Politics: Memorial to McCain

I didn’t want to post while the emotions raged, but I DO want to talk about John McCain. For as long as I can remember – and as long as I’ve been voting (2004 was my first Presidential election), John McCain has been on my list of Senators I respect – even when I don’t like everything he says/does. In 2008 if he had chosen a better running mate, he might have been able to sway might vote.  It would have been hard because voting for the first black president was kind of amazing and special. And honestly, between the two I thought we needed Obama in the WH more – I wanted McCain to stay in the senate (my same argument why I don’t want Elizabeth Warren in 2020 -I want her right where she is doing what she’s amazing at doing). Anyway.  I won’t say I like everything he ever voted for or ever said. I didn’t.  Sometime I vehemently opposed

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History: Labor Day

I grew up being told Labor Day was started to honor workers and the rights fought for.  This isn’t 100% true and I didn’t know this until relatively recently.  In one my searches to argue with someone on the internet I ended up looking at https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history and finding out that probably isn’t true. So the holiday was passed nationally in 1894.  In 1882 there was the first “labor day” in New York was actually a day of strike: This was before there were protections in place for unions and strikes – this was a scary thing for workers to participate.  It wasn’t until 1935 when FDR got the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 passed that there was an actual law that guaranteed every employee the right to unionize.  This is over 40 years in which the country celebrated “workers” but not necessarily worker’s RIGHTS. Now, that said – I don’t think it’s an accident it passed on June 26, 1894.  For those that don’t remember, this

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Review: (Article) Middle Children Going Extinct

I read this article over the weekend and (being the youngest) sent it to my sister for her thoughts (as she is the middle child).  Both of us agreed although there are some interesting bits in it – what exactly was this author trying to convey? He made a single throw-away comment about Millennials waiting to have kids, and I really wish he had shown the courage to delve into that.  But that wasn’t his point and I appreciate it. He also made a snarky comment about the “indulgence” of people he knows who have a third kid and what fiscal security they must feel to do this. Ok, so (a) OMG his privilege and (b) again, not the courage to get political and discuss the fact that kids are PROHIBITIVELY expensive. In case it isn’t clear – In 2011 OECD published this report on the change of fertility rates 1980-2009 (ish).  Now, to be clear in 2009 kids born in 1982 (early

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SCOTUS: I just can’t

I had to drag myself though my first post on the cakes. I haven’t been able to get through any of the other opinions this month.  AAHHH! I just can’t.  The rhetoric is so frustrating and the decisions are so wishy-washy.  I honestly am not sure I’m mad at Kennedy for retiring – he wants to make DECISONS, not pass a buck on technicalities.  Ok, I am mad at him because this is like the worst time EVER for him to try to retire. I have historically loved reading opinions (even the ones I didn’t agree with) and arguing with some of my fellow nerds on whether we agree with the justices’ decisions or not… but right now? UGH. UGH. So I am sorry and I am going to try again next week.  Maybe I’ll marathon reading as many as I can with a bottle of wine and see how far I can get.

SCOTUS: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

So there are blogs and people touting this as “the worst decision ever” (alright, I’m paraphrasing).  But when I saw it was 7-2, I paused.  I expected 5-4 if it was purely party-lines.  It wasn’t. And there were FOUR different opinions from the people who voted for it. Kennedy wrote the “official” opinion (Roberts, Breyer, Alito, Kagan & Gorsuch all joined in) Gorsuch and Alito filed a concurring (agreeing but wanting to put their own words to it) opinion Kagan and Breyer filed a concurring opinion Thomas filed his own opinion because he only kinda agrees (it’s only “partly concurring”) and Gorsuch joined this one too. Ginsberg and Sotomayor gave the dissenting opinion TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) Ok, so I decided to “live blog?” my reading of the opinions.  By this I mean I read one of the opinions, copied out the 1-2 quotes I thought were notable and then wrote my thoughts on it.  But it’s long.  It’s LOOOOONG.  So

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Politics: Improvements or SHUT UP

