Plane Crash Inf

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been doing a little light posting recently, and that’s because my daughter and I have been out of town this past week visiting my family in Philadelphia. Well, the phone rang tonight during dinner at my sister’s house, and when she checked the caller ID a little while later it read the following:

PLANE CRASH INF
18004483543

Curious, and a bit bewildered, my sister called the number back, only to get the automated phone system of “American Red Cross Blood Services,” with no option to reach a live person after hours.

I sure hope this is some kind of a mistake rather than a calculated effort to get people to pick up the phone or return the call, but spooky as it was at the time, imagine my family’s reaction had this call been received 48 hours later, when my daughter and I would indeed have been on an airplane heading back to Seattle.

Holy crap.

First there was email spam, and then comment spam. Is caller ID spam the next big thing?

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The phones worked better back when human operators decided which hole to plug the wire into.

    It was CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVES in executive suites who fucked up the phones!

    They put a million operators out of work and replaced them with mechanical relays that short out when water gets in them.

    Nothing works right after profit-grubbing conservatives tinker with it.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Abandoned Patient Eaten By Dogs

    Our health care system sucks. If you saw Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko” — and you shouldn’t be allowed to vote until you have — it shows what for-profit hospitals in L.A. do to patients who can’t write big checks. They put them in a cab and dump them on the sidewalk in front of the county hospital.

    Moore’s movie also shows the care people get under “socialized medicine” in countries like England and (horrors!) France. They have doctors who make house calls any hour of day or night. They have caregivers who come into people’s homes to make sure they’re properly medicated, bathed, and fed. And no one is abandoned.

    KING 5 News reports tonight that a 55-year-old cancer patient in Tacoma was found being eaten by dogs. He is on life support and barely alive.

    “‘We don’t believe the puppies attacked him but the puppies were using him as a food source due to the fact that they just didn’t know any better and he was on the ground incapacitated for a couple of days,’ said Det. Ed Troyer, Pierce Co. Sheriff’s Office.”

    (Quoted under fair use.)

    As Michael Moore asks in his film, “How did we come to this?”

    Roger Rabbit asks, “Why was the Red Cross* scaring the shit out of Goldy’s relations while an abandoned patient was being eaten by dogs?”

    * The Red Cross is a non-profit organization, except for its highly paid executives and their cronies who get RC contracts thrown their way.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Let Us Never Forget

    … which political party abandoned the thousands of volunteer rescue workers who spent weeks digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center looking for victims amid dust the lying Bush administration said wasn’t toxic.

    Moore loaded some of these rescue workers who were denied medical care for the 9/11 illnesses in the U.S. on boats and took them to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, where “enemy combatants” get better medical care than the average American worker. They were turned away there, too.

    So Moore took his patients to a Cuban clinic where they get “socialized” medical care from the commie bastards. At the Cuban pharmacy, a 9/11 rescue worker disabled by the toxic crap at the WTC site that Bush claims wasn’t there and now forced to live on $1,000 a month of Social Security was charged 5 cents for a bronchial inhaler that costs $120 in the U.S.

    That’s what capitalist health care does to you.

    So, how did we come to this? Because we have too many ignorant and gullible voters who believe the toxic crap in Republican campaign ads, that’s how. And we’ll never fix it until we reinstate literacy tests in this country. That shouldn’t be hard to do with the current conservative-leaning Supreme Court, because conservatives like the idea of excluding people from voting.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roger Rabbit’s Literacy Test

    Question 1: Which of the following countries has longer average lifespans and lower infant mortality?

    [ ] A. America
    [ ] B. Cuba

    Question 2: Which political party likes the fucked-up U.S. health care status quo?

    [ ] C. Democrats
    [ ] D. Republicans

    Question 3: What percentage of a typical U.S. drug company’s gross revenue is spent on R & R, and on marketing?

    [ ] E. Over 50% on R & D and less than 10% on marketing.
    [ ] F. Less than 10% on R & D and over 50% on marketing.

    Question 4: About 25% of private health care dollars are spent on A & O, and about 3/4 of 1% of Medicare dollars are spent on A & O. Which is more efficient, private health care or government-run health care?

