Thursday, September 22, 2011

It’s the same old story

Boy meets girl.

Boy loves girl.

Girl loves boy.

Boy marries girl.

Boy and girl move to USA.

Boy files application for girl’s Greencard.

Boy and girl wait eight months.

Boy and girl receive letter from Department of Homeland Security asking for additional fees.

Boy sends Department of Homeland Security a copy of their application instructions and a letter explaining that according to their own instructions those fees don’t apply.

Boy and girl wait two months.

Boy and girl receive a notice from Department of Homeland Security asking for a copy of her immigration medical examination and tuberculosis tests.

Boy calls Department of Homeland Security to explain that girl has already submitted proof of medical tests.

Department of Homeland Security provides no answers over the phone.

Boy sends Department of Homeland Security detailed letter along with copies of DHS instructions with relevant sections highlighted to explain that the medical tests have already been submitted and accepted as part of girl’s original visa application. Boy explains that girl being in the US is actually proof that the medical tests have been submitted and accepted.

Boy and girl wait two months.

Boy and girl receive letter from Department of Homeland Security ignoring letter from boy and reiterating request for medical tests.

Boy and girl have second set of medical tests completed and send them to Department of Homeland Security.

Boy and girl wait 3 months.

Boy and girl hear nothing.

Boy calls Department of Homeland Security, is unsatisfied with answers given over the phone, and requests appointment.

Boy and girl take time off work and drive two hours for appointment.

Boy almost punches Department of Homeland Security asshole who asks stupid question.

Girl calms down boy and boy and girl meet with knowledgeable Department of Homeland Security staff.

Girl receives Greencard in mail.

Boy and girl wait two years.

Boy files application to remove restrictions on Greencard and includes tax returns and lease agreements.

Boy and girl wait six months.

Boy and girl receive letter from Department of Homeland Security asking for tax returns and lease agreements!!!

When I first started looking into how to work with the Department of Homeland Security, I ran across a statement that said that US Immigration Services are “staffed by idiots and managed by worse.”  I laughed at the time.  I’m not laughing now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Gods Might be Crazy, but even they know justice when they see it

As anyone who’s been there will tell you, standing in front of a judge ready to pronounce sentence on you is an experience like no other.  In my rough and tumble adolescence, I stood before several judges.  One was old and nearly senile; another was young, aggressive, and politically conscious; and one, heaven forbid, was even fair.  These differences aside, one constant strain runs through every court house in this nation and most others: ALL judges are absolute, unquestionable gods in their courtrooms.  With their pronouncements and punctuating gavel slamming they break the strongest thugs and send mothers and wives to the floor in puddles of their own grief. 

I once saw a judge—moments before I was to stand in front of him mind you—issue a string of multi-year sentences like he was ordering Chalupas at the Taco Bell drive thru. Apparently several people had been party to the same crime.  They were all standing in front of him in a row clad in EBRPP orange.  As he robotically read the law from a stack of papers on his desk, he started handing out sentences left and right:  twelve years here, fifteen there, eighteen here, and twenty-five there and there.  The panic I felt having to go in front of him, the blood from his victims still wet on the courtroom floor, sticks with me to this day.

When I heard this week that one of these assholes was finally getting his, I felt just a little warmer inside. I felt that the world was just a little bit better for it, the sun a little bit brighter, the breeze a little bit cooler, the grass just that much greener. 

Here’s the story:  Some cock judge in Pennsylvania had been sending a bunch of juveniles up the river for years at a stretch for such heinous infractions as going joyriding in mom’s car, getting in a fight at school, and making a blog post about how much they hated their principle.  And, wouldn’tyaknowit, the fucking judge was getting kickbacks from the privately-owned juvenile detention center that benefited financially by having its cells full of low-grade delinquents.  The goddamn lid was finally blown off of this insanely immoral arrangement recently. And this, and I think I’m being generous here, FUCKING piece of @#$%@#!!!! was finally convicted for it. 

Soon this ex-judge will stand in front of another black-robed thug with a god complex and hear about the lives he’s ruined and the social damage he’s wreaked.  And, for one tiny, yes-there-is-justice-in-the-world moment he’ll know exactly how small he’s made so many others feel. 

And then he’ll be put in a cell with a child molester!


Friday, January 28, 2011

State of the Union, a coupl'a joints, and a waste of money!

The Spring semester just began, and, as has happened far more often than I care to admit, I didn’t quite have my materials in order.  There was still some work left to do on the syllabus, the Blackboard menus weren’t formatted, and I hadn’t spent all that much time thinking about what I would do for the first class.  Ultimately, however, I was fortunate in that I was able to leave my day job a little early so as to make it to the college in time to do a little brainstorming and give the appearance at least that I had invested hours upon hours of time crafting this first day’s lecture and discussions.  And, as is often the case, I think things went pretty well.  Indeed, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that instructors tend to do some of their best work under a modest amount of pressure.

Leaving the college just after 9:00pm, I turned to C-span Radio to catch the first part of the President’s State of the Union address for the short drive home.  When I got home, I watched the rest on Television.  All in all, I was pleased with the speech.  Hell, I really can’t remember the last time I hadn’t enjoyed a State of the Union Speech, regardless of the person giving it.  Maybe I’m all on my own for this one, but the State of the Union is always a good ego booster; it really gives you a kind of “fuck yea’ I’m an American!” feeling.  And, I really wasn’t too surprised by the content.  Paraphrasing:

“We’re the best fucking people on the planet!!”
Thunderous applause.
“We can do any goddamn thing we put our red, white, and blue minds to!!!”
Even louder thunderous applause.
“Let’s build big shit!!”
Heavy applause!!
“Let’s train our citizens in math and science!!”
Out of their seats clapping.
“And let’s pay for it!!”
Not even a cricket.

After the speech I poured a scotch, lit a cigar, and unfolded that morning’s paper.  Once again, the headlines were all about how much people seem to hate spending: “Obama to address spending crisis,”  “Republicans to respond with cuts to wasteful spending.” Just as I was constructing my own appropriate headline in my mind, something like “Republicans suggest balancing budgets by drowning poor people in bathtubs and repealing the 13th Amendment,” I heard that old familiar song:

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha gonna do  

Not having seen COPS in godknowshowlong, I just had to watch.  It was just like I remember.  The cop pulls up to some people sitting in front of their own house.  Yes, I know, pretty fucking suspicious.  Well, the cop runs up, they all scatter, and he eventually catches one and slugs him a few times.  He then drags him back to the car and empties his pockets. 

SCORE!!  THE FUCKING MOTHER LOAD!!!  A whole ounce of pot!  According to the cop, it was worth a gazillion, trillion fucking bucks on the street.  By this time there are about ten cops there for this hella bust.  They’re each looking around, asking questions, and being idiotic jerks. 

Needless to say, the next 15 minutes of the show proceeded just like first.  More people were suspiciously standing around, tackled to the ground, and sent to jail for a couple joints.  So I started doing the math in my head.  Seeing as how everybody in the country seems to think that we have absolutely no money, how much does it cost to pay the salaries for all these officers, the gas for their patrol cars, and the jails for these “criminals”?  But, before I could whip out the ol’ calculator I realized I was fresh out of scotch and my cigar had long since gone out. 

Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to drown poor people in their own bathtubs!