T-Mobile facing charges for bogus phone bills
Updated at 9:02 p.m. The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint today charging T-Mobile with making hundreds of millions of dollars by placing dubious charges on its customers' phone bills. According to the FTC press release, T-Mobile used a practice known as “cramming” to charge customers for fake subscriptions to content such as flirting tips or celebrity gossip. The company then pocketed up to 40 percent of the subscription amount. The FTC claims that customers were charged for these services without their consent, often not receiving full refunds after they detected the scam. T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere called the FTC’s complaint “unfounded and without merit,” according to a Seattle Times report. — E.W.
Dear Parent, Your child was left behind
Late this summer, thousands of parents across the state will get a letter from their school districts informing them that their child’s school is failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards. These parents have two options: They can enroll their kids in tutoring programs or send them to better-performing schools. Either way, the state foots the bill. Unfortunately, there aren’t always better-performing schools nearby. That’s one reason Randy Dorn, Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, is asking the US Department of Education to exempt Washington school districts from its letter-writing campaign.
"I’ve been an opponent of No Child Left Behind for many years now,” Dorn said in a statement. “It’s only hurting our students and our schools." In April, Washington became the first state to lose its No Child Left Behind waiver — along with $40 million in education funding — after state legislators failed to make student performance part of teacher evaluations. — M.L.
Pot and programmers unite
2:44 p.m. Magical Butter hosted the first-ever Cannabis Tech Meetup last night, in part to show nerds and pot-enthusiasts how they can get high with a little help from … an appliance? That’s right. Garyn Angel, founder and CEO of the Seattle-based company, has created a machine that mimics a large coffee pot (while offering a different kind of fix), infusing fats, oils and butters with marijuana magic, or other botanical extractions. The company’s warehouse Magical Butter Studios is striving to be the “epicenter for the cannabis community” Jeremy Cooper, chef and director of Magical Butter’s West Coast operations, told GeekWire.
What will Magic Butter serve up next, other than future networking events and a food truck offering TCH in your PB&J? A new bluetooth-enabled model of the Magic Butter machine, allowing users to upload and download their favorite edible recipes. — E.W.
What's worse . . . ?
A Seattle Weekly report on Monday questioned whether the loss of the Sonics may put the brakes on the region’s basketball fame. In the past decade, 11 first-round NBA draft picks came out of Seattle. These homegrown hoopsters all grew up during the Sonic’s golden age, when Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton ruled the court. Without a hometown NBA team, will Seattle (gasp) lose interest in basketball and let the legacy die? Or should we be more worried about a recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, which found that since 2008 Washington owned the second-highest average tuition increase for public, four-year colleges in the country. Hmmm. Fewer college grads vs. fewer NBA first-round draft picks. Tough choice. — E.W.
New transportation leader for city
Mayor Ed Murray will name a director with "progressive" credentials to head the Seattle Department of Transportation, according to Publicola. The report says Murray's pick is a former Chicago deputy director of transportation, Scott Kubly. The Chicago tie could be significant, because the Windy City has a reputation for actually carrying out bike and transit improvements. And its 50-mile system of bike lanes protected from traffic pretty much puts Seattle to total shame. With Kubly coming here, could bike riders also dare dream that the city might actually complete the Burke-Gilman missing link segment through Ballard? So far, SDOT'S more visible accomplishments on that score include posting a blog update on the project every year or so. Yes, we know the city has faced opposition from a couple of businesses, but could a little Chicago-style cracking of the whip be in order? — J.C.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!