Archive for December, 2012

12/22/2012

No one expects the unexpected journey!

by wfgodbold

The first of the Hobbit movies is good–far better than the reviews make it out to be, and on par with Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

That said, it does drag on a bit, and Jackson inserted some scenes to better dovetail the Hobbit with the LOTR movies. Mostly, they work. Radagast particularly seemed forced.

Other additions were welcome–the flashbacks detailing the fall of Erebor and how Thorin Oakenshield got his epithet (which, as a title, seems like it should have been written by Kipling) fit in with the story far better than Radagast’s bumbling.

And though the movie is a bit slow in parts, it does a good job of keeping those slow parts to a minimum and moving the story along. I look forward to the second film, whatever its title may be (I was hoping they would take a page from the 007 movies and follow the credits with “Bilbo Baggins will return in The Desolation of Smaug,” but no such luck).

12/18/2012

Those proposing bans on semiautomatic firearms* want to take us back to the ’80s

by wfgodbold

The 1880s.

Those of you who are good at math will note that that is closer to the 1791 ratification of the Second Amendment than to today (~90 years vs. ~130 years). Certainly far closer to the framing than TV, or the internet, but about on par with radio.

Proposing that somehow the arms protected by the Second Amendment are only those in existence at its framing and ratification is the first step down a dangerous road. If that logic applies to the Second Amendment, there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to any of the others.

Twitter? Facebook? The entire internet? TV? Movies? Video games?

Not protected under the First Amendment because at its framing and ratification you had to own a printing press and print pamphlets or stand on a soapbox and shout at passers-by to be heard.

Email? Cars? Your computer? Cloud storage?

All searchable without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonableness, because the framers did not have any of that technology.

If you don’t like the Second Amendment, you’re welcome to try to repeal it, but consider: Would repealing the First Amendment mean that we no longer have the freedom of speech, or the press, or religion? Rights are not conferred by the government–they are, in the words of the Framers, unalienable.

Self-defense is a human right, and the best, effective means of self-defense is a firearm. A firearm puts the weak, the infirm, and the small on equal footing with their attacker.

To abrogate that right in the face of media-driven hysteria would be wrong, particularly when that hysteria is based on several false assumptions: (1) Mass shootings are not becoming more common, (2) An assault weapons ban would not have stopped the CT shooter, (3) Anything that would have prevented the CT shooting would have serious constitutional problems, and (4) America has already had a conversation about guns, and the gun control side lost.

I understand the drive to do something, but gun control proponents are focused more on doing anything, whether it would work or not, and whether it would be constitutional or not.

*Including, among others, the NY Post, which somehow fails to note (probably because of the pearl-clutching) that the AR-15 was invented in the late 1950s. The NYT notes that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America (and yet disingenuously posts a picture of a rifle that would be illegal under CT law, instead of one that was legal, like the shooter actually used). In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects arms in “common use.” (554 U.S. at 627) The most popular rifle in America surely falls under this “common use” umbrella.

12/17/2012

In memoriam

by wfgodbold

I’ll talk politics later.

12/13/2012

I’m of mixed feelings about the 7th Cir.’s holding in Moore v. Madigan

by wfgodbold

One the one hand, anti-gun wailing and gnashing of teeth is like music to my ears (the decision is here). Though gun control’s not quite dead, it’s definitely on life support.

On the other hand, this has thrown a wrench into a certain project I’ve left undescribed (see fn 1). Between this case, the 2d Cir.’s holding in Kachalsky, and whatever the 9th Cir. holds in Richards v. Prieto (assuming it’s decided next semester-ish), I’m going to have to rework substantial sections.

On the gripping hand, my project not only turned out to be timely, but by the time it’s done, it may even be on a circuit split!

And with that said, those astute readers of mine will likely have deduced the general subject of my law review article.

Now, back to studying. One more exam to go, and then this semester will be officially over.

12/06/2012

The Lion from the North

by wfgodbold

Because I’m busy studying (well, busy mostly studying), enjoy–in lieu of actual content–Sabaton’s song about Gustavus Adolphus:*

*It’s like if TMBG did a biographical song about a king in the Thirty Years War instead of Young Hickory or some random Belgian painter. And if they were a Swedish power metal group instead of TMBG.

