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Journal: Hell yes! Take that, you fear-mongering tea-baggers

Journal by Doomdark

FINALLY something good out of US of A -- after almost a century of farting around, country starts getting on track with handling health-care. With small, staggering drunkard steps, perhaps so, but towards right direction. It is amazing what over-paying by 100 - 200%, and getting warm-fuzzy feeling (high customer satisfaction) coupled with provably poor results (mediocre life expectancy, high infant mortality) can do. Or, perhaps just the first competent president in couple of decades.

Either way, this once again proves Winston Churchill's hauntingly insightful quip of americans always doing the right thing after exhausting other options. I take that as a realistically-optimistic view (there are countries that don't do it even then), and advice to always apply plenty of patience when considering US politics, direction.

Businesses

Journal: CRAs (Credit Reporting Agencies), legalized extortion

Journal by Doomdark
Note to self: Credit Reporting Agencies (big three) suck, to varying degrees. I wish they didn't have the stranglehold over customers of all sorts. Nowadays it matters little if you have been a loyal customer of a bank for a decade. If the next guy from the street has better credit score, they are in and you are out. Banks (and even more so, car dealers, retail stores) often feel more like mouthpieces of CRAs when one applies for credit.

At the top of the (s)hitlist is worst of them all, Equifax. Scumbags have apparently managed to hide the required-by-law access to free reports (under specific circumstances) so there seems to be no way to access them. And trying to check if at some point during web ordering one could specify "yes, I was denied credit and am entitled to one free copy" option (as is the case with others) is useless. Before you know it, you have paid ten bucks for their crappy report that has 11 spelling of your name, 7 bogus addresses and only half of your actual employees.

Slightly better is Experian. Not much better, but at least it is possible to get the freebie report, and they do point it out (albeit not via web). And they point out specifically when you are actually ordering a report, and exact fees.

And finally, Best in Show, Trans-union. Compared to competition, they actually look like a decent company. They appropriately point out consumer's rights, show the way to web form that allows one to order various reports and dispute info. And list exact fees as well as circumstances under which various discount fees apply. And on top of that, their 'basic' rates are lower than competitors'. They also offer the possibility to "upgrade" from free report to one with score, by paying difference between full prices of matching reports. At least that's fair enough; they are in business of selling things. And on top of actually acting as a somewhat respectable business, their web site looks better than the other two. Imagine that.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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