I am so sick of reading political news right now.  I am so sick of the “my way or NO ONE GETS ANYTHING” tone of the rhetoric.  Why are “cooperation” and “compromise” nasty words?  In politics especially they are a requirement. When people don’t apply these we get half-assed solutions that get thrown out before they even have a chance to make any significant impact (bad OR good).  Lemme give an example. Obamacare has problems.  A LOT of problems.  I said since day 0 of the discussion I couldn’t 100% support ANY passage which exempted Congress.  AFTER ACA passed I still grumbled about this point – I think Congressmen should have to buy their own insurance from the exchange from within THEIR district.  So little tiny district in Wyoming (or GA) has shitty options?  Guess who lives with shitty options? THAT SAID, when the GOP kept trying to “repeal and replace” without ever actually building or talking about a replacement PLAN….

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Politics: Too many Boswells?

So some background here (and eventually I’ll explain the picture!): As I was writing my thoughts on Scalzi, I went looking for Dickens quotes and found (God I love Gutenberg) letters!  In one of them (I was searching keywords but this letter made me pause for context) I found this AMAZING line: I can imagine a succession of Boswells bringing about a tremendous state of falsehood in society, and playing the very devil with confidence and friendship. -Letter to John Foster Devonshire Terrace, Saturday, April 22nd, 1848 Ooooooh….. Do you know what a “Boswell” is?  It is a confidant who publishes your life.  The famous-ness of the phrase is probably retained from Sherlock Holmes calling Watson his “Boswell” because it was a term known in that age.  But Dickens wrote about it and wrote negatively.  Ok, again this was as I was thinking on Scalzi writing fiction as a commentary on my time… so I couldn’t help but have these two thoughts collide. Dickens

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Musing: Book of my Time

This is not a review of Collapsing Empire (John Scalzi) because it’s the first of either two or three books – and I am chomping at the bit to be able to get #2.  I am actually really glad I waited to read it until now – if I had read it when it first came out I would have been soooo cranky. Ok, by read I do mean “listen to Wil Wheaton read it” and thoroughly enjoy his performance. I have been musing over this book since last week – I woke up Saturday morning at 6am and found my mind turning over bits of it.  It is is the first time in my life I’ve read a book and thought “damn, if/when they read this in 100 years, what will they say of us?” Let me clarify here.  John Scalzi has never considered himself a paragon of literature.  He has said (I am paraphrasing here) a thousand times he writes

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SCOTUS: Searching Cars

There are two cases this year dealing with cars and the fourth amendment in front of the Supreme Court.  My little SCOTUS nerdy heart is a little excited.  Both of them will be argued today. Byrd v. United States So I can see the argument in this case (here is a professional write up if you want a longer version) where a woman (Reed) let her significant other (Byrd) drive her rental car.  Not only was he NOT on the rental, she wasn’t even in the car with him.  He got pulled over and the cops searched the car without a warrant (and without probable cause) arguing that because he wasn’t on the agreement – they don’t need a warrant.  They convicted him for the heroin in the trunk. I can’t wait to (a) hear what the professional attorneys argue and then (b) how the court falls on this case.  I am also really glad I don’t have to rule on

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Politicis: Smaller Government

Ok, so my title might already be making people see red.  Hell, if you read my blog regularly you’ve heard me advocate higher taxes. So before you jump to “HOW COULD  YOU?!?!”…. let me explain. The US Federal government is terribly inefficient.  Honestly, the breakdown between Federal, State, and smaller is atrocious and when I listen to “small government” speakers I always wait to see IF they will say any of the things I want/need to hear to support them.  (FYI, I don’t remember ever hearing it from “tea party” or “libertarian” candidates) #1 – we spend more than we take in I’ve written about taxes before: Politics: Taxes (Part 1) Politics: Taxes (Part 2) Politics: I like to pay my taxes So I won’t drone too much on this point.  But yeah, we DO spend more than we take in. How much of that is a problem with the fact we have drastically lower taxes per capita (which is proven over and

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