Archive for the ‘Politics and issues’ Category

Government inefficiency: It’s everywhere!

In Politics and issues on September 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

So, a few months ago we get a phone call from American Family Counseling. It turns out that it’s a robot call that tells us that they have important information about our credit card account. They ask you to press one to talk to one of their counselors. So I press ‘ 1’ an and quickly routed to a human being. The person at the other end of the line begins to ask questions about credit cards and I stopped her and ask “which credit card are you referring to?” She replies that this is about my credit rating and begins to go into a sales pitch about something. I asked again  which credit card she is referring to. She hangs up!

I do a little searching on the Web and find several references to American Family Counseling. Some point to social counseling services in California, others point to various social service centers, and one points to a marking Family Credit Counseling, which seems legitimate. I also find references to Robo calls from American Family Counseling that indicate there is clearly something shady about this specific call. I chalk it up to a probable scam, but one that shouldn’t occur again since I actually called them out on it.

A few weeks later we get another call from the same organization. Again I press ‘ 1’ and get a human. This time I tell the person at the other end that we are on the no call list and ask why they’re calling us. All I get are comments telling me that this is an important service about our credit card. I tell them I don’t want to be called anymore. However, by this time they have already hung up the phone.

At the end of August we received yet another call from them. You can guess the sequence of events that occurred. This time I filed a complaint on the no call list site. We also contacted the federal trade commission where the person my wife talked to took all the information and gave us a case number. They also suggested that we contact the state attorney general. So my wife spent the next hour trying to get someone in the right place at the state attorney general’s office who would take the information and perhaps act upon it. It seems pretty clear that this is either a phishing operation or, at the very least, a shady organization trying to drum up business. Well at the state attorney general’s office the best they could do was to send out a form for us to fill out. My wife did this and sent it back in.

Two days ago we get another call from American Family Counseling—this time, from a cell phone number. The sequences of the same and I pressed  ‘1’.  Again, when I press for information, the person hung up. My wife then called the Federal Trade Commission and a very nice woman  took down the new phone number and added it to the case. Whether anything will be done is anyone’s guess. At the attorney general’s office it was even worse.  We were told that if we wanted to add information to the previous report that they would mail another for for us to fill out. (If the computer system is that poor, they’ve got some real problems.) They said it sounded like a scam that was going around and they were just telling people not to press any buttons.

Isn’t it nice to see how well oiled the government runs?


What’s happened to the idea of the public servant politician?

In Politics and issues on August 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I’m always amazed at how far we’ve gotten away from the notion that our elected officials are servants of the people who elected them. I’ve often thought that the race for the most corrupt politicians in a state was a toss-up between Massachusetts and Illinois. After all, in Massachusetts the last three speakers of the house have left in disgrace (Bulger, Finneran, and Dimasi). We’ve had pols caught with in the act of taking bribes, some who have come out and said that they vote the way they do because their constituents are not smart enough to know what’s right.

Illinois, of course, has had a long history from Mayor Daley in the ’60s who had almost as many dead people vote for him as living to the recent fiasco with Gov. Rod Blagojevich. I guess I was living in a fantasy world because it’s become clear to me that these two states don’t have a lock on the political morons—enter New Jersey.

I just spent ten days on the Jersey shore getting Mom set up with health care at home as she came home from recovering from a broken hip (at 95 years old!). Looking at the newspaper there—the Asbury Park Press which is as good as any up here and much more affordable—it struck me that they’re just as bad in NJ as in MA or IL. The ads for the governor’s race is as negative as I’ve ever seen. More than one local mayor or councilman are up for recall votes.

Maybe I’ve been naive, but it seems to me that we should expect more from our leaders. I guess that most people are like I have always been—apathetic. I can’t say that I’ve gotten religion about politics, but I have started sending messages to my representatives. The replies are often quite funny. Like most politicians they can’t answer a question directly. But at least I’m making my voice heard. I’d like to get more examples of really bad politicians, just to verify that I’m not biased. What I’d really like is to start a movement to “Vote them all out!” Send a message to the professional politicians that we’re not happy. Just vote all the incumbents out of office. Replace them with someone from the same party if that’s what you want, but just vote all of these leeches on the public out of office. Their replacements will be more aware of paying attention to the people they serve!

OK, I’ve ranted enough for today. I’ve got more interesting things to write about. My next post will be more upbeat.