The Obama-Phone Is Back - But This Time It's Real

Tyler Durden's picture

While some saw the clip of the lady implying 'victory for Obama means phones for everyone' as perhaps exaggerated out-of-context right-wing propaganda - as that would be preposterous right? - it appears San Francisco took it a little more serious. As SFGate reports, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to approve (within a couple of weeks) a plan to offer homeless and other poor people in California 'virtually free cell phones and service'. The plan is funded through the federal LifeLine program and is designed to enable these individuals to 'keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives'. "This is great - it is transformative for homeless and low-income people," said San Francisco's head of homeless initiatives, adding that, fundamentally, to be in the mainstream of our society you have to have a phone." Setting up the program in California has been no easy task, officials said. "I would prefer it to be free..." said Dufty, and said he would explore other funding sources. Perhaps worth remembering the cost of kidding ourselves once again.


Via SFGate:

Homeless and other poor people in California are on track to soon get virtually free cell phones and service so they can keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.


The cell phones would be handed out through a federally funded Lifeline program - already operated by service provider Assurance Wireless in 36 other states - that is likely to win final approval in the next couple of weeks from the California Public Utilities Commission.


State PUC officials have been reviewing the Lifeline proposal from Assurance Wireless for three years. Word came Thursday that all but a minor detail had been approved, ending years of effort by advocates for homeless people.


"This is great - it is transformative for homeless and low-income people," said Bevan Dufty, San Francisco's head of homeless initiatives,




"Fundamentally, to be in the mainstream of our society you have to have a phone," he said. "And really, for the homeless population, you need a cell phone because they don't have a home to hard-wire one into. We really need this plan."




The state's decades-old Lifeline program, like those all over the country, pays for all but a few dollars of the monthly phone bill for poor people, generally meaning those whose annual income is below $14,702. But until now, California's PUC rules only authorized Lifeline service for "wireline" phones, meaning traditional phones wired into residences - and those rules didn't authorize anything for free.


Getting set up not easy

Setting up the program in California has been no easy task, officials said.


Approval of the cell phone program came Thursday from the telecommunications specialists at the CPUC, which oversees the state's Lifeline plans.




"We're very excited," said Jayne Wallace, an Assurance Wireless spokeswoman. "We know from experience this can make a big difference in people's lives."




Cost of program




Assurance Wireless first offered its free cell phone proposal to the CPUC in 2009 and got tentative clearance in 2011. It has been a slow process since.




Immediately, however, the customer will be rolled into Assurance Wireless' Lifeline plan, which will provide 250 free minutes of talk time and 250 free text messages per month. The customer will then get the initial $20 back as a credit to be used whenever he or she exceeds the talk and text limits.


"I would prefer it to be free, but this at least opens the door," said Dufty. He said he would explore if other funding sources could backfill the up-front $20 charge.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Aziz's picture

California has a bigger welfare state than many European countries.

Big Slick's picture

Opportunity to link a GREAT 2011 article by Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker, The Big Short) on California going broke...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Green shoots everywhere, right bitches? Obamafones and Obama-mortages. Free candy and cupcakes. Rainbows & Skittle shitting Unicorns...

There is no BLS manipulation of data, and the main stream media is objective and does a great jobs of reporting on matters of significance, the important institution that it is....oh, and banks are solvent, it's a great time to buy a home (NAR! bitchez), "there's a lot of money on the sidelines," and American Household's are not only NOT in financial ruins by and large, but they're building net-positive wealth under Obamney and this great global economy, with the great new, high wage, full time jobs that are being created by the dozens of millions for young and old alike, again--

- this shit is fucking incredible..

The fractional fiat federal reserve bank is backing up it's talk of "strong dollar is a priority" with concrete action, as is Treasury, and Bernanke & gang would never just go down the easy yet perilous path of re-igniting asset bubbles, in equities or soverign bonds (as well as corporate bonds and just about every other asset class) as a way of attempting to kick the can down the road some more, there aren't 47 million+ people on EBT/SNAP, nor another 60 million on Social Security Disability, Medicaid, aid to families with dependent children, home heating assistance and other utility assistance, extended unemployment or other forms of direct transfer benefits (so, 1/3 of the population isn't on some form of government teat), either.

The deficit spending is reasonable, our national debt is not out of proportion to our means to pay it down absent debasement of our currency at 16.3 trillion as officially stated (let alone the actual 60+ trillion that it really amounts to), the real rate of unemployment is under 8% (and not close to 15% that U6 would suggest, let alone a more accurate 25% easily if survey methods were more accurate and labor participation rates were truly factored into the equation), the real rate of GDP growth is above 2.2%, and we're back on a sustainable path of economic prosperity.

Oh, and the media would never bury economic bad news before the election, or attempt to delay its release, in order to improve the odds of securing Obamney's re-election.

Fuckin' carnival ride of the worst order...


