Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Warner Cable vs Fox

Being a previous Time Warner employee, and now more of a consumer, I thought I would mention some of the points about this whole thing that don't get mentioned everywhere.

  • The money that Fox wants Time Warner to pay goes straight to the affiliates. Therefore, whatever price increases come from this won't support any Fox programming other than local news and such. Yet Fox will, of course, demand that Time Warner remove all Fox programming, including what you've already paid for.
  • Most customers want to be able to pay for only those channels that they watch. Time Warner is not against this idea. There are contracts, however, with both the cities they operate in and the various networks that specify that Time Warner CANNOT do that.
  • Why all the contracts, and why are only the cable companies affected? In order to build and maintain all of the infrastructure required to operate a cable company, Time Warner secures certain rights with the areas that they build in and with the networks that they will carry. Otherwise, they could end up paying millions of dollars to build a network in a city or area and then end up with no customers. Satellite, for obvious reasons, needs no area specific infrastructure. They can just broadcast their signal wherever they want.
  • Fox feels that Time Warner should be paying more than they are for the privilege of carrying their programming since Time Warner does turn a profit off of it. Also, there is probably some angst here due to Time Warner and pretty much every other carrier of television programming offering and pushing DVRs, which are really killing advertising revenues, but that's mainly speculation on my part.
  • Fox doesn't want to agree to arbitration because Time Warner Cable has a history of drawing these things out like crazy. However, since it would be the FCC arbitrating, I kind of think Fox is being a bit, I don't know, immature? The last person Time Warner Cable wants to piss off is the government.
Well, those are my thoughts on the whole thing. Take them as you will. Leave comments if you have any questions and I'll answer them as best I can.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lesbian For Mayor In Houston Texas?! Congratulations, Annise Parker!

Wow! Living two hours away, I didn't even know there was a lesbian running. I'm...shocked. And very, very happy.

If a lesbian woman can win the majority in the biggest city in TEXAS of all places... Well, let's just say that if someone were to have asked me to name something that would instill a bit of faith in humanity into me, I may have jokingly said something along the lines of "A lesbian mayor in Houston". However, I would've said it jokingly, thinking that wouldn't even be slightly plausible.

I'm unbelievably glad it has happened, though, and just wanted to mention it in my little corner of cyberspace. Congratulations, Annise Parker! Time for me to do some research on this person...

Here's the story.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Velocity Credit Union and Private Insurance

So, I go to do a deposit today at my credit union, Velocity, and they ask me to vote on something. Seriously, that's how it came across at first. My first thought was, whoa, okay, this feels scammy...

So I asked if, instead of voting, I could get some sort of information on exactly what I'm voting on. As I'm doing this, I'm noticing two vehicles pull away, having put their "ballots" into a bag being held by one of the credit union reps. It's obvious that not everyone is asking for more information. Yay, sheep.

Anyway, Velocity Credit Union in Austin is attempting to switch to a private insurance company, away from the NCUA (which is basically the FDIC for credit unions).

The first thing I did is look over the literature that Velocity gave me. Basically, the reason Velocity wants to switch is because they're going to have to pay NCUA a premium of $675,106 and, from the information I've gathered, this is due to other, larger credit unions having failed, making the NCUA pay out, which means their funds are not where they should be.

So, Velocity wants me to put my money at risk by not having it federally insured so that they don't have to pay their part to help the country get back on its feet. Great.

Oh, but they did mention that the board of directors voted unanimously to switch to the private insurance. Considering this would probably come directly out of their paychecks, I'm sure they did.

Included in the information was a brochure for American Share Insurance (ASI), the private company they want to switch to, which was nothing but a financial report with the words STRONG, INDEPENDENT, and RELIABLE written on the front in huge letters. Ooh, big letters, how convincing...

After doing some research on ASI, I'm none too reassured. In credit unions insured by ASI, there is absolutely nothing protecting the money should ASI go belly up.

How long do you suppose the one and only private insurer of credit unions would survive if the majority of their members were to go under? I'm thinking not long. At least with government insurance, we know that the government will make sure that we have our money...they've already done so multiple times with bank bailouts.

Those Velocity Credit Union members like me, who just have a savings and checking account, stand to gain nothing from this switch, but stand to lose everything. No thanks. I'll be voting no, and will probably be jumping ship should this get voted in.

I just hope people take the time to read and research before they vote, though going off the severe lack of information about the subject, I'm thinking people aren't.