May 20, 2007

Debugging 326 pages of computer programming by 5:30 pm on Monday?

Laws are written in a language a lot like the old computer programming language COBOL: it looks kind of like English, but you can only read it about 1% as fast. Laws are full of if-then-else statements and subroutines that can't be read, only debugged. Of course, real programming languages are far more structured and easier-to-follow than legislative language.

A commenter points out that Hugh Hewitt has been heroically trying to debug the draft Kennedy-Bush immigration bill:

tommy said...

By the way, immigration opponents might want to check out Hugh Hewitt's reading of a purported draft of the bill over at

Reading The Fine Print, Part 1: Does The First Exception Swallow The Triggers Whole?

Reading the Fine Print: Part 2: Title I -- Who's Blowing All That Smoke?

Reading The Fine Print, Part 3: Title II: Send Lawyers, Clerks, Judges, And Background Checks

Reading The Fine Print, Part 4: A Huge New Tax On Business

Reading The Fine Print, Part 5: No Illiterate Nonimmigrants

Reading The Fine Print, Part 6: And The Grand Total Is?

Reading The Fine Print, Part 7: "There's Been A Slight Change In Your Job Description"

Reading The Fine Print, Part 8: Humbug And Common Sense

There is probably more analysis on the way from Hewitt.

Hewitt points out that the bill starts off on Page 1, Paragraph 1 with a daunting cross-reference to exceptions to the celebrated "triggers" on p. 260. I tried to follow the logic of it, but my brain soon overheated.

Nobody is going to be able to make sense out of what this law will actually do without weeks of study and debate. And yet, the current schedule absolutely does not allow responsible review by Senators.

The 326 page Kennedy-Bush immigration plan is scheduled for the crucial cloture Senate vote for 5:30 PM EDT on Monday. (Senator Jeff Sessions [R-AL], who did such fine work against the last bill, is scheduled to speak just before the vote.) If it survives that vote, just 50% of the Senate (plus Dick Cheney) can pass it.

From there it would go to the House, where Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel have been making noises about wanting 60-70 GOP House members to join the Democrats to provide political cover in passing it. But, what if they decide they don't actually care about that much cover, and that President Bush's backing and signature on the bill is enough cover? The Speaker of the House can typically whip her party's members into line, while individual Senators are more ornery.

Then it would likely go to a Conference Committee of Senators and House members picked by the committee chairs in both houses (both Democrats) to hash out differences between the Senate and House versions. There, I suspect that Senator Kennedy would work his all-night magic again.

And then to President Bush's desk for signature. He has already endorsed it. And then enforcement and certification of the "triggers" would be up to President Bush's minions.

Thus, the Monday cloture vote appears to be the key. But, where is the Main Stream Media editorializing against a rush to judgment on 326 pages of who-knows-what? In reality, the MSM want the issue to be taken care of in a hurry behind closed doors, because otherwise. if public debate were encouraged, it would be "divisive." And in a republic, we aren't supposed to have political divisions over legislation determining the future of the country, now are we? We are supposed to delegate that to famously wise men like Senator Kennedy and President Bush with their long records of outstanding judgment, while we peons can worry about more important matters like Paris Hilton's jail sentence.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

And then to President Bush's desk for signature. He has already endorsed it. And then enforcement and certification of the "triggers" would be up to President Bush's minions.

A note on this: the triggers are supposed to be in place in 18 months, and then all hell breaks lose.

Do the math on that one, folks: bill passes and is signed into law in early June. Add 18 months - December 2008.

On whose watch is that? The election's over, but Hillary hasn't moved back into the White House yet. Bush's goons implement the amnesty, but you can't hold him accountable, because he's on his way out.

That's the way our "representatives" like doing things.

Anonymous said...

Michael "Awesome" Chertoff, who has argued that critics of the amnesty will settle for nothing less than capital punishment, is at it again:

"What we've done is we've come up with a solution that doesn't allow these people to jump the line in terms of getting a green card," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Everybody who has been on line waiting patiently gets ahead of them. They have to pay a penalty, similar to what you pay if you commit a misdemeanor, which is what this is under the existing state of the law."



Mr. Arbusto, the hotel owner
Spanky Chertoff, hotel employee
Alonso, uninvited guest


The scene is a busy and loud hotel lobby with a line of people leading out the door.

