Misc: August 2008 Archives


August 31, 2008

I'm not taking any position on the Sarah Palin "Troopergate", incident but I was intrigued by the story that Trooper Mike Wooten used a Taser on his stepson:
Payton advised that a year ago Mike Wooten had tased him. After future questioning, Payton stated that he was in the living room, when Mike was showing him and his cousin, Bristol his equipment. He stated that Mike asked him if he wanted to try it (the Taser) and he agreed. Payton then explained that Mike shot the Taser into the box inside the garage. He then taped a probe to his upper left sleeve and another on his right thigh. Mike then had him kneel on the floor.

Payton stated that the first time he pulled the trigger nothing happened because the probe on his sleeved didn't make contact. The second time he doesn't remember what happened but he knows that the tightened up. Payton was asked if it hurt him and he first said that it didn't hurt and then yes it hurt. Payton then advised that he tightened up and it hurt for only a second and was over. Payton related that the had a welt on his arm where the probe was taped.

Payton advised that Bristol Palin watched the event take place, and that she made it known that she didn't want him to be tased. Payton stated that Bristol was scared for him, and that she was [al?]most in tears. Payton related that his mother was aware that he was going to be tased and that [s?]he was upstairs with the children. Payton advised that his mother was yelling not to do it. Payton stated that he wanted to be tased to show that he's not a mommy's boy in front of Bristol. Following being tased he went upstairs to tell his mother that he was fine.

Wooten tells a version of the story in which Payton was a lot more eager to try out the taser, but even Bristol's somewhat more negative version has Payton volunteering to be tased.

Obviously, it's arguable that no matter how willing your kid is, you shouldn't be tasing them, seeing as it's not entirely safe. On the other hand, I tend to think your average 11-year old kid would think that a father who would let him try his Taser was pretty much the coolest dad ever.


August 26, 2008

In Slate, Darshak Sanghavi argues against lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. Sanghavi makes a reasonably convincing argument that raising the drinking age has suppressed teen drinking. That's not that surprising, seeing as it's a lot harder for a 17-year-old to impersonate a 21-year-old than an 18-year-old. And then he closes with:
Of course, in the end a lot of teens will binge-drink, no matter what the law says. But that's not an argument against making the legal age 21 years old to buy and consume it. (After all, a third of high-schoolers have smoked marijuana, and few people want to legalize it for them.) Rather, the current law is best viewed as a palliative medical treatment for an incurable condition. Chemotherapy can't cure terminal cancer, but it can make patients hurt a little less and perhaps survive a little longer. Similarly, the current drinking age undeniably reduces teen binge-drinking and death a little bit, without any bad side-effects. When there's no complete cure, though, desperate people are vulnerable to the dubious marketing hype of snake-oil peddlers--which is all the Amethyst Initiative is offering up now.

I don't really have a strong opinion on the right drinking age—though I seem to remember that when I was 16 I thought 18 sounded pretty good, and I wouldn't want to sign an affidavit that I never drank before I was 21. That said, it's not true that there are no "bad side-effects", unless, that is, you ignore the hedonic benefits to the teens in question from having a few drinks. But if course once you ignore hedonic benefits, why not jack the drinking age to 31 or 41 instead of 21?


August 7, 2008

For some unknown reason, Netflix has Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent on DVD, but they only have SVU and CI available for Instant Play. Now, I readily admit that original L&O is better, but is that really the reason why if I want to watch it I've got to get it on physical media?