A Modest (Software) Proposal.

I text. A lot. There. I’ve admitted it. Text messages are actually pretty useful – especially if used appropriately. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, and everything, a lot of people check their brains at the car door, and insist on texting whilst driving. Pandemonium ensues. And that’s a bad thing.

Governments, insisting that Something Must Be Done, do their typically heavy-handed thang – they ban texting while driving. But technology could offer a better way to deal with texting on the road, and I’m curious as to why nobody’s figured this out.

I have an iPhone (a phone that elicits much the same passion in me that guns did from Charlton Heston…”from my, cold, dead fingers!”). I have a free program installed on it called “Dragon Dictation.” Pretty cool app. It allows you to dictate anything, then converts the audio automagically to text. Does a pretty good job, too. They’ll even let you paste it into a text message. Cool – as far as it goes. But what’s needed – by Nuance (makers of the Dragon app), Apple, or for pity’s sake SOMEBODY – is a full-blown SMS application that will allow you to speak and send – as well as convert the incoming texts to audio, so you can, well…text without um…texting.

This could be a killer app. Or given the number of accidents caused by texting, maybe the ultimate NON-killing app. And it ought to come with every smartphone. But if it can’t be free, at least it could be advertiser-supported – either with visual ads, or with audio ads (like radio, duh!) that would be limited to, say once every 60 seconds or so (and no longer than 5 seconds, please!).

I my experience, there’s no way to legislate common sense. And if you can find a way to enable people to do what they want, and do it safely without venturing too far out of their comfort zones – it’s bound to work. Wouldn’t it be better to have “voice texting” (vText? vSMS?) than just ban it completely? And besides – most people can’t type worth a warm bucket of spit. I can’t believe speech recognition would make messaging a bigger mess than it is now.

“Loser-iana” No More.

I was born and raised in Louisiana. While my hometown is Shreveport, New Orleans was, is and probably always shall be the center of the Louisiana Universe. When I was but a lad, the state got pro-football fever, when the New Orleans Saints set up shop. I remember hearing that we’d see a Super Bowl trophy Really Soon Now – surely within the first ten years, n’est pas? Nope. Throughout most of the team history, it’s been a story of loss – sometimes snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, sometimes just being bad. Heartbreakingly, astonishingly bad. What other team could generate so much angst and ennui from their own fans that they would hide their faces in shame.
Tonight, all is forgiven.
All that faith, love, and hope has been rewarded tonight with the ultimate prize. Let us celebrate. Let there be merriment in the streets, celebration in the schools, and songs in our hearts. Let the men in black and gold be our standard-bearers, and lead the state proudly.
There is no need to make excuses any longer.
There is no need to put an asterisk beside the state’s listing.
There is no need to apologize.
Tonight the entire state rejoices.
Tonight, New Orleans looks with pride and confidence to the future.
Tonight we are as one – one state with a shared pride.
“Loser”-ania no more, indeed.

Finance THIS.

Recently, the Supreme Court wisely overturned as unconstitutional the vaunted “McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Law” that restricted the ability of corporations to make contributions to campaigns.

Why is this a good thing?

First of all, the way the law was written, it tied the hands of business, while giving unions the opportunity to spend with virtually no restrictions. Given that unions (over the last 20 years, anyway) have given over 90% of their contributions to Democrats, this has created a lop-sided playing field. Continue reading Finance THIS.

Parliament Bunk-adelic.

Recently, a friend of mine (who usually exhibits a much higher degree of common sense) proposed that we stage a Constitutional Convention for the purposes of throwing out our current form of government and replacing it with a Parliamentary system, much as they have in the UK.

Pause with me for a nanosecond, whilst we ponder just how screamingly bad an idea this would be.

For those of you that slept through 8th grade Civics or Freshman History class, let me provide you with a soupcon of background on the way things evolved over the pond, and you’ll see why I hold this idea with the same esteem that I usually reserve for things I scrape off the bottom of my shoe, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi… Continue reading Parliament Bunk-adelic.