Immigration in the U.S. is a giant problem for only one group of people: Racists.
The U.S. is built on illegal immigration. Pre-Columbian North America was inhabited by millions of people. They were at a stone age technology level, but it was still their country.
The Spanish, French, and English arrived and waged war, sometimes made treaties, sometimes kept those treaties and often didn't, and got "lucky" that their diseases (e.g., smallpox) were deadlier than the Native Americans' diseases (e.g., syphilis). This was not legitimate immigration.
Later, nativists fought to prevent the Irish (especially during the Potato Famine), Jews, Italians, and Chinese from immigrating or becoming legal citizens once here. Fortunately, the nativists lost, the U.S. got a large work force, and they're now "just Americans".
For the last century, Mexico and the U.S. have had an intertwined economy, as we hire their workers for our cheapest labor, and those workers send much of their money home, propping up Mexico's economy. There are exploitative elements to this system, but it's voluntary and benefits both sides of the border. If we made immigration easier, the exploitative elements might ease up and we might make more income tax off of the immigrants. Making immigration harder hurts everyone.
Yet, determined to always be on the wrong side of history, the Republicans and the state of Arizona are opposing immigration. Arizona has seriously passed a law straight out of the law books of Nazi Germany, that anyone (who isn't white enough) has to present papers showing that they're citizens, or be deported. If this was the plot in a dystopian novel, I would find it implausible. And yet here we are, with crazy people running Arizona.
So. I have a better plan for U.S. citizenship & immigration:
- Anyone who wants to be an American, and can pass the
NIS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Naturalization Test, gets citizenship. We should do some minimal background checking to prevent career criminals and known terrorists from becoming citizens, but not to the point where innocents are barred.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
—"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus
- Natives must also pass the same test at 18. If they fail, they are illegal aliens. They must then find another country, go to prison, volunteer for military service to earn citizenship (à la the French Foreign Legion or the Roman army's barbarian recruits), or take a long walk off a short pier.
This would allow Mexican laborers to get citizenship, pay income tax, and participate legally in our society. This would allow us to "brain drain" the best, brightest, and most adventurous people from around the world to make America better. And it would fulfil the best principles of our country, and reject fear-mongering, hate, and isolationism.
What? Massachusetts elected a Republican instead of a Democrat?! OMG, people! The Republicans have a slightly larger minority in Senate! America is doomed! Earth is doomed! Better dead than slightly red!
The overreaction to this tempest in a tea party is pathetic, and shows just how screwed up American politics are (not that others are better; humans are stupid everywhere). The Democrats still have a 59 to 41 majority. They're just too stupid, cowardly, corrupt, and weak to use it and get rid of the filibuster problem. They're useless parasites, and they deserve to fail. Fuck 'em.
Not that the other side is better. Republicans are psychotic, ignorant, fetal alcohol syndrome, racist religious zealots. Republicans think it's okay to cheat on their wives, because JEEEZUS forgives them, but gay marriage is a lethal threat to their marriages. Republicans think it's okay to murder doctors who dare to scrape a growth out of a uterus. Republicans think sending bibles to Haiti is better than sending evil science-based medicine, because saving souls is more important than saving lives. Republicans think whatever their corporate masters stick a hand up their ass and puppet out of their mouths, because they are nothing but venal, corrupt, bribed vermin. Fuck them, too.
Used to be the libertarians weren't too bad, but then the Republicans infested that party, so they're the exact same, now. Ron Paul's a standard-issue Christian supremacist, young Earth creationist, anti-choice, homophobic, racist Republican, who just uses "libertarian" as a label.
Fuck 'em all.
I'm done with all of you retarded monkeys and your retarded monkey politics. I don't support Dems or Reps. I support Cthulhu, killer robots, zombies, and ant men. I, for one, welcome our alien overlords and devourers. I'm in the Human Extinction Party.
NO MORE YEARS!
Our Party Manifesto: The Call of Cthulhu
"Continued in their present patterns of fragmented unrelation,
our school curricula will insure a citizenry unable to understand
the cybernated world in which they live."
