31 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Some Pictures Are Just Asking For an LOL Cats Style Caption Edition)

20090521_178 LA Zoo

You know you want to caption this picture (feel free to make suggestions in the comments).

29 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Three Cheers for Long Lenses Edition)

20090521_034 LA Zoo

Using all 200mm of the 55-200mm zoom lens. Much safer than trying to get the close up this person snapped (as the croc snapped back)

(and my pic is of a gator, not a croc)

28 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (The Merest of Kats Edition)

20090521_009 LA Zoo

I guess it's old Zoo photos week here at Immodest Proposals. Just haven't been in the posting photos to Flickr mood, lately.

I can't imagine it's easy being a captive meerkat. It's in their nature to keep vigil over their community, and their display at the LA Zoo near the entrance with a constant stream of, what must seem to them, possible threat.

On the one hand, they must realize humans probably mean them no harm, but on the other hand, all those humans trundling by might mask the approach of something more hostile.

I bet the zookeepers lace the meerkat's feed with a touch of Xanax to keep them from being in constant terror, or maybe they appreciate the chance to hone their surveillance skills and enjoy the tension.

Never assume animal pyschology is in any meaningful way like ours, even if some of their behaviors resemble our own, doesn't mean their reaction to similar situations are also similar. Hard not to, though, make certain assumptions, especially with other social mammals.

27 July 2009

26 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (The Original May Have Been Creepy Enough for Creepy LA, Buth the Edit is Even Creepier Edition)

20090516_022 Greystone

The above photo was used to highlight this post over at Creepy LA. They gave me credit, so I'm giving them a link, it's the least I could do.

I think you could make the shot creepier, though, high contrast black and white (with a touch of crimson in a few key spots) would be the way to go

20090516_022 Greystone

Regarding the changes I've made, possibly creepy, probably trite, either way the event at Greystone this coming Friday, or the last Friday in August sounds interesting, might be fun if you're in to that sort of thing.

25 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (It's a Bridge Dedicated to World Peace, But Not in Some Hippie Dippy Way Edition)

20090703_047 MtRubidoux

Day Three of nearly month old Mt Rubidoux pics, I absolutely, positively will point my camera at something tomorrow.

Also, while doing stuff on my computer, left the TV on KRCA Channel 62 here in the LA Market. It's part of the Estrella TV network owned by Liberman Broadcasting.

All I can say is, if a non-Mexican portrayed Mexicans the way they portray themselves on this network, they'd be accused of racism.

Did get a chuckle out of Don Cheto's "Are You Smarter Than a Gringo" game show segment (from the few moments I paid attention, seemed like half the questions were in English, half Spanish, and they had their 'gringo' dress up in Uncle Sam drag), however, I don't think Jimmy Kimmel would avoid controversy if he presented a similar, "Are You Dumber Than a Mojado", game show parody on his show (the Guillermo stuff verges on that territory already).

24 July 2009

A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun, Check, Slow Thighs, Check, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Check!

Am I talking about Yeat's poem? No, of course not, I'm talking about Hello Kitty Online. Mentioned last year, it's closer to reality now.

To know it is to fear it.

Topic for Discussion: Genetic Linkage and Certain Attributes Pertaining to Athletes

From the Genetic linkage wiki:

Genetic linkage occurs when particular genetic loci or alleles for genes are inherited jointly. Genetic loci on the same chromosome are physically connected and tend to stay together during meiosis, and are thus genetically linked. This is called autosomal linkage. Alleles for genes on different chromosomes are usually not linked, due to independent assortment of chromosomes during meiosis.

Using NFL wide recievers as data points, I posit that the genetic stew that leads to the ability to both sprint short distances fastly combined with being able to make sudden and quick course changes, those alleles that are responsible for these capacities are also linked to the genes that control extreme narcissism.

Previous data points, see: Terrell Owens, pretty much everything he's ever done, latest data point TJ Houshmandzadeh and his ridiculous beef with MADDEN 2010.

Seriously, dude, seriously.

First of all, according to the game, you are 6th overall amongst NFC WRs with a 91, and you are complaining?!?

I pledge right now, if he finishes the season with top five stats like he told Sporting News he would, I'll make a similar pledge as to the one he made last year. That's right I'll walk from my home to NFL Networks HQ.

OK, so from my house it's only about 5 and half miles, nothing close to the 31 miles you were willing to walk, but it's not my fault that the destination is on my side of town.

