Wag the Dog: Getting the federal government under control

Capitol
Photo by Kevin Burkett on Flickr

Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has hit upon a capital idea.  Recognizing that states are simply hapless tails on the federal dog, he has proposed a Constitutional amendment allowing a vote of 2/3 of the states to repeal any federal enactment.

Such an amendment would finally give the states a say in federal policy making.  No longer would they be subject to the arbitrary whims of a distant government.  This might finally bring the mighty federal beast to its knees.  Although it does make you wonder if it goes far enough.  Why stop at simply allowing states to repeal laws?  Why not let states make laws as well?  The states better represent the will of the people.  So let’s put the power where it belongs.

The one problem may be that this would give small states a lot of control.  The 34 smallest states (2/3 of 50) have only 28.5% of the population, and a majority vote by those states would force their will on everyone.  This means it’s possible that as few as 15% of the population could enact a law or overturn one.  It may be better then to balance the state vote by also holding a general vote of the population as a whole.  This would give the people a direct say as well.

Of course that means you now have two different votes to reconcile.  Which is more fair?  There are good arguments on both sides, so probably the best thing to do would be to require that both a vote of the states and a vote of the people  approve the proposed new law.  If 2/3 of the states and 2/3 of the people wanted something, then dammit, not even the President should be able to say no.

Although, the logistics of all these general elections would be kind of tedious and probably pretty expensive to implement.  Maybe a more efficient option would be for each state to elect people to represent its will.  Then divide the country up by population and have each group elect somebody to represent them.  We could then send all these people to a central location and have them work on our behalf to run the country.

This idea would be fair and efficient.  It would allow the country to act as a whole without subverting the best interests of the states or the people.  What could possibly go wrong?

If only the founding fathers had this sort of insight…


Thank You Ladies, from the Bottom of My (uurrrrp) Heart

BeerIt turns out that all us beer lovers have women to thank.  While the frosty beverage is now considered more the domain of men, back in days of yore, it was quite the opposite.  For thousands of years women were the sole brewers of beer as it was considered a food and thus fell under their purview.  It’s only been over the last 200 years (and more specifically, since the advent of pick-up trucks and football) that beer has been the dominion of men.

In almost all ancient societies, beer was given to mankind by a goddess.  In ancient Sumeria, women with the skill to craft beer were revered and held in the highest social regard.  In Viking society, only women were allowed to brew beer, and the equipment passed with them from mother to daughter.

So any way you look at it, every time you pop-a-top or crack-a-can or tap-a-keg, you should give thanks to women.  Obviously not all of them as that would make having a beer way too time consuming.  Maybe to keep things practical, just that the one who’s closest.  And be extra sincere if she’s the one who brought it to you.  If she brewed it herself?  Marry her.


Avatar in 3D

I had the opportunity last Friday to see the new Avatar movie with my boys. I had passed on an earlier opportunity to see it as the theater only had the 2D version and I really wanted to experience the film as it was intended. Avatar was shot entirely as a 3D movie with special camera rigs, and I wanted to see what the director envisioned.

It was worth the wait. The movie is spectacular. It’s certainly not heavy into the plot or charater development. It’s a solid, yet predictable, story line. But the effects are breathtaking. The 3D is not overwhelming. It doesn’t try to play games by having stuff jump off the screen at you. Rather it adds a compelling depth of field to the view allowing you to feel immersed in the scene. This is the future of 3D. Further, the animation is so lifelike and blends so well with the real scenes and characters that you don’t really get a sense of what was computer generated and what was physically in front of a camera.

In many real senses, I think this film is the Star Wars of the next generation. Inasmuch as Star Wars set a significantly higher bar for theatrical quality effects in the 70’s, Avatar sets a new standard some 30 years later.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the inflated price of a 3D ticket. I recommend the Real-D theaters over the IMAX as I think it’s a higher quality viewing technology. I also recommend you refrain from all beverages for 2 hours prior to start time and do not take a 32oz soda into the theater. It’s a 2hr 40min movie and you won’t want to miss any of it running to the rest room.