Mr. Arbusto: Spanky! Come here!

Spanky approaches.

Spanky Chertoff: Yes, sir.

Mr. Arbusto: Spanky, I've been getting a lot of complaints from guests about a character up in Room 416. That room is listed as vacant and has been for two weeks. Will you go up there and find out what is going on?

Spanky: Sure thing.

Mr. Arbusto: If someone is up there who isn't supposed to be, give them the usual line.

Spanky: Yes, sir.

Spanky departs to the crowded elevator and takes it up to the fourth floor. He walks down the hallway to Room 416. He knocks at the door.

Spanky: Anyone there?

No one answers.

Spanky: I'm with the hotel! If someone is there I need you to answer this door immediately!

Spanky notices a slight commotion, but nobody answers the door. He knocks again. This time somebody answers.

Spanky: Sir, who are you and what are you doing here?

Uninvited guest: My name is Alonso, esé. I just needed a place to stay.

Spanky: That's illegal!

Alonso: Hey, nobody was in this room anyway. Besides, I did buy some snacks out of the vending machines downstairs, so you got some money from me.

Spanky: Well sir, a room at the Hotel America costs much more than a Snickers!

Alonso: I'm not hurting nobody. I'll keep the place clean, I promise....I'll pay, I promise.

They stare at each other briefly in silence.

Spanky: Ah! Fine. I'll let you stay. How long have you been staying in this room?

Alonso: Ummmm.....mmmmm....let me think.....mmmm....two days.

Spanky: You'll be required to pay for one of those days. Also, no room service until you check in and you cannot do that until the people waiting in line in the lobby have checked in first.

Alonso: No room service! That's rough, esé! Can't you make an exception on that?

Spanky: Sorry, that's the way it is. You should have thought about that before sneaking up here!

Alonso (sighs): Si, I understand.

Spanky: Good day, Mr. Alonso.

Alonso: Adiós.

Spanky departs to the elevator and Alonso closes the door. Spanky takes the elevator down to the lobby. Upon the elevator door opening, Mr. Arbusto is in plain sight in the crowded lobby. Mr. Arbusto notices Spanky and immediately gestures for him to come over.

Mr. Arbusto: So, was it another illegal boarder?

Spanky: Yeah. I gave him the standard line.

Mr. Arbusto: Great. I have one other thing I need you to do for me, Spanky.

Spanky: What is that, sir?

Mr. Arbusto: Well, you can see that we've got a long line of people anxious to check in. The line is so long that almost all of the people in line are actually standing outside still. As you can see, it is dark, cold, and wet out there and many of the people waiting to check in are complaining loudly about the long wait. They are also beginning to bitch about these illegals that we let stay. I want you to go out there and give them the usual line.

Spanky: No problem.

Spanky heads to the lobby doors and brushes pass a few people waiting in line. Outside, there is an extremely long line of people. Men, women, and children are huddling in the damp cold and talking to one another quietly.

Spanky (yelling): May I have your attention please!

The crowd takes a few moments to become silent.

Spanky (at the top of his voice): I know the line is long. I know you've waited a long time to get checked in. We are working as quickly as possible to find you all rooms. On behalf of the owners and staff of Hotel America, I want you to know that we greatly appreciate your patience in this process. Bear with us just a while longer....I also briefly want to address this issue of illegal boarders....

The crowd grumbles loudly at the mere mention of illegals.

Spanky (yelling as loudly as possible): Please! Please, I need your silence! Just for a few moments.

The crowd gradually quiets down once again.

Spanky (yelling): We want you to know that we understand your frustration and we are working to address it. We promise you that no illegals will be allowed to check in at the lobby before you do. They are not -- I repeat, not -- being given preferential treatment. You will check into the lobby before they do, I promise you that!

People in the crowd briefly stare at Spanky Chertoff and each other in bewilderment before figuring out exactly Spanky means by illegal boarders not "being given preferential treatment." The crowd, upon figuring out exactly what Chertoff is saying, then boos and groans loudly in disapproval. The booing becomes thunderous.


Anonymous said...

It's heart, not head. If the law helps our fellow human beings "into the sunshine of America", who but haters and racists could be against it?

Anonymous said...

Steve, I believe the vote Monday is just a motion to proceed to debate.

The Republicans will still have the option to filibuster later on, not sure if they will use that option, but I think they will still have it.