Your Daily Photo (I've Been Busy, You'll Stare at Another Shot From Mt Rubidoux and Like It Edition)

20090703_010 MtRubidoux

It's Friday, enjoy that fact (well, it's Friday for me, in fact for most of you reading this it's most likely not Friday as I'm at the tail end of time zones of likely readers here in the Pacific Time Zone, and most people don't read these posts immediately in the first place), and have a great weekend while you're at it.

23 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Shunzo Kido Edition)

20090703_059 MtRubidoux

Pic of a plaque at Mt Rubidoux. More on why Lt. Col. Shunzo Kido was so honored by the Riverside Humane Society.

Elsewhere I read that the plaque was not vandalized throughout WWII (which given anti-Japanese sentiment at the time, is a little surprising). Didn't say if it had ever been scrawled on subsequenlty, however.

22 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Bear Flag Republic Edition)

20090519_141 Union Station

I need to go somewhere and shoot stuff tomorrow. This shot taken awhile ago (May 19th to be exact) outside of Union Station (Flickr set here).

I don't remember reversing this shot, can't fathom a reason why the flag they were flying was printed in reverse and doesn't seem to be on both sides of the flag. Maybe they were saving money and using half of a flag on one pole, and the other half elsewhere. That would be pretty typical, hereabouts.

California, the half a flag state. (listeners of Adam Carolla might find themselves enjoying a knowing chuckle with that phrase).

(the phrase Adam actually uses I won't repeat, though in the context he uses it, is clearly not meant as anti-homosexual slur, just an insult to a certain kind of busy body)

10 Earnest Proposals for Fixing California's Habitual Budgetary Mess

I deem the following decalogue (small, "d", so as not to confuse with the actual Decalogue) "Earnest" proposals rather than the usual modest or immodest ones found hereabouts, cause I think these are real, workable (though not always politically viable) solutions that would provide both immediate and long lasting relief for the budget mess California suffers from on a habitual basis. These ten aren't presented in order of importance, and any combination of these reforms will help our situation, but I think all ten taken together could do amazing things for our state, and propel us back to being the premiere place to live in the nation, if not the world.

1) Drill, baby, drill. It's a simple mantra, one scoffed at by a variety of folks, but California has an unknown amount of oil off our coast (no modern survey with the latest tech of possible oil reserves have been done, cause oil companies know there's massive political resistance to exploiting what's out there waiting to be tapped), but it's easily worth billions of dollars per year over many decades. Why reverse decades of off shore drilling prohibition? First, the tech to exploit it is better, safer, and cleaner than ever before. The problems that offshore drilling caused in the 60s, have been minimized since, if namby-pamby Euroweenie countries like United Kingdom and Norway can drill their seas, than dammit, so can Californians and still be able to call themselves 'progressive'. Second, our energy has to come from somewhere, and oil is going to be part of the energy mix for at least the next 30-50 years, so that being the case, the greenest energy is energy that is transported the shortest distance. California should feed all of its domestic demand with its domestic supply, that would make our utilization of this resource significantly less CO2 producing, and would do so much more effectively than any pie in the sky solar or wind program based on non-existent future technologies. The third, and most important reason to exploit this resource while it still has value is just that. At some point in the next 50 years, it seems likely that oil will no longer have value, so it would be beyond foolish not to drain every ounce of productivity, and every dollar available before that resource becomes worthless.

2) Fund prisons in Mexico, all Mexican nationals convicted of felonies in California will serve their time in Mexican prisons, and those felons will remain in Mexico upon the completion of their sentences. These convicts currently cost California billions a year (some estimates as high as $9B annual). Maintain some sort of supervisorial role over these places so that they aren't pits of degradation and human rights violations, but keep the staff local (and far cheaper than comparable staffing would be on this side of the border). The Mexican government would be compensated for taking over this responsibility, but any terms set would still be cheaper than what we now pay to house illegal alien felons. This reform would benefit Californians as a whole, but it would especially be a boon for law abiding aliens if they knew that their felonious cousins were less likely to find their way back onto the same streets after their sentences ended.

3) Legalize Marijuana. It would take some help from the federal government to do so, but surely the progressive President we have in office, and all those wonderful progressives we have in Congress will see the wisdom of letting California experiment with full legalization and taxation of marijuana to see if that'd be a wise thing to do nationwide. It may work, it may fail, but most likely it would save millions wasted in enforcement, garner millions in taxation, which would more than offset any additional losses in productivity should abuse of that drug increase.