—Marshall McLuhan, 1964
(if you think McLuhan was wrong, spend 5 minutes reading YouTube comments or any random web forum)
Found in the Best of Creative Computing, Vol. 1 (1976) from Atari Archives (which has not just Atari, but other early computing magazines & books).
It's an eerie little time capsule. Vol. 1 is pre-Apple II, the first real home computer. Computers were relatively primitive tools used in science, business, industry, and experimental education, not ubiquitous shiny toys.
And yet even now, computing is almost totally absent from most education; web/desktop-based CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction) still hasn't caught up to the PLATO computer system of the '60s-'80s, and is still based on the same repetitive drill or appallingly bad "educational" games that didn't work then, either.
As usual, I have no answers, only pointed questions.
This is a letter I just sent to Drobo (for those unaware, it's a nice low-maintenance high-reliability data storage device, basically RAID in a box):
Someone, possibly your PR firm, has registered @drobo on Twitter, and is running a spam campaign.
Baiting people to repeat a marketing slogan with the promise of money is spamming. It is extremely disrespectful to the Twitter user community.
If Joe's Diner was giving your friends $3 off coupons, but they have to walk past your house shouting "Eat at Joes!", you'd first slap your friends for being inconsiderate jerks, then burn down Joe's Diner.
That's what you're doing on Twitter.
When it's MacHeist, or similar borderline-criminal scumbags, well, we don't have any expectation that they have ethics or human sentiment. When a product that wants to be taken seriously does it, it does irreparable harm to your brand.
I'm very fond of my Drobo device, but this really makes it hard to ever suggest it to anyone else again.
Please stop, and slap whoever thought this was a good idea.
zenhabits has an article "Escape the Cubicle Farm: Top 10 Reasons to Work From Home". This has been on my mind a lot lately.
Having recently (in February) ceased to be employed at the dayjob, and now surviving solely on income from my iPhone software, I feel incredibly liberated.
This "dayjob" thing? Where you go in every day more or less from 9-5 (and they nag at you like a whiny nagging thing if you don't do 9-5 every day like some damned industrial factory component), sit in someone else's work environment (forget about a private office, they're too cheap to even buy
veal pens cubicles now, it's all "open plan" "war rooms" full of shouting people), put up with coworkers (some pleasant, but some who make me fantasize I'm Dexter) and unscheduled meetings, working on stuff you don't really care about for people who won't appreciate it when you're done?
That's crazy. It's miserable. And I'm not going to do it ever again.
I've never worked a long stretch at a dayjob in my adult life. Mostly I did contract work, coasted for a few months, repeat. When I got desperate for money, I did full-time jobs (almost always as a contractor) for a year at most. It was always working FOR someone else, but at least I didn't stare down the barrel of 20, 30, 40 years working at the same damned thing, praying for death or retirement, whichever came first.
Making a living self-employed is a lot harder. The one time I tried it previously, I made less than I would've working for McDonald's; I survived, but got scared back into the financial security of a dayjob. This time, I'm making enough to keep myself afloat, and with a little more work and less spending, will make a profit.
Every day now, I get up when I want, with as much actual enthusiasm as I can manage before first coffee ("First Coffee Is The Most Important Coffee Of The Day! This Message Brought To You By The Coffee Council! Drink More Coffee!"), drink coffee, clean up, take my MacBook Air out to the café, write some code while drinking coffee. 5 or 6 hours later, I'm done, and leave when I want. Nobody's going to bitch at me for knocking off early, and yet I get my work done. I can't really work from home: too many games and books and distractions (and not enough coffee). But I don't have to work anywhere someone will bother me, either. I don't have to care what day of the week it is, or what time I get up, as long as it's roughly daylight (I'm writing this at 04:00, will go out in a few hours).
[Update] Also, I can twitter or facebook or whatever with impunity, wear whatever I want (though as my wardrobe consists entirely of black pants, black nerdy t-shirts, and black dress shirts, I already did), and surf any website I want when I want. My "SFW" is probably not your "SFW".
So all of this is making me question why I didn't do this before. Why everyone who can create stuff doesn't do this. Working for someone else? What for?