US manufacturing shrinks in November to 3-year low

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009, one month after the Great Recession ended. Worries about automatic tax increases in the New Year cut demand for factory orders and manufacturing jobs.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing conditions fell to a reading of 49.5. That’s down from 51.7 in October.

a growing concern's picture

 CypherYou know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? 

[Takes a bite of steak

Ignorance is bliss. 

caconhma's picture

This shit cannot last long. The country, the entire country is doomed.

Why shall I work and pay for my house, my car, my food, my phone, etc., if others don't? It doesn't make any fucking sense. In the present America, one who steals most is a king! Looks like Judea-Christian culture, the Hollywood, the mass media, and educational system have ruined America. There is no way back. It cannot be fixed.

My fellow Americans, we are doomed. Buy gold and guns. The easy life is about over.

Ginsengbull's picture

America is simply drunk on debt.


Drinking causes confrontation.


Guns resolve confrontation.


It will all work itself out eventually.

LetThemEatRand's picture

So the biggest gun wins?   How many nukes, stealth bombers, armored vehicles and guided weapons do you have?  If your answer is none, then you are advocating for a solution that has an outcome you don't want.  Let me guess -- you cheered on Star Wars under Reagan, right? 

akak's picture

It's simply amazing how most of your "guesses" (assumptions, non-sequiturs, red herrings, strawmen) are invariably incorrect.

LetThemEatRand's picture

ditto, akak.   Convinced?

akak's picture

It's amusing to see how intelligent you believe yourself to be, when virtually every one of your posts is a mishmash of screaming logical errors and failures in reason.  I find it almost impossible to believe that somebody who can compose complete sentences is so apparently and fundamentally lacking in the ability to analytically and logically process information.  Suffice it to say that you clearly have never taken a logic class --- or that you failed it if you did.

Believe it or not, I do not say the above to ridicule or insult you; you really do need to realize that you frequently, if not almost invariably, make a fool of yourself with all your assumptions, non sequiturs, strawman arguments and irrational conclusions.

All the many downarrows that your comments receive here are not randomly given, I assure you.

LetThemEatRand's picture

So I lack in logic, while you post nothing but a personal attack on me that answers absolutely none of my points.  Brilliant response, that will no doubt obtain many up arrows here.  Bravo.

akak's picture

Yes, you do very frequently post illogical comments, and no, that is not a personal attack, merely an observation.  Pointing out failures in logic is not an insult, as difficult as it may be for you to accept.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Oh shit, you got me on that one.  Your personal attacks are objectively true because they are merely an "observation."  By you.  Fuck man.  You are one smart cookie.

Harlequin001's picture

Aw come on guys, think of the brilliance!

All California needs to do is offer the same free phones to the Brits and French and every other penniless twat on the planet that doesn't have a job or the means or the capital to create one and the poor and unemployed can really go global with their job hunting.

This could double GDP, overnight, and emigration too!

Question is, 'why would someone in Texas want to pay for this?

smlbizman's picture

next step is to give them a house so they can charge their new phone....

Harlequin001's picture

How about a bank account, car, and holidays abroad, just so that they can feel refreshed whilst they make their free job hunting calls at god-knows-whose expense?

cos the way I see it, if everyones too busy making free calls whilst doing their government provided job, who's going to grow food, and make stuff?

We're all going to have loads of money and no goods. What happens then?

I mean that's never happened before has it?

smlbizman's picture

i have a rental that is occupied by section 8 residents....the guy is in his 40's has a therapist provided  to him at his house once a week because he just doesnt feel good about himself.....what do you think the cost would be to you for ths same private sector service?

FrankDrakman's picture

He has the rapist provided to him at his house once a week? Is that because he has a low sex drive, or he's all shagged out after a single session?

Harlequin001's picture

People tend to feel better about themselves when they can do some productive work.

How about we kick the man in the pants, throw him out on the fucking street, and tell him to go and get a job.

Now that is something that's never been tried before, well not in a fiat money environment anyway.

What really fucks me off is that we have no political leaders, and I mean anywhere. They are all queing up to give freebies to the lazy and fucking idle at my expense just so they can get elected and run the country for a while.

I mean, where are the fucking police whilst these twats raid my back pocket?

Where the fuck are the troops to defend my fucking rights to own ANYTHING?

Do I have any rights anymore?

The answer is YES, but not in the country I live in.

marathonman's picture

Where are the police?  They are funding the public police unions that fund and intimidate the politicians that are raiding your back pocket to pay for their freaking pensions!  The troops?  They are the ultimate bankers collection arm for raiding the value of your dollar through inflation and stealing other nations resources for the likes of Blankfein, Dimon, etc.  The reality is depressing, no?

TWSceptic's picture

He tries to help you and explain you're making logical errors and you respond with yet another logical error genius.jpg

akak's picture

I thought I smelled the foul whiff of dog breath.

Irrational birds of a feather ...