    [ ] G. Private for-profit health care.
    [ ] H. The Medicare “socialized medicine” commie system.

    Question 5: Which would you rather have?

    [ ] I. Higher inflation to pay for Republican military adventures.
    [ ] J. Higher taxes on the rich to pay for all the medical care you need, even if it costs millions of dollars, without losing your home or savings.

    Question 6: Which is the more pressing need?

    [ ] K. A better automated dialing system at Red Cross.
    [ ] L. More goats for Republicans to fuck.

    If you don’t get at least 1 of the first 5 answers right, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote! I don’t give a shit how you answer #6.

  5. 6

    spews:

    Hi Goldy,

    This is Claire from the American Red Cross. I want you to know that we’ve seen your post and we are looking into this. Obviously we want to get this fixed as soon as possible.

    I will update you here when I know more.

    If you have any other details you would like to share, please feel free to email me directly.

  6. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    I didn’t sign up for text messaging, because, well, I don’t text message. If I want to send an e-mail I type out an e-mail on a reasonably sized keyboard, if I want to talk to someone I dial the phone and talk.

    The thing is, text messaging costs the cell phone companies virtually nothing in terms of bandwidth. It’s cheaper for them than voice calls. So why does it cost more to sign up for unlimited text messaging? Because they can do it.

    Of course, what to do about us dinosaurs who don’t want to pay extra for text messaging and don’t intend to use it? Why, simply charge them inordinate amounts for receiving a text message. When they complain, the cell phone company simply shrugs and offers the excuse that they “can’t” block text messaging on your phone, because (a) the phone company might want to send you a text message about your account, or (b) there may be some hypothetical local emergency where the authorities will want to send everyone a text message warning them about it (despite the fact that such a system is only in effect on a few college campuses where the student signs up to receive such messages).

    So when someone sends you a spam message trying to get you to call a number so they can tell you about their “exciting vacation opportunity”, and still claim that they didn’t violate the Do-Not-Call list (after all, you called them), it only serves the cell phone company’s interests by adding to their revenues and forcing you into paying additional for text messages you never wanted to receive.

  7. 8

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    The best way to solve the phone-call-at-dinner problem is to NOT have caller ID and let the damn answering machine pick-up the call. That way you’ll never know when one of those damn machines calls you because it will never leave a message.

  8. 9

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Roger the Ludite said:

    “They put a million operators out of work and replaced them with mechanical relays that short out when water gets in them.”

    When the people who want to be operators are faster, better and cheaper than the machines, they’ll be hired to replace the machines.

    Christ, Roger: do you remove Excel from your computer because it takes away jobs from people with pencils and paper? Get a grip! This ain’t 1189. It’s 2008!

  9. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    Actually, this looks like an example of a strategy of the financial interests which control the Republican Party. Basically, the strategy is this: (a) create a problem, then (b) profit from the problem, and then (c) get the public to pay you to alleviate the problem, then (d) never let the problem actually go away, because if it did, you would lose the money created in (a), (b), and (c).

    So, unsolicited text messages end up costing consumers money. On a small scale it isn’t much. But a few dollars a month from every American with a cell phone, whether they pay per message or pay for unlimiting texting in order to avoid the per-message fees, it adds up to quite a lot of money overall. This is a problem created entirely by the cell phone companies – they could easily allow you to block text messages if they chose to do so. The next step will be to charge you a fee for blocking text-message spam.

    The other examples of this strategy are endless. They fight tax increases which would improve the quality of drinking water, then cash in on selling bottled water to the public (“It’s safer, and tastes better, too!”). Free public TV siphoning off potential revenues? Push for cable TV – including a mandatory digital TV conversion next year. It starts off with you paying a monthly fee (“but hey, no annoying advertising, right?”), but without infrastructure improvements in broadcast facilities and technology, it eventually becomes the only game in town, with regular price increases and – surprise! Advertising added in.

