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I sent this to the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper today, after seeing the AP story about a Trump administration draft memo regarding mobilization of the National Guard to be used to round up undocumented immigrants. Yes, I am aware that we’re talking a draft, but I find it seriously horrifying that this is even being talked about as an option, however off-handedly or unseriously. This is not a thing you fucking joke about.

Anyway, that prompted me to write and send the following message today. I’m sharing it in the hope that others will feel encouraged to send similar messages.


Dear Governor Hickenlooper:

Per the Associated Press today, a draft memo from the Trump Administration showed they’re thinking about using the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants. Considering the absolutely tragic and shameful history of our own state when it comes to the National Guard being mobilized against our citizens and residents (i.e.: the Ludlow Massacre), this calls on us all to speak firmly against this notion before it can gather steam.

Beyond that, undocumented immigrants are a vital part of Colorado society. It would be far better if they could have a path to legal citizenship or permanent residency, but lack of national will does not change the enormous contributions they make to Colorado daily. We should be respecting and protecting all of our residents, whether they have papers or not.

I urge you to speak out in strong support of undocumented Coloradans, and do everything in your power to keep their families from being torn apart by these unfair and racist policies we keep seeing from Washington DC. Make us a sanctuary state; while I know we can’t stop ICE, we can refuse to aide and abet the destruction of families and the victimization of innocent people who are integral to the fabric of Colorado.

With a lack of national will, it falls to us to step up and show our strength of spirit and compassion. I know Colorado is better than what our national government is currently trying to become.

Thank you.

Originally published at Alex Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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I can’t believe it’s been ten days since I finished my move. Where the fuck has the time gone? I feel like I just got here, and yet…

I won’t say that I regret the time I spent in Houston. That would be grossly unfair to the wonderful coworkers and the stimulating and fun work that I got to do until I experienced my “change of employment.” (Apparently that’s the term all the cool kids are using on their job applications these days.) But I never made a secret of how awful everything that wasn’t work ended up feeling to me.

I think when you grow up in Colorado, there are certain things you take for granted, including just being able to throw on your hiking books, step out your back door, and walk for miles. Houston is an endless city, far larger than Denver ever prepared me for. And even when you’re downtown in Denver, you can look west, see the mountains, and know that you can be there in an hour, climbing the Flatirons.

I’ve missed this place so much, in ways I don’t even know how to describe. Ways I didn’t know until I was driving a rented minivan (containing my bicycle, computer, and plants aka Delta and the Spice Girls) and with every mile I just felt lighter and lighter. Every other drive to or from Houston, I’ve always taken three days and felt absolutely exhausted at the end of it. This one I did in two, and it exhilarating in a way that hours on end in a minivan have no right to be. When we (my friend Corina kept me company so I didn’t have to do the drive alone) crossed the border into Colorado, I stopped at the first gas station so I could get out and hug the eight mile marker on highway 287. I wandered around with a ridiculous grin on my face, answering anyone who asked me how I was doing, “I don’t have to live in Houston ever again!”

I expected it to take a week for me to get acclimatized to the altitude again. Instead, the day after I arrived, I took out my bike, checked my tire pressure, and went for a 13 mile ride, just because I could. Like I never left, except I wasn’t this good at hill climbing four years ago.
IMG_1265There are still a hundred scary challenges waiting for me. I’m unemployed and trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with myself. Geology job pickings right now are so slim, they might as well be nonexistent. I still have pile of student debt gnawing at my heels that I’m scared to look at straight on. I miss my best friend Mike, and I miss my cats.

Yet I feel so much more alive. I don’t know if I was unhappy in Houston precisely, but I feel as if layers of lead and grime have peeled off of me and fallen in my wake. I can ride forever, the mountains are in the west where they belong, and the sky is so blue.

I’m home.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Verdict returned on Aurora gunman, guilty on all 165 counts. I don’t really have any commentary on the case itself, other than profound sadness at the senselessness of it all, anger about gun control issues; the standard feeling I have about mass shootings.

What I did want to comment on is the “speed” of the verdict. 165 counts decided in about 12-13 hours, depending on the article you read. I’ve seen multiple people mention that this is fast or speedy in a sort of wondering way. With that kind of time, it averages out to about 4-5 minutes spent per count.

I actually don’t think it’s that fast, all told. I’m not the world’s greatest expert on juries, but I’ve now actually gotten to serve on one, which is an experience I know isn’t universal, so I thought I’d share a little. It is so not like TV.

