April 10, 2007

Something Wii Don't Understand

Wii We have finally decided to purchase one of the current generation video game systems. The choice is between the Nintendo Wii, the Playstation 3 and the X-Box 360. We've come to the conclusion the Nintendo product is the one we should invest in, if we can find one.

The Nintendo Wii hit the market back in November- nearly 6 months ago. Despite this, they're nearly impossible to find. I've scoured a number of local stores looking for a Wii, but they're all perpetually out of stock. If they are expecting more units, they generally don't know when they might arrive. I've made notes of when some of the major stores get shipments in, but that's iffy at best. It's frustrating that I have to go through this much work for the privilege of paying someone $250.

I don't understand how Nintendo has not been able to produce enough of these systems to meet demand. Now, months after its release, you'd think they would have caught up on their distribution. Sure, there's something to be said for creating an artificially high demand for the system to create a 'buzz' about it, but I don't think the benefits from that strategy outweigh the costs.

While the Wii is out of stores, the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 are easy to find. Most stores have a number of 360's on hand, and at least one lonely PS3 behind a glass case. Many potential Wii owners are opting for an available system instead of chasing down stocks of Nintendo Shipments or paying a premium to purchase one on eBay.

In addition to losing system sales to its competitors, Nintendo is missing out on millions of dollars of accessory a game sales. After all, no one is going to buy additional controllers, games, and battery rechargers if they don't own the actual Wii. For video game makers, most of their profit comes from these accessory sales- not the sale of the actual system. Currently, the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 are actually being sold at a loss, and the Wii at a very small profit. But those losses are worth while because of the huge profit margin on the accessories. When I last checked Wal-Mart, they had no Wii's available, but were actually quite overstocked on Wii accessories and games.

If I were a video game console manufacturer, I would make as many units as I could before the release date (and immediately afterward) to take advantage of all the demand. And within six months, I'd fully intend on it regularly being in stock at major retailers.

All I want is the chance is to destroy my personal property with one of those 'wii-motes'. That's all.

April 07, 2007

Fertilize This

Every now and again we get mail that doesn't belong to us.... but sometimes we get mail that doesn't belong at all.

Case in point:

I live in an apartment building that has 16 individual residences. No one within a quarter mile owns a lawn. Oops.

April 05, 2007

Bush Works Around Congress Yet Again

Today, Bush made another one of his infamous recess appointments, placing a one Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. Mr. Fox was a major contributor to the ‘Swift Boat’ campaign ads that slandered John Kerry’s military record during the 2004 Presidential race. President Bush had made earlier efforts to place Fox in an ambassadorship, but was quickly shut down by the Democratic congress. While Belgium may not seem at first to be an incredibly key foreign post, Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union, as well as NATO.

Bush has a record of making these ‘recess appointments’, which allow him to bypass Congressional approval when making Presidential appointments. In addition to Sam Fox, controversial UN Representative John Bolton was put in office this way, as well as numerous others:

It’s all legal– check Article II section 2 of the constitution. Recess appointments were initially created so that the government would not be held idle because Congress was not in session. In ‘ye olde’ days, it could take days or weeks for congressman to gather in Washington. If important work needed to get done immediately, the President had the power to make necessary appointments so the important work could go on. Today, our legislative representatives can get to and from the Capitol in hours. If it were a dire emergency, representatives could congregate immediately and address a situation. Despite this, the rule still still in effect, and President Bush has aggressively taken advantage of this system to subvert democracy and do whatever he wants.

This law needs to be changed. If not removed entirely, it should make any presidential recess appointments valid only for a certain amount of time. I would suggest 30 days, or 14 days past Congress’ first day back from recess. This would be a change from the present rule, which allows appointments to remain in place -unconfirmed by congress– until the end of that congressional session. Of course, changing this rule would require a constitutional amendment- no small task.