Old Right

Anonymous said...

Jeebus, It looks like the people who wrote the bill (Big Business) don't having an f'ing clue what is in the bill either:

Employers Cite Problems With Immigration Bill After Crafting It

In addition, employers expressed alarm as they learned that the Senate bill would require them to check a government database to verify that all current and former employees — aliens and citizens alike — are eligible to work in the United States.

The Senate begins debating the bill on Monday. Supporters, including the White House, had hoped that senators would finish work on it this week, before the Memorial Day recess. But leading members of Congress said today that the bill would take more time and could face significant hurdles.

Old Right

Anonymous said...


You can write plays for me anytime.

Thanks for the laughs.

Anonymous said...


Since we're calling him Michael "Awesomo" Chertoff, can we start calling McCain John "F-ing" McCain?

Anonymous said...

Anon -- AFAIK the vote will prevent filibuster (invoke Cloture, debate can continue no more than 30 hours).

So, no there will be no filibuster if the cloture motion is successful.

BTW, the measure exempts illegals from paying taxes. Nice. Perhaps we should all declare we are illegal and therefore exempt from taxes

Anonymous said...

In reality, the MSM want the issue to be taken care of in a hurry behind closed doors, because otherwise. if public debate were encouraged, it would be "divisive."

I wish you, iSteve, would hammer the MSM on its amorality and blatant deception. Stop being so polite, please. They deserve descriptions as skunks, scoundrels and scumbags.

In the Vdare articles especially, I urge you to stop petitioning the conscience of the enemy. Stop asking them to do the right thing. The enemy is on an amoral crusade to erase traditional America. They are neo-Trotskyites. Their end justifies all means. Distorting the media is no crime to them. It's what they do.

This is a Might Makes Right Media not much different from Rome actually. Ownership and access (i.e. money) is all that matters. If accuracy, ethics and skillful analysis mattered, the NYT would've been forced to reform itself a long time ago.

I think that fostering an attitude among readers that petitioning or shaming the mainstream media is worthwhile is actually very destructive. Shunning is a better strategy. Petitioning is pointless. The Left knows full well that they don't have the support of the people. They have always understood that they must propagandize and coerce to further their agenda.

The power of the big papers and networks is in the cartel nature of the agreement on what is acceptable news. It remains a trust even with the addition of FoxNews.

Likewise the entire Neocon project is based on money and position in the major media outlets, and not in the power of persuasion or the power of good ideas. It's the power of money. The Neocons have actually won few arguments, they simply bought the Right side of the battlefield outright. And, like all leftwing ideologies, after the dust settles there is nothing actually there but animus toward history, family, nation and the human race.

The morphing and purges at FR are a good downscale example of buying access and control on the Right side of the battlefield. The budget for that place is miniscule compared to its (previous?) influence. Not a big problem at all to pasteurize the content over there.

The installation of hostile jackasses like JPod is bigger money talking. By the way, isn't Ron Unz buying the American Conservative? Just one more invasion of the body snatchers.

Say, how about linking to Taki's Top Drawer more often? That place is so damn out of the control of the Commissars that it's priceless.

"No neo-con or their fathers or grandfathers has ever served in any military capacity except to undermine the United States of America."

The only problem with this statement is that it's not just the military.

Anonymous said...

Giving weight to your threat:

It's one thing to call your senator and rant (which you should do, BTW), but it might also be a good idea to show that you mean something.

If you really want to send a message, and you're registered with a party, Google [your state] + elections, and you'll get your state's election's office. Find out where you need to go to change your party affiliation (some may allow you to do it online), and change it from Democrat or Republican to something else.

Let these politicians know that you're not playing games - and spread the word.

Anonymous said...

I guess the next issue of TAC will show whether Unz will tolerate immigration dissent. This legislation will have to be the fulcrum or the whole show is a fraud.

Anonymous said...

The way this has had to be kept hidden from the people, is another powerful item of evidence that there exists no rational argument for mass
immigration of undesirables into the alternative welfare apparatus.
If they had a single argument of great merit for doing this, you wouldn't have the secrecy and fast switch moves like the unseemly run to Monday's vote.
There's a mask over all this, and it can't be hiding anything good overall.

Anonymous said...

Call, write, email, or fax. The genus Senatorus is known for its lack of spine.