12/04/2012

In which I respond to aspersions cast by an internet necromancer

by wfgodbold

Nearly two years ago, I posted an overly long and verbose piece on why, despite my preference for region-free consoles and gaming, consumers don’t have the right to region-free games. This was mainly in response to Nintendo’s decision to region-lock the 3DS. Early this morning, through what I can only assume was the use of the necromantic arts, someone responded to that post. Because my response to that comment would have been far longer than a comment has any right to be, I chose to respond in a new post. Consider this a sequel to that original post.

In the two years since my original post, Nintendo launched the 3DS (region-locked), and then had to drop the price because it was too expensive and no one was buying it. I still have not bought one (the last Nintendo console I bought was the DS Lite–I haven’t bought a Wii and have no plans to buy a Wii U), though I have bought a PS3 and PS Vita in the meantime (both of which, you will notice, can at the very least play out-of-region physical games).

This, dear reader, is a little thing I like to call The Market.™

Sony has made choices with which I agree, and to support those choices, I am willing to pay for their consoles and games (and I have games for both systems from both the US and Japan).

Nintendo has continued to region-lock their consoles and games. The prices of those consoles and games have not dropped to the point where I would be willing to forego the ability to play games from all regions on one console, so I have not bought them (even though I would dearly love to play Tales of the Abyss with load times that aren’t measured in geologic time, and Project X Zone looks ridiculous enough to be awesome).

Sullivan, in his comment, says,

And Nintendo doesn’t owe you anything? You are a customer. Neither Nintendo nor their shareholders would make ANY money without the customers. They sure as hell owe you. And what you get for your money is that they patronize you and severely restrict your freedom. It is not okay. And telling people not to buy the system because of that is just stupid. It is not a solution. It was not the game developers’ choice to make games region locked.

In response, I would like to point out that Nintendo does not owe me anything.

I bought a DS Lite. Nintendo fulfilled its side of the bargain bye delivering what was promised–a region-free handheld gaming system. Since then, I have not been a Nintendo customer–I haven’t bought anything because I don’t want to pay them to restrict my gaming options. If you buy a 3DS/Wii/Wii U knowing that it’s region-locked, Nintendo still doesn’t owe you–you’re still getting exactly what you paid for.

I don’t owe support to game companies. Game companies don’t owe me good games, bad games, mediocre games, region-free games, or region-locked games. If a game company has a game I want to play, I buy it, and the relationship ends there.

Not buying the system because it’s region-locked is not only the solution, it’s the cheapest solution (it’s certainly cheaper than trying to get a big enough block of Nintendo stock to control the company’s decisions). If you’re not willing to give up the ability to play the games that come out despite the region-locking that Nintendo has foisted upon consumers, then you’ve made an economic decision that region-free gaming is not worth as much to you as it is to someone who chooses not to buy a Nintendo console because of the region-locking.

Nintendo is free to choose to region-lock their consoles and games. Sony is free to choose not to region-lock their consoles and games.

And the consumer is free to vote with his wallet and support whichever philosophy he agrees with, if he even cares. Sadly, I suspect most consumers don’t care about whether or not their consoles are region-locked.

12/01/2012

You know, aside from the initial suspension of disbelief activation energy…

by wfgodbold

The Red Dawn remake was actually pretty good (and by “suspension of disbelief activation energy,” I mean getting past the idea that the North Koreans could actually take over the Pacific Northwest*).

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but after getting eliminated in the intramural moot court competition this morning, I finally had an afternoon where I didn’t have the specter of a brief/oral argument/note hanging over my head.**

Despite my initial misgivings, the change of the conquerors from the Chinese to the Norks wasn’t completely terrible. I know that sounds like I’m damning the movie with faint praise, but the movie was actually good.

*It’s kind of a spoiler, but the suspension of disbelief was helped along by a revelation later in the film (*cough* HEMP *cough*). No, not that kind.

**Sure, finals are the week after next, but who cares!

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