Saturday, March 16, 2013

Send a Message - Not On Our Backs!

From Bernie Sanders:

Send a Message to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner:  No Budget Deal on Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick and the Poor.
At a time when the middle class is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider, we demand that the federal budget not be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country. 
A federal budget that reduces the deficit by cutting cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and disabled veterans, raising the Medicare eligibility age and lowering tax rates for the most profitable corporations in this country is not a grand bargain.  It is a bad bargain.
We oppose the chained-CPI, a new way to measure inflation and consumer prices designed to cut benefits for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and their survivors.
We are strongly opposed to benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the needs of our veterans.
We demand a budget that puts millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs.
We demand a budget that makes sure that the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations pay their fair share.

Note: The above button will redirect you to Bernie Sanders Website.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amazon Closed Captioning Non-compliance

E-mail query to customer service:

The continued lack of closed captioning (or, alternatively, subtitles) for video programming which requires it per FCC rules is baffling.

One of the reasons I subscribe to Amazon Prime is access to Amazon Instant Video. Non-compliance with FCC rules by Amazon as the distributor and/or by the content owners impacts my ability to view videos on your site.

I can only assume that non-compliance is not a monetary issue, as a modest investment in this area should or will provide sufficient returns to cover expenses.

Your contractual agreements with content owners are modified because of FCC requirements such that they are now legally obligated to provide your company with available closed captioning for inclusion with redistributed video programming. The issue then becomes the pass-through by you to the end user of included closed captioning content.

As there is some programming on your site which does include closed captioning, the question then becomes not one of hardware or software, but of effort. As your company could not have been ignorant of future FCC requirements, compliance efforts should have begun long ago. Your lack of progress apparently shows either disregard for your customers interests and needs, or lack of interest in complying with federal laws, or a surprising lack of competence by the Amazon Instant Video team employees or supervisors. The continuation of that lack of progress speaks more to a problem at the upper levels of your corporation.

I look forward to a reply.

See IPR Files Report on Compliance with FCC’s IP Captioning Rules, Complaint against Amazon..

Amazon's reply:

Your Account
Message From Customer Service


I'm sorry for the inconvenience caused.

I understand your concern about Closed Captions for Amazon Instant Videos.

Amazon Instant Video titles that include closed captioning can be accessed on the website. You can find a list of compatible devices that also include closed captioning on our Help pages:

Support for additional devices is coming soon.

While browsing or searching the Amazon Instant Video store in your web browser, you can filter your view so that only those videos that include closed captions appear. You can also see the "CC" symbol on the video detail pages for supported videos.

To browse for videos with closed captioning:

1. From your web browser, go to the Amazon Instant Video store.
2. Go to the Movies or TV Shows storefronts.
3. Set the "Subtitles & Closed Captioning" filter in the left-hand column, and then browse the results.

To search for videos with closed captioning:

1. From your web browser, go to the Amazon Instant Video store.
2. Search for a video title or keyword, and then set the "Subtitles & Closed Captioning" filter to display only those videos that both match your search term and include closed captions.

Some foreign language videos are available in both dubbed and subtitled versions. You can find these by searching on "subtitle" in the Amazon Instant Video store.

If closed captions are supported for your device, you can turn them on by launching a video that has closed captions, selecting the "CC" option in the player controls, turning on closed captions, and then selecting the display options you want. To turn closed captions off again, select the "CC" option in the player controls, and then turn off closed captions.

If you still need more information on Closed Captions, then please contact us via phone/chat Amazon Instant Video specialists can be reached by 24 hours a day, seven days a week using the following link:

I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,
Did I solve your problem?
Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.
Thank you.

My answer to their reply:

Re: Inquiry reply ref A2QFA5SL5XRV75

I'm not sure if you read anything in my inquiry other than the words "closed captioning". I do not have any questions about what devices support CC, or how to turn CC on or off, or how to find videos with CC or subtitles. Your reply answers only questions I did not ask. Please re-read my inquiry.

Thank you.

Keith Wilson

Amazon's response to my request to re-read my inquiry:

Your Account
Message From Customer Service

I've reviewed our previous correspondence with you, and I'm very sorry about the incorrect information you received.

Please understand that the content provided on our website is purely depended on our content providers/publishers

Also, I'm not a legal representative of, I can't answer/justify the question. To reach our legal representative for this issue, please contact:

Michael Callahan
PO Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108

I hope this information helps you to reach the right department to receive the answer you expect.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,
Santhosh P
Did I solve your problem?
Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.
Thank you.

In other words, they are saying that what we get is what they get from their content providers/ publishers; they are not responsible. Any other answer would have to come from their legal department.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Social Security and Chained CPI

I am entirely dependent upon Social Security. I barely have enough each month to get by. I cannot afford a MediGap policy, so I have to pay Medicare deductibles and co-payments, as well as the full cost for vision and dental. Cutting my benefits hurts me while not decreasing national deficits or the National Debt in any way. Social Security has its own revenue stream, and is the most successful retirement and disability insurance program ever. Decreasing current benefits instead of raising the payroll taxable salary cap to extend Social Security's 100% benefit payout capability beyond 2033 is making a choice to hurt those who can least afford it, versus having a few more well-off people spend the same percentage of their income on payroll taxes as do people making less than $100,000. I would ask those who are considering this proposal to think of how people who's benefits are cut are going to get the help they need, and how much that help will have to be subsidized in other ways by governments and charities. The question becomes, do we really want to in effect subsidize the incomes of the wealthy?

Note: This is in response to a request to add my name as a citizen supporter of the Grayson-Takano letter (from Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano) against benefit cuts, so that "other congressional offices see the broad public support", and a request that "If cutting Social Security benefits would impact you, tell us how."