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Guilty until proven innocent -- repeatedly

I've written before how much I enjoy "Car Talk" on National Public Radio. One of the (many) fun bits are the guys' habits of piling nicknames on people they like. They finally had to reset one of their advisor's list, after it reached a certain limit (John "Bugsy" "Sebastian" "Sweet-cheeks" "Mr. Height" "Twinkle-Toes" "Donut-Breath" "Make that two triple cheeseburgers" Lawlor) -- I think it was when they couldn't say them all in one breath.

Another of their lackeys is David E. "Rain Man" Greene, their associate producer. And I was surprised to see that Rain Man had made the Boston Glob this morning.

It turns out that he's had recurring problems with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. More specifically (and especially ironically), their Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Apparently, there is another David E. Greene who shares Rain Man's date of birth. And just like a soap opera, he's the Evil Twin of Rain Man.

Evil Twin lives in Florida. He's a convicted sex offender with a long string of DWI arrests, failure to appears, and other assorted offenses that keep him from legally having a driver's license. And Massachusetts is convinced that Rain Man is Evil Twin.

A few years ago, Massachusetts connected the two men and decided to revoke Rain Man's driver's license. He had to get countless forms of documentation -- showing that he and Evil Twin had different middle names and Social Security numbers, and even got a letter from Florida's DMV -- to convince Massachusetts that he wasn't Evil Twin. It finally worked, and Massachusetts reluctantly relented.

Until his license came up for renewal. A records check was run again, and once again Rain Man had to defend himself against charges that he was, indeed, Evil Twin, hoping to escape his sordid Sunshine State past. Once again, Rain Man ran around and collected all the proof he could that he was innocent.

Until the next time his license came up for renewal. Once again, Rain Man is having to prove he is not Evil Twin.

Registry officials freely admit that their system is highly automated. If it finds enough similarities between an applicant and an existing dirtbag who isn't entitled to have a license, it presumes they're one and the same and sends out the rejection/suspension letter. It's then up to the person to prove their innocence.

Other states actually take steps to prevent such things. Florida, for example, as cited in the story, uses Social Security numbers and has never mistaken Evil Twin for Rain Man. But Massachusetts says that with the burden of having to manage five million drivers' licenses, it simply can't manage the effort needed to keep Rain Man and others in his boat from getting yanked around every couple of years.

Here's the real kicker: when asked how Rain Man can avoid this happening again, this is what a Registry representative has to say:

Massachusetts officials offer little comfort: "If the bad David Greene doesn't resolve his situation in the other state, this is unfortunately going to come up again," Deveney said.

That's right. If Rain Man wants to atone for the heinous crime of having the same first and last name and date of birth as this dirtbag, he must travel to Florida and help a convicted drunk driver and incarcerated sexual predator clean up his act and get HIS privilege to drive restored. Once Evil Twin is rehabilitated, then -- and only then -- will Massachusetts stop punishing him. It's like a twisted version of Monty Python's "Argument Clinic" skit.

Personally, I think Rain Man ought to sue both his and Evil Twin's parents for having their sons on the same day and naming them so similarly.

And there's currently a push in Massachusetts to grant drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. They currently can't tell tall, dark-haired David Edward Greene ("Rain Man") who's walking around free in Massachusetts from shorter, blond David Eugene Greene, currently locked up as a chronic sex offender in Florida. They complain that they already have too many licenses to keep track of.

At that point, I would endorse every other state refusing to accept a Massachusetts driver's license as a valid form of identification for ANYTHING, because they'll be about as trustworthy as a wooden nickel.


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Comments (16)

Jeez! And I thought the NJ ... (Below threshold)
joated:

Jeez! And I thought the NJ DMV used to be bad.
What does mASSachusetts do with all its tax money? Pour it in a hole in the grou...oh yeah, that's OUR Federal Tax money.
How do they ID voters?
For a state with with a proud history (at least up to, oh, around 1825 or so) of being anti-beurocratic thay sure have screwed up. This is just one more reaason to live elsewhere.

Somebody contact David from... (Below threshold)
Webster:

Somebody contact David from Mass and tell him to change his middle name.

