Phonetic Guide For Bush

This is priceless (Reuters, emphasis mine):

When Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, the White House inadvertently showed exactly how — with a phonetic pronunciation guide on the teleprompter to get him past troublesome names of countries and world leaders.

The White House was left scrambling to explain after a marked-up draft of Bush’s speech popped up briefly on the U.N. Web site as he delivered his remarks, giving a rare glimpse of the special guidance he gets for major addresses.

How amusing the White House felt the urgent need to explain this away.

At a speech during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney earlier this month, Bush seemed to confuse the organization with OPEC and spoke of Austrian troops in Iraq when he meant to say Australian.

Relax my fellow Americans.  We are in good hands.

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Gouging Customers, the Verizon Way

Hey there campers. Got a big business? Want to score some easy cash? Here’s how in 5 easy steps:

  1. Contracts contracts contracts! If a customer doesn’t commit to at least 2 years of unwavering product loyalty, screw them in their wallet.
  2. Plans. Different charges for different folks. Why make your customers pay for what they don’t need?
  3. Answer? It’s profit baby! In the lucky happy event a customer goes over their monthly allowance, charge them till the cows come home. (Be sure to shoot the cows).
  4. Remember, changing plans costs money… for the customer! Unless they agree to another 2 years of nifty special loyalty time.
  5. In fact, why not just assume they want this and update their loyalty preferences every time they change a plan or replace a phone. The customer will thank you (but not over the phone. That costs 45 cents a minute when they exceed their minutes allotment).

On a related note, there’s some cell phone legislation in the works (MN Daily):

On the subject of early termination fees, Farren said while prepaid cell phone service exists as an alternative to a long-term contract, “85 percent of people choose the contract because of the tremendous savings that you can get through the contract. An early termination fee only becomes an issue when the consumer decides to renege on a contract they voluntarily signed.”

Yeah they signed it, because cell phones literally double in price, and there is no alternative when it comes to monthly service.

And the wireless carriers are whining that this will create “less choices” and “higher prices” for consumers. Higher prices?

“For consumers, I think it would be helpful, but not for T-Mobile or the (other) phone companies,” she said.

“I think this is how the phone companies make profit,” Jeylani said, referring to stipulations such as early termination fees.

RCR News has some choice quotes:

“Most wireless carriers advertise a price significantly lower than the bill consumers pay each month, adding mysterious regulatory charges and other junk fees. If this legislation is passed it would go a long ways toward eliminating those shenanigans,” said Chris Murray, senior counsel for Consumers Union.

“For most wireless users, their wireless company is also their local telephone monopoly, and nobody can offer the same bundle of wireless, local phone and high-speed Internet. The wireless industry will blow a lot of hot air trying to convince you that they’re so competitive, they don’t need oversight. One quick glance at their anti-consumer practices demonstrates otherwise,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America.

If companies behaved, we wouldn’t need regulation.

(image source: future of the book)