The case I served on was civil rather than criminal, but I get the impression the process is fairly similar. (I just haven’t blogged about it before now because, while I’m allowed to talk about it if I want, I’m uncomfortable with the notion of getting in to details.) Anyway, the trial I served on lasted about three and a half days. We had seven questions to consider at the end; I was foreman for the jury. And it basically went like this: I’d read the question out loud, poll the other jurors, and if the answer was unanimous, move on. It took us about 25 minutes to cover 7 questions (averaging <4 minutes per question). And the only reason it actually took that long was because there was one question where we disagreed about a monetary amount and decided to discuss in order to regain our unanimity (which was unnecessary, technically, since I was the hold out, but we wanted to be unanimous if we could), and then a pause when we wrote a question to the judge for clarification just to be sure about something. Had neither of those things happened, we would have finished all seven questions in well under 10 minutes.

So I’m not claiming to know what exactly went on in deliberations, but I’m not necessarily surprised. You don’t really discuss if everyone agrees already. So to me, it doesn’t sound like they rushed, it sounded like the jurors probably agreed on nearly everything and maybe just had a issues they had to talk about. I just wanted to point this out in case there’s an impression that maybe things weren’t given enough gravity just due to speed; if everyone has been attentive and serious about the issues, they probably already know how they will vote on the various charges as they sit down. And if everyone agrees? It’s going to be quick.

I’m guessing the prosecution did a really good job, though obviously I don’t know one way or another. But that’s immediately what it sounded like to me.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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In Colorado I was on the permanent mail-in ballot list. Several weeks before election day, I would receive my ballot in the mail without having to do anything special for it, then peruse it at my leisure and mail it back, no muss, no fuss.

Technically, they have mail-in ballots in Texas. But only if you are disabled or elderly, basically. I am thankful to not currently be either of those.

In Colorado, the other annual pre-voting day ritual I enjoyed was receiving the state blue book. This lovely pamphlet translates all the proposed amendments into plain English, provides a dry for and against argument for each, and also estimates fiscal impacts. It also told you if judges were recommended for retention. I loved that little blue book and its cheap newsprint paper.

As far as I can tell, Texas doesn’t have those either. I had no idea how spoiled I was, growing up in Colorado.

Of course, I’m still lucky and spoiled here in Texas, to the extent that (supposedly) I’m not going to have any problems with the new voter ID law. I have multiple forms of approved IDs and I didn’t change my name when I got married (not that I did that in Texas anyway). But a lot of people aren’t nearly so lucky as me. It just makes me furious whenever anyone makes it harder to vote.

Anyway, I’ll attempt to find the actual physical voting place either during lunch or after work. I hope it’s right, since I looked it up in the Harris county website. You’re supposed to get the info from http://votetexas.gov but that site has been timing out all morning so…yay?

Enjoy your little blue books and your mail-in ballots, Colorado. Throw the pages of non-partisan explanations of legalese up in the air and laugh mockingly as they flutter down around you. You have no idea how good you’ve got it.

(I am well aware there are many places in the rest of the world where people are literally dying to only be as inconvenienced as I will be today. I wish they had our problems in place of their own, I truly do.)

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

[pe2-image src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/--Y3JmfNhSa8/UR7EMmHr5SI/AAAAAAAAKwk/998WMwLxqEA/s144-c/2013-02-15%25252011.24.38.jpg" href="https://picasaweb.google.com/104914909709893493346/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCLryga_w-LbXeg#5845325087043740962" caption="2013-02-15 11.24.38.jpg" type="image" alt="2013-02-15 11.24.38.jpg" ]

 Which is close to the same view as this:

[pe2-image src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-5snIc_WEP9c/URXql05HloI/AAAAAAAAKu8/mQEi1HQsKaE/s144-c/2013-02-08%25252023.18.56.jpg" href="https://picasaweb.google.com/104914909709893493346/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCLryga_w-LbXeg#5842834027157362306" caption="2013-02-08 23.18.56.jpg" type="image" alt="2013-02-08 23.18.56.jpg" ]

 So yes. On Thursday a trio of nice men (Marco, Francisco, and Greg) came to my house and took everything away. It’ll be delivered down in Houston on the 24th or 25th. And it only took them about two and a half hours to load, since everything was packed already.

It’s really weird to only be going back to my house to clean things. I’m finally starting to really have the point driven home… we’re moving. We’re leaving Colorado. I’m still trying not to think about it too much, to be honest, since I still have my thesis defense waiting ahead. But we’re living with my parents for now (it only took two days for the cats to stop freaking out about being in a new house so that’s good) and we’ll be driving down to Houston next week to get Mike set up there before I fly back to Denver.

And then I’m just here for a few more weeks before I stuff the cats into another car and do the drive again. (Yeah, wish me luck with that. Hoo boy.)

This is weird. I’ve lived in Colorado basically all my life, or at least all my life that I can remember. It’s weird to be leaving.

Originally published at katsudon.net. You can comment here or there.


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Tetsugawa Katsuhiro

September 2017

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