Friday, September 28, 2007

Illegal is Illegal

This is a rebuttal to Brian's rant on his blog. I respectfully disagree with his take on this story.

To summarize, an illegal immigrant came to the US from Guatemala, scrimped and saved for 11 years working as a dishwasher, then was taking his $59,000 savings home in cash for his family. He got caught, and now the US Government doesn't want to give his money back.

Brian holds the opinion that this fellow earned his money and the government is evil to withhold it. I disagree.

Here's my take on the situation:

He's illegal. That makes him a criminal by definition. He committed a crime coming across the border, and then continuously for 11 years. That makes his earnings the proceeds of a crime. Legally, it's forfeit.

He doesn't speak any English. That's sort of irrelevant, but it ticks me off just the same. He was here for eleven years and didn't bother to learn a single word of the language of the land.

He didn't pay any taxes on that money. OK, that burns me up inside. Do you think he may have gone to the hospital once in 11 years? Did he drive a car? Did he use public transportation? Did he use public facilities? Almost certainly he did. For free, since he didn't pay any taxes.

He's liable for fines. The IRS failure to file penalties would be 25% of his $59K. The fine on his employer would be $20K for willfully employing an illegal (which is a certainty due to his making far below minimum wage) - I assume that the fines for being an undocumented worker are similar. He doesn't have much "earnings" left over after that.

Here are some wonderful quotes from the article:

"They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man," he said.
(Gee, you think? You ARE a criminal! The word "illegal" sort of implies that.)

"I no longer feel good about this country."
(Wonderful. Don't come back then. Be sure to tell all your pals to stay away from the mean old United States, where we have laws against sneaking over the border and sponging off our tax-paid services.)

Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta's attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn't talk publicly and left the country immediately.
(That was a darn generous deal. Look at my math above.)

I'm sympathetic toward 99% of illegal immigrants. I've been through the process of getting visas and green cards for my wife. I know it's incredibly complicated, especially if you don't know English. I have lots of sympathy for people who come here looking for a better life. They truly want to live here because America is a better place. They deserve a chance.

Not this guy, though. This guy came here to eat at our buffet, filled his pockets, and then tried to slip out without paying. We should make him wash dishes. Oh, wait...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This Is Just Pathetic

  • This is a Division I-A football program in a BCS conference.
  • Yes, they are holding mid-season tryouts for a kicker.

  • You'd think with 85 full scholarships a year, they could recruit one that's worth a damn before the season starts.

  • But, no, it's dook University. They had a girl kicker a few years ago, remember?

  • They apparently have no shame whatsoever.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Looks Like the Geek Party Is At My Place

LucasArts is coming out with a lightsaber game for the Wii

I feel very sorry for my Playstation-owning friends, but I'll take pity on them and invite them over when this hits stores early next year.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Disc Golf

Since my team was getting the stuffing beaten out of them by their opponent this afternoon, I decided to abandon the football game on TV, and to instead burn off my frustration through phyisical activity.

Earlier this week, a co-worker sent me a map of the local disc golf courses. I haven't played since I moved from Raleigh 3 years ago, and I've been itching to start up again. Before I inflict my rusty skills on anyone else, though, I need to practice up.

So, today I grabbed my wife and we drove 30 minutes to the only reasonably close disc golf course. These are nearly always located in a nice park in the middle of a terrible neighborhood, and this was no exception. I told Bernie to leave her purse at home.

I dug out my little bag of golf discs. I have 5 of them - two drivers, one fairway driver, one intermediate-length, and a putter. For those of you who have never played this sport, yes, you can play with a regular frisbee, but in order to score well, you do need a few specialized golf discs. Mine were all bought cheaply at the secondhand sports store.

I'm sure I offended Bernie a few times today, because the point of this was to burn off a bad mood, and I really wasn't nurturing or helping her much, but she really didn't do too badly for a beginner. She gets no distance, but she does keep the frisbee on the course, which is hard to do if you don't know much about throwing the things.

Anyway, we didn't keep score, but I can still do some of the things I used to do when I was in practice. I just need to get more consistent and figure out how to combat my lack of depth perception while wearing sunglasses in the woods. A bit more practice, and I'll be fit to play with others. I'll try to coach up Bernie in the backyard, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Project

A few months ago, my boss at work asked for all of us to each make a powerpoint of one of the applets on our web portal. The powerpoint would describe where the data behind it came from, how it got updated, the I/T processes involved, and how they mapped to what was displayed in the applet.

That was my first experience with powerpoint. Having been with IBM for so long, I was used to Lotus Freelance Graphics. So I took the opportunity to explore exactly what bells and whistles powerpoint offered, and ended up making the presentation a parody of Star Wars with animated screen crawls, integrated music, laser beams, explosions, etc.

I was scared to death to show it to my boss, but she just about died laughing, and when it came time to show it for real, mine was the only one that didn't require someone to stand there and explain each slide and click the mouse to move through the presentation.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, she was bragging on me and my powerpoint skills to her boss, and he asked her if I could work on a presentation for him to take to India to show to our offshore contractors. She agreed, and I met with him to see what he wanted.

Well, it turns out it's not powerpoint at all, because the presentation is already complete. What he wanted is three videos to embed in the presentation. I enthusiastically volunteered to put together the video for him.

Last week, we shot video of our headquarters buildings and also of some of our stores, and I am in the process of editing them, and it's going really well. I had a basic knowledge of how to edit already, but I have learned on the job this week. This has been fun, and I hope it makes a good impression on my upper management bosses.

Now I have to go through a bunch of elevator music to put in the videos.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Computer Hassles

I came home last night to the news that Bernie's monitor had 'blown up'. I went upstairs and checked and it sure seemed that way. Burning smell, nothing on screen, etc.

So, I got online on my PC and discovered a great deal at Circuit City. A 22-inch widescreen LCD for $200 after rebate. I was all over that (both of us have 19 inch LCDs, so this would be an upgrade), so I bought it online and we picked it up at the store. I unboxed it when I got home, and found that it didn't fit in Bernie's hutch (awww), so out of the goodness of my heart, I offered her my monitor and volunteered to take the new one. (Grin)

Since I was coming out on the better side of the deal, I decided to hook up her computer first. I hauled my monitor upstairs and hooked it up to her PC, and there was no difference. I must be slipping - I know better than to buy a component without troubleshooting first, but this time I got slack, and it bit me. I removed her video card, and plugged the monitor into the on-board video, and bingo, we got video again (crappy video, but video nonetheless).

So, I had to take that beautiful monitor back to the store tonight. (Sigh) I got Bernie a slight upgrade in video cards (NVIDIA 6500 up from 5500), and got everything working again, and it cost me $65 as opposed to $200. That's a good thing, right?

Then how come my monitor suddenly looks so small?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

On a Side Note, My Wife is Cute!

Incidentally, this is one adorable pic of my gorgeous wife.

And so is this one!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to Bernie!

To my lovely, sweet, wonderful wife. Happy Birthday, and I hope that you share at least 60 more with me!

Here's a tribute to my honey, Perez Hilton-style!

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