Voter ID laws

Voter identification laws are getting a lot of attention in Virginia this legislative season.

Proponents are correctly noting that ID requirements can help to prevent voter fraud.  Opponents are correctly noting that voter fraud is not a big issue.

Opponents are also claiming that voter ID laws disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and minorities.   In some way, that’s true.  Those groups are less likely to have ID, though with the possible exception of elderly individuals born before widespread (one might even say mandatory) issuance of birth certificates.  Opponents are claiming that minorities and the poor are less likely to have driver licenses — also (perhaps) true, but irrelevant if the acceptable forms of ID are not limited to drive licenses.

The real purpose of voter ID laws is to prevent unscrupulous political operatives (are there any other kind?) from offering to drive any group of people to polling places (to “exercise their god-given rights”), extolling the virtues of their candidate (and the “evils” of his opponent) during the drive, and thus swaying the elections.  This type of community do-gooder action (“driving people to the polls”) is touted highly, but is actually most often buying a vote.  If an individual calls a campaign headquarters and asks for a ride, it would be reasonable for that campaign to presume the individual will vote for its candidate.  For a campaign to go out to seek out people to take to the polls is disgusting.

I would surmise that amongst those people who would likely not have gone to the polls otherwise, there will be a percentage who do not have, for one reason or another, an ID.  I’d like to see actual data, but apparently it doesn’t prove a thing or the sides would be trotting it out.

Now, one might argue that it is a damn shame there are groups of people in any area who might be subject to such practices.  I’d agree.  That’s also irrelevant to the voter ID issue.

So one party is always afraid the other party will perform such “community service.”

It just so happens this time it’s the Republicans who believe the Democrats have more to gain by using this tactic.  This time, the Republicans believe the Democrats buy votes with promises of government programs (or loss of same).  It has not always been this way.

What Cox knows about customer service

is precisely zero.

Some may remember some time ago when Cox lost several years of my archived e-mails, with nary an apology or, for that matter, ever actually understanding the issue.

Last week, they brought me a new (software updated) cable box.   Why they can’t do SOFTWARE updates remotely is another completely different issue.  It was probably some combination of software and hardware, but who knows.  The technician left before the box came on line, then I had to call him when it never did.  Apparently he had to call in and have a signal sent to it.

From that point, the thing re-booted two to three times a day.  When it came back from the re-boot, it did so at FULL VOLUME (yes, very loud).  On Sunday, it went into re-boot and never came out.  I called Sunday night for help, and was told I’d need a new box.  I told them I expected it on Monday.  Monday comes and goes; no tech.  When I called Monday night, they said “between 12 and 2” on Tuesday.  I had a doctor appointment, but arrived at home on the stroke of 12.  The tech had been here 15 minutes earlier, and left a message for me to call and reschedule.  Yes, I have to reschedule for their error.  (What if I’d been in the bathroom?)  When I called at 12:10 saying I wanted a tech here today, they said they’d send an e-mail to dispatch and someone would call me.  At 3, no call so I called back, only to be told I’m on the schedule for  tomorrow.  I don’t know what Cox thinks it is, but this is NOT customer service.

On to billing – I want credit.  Agent gives me a small credit, then offers me a premium package free for four months.  I’m complaining that they’re losing a customer, and they’re trying to upsell.  When I told him I had no desire for that premium package, his next comment was “It’s only two mistakes in eight years.”  Two ginormous mistakes, but he can’t see that.

All it would have taken for them to keep a customer is “Yes, Ma’am, we were early.  We’ll have him there before 5.”

To switch services, I have to change e-mail addresses with countless numbers of people.  Again, I pay for their error.

Customer service my ass.

Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland sent out an interesting “invitation”.  In it, he noted something new — an admission charge of canned goods for United Community Ministries.

I wrote asking whether he was simply promoting a very tasteless joke or actually charging admission to an audience with a public official — a serious lapse of ethics and an electoral issue, in my eyes.

Later he sent out a notice stating:

Some folks have challenged my “tongue in cheek” requirement that admission to the event is a can of food for the hungry.  Not to worry, this was my erstwhile attempt to emphasize the desperate need to help United Community Ministries feed the less fortunate.  Obviously, I have no legal right or desire to deny anyone admission to the Town Meeting, nor would I ever do that.  Lest there be any doubt, there is NO requirement for anyone to bring food for admission to the Town Meeting.  However, any help you can give will be sincerely appreciated.

Now, let’s apply junior-high-learned analysis.  The fact that “tongue-in-cheek” is contained in quotation marks can say one of two things — one, that the quote comes from elsewhere, or two, that it does not have the meaning one would normally associate with it.

How many of us really believe this was a tongue-in-cheek request?   I don’t, because the original message also said that if you “forgot”, you could promise to make that donation within a week.

Make a stupid mistake, such as requiring a donation – even for such a good cause?  Forgiveable.

Implying that is not what you meant?  Typical politician.

Rules don’t apply to politicians

Saturday, the DC area had a major snowstorm, with up to 23 inches of snow in most areas.  The Virginia Department of Transportation responded to over 2900 accidents; I don’t have figures on the District and Maryland.

Governors of both Maryland and Virginia asked people to stay off the roads.  DON’T GO OUT.  Nowhere in the warnings did I see “unless you’re a politician.”

But Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland are proud of the fact they went to the Capitol for a vote that could have been taken later.  Jim Webb and Mark Warner “braved the elements” — (“Webb, who lives in Falls Church, used his Jeep to plow through the snow, his office said.“) To vote on a bill that no one but the politicians want — that is really the pet project of  a few senators (see how Sen Nelson held things up — and he is only one person.)

Braving the elements is not the honorable thing to do here, folks.

What’s the hurry?   Were the politicians so worried they’d lose a vote if they waited until streets were clear?  Maybe that should tell them something.

I guess THEY don’t have to listen to governors.  After all, they’re the elite.

Chrysler Financial, Bank of America scam buyers

So I bought a new car recently.  What the heck, got 0% financing and some rebates, making it a fair price.  And if the AlGorians have their way, I won’t be able to buy an internal combustion engine soon.  Might as well do it now.

Financed through Chrysler Financial.  After all, if I’m getting 0%, why not?

Well, I learned why not when I arrived home Tuesday to find a new “Jeep Rewards” Bank of America credit card in my mailbox.  A card with a multi-thousand-dollar limit.  A card I NEVER REQUESTED!

The finance manager at the  dealership had the nerve to tell me they shared my financial information only with Chrysler Financial, and this is just another service CF offers!  Like I should be happy.

Didn’t get their real attention until I told them two things:  I have now bought my last Chrysler product, and I’m just trying to determine now whether to go to state-level or national-level watchdog agencies to make the formal complaint.  I expect to get a return call tomorrow.

I am livid that one company thinks I want an unsolicited credit card, and that I wouldn’t choose what bank I transact my business with.   I do have another BOA card, since they bought out one of my long-standing accounts, but that won’t last long either.

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Comments (2)