Over the course of the last two years, I've ventured away, somewhat, from the Slashdot community and it's not because I grew tired of it. No...it was just that other things took predence.
Well now I find myself angry almost all of the time. I am angry at the things that are just seemingly out of control and I insist upon complete control, or at least the illusion that I have some control.
Marketers, law enforcement, the government (both Federal and state), lazy citizens, and a host of other things have come together to create the perfect storm in my life and it makes me crazy.
In May, I opened a Bank of America account, and I insist that they only use my telephone number for emergencies. Within two weeks, I start receiving telemarketing calls pushing credit cards, new lines of credit, identity theft protection services, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, you name it and the calls came for it. I have called several times to BOA customer service line (since their executives hide behind the wall of customer service agents touting the "I don't have access to that number so you don't either" line).
And to me...that's the worst. Companies that ignore your wishes and act as your enemy rather than your friend. They would rather milk you now for the quick buck rather than wait for that time in your life when you want to grow and get bigger homes, nicer cars, etc...
They want to punish the financially responsible and make it seem like irresponsible behavior is the way to go. And here's the clincher...no one cares. The "do not call" list says that if you have an existing business relationship with a company, they may use that relationship to contact you.
Law enforcement wanting to bug our phone calls, our Internet sessions, and now our cars. It's bad enough that GM placed those black boxes in our cars to monitor air bag deployment but now there is a Federal mandate that these devices be placed in all new cars so that they can tell on you. And you cannot disable them. They are part and parcel of the car's computer system. To render the blackbox useless would be to turn your $30K vehicle into a giant boat anchor.
Then there is the Feds and the state governments wanting to tax, fee, and toll everything that we do. We cannot enjoy parks, rides in the country, nor just a pleasant time with the family because someone with some agency has a hand out. Here in Texas, the state is trying to get rid of as much state owned property as possible. Land that was given to the state to protect by the Sierra Club is for sale to the highest bidder because the state says it cannot profit from the land.
Oh and the Texas solution to road congestion, make every road a tollway. They wasted money for decades on bad highway designs and lack of preplanning and are now alleging to play catch up. Taxpayers are now having to pay twice to drive on the same stretch of roadway. We paid for it the first time with our gas tax money and a second time when the state turns it over to a foreign corporation for toll road purposes. And oh btw...they are playing a game of semantics. They are taking an existing highway that has been funded for an upgrade of overpasses at major intersections for a decade, put off that construction and instead say there isn't enough money to build the initial roadway and the only way that they can do it is via tolling it. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation seems to have more than a billion dollars to give to arts projects, ad campaigns, fees to consultants to tell them how great toll roads are, and finally to get the Federal Highway chair to tout toll roads as the only feasible way to get future road construction done.
Heck...I wouldn't be surprised if one day I opened my paper and read that someone uncovered that the Minnesota bridge collapse was allowed to happen in order to illustrate the point that the Feds will no longer help maintain our nation's infrastructure.
Finally...the lazy, "I need convenience," give me what I want when I want it and don't tell me how you got it, voters that are out there. It's because of their greed, laziness, sloth, etc...that we have the mess that we have. They do not want to get involved. They want to watch their American Idol. They want to tout how great it is to have less government and less taxes and then balk when they have to pay to use a park or drive a stretch of roadway.
Well here's some more goodies headed your way lazy guy...car insurance that charges you by the mile. Every month your bill will change. State vehicle registrations increasing their fees and also charging you by the mile. Every year, your bill will change and it will all be done via those little GPS devices like OnStar.
Back in the 70's and 80's when people tried to warn us about big brother's increasing power, we'd call them crackpots and kooks. We'd laugh at them and discredit them and shame them into hiding.
Well...it's 20 years later, maybe even 30, and maybe they weren't so kooky after all.