In a way, the U.S. government has lifted up the seat cushion it knows as Iraq and dug out the $6.6 billion in pocket change it believed it had misplaced during the early days of the conflict. A new report says the money was never lost, but instead was placed under the control of the Iraqi government, as intended. [More]
I love photos of urban decay and reminders of the former functions of old buildings. TV repair shop signs, for some reason, can outlast the businesses they advertise by decades. It’s hard to pack a 60″ plasma screen in your SUV and take it to the shop. Repairs still happen, especially when they’re cheaper than the cost of a replacement TV. But our friends over at HDGuru tell us that the nation’s second-largest brand, Vizio, is quick to declare televisions “unrepairable,” even when a customer is willing to pay. Even for problems that other manufacturers are able to repair themselves. [More]
Bidding wars for defense contracts make particularly fertile ground for corruption, and a federal employee may have gotten caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. Federal authorities have accused an Afghanistan-based U.S. Department of Defense employee of taking a bribe from a company there in exchange for helping to secure a government contract. The suspect was caught with a backpack stuffed with $95,000 in alleged bribe money. [More]
War’s 1975 hit song “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” is all about hugging it out and making nice, but don’t tell that four of the band’s original members, who have filed a suit against Pepsi, alleging the beverage company didn’t get proper permission to use the tune in their currently running TV spots for Pepsi Max. [More]
Tysons Corner, an upscale mall in the Washington, D.C. area, just pulled down over 400 ads that were recently posted in the city’s metro system because they looked an awful lot like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, except instead of names of soldiers they had names of famous retail stores. We’re sure they would have gone with soldier names if any of the soldiers offered great deals on today’s hottest fashions. This is really on you, America’s Finest.
Tired of taking heat for refusing to waive extra baggage fees for soldiers, American Airlines has finally caved.
Mark writes in,
My son recently was deployed to Iraq. His cell phone carrier is Alltel. Prior to leaving for Irag, he cancelled his cell phone coverage before the completion of his 2 year contract commitment. As his father, I telephoned Alltell, explained the situation and asked Alltel to have the $200 early termination fee waived. Alltel explained they only waive the $200 early termination fee if the party is DECEASED.
Seriously, that’s just messed up.
This particular device was involved in a landmark United States regulatory decision related to telecommunications. The 1968 Federal Communications Commission allowed the Carterfone and other devices to be connected directly to the AT&T network, as long as they did not cause damage to the system. This ruling created the possibility of selling devices that could connect to the phone system and opened up the market to numerous products, including answering machines, fax machines, cordless phones, computer modems and the early, dialup Internet.
The Carterphone provision was never applied to cellphones, giving providers a closed system. If Skype successfully petitions the FCC, cellphones could be “unlocked” to third-party applications such as Skype. This could be good for you, the Skype-loving consumer. —MEGHANN MARCO
Reader Robin sends in this tip about a car dealership in Ohio that is coming under fire for a radio ad in which it declares “jihad on the automotive market.” From the AP:
The price of another kind of sweet, life-nurturing crude is set to spike: thanks to a bad year in Brazil and growing consumer demand in Eastern Europe and Asia, there may not be enough coffee to meet demand over the next two years. Prices will be going up. A global coffee crisis may well be imminent.