Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?
[Getting back to the "Ask Slashdot" question...] When I left work last Tuesday after doing my "shutdown activities," I noticed that people largely fell into two categories: 1) those that have some money saved (they were the ones that left feeling not too worried and acting pretty relaxed) and 2) those that are living paycheck to paycheck (those were the ones that looked really stressed out and scared). Knowing that retroactive pay is in the offing makes this shutdown bearable in the short term. But that doesn't help the folks in the second group.
The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States
If the purpose of redrawing state boundaries (an absolutely impossible proposition) is to come up with a better alternative to the "winner take all" aspect of the Electoral College, just don't make the College such a "winner take all" proposition. Since most folks have figured out that amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College will never happen, the next best alternative is to make electoral votes proportional by selecting presidential electors by congressional district. This gives the more rural areas somewhat better representation without overly skewing the results. Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution gives each state legislature the authority to determine how it chooses its electors, so such a change is much easier to accomplish than amendments to the Constitution (which require a 2/3 vote by each house of Congress and adoption by 3/4 of the states).
Maine and Nebraska already have their electors selected this way, and Virginia and Pennsylvania have put forward similar proposals. This system preserves states' rights, yet allows for a more representative result in the Electoral College.
Why Have Movies Been So Bad Lately?
Clearly, the lack of original movies is at the heart of the problem. I looked at a newspaper this past spring, and of the twenty or so movies in the big theaters, only about three or four were original screenplays, or adaptations that were not from movies.
Once upon a time, sequels were ASSUMED to be bad - so few had been successful. But ever since Star Wars, and the advent of brand merchandising (think of the those stuffed Wookies and Luke Skywalker action figures), sequels and remakes started getting a second look.
The latest trend now is to make three movies in one shoot (LOTR and Pirates of the Caribbean). So don't look for any relief soon - if Hollywood can make money off bad movies (and there are a LOT of bad movies) they will keep making them.