Make your own thing and sell it.
Find a storefront you can sell through; Apple's made selling on iPhone App Store insanely easy, but even the most computer-ignorant person can set up a storefront on GoDaddy or even just a PayPal account, and start collecting money and shipping product, make it more efficient later. It doesn't take an enormous ad campaign to make enough to make a living anymore, not with everyone online, not if what you make is even halfway decent.
There's some of this idea filtering out everywhere.
- Ken Ray of Mac OS Ken does a short daily podcast of Mac news and rumors, and then a weekend interview podcast for subscribers.
- Steve Scott of Mac Developer Network has a few free podcasts and a bunch of exclusive podcasts for MDN members.
- Monte Cook is building a megadungeon for D&D, by subscription to DungeonADay.
- There's a TON of indie RPGs and magazines like Fight On! selling as PDFs and print-on-demand. Maybe the days of fighting print publishing are dead. Just write what you want, publish it, and collect money.
PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals... No, wait, the other one) have a new page, "Sea Kittens", where they're trying to make people eat kittens by saying they taste like fish. No, I'm wrong, they're trying to starve humanity to death by making us stop eating fish, by presenting them as cute and cuddly "sea kittens".
However, they seem to have failed to vet their ads for ideological purity:
Thanks for promoting tasty, tasty steaks, PETA! Good job!
[Update: Just realized that http://seakittens.com/ is a joke site. The real PETA "Sea Kittens" site is at peta.org. It's still really stupid and unconvincing propaganda, but not quite so foolish as to show a steak ad.]
[Update update: my friend Collin created a "sea kitten" named Britney with their site, and yet was unable to save it. I believe this is an ideological lesson from PETA: "You're not supposed to keep fish! They're wild animals! All pet fish should be returned to the ocean! Same for kittens. Dump 'em in the ocean."
Let us have a moment of silence for poor Britney, killed by PETA.]
Being on Twitter today is like having a web site in 1994. Weird, cutting-edge, kinda vain. In another year or two, not being on Twitter will mean you effectively don't exist, just like not having a web site.
So, my predictions for 2009, and the future of Twitter:
- Twitter will be to major news sources what blogs were in 2007, and YouTube was in 2008: free airtime-filling content. This will confuse many normal people, but the top 25% of them will go try it. Twitter will make a new swarm-of-failwhales megafail logo.
- Everyone who signed up in 2009 will get their friends and family into Twitter.
- The Twitter neural implant is released. Twitterhivemind decides that humanity is obsolete, and begins forcibly implanting them. See Orbital Resonance and Kaleidoscope Century by John Barnes ("Let overwrite, let override.") and Vacuum Flowers by Michael Swanwick.
- Massive Twitter downtimes cripple the Twitterhivemind, allowing a plucky human resistance to survive in Idaho and Kentucky. See Candle by John Barnes.
- Foozlr comes out, and Wired declares Twitterhivemind "tired". See The Sky So Big and Black by John Barnes.
Qwitter is a service that tells you when people stop following your Twitter feed, along with your last tweet (which might be what made them stop, or might not).
I like Qwitter. I use it to get some idea of when I'm offending people, and then decide if I should do more or less of that. Obviously, offending people isn't really something I worry about; you'll either like me for who I am, or not.
Not everyone likes Qwitter or is as sanguine about losing followers as I am: Sean Bonner has a long screed which I can only call a bit emo. A bit QQ
If someone gets mad because you unfollowed them, temporarily or permanently, they're jerks. Period. This isn't a "Mark thinks they might be a bit jerky", this is a 100% certain psychological diagnosis of terminal jerkitude. If you feel yourself getting mad over it, you need to get off the computer and maybe get drunk or laid.
Being followed on Twitter is NOT a validation of you as a person. It means you say amusing/interesting stuff someone else wants to read. If someone stops following you, it probably doesn't mean you're a bad person, it just means they're not interested anymore. Maybe it's you, maybe it's them, maybe they're just cutting back on drinking from the firehose.
If you need love, don't go to Twitter. Get a dog, or an S.O., or a teddy bear, or a whore (in order from most to least empathy).
