U.S. Rep Pete King Wants Your Cell Phone Camera to Go “Beep”

U.S. Rep Pete King Wants Your Camera Phone to Go "Beep"

U.S. New York Representative Pete King (Republican, Long Island) introduced a new bill in Congress this month H.R.414: “To require mobile phones containing digital cameras to make a sound when a photograph is taken. ” The short title of the bill is simply, “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.”

From the bill:

” (a) Requirement- Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, any mobile phone containing a digital camera that is manufactured for sale in the United States shall sound a tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera in such phone. A mobile phone manufactured after such date shall not be equipped with a means of disabling or silencing such tone or sound.

(b) Enforcement by Consumer Product Safety Commission- The requirement in subsection (a) shall be treated as a consumer product safety standard promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under section 7 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2056). A violation of subsection (a) shall be enforced by the Commission under section 19 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 2068).”

Now I’m a father of four young children, and nobody wants to protect their children from predators more than I do, but this is just plain stupid.

First off there are many times that you don’t want your camera to make audible noises. Let’s say your shooting your own kid in the school play. Having a bunch of disruptive beeps going off every time someone takes a photo is annoying. There are many times when you want to shoot something being less disruptive not being more disruptive. There are certainly plenty of times and places where it is perfectly appropriate to try and be as quiet as you can while shooting.

Secondly, this bill only applies to cell phones. So if some predator wants to try to sneak photos of kids in the locker room all they would have to do is use a regular old point and shoot camera which this bill doesn’t apply to. In fact, spy type cameras have been around for years and if someone really wants to try to take stealthy photos, they certainly can without the need to use their cell phone camera. The law also does nothing to address video.

Then of course there is the part of the bill that this would only apply to new phones. So let’s see, a predator then could, theoretically, still use any old cell phone that they want to take silent phones while millions of law abiding users have to put up with noisy beeps going off whenever they shoot.

I have no idea what the cost of implementing this technology would be, but I’m sure AT&T would figure out some way to make the “enhancement” a reoccurable fee every month on your cell phone bill.

It seems to me like this bill is yet another example of really bad ideas coming from government. It would seem that this is not the first boneheaded idea that Rep. King has come up with by the way. Another of his winner ideas was responsible for funneling $3 million in taxpayer money to a campaign donor for custom manhole covers that Con Ed said could be dangerous in — order to fight those pesky terrorists. At least that’s the way the Daily News reported it. I thought Republicans were supposed to be for less government not for more.

ArsTechnica has more on this new bill here. Thanks, Geoff!

Wordle Comparing President Obama’s Inagural Address With President Bush’s Farewell Speech

Wordle Comparing Obama's Inaugural Address vs President Bush's Farewell Speech

The wordle above compares the Inaugural Address presented earlier this morning by newly elected President Barack Obama (top) with President George Bush’s Farewell Speech (bottom).

No matter what your politics, we are very fortunate to live in a country where every 4 or 8 years a peaceful transfer of power takes place based on Democratic elections.

You can read President Barack Obama’s entire Inaugural Address here. You can read a transcript of President George Bush’s farewell speech here.

View large here.

Smoke Two Joints in the Morning, Smoke Two More at Night, Legalizing Marijuana is the Number One Suggestion in President Obama’s Virtual Suggestion Box

Ending Marijuana Prohibition

The Register published a story yesterday regarding President-Elect Barak Obama’s experiment with a public suggestion box over at change.gov. Change.gov is a sort of government suggestion box where people can ask questions or offer suggestions to the newly elected President that supposedly he’s going to consider. Users on the site can vote suggestions up or down. And the top suggestion amongst the thousands offered to the new President. Yep, you got it, people wanna get high, legally.

From the Register:

“Obama’s Change.gov site will close down its internet suggestion box today, after a week of taking suggestions and opinions on the new administration’s executive policy from the web public at large. In standard Web 2.0 fashion, users can vote up or down on existing entries the theory being that the best schemes will rise to top.

Supposedly, the “top ideas” will be presented directly to the new Commander-in-chief in the form of a “Citizen’s Briefing Book” following his inauguration on January 20.

Barring any massive last-minute changes, the tip-top idea will be best summarized by the philosopher/poet Chris Tucker in his cinematic role as Smokey: “I’m gunna get you high today, ’cause it’s Friday; you ain’t got no job…and you ain’t got shit to do.”

There are lots of other interesting ideas that the general public has come up with including suggestions for bullet trains and light rail, ending Govt sponsored abstinence programs, creating a more green country, etc. But top of the list is legalizing pot.

Barack Obama of course is the first President who has admitted that he smoked pot in the past and actually inhaled frequently because “that was the point.”

With the budget woes that are currently facing the country, certainly legalizing marijuana could provide for a windfall of Government revenue. It was largely the need for tax revenues that got the government to end the prohibition against alcohol back after the Great Depression. In an interesting editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle last week the tax benefits of legalizing marijuana were raised once again with the argument being made that the State of California could possibly address our current budget woes by a tax on the popular drug:

“The marijuana crop is valued at $13.8 billion annually – nearly double the value of our vegetable and grape crops combined. Our state is the nation’s top marijuana producer. Indeed, the average annual value of our marijuana crop is more than the combined value of wheat and cotton produced in the entire United States.

According to government surveys, 14.5 million Americans use marijuana at least monthly but both the producers and consumers of this crop escape paying any taxes whatsoever on it. While precise figures are impossible given the illicit nature of the market, it is reasonable to suggest that California could easily collect at least $1.5 billion and maybe as much as $4 billion annually in additional tax revenue, if we took marijuana out of the criminal underground and taxed and regulated it, similar to how handle beer, wine and tobacco.”

It will be interesting what our new President has to say about legalizing marijuana if he has the political gumption to actually broach the subject. Certainly almost 100,000 people on the internet have. One person though who it looks like doesn’t support marijuana legalization is Obama’s pick for Surgeon General, Sanjay Gupta.