Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

You want to see something cool?

So, I took my Joel on Software blabber to the United States Senate. I was concerned about welfare and education in our state of Georgia. So, I wrote a short letter to Saxby Chambliss. I don't have the letter but basically went, "I am a concerned resident...etc."(This was a snail mail letter)

I am surprised when I got a response back:

"Dear Friend:
Thank you for contacting my office with your concerns regarding welfare reform."

In 1996, Congress passed major welfare reform legistation enttied, Personal Responsibility and Work Oppurtunity Reconciliaion Act"

... more stuff

Saxby Chambliss
United States Senate

http://www.newspiritcompany.com/imgs/senator001.jpg
Permalink Berlin Brown 
August 1st, 2005
I posted that so you could send letters to your senators. I don't know often people send friendly letter to their reps.

They probably have very important stuff to do, but I thought I would pass a non-BS letter across the desk of my public official.
Permalink Berlin Brown 
August 1st, 2005
You can often actually *visit* your Representative to discuss your concerns. :)

Philo
Permalink Philo [MSFT] 
August 1st, 2005
Philo:

Hmm, are you stealing the fire from my moment.
Permalink Berlin Brown 
August 1st, 2005
I wrote to both Senator Murray and Cantwell regarding their support for RIAA/MPAA supported initiatives to criminalize reverse engineering via DMCA.

I got nothing from Murray, but Cantwell actually responded with much more than just a form letter. While I did not agree with her response, the fact that she responded was rather shocking.
Permalink hoser 
August 1st, 2005
Hey. Someone could do this as a hobby, and like, collect these from every Senator or politican. Store them somewhere protected and safe, and when one of these people gets into trouble, sell them on eBay.
Permalink Mr. Snuffalufagus 
August 1st, 2005
I read somewhere that James K. Polk allowed "ordinary" citizens to make appointments to meet with him during his presidency.

Assuming this is true, I wonder if the sole reason it was humanly possible to handle the volume of complaints back then was that US population was small enough, or whether it means that the guy actually managed to do a semi-decent job of keeping the majority happy. Or maybe people just had less free time to spend grumbling.

Of course, Polk also dropped dead only a few months after leaving office, so maybe that's why today's politicos don't really bother...
Permalink bionicroach 
August 1st, 2005
One of my good friends was the "Correspondance Coordinator" for a member of the House for a couple years.


It essentially meant that she processed the letters that they got... and she could tell when a particular group was getting fired up because they'd get 500 letters which were identical except for the sender's information.

She entered all the info into an Access database and then they tracked trends on topics...
Permalink KC 
August 1st, 2005
I got an email that looked very personalized, but upon further inspection, was a form letter from Amazon. Just one of a few stock form letters they had for that given situation.
Permalink MarkTAW 
August 2nd, 2005
"Or maybe people just had less free time to spend grumbling."

Or maybe there was no Southwest Airlines back then, so the only people that could come and see him lived in DC or nearby.
Permalink Flasher T 
August 2nd, 2005
> maybe that's why today's politicos don't really bother

That or the knowledge that many people would happily see them drop dead during their term of office. Possibly with the visitor's hands around their neck.
Permalink  
August 2nd, 2005
"You can often actually *visit* your Representative to discuss your concerns."

How does that work? I would actually like to do that since I have lots to complain about, but I assumed you don't get to visit them but they have front people, handlers and bouncers.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
August 2nd, 2005
"James K. Polk allowed "ordinary" citizens to make appointments to meet with him during his presidency."

Thomas Jefferson actually answered the door of the (first) white house when he was president. Visitors were greeted by a poorly dressed derelict looking gentlemen who it took a double take before they realized was the president himself.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
August 2nd, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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