Sunday, August 27, 2006
Cocooning isn't easy: It takes drive and determination to portray Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski's loss in his state's Republican primary, in which the big issue was a natural gas pipeline, as a referendum on the Iraq war. After a tense struggle, the NYT's William Yardley eventually gets there, in paragraph 18 of a 19 graf story. But just barely:
Paul Pierson, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, said Mr. Murkowski's loss, while rooted in local issues, might show something broader about voters as polls show high disapproval over how some incumbents handle issues like the Iraq war. [Emphasis on conceptual bungee cords added]
Friday, August 25, 2006
Headline of the Day: "Kazakh Elites Divided Over Borat." 11:13 P.M.
"His vision of a universal health care system is one that will be sufficiently generous that even families in, say, the 89th percentile of the income distribution never feel inclined to make private expenditures for additional services on top of what the government provides and that won't involve any potentially innovation-starving price controls. That, I'm inclined to agree, really would be very expensive.
"And if you could really pay for such a system by severely means-testing Social Security benefits I wouldn't have a particular objection to that."
I'm declaring Fallows-style victory (which is not necessarily the same thing as having won). ... 10:51 P.M
Maybe Jeff Jarvis is Right: I've resisted kicking Dell when it's down--I've been a relatively happy Dell customer for several years. But recently, as the viruses and spyware seemed to be winning, I've had problems with both my machines. So I phoned up Dell On Call, which offers software support that's not covered under warranty (i.e., it's support you have to pay for). The first person you get when you call the number is not an actual software technician, but rather the guy who signs you up for a plan. He quoted me a price of $239 for a year. I asked if that would include a third Dell machine if I bought one. He checked and said yes. He also--and this is the key--led me to believe the $239 would cover all my problems on those machines for the year. I gave him my credit card info, paid, and was transferred to the actual techie,*** who promptly told me that my $239 had only paid for 4 "incidents" of support. Each computer problem would be an "incident," meaning that after the current session I would only have three to go. ... I told him the sales guy had told me I was paying for all the service I needed for a year.** Certainly I don't remember this sales person mentioning a 4-incident limit. If he'd mentioned it I would have thought twice about paying the $239, since a single "incident" only costs (I learned) $99 ... That's not bad service. It's outright fra... well, let's just say you wouldn't have to be an aggressive, innovative prosecutor like Eliot Spitzer to bring some hurt on Dell here. (And to think Jarvis thought he had a possible class action.) ... P.S.: Keep in mind this wasn't a screw-up in Dell's ordinary warranty service. This is the extra service you have to pay for when the ordinary service that came with the machine won't do the job. ...
**--I don't think I signed any contract, so I do intend to hold Dell to their oral promise if it comes to that.