Politics and Policy

Life isn't fair. And when the source of unfairness is a government, it's worth writing about.

Drive around to build your dossier, comrade

I don't normally read the Boston Herald, but I saw a pointer to one of its articles on Slashdot. The article is about the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) plans to roll out "Automatic License Plate Recognition" (ALPR) devices, and I'm a little concerned.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1353264

Looking Ahead to the Global Freeze

June 14, 2011

SunspotsScientists today announced news that our Sun may be entering a period of hibernation, interrupting its steady, 11-year cycle of sunspot activity and resulting in cooler temperatures on the Earth. Terrestrial climatologists have been scrambling to interpret the new data and relate it to their current computer models of global warming. According to these scientists, the results are not encouraging.

"Greenhouse gas emissions by industrialized nations have been trending toward improvement over the past several years," said one researcher, adding "we're going to reach an interesting point given the news about the sunspots."

Wall of Shame: Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless

Last complaint, hopefully for a little while. Verizon Wireless (VZW) stealthily switched my BlackBerry to a ridiculous 5 megabyte/month data plan, which I didn't know about until they called to let me know I'd racked up an $1900 bill. VZW profusely apologized and promised to correct the billing. They also promised me there would be no further problems with my account on account of their mistake.

The Newest Threat to Aviation Security

I had a TSA Checkpoint ExperienceTM at ACY (Atlantic City, New Jersey) last Monday. I made the mistake of wearing cargo pants through the checkpoint, not realizing that this article of clothing is a sure sign of a terrorist. I made it through the magnetometer just fine, but I was stopped upon passing through it by an over-zealous TSA agent. In my heart, I just know that the agent would rather have sent me packing, or made me run my pants through the X-Ray machine; and that he was disappointed that he had to settle for a pat-down.

Shame on you, Disney

Today's customer service commentary comes to you courtesy of Disney, owners of the ABC television network. Disney and Cablevision (metropolitan New York cable TV provider) have been unable to come to an agreement over Cablevision's retransmission of WABC programming. At midnight this morning, Disney pulled the plug, leaving 3 million households without one of the country's major TV networks. The timing was clearly intended to tick people off, as it took place the day of the Academy Awards. This is Mickey Mouse politics at its best, figuratively and literally.

This is Cardholder Services with an important message about your account

The Cardholder Services people called me on two lines at once again. I held cell phone up to speakerphone and the reps started talking to each other. As soon as one of them observed that the lines were crossed, I shouted "They're crossed because you people called me on two lines at the same time. Take me off your damned list." Obviously, they both hung up immediately.

Leave Marriage to Organized Religions, and Civil Unions to the State

The people of Maine have decided by a mere majority that two individuals of the same gender cannot be married in their state. This same result has so far happened in every state that has passed legislation to permit and recognize same-sex marriage. The tyranny of the majority is alive and well.

Abusive eminent domain for Flight 93 memorial

Dear Sen. Kennedy:

Today I learned that the National Park Service/DOI is using eminent domain to procure land in Somerset County, PA, for a Flight 93 memorial, without having made a good faith negotiation with the landowners, merely because of impending paperwork deadlines.

The DOI has had the nearly 8 years since 9/11 to work on this. Yet it waited, and now the people of Somerset County are suffering the loss of their land and their homes so that a bureaucratic deadline could be met.

E-Filed your taxes?

I didn't E-File my taxes this year. I've never done it. I'm really not interested in unrelated third parties handling my tax data. I simply don't care how much they swear up and down that they'll hold it in confidence forever, that they won't look at it, that they won't use it to market stuff I don't want to me, and that their promises will hold true when their companies are bought. I simply don't buy it.

Corporate Bailouts, But What About the People?

With the markets and major players collapsing all around us, it's no surprise that surveys have shown declining consumer confidence. Of course, this means that we consumers would rather tighten our belts to make sure we've got extra resources for lean times, rather than continue to spend at or beyond our means, perhaps even recklessly.

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