Monkey Cage Redirect

by Henry on November 21, 2008

It appears that The Monkey Cage, a blog that I contribute to together with a bunch of other political scientists, has been domain squatted. Hence, it will no longer be themonkeycage.org, unless we somehow manage to get it back (fat chance). As soon as the domain name propagates (probably 24 hours or so) it will be “http://themonkeycage.net”:http://themonkeycage.net. Those of you who read the blog please update accordingly – I’d be grateful if those of you who have blogs that are likely to be read by Monkey Cage readers passed on the information about the new URL.\

UPDATE: It looks as though the problem isn’t as bad as I had thought – one of my co-bloggers (who shall remain nameless) had forgotten to renew the URL GoDaddy screwed up the renewal of the URL and it is simply going to the registrar’s home page. So the old URL should be back soon – but the new one will work too.

Ahem

by Daniel on November 21, 2008

Budweiser, eh?

I asked the brewmaster, Jean-Marie Rock, which American beer he likes best. He thought for a moment, squinting down his bladelike nose, and narrowed his lips to a point. Then he raised a finger in the air. “Budweiser!” he said. “Tell them that the brewer at Orval likes Budweiser!” He smiled. “I know they detest it, but it is quite good.”

Thanks very much for the heads up to Luis Enrique and Unfogged. Sweet vindication, albeit coming from a guy with pointed lips. Other gems from the article:

“When a brewer says, ‘This has more hops in it than anything you’ve had in your life—are you man enough to drink it?,’ it’s sort of like a chef saying, ‘This stew has more salt in it than anything you’ve ever had—are you man enough to eat it?’ ”

Microbrewers, gahhh.

End of the beginning?

by John Quiggin on November 21, 2008

The failure of Citigroup, which looks increasingly likely to happen in the near future, would mark the end of the beginning of the financial crisis. Until now, the prevailing view has been that the crisis and recession will pass in a year or so, after which things will go back, more or less, to the way they were, with a few less financial institutions, and a bit more regulation. A Citigroup failure would put paid to that idea.

[click to continue…]

E-Fax hell

by Henry on November 21, 2008

Some consumer venting. In 2006, I used “E-Fax”:http://www.efax.com for several months, and then cancelled the service. At that point, it was necessary to “use a chat client”:http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/archives/2004/04/05/cancelling-efax-service/ to cancel – I presume in order to increase the chance of retention by raising hurdles for customers who wish to depart. After going through a lengthy and tedious process of telling the E-Fax representative that no, I did not want to get two months service free to encourage me to stay, I quit, and was told by the representative that my account was cancelled. Story over – or so I thought. Then today, I check the credit card account that the E-fax account billed to (it’s automatically balanced and one that I rarely use) and discover that E-fax have never cancelled, and have been billing me $16.95 a month for the last two years. I call customer service, and eventually get transferred to a supervisor called ‘Martha’ who is polite, but insists (a) that their customer records show that I accepted the offer of two months free service to stay (which is flatly untrue), (b) that the transcript of the chat conversation can’t be found (and because it can’t, she suggests that I must have called to cancel, which was an impossibility at the time), and (c ) that their inflexible policy is only to refund for a maximum of four months of service. She conceded that the online chat agents were encouraged to retain customers – when I asked whether or not their pay reflected their retention success, she told me that she didn’t know, because they were based in India (but suggested, without ever quite explicitly saying so, that they weren’t – I strongly suspect from my knowledge of how these subcontracting relations work that this isn’t true).

Yes – this is partly my own fault for not checking all my accounts regularly to be sure that weird things aren’t happening – but it has left a pretty bad taste in my mouth regarding E-Fax and its business model (a couple of cursory Google searches suggest that I am not the only unhappy customer). So I strongly recommend that before people think about signing up for E-fax, they consider the difficulties of cancelling, the adoption by the company of a cancellation system that provides you with no record to prove that you have cancelled, when in fact you have, and the fact that the sales agent in my case at least seems to have falsely recorded the outcome of our interaction. I told the representative that I understood that this was the policy of the company, but that I would be blogging it to express my strong dissatisfaction – so here it is (and may it put a pox and a plague their Google searches).