It Was Aggravation, I Know…

and it might have ended right then at the start. But it didn’t, either regarding phones or regarding the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause.

My @#$% landline telephone is dead. Not for the first time, if I go offhook, I get only a buzz and a lot of crackling. You cannot dial out. If you dial in, the phone rings twice, displays caller ID, then acts as if there is no incoming call. Stella’s phone (a wholly separate line to the same house, with its own number and its own lines both POTS and DSL) works just fine. And… this is the oddest thing… my own DSL seems to work fine.

So, since the DSL works, I hop on the web and start looking for the phone number for SBC repair service. No can do… AT&T will go to practically any lengths to prevent you from phoning them about a problem. You can engage in an online dialog with the repair service, but Hell will freeze over in July before they tell you the phone number for the service.

So I dug out the phone book. The what? The phone book… you know, the thing you set atop the box fan that has a bad case of the shakes; the thing you use to prop old-fashioned window sashes open, etc. Finding it is not an easy task in this household. I finally found it behind a pile of paper sacks that have been intended for recycling for several months. The first two phone books did NOT have the number; they merely advised that I consult the White Pages, which I finally found.

Working my way through the automated phone system was not too bad. I used Stella’s phone… remember, it works fine… and eventually submitted my grievance… buzzes and crackles but no dial tone… to their automated system, which informed me that their service people would look into it. FUCKING TUESDAY they will look into it, since I filed the report on FRIDAY. I informed the only two people who regularly phone me that they should use my cell phone number. Grrrrrr…

After a painfully clumsy trip to the grocery store for beer, guacamole and chips, and having already finished reading Miracle at Philadelphia about the 1787 Convention that framed the Constitution, I resumed another book about First Amendment rights, and grieved aloud at the degree to which the wisdom of our Founders… not that they were all so wise, but some of them certainly were… has been perverted by the likes of Scalia, Rehnquist etc. The last thing I read before beginning this post was about the Court’s baldfaced suppression of Native Americans’ right to use peyote in their ceremonies. I had an insane desire to find out which brand of wine is used in Antonin Scalia’s Catholic masses and mount a campaign to have its use made illegal, with obscenely high jail terms for violations.

I will remind you of something. I won’t say it again, unless the issue arises in context, but it needs to be noted one time because of its obvious impact on Supreme Court jurisprudence in the past few terms: THERE ARE SIX (6) CATHOLICS OUT OF NINE (9) JUSTICES SITTING ON THE SUPREME COURT TODAY. They are Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor. To Obama and the next president, whoever it may be, I say this: NO MORE, PLEASE! “Some of my best friends,” etc., but a two-thirds majority of a single religion on the Court inevitably results in some twisted decisions made specifically for religious reasons. Is the Pope calling the shots? It doesn’t have to be that direct or blatant. In my observation, Catholics, more than practically any other religion, for better and worse make decisions based on their religious principles, and judicial decisions are no different. I am sorry, but Scalia and company have infringed the First Amendment’s free exercise rights of at least Native Americans, and arguably other minority religions as well. Enough, already… no more Catholics on the Court until some of the Six retire or die.


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  • MandT  On Friday September 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    There are different kinds of Catholics, those that believe in and practice liberation theology in spite of the Nazi Pope, who most closely resembles the Opus Dei autocrats that are Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts. You are right, it’s time for a change. I’d start with term limits for Supremes and begin immediate investigations into corruption starting with Thomas.

    • Steve  On Friday September 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      MandT, do you know that historically there have been Unitarians (that’s what I am, more or less) on the Court? Can you imagine the remotest possibility of that happening today? According to the Constitution, no religious test may be applied as a qualification for holding office, but de facto there is such a test: the candidate must be Judeo-Christian.

  • Bryan  On Friday September 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    The other three are Jewish. There are no Protestants on the Supreme Court.

    Kennedy is the only one who is from a state that lacks an Atlantic coast, and he is from California.

    I doubt we have had such a limited Court in so many ways in the last 100 years.

    Oh, your landline and DSL come to the house on separate pairs, so having one fail and not the other is not unusual. The pairs are combined at the house, requiring the filter, to avoid having to change the in-house wiring.

    • Steve  On Friday September 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      Yes, Bryan, there’s a lot of chatter on some Christian sites about that. You have to remember that many evangelical Christians do not regard Catholics as Christian. Makes no difference to me.

      The most usual reason for failure of either DSL or landline in this house is Lily. The guy who wired our two-separate-lines-but-not-really-separate used a strange mechanical piggy-back on the jacks, and it is very easy to knock one loose. But this problem resembles one we had before, which turned out to be a problem in a local junction box in which a tech had chosen a faulty pair when reconnecting my line after a repair. I hate to say it, but home DSLs are strictly amateur hour in America. After all, what competing service are you gonna go to?

      UPDATE: I tried phoning the landline from the cell phone and actually answering the landline. That established a connection, as merely phoning it did not… but the crackling is still there. I found my plain old telephone; using that instead of the cordless confirmed the crackling is in the line rather than the cordless phone.

  • MandT  On Saturday September 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

    We certainly could do far better with a Unitarian or two and a solid
    Quaker. As for evangelicals, the lot of them are mental cases and hysterics. Their magic mumbo jumbo is just easier to perform, rather than the complex elaborations of Catholic theatrics. I believe a poltergeist named Lily Tomlin is haunting your phone!

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