massacre of one kind or another.

Zeke . . . . . . THE DUCK DYNASTY CONTROVERSY - - - - - . this . quacks . me . up - - - - - - - - - . (12/19/13)


AN IGNORANT MORON & A DERANGED IDIOT

Ken  Berwitz

I'm not going to waste a lot of time on this.

dennis rodman, the former NBA basketball player with the common sense of a worm (his very apt nickname), has arrived in North Korea to meet with kim jung-un, the 29 year old man-child who just had his uncle - the uncle who was material in solidifying his rule - executed.

The title of this blog says it all.


"A CHRISTMAS CAROL" ALERT

Ken Berwitz

For whatever it is worth to you, what I consider to be, hands-down, the best "A Christmas Carol" ever filmed - the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Kathleen Harrison, Hermione Baddely (eventually Mrs. Naugutuck on "Maude") and a young Patrick MacNee - is on TMC at 10:00PM tonight.

Enjoy.


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from curtis marez, President of the American Studies Association, a far left organization consisting of "academics" who, based on some of their actions in recent years (see here and here) have the collective intelligence of a flea circus.

It seems that marez's group has voted to endorse a BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) action against Israel. 

And why was Israel, alone among something like 200 nations around the world, singled out?  Here is marez's answer:

"One has to start somewhere."

That's right.  This is marez's explanation of why his group has voted for an academic boycott solely and exclusively of Israel - a democratic country which celebrates academic freedom, amid a sea of countries that couldn't even spell it, and in a world which includes such paradigms of academic freedom as North Korea, China, Cuba, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.  

None of this counts, you see. Because "one has to start somewhere" - with "somewhere" bypassing all the others and going straight to Israel.

A mindless, obtuse, imbecilic, and probably anti-Semitic sentiment like this cannot go unrewarded.  On the basis of being the mindless, obtuse, and probably anti-Semitic imbecile who said it, I award curtis marez Quote Of The Day honors - with honorary mentions to every one of his fellow hard-leftist haters who voted this way. 

My only regret is that I won't be able to get an Israeli academic organization to notify him about it.

BOB W Rachael- dose the cat have your pencil and your mouth. Can you comment to Ken and Zeke. you are like Sharpton- you flap your lips, say untruths and cannot back it up- you are so off base with your idiotic comment it is amazing.do you have anything to say or will you spend your time defending NO-BAMA- CARE. (12/20/13)

CorrectingTheRecord This piece includes a reductive caricature of a quote from Curtis Marez, which depends on ignoring the next two sentences that he said, which appear in the full version of the NYT story (go to NYT website and search Marez and you will see) This editorial takes the easy way out here, cutting Marez’s quote to 5 words. Here is the rest of the quote: “He argued that the United States has “a particular responsibility to answer the call for boycott because it is the largest supplier of military aid to the state of Israel.” While acknowledging that the same could be said of a number of oppressive governments, past and present, he said that in those countries, civil society groups had not asked his association for a boycott, as Palestinian groups have.” It’s far easier for those opposed to BDS to generate a reductive meme that pretends 5 words were all Marez said and make that the sole basis of their critique; no one seems to want to confront the argument that ASA scholars found this issue especially important because Israel is the largest recipient of US aid and the US is therefore complicit in apartheid-like conditions there. The ASA voted by a 2-1 margin for a boycott against academic institutions and NOT individuals in hopes that someday Palestinians will also enjoy academic and other freedoms. (12/19/13)

Ken Berwitz Corr - Your argument holds no water. If I had cherry-picked marez's words out of context and somehow changed their meaning, you'd have a point. But I did not. And his additional comment that, while there are other more oppressive governments, the USA is is Israel's biggest supplier of weapons a) does not change the fact that those other countries are more oppressive, regardless of who supplies their weapons, and b) would not be relevant unless Israel were using the USA-supplied weapons for nefarious purposes - which they are not (though I have a feeling you would disagree with me on this point). But even if Israel were doing so, why would this one country be singled out?  Illustratively, the USA, at present, is Egypt's largest military supplier as well.  Egypt is a country with no history of Democracy, little if any academic freedom, and currently is on the brink of a civil war between secularists and salafists. But no vote for BDS by marez and his group for Egypt.  How come?  Can you not see the true intention here?  My blog stands as written. (12/20/13)

Zeke ..... .... @ Corr - - - Dear Rachel - - You have NOT responded to Ken's point on the difference in how Arabs are treated in Israel versus the PA's stance of No Jews in the West Bank. . . . . . . You are looking at Apartheid through the Wrong End of the Telescope. - - - How can you fail to see the difference between Equal Rights (in Israel) and Total Exclusion (in West Bank). . . . . . . (12/20/13)

Ken Berwitz Corr - Nothing in your comment refutes a thing I have said - including the fact that marez said more than those words, since the quote I posted is fully in context. In order to accept your point I have to accept that Israel is an oppressive, apartheid-like government - a favorite claim of the anti Israel crowd. The problem is that it has no validity. Palestinian Arabs, who comprise almost 20% of Israel's population, are citizens with full rights. They can live among themselves or with Jews (there are many mixed Jewish/Arab neighborhoods in Israel, especially in the north). They travel freely throughout the country. Their children are free to attend the universities. They are able to vote in free elections - men and women both. They can run for office and serve in Israel's Knesset. Etc. etc. etc. This is apartheid to you? If you want to talk about apartheid, talk about the Palestinian Arab demand that Judea and Samaria (the west bank) be 100% rid of all Jews. THAT'S apartheid. Tell you what, though. If you can find one Arab country on the face of the earth that provides the freedoms and privileges Israel provides to its Arab population, let me know. I'll wait -- and it will be a long one. (12/19/13)

CorrectingTheRecord It's the intellectual dishonesty I object to. If people want to criticize what he said, do it, but when you and others act like those 5 words were all that was said and make your derision pivot around that point, you are being intellectually dishonest. (12/20/13)


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