LetThemEatRand's picture

Do you have anything at all to say other than "you're wrong?"  

akak's picture

You're generally a smug and insufferable asshole, too.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Now I'm convinced of your point, though I have absolutely no idea what it is (like you).

prains's picture

the girl in the red t shirt is really throwing me off my game otherwise i'd be in on this

old naughty's picture

No one's wrong. It's Benobummer wet dream became our reality.

TWSceptic's picture

No argument can convince you since you already accepted that any argument conflicting with your ideology must be wrong. So what needs to happen first is you need to critically look at the dogmas you have accepted, only then your mind can accept logical thinking. This is no ad hominem, I've been where you are.

Michaelwiseguy's picture

New video.

When the troops lose faith in the people running their government.  Check.

High Ranking US Major General Exposes September 11

rocker's picture

HSBC off the Hook on money-laundering. Regulators don't want to upset the stable Banking System. LOL on that.

Did ZH miss this one?  Dam banksters still not going to Jail.  Nobody Cares.  Oh Well, might as well do another bubble.    

Michaelwiseguy's picture

You'd be amazed at the massive numbers of people who know all about this shit and do care. Just not enough people in high places and on TV to vocalize the outrageousness of the situation. Too many enemies of the people among us.

caconhma's picture

Afghan people don't have nukes, stealth bombers, armored vehicles and/or guided weapons. Nevertheless, they have destroyed the Soviet Union and the USA.

Do you really think Obama or whoever is in the White House will ever use nukes and stealth bombers against American people? Remember there are no places to run and hide anymore. Do you expect Chinese or Russians will provide a safe haven for American president or any other US politicians?

magpie's picture

I might know a country that would consider harbouring George W. Bush...but not Obama.

Mentaliusanything's picture

I should advise you that the Afghan nation has never been defeated. Never

Gengas Khan called that nation "A stone in my shoe" and retreated never to conquer again

Alexander the Great was destroyed by them just by attrition. He went home in his underwear.

The Mighty British Empire could not and by that, India realized it had power to follow the Afghans to show them the door. 

Russia's defeat (if you call it that) set the scene for the end of that Communist state. So weakened it fell

America is now paying the same price... and for what.

History and Empires have been totally destroyed by this nation of Goat herders and Poppy growers.

Read this

 from a young reporter on the front line during the British Occupation. Its a fine read from one, Winston Churchill and goes to show that "those that do not learn from history are Doomed to repeat it"

Please feel free to send it to those who insist one bashing American service people against a rock that will not move despite 2500 years of others trying to tame them.

Ginsengbull's picture

Every bullet I handload becomes a precision guided weapon.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Nobody likes an angry drunk.

Blotsky's picture

Looks like Judea-Christian culture, the Hollywood, the mass media, and educational system have ruined America. There is no way back. It cannot be fixed.


2 Thessalonians 3:10

Or even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.



The problem is not Christianity, though hypocrites abound.

HellFish's picture

Thanks for pointing that out.

yrbmegr's picture

"hypocrites abound"

Alas, true.

marathonman's picture

I'd just point out that Jesus didn't get the execution order until he overturned the money changers table in front of the temple.  That's when the execution order went out.  Same now as it was then. 

yrbmegr's picture

Loosen your corset and take a big breath.  The sky is not actually falling.  Taxes are going up.  Slightly.  Spending is going down.  Slightly.  Geez, you can cut the hyperbole with a knife in here.

bloostar's picture

Ditto for UK. What a total joke the 'west' has become. Worked all my life so far for what I 'need' and I'm still using a 'brick' for a phone with no house to my name..and wasters like this get a free iphone?!

Alpo for Granny's picture

I always look forward to your posts TruthInSunshine.  This one was a gem.


Mentaliusanything's picture

And from me. thanks TIS. Your views are sometimes harsh but never the less thoughtful and generally balanced.

You have been around a long time and I search for your Common sense replies. I alway leave knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Let me just be the first to ask -- who the fuck cares if CA wants to give phones to poor people on the belief that it will help them get jobs?   Ron Paul -- for whom I voted -- believes in states' rights.  Do you?   If they want to legalize pot, who cares other than the citizens of that state (I am a resident of FL, where the governor thinks the answer to more pot is more private prisons), and who cares if they think that demand-side economics works better than supply-side?   Seems to me that there is a lot of hypocrisy in anyone here who does not live in CA trying to dictate what they think is best.

With the exception of shitholes like TX whose economies are still based on drilling collective oil for individual profit, CA seems to have done pretty well in terms of actual production (the computer operating system on which you post your favorable response ;) to this post was probably invented there or another West Coast state that will remain nameless because they allow but fucking -- but fuck those commies).

Ginsengbull's picture

California sucks, and I hope it falls into the ocean.


They have a states right... to go to hell.

goldfish1's picture

Never been there I take it?

Anyway, I want a free phone.