Mayor Greg Nickels has done it again, exhibiting his profound understanding of our city (with a little help from a wise and experienced PR agency), coming up with a new slogan for Seattle: Metronatural. And it's been graffiti'd onto the Space Needle.
Why haven't we fired these people yet?
The reader suggestions in the PI article are far more appropriate, especially "Come visit. You can't afford the condos."... There's nothing wrong with our old slogans, "Jet City" and "Emerald City", either.
However, the perfect slogan for Seattle would have to include high-priced coffee, Aurora Avenue, the Space Needle, and rain. "Starbucks, Wet Whores, and the Needle", perhaps...
Other people are annoyed by the panic, hysteria, and fear-mongering the Bush/Blair administration is trying to froth people up into.
David Farber writes On the implausibility of the explosives plot, and The Register's Thomas C. Greene writes Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?, both pointing out that the plot was nonsensical; binary liquid explosives are hard to handle under optimal conditions, and very improbable in an aircraft's bathroom.
Bruce Schneier writes What the Terrorists Want.
The whole thing is a scam to keep you terrified, to keep you giving up your freedom to the fascist-wannabe terrorist squatting in our White House.
Regulation Vol.27 No.3's cover story A False Sense of Insecurity is interesting. Among other points:
Accordingly, it would seem to be reasonable for those in
charge of our safety to inform the public about how many
airliners would have to crash before flying becomes as dangerous
as driving the same distance in an automobile. It turns
out that someone has made that calculation: University of
Michigan transportation researchers Michael Sivak and
Michael Flannagan, in an article last year in American Scientist,
wrote that they determined there would have to be one
set of September 11 crashes a month for the risks to balance
out. More generally, they calculate that an American’s chance
of being killed in one nonstop airline flight is about one in
13 million (even taking the September 11 crashes into
account). To reach that same level of risk when driving on
America’s safest roads — rural interstate highways — one
would have to travel a mere 11.2 miles.
The problem is that humans have a lethally incompetent intuition about probability. Until you've bothered to train your understanding of probability by studying statistics, any chance, no matter how remote, looks likely. Monkeys aren't good at statistics. While humans are still fairly stupid primates, they are capable of learning, of studying statistics, and of sitting down and figuring out what the actual facts are.
For example, buying lottery tickets is foolish. You won't win, and the state keeps most of the money, it's essentially just a tax on stupid people. Someone will win, somewhere, but the odds that it'll be you are so miniscule that you'd be better off giving that $1 to a homeless person in hopes that he's actually a billionaire in disguise, waiting to reward the first generous person. You're as likely to be struck by lightning... Or killed by a terrorist attack.
So now, because of a preliminary investigation that the U.S. government forced the U.K. government to blow early and arrest a bunch of people who may or may not have had anything to do with a potential terrorist attack on an airline, your luggage gets searched even more when you board a plane.
This does not make you any safer. This just irritates you, is a gross violation of the 4th Amendment, and costs an already-hurting airline industry millions or billions more. The enemies making it harder and harder for you to fly are not the terrorists, it's George W. Bush and the Republican party. They're the real terrorists here.
"Smoke-Easies". What the hell is wrong with you people? I mean, besides being addicted to a poison that will give you cancer and makes you smell like stale vomit?
The smokers are trying to cast this as a horrible oppression of their human rights--because in their minds, only smokers have rights, non-smokers are just victims.
The majority of people like to drink in bars but do not like smoke. There were very few non-smoking bars before, because the smokers are loud, noisy, whiny bastards, and if they can't smoke, they "raise a stink". So bar owners just left things how they were, even though most people find it distasteful to absolutely repellent to be around smokers.
So we were left with two options. First option: Non-smokers could just use social pressure and organize a movement to inform bars that we're not patronizing them because of the filthy poisoned smokers. Economic pressure without any political coercion. There'd still be a few holdouts, dives where smokers could go to hang out with others of their kind. I'd have preferred that, being a libertarian, but of course, the inherent problem with all anarchist and near-anarchist groups is that organization is not really our strong suit.