    Then there’s the current oil price crisis, which they shrug and blame on China consuming more oil, acknowledge that speculators are raising the prices but claim to not have any control over that. But they don’t admit that the oil companies are, themselves, among the biggest speculators, selling back and forth to themselves so they can claim that in the end the gas prices in the pump only include a few pennies profit to the oil companies – unless you ignore the shell game and money-laundering which took place from the wellhead to the pump. Then just as the crisis reaches it’s pinacle, push to “solve” the problem by having the government issue exclusive oil leases to broad areas offshore of the U.S. which were previously off-limits, even though there are no plans to drill there in our lifetimes. See- they create the problem, and charge us to alleviate it (with below-market leases which pass the environmental risks to the public).

    Social Security is another example. With the baby boomers, we are engaged in a great experiment regarding our ability to save wealth over the span of a generation. In what format do you do that? The government’s safest method, of course, has been in T-Bills, which unfortunately mean that the next generation has to pay the bills. But they can do so without undue burden as long as they inherit a reasonably debt-free balance sheet. But the Republicans and their controlling financial interests have had their greedy eyes on the Social Security fund for decades. They think it’s unconscionable for so much money to be sitting around without them being able to tap into it and take a percentage along the way as “handling fees” of one sort or another. So they put the U.S. budget in jeaporday, then point out out difficult it will be for the next generation to pay the debt owed to Social Security, scare Americans into thinking that it’s a problem with Social Security management rather than Republican debt management, and offer the privitization program to put Social Security into the hands of Wall Street brokers and managers.

    Of course, the biggest example of creating a problem and making the American public pay for it is the Iraq war, but that’s a subject too long for even this post….

  10. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    Oh, I forgot one of my “favorites”: the identity theft scam.

    Over the past couple of decades, it has gotten remarkably easier to get a major credit card. Technology has allowed them to be processed without the troublesome trip to the bank and speaking to a loan officer. Instead, you simply fill in a few blocks on an application you received in the mail, or apply on-line over your computer, or by telephone with a call-center operator.

    Now the problem with this is that without the face-to-face contact, the opportunities for identity theft and fraud are multiplied many times over. But the credit card companies really don’t care about that. With interest rates of 27% in many cases, and overlimit and late-payment charges approaching $40.00 each, and strategies in place to ensure that those charges and higher interest rates will eventually attach to the cards (see my earlier posts on the subject), they are making a mint. Even if they have to write off all the identity theft charges, they are still making a huge profit by making it as easy as possible for people to apply for credit cards.

    In one test performed by a consumer advocate, he took an application he had received unsolicited in the mail, tore it into a dozen pieces, then taped it back together again, and filled it out with his name but with his brother’s address. Sure enough, within a couple of weeks the credit card showed up in his brother’s mailbox, along with applications for new cards and loans. When he challenged the separate company which processed the application, asking how they could process such a suspicious application without further checking, they simply replied: “We don’t get paid to reject applications, or to investigate them. We get paid to process them, regardless of how they arrive”. Clearly, preventing identity theft and fraud isn’t high on the priorities of the credit card companies.

    But that doesn’t mean they are going to write off fraudulent charges easily. An acquantence of mine was a victim of identity theft a few years back. The credit card company required her to submit sworn affidavits, proof that she was not in the city where the charges occured, and still they only removed a little over half the charges. The person she dealt with wasn’t very sympathetic. “We get a lot of people who run up charges and then claim it’s identity theft – it’s up to you to prove to us that it wasn’t you who made the charges, or someone working with you”. For the remaining un-credited charges, no degree of proof was sufficient for him to be convinced, and she was unable to “prove the negative”.

    In the meantime, the credit card companies have most of us convinced that it’s not their fault. Instead, they blame the victim. They say you must not have the best anti-virus software on your computer, or you must have left some scrap of paper in your trash which somebody could use against you. It’s your fault, not theirs.

    Notice how the profit is going to the credit card companies, but only a small portion of the risk attaches to them. For the most part, they decide how much of the risk to accept, primarily for public-relations purposes. In addition to the fraudulent charges which they decide not to cancel, the consumer pays the cost in a variety of other ways – hours and hours of investigating to discover the extent of the problem, filling out forms and affidavits and having them notarized and sent to companies around the world to cancel accounts, the absence of peace of mind that their life savings, their retirement accounts, might also be compromised.

