You may remember Jen McCreight. When an Iranian clerk blamed women wearing revealing clothes for causing earthquakes, she accidentally started a global event called Boobquake, which scientifically proved him wrong.
This year her father, Mike, also got into the newfangled blogging game, and started If I Were King, a little place for him to write about whatever is pissing him off at the time. He’s a smart guy. He makes a lot of good points, and his blog is always an interesting read.
But today he wrote something I found myself disagreeing strongly with. Writing about the US Supreme Court, he argues that life time appointments for justices are no longer a good thing. Justices no longer vote by their conscience – politics be damned – but instead vote according to ideology. “Now justices vote along straight political lines. The new strategy for appointments is to send justices to the Supreme Court at an early age and make damn sure their political ideology is aligned to the party in power.” This, of course, is the part of his post I agree with. Since justices have life terms, political parties make all kinds of manoeuvrings to get someone who’ll vote their way on the bench. And having the same people in their jobs for such a long time reduces the likelihood of change or reform. Decisions that may have been applicable thirty years ago may now, in a different culture, be appropriately overturned. But that won’t necessarily happen if the same people are on the bench, and their opinions haven’t kept up with the changing attitudes of society. Just as the executive branch of government has fixed term lengths, I think the judiciary should too. I like Mike’s suggestion of 15 years.
What I disagree with, though, is Mike’s idea of a minimum age. He proposes that to be nominated, a justice must be at least 55 years old. As I said, an aging Supreme Court is not necessarily a good thing. I certainly respect the advantages of age and experience, but I don’t think it’s impossible to find similar experience and wisdom in a 45 year old, for example. So I agree and disagree with Mike: fixed 15 year terms would be great, but I don’t think a minimum age of 55 is the way to go.
What do you think? Are life terms a good idea? Should there be a minimum age?
Guest post by Hamish Lucas.
Daylight savings is here again! What a wonderful time of year it is. Crisp cool evenings, warm afternoons and extra long days are conducive to getting more work at home done and more play time with our baby boy. It truly is one of my favourite time of year, which is why, when the clock ran forward an hour last Saturday, I was in an excellent frame of mind. That is until Monday morning.
By Sunday evening i was still yet to put all our clocks forward to match the new EDT (GMT-9). My trusty iPhone with which I am addicted however did not let me down, and automatically updated the time on Saturday night.
With this in mind, and faith in my heart, I went to sleep knowing I would be woken by my reliable, trusty iPhone.
Monday morning 5:30am, all my clocks are reading 4:30 and the iPhone starts its alarm, claiming it’s 6:30!
OK so I cope with that (mostly because I didn’t notice at the time) and get to work early albeit groggy.
Some discussion has ensued as to why this may be. It’s a recurring alarm, set before the Daylight savings period. Clearly there’s a bug, because the alarm is stored in gmt, which didn’t change of course.
Happy with this diagnosis, I deleted all my alarms and reset them.
Tuesday morning: 5:30am – you guessed it, the alarm went off!
In frustration, I set a single alarm for 8:30 so I could sleep in a bit. This logical course of action had the iPhone’s alarm going off at 8:30! So now very late to work, the diagnosis of this bug was really starting to annoy me.
At this point I realise that my diagnosis was – ahem – wrong. If I was right, the alarm would be going off late not early. So it seems that Apple and Steve Jobs have overcompensated. Let’s leave the innuendo alone, I’m not quite furious enough yet to start overt personal attacks.
Now comes some testing between myself and my tech savvy iPhone confederates. As it turns out, this bug, that may or may not have been triggered by the onset of daylight savings, only affects my most favourite of features: The repeating alarm. The alarm that I rely on. The alarm I never have to set. The alarm that knows not to wake me on weekends. This now buggy alarm has done what I thought nobody could do: Turned me from an impoverished iFanBoy to actually noticing all the other little bugs in the iPhone.
Whilst I still think it’s a great piece of hardware, Apple’re going to have to fix this fast, and apologise greatly in order to restore my faith in their programming.
By Wednesday morning, tired, disenchanted and miserable, I made it in to work on time.
Thanks Apple. You’ve ruined my happy Spring.