SCOTUS: Decisions

I’m a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) nerd. I’m not going to cite myself as any sort of expert. I’m like a ham radio aficionado who likes SETI. I get the theory of what it’s supposed to be about, but I do not have the depth to really grasp everything. With that disclaimer, there are a few cases that the Supreme Court heard last fall (Oct) and I look forward to seeing their decisions on: Barton v. Barr This is an interesting bit of immigration law. If a permanent resident gets called before immigration court for possible deportation, there is an option for them to put in for “cancellation of removal.” The person has to have lived in the US continuously for seven years (and a few other provisions). This is an interesting bit because it is addressing deportation vs. exclusion for admission. In Barton’s case, the wording being addressed deals with:  “a lawfully admitted permanent resident’s period

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Review: Xiaomi Fitness Tracker & Watch

I had a fitbit long time ago (like first generation fitbit). I ordered a Pebble 2 when they did their Kickstarter. I have a Huawei watch sitting on its charger. I love the data I get from fitness trackers. It tickles the nerdy data-bone in my brain. I wanted a heart rate tracker if I got a new one. I hated the price of most of them – the cheapest fitbit with heart rate tracking is $70 and it really doesn’t do much (the “Inspire” just doesn’t inspire me). Apple watch was outright out since I’m not a big Apple user and it’s ridiculously expensive. There ARE some other brands (Samsung being the other big name and a few like Garmin that made me chuckle). The biggest complaint I have with most of these toys is one thing: size. Especially if the brand wants me to wear it at night, I want something without too much size or weight. I

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Memories: New Year’s Eve Fireworks

I always had great sympathy for pet owners who had fur-babies who didn’t like fireworks. Animals don’t understand the noise, it just sounds dangerous. Intellectually, I felt sorry for parents of small children. But as I hold my exhausted baby and he whines and cries trying to sleep and waking up with a startle reflex he doesn’t understand where is coming from, can’t control his reaction, or even apply understanding and logic that everything is ok…. I would fix it if I could.

2019 Resolution Review

I set myself the goal of just 12 books this year. I had 15 to choose from. I ended up completing 7. I’m disappointed in myself for the most part, but you know my life was just a little crazy this year (I totally blame having a kid for throwing me off my game). I also changed jobs, but that was a little less dramatic. Here are the “classic” books I read this year and the reviews I wrote on them: Frankenstein The Bell Jar My Sister’s Keeper The Phantom Tollbooth The Great Gatsby Wuthering Heights Anna Karenina I am glad I read these books. Most of them I enjoyed more than I expected. Great Gatsby was probably the exception to this rule. Wuthering Heights has stuck in my mind more than I expected. Anna was as painful as I expected (Russian novels have a reputation). It’s not like I didn’t read other books, I re-read quite a few and

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Review: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

I finally went and saw this one. I didn’t want to fight opening-weekend-rush but I also wanted to avoid spoilers (I mostly did). So my Balance was waiting a week and going at 9:30 on Friday morning. Firstly, there’s a rumor Disney fired (or is about to fire) the head of Lucas Arts (the Star Wars division). GOOOD. I don’t know if this person just doesn’t understand multi-movie franchises (you’d think they could just go talk to some Marvel people about it…) or if they just don’t understand plot. Or character development. Or you know…. storytelling. That is my non-spoiler review of The Rise of Skywalker. You have been safely warned that the rest of this review is probably going to have spoilers. Because I am going to approach this a little differently than a normal review. And I might “spoil” something from this latest movie in the process. The plot between Kylo Ren and Rey make me wonder (like

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Review: Anna Karenina

The TL;DR review for this book (since this is such a damn long book): I wouldn’t have minded an abridged version. That is the first time in my life I have read a book and wished for the abridged version. Ok, maybe I would have liked one for Prince of Tides too, but I had to read that for school. This is the first time for a book I read by choice. (Again – Tale of Two Cities I might need abridged. That thing is just my Achilles heel). To begin with, I am very confused why Anna is the titular character. The book begins with Constantine Levin and ends with Levin. Why isn’t he the name on the cover??? It is like 10 chapters before Anna is even introduced! And then it isn’t like most of the rest of the book follows her. I am sure if I went and counted the chapters about Levin and the chapters about

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Manners: Social Justice Warrior, Christian, or other…?

This is at least attempt #3 to write this post over the past 12 months. I keep starting it, writing a few hundred words, and deleting it all again. Because this is a tough topic – how to live a socially conscious life. And I am going to start by saying, we all probably doing it wrong. That is really the conclusion on the manners of it that I’ve come to. It might be possible to live a truly “socially conscious” life, but not everyone can manage it. Because it isn’t easy. Beginning: Defining the Problem Let me begin by defining “socially conscious life.”  This entire post was inspired about a year ago when my LBGTQ friends began (again) to boycott Chick-fil-A. Hell, SCOTUS just heard oral arguments to determine whether LBGTQ employment will be protected or not. It’s not like we got marriage equality and suddenly all the issues LBGTQ people face were magically solved. As a straight person,

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Memories: Milk

Every November I remember the gallon of milk a strange bought for me. This year it somehow feels poignant all over again. The reminder of how vulnerable we actually are. How impermanent things actually are. It might be increased anxiety speaking right now, but every time I begin to feel overwhelmed I remember – when I desperately needed it, a complete stranger bought me milk so I could eat.

Politics: Quid Pro Quo

There is something interesting in all the discussions of “Quid Pro Quo” I haven’t really seen addressed, something which I think has people confused. It isn’t excessively subtle, but it’s a stupid point. So quid pro quo means (Google defines it) as “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.” And yes, Mulvaney was technically not wrong that the United States used quid pro quo “all the time.” It isn’t all the time, but it is really frequent. Here are some examples (both good and bad) that I know of: We will not give aid to Nepal if their doctors talk to women about abortions We will lift sanctions on Iran if they allow nuclear inspectors in Remove a corrupt pro-Russian prosecutor from office and we’ll give you military aid. I didn’t want to make a massive list, we do use quid pro quo regularly in our foreign affairs. Hell, Congress (well, they used to) trade votes.

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Politics: the impeachment hearings

I have been trying NOT to just listen to the hearings… it’s awful. For so many reasons, I don’t really want to listen. I feel like it’s important to at least get some recaps each day (this is too important an issue). But if you DO listen and you need something for sanity – I came up with an Impeachment Hearings Drinking Game 1 chug “can the president appoint anyone he wants as an ambassador” 1 chug “Russian collusion delusion” references 1 chug “let her answer the full question” 1 shot “no one is above the law” 1 shot “we should know who the whistleblower is/whistleblower is a coward.” 1 shot “Hunter Biden” 1 water “thank you for your service” (you need it!) 1 water every time an aide gives the representative a correction After I wrote up my thoughts I went to the internet and found Gizmodo had a more thorough list (I still like mine, but theirs is

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