Thursday, May 13, 2004

Amend Away
Personally, I prefer the old method. The direct appointment of the Senate by state legislatures seems, to me, a stark reminder of the original intent of the founders -- that the U.S. is a federation of semi-autonomous states, each with a unique character and priorities. We're probably some of the last people who understand that the U.S. was supposed to be a republic. The direct election of Senators was a step toward the misperception that the U.S. is a democracy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Opinion death match!
The New Republic and National Review have a joint website where they debate each other over stuff. It looks like the site's relatively new, with the first debate taking place in April.
Repeal the 17th amendment?
On NRO, Bruce Bartlett makes the case for repealing the 17th amendment, which provides for the popular election of Senators. Joe and Rodney, I'm interested in what you guys think about this.
Frag 101
This is cool. Some universities are now offering classes in video game design. Might as well - video games are big business. I think it'd be fun to know how to write a game. Perhaps I'll apply to DigiPen, get a B.S. in Real-time Interactive Simulation. Then I'll write a first-person shooter where you play a CEO that breaks unions, lays off workers and otherwise stomps all over the little people. And I'll call it Faceless Corporate Monolith.
Automotive revenge
Driving would be a lot easier and less stressful without all those other drivers out there. I am sick [and tired! - B. Cosby] of idiot drivers - those that think the left lane is for slow pokes, those that don't understand how to use cruise control, those that insist on flying by everyone in front of a construction zone and cutting their way in at the absolute last second - and would like a way to give these people their due short of going into full-blown road rage.

I was thinking starting a website where people would submit photos of cars, including the license plates, that have been doing stupid things. The goal would be to encourage better, more civil driving through embarrassment. Heck, I could even provide links to safe driving sites and such. The key part would be a form that anyone could use to submit a photo or two and a short description of the offense. The site could even categorize the offenses, and offer a way for people to search and browse through them. We could have votes for the most heinous offense of the week and such.

What do you think? Too mean-spirited? What would I do if someone submitted my car? The horror!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, baddrivers.com is unavailable. However, stickittoabaddriver.com is good to go! Book that site and get it rolling!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Early summer break
Joe, I like this part (emphasis mine):
He continued: "Although this action may delay our children's education slightly (should the other branches fail to respond quickly), it will end the inadequate and inequitable education being provided now and the disparate damage presently being done to the most vulnerable of our children."
Well, if the schools are closed, it ends any sort of education, inadequate or not. Priceless.

So does Mom get a longer break this summer?
Talk about shame
No comment:
On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, "Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?" said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."
Okay, one comment. Shame on you, Senator! No one can excuse what has happened in these prisons under our watch, but to equate that to the atrocities committed by Saddam's regime is beyond ridiculous.

UPDATE: Particularly shameful in light of this.
School's Out
Hey, David, you think Missouri's education system's got it bad? Well, Kansas' system was just shut down.
Boys and their games
I believe this:
Boys ages 5 to 12 spend more time each week playing video games than playing with traditional toys, market research firm NPD Group said on Tuesday. The survey did not detail how much more time was spent.
Toy categories, like action figures and building sets, were most affected by the increased tendency among boys to play virtual games than real games.
Why aren't video games considered "real games"? Games are games, correct? Regardless, my eight-year-old son certainly prefers playing Xbox to just about anything else, although he does like to tinker with Legos from time to time. On the other hand, for a while now he's been into all things involving Lord of the Rings, so we've played quite a bit of old-fashioned LOTR Monopoly and LOTR trivial Pursuit lately.

Unfortunately, the survey does not get into why boys prefer video games. Is it because of the challenge? Do they prefer the realism of modern video games? Does this mean girls have better imaginations?

And it's not just children. I like playing Xbox, too. A lot. Particularly the Tom Clancy-inspired games like Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. Love 'em - can play them for hours. My wife, however, doesn't want to have anything to do with them. I've tried to get her to play a game or two with me, but she just humors me and runs away as soon as she gets an opening. If she plays video games at all, she prefers those that mirror so-called "real" games, like solitaire and Scrabble. The only true video game I've ever seen her enjoy is Tetris, and she's very, very good at it. What's up with that?
A real hero
I'd like to meet this guy. Such courage - I would think he'd be up for the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is a shame we don't hear about such people in the news.
Kansas' new motto
Inspired by InstaPundit: "If you can't win here, you've lost!"

Monday, May 10, 2004

Thousand Mom Blatherfest
A couple thousand mothers went to D.C. over the weekend to begin the nationwide campaign against assault weapons, and generally support the current ban.

We can have a reasonable debate regarding whether assault weapons should be available. Arguments can be made as to whether the Constitution was intended to give little Johnny access to an M-60. (Personally, I know that the 2nd Amendment wasn't put in place to placate future sportsmen, as some anti-gun sorts have put it. Rather, it was put in place to make sure that the people would always have the ability to fight tyranny. You need more than a breech-loader to achieve that.) However, I think the assault weapons ban has to be one of the sillier gun laws passed. Basically, it targets a series of weapons for no other reason than their names are memorable (the most infamous being INTRATEC's TEC-9).

Problem is, the ban focused on specific brands of weapons, and high-lighted features that don't really matter, in the ultimate scheme of things. Manufacturers simply eliminated banned features (like the bayonet mount) and re-issued the gun under a different name. That's effective legislation.

What's most entertaining to me, though, is that the Brady site I link to above contains this quote from an ATF page:
"[Assault weapons] are preferred by criminals over law abiding citizens eight to one....Access to them shifts the balance of power to the lawless."
This shouldn't surprise anyone. If I buy a gun for home protection, a standard semi-automatic should do the trick. If I had any more than 10 bullets available, I'd probably kill the intruder and myself (but that's just me). However, if a criminal wants to go on a rampage, he's going to pick something that doesn't require him to reload every 10 seconds. Not surprising.

What is a little ridiculous, though, is the Brady site's inference that banning assault weapons would somehow "shift the balance of power" back to the law-abiding. I mean, if a person's already an outlaw, why would the assault ban impede their ability to get one? Wouldn't they just break the law and buy one on the black market? That doesn't seem to be any sort of improvement.