Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diversity! in Multnomah County

This is what passes for "diversity" in Multnomah County. And notice the slightly slanted colored letters (all of the same font and same size) that cleverly make the point.

So, sex doesn't count as diversity. Age doesn't matter in diversity. Political view isn't important in diversity. Only race.

Guess all the men in Multnomah County and the older people in Multnomah County don't count.

Alas, this is what passes for "journalism" in Multnomah County.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fixing the 1:55 Video Error

I have converted many vhs videos to dvds. Unfortunately some of them have the 1:55 error which means the vob file may be 20 minutes or more long but registers as 1 minute 55 seconds long. This makes editing the file impossible in many editing programs. The way around it that I have found is to import the files into WinX Free VOB to MP4 Converter and convert them to mp4 files. Then I can edit them.

As the name implies they have a free version which works great. However, for me they deserve the $$$ because they have saved a number of my files. So, I have upgraded to the paid version. (If you order from the trial version, you get a discount off ordering from the web site.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Does the Executive Branch Have the Right to Say Who Comes Into the Country and Who Doesn't?

Update: good analysis by the Cato Institute

I feel it is only fair that I weigh in on this issue because I published three posts (1, 2, 3) that indicated I agreed with Judge Andrew Hanen in United States v. Texas that the Executive Branch does not have an unfettered right to say who enters or does not enter the country. Judge Hanen issued an injunction on February 16, 2015, blocking Obama administration policies directed at allowing 108,000 illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and be issued work permits.

My discussion here is not on the merits of whether the Obama administration's policies and Trump's executive order do actually stop immigration practices that would be detrimental to the U.S. Rather it is based on the issue of whether the Executive Branch has the sole right to determine what is in the national interest.

The Constitution gives the Executive Branch no powers in this area. The only mention of immigration is via naturalization which is given to the Legislative Branch (Article I, Section 8).

True, the President is the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy (Article II, Section 2), but only Congress has the right to declare war (Article I, Section 8). So, Commander in Chief is not as powerful as it may seem since he can't use the armed forces for even a defensive war unless Congress allows it.

Patterico gives an excellent overview of the problem with President Trump's executive order. And with the discrimination aspect in particular. Congress has given the Executive Branch authority over immigration but with certain provisos under the Nationality Act of 1965. Under Section 1152 of the U.S. Code.
Except as specifically provided in paragraph (2) and in sections 1101(a)(27), 1151(b)(2)(A)(i), and 1153 of this title, no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.
National defense (U.S.C. 1182 f*) is not cited in any of the sections mentioned above.

Further, if the assertion of something being "detrimental to the interests of the United States" would allow a president to allow people in or not, Judge Andrew Hanen could not have imposed an injunction on the Obama administration allowing 108,000 illegal aliens to stay and be issued work permits. Patterico:
Indeed, Obama tried to justify DAPA, his sweeping unconstitutional amnesty, in terms of our national security. In the United States’s brief in United States v. Texas, at pages 11-12, the Solicitor General wrote:
Deferring action for these individuals, the Secretary continued, would support “this Nation’s security and economic interests and make[s] common sense, because [it] encourage[s] these people to come out of the shadows, submit to background checks, pay fees, apply for work authorization (which by separate authority I may grant), and be counted.”
See what I mean? Presidents cite national security for literally everything. If you let them, they will run completely amok — and tell you they have to, so you can be safe.
A second issue is whether Washington state has standing to bring the case. Certainly if Texas did in United States v. Texas, Washington state does too. One of the key injuries Texas asserted was that it would have to subsidize driver's licenses issued to illegal immigrants. (I'm not kidding.) From Judge Hanen's opinion:
1. Article III Standing
a. Injury
The States allege that the DHS Directive will directly cause significant economic injury
to their fiscal interests. Specifically, Texas argues that the DHS Directive will create a new class of individuals eligible to apply for driver’s licenses,14 the processing of which will impose substantial costs on its budget. Plaintiffs rely on Texas’ driver’s license program to demonstrate how the costs associated with processing a wave of additional driver’s licenses will impact a state’s budget. Texas’ undocumented population is approximately 1.6 million, and Plaintiffs’ evidence suggests that at least 500,000 of these individuals will be eligible for deferred action through DAPA. Doc. No. 64, Pl. Ex. 14 ¶ 33; Pl. Ex. 24 ¶ 6. Under current Texas law, applicants pay $24.00 to obtain a driver’s license, leaving any remaining costs to be absorbed by the state. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.421. If the majority of DAPA beneficiaries currently residing in Texas apply for a driver’s license, it will cost the state $198.73 to process and issue each license, for a net loss of $174.73 per license. Doc. No. 64, Pl. Ex. 24 ¶ 8. Even if only 25,000 of these individuals apply for a driver’s license—approximately 5% of the population estimated to benefit from the DHS Directive in Texas—Texas will still bear a net loss of $130.89 per license, with total losses in excess of several million dollars. Id.
Okay, so if driver's license subsidies (which a state does not have to give) afford standing to ask for an injunction, pretty much anything that proves probable loss of income or probable need for more spending will do.