4) Abolish the state income tax. It may seem crazy to try and solve budget constraints by abolishing a major source of income, but our income tax puts us at a huge disadvantage when compared to other large states that make do without (like Texas and Florida). The outflow of Californians, and more importantly California businesses, from the state to other states has been steady over the past 30 years (partly made up for by the inflow of people from around the world, but in large part we've been replacing well educated high earners with ill educated low earners), abolishing the state income tax should help reverse that trend, and in the long run could improve our state's coffers as we attract wealthier folks to our state, rather than repel them.

5) Legalize sports betting statewide. The illicit economic activity generated by wagering on sporting events is staggering, and it seems that the current ban on sports betting in all but a few states would not hold up to a serious constitutional challenge. Oregon backed out of their scheme for state run sports betting, but the NCAA and NFL had much more leverage over a relatively small state like Oregon. California's size makes it much harder for us to be bullied into not allowing this activity to come out from the shadows and become legitimate. Sports betting may be as high as $40B a year in California, if the state just took a 1% vigorish from that action, that'd be $400M in revenues that weren't previously being captured, and that's not assuming more action would be taken should people be able to do so openly.

6) Build dozens of small nuclear power plants across the state (but concentrated in the desert, with a few on the coast). Expanding our use of nuclear power will be a critical component in providing cheap, clean and reliable energy for our state, to the point where we can export that energy to our neighbors at a profit. Also, the coastal plants could be used to desalinate ocean water (if India can do this, so should we), as well as cleanse and reuse agricultural runoff, so that we could reduce our importation of water, and secure a nearly inexhaustible supply of a critical and often rare (locally) resource. There are some great designs ready to be deployed that reduce the amount of nuclear waste generated, reduce the possibility of accidental radiation leaks, and can be built smaller, more economically, and more urban friendly than older designs. It only takes funding and the political will to speed the approval process and untap the cleanest and potentially cheapest source of energy currently available.

7) Redistrict based on geography first, demography second, irrespective of party affiliations. A large part of the problems in Sacramento have to do with the grossly gerrymandered nature of our political boundaries. There've been attempts in the past to adopt a more sensible approach, all have failed in the face of the self interested incumbent party which dominates both sides of the aisle. It will take a popular uprising, and constant outcry against the results of gerrymandering, or a well funded and narrowly worded ballot initiative to change things (there've been two recent initiatives about redistricting reform, but other things were thrown in the mix which made them unpalatable for voters).

8) Money for pupils must go to families, and not districts, force districts to compete for students, and we'll see our education funding spent far more wisely, while this may not save money (though it probably will long term), it will produce smarter Californians, better citizens, and make us a more attractive place to raise a family.

9) Liberalize our conceal carry laws. Converting California from a 'shall issue' state to a 'must issue' state would show people from outside our borders a new willingness to abandon the usual infringements on personal liberty found typically in a populace 'blue state' and signal that California recognizes personal liberty, and a libertarian minded interpretation of the 2nd amendment are key components in encouraging a safe populace able to pursue their happiness as they see fit.

10) Create the Department for the Elimination of Redundancy Department. We've got layers and layers of overlapping red tape in this state. Reduce it, refine it where necessary, eliminate it where prudent. There's no reason why we can't be a model of regulatory efficiency, rather than a nightmare of regulatory glut. Give the DERD a broad mandate, and a fixed time table, creating a permanent department of waste cutting is a sure path towards perpetuating that waste, instead give them broad powers, but a short leash, and a finite term, along financial incentives to produce results, and maybe we'll see much needed reforms to our byzantine network of state and local regulations that have created a negative atmosphere for businesses with few rivals amongst the other states (NY, NJ, MA, IL are the only other states that come close in my opinion).

While much more needs to be done than what's encompassed in these ten Earnest Proposals, the nature of these ten will set the tone. That tone setting will be crucial in remaking California into the envy of the world it once was. We've got glamour on our side, that glamour can be reinvigorated with a vigorous application of libertarianism (and other common sense moves). We can be great again, we remain great even hobbled as we are by terrible governance, but we will achieve best when we free our people the most.

21 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Behold the Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Thabeet Face Edition)

The Hasheem Thabeet face, coming to an NBA arena near you...

