Friday, November 6, 2015

Your Life Isn't Worth Ten Dollars

"GOP's anti-sanctuary cities legislation would result in need for nearly 20K new prison beds, 12 more federal prisons, costing $3 billion."

That's Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) latest justification for so-called "sanctuary cities'" to ignore Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) detainers. A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to take custody of criminal aliens for deportation. It's a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien, and it includes information on the alien's previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential risk to public safety or security.

From January 1, 2014, to August 31, 2014, local law enforcement agencies refused to comply with 8,811 detainers, resulting in aliens being released from custody.
Francisco Sanchez, Illegal Alien

On July 1, 2015, Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed in San Francisco, California. An illegal alien, Francisco Sanchez (AKA Jose Zarate), was arrested and charged with murder for the shooting.

Sanchez had been deported from the United States five times, and had been convicted of seven felonies. On March 26, 2015, a little over three months before Steinle's death, at the request of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had turned Sanchez over to San Francisco authorities for an outstanding drug warrant. ICE had issued a detainer for Sanchez requesting that he be kept in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up. As a sanctuary city, San Francisco did not honor the detainer, releasing him because they found no active warrant for his arrest.

In response to the controversy, the House of Representatives passed what has been dubbed "Kate's Law", blocking states and cities from receiving federal law enforcement funding if they refuse to communicate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to that state or city's "sanctuary city" policies. The Democrats in the Senate filibustered the bill to death. Just like their racist Democrat forebears before the Civil War, today's Democrats believe in the doctrine of nullification - the doctrine that says that states may impede or prevent the operation and enforcement within its territory of a law of the United States.

And that takes us back to the opening comment from Senator Reid.

Harry Reid (Scumbag - NV)

An American citizen was murdered by an illegal alien who has no respect for our borders or our laws, in a city that has no respect for our laws.

And Harry Reid's response is that passing a "Kate's Law" bill or passing a law that would provide for mandatory prison sentences for multiple illegal entries into the U.S. would cost too much money.

 If Reid's math is correct - that it would cost $3 billion to build the necessary prisons - that would amount to a little less than ten dollars per American citizen. In short, Kathryn Steinle would likely be very much alive today, for the cost of ten dollars per citizen.

Kathryn Steinle

Let me say for the record that I'm willing to pay my fair share.

Do you think Kathryn Steinle's parents would pay ten dollars to be able to get their daughter back?

"If there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, we've got an obligation to try."

That was President Obama, in January, 2013, in the wake of the Newtown school shootings.

"We've got an obligation to try." As long as it doesn't cost more than ten bucks, right, Harry?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Want to Get Rid of Fossil Fuels? Be Careful What You Wish For.

So Hillary Clinton, to the utter surprise of absolutely no one, has climbed aboard the anti-Keystone pipeline train. That's the pipeline that would send Canadian oil to the U.S. for refining.She tweeted today: 
 Time to invest in a clean energy future—not build a pipeline to carry our continent's dirtiest fuel across the US. I oppose Keystone XL.

All right-thinking people agree that fossil fuels are evil, and we should banish them all in favor of solar power (except where it fries bald eagles), wind power (except where it decapitates bald eagles or interferes with the Kennedy family's ocean view), hydroelectric power (except where you have to build a dam to harness it), nuclear power, and the plentiful odorless, non-polluting, Gaia-friendly gas we get from unicorn farts.

I decided to do some 7th grade math and got on Al Gore's Amazing Internet and fired up the Magic Google Machine. I wanted to get the answer to a basic question: What would our lives be like if we did as Hillary and all the other leftists want, and did away with all our fossil fuel power?

It goes without saying that every creature comfort you have depends on energy, whether it be from the gasoline in your car or the electricity that comes out of your wall socket. The food in your grocery store almost certainly got there by truck, and may have traveled hundreds, or even thousands of miles to get there. Your life would be radically different without gasoline and electricity. How different?

Here's where I did my math. I looked up how much energy is used annually by every country in the world. Not surprisingly, the U.S. is at the top of the list.

Then I looked up the population of every country in the world. We're not at the top, but we're pretty close.

Then I fired up a spreadsheet and matched up all the national populations with all the national energy use. I had to leave out a few countries that didn't appear on one list or the other (places like Monaco and Vatican City and some territories and fly-specks you never heard of).

I divided each country's total annual energy use measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) by its population, to give me the average number of BTUs used per person, with interesting results.

