A deceptive TV commercial, big changes to your credit score, bitcoin miners and more


Lots of consumer stuff here. Let’s start with The Watchdog’s nomination for the most misleading local political television commercial of 2022:

The announcement of attack by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, on challenger David Lowe in the recent second round of Republican primaries baffled me.

Every time I saw him, and saw him at least two dozen times, the ad confused me because Klick portrayed Lowe as an abortion advocate. I didn’t understand. How could an abortion advocate get a second round in the Republican primary?

In the announcement, Lowe is heard saying in a podcast interview, “I’m willing to sit on the floor of the House and vote no to any pro-life bill.”

That’s pretty clear, right?

Not really. It turns out that Klick’s announcement cut short the rest of Lowe’s comment, in which he criticized Republican lawmakers for regulating abortion instead of abolishing it altogether.

To abolish abortion, he said, “I would be willing to give my life for this to happen. And I would.” She left that part out.

Cutting a quote to change its meaning, whether in a movie ad, in journalism, or in political ads, is wrong.

Klick told me if Lowe voted “no” to the abortion bills. as he said. because they were not strong enough. it would be saving abortion instead of stopping it.

Lowe said: “It’s sad to see how low it is just to retain power.”

Gov. Greg Abbott with State Representative Stephanie Klick on May 17, 2022. At the time, Klick was on a second round. Watchdog dog Dave Lieber calls it a cheap trick in a TV commercial against his opponent.(Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

Cryptographic mining stops?

Do you worry that cryptocurrencies use too much electricity when we need all the power we can muster?

Bitcoin miners have set up thousands of high-powered servers that tell us they use enough electricity to power a city.

Readers ask The Watchdog if cryptocurrencies are shutting down their machines when Texas network operator ERCOT calls for conservation. So I checked.

Public Utilities Commission spokesman Rich Parsons sent me to Texas network operator ERCOT for answers.

ERCOT’s media department issued a statement: During a recent conservation warning period in mid-May, companies of all kinds voluntarily reduced their energy use.

ERCOT recommended that you leave the government for more information by contacting Texas Industrial Energy Consumers (who did not respond to my emails) and the Texas Blockchain Council, a trade association. (I don’t remember the last time a state agency sent me to a trade association for public information).

I consulted with board chairman Lee Bratcher. Last month it issued a statement saying that “some facilities will close while many will go down in the afternoons this weekend when electricity is in high demand, but then they will turn on again during the night.”

The miners are supposed to obtain permission from ERCOT to connect to the Texas network. The only news I could find was that an ERCOT working group had been set up to protect the network while the miners arrived in the state to establish operations.

Let’s hope Texas regulators become more actively involved in protecting existing customers before worrying about these energy-grabbing miners.

With its new cryptocurrency mining business on land in the city, Denton is suddenly a cryptocurrency player

Cowtown Computers

Fort Worth now claims to be the first U.S. city to establish its own cryptographic mining operation.

While real miners have thousands of machines running, Fort Worth only has three, which were donated by the Texas Blockchain Council. Fort Worth officials say each of these machines uses “the same amount of energy as a home vacuum cleaner.”

City spokesman Carlo Capua told a resident in a letter that he showed me that the project is a “very small-scale pilot program to better understand the implications and opportunities of bitcoin mining.”

In this sense, we are told that it takes the amount of electricity you use in your home for two months to produce a bitcoin.

In this 2021 photo, 14-year-old Frisco resident Ishaan Thakur explains how he is undermining ...
In this 2021 photo, 14-year-old Frisco resident Ishaan Thakur explains how he is mining cryptocurrencies with computers in his garage to earn money for college. The city of Fort Worth is also building a mini-cryptography mining setup as part of a pilot program, reports Watchdog Dave Lieber. Possibly the first city to do so.(Stewart F. House / Special Contributor)

The latest in automatic calls

On spam and illegal automatic calls, Federal Communications President Jessica Rosenworcel’s proposal to ban illegal foreign calls from using U.S. telephone networks, called gateways, was approved.

Will it work? I am skeptical, but hopeful. Unfortunately, many of my junk calls sound like they’re from the United States

The FCC is trying something new to stop spam calls from abroad, reports Watchdog Dave Lieber.
The FCC is trying something new to stop spam calls from abroad, reports Watchdog Dave Lieber.(Dreamstime / TNS)

Stop garbage rates

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau UU. declared war on garbage rates, which are known rates after you agree to buy something. These hidden fees make it harder to compare to the store.

Example: You buy a new car and the seller tries to sell you a service guarantee or a supplement like window engraving.

The office says garbage rates are especially harmful to people of color because they are more likely to take advantage of them. Banks and credit card companies are the main culprits, the office said. But you can also find these rates on concert tickets and at retailer deals.

Hi, Facebook. Anyone in the house?

A cover story in The Wall Street Journal reports that our major social media companies do not offer customer support tables, which makes it incredibly difficult to restore blocked or hacked accounts.

The Journal cited Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp as the main culprits of which you can’t find a human to talk to.

My thought: such large and powerful companies must offer customers a human voice to solve problems. Life is pretty hard when you lose access to your account. This selfishness is unacceptable.

Facebook and other social media companies should offer customer support tables, Watchdog ...
Facebook and other social media companies should offer customer support tables, says Watchdog Dave Lieber.(A Associated Press)

Improving Your Credit Score

The trio of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reporting agencies nationwide have announced that they have accepted major changes when it comes to reporting medical debt collection.

According to a letter I received from Equifax, the time period before unpaid medical debt appears on a credit report will increase from six months to one year. This gives consumers more time to pay before they have a score on their credit score.

By 2023, medical debt below $ 500 will no longer be included in credit reports.

The three major credit bureaus are changing the way they report medical debt on their credit ...
The three major credit bureaus are changing the way they report medical debt on their credit report, reports Watchdog Dave Lieber.(Callie Richmond)

Vigilant notice

If a salesperson comes to your front door saying you work with or for Oncor, say, “No, thank you.” Oncor does not send door-to-door workers trying to sell. These door knocks are probably electricity scams trying to sell you solar panels or an expensive electricity plan. Check your vehicle: does Oncor have it in it? I bet not.

If a salesperson comes to your door saying they work with or for Oncor, look at their ...
If a salesperson comes to your door saying they work with or for Oncor, look at their vehicle. Many scammers claim to be affiliated with Oncor, but this is untrue, warns Watchdog Dave Lieber.(Irwin Thompson / Staff Photographer)

A new urban park opens

It’s been almost four years since I told you about a man’s crusade to bring a new Dallas city park on a piece of land bordering the far north of Dallas. Unfortunately, Bruce Hatter passed away before his dream could be completed. Posthumously, he received the Parks Department Volunteer of the Year Award.

Well, his lobbying efforts have paid off: Moss Glen Park opens Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at 5230 Bentwood Trail, Dallas, 75252.

Good road, Bruce.

Before he died, Bruce Hatter led the movement to create a new Dallas city park in the far north ...
Before he died, Bruce Hatter led the movement to create a new Dallas city park in the far north of Dallas. Moss Glen Park officially opens Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m.(Photo courtesy)
A Dallas man has shown how to fight for a new urban park, but he will never get to see it

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