Friday, October 15, 2004

Reach Exceeds Grasp

From Monday's New York Times:

Congress Close to Establishing Rules for Driver's Licenses

The Senate version of the intelligence bill includes an amendment, passed by
unanimous consent on Oct. 1, that would let the secretary of homeland security
decide what documents a state would have to require before issuing a driver's
license, and would also specify the data that the license would have to include
for it to meet federal standards. The secretary could require the license to
include fingerprints or eye prints. The provision would allow the Homeland
Security Department to require use of the license, or an equivalent card issued
by motor vehicle bureaus to nondrivers for identification purposes, for access to
planes, trains and other modes of transportation.
As one of the characters in Robert Heinlein's novel Have Spacesuit Will Travel remarked, "The government can't even require a man to be able to read and write."

Domestic driver's licenses and non-driver ID cards are only available to US residents. So these requirements could only apply to US residents. Four million native born US citizens are not US residents and thus not eligible for these cards. Additionally, 5.5 billion other people are non-US citizens and non-US residents and thus ineligible for US domestic driver's licenses and non-driver ID cards so they won't have to use them either. Which means that US transportation systems will continue to be open to those with other sort of documents (usually passports).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Safe World?

The first question of the 3rd Presidential Debate:
SCHIEFFER: Gentleman, welcome to you both.

By coin toss, the first question goes to Senator Kerry.

Senator, I want to set the stage for this discussion by asking the question
that I think hangs over all of our politics today and is probably on the minds
of many people watching this debate tonight.

And that is, will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as
safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?

What world was that? The world of WWI; the Great Depression; WWII; The Cold War (WWIII); the '60's (riots, assassinations, aircraft hijackings, invasions, Vietnam); the '70's (Nixon, Carter, social decay); the '80's (last gasp of WWIII combined with the first shots of WWIV). And don't mention the '90's or the '00's!

As an early baby boomer, I could always blame my birth cohort's peculiarities by saying, "What do you expect, we spent our entire childhood 30 minutes away from nuclear annihilation?"

It strikes me that most of those living grew up in insecure times.

Mary's Choice

Andrew Sullivan writes on Kerry and Mary:

All Kerry did was invoke the veep's daughter to point out that
obviously homosexuality isn't a choice, in any meaningful sense.

I'm not sure how Ms. Cheney's sexual preference proves that homosexuality is immutable.  Just because one's child grows up to become a communist, a Demoncat, or a golfer; one can't automatically blame a genetic root.  Obviously homosexual behavior can't be strongly genetic since all of Mary Cheney's ancestors (and all of Andrew Sullivan's ancestors) were at least functionally heterosexual.