e dot dot dot
a mostly about the Internet blog by

November 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         


DirectTV Forgot To Stop Charging Customers For Channels That Were Blacked Out

Furnished content.


As we've detailed for some time now, while contract blackouts have almost always been an annoyance in the cable television industry, they are becoming increasingly prevalent alongside the rise of cord-cutting. Normally when we discuss cable blackouts, the discussion revolves around the entirely predictable strategy by both the broadcaster and cable operator to blame one another, all while paying customers sit without the channels they're paying for. While annoying, that is usually the extent of our comments on the matter.But DirectTV has forged a new path on how to handle broadcast blackouts. In Colorado, both DirectTV and Comcast were hit with a blackout of the Altitude Sports Network, the broadcaster for the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and more. ASN wanted, as per usual, higher fees for its broadcast rights. DirectTV and Comcast did not want to pay those higher fees. But, as part of a larger investigation into the fees Comcast and DirectTV assess their customers, the Colorado AG is looking into why DirectTV kept charging customers the regional sports fee for the channel it was no longer showing.

DirecTV and Comcast are being investigated by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who objects to the TV providers continuing to charge regional sports network (RSN) fees despite not providing one of the major regional sports networks. While Comcast is giving customers partial bill credits, DirecTV apparently hasn't done so.Weiser sent letters to the AT&T-owned DirecTV and Comcast on October 23, asking why the companies kept charging RSN fees after they stopped providing the Altitude Sports network. The network broadcasts games played by the state's major professional basketball, hockey, and soccer teams (the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Rapids, respectively). The AG's letters said that Comcast's and DirecTV's conduct "may constitute a deceptive trade practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act" and "may result in the imposition of civil penalties up to $20,000 per violation." The letters also said the AG is investigating other potentially misleading fees.
As noted, Comcast is trying now to make this right by offering partial refunds. DirectTV, at the time of this writing, apparently isn't trying to make this right at all. It's one thing to charge fee after fee in a complicated invoice constructed specifically so that paying customers have no clue what they're actually paying for, but to specifically continue to charge for a network that isn't even being broadcast at the time is especially sinister.For what it's worth, the AG both gave DirectTV some time to respond with its plans. When DirectTV didn't bother to respond on time, it probably didn't do the company any favors with respect to the AG's interest in investigating further.
Weiser's office gave both companies until November 7 to respond. Comcast said it will provide an additional, more detailed response to the AG by then. AT&T's DirecTV division hasn't responded to Weiser's office yet, Weiser's office told Ars today. We contacted AT&T today and will update this article if we get a response.The actions of DirecTV, which apparently hasn't offered credits to customers, have been "very concerning," Weiser told The Denver Post."Based on early conversations with DirecTV and AT&T, we didn't believe they were taking the request with the seriousness that they should," a spokesperson for Weiser also told the Post.
Interestingly, this is just the tip of the spear when it comes to the AG's investigation. Weiser letter also informed both cable operators that the AG was looking into how both companies assess customers fees generally, with an eye towards whether such fees would violate state law on deceptive trade practices. This, of course, is the cable television standard, so it's good to see at least one state taking a hard look at how cable TV customers are being bilked out of money with bullshit fees.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story


Read more here

posted at: 12:00am on 14-Nov-2019
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

0 comments, click here to add the first



Lawsuit: An Officer's BS Claims About 'Odor Of Marijuana' Led To 14 SWAT Team Members Pointing Guns At Our Kids

Furnished content.


Another bang-up job by our nation's drug warriors (which included the use of flashbangs!) has resulted in yet another lawsuit alleging a host of rights violations. The Louisville (KY) PD's SWAT team was in such a hurry to raid a supposed drug dealer's house, the swearing officer couldn't be bothered to get any of the facts right. (via Reason)Fourteen officers descended on Ashlea Burr and Mario Daugherty's home on October 26. The no-knock raid began with the breaking of the home's glass front door and didn't end until everyone in the house -- including three teenage children -- had assault rifles pointed at them. Despite the assurances of Detective Joseph Tapp that there would be drugs found in the house, there were no drugs found in the house.The lawsuit [PDF] and the warrant affidavit [PDF] are disturbing reads. It shows just how little is needed to secure judicial permission to point guns at innocent people. They're best read together to highlight how much bullshit Det. Tapp shoveled onto the affidavit's pages to come up with something approaching "probable cause."From the affidavit:

