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A Reflection on the Declining Number of Verizon Stores*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:47 pm - July 7, 2010.
Filed under: LA Stories,Random Thoughts,Technology

Almost up until the day in 2002 (nearly exactly 8 years ago) I signed up for my first cell phone, I had vowed I would never get one.  I didn’t like the idea of being constantly reachable.  Yet, after a wonderful day at Disney with two nieces and a nephew, don’t know how I could have managed many family gatherings without one.  Simply put, because both my brother and I had cell phones, I could take my 14-year-old niece on rides her (much) younger siblings were too young (or too small) to enjoy.

Not long ago, I vowed I’d never upgrade to a Smartphone, not wanting to have the temptation of internet access wherever I go.

Today, after much consideration, I went out and bought a smart phone, in large measure due to recent nudging for my sister-in-law.  To be sure, had been wrestling with getting one, but kept putting off the decision because I’m a Mac guy and the iPhone is not available to Verizon users (& I have long been very happy with that service).  But, well, I got a great deal on an LG phone via a Verizon mailer (about $50 with rebate).  (Yes, I’m aware that Verizon users may soon be able to keep their carrier on iPhones.)

All that said, today, when I returned home from Disney and got said circular in the mail (seeing this as a sign to followup on my sister-in-law’s concern), I figured I should check the phone out at the local Verizon store.  Anyway, when I googled Verizon, I came up with only two stores near me.  Eight years ago, when I had bought my first cell phone, I recall there being about seven.  Indeed, the store where I bought my first cell phone (as well as the one where I bought my second) has long since closed down.

So, I was wondering that, as cell phone usage becomes commonplace, there is less need for such outlets, fewer people going in to set up (their initial) cell phone service, with more stores selling cell phones and helping you transfer your (already existing) service to the new gadget. (more…)

On Gov. Lingle’s Veto of HI Civil Unions Bill (& related matters)

In the thread to another post, a reader asks a fair question, though inappropriately placed and expressed, “why isn’t GayPatriot discussing Republican Governor Lingle’s decision to veto the Civil Union bill in Hawaii, therefore effectively preventing civil unions?“*  First, if this fellow read the blog, he’d know why I’ve been blogging slower than usual.  I’m just now returning from a family vacation, including a detour to Disneyland, with two nieces and a nephew on their way back to Ohio after spending some time with Goofy as well as meeting the Disney characters.

Now, while I have read about Governor Lingle’s veto of the bill in Hawai’i, I haven’t had time to review the reasons she gave (nor consider the actual text of the legislation itself).  On the surface, this looks bad.  From what (little) I know about the legislation, I would rather she had signed the bill.

That said, let me offer three reasons why she may have vetoed it–and they relate to the paucity of Republicans backing repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT).  Indeed, these reasons first occurred to me in the wake of the House vote for repeal:

1.  Gay organizations tend to ignore Republicans when lobbying legislators and other elected officials.  And in those cases, when they do approach them, the “speak the wrong language,” talking in terms more appropriate for a college campus and pushing notions (i.e., abstraction of state-regulated equality) at odds with Republican ideas.

2.  There is no gay Republican or conservative organization currently lobbying on these issues, with Log Cabin in a state of transition and GOProud just getting off the ground.

3.  Related to 1. above.  Given the liberal bias of gay organizations, with many all but serving as front groups for the Democratic Party (and its state and local affiliates), many Republican elected officials believe they have little to gain by votes on issues of concern to the gay community.  They also see votes against such issues as “freebies,” chances to score points with social conservatives (more inclined to support Republicans) without risking losing support among independents.

Obviously, each of these points, particularly the last needs fleshing out.  But, they do get at the problem and point to areas where gay Republicans and conservatives need to direct their efforts.

* (more…)

Does Joe Biden Have a Clue What Republicans Believe*?

Long before Barack Obama took office last January, critics (and haters) of the GOP have acted as if the party of Lincoln and Reagan had no new ideas.   And to be sure, given the record of the immediate past Republican president, on domestic issues, one could forgive their ignorance.

But, outside the Bush Administration, in many Republican congressional offices, think tanks and other right-of-center “policy shops,” a great variety of conservatives, including many who dubbed themselves Republicans, were busy crafting reform packages that relied on reducing regulation and cutting government in order to keep our economy humming and improve our health care system.

Yet, with Democrats putting forward far more sweeping reforms, further increasing federal involvement in our lives, our businesses and our health care decisions, they behave as if those plans for cutting government aren’t plans at all–as if to favor doing something, you have to favor the government doing acting more aggressively.  

The latest to join his voice to this cacophonous chorus is a 36-year veteran of the United States Senate, Vice President Joe Biden:

I know what the Republicans are against. I have no notion of what they’re for. Now, I’m not being facetious now. I don’t know what their answer is, when they talk about taking down health care. Well, what are they for? I’ve gone into almost 70 races so far to campaign for Democrats — governor, Senate, Congress etc.

Via Washington Examiner.  Now, I mention Biden’s thirty-six years in the Senate for a reason.  For roughly half of his tenure, he was part of the minority with Republicans in charge and using their majority to push ideas for reform, many of which Biden’s caucus worked double-time (and often successfully) to obstruct.

As to health care, if the Vice President paid any attention to legislation introduced in both houses, ideas discussed on conservative editorial pages and blogs as well as the work of the various think tanks in Washington, he would be aware of the great variety of answers (to borrow his term) Republicans (and conservatives) have been proposing to reform health care.

His response indicates either his ignorance of or indifference to ideas not increasing the government role in health care.  Or his just plain obliviousness to the reforms his political opponents have been proposing.

* (more…)