(this is a blow-up of a tiny portion of a shot, the over-processed look of it is artistic expression, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it)

20 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Men in Shorts Edition)

These men are doing the shorts thing the correct way, while engaged in athletic endeavor. Taken at the Spurs-Hornets Summer League game from Sunday July 12th.

Judging from the time stamp on the original of this photo, and the fact that Hill is ahead of the rest of the players on the court, I'm guessing this is his made layup with 1:22 left in the first quarter as mentioned in the play by play.

Cox Pavillion is bright enough for watching the game, but not bright enough for very fast exposures from above midcourt without a huge lens. The motion blur looks kind of artistic, so everything's cool. George Hill had an excellent summer league, and looks like he ought to be a solid bench player for San Antonio. The guy in the middle of the shot, Darren Collison, might see real minutes this season backing up Chris Paul for New Orleans. He showed some nice skills on the court, and a better offensive touch than he had for UCLA.

18 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Saturday Clouds Edition)

I didn't say these clouds were snapped this Saturday...

16 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (You Really Can't Call It a Successful Night in Vegas Until Police Get Involved Edition)

I spent more time doing stuff rather than taking pictures while in Vegas. One of the places I visited was The Atomic Testing Museum. No pictures were allowed inside, and the outside is unimpressive, so no snaps there.

Fun place, well designed exhibitions, and definitely pro-nuclear weaponry. None of this namby pamby 99 Luftballons crap. Our arsenal saved (and continues to save) the world from certain nastiness. You can bet that had the Germans or Japanese had the industrial might to have developed nuclear weaponry before we did, they'd have used them, and if we hadn't been able to threaten the Soviets with annihilation, they'd have been far more belligerent during the Cold War.

15 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (With Those Moves, If Being an Official Doesn't Pan Out, There's Always Runway Modelling Edition)

That's right, she can be a tough, fair, and accurate official, and she can do a mean catwalk sashay at the same time. That woman has some talent.

Each ref squad had one woman, two dudes during the Summer League games I saw. Seems the NBA's making a major effort to expand their pool of female refs. Almost all the anti-ref heckling that I heard (which there was very little of) was directed at the female refs. I suppose the jerks in the stands are doing these officials a service by getting them used to ignoring that sort of stupidity early on in their careers. Most of the games were called fairly, one game I saw the crew called everything, and it made it unwatchable, but that had nothing to do with having a woman on the crew.

14 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Summer League is Clipper Time! Edition)

Even the folks behind the Clippers can be hopeful this time of year (and David Stern can pretend to like these folks).

Blake Griffin is the real deal, he's going to be a star in the NBA, he should even be an impact player as a rookie.

On paper, the Clips look like a sure playoff team, and should end up the second in the Pacific Division (Lakers still the heavy favorites in their division, Phoenix has slipped, Golden State is a work in progress, and the Kings are the Kings, they should be better than last year, but that's not saying much). They are the Clippers, so while they have the talent for a 50+ win season, they also have the history and an organization that can take this talent and produce a 50+ loss season, as well.

13 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Don't Let Althouse See This Picture Edition)

Players in shorts, fine, they're athletes, but the coaches?

Not a good look.

(but for the record, I wore shorts, too, it was 106 in Las Vegas yesterday, so comfort ruled, fashioned suffered)

Didn't take any of the usual tourist-y shots of the Strip last night, didn't feel like lugging around my camera, maybe tomorrow after hours and hours of watching basketball.

Turns out shooting video is a no-no during the Summer League (at least with a good camera), I got busted by one of the event-staff, she told me I could snap stills, but no video, guess they don't want the teams pulling a New England Patriots type move. I was isolating a specific player while shooting (which is why I guess that she could tell I running video rather than stills), which was more just for practice keeping the camera somewhat steady and fluid.

I wasn't going to post any of the video on YouTube, but since I was told I wasn't even supposed to capture the footage, I feel I almost have to, even if just to see if I get a take down notice for doing so.

12 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Vegas, and I'm Not the Only One Taking Snaps Edition)

The Palms pool, as seem from my room this afternoon.

