TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Last Laugh! was Re: Lever Voting Machines - What's Wrong?

Re: Last Laugh! was Re: Lever Voting Machines - What's Wrong?

Lisa Hancock (
4 Nov 2004 12:24:23 -0800

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's note: Believe me, if it ever came to light
> here that a person dead and buried had not been removed from the
> rolls and a vote had been cast in that person's name, the stink
> would be terrible all over town.

As mentioned, I received a great many phone calls to go out and vote.
This included three on election day specifically requesting a deceased
relative to go out and vote.

One was a human message and they left a return phone number.

I was so annoyed at the flood of calls -- for someone who was
not on the voting register (I doubled checked) -- that I wanted
to let these solicitors have it.

They offered to come down and drive the person to vote. I was tempted
to ask them to come down and send them off to the cemetery. (I

I did call them back and asked if they were sure if the person was
registered and qualified to vote. At first the person insisted yes,
but then she said she'd check on it. She called me back and explained
that their list was based on people who had voted in the past but
hadn't voted lately -- it was NOT the official voter rolls. They get
the list from sitting at the polls and seeing who voted; they cannot
get access to the official list. Her boss just told her there would
be people on the list who might be deceased or had moved. With that I
let the issue go. I was annoyed that previous solicitors insisted
their list was official and accurate.

I am still glad the whole thing is over.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: They do that in Chicago, also. The
precinct captain (the go-fer in your neighborhood who works for the
alderman) has the duty of driving a van around to get all the old
people and take them to the polls and show them how to vote, etc. On
those phone calls you received, did they ask you to please vote a
straight Democratic ticket? In Chicago, the precinct captain would
tell the old people "all you have to do is pull lever 6" (or whichever
lever did the straight ticket thing). Then you can get back on the bus
and we will stop to get your ice cream (or beer or a pack of
cigarettes, whatever) on the way back to the nursing home. They've
had some hassles in the past few years with a Reublican administration
yet a Democratic 'machine' in Chicago. People are divided; they want
to support the president, yet they don't want to double cross the
local precinct captain either. PAT]

Date: 4 Nov 2004 12:58:01 -0800
From: (Lisa Hancock)
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Re: How to Make The Right Call On Cell Plans
Message-ID: <>
Organization: TELECOM Digest
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 23, Issue 531, Message 7 of 10
Lines: 85

John Levine <> wrote

> It was at least as much due to the Bell breakup. Before that, long
> distance was deliberately overpriced to subsidize local service, on
> the theory that it was an expensive luxury. (Well, it was back in
> 1920.) Prices would have dropped a lot anyway, but a big chunk of the
> drop is due to the access charges assessed on LD calls. They used to
> be on the order of 10 cents/min or more, now in most places they're
> just a penny or two.

I used a lot of long distance in the late 1970s and I saw the price
drops. On some short haul interstate calls at night, the cost could
be only 5 cents per minute; less than 10 cent 'access charge'
mentioned above. Given the drop in rates, I wonder if that cross-
subsidy charge was still in effect. What was in effect was cross
subsidy nationally -- a "costly" call (ie over mountains) cost the
customer no more than a "cheap" call (ie a direct high capacity
microwave channel).

Interstate long distance rates were uniform nationwide and varied by
mileage. The cost and setup for a given mileage could vary
dramatically -- perhaps two wholly different companies (Bell and an
Independent) or the same company (one Bell company serving both
states). The network was very mixed in those days; some calls were
carried by AT&T Long Lines, some by the Bell Company. Many calls
could be routed multiple ways depending on traffic, so there was no
fixed assignment. Also, I don't think AT&T had its own operators
handling domestic calls; rather, all that work was done by the local

However, that concept was changing. The cheap rates were for dailed
direct calls only. Operator handled calls/pay phone cost more. At
the time IIRC distant directory assistance was still free, but I
suspect without divesture that would've gone away.

At the time of divesture, there was considerable equipment used for
both local and toll service that it was very hard to split it up for
ownership between the Baby Bells and AT&T. They just arbitrarily ran
colored tape. (See Mountain Bell history).

There were also certain economies of scale lost because of divesture
and this drove up costs.

After divesture, I do not recall a big drop in costs for a simple
user. I think what happened was that higher volume users started to
get a break, as did longer distance (ie coast to coast). I recall the
rate step schedule was shrinking -- heading toward a single rate/minute
for long distance.

Also, to get discounts, one had to join a plan which usually had a
separate monthly fee. For high volume callers this would pay off, but
a low volume caller would lose. Also, carriers constantly changed
their plans and discontinuing the old one without notice. Customers
who didn't scrutinize their bills carefully (who has time to do that?)
would end up paying full retail unknowingly until they got around to
calling and making a change. (Banks pull the same crap with Cert Dep

So, if you were paying $100/month calling coast-to-coast, you could
save serious money. If you were paying $10/month calling 50 miles
away you essentially did not. I suspect most residential LD traffic
was more shorthaul than long haul.

>> Digital phones require more towers than analog. Cell phone companies
>> originally advertised digital as being superior quality, but it is
>> actually superior for them, not for us users.

> Not really. Digital in the 800 MHz AMPS band has about the same range
> as analog. ...

As I understand it, digital signals are more sensitive to building and
geographic obstructions. People who had analog phones that worked
fine found that their digital phones failed in the same places. A
major newspaper story had a big map of digital dead spots that the
carriers were working to resolve by building more towers appropriate
to digital transmission and terrain; in my area at least the problems
seem to have been fixed (no more negative publicity).

This is a similar problem occuring in public safety radios that have
upgraded from analog to digital -- the cops and firemen are finding
dead spots. There's been a lot of negative publicity that is an
ongoing story today, at least in my area in several jurisdictions.
(There was even something in the paper today about a frequency shift).

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