The complaint [an anonymous tip] stated a black male named Anthony McClain is growing marijuana and has multiple bags of marijuana packaged for sale in the front bed room.
From the complaint:
Nobody named Anthony McClain [...] lived at the house at or near the time of the raid.
Affidavit:
Metro complaint [an anonymous tip] also stated a white female named Holly was his girlfriend and owned the house.
Complaint:
A simple search of Jefferson County's PVA records would have shown that a man named Kevin Hyde owns the house.[...]Ashlea [Burr] and Mario [Daughtery] rent the house.[...]Ashlea is not white.
Affidavit:
Detective… approached the house to conduct a knock and talk.
Complaint:
[Detective] Tapp did not even attempt to knock on the door.
What makes up the bulk of the "probable cause" is Detective Tapp's nose. Tapp claimed he approached the house three times over a span of three weeks and each time was hit with the "smell of fresh marijuana." It's pretty difficult to dispute someone's sense of smell. But, by the same token, someone's subjective statement about an odor only they observed shouldn't be enough to establish probable cause.Nothing else in the affidavit points to any evidence of criminal activity other than the (unsworn) assertions of the anonymous tipster -- a tip that got all the facts about the home's owner and residents wrong. Other than the description of the house, the only objectively verifiable fact in Detective Tapp's affidavit is the linking of a car Tapp saw parked in front of the house with one of the residents of the house (Mario Daugherty) via vehicle registration records. That's some goddamn fine detective work, Detective.Thanks to Tapp's odor assertions, a family was needlessly traumatized by fourteen SWAT team members who recovered exactly zero (0) marijuana from the residence Tapp claimed offended his olfactory senses on no less than three (3) separate occasions.The "smell of marijuana" is one of the most abused tools in law enforcement's toolbox a rights violation permission slips. It's an excuse to raid houses. It's a justification for invasive searches. It's a free pass on stealing cash and cars from citizens. It's a popular premise for pretextual stops, which tend to result in all of the above, plus roadside strip search/proselytizing and/or forcible late night baptisms in nearby lakes. Any time an officer swears they smelled marijuana, magistrates should ask "And?" Someone's unverifiable claims about odor should not be allowed to morph into guns-out raids of people's homes. The sanctity of the home -- the heart of the Fourth Amendment -- deserves more protection than this.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story


Read more here

posted at: 12:00am on 14-Nov-2019
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

0 comments, click here to add the first



November 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         







RSS (site)  RSS (path)

ATOM (site)  ATOM (path)

Categories
 - blog home

 - Announcements  (2)
 - Annoyances  (0)
 - Career_Advice  (1)
 - Domains  (0)
 - Downloads  (4)
 - Ecommerce  (2368)
 - Fitness  (0)
 - Home_and_Garden  (0)
     - Cooking  (0)
     - Tools  (0)
 - Humor  (1)
 - Notices  (0)
 - Observations  (1)
 - Oddities  (2)
 - Online_Marketing  (145)
     - Affiliates  (1)
     - Merchants  (1)
 - Policy  (1606)
 - Programming  (0)
     - Browsers  (1)
     - DHTML  (0)
     - Javascript  (536)
     - PHP  (0)
     - PayPal  (1)
     - Perl  (37)
          - blosxom  (0)
     - Unidata_Universe  (22)
 - Random_Advice  (1)
 - Reading  (0)
     - Books  (0)
     - Ebooks  (1)
     - Magazines  (0)
     - Online_Articles  (4)
 - Resume_or_CV  (1)
 - Reviews  (1)
 - Rhode_Island_USA  (0)
     - Providence  (1)
 - Shop  (0)
 - Sports  (0)
     - Football  (1)
          - Cowboys  (0)
          - Patriots  (0)
     - Futbol  (1)
          - The_Rest  (0)
          - USA  (1)
 - Woodworking  (1)


Archives
 -2019  December  (12)
 -2019  November  (52)
 -2019  October  (49)
 -2019  September  (46)
 -2019  August  (52)
 -2019  July  (55)
 -2019  June  (49)
 -2019  May  (49)
 -2019  April  (81)
 -2019  March  (94)
 -2019  February  (91)
 -2019  January  (15)


My Sites

 - Millennium3Publishing.com

 - SponsorWorks.net

 - ListBug.com

 - TextEx.net

 - FindAdsHere.com

 - VisitLater.com