    Now companies are coming on line which offer to provide insurance against identity theft – for a monthly fee. So this is just another example of another monthly fee which you didn’t have to pay for previously, in an attempt to alleviate a problem which was so small as to be unnoticable twenty-five years ago.

    Now, if credit card companies, which profit from the easy opening of credit cards and the ease in making fraudulent charges, were to pay the FULL costs of identity theft – full restitution to the victim, assigning tens of thousands of investigators to clean up the damaged credit reports and cancel unauthorized cards and charges, dealing with law enforcement agencies and credit bureaus to deal with the problems – then suddenly they would change their practices to make unauthorized charges and identity theft more difficult. Sure, it wouldn’t be as convenient for us to apply for, and use, credit cards. But the cost is already pegged at the highest amount they can get away with charging us anyway, so it really wouldn’t result in an increase in prices.

    By the way, have you also noticed that the credit card companies now have us conditioned to using the cards rather than paying cash? Now we pay them a little bit for each transaction – the merchant pays a fee, and sometimes we do also, plus interest and service charges. So instead of cashing our paychecks and carrying cash, we now have direct deposit and use debit/credit cards for a fee.

    I guess fighting against those tax increases to pay for increased police resources to fight robberies and other crime is really paying off for them.

  11. 12

    spews:

    Claire @6,

    Thanks for looking into this. I suppose it’s possible that the Red Cross might even play a role in contacting family members of plane crash victims, but even in that situation I’d suggest it’s an insensitive thing to put on the caller ID.

    I look forward to hearing back.

  12. 13

    David spews:

    I sent an email to the national office linking them to your post and received back –

    Dear *************:

    Thank you for contacting the American Red Cross to share your concerns. We appreciate you letting us know, as we are unaware of this situation. We are looking into this immediately to find out if this is a technical glitch or if someone has tampered with the phone line.

    Our apologies for the situation you described. Please bear with us as we investigate the source.

    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    American Red Cross Public Inquiry

  13. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 That’s spelled “Luddite” you illiterate fuck!

    You can always tell when someone is posting from a trailer park. Never learned to read. Can’t spell. Doesn’t own a dictionary. Wouldn’t know how to use one if he did. Too lazy to click on Spellcheck. Uses the non-word “ain’t” in lieu of proper grammar. Sheesh! And we let these morons vote!!

  14. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 (continued) Replacing people with machines is a real warm and fuzzy concept. Are machines consumers? You ever try to make love to one? I think your momma was a machine! Who do you think will keep the consumer economy going if only machines have jobs? And if the machine does as crappy a job as the phone company machines do, how do you fire them, and what do you replace them with, another machine? We need the featherbedding unions back!!! Things worked better and everyone except the money-grubbing CEOs were better off when we had featherbedding unions.

  15. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 “Now, if credit card companies, which profit from the easy opening of credit cards and the ease in making fraudulent charges, were to pay the FULL costs of identity theft – full restitution to the victim, assigning tens of thousands of investigators to clean up the damaged credit reports and cancel unauthorized cards and charges, dealing with law enforcement agencies and credit bureaus to deal with the problems – then suddenly they would change their practices to make unauthorized charges and identity theft more difficult.”

    That’s what class-action lawyers are for.

    P.S., Guess which political party wants to take away your right to sue companies and individuals who cause you physical and/or financial harm?

  16. 19

    spews:

    Hi Goldy and David,

    I just want to follow up with you and let you know that we agree that this is unacceptable and we’re still looking into the situation so we can get it resolved quickly.

    As David has already done, anyone with similar concerns can contact us by going to this web form: http://www.redcross.org/contactusform/

    I’ll let you know more here when I know more.

  17. 20

    spews:

    Hi Guys,

    Good news- we’ve heard from the phone carriers that the problem has been resolved. They’re working on finding the cause of the problem now, but at least we can say its stopped happening.