Monday, November 3, 2008

Robo-calls, yet again.

I hear from these people about once a year, always at the end of October. And they never listen to what I have to say, but just talk and talk. Yup, the dreaded Robo-calls.

Bill Clinton. Frank Lautenberg. This year it was Leonard Lance and my good friend from Leadership New Jersey, Michael Hsing.

I cannot wait for this robo-call some day:

“Hello, this is Assemblyman Petey McPeters. I am sponsoring Assembly Bill A-1401, the “Stop Robo-Calls” legislation. These calls, like this one, are annoying and inconvenient, and all too often clog up your phone line at home. Please join me in calling upon the Speaker of the Assembly to move A-1401 out of committee, and post it for an up or down vote. If you do, you may not have to get anymore robo-calls like this one.”

So, here is a column back in July 2007, about Robo calls:

"Hello, this is Bill Clinton. I am supporting Democrat Melvin
Smendrovich for Borough Council in Jerseytown because Melvin shares my values on the 'kitchen table' issues that...."

"Hey folks this is Joe Piscopo. We both know that New Jersey needs Republican Petey McPeters to be the next governor. He'll work hard everyday t

We've all received the dreaded robo-calls come election time. Automated phone canvassing calls that come day and night. They come with increasing frequency as we get closer and closer to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

They block our phone service. They are annoying, coming at the most inconvenient time. Dinner. In the shower. During love making. However, they serve a purpose of re-minding voters over and over again to support Melvin in his race for Jerseytown Borough Council. That Melvin is the best person for the job. If Bill Clinton can take the time out of his busy day to call you [albeit automatically], then Melvin is the person you should support.

Unfortunately for the hapless Jerseytown resident, robo-calls are a part of campaigns because they’re cheap and they work to election advantage. So, what if robo-calls tick off a voter or two? If they get your candidate elected, they will be part of the campaign strategy.

Legislative Effort in Trenton

There is an effort in Trenton to curtail robo-calls or ban them altogether. While such legislation may run afoul of the First Amendment, several states have enacted laws impacting the practice.

For guidance in dealing with this issue, perhaps Trenton should turn to science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. In his novels Asimov developed the following Three Laws of Robotics ----[most likely not written by a lawyer from NJ]:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
These seem to be clear rules regarding what criteria the state legislature should use in adopting an anti-robo calls bill.

“No harm to a human being?”
Sounds good to me.

“Robots must obey orders”?
This will work just fine.

“A robot must protect its own existence”?
Well, maybe that one will get fixed in committee.

If you and your robot support such a bill, call your legislator's office over and over again----but wait until he or she is eating lunch or in the shower.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Republicans I know received calls only from Stender. Many Democrats I know complained they received calls from Lance.

Those of us who are too disgusted with the members of either party received calls from both.

I got calls from Lance and Stender.... over and over and over again.

Glad this national nightmare known as an "election" is over.