Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nanny State Watch

This is just ridiculous. An Iowa state senator wants to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

The Food and Drug Administration can ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko, but it cannot stop bartenders from mixing Red Bull with vodka, coffee with Irish whiskey, or cola with rum. Fortunately, Iowa state Sen. Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) has proposed a bill that would close this dangerous gap by making it a misdemeanor for any business with a liquor license to "manufacture for sale, sell, offer or keep for sale, import, distribute, transport, or possess any caffeinated alcoholic beverage."

What is the point of this? I'm in favor of laws that protect people from other people, but I really struggle to accept laws meant to protect us from ourselves. If someone wants to drink too much, who cares as long as they don't get behind the wheel of a car? If someone wants to smoke in a private establishment that wants to permit it, why not? Why do we want to restrict someone's freedom when the only person they are affecting is themselves? It's a slippery slope. I hope this law is defeated and I hope citizens and legislators seriously reconsider going farther down this path than we already are.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not Just in Comic Books

Some guy in a superhero costume recently stopped a carjacking in Lynnwood, Washington.

“From the right, this guy comes dashing in, wearing this skin-tight rubber, black and gold suit, and starts chasing him away,” said Dan.

What Dan didn’t know is that just about every night, an anonymous Seattle man strolls into a comic store, enters a hidden back room and emerges transformed.

Now I'm not sure it's a good idea for people to be putting on skin-tight costumes and running around fighting crime. I do think it would be good for more people to stand up to thugs, though. Perhaps some of them would get the hint that not everyone is going to meekly go along with them.

Of course, maybe someone will just become the Joker, so it might not be a great idea.

"Money is fiction."

This American Life had a great episode last week asking the question, "What is Money?" You should check it out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beware the Coffee Table!

A clear and present danger for children everywhere.

A post over at Geek Mom (hey, it was linked to from Geek Dad, okay?) talks about the fear many parents feel around such mundane things as coffee tables.
OK, yes. When we were little, my younger brother went to the emergency room because of an altercation with a coffee table. And a survey of my fellow GeekMoms reveals two of them have coffee-table related scars. Another has one from a chair. Another recalls crashing into the media console. I myself had a run-in with a bit of shrubbery. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Parents have a natural desire to not see any harm come to their kids. I've got two daughters and it pains me to see them in any sort of pain. But I also know that injury is inevitable. And, really, the only way to learn how to deal with it is to go through it. It's also an important way of teaching kids what their limits are. In fact, I've often told my kids that if they aren't getting cuts and bruises, they are doing it wrong. That doesn't mean I'm going to let them get into situations where they're going to lose an arm or something, but I'm not going to try to prevent all potential injuries. Of course it's hard, because no parent wants to see their child hurt. It does make them stronger, better people, though, which I think all parents can agree is a worthy goal.