Roger L. Simon

Palin, robocalls and the strange case of "Stanley Simon Ray"

As we all know, trusting CNN on the news is rather like trusting an off-shore Internet bookie in a blind game of Texas hold ’em. But never mind. Let’s take it as “gospel” in their latest round of McCain and Palin bashing that the following is at least semi-accurate… or accurate-ish: McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls — recorded messages often used to attack a candidate’s opponent — “irritating” even as the campaign defended their use.

Irritating? How about an abhorrent intrusion on our privacy? If someone circulated a petition to make robocalls illegal, I would be pleased to sign. And not just the tedious propaganda of political candidates right and left and their minions, but the seemingly endless business calls we are never able to shut off. For the last two years I have been receiving robocalls for a certain “Stanley Simon Ray” approximately three times a week. They begin “If you do not hang up, you acknowledge you are Stanley Simon Ray and are legally…” I can’t recall what it says after that, because I really do hang up. And when I hear it on my answering machine, which is often, I erase it immediately. I don’t know who Stanley Simon Ray is, but my suspicion is he owes somebody a lot of money.

As for Palin, there must be something wrong with me. I’m supposed to be an intellectual of sorts. I have written a number of books (okay, mostly mysteries), I have two Ivy League degrees and I’ve even been known to go to the opera once in a while (though not Wagner); but of all four candidates I find Palin, the supposed yahoo, the most appealing. When the media attacks her, I only like her better. Maybe it’s because I have no idea how to kill a moose but I suspect I know more than Joe Biden about just about anything. (For example, I know FDR was not president when the market crashed in ’29.)