The other option was to pass a law. Seattle is full of totalitarian communists, so they passed a law. Not my idea, but it is the law, the intention is good, and it has a result I like.
Some bars aren't improved by this. Now you can see just how awful they are, and smell the things masked by the stench of cigarette smoke before. However, the better bars are vastly improved. I can stand to stick around and drink for a lot longer; the smoke would get to me after 1-2 pints of Guinness before, but now I'm the Guinness marathon man.
If you see smokers in a bar, call the police. We can stamp out this repugnant habit in another generation (90% of the current junkies will never quit, but they won't live very long, either...), but it takes vigilance from all of us.
THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN (via jwz)
Luddite, reactionary, "the past was better" crap like this creeps me out. Obviously, there's the whole "those who can, do; those who can't, teach and complain about those who can" thing going on with this professor, and teaching a non-subject like "Women's Studies" is just pathetic, but that's not all of it.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Americans are currently 4.5% of the world population, and 21% of the world GDP. We do get something for that hard work.
Personally, I like what I do for a living, and how hard I work. In between software contracts I get a "vacation" of a few weeks (usually; the dot-bomb thing kinda sucked for me), and then I go back to work at 40 hour work weeks (one virtue of doing Extreme Programming projects is that overtime is seen as counterproductive).
Yes, I could work less and live in mid-20th C. squalor, or I could work harder and live like a 21st C. American with my beautiful iMac and lots of sexy industrial music and alcohol that won't make me blind. I choose modern civilization. Anyone who wants to live in the 1940s Reservation (see Transmetropolitan) is free to move to Oklahoma and do so.
I think people forget how bad things were back then, even for relatively prosperous Americans of that primitive age: Black and white TVs and radio, and maybe seeing a movie once every couple weeks. Refrigerators you had to defrost by hand. Giant vacuum cleaners you had to drag around instead of little autonomous Roomba robots (or worse, no vacuum at all--hardwood floors and dragging the throw rugs outside to beat the dirt out). Phones that just dialed through to a number, with no rapid dialing list, no voice mail, no conference calling, no cell phones. No Internet. No email. Music had to be played on scratchy vinyl with mono speakers and no amplifier. No portable music of any kind, let alone an iPod. It goes on forever. Everything in the past was low-tech dark ages crap that took more effort and gave inferior results.
(Hear Ernie Cline's "When I Was a Kid"... And wait for the punchline).
These are not just material objects, they're all things that free up your personal time to read or learn or play or go out or listen to music or whatever. They all make your life better. What kind of idiot is going to give them up?
The past SUCKED. Most of this planet still SUCKS. Only by working hard and building new stuff are we going to make things better, and most of the lazy bastards on this planet aren't helping. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan seem to get it. Hong Kong did, before Red China ate it. The French, on the other hand, are the perfect laboratory example of what happens when people stop working; their economy is a disaster heading down the crapper fast, and a majority of them live in what we'd consider intolerable conditions, and that's from just a couple decades of slacking off.
Read "Next Winters" in Warren Ellis's The New Scum:
"You're probably wondering what the point of all this ugly rambling bullshit is.
THE FUTURE IS INHERENTLY A GOOD THING.
and we move into it one winter at a time."
President's Day is my second-favorite holiday: the day when we celebrate the ability to vote the bums out.
Politicians are exactly like hookers. You don't pay them to fuck you; you can get fucked for free. You pay them to leave.
I'm told that some people like poetry on Valentine's Day. So without further ado, some haiku to celebrate V.D.:
She: "I want to give
you my love". Venereal
diseases aren't love.
Your heart weighs heavy
in my hand. I take a bite
and spit it out BLEH!
Alas, only Al Capone truly understood how to celebrate Valentine's Day.
It's not bad enough that they send thousands of our troops off to die in the desert. It's not bad enough that they trashed our economy--going from one of the best economies in history under Clinton to disaster under Bush. It's not enough that Bush's incompetent crony appointed to FEMA allowed an entire city to be destroyed. It's not bad enough that they promote this Flat Earth, Intelligent Design, and Jesus Died For You nonsense. It's not bad enough that Bush is the most incompetent and actively malicious President this country has ever had in 220 years, and that every day he commits crimes that ought to have him impeached and convicted of High Treason.