My bet is that if the case goes to the Supreme Court, the same thing will happen as with United States v. Texas. The Court will split 4-4, and the lower court judgment will stand as happened to Judge Hanen's injunction (which was upheld by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals).

*U.S.C. 1182(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Trump Joins the American Government "Killers" He Censured?

You throw mud, you lose ground. President Trump's own "apology tour" is having unintended consequences.


In the first place, someone who doesn't understand the difference between U.S. wars in which we don't "invade" other countries to take them over like Putin's invasions (Georgia, Ukraine) has no understanding of basic morality.

Second, someone who doesn't understand the difference between willful policy to kill and a "mistake" in policy does not have adult intelligence.

So, according to President Trump the U.S. and its leaders are just as bad as Putin and other leaders (ISIS?) who murder people who oppose them because of the fatalities in the U.S. war in Iraq (which Trump opposed). Who was the main American leader in the Iraq War?  President George W. Bush.

As absurd as President Obama's claims of American failures were, he never implied George W. Bush was a "killer". The far left did, but Obama didn't. Now Trump has clearly joined the far left critique. Code Pink should be ecstatic.

Where are the conservatives who are outraged? There are only a few. Most have stomped on their principles because Trump isn't Hillary. Pathetic.

Well, let's take the Trump critique and apply it to Trump too.

Trump's first ordered military raid resulted in civilians and children killed and a Navy Seal Chief Petty Officer William Owens as well as three U.S. commandos wounded. So, does that make Trump a "killer" like Putin and ISIS, or to reach back into history a bit, Hitler and Stalin?

No. At least not for anyone who understands that purposeful killing is different than killing by "mistake".

But, there still are policy consequences. Because of Trump's military mistake, Yemen has now "withdrawn permission for the United States to run Special Operations ground missions against suspected terrorist groups in [Yemen]".  So, expect more people to be "killed" as terrorist groups have more freedom to recruit, train and attack because of this "mistake".

It seems President Trump has now joined his own list of American government "killers".

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Army Office of the Provost General Shafts Soldiers by Giving Their Service Dogs to For-Profit Contractor