(and before you complain about this no being in focus, it is through a window, and from the eighteenth floor)

Had an easy drive, and decided to catch part of the action at the NBA Summer League today as well since I got in early. It was fun, for the most part, Memphis beat OKC in a rout, but I liked the way the Thunder played, better. Livingston looked fluid on the floor, so he may really be back from that devastating knee injury, and for Memphis, Thabeet wasn't much of a defensive presence, even against lesser competition. Definitely didn't look like a #2 overall pick. Also, he's listed at 267 in the program, but my guess is he's 20-30 pounds lighter than that, he's going to get pushed around by the real centers (and even some forwards) in the NBA unless he finds a way to improve both his bulk and footwork (which is hard to do both, for bigs usually one comes at the expense of the other). Earlier, caught just the first half of New Orleans v San Antonio, but saw enough to know that George Hill is for real, and Darren Collison is NBA ready on offense, but defensively he needs work, which is surprising given that he was known for his defense at UCLA. Also, DeJuan Blair was a steal for San Antonio, how the hell did he slip to #37? Only saw the first half of the Cleveland v Milwaukee contest, would have stayed, but other than Brandon Jennings, nobody on the floor was that interesting, and it seemed as if the refs decided they should be the stars of that contest. No flow, the refs were calling everything, and if these Summer League games aren't run like the best pick-up games you've ever scene, then there's not really much reason to watch.

11 July 2009

You Daily Photo (I Bet You're Really Getting Sick of Grapes Edition)


Ha, more grapes for you! Tomorrow should be more Vegas-y, hopefully I can get internet in my room, or near the UNLV campus, otherwise, I'll have to backdate a few posts when I get back home Tuesday (I'm going to check out at least the Lakers v Clippers Summer League game, and might catch a few of the earlier games Monday, and might try and catch a game or two Sunday afternoon depending how the drive up goes).

10 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (I Must be a Decent Photographer, Cause Those Meager Little Grapes Look Much Better as Pictured Than in Real Life Edition)

More grapes, it's a young vine, planted a few years ago, give it time, it will produce better fruit (surprised it's yielding as much as it already is, actually).

09 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (What's Green and Purple and Moist All Over? Edition)

This post's title might sound like a set-up for a dirty joke set in the original Star Trek universe, but nope, it's just a description of the above photo snapped today in my backyard.

(and yes, I went a bit crazy adjusting the color curve in photoshop, the spot the grapes are in is shady at the time of day I snapped them, so I compensated a touch)

08 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Sure I Could Have Run Out and Taken Pictures of the Smoke, But I Didn't Want to be Predictable Edition)

2008 08 05 Getty Center 023

By the time I was free and had access to my camera, the little brush-fire this afternoon near Getty Center was already knocked down. Above photo pulled from the deep archives, shot at Getty Center with my trusty old Sony Cybershot, last August.

06 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Everything Looks More Dramatic in Black and White Edition)

Compare and contrast (lots of contrast).

(alternate post title, "Your Daily Photo (If You Aren't Careful, I'll Totally Go Ansel Adams on Your Ass Edition)

05 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Just Cause Althouse Posts Pictures with a Particular Color Scheme Doesn't Mean I'll Always Do the Same Edition)

20090528_255 Getty Villa

20090528_220 Getty Villa

20090528_236 Getty Villa

I'm not a copycat, I'm more of an homage-ist. Plus, I took these photos first (from the Getty Villa set back in late May, so really, she's copying me...)

Shots presented as originally posted at Flickr, don't think too much retouching was done on any of these.

Should she and Meade find themselves out this way later this summer, Getty Villa should definitely be a place high on their lists to visit, if only as a place to snap some pictures.

Speaking of Green and Purple, Voices Green and Purple, by The Bees...

04 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (Long May She Wave Edition)

20090703_018 MtRubidoux

It's Independence Day. A day to commemorate a rebellious reaction against unreasonable tyranny.

I've uploaded the rest of the snaps taken while ascending Mt Rubidoux (it's more rock, than peak, and the ascent is paved, mostly, so not exactly tough going, but an ascent is an ascent).

20090703_018 ExpoPark

I also visited Exposition Park, so for all you hortporn enthusiasts there are a few shots that should please (taken at the semi-famous Rose Garden, there, which was no small feat on my part given that I find roses' odor overpowering, at times). If hortporn isn't your thing, maybe close-ups of an SR-71 are more your style?

20090703_037 ExpoPark

And I also snapped a few shots inside the Natural History Museum there,


very tempted to do an LOL style caption on these dinosaur bones, but I'll leave that for some other time.

