DIARY: Phone cards find their true calling

When all else fails, give out free stuff.

When all else fails, give out free stuff.

When all else fails, give out free stuff.



That maxim was tested anew earlier this month by supporters of Mexican

presidential candidate Vicente Fox, as well as by two groups hoping to

get Generation Xers to debate Medicare with their grandparents. The

twist?



Free phone calls.



Hoping to encourage Mexicans in the US to call home and tell their

relatives to vote for Fox, his supporters are giving out free calling

cards. According to The Washington Post, Mexicans living in the US often

send money back home - so their advice is taken seriously.



Not to be outdone, Citizens for Better Medicare and Third Millennium are

also giving away calling cards, offering Gen Xers a free 10-minute card

for calls to grandma and grandpa.



The group has established www.callyourgrandma.com, a site designed to

take the Medicare debate beyond a greedy geezers vs. do-nothing-kids

battle. It includes boring position papers as well as a virtual bowling

game that quizzes visitors on the Medicare program.



Will the site promote a cross-generational dialogue about Medicare?

Maybe.



Will the Gen Xers have the cranial capacity to determine how to use the

calling card? Hmm.



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