We're not in the top ten. We're number 14. Here are the top 20, in ascending order. The second column is the country's population, and the third the anual BTUs used per person:

Netherlands  16,921,000 240,620,531
Nauru  10,084 240,975,803
Finland  5,487,980 242,479,018
Belgium  11,250,659 242,512,016
Australia  23,905,700 256,159,410
United Arab Emirates  9,157,000 307,469,695
United States 321,880,000 315,502,237
Luxembourg  562,958 352,370,870
Kuwait  3,268,431 353,594,737
Norway  5,189,435 369,587,441
Bahrain  1,359,800 383,857,920
Canada  35,749,600 384,693,255
Singapore  5,469,700 419,139,989
Qatar  2,120,129 439,992,095
Brunei  393,372 463,759,495
Iceland  330,610 606,061,523
Trinidad and Tobago  1,340,557 616,840,612
Gibraltar (UK)  32,734 1,790,798,558
U.S. Virgin Islands 106,405 2,206,851,182
Saint Barthélemy (France)  9,269 4,988,671,917

That's with all our oil, coal, and natural gas usage. We get about 33% of our energy from coal, 31% from natural gas, and 15% from oil. That's about 79% of our total energy use.

So what happens if we stop using all those fossil fuels tomorrow? In other words, how many BTUs per person would we be getting by on?

The answer is about 67,000,000 BTUs per person per year.

That would put our per person energy usage a little lower than Suriname, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Barbados, and a little higher than Azerbaijan, Chile, and Jamaica.

Are you ready to lower your standard of living to that of Suriname and Azerbaijan? No? Then shut up about getting rid of fossil fuels, at least until your windmills, solar generators, dams, nuclear plants, and unicorn farts can come up with 249 million more BTUs per person every year than they do today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Maybe I Should Ask Him If He's Stopped Beating His Wife

In the Federalist Papers, the series of 1787 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in support of the proposed new Constitution, Madison wrote, in #57 that the representatives will be true to their constituents for the following reasons:
  1. The people chose these distinguished men to uphold their engagements, so the representatives have an obligation to stand by their words. 
  2. The representatives sense a mark of honor and gratitude feel at least the tiniest affection to these constituents. 
  3. Selfish motives of the human nature bind the representative to his constituents because the delegates hope to seek advancement from his followers rather than the government. 
  4. Also, frequent elections remind the representatives that they are dependent on the constituents for their loyalty and support. Therefore, the representatives are compelled to remain faithful to their constituents. 
  5. The laws created by the legislators will apply to all members of society, including the legislators themselves.
Implicit in all this is the presumption that the representative will be responsive to the citizen's concerns.

As an engaged citizen, I have asked my new (as of this past January) congressman, Don Beyer, a number of questions on issues both of the moment and long-standing, through his twitter account. Here are some of them, with context where necessary. To date, he has not replied to a single one.
  • How do you intend to vote on the #KeystonePipeline? 9 Jan
  • How will this "free" college be paid for? As a taxpayer and VA-8 constituent, I would like to know. 10 Jan (Rep. Beyer had tweeted that "I applaud President @BarackObama and Secretary @arneduncan for their investment in our students.")
  •  Do you believe there should be ANY legal restrictions on abortion? 22 Jan
  • This claim has been completely discredited. Why do you persist in making it?… 29 Jan (he'd tweeted, "#Women are almost 50% of the workforce, breadwinners in 40% of homes, but still only make 77 cents to a man's dollar. That is unacceptable.")
  • Why can I buy auto insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy life insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy insurance for my smartphone 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy home owner's insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • What? Are there citizens who are barred from voting? Please explain. 23 Feb (in response to this tweet: "It has been 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed - we have come a long way, but we still have much work to do."
  • You're a congressman. Reforming immigration is YOUR job, not the president's. The Constitution gives YOU that power, NOT him. 28 Feb (his tweet: "I voted for short term funding for @DHSgov, the best opportunity to secure funding and keep the President’s immigration reforms in place.")
  • Do you consider @SenatorReid's sleazy land deals that made him rich to be model for elected officials? 27 Mar (his tweet: ".@SenatorReid​ has been a champion for progressive values for decades and a model elected official for generations of leaders to come.") 
  •  Shouldn't company stockholders decide who should be on boards? 19 May (his tweet: "Listening to @repmaloney w @30percentclub Kiersten Salander + @WITWomen Julie Bloecher on why we need #womenonboards")
  • Have you really never heard of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, @RepDonBeyer?… 21 May (his tweet: "We can start by promoting gender equality – paid parental leave, #choice, and #equalpay. #paidleave")
  • Tell us what you did w/$800 billion stimulus money for infrastructure. Then we'll talk. 1 Jun (he wants more money to repair Washington's Arlington Memorial Bridge)
  • $800 billion for "shovel-ready" projects in 2009; only 3.5% of it spent on roads & bridges. Now you come back to us for more? 3 Jun
  • Pls explain what kind of #gunsense law you'd like to propose that would have prevented Charleston shooting. 19 Jun (his tweet: "As a nation we must do better. We must find peace that transcends race, pass #gunsense laws, and work together until we achieve these goals.")
  • Pls provide a link supporting that number. If accurate, wife & I should have gotten a check for about $4,500. 3 minutes ago(in response to this tweet: "In 2014, @EximBankUS returned over $675 billion to the American taxpayers. Let's support Americans and American jobs by passing #ExIm4Jobs.")
In fairness to Congressman Beyer, I've sent a number of these questions to my two United States Senators, Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, and neither of them has sent me a single reply either. But they represent the entire commonwealth of Virginia, whereas Congressman Beyer represents only my portion of northern Virginia.