The Army's Office of the Provost General didn't follow regulations which required that retired service dogs be offered for adoption to their soldier handlers first.
Abby is one of 13 dogs the Army gave to Soliden Technologies LLC, in contravention of procedures stating that the dogs' former handlers should have the first opportunity to adopt them. Instead of being reunited with the veterans with whom they had served overseas, the dogs became pawns in a complicated and ultimately failed scheme to sell them for more work overseas. When the plan to sell the dogs fell through, their caretaker at the time says he was told to "dispose" of them.
Abby with handler/partner Jake in Afghanistan
Here's how Army personnel responded:
The same day, in emails seen by the Free Beacon, Meredith turned to Army officials Richard Vargus and Robert Squires on the recommendation of an employee at K2.
“I need help Sir and the sooner the better,” Meredith wrote to Vargus. “My heart is heavy knowing that this group has even more dogs to be abandoned and abused. Thank you for speaking with me and any help will be most appreciated. I am out of money and out of time.”
“I know there are some former handlers that will be ecstatic and more than willing to adopt their former wartime companion,” responded Squires, who worked with Vargus on the TEDD program. “Once I receive the list of dogs from you, I will get the dogs adopted out as fast as I can. I appreciate you reaching out to us and looking out for these combat vets!”
But Meredith said shortly afterward he received a call with a dramatically different message.
“Squires told me I had two options,” he said. “One, turn over the dogs to him because they were still [Defense Department] property or, two, he would come take them by force.”
The phone call from Squires was not the only threat Meredith claims he received. On June 22, 2015, a man named Jerry Avery showed up unannounced at Mount Hope looking for Abby.
“[Avery] wanted to buy Abby from me,” Meredith said. “He had $5,000 in cash in his hand and I told him the dog wasn’t for sale. That’s when they started threatening me that they were going to come take them all by force and if they didn’t they were going to get a group of lawyers to put me out of business.”
Squires denies he threatened to take the dogs from Meredith by force. In an email to the Free Beacon, he said the Army was willing to help him reunite the dogs with their handlers, but that any compensation for the dogs’ care was a private matter between Meredith and Soliden.
He also said the Army has no say over what happens to TEDD dogs once they are adopted.
“Once Soliden Technology adopted the dogs, it’s on them on what happens with the dogs,” Squires said in a separate phone conversation with the Free Beacon. “The government no longer has any say-so with the dogs once they’re adopted.”
Squires became agitated as the interview continued, saying the handlers needed to “put their big boy pants on” and “grow up.”
“It’s not against the law to adopt the dogs to whoever the hell the government wants to,” Squires said. “It’s the government’s dogs, it’s not the damn handler’s dogs. Do you understand that? It belongs to the Department of Defense; it does not belong to those individual handlers.”
“Don’t call me again, fucker, you understand me?” Squires said.
Vargus referred all questions to Army Public Affairs when contacted by the Free Beacon.
The Department of Defense is investigating to see what went wrong. What do you want to bet there are no consequences for anyone--except the dogs, their soldier handlers and people trying to help them like Greg Meredith?

H/T Stephen Gutowski

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sarah PAC Is Dead

Sarah Palin managed to trash her reputation and her PAC. It just filed its termination report.

It had $100,000 on hand as of November 29, 2016, and spent it all by the end of December. Major outlays:

$20,000 - for Sarah PAC administrator Timothy Crawford
$40,000 - legal counsel
$18,000 - political consultants
$9,000 - part time clerical
$3,500 - website management
$4,500 - buying and mailing (Sarah's?) books

Sarah PAC ran from 2009 to 2016.

Really a sad, throw-the-money-at-administration-costs end for a PAC that had promise.

Sarah is moving on to giving daily devotionals and facebook-like political comments. No real devotionals. No real commentary. Just splashes.

Judging from the number of shares (as of today not much more than two shares for each devotional and commentary posted clear back into December), she's not doing so well.

And apparently she's hoping to raise lots of money from advertising including ads with sound that play automatically. I hate sites that do that. A slide into the tacky.

Too bad she didn't go out gracefully.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Granddad's and Dad's Tools

nail puller
I was going through some of my dad's tools and found some neat ones I needed an explanation on. He got two from my grandfather. First a nailpuller. They're still making copies of this in China, but the metal isn't long lasting like this one made in the 1930s or 40s.

The extended part slightly angled at the top is used as a hammer to drive the pincher down under the nail. The "toe" next to the pincher opens and closes the pincher. Collapsing the upper part down gives a firm prying bar. A great tool when made with good quality metal. My granddad used it as did my dad not only on their own homes/garages/projects but in carpentry jobs for house builders.

heavy duty jack
Then there is a jack that's heavy duty enough to lift up a corner of a house.

Next comes a vise which Dad himself got with two nice size drill bits at 90 degree angles and a long metal pole. My dad can't remember what he used that for, and I can't find anything like it in my online search attempts. Any of you know what it was used for and what the long metal pole is for?
vise with two drill bits

Finally a little gizmo we've heard about for decades in my dad's stories. When he was in high school, he and his friends would go to sporting events in his Model B Ford. He built this little box to hook up to his car, and it was easy to ground in his Ford. He and his buddies would start beating on a drum. When some big guy(s) from the other school came over to complain, Dad would turn it on and when a guy touched their car he would get a shock. Then they would turn it off. Naturally, they didn't get bothered much after that. He said it also worked well in touching the bumper of another car, then turning it off so that when the guy reached to get into his car the second time everything was okay. They couldn't figure out what happened. But my dad didn't do that very often. Mostly used it on aggressive guys from other schools who wanted to teach him and his friends a lesson. You can see where I get my rabble rouser streak.
vise with 2 drill bits