02 July 2009

Your Daily Photo (I've Got Your PINK Right Here, Althouse Edition)

Althouse has been posting a series of lovely photos with pink objects today, here's my contributions (all from my Getty set, altered with Photoshop Elements, using their smart brush tool, one of my photos could have been posted unaltered, but that didn't stop me from changing it anyway)

This post was not sponsored by Pink Taco, just in case anyone worried that I might be doing some viral marketing on the side...

(food's not bad there, by the way, and the wait staff tends towards ridiculously gorgeous)

A Modest Proposal on Encouraging Members of Congress to Become More Accessible To Their Constituencies and Cut Costs

Upon perusing the starkly informative pages of the Drudge Report, he presents a trio of links to a single Wall Street Journal article on Congressional travel habits.

I contend that these trips, rather than being 'fact-finding' missions, as is often the stated rationale for these expensive junkets, instead they are wastes of time and a drain on the federal budget.

I believe that those folks who voters find worthy of representing them in Congress have a duty to serve their constituency to the best of their ability. I also believe that the best way to serve their constituency is to live among them, quite literally. I propose that we amend the Constitution to change the habits and haunts of our Senators and Representatives. I believe that a few small changes in their behavior will have wide ranging, and greatly beneficial, effects on their service to their fellow citizens.

First, I would abolish the US Capitol as a meeting place for Congress, except for special ceremonial occasions. It would remain as fine piece of architecture, and as a shrine to the vibrancy of the American Experiment, but as a work place for the making of laws, it would cease in that function. Instead identically constructed domiciles would be provided for each Representative and Senator, they would be in their district or state, and they would have webcams (w/ mics) most of the rooms (the bathrooms and bedrooms would remain private, with the expectation that they would always be alone in there). These domiciles would be showcases for modular construction and the latest in green technologies. They would be able to maintain family homes at their own expenses, but Representatives and Senators would live apart from their families, instead they would live in these houses provided to them alone and constantly surveilled, so that the people will always know exactly how they are being represented at any given moment. Members would be required to spend 10 hours a week, 50 weeks a year directly interacting (via the internet, or in person) with voters in the area they serve. All voting and interaction with other members would be conducted via teleconferencing from special rooms set up in each domicile, and for all but defense and security related meetings and hearings dealing with classified materials, every utterance and every interaction between each representative would be recorded and freely disseminated for all to see and hear. As a matter of fact, this amendment would make it illegal for members to meet privately. They are there to represent their constituencies, not to make buddies, and the less contact they have with each other, the more likely they will focus on what their constituents expect from them. Another added benefit would be that by spreading out all our representatives, the cost for lobbying would rise astronomically. No more centralized K Street lobbyist helping to craft (and in large part, entirely write) our laws. Serving our nation should be a humble, and humbling experience, and one that no sane person would want to do for very long. Imposing these living conditions would go along way towards making that a reality.

The second phase of this amendment would address the expensive wanderlust that infects those that serve in the House and Senate. When leaving their domiciles, members will be required to wear tracking devices similar to those used on paroled felons. Members will be free to travel, but they will pay a fee out of their own pocket to do so. There will be no travel expenses paid beyond their own district (for the House) or their own state (for Senators), and instead they'd be charged a substantial penalty for every moment they leave the area they serve (similar to the international roaming charges that can pile up on cellular plans). They will be responsible for all expenses incurred, and they be expected to maintain their 10 hours a week of accessibility, no matter where they are on the globe (failure to do so will result in additional financial penalties). While the first phase and the second phase of this amendment may not seem related, I think it's important to enact both together. If we only limit their movement from DC, then members will just get even more isolated and DC-centric than they already are. By the same token, if we only banish members from DC, then rather than spending more time with the folks they represent, instead they'd use the lack of a central meeting place as an even greater excuse to turn their service into a continuous junket from vacation spot to vacation spot.

What would be the end result of such a reform? We would see only the most dedicated of public servants deal with the privations imposed on them, and for the most part few would extend their service beyond a few terms. Voters would have unprecedented access to their representatives. The focus of Congress would be on service, not on featherbedding or which exotic locale they should visit while charging the bill to taxpayers. Congress would be more difficult for special interests to manipulate and the influence of the shadowy power structure behind the government that has accreted over the years in DC would lose some of its hold on at least one of the branches. Also, we might save a buck or two, and that seems reason enough to mess with the way things are, as it seems members of Congress have no interest in restraining their own habits and spendthrift ways