Yes, some of my questions are snarky. But a good many of them are quite serious, asking  him his positions on serious policy questions that affect the entire country.

Maybe he's waiting for me to send him a campaign contribution before he deigns to answer to an insignificant insect such as I.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Am What I Am

Ever since I was a child, I wished I could fly. There's something wonderful about soaring weightlessly above the treetops and watching the world unfold below you. Sometimes at night, I would dream that I was flying.

In my early twenties, I noticed my hair was thinning, and by my early thirties, I was quite bald. I should have recognized this as a sign of my true nature, but instead, I tried to deny it by going through expensive transplant surgery.

But in my late middle age, I have come to realize I have been fooling myself all these years.

I am not a pudgy white man.

I am an American Bald Eagle - haliaeetus leucocephalus - mistakenly born into the body of a white man.

I know this will come as a shock to many people, especially those who have known me for many years and thought of me as just an ordinary guy and not a majestic raptor. But this is my reality, and as we have all recently learned, there is no such thing as objective truth regarding who or what we are; the truth, as we all now know and acknowledge, is only what we ourselves believe.

In keeping with my newly-acknowledged identity, I expect everyone to accept, embrace, and celebrate the following:

  • I may decide to build a tree house in the oak tree in your front yard, or possibly even on your front porch. In accordance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d), you must not disturb my nest, even if such nest is (as they often are) five feet wide and eight feet deep.
  • I may decide to use your roof, or your front porch, or your car, or your own person, as a toilet. You must not interfere with this behavior. You are welcome to use my leavings as organic sustenance for your flower beds.

  • I may decide to raid your grocery cart. You must not object; rather, you should welcome this opportunity to nourish our national symbol.

  • I may accost you in the street and shriek in your face. Your proper response is to smile and continue about your business.
  • As a protected species, I can not be expected to observe the "No Trespassing" restrictions on your property, and I may decide to hunt small game or small children there. You should be grateful that I am doing my part to maintain the balance of nature.

  • The fish heads, cocker spaniel legs, and other carrion on your patio are natural and beautiful.

  • As you may know, bald eagles mate for life, and do not hide indoors when enjoying sexual relations. So do not be surprised or dismayed to see me engaged in intercourse on your local elementary school's playground slide. Rather, see this as a teachable moment for your second-graders, a golden opportunity to explain to them the miracle of how life comes into being. You may take photos and post them on Facebook. A three-quarters profile works best.

  • You may not deprive me of my attire, or appropriate for your use even such attire that I have discarded, again, per 16 U.S.C. 668-668d. Note that the Code allows for exceptions to this rule on issuance of permits to Native Americans to use such attire for religious or ceremonial purposes; Senator Elizabeth Warren, take note.

You will observe that to all outward appearances, I appear to be a white male homo sapiens. While this in no way compromises my true identity, I will not go so far as to attempt to emulate the behavior of Rachel Dolezal and paint myself black and white, attach a beak to my face, or glue feathers onto my body.

That, I think we can all agree, would be insane.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Might Be A Murdering Jihadi, But At Least I'm Not A Sewer Rat

So my local community weekly newspaper, the Alexandria Gazette Packet, featured this delightful cartoon on its editorial page last Thursday:

"Mz. Geller" is Pamela Geller, the editor of the blog Atlas Shrugs and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) as well as Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). She is a fierce defender of free speech, and sponsored a "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest" in Garland, Texas this month. As you may have heard, two Islamist gunmen, apparently furious that such an event could be allowed to take place, stormed the venue with high-powered firearms, but were both shot dead by an off-duty policeman who'd been hired for security.

The aftermath has been controversial, with apologists who clearly don't understand our First Amendment - people Salman Rushdie calls "the but brigade" - trying to blame the victim of the attack rather than the gunmen. "Yes, we believe in freedom of speech, but..."

There's no "but." You either believe in freedom of speech or you don't. Steve Artley, the Gazett Packet's editorial cartoonist, doesn't.

And so I've sent the following letter to his editor:
That's a pretty neat trick Steve Artley, your editorial cartoonist, pulled off last week - pretending to defend free speech while attacking one of its most vigorous defenders.
The point of free speech seems to be lost on Mr. Artley. Speech that offends no one need not be defended; no one ever got in trouble for saying, "Have a nice day." Offensive speech is the speech that needs to be defended - the only speech that needs to be defended.