If we weren't talking about... (Below threshold)
fatman:

If we weren't talking about the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, this wouldn't be believed. But up there, I guess, anything's possible if it means jerking people around (I suspect all bureaucrats, not just PRM's, get their jollies this way).

Wow. He gets the government... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Wow. He gets the government of Mass. AND the DMV. All he needs is for the IRS to hit him with a lean from the other Evil Twin guy for the perfect trifecta of getting screwed by the government.

I'd be amazed, but I've had... (Below threshold)
Deb:

I'd be amazed, but I've had recent dealings with the Registry. Their incompetence and hostility knows no bounds. I've never seen anything like it.

Hmm, 1980 populations of MA... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Hmm, 1980 populations of MA - 5,737,037 of FL - 9,739,992 - hmm Florida, a Republican state can handle the load, but MA - a Democratic controlled state can't. What am I missing here?

(Latest population figures I have handy).

What dirtbag computer system did they buy anyway that doesn't check something as simple as SSN? I certainly am glad that my name is uncommon enough I won't have to worry about something like this..

Oops, when I moved to Florida, I joined a large company. There was a man working for the same company, across town in another building, with the same first and last name. Funny thing was, that even with all those similarities, the DMV never had any problem keeping us straight.

And finally, check out your credit reports sometime. I really had a problem a couple of years ago. My father came to live with us for about 5 months while his new home was being built in Florida after my Mom died. It took years to get his name off my credit reports - even though we have different first names. His name with my wife's name.

So when the highly automate... (Below threshold)

So when the highly automated systems flags someone for something or other, do no human eyes double-check the information before action is taken? Sadly, I'm guessing that they don't or don't for more than a cursory glance. Technology is great, but when bureaucratic nincompoops [mis]use it to take the place of their brains (assuming they have some), that's when trouble starts.

California was trying to gi... (Below threshold)

California was trying to give licenses to illegal immigrants as well... Part of what stopped it was a bunch of other states saying they would no longer recognize a CA license as a legitimate form of ID.

Makes me glad I'm leaving this hellhole and moving to GA next week!

I retract my earlier soluti... (Below threshold)
Webster:

I retract my earlier solution.
New solution: somebody tell David to do himself a big favor and move away from Mass. New Hampshire beckons (as do 48 other states). No more confusion, no more Kennedy, no more goodness only knows what else.

Massachusetts is am interes... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Massachusetts is am interesting state! They have Ted Kennedy who everyone knows has a BIG driving problem, and he got to keep his drivers license and even gets to be a Senator for the Great State of Massachusetts!...Maybe Rainman could get Ted to give him a little legal advise?...Sorry about having to drag Ted out in the rain again! He is just so vulnerable!

I have the same problem. T... (Below threshold)

I have the same problem. There's a James M Durbin Jr born one month after me from Philadelphia, PA. He's a convicted drug-trafficking felon. Florida was the first state to catch it, but they gave me a license when it was clear the records from the national Driver registry were corrupted.
When I went to California, they refused to give me a license until I had a letter from Pennsylvania proving my innocence. Problem was Pennsylvania had never heard of me - because I of course had a different ss# and birthdate.
After 9 months, California relented. I was using a paper license until then - wouldn't fly these days.
One good bit of news. I have a copy of a letter from Pennsylvania and California apologizing for the identity mistake - which made it convenient to clear up credit goofs from my past.
When life gives you lemons...
The database fields for the national registry cannot be cleaned up - it's a search, which pulls all relevant recods.

Man I am glad I don't live ... (Below threshold)

Man I am glad I don't live in Taxachussetts!

- Its become a law of physi... (Below threshold)

- Its become a law of physics. "Government sponsored stupidity is more common than hydrogen"

Would this be legal grounds... (Below threshold)

Would this be legal grounds for rainman to kill the evil twin?
Just askin'.

I recommend a name change f... (Below threshold)
JD:

I recommend a name change for Wide Screen.

Some suggestions:

James D. Guckert
Jeff Gannon
Oliver Willis
Markos Moulitsas
Andrew Pea-burn Sullivan

But my personal recommendation: Jeff Gillooly.

Problem solved, no?

You mean there is actually ... (Below threshold)
RAzorgirl:

You mean there is actually a sex offender locked up in Florida?




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