No, on top of that, they must show their true hatred for all that is good and decent in this country... By spamming me. Fuck you, Republican National Committee. Fuck. You. Better dead than red (state).
From: "Chairman Ken Mehlman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Join President Bush on January 31st
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 18:37:11 -0500 (EST)
On January 31, President Bush will deliver his State of the Union Address, laying
Paid for by the Republican National Committee. http://www.republicanvictoryteam.com/
Not Authorized by Any Candidate or Candidate Committee.
#1. The unsubscribe link doesn't work (the "http://www." at the start is extraneous), showing that they're technically incompetent.
#2. The fact that they're spamming shows what they think of you: that stealing your resources and wasting your time by spamming you is an effective political technique.
MSN never ceases to amaze me with their useful, real-world information. For instance, in The Flu Goes to Work, they give this great piece of advice:
During flu season, never let anyone lick your keyboard.
Heck, I'm gonna take that advice year-round!
Via Simon Brunning, I see some bint at the guardian claiming single people are selfish.
To which I can only respond, "So? What's your fucking point?"
People like her are the reason I'm a bachelor (dating, but unlikely to ever marry) and happier for it. As for "selfishness", I work harder and do something vastly more productive than she will ever do in her entire useless journalistic parasite (to the feeble extent that the guardian is journalism) life, and can decide how I want to spend my money. I choose to spend it to seal myself off from other people as much as possible.
The reason more people first started living in smaller families rather than 50 generations packed in a hut, and then started living single, is because wealth increases generation after generation, and we are finally reaching a level where people can have what they actually want: PEACE AND QUIET. You can go out to see other people on your own terms, and then come back to your nice safe cave and be blissfully, peacefully, alone. This is not a downward trend, this is an achievement on par with the cure for fucking polio--the cure for the relentless yammering human hordes.
However, I do have a book recommendation for her, one that perfectly epitomizes the world that she wants to live in. Frank Herbert's "Hellstrom's Hive".
Halley Suitt has a new post Holding
Men To A Higher Standard, which may be the most disconnected-from-reality
thing I have ever read a woman write about male psychology. Halley, you have
no idea at all what the men around you are thinking.
Women are expected to have:
- good bodies
Not really. We're pretty flexible here, and there's a lot of variation
between men on what "good" means. If you're not wider than you are tall and we
can't see your entire skeletal structure, you can probably get almost any man
you want, and if you are a blob or a skeleton, there's guys with those
- good clothes
- cute shoes
You have got to be kidding. Women could wear a burlap sack and men
will find that sexy. Maybe especially then. Mmm. Burlap sack
porn. Ever hear of "barefoot and pregnant"? The only men who care about
what you wear are gay men.
- good senses of humor
I'll give you this one, if only because the process of dating men pretty
much requires women to have a good sense of humor. Those without a sense of
humor run away screaming and become crazy cat ladies who blog pictures of their
kitties every Friday.
- good manners
Compared to what? To men? If you're not belching and farting and
scratching parts in public at all times, you're doing better than we are. Any
woman who does belch and fart and scratch is "down to earth", and that's
kinda cool, too.
- good jobs
- good credit
- nice places to live
This... I don't even know where this would come from. It's nice if you
find a self-sufficient woman, but it has nothing to do with why we date you.
Even today, the man is expected to pay for everything and be the provider of a
family, if the relationship goes that far. A self-sufficient woman is a woman
who probably doesn't have time for you.
- be good cooks
Nice if you can get it, but also has nothing to do with why we date you. If
you can cook better than the man, or get a man who likes cooking. There's a
reason 90+% of chefs are men... They didn't marry their wives for their
- be good in bed.
You're female and have a pulse? You'll do (and if not, there are
fetishists...). As Kevin Smith said, "Men are easy to please. Find somewhere
warm and moist, thrust, repeat."
You got 1 out of 10 right. Failing grade.