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Driving is not a Civil Liberty

January 14, 2008 Leave a comment

In response to yet another drunk driving incident that left the beloved victim dead, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is proposing sobriety checkpoints. The ACLU and other civil liberties organizations are calling this a violation of civil liberties.

But driving is a privileged, not a civil liberty. As it is, it seems that this privilege is already too easy to obtain especially when compared with European nations. A privilege is not a right. It is not a civil liberty. One has to register, test, and even pay to drive.

Already state law allows for "emphasis points" – areas where accidents are high. I suspect checkpoints would be put in such places along with high-traffic areas and areas with a large number of bars. But ACLU would have you believe that being inconvenienced by getting pulled over for a quick sobriety check in these areas is more important than the loss of loved ones.

If you’re drinking and in these areas, take a cab. Not only is drunk driving illegal and quite simply stupid, I’m sure cabs wouldn’t be viewed under suspicion and would not likely be pulled over. The greater Seattle area also has one of the best transit systems in the nations with buses going all over all night, and are quite inexpensive.

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Categories: News and politics

15 Minutes of Infamy

April 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Why do attacks like at Virginia Tech and Columbine continue to happen? No doubt there’s something wrong with the attackers, but what better way to get their perverse message out to the masses than to shoot up a bunch of people and make national news, who will gladly air your message or even make a movie about the event.

Free speech can be dangerous, and I’m not arguing we shouldn’t have free speech or even restrictions which can slowly diminish our freedoms. What I do believe is that news outlets have a moral obligation to their readers and viewers, as well as their source. Recently, the name of a CIA official was leaked and the focus seemed to be on the White House source of the information, Karl Rove, but very little on that Time went on to leak the name in media. News outlets will tell you they have an obligation to report this news, but besides our enemies who actually cared about an operative’s name? It’s simply an excuse to attract more readers and viewers, if even for a moment. It’s about greed.

I refuse to watch the gruesome details or anything he who I shall not name thought. If his and so many others’ messages were not leaked, I believe we’d see less most-desperate cries for attention. And isn’t that what’s more important?

Categories: News and politics

Chatting for Charities

March 2, 2007 Leave a comment
Microsoft is currently donating a portion of its ad revenue from Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) every time you chat. So, visit http://im.live.com, download Messenger if you don’t have it already, follow instructions to modify your screen name, and be social. There are several charities to choose from.
Categories: News and politics

It’s a Winter Wonderland…in Seattle

January 11, 2007 1 comment
The greater Seattle area doesn’t get a lot of snow at this elevation. For snow, we need only drive 40 minutes or so into the Cascades. Last that drive would take you many hours.
 
Quicker than you could through your coat on and rush downstairs, we had almost an inch of snow and hail collected on the ground. Traffic was horrendous. It took me an hour just to get from the parking garage exit to 31st street – a mere 200 yards! After that it wasn’t too bad, but people just weren’t moving. There was also a lot of people not taking turns pulling out and even passing by those waiting to turn on the left, and then turning right cutting off those of us with patience. When I did finally get to the intersection of 31st Street and 156th Avenue, I saw something I haven’t seen in quite a while – and never here: snowmen. A 20-minute drive on most nights too me 2 hours last night.
 
Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland seemed to have been hit the worst. Even now at work there are very few cars on the road and only a couple of us here when most people are starting to show up. Below is a picture of what it looks like outside right now, with dark clouds over the Cascades.
Categories: News and politics

If You Challenge Them, They will Learn

December 9, 2006 Leave a comment

Recently a New Jersey school administrator challenged his 700 kindergarten through eighth grade students that if they read 10,000 books by a certain time he would camp overnight on their school, with a "HP" – for Harrington Park school – shaved in his hair.

Few teachers challenged me – and many other students – when I was growing up through school. Fortunately one teacher – my own mother – did. I already would’ve been a prime candidate for ADD or ADHD – which I believe in like the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause (they all have some basis of truth, but little more) – because I had to find ways to challenge myself, even if that was upstaging the teacher regarding something I knew more about than they did.

Today things seem worse. With so many restrictions on what can be taught and how, and far too many people worried about students’ self esteem – often times people that have no ties to any particular schools. The result is poor teaching, and teachers can’t easily challenge students individually, lest they hurt someone else’s self esteem. Frankly, I’d rather have a modest child than a stupid child, but I know I won’t have to worry because we will educate and challenge our kids a well.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve heard so many people – especially while attending college myself – that stated they’d just teach if their dumb choice of a major (like History, the choice of many a college drunk and jocks – who are often the same people) wouldn’t land them some super fantastic job. You know, like The Librarian – there’s just such a high demand for cool, adventurous jobs. Teaching shouldn’t be a fallback, because those falling back to teaching are only hurting all our future. And don’t even get me started on allowing people to teach because they’ve been in a particular industry for 5 years.

It’s when I see stories like that which prompted this rant that I have some hope that there are still good teachers out there – even good administrators to support those teachers – who still know how to challenge kids, because the vast majority of them I believe will rise to the opportunity. Most kids love challenges of various degrees. Why is it that teaching through games is so popular? Games challenge. Failing a challenge may hurt a little and a little self esteem is good, but what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger and this country is already heading toward becoming the dweeb that is easy to bully.

Categories: News and politics

NBC’s Negative Analysts

February 26, 2006 Leave a comment
Tracy and I have been watching some of the olympics on NBC and both enjoy women’s figure skating for its grace and style. All those athletes in the Olympics are fantastic – they’re in the Olympics, right?! What was very disappointing, however, was the analysts for NBC for women’s figure skating were very negative and said things beyond analysis, which is what they were suppose to provide.
 
Yes, at this level of competition, small mistakes make a big difference, but the things the analysts said were talking about the lack of experience and even skill. It was how these things were said that was rather rude. Even Scott Hamilton – apparently fresh off his filming for Skating with Celebrities – was rather rude when talking about these young women. Relative to each other some have more experience but they are all experienced and represent their country as the best. Some are better than others, and it’s in the Olympics that we compete to find out who is the best.
 
What was nice to see – even though it meant that the US didn’t get a gold in the event, is Arakawa winning Japan’s first medal in the 2006 Olympics as well as Japan’s first gold medal in figure skating Olympic history. That’s got to put a smile on your face – it certain did her’s.
 
In other sports the analysts were better. Before Thursday’s long program in women’s figure skating I watched the men’s aerials and got to see Jeret "Speedy" Peterson make the most difficult jump in the sport and it was amazing! It’s too bad he landed with such force that he reached back and touched the ground, taking seventh in the event. 5 twists and 3 somersaults within 3 econds! Wow! I can’t imagine how anyone could know where the ground was.
 
In 4 years the Olympics come to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, just a couple hours from here. Tracy and I definitely plan to attend. I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics and soon we’ll have that chance.
Categories: News and politics

Talking about Scotty is Getting Beamed Up Himself

October 18, 2005 Leave a comment

And speaking of "Scotty" and Star Trek, the transparent aluminum mentioned in Star Trek IV is now reality. Hopefully the Air Force doesn’t hold this up in patents or at least just files for a defensive patent (which is dumb, because all you need is public prior art that pre-dates other patent filing attempts).

Categories: News and politics