Defended from whom?

Defended from those who would kill you merely for offending them by expressing it.

If you dread to open your mouth for fear that someone will kill you for it, you have made him your master. If he can forbid you to draw pictures on pain of death, he can forbid you to worship the God you choose, forbid you to not worship God, forbid you to marry whom you choose, forbid you to disobey your husband - the list is endless. Far worse than the "heckler's veto" over your speech, he wields the murderer's veto.

How do you stand up to such a person? There is only one way: to do exactly that which he expressly forbids. When I was a teenager, African-Americans were forbidden to eat at lunch counters in some department stores. How did they demand their rights? By sitting down at those lunch counters. They were forbidden to sit in certain seats on public buses. How did they resist? By sitting in those forbidden seats. They were forbidden to march from Selma, Alabama to petition for their basic voting rights as Americans. How did they resist? By marching.

When someone threatens you with violence for daring to exercise your rights, he determines the manner of your defiance - doing exactly that which he forbids. If he can forbid you to exercise that right, you must defy him, or else you have lost that right; you have made the murderer your master, and it's just a matter of time before he finds more things to forbid you on pain of death.

It's easy to say you believe in free speech - as long as it doesn't cost you anything. Susan Geller has done what any American who truly believes in free speech must do - defy the threats. If the editors of the Gazette Packet also believe in the value of free speech, they will publish the drawing of Muhammad that won her contest. The artist, Bosch Fawstin, has granted permission on his blog and twitter feed to those who wish to publish it - and @BoschFawstin.

If you don’t really believe in free speech, or if you're afraid to exercise your right, then you'll ignore that challenge. After all, publishing a cartoon portraying a middle-aged Jewish woman as a sewer-dweller is a lot safer than publishing a picture of Muhammad.
Let's see if they publish it.

Update: Two weeks later, they haven't printed my letter. I suppose I should be surprised.

President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:
President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). - See more at:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Hello, I'm Calling From Microsoft and I'm Here to Rob You."

I got that call today.

It showed up as "Private Number" on my caller ID, but I picked it up anyway.

It was a guy with an Indian accent calling from "Microsoft Windows in California" and informing me that my computer was doing bad things and that he was here to help me fix them. In case you've never gotten one of these calls, the scam is to get you to boot up your computer, go into the system files folder (your scammer will guide you there), and ask you if you have certain files showing up in the folder listing. You will have those files, because they are perfectly normal system files, but lots of people don't know that and your scammer is counting on your ignorance. He'll then have you type some commands that will give him control over your computer, and he'll install some malware on your computer so he can read your passwords and logon IDs, which he'll find very handy when he wants to go online to empty your bank account. Here's what Microsoft - the real Microsoft - says about these scams.

I decided to play along. Fortunately for my new friend, I don't have a police whistle or an air horn, because otherwise he'd be visiting a doctor to treat his newly-ruptured eardrum, so I decided I would just tell him I needed to boot up the computer and it would take a few minutes, and then resume what I was doing until he got bored and hung up. My object was to see how long I could string him along (hey, I'm retired; I have lots of time for this kind of stuff).

He said that was fine, and I should take my time, and he would wait for me.

I put the phone down and resumed looking at my Twitter feed, and after a couple of minutes, picked up the phone again and asked if he was still there. He was, and I told him the computer was still booting. He was very nice about it, said he understood, these things can sometimes take a while, and he'd be happy to wait.

Then I got a brilliant idea.

I took the cordless phone I was using and went and got another cordless phone from another room. And I fired that phone up.

Then I placed the two phones right next to each other, speaker-end to earpiece-end. If you've ever done that, you know the result is a frightful high-pitched whine.

I held the phones like that for about 30 seconds, then hung up.

A minute or two later, the phone rings again. It was my Microsoft buddy. I have to give him credit, he's a persistent fuck.

"Did you hang up?" he asked me.

"Yes, there was a terrible static coming from your end and I couldn't hear anything. It seems to be better now."

So we resumed our "reboot" session (my computer is on 24/7) and after a couple of seconds, I mated the phones again. Here's the video, in case you want to try it yourself someday (you might want to turn down your computer's volume a bit...).


I have to admit, I took a guilty gleeful pleasure hearing him say "Hello?" repeatedly.

After about a minute, I moved the phones apart and spoke loudly into the phone: "Hello, can you hear me?"

"Yes, is there something wrong with your phone?"

"My phone works just fine, I've been speaking with people all day long" (that was a lie on my part) "and I haven't had any trouble at all. The trouble is obviously with your phone. You need to have your phone lines looked at. Meanwhile, I thank you for your help; there's a computer shop right near my house; I'll bring it in for them to look at. Bye!"

I've been trying to feel bad about what I did, but I'm just not getting there.