Friday, June 26, 2009

Regarding Congress

Quite frankly, it's becoming a bit of a clusterfuck up on capitol hill it seems to me. Speed reading through 1000+ page bills? Come on folks, this is getting so bad... reminds me of ideas I've heard before about making the sponsor of a bill have to stand out on the floor and read the entire damn thing before all of congress.

A comment some one made on digg (in regards to this article: ) made me ponder an idea. I already see many of the flaws in it, but it's fun to consider at least. For the next ten years or so, always vote for whom ever is not the incumbent. Create such a rapid turn over that both the Senate and the House of Representatives are entirely filled with new folk. Break up the old social ties and networks, stir things up. And keep doing it until they start behaving themselves properly, and getting their damn work done.

Also, I think that they should earn a total of 1 month of paid vacation, and no more, which is the same that military members earn, instead of these long recesses. And no more than 10% of congress can be on vacation at any time, they have to be functional all year round, and get the exact same number of paid holidays as every one else. They've got a damn job to do, so do it already!

I haven't researched any of this, so it's rather off the top of my head, I expect there to be flaws.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Marriage in the modern world

This specific variation on currently popular ideas became defined during a conversation with a good friend of mine.

Let's get this whole marriage controversy about who can marry whom, and nullify it by removing 'marriage' from being a legal term at all, can creating a better separation of church & state.

Instead, domestic partnerships will become the legal standard, and the only standard that matters for any and all legal and/or tax concerns. Those who are already married automatically become Domestic partners, and any further marriages performed by people the government recognizes as credible, and assuming appropriate paper work is filled out and fees paid, will also mark a domestic partnership.

If your church only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman, then no same sex marriages are performed at your church or by your minister. And if the church down the street does recognize same sex marriages, they can perform them. And if you aren't religious, it doesn't matter.

My proposal goes a step further than merely same-sex marriages too. Though I would have the laws state that any individual can only be involved in one domestic partnership contract at a time, I would not limit a given contract to just 2 people. So yes, 3 or more people could get married together, but before to many men go off dreaming of having multiple lady partners... remember, they are partners to each other too, and have every right to divorce your sorry ass, and in a communal property state, that'd only leave you with with 1/3 (or less, if there are more than 2 women involved) the total value of the partnership. While they remain together as partners.

Also, the details of a partnership can be arranged in the domestic partnership contract, everything from pre-agreeing that one partner is supplying the majority of the financial support, to making it part of the contract that sexual fidelity is not part of the agreement (also known as an 'open marriage')

Really, this is all about letting people customize and declare how they want to live with each other, rather than limiting them to the few options that are recognized today (which, on most paper work, is single, married, or used-to-be-married.) And the government can stay out of it for the most part then.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Juries.

It is time to to redefine the jurist. A "Jury of one's peers" is no longer sufficient. Most of those who actually stand jury duty are those who can not find a way to get out of it. Which quite frankly lowers the quality of mental capacity of those standing jury duty. And even if they are smart, they may be lacking in the basic education to understand introduced evidence on specific topics, and lawyers can use this to manipulate how that evidence is viewed as fact or not.

My proposal is the Professional Jurist. Now, the professional jurist must NOT be a lawyer. However, they must be given a grounding in law, so education towards the degree or specialist degree for this would include basic college courses in constitutional law, perhaps a class in the history of law, and similar, to give the jurist a broad understanding of how the law works, plus a class focusing on the powers & duties of the jury. For example, most juries are utterly unaware of their power of 'jury nullification'. And until the mid 1800's, juries were actively informed of their right & power to nullify a law for a particular case.

So now with a solid understand of their rights and responsibilities as jurists, they should receive a broad technical education. One basic computer class and one basic networking/internet class should cover most of what they need to know about computers. Now they just need Biology, Chemistry, and Physics 101, along with basic and advance courses in critical thinking/debate, and a class or two in psychology.

This should leave them well defended against the manipulations of the lawyers, and well armed to understand the facts and decide the truth for any given case. I'm open to other suggestions of what should be in their education for this position.

Now, working the professional jurist into the current system. I would ease them in, and keep them spread thin at first. If there is a case and 1 or more professional jurists available, then one of them would be on the jury for that case. Only one would be used per jury, because there would only be a few at first, and even one should provide some helpful insight to the rest of the jury.

As more are hired as they graduate etc, the number of them in any given jury should increase, with the intent of moving to a situation where the entire jury is professional. The biggest downfall, aside from the fact that all of this requires a constitutional amendment in order to implement, is that this means each trial will cost more. But then, I can always hope that if we reach the point where we can institute a rational system like this, we will also be at the point of instituting the fines-based punishment system I described in a previous blog entry.