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If you like political calls at home during dinner, skip this item

October 26, 2007 |  3:57 am

You say you're lonely. You check your e-mail several times a day and actually read the spam. Same for your voicemail, even the phone calls from robot computers about discount mortgages or construction firms that will be in your neighborhood next week and thought you might like to remodel your kitchen on the spur of the moment.

When the phone rings, especially during dinner, if your heart soars, then this news is not for you.

But it turns out there's a new online service now for people who don't want politicians or their surrogate human or mechanical canvassers calling their house. There was a similar government service established a couple of years ago for people who don't want telephone sales calls. You register your home and cell numbers. The government lists them and companies face fines if they call folks on the list.

However, why are we not surprised that politicians were exempted? Freedom of speech and all that. They have the freedom of speech, you get the obligation to listen.

But not anymore. The new service is a private, nonprofit outfit and, therefore, not legally binding on political campaigns. But they ignore the registrants at their own risk, it seems.

The National Political Do Not Contact Registry is the brainchild of Shaun Dakin, who believes civil discourse has declined in America and one way to combat the decay of discourse is to end unwanted political phone calls, especially the robo ones. He runs Citizens for Civil Discourse, a pending nonpartisan, nonprofit 5-1 (c) 3 that promises not to make commercial use of your registry info.

You sign up with the registry and it spreads the word that you don't want political calls.

"What campaigns understand," Dakin says, "is numbers. The more voters who register with the NPDNC, the louder the collective voice we will have to make sure they listen to us."

Good luck with that.

-- Andrew Malcolm