Road to justice
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Certain Acts of Goodness
What George H.W. Bush Taught Us About Kindness
The passing of an American president is always big news, so I wasn’t surprised to see every publication in the
country running obituaries and tributes to George H.W.
Bush. While no two pieces were alike in their assessment of the 41st president, one of Bush’s aims for our country came up time and again. It’s a message that I think resonates more urgently now than it did back in 1988, and a great thing to consider as you begin your year. After accepting the Republican nomination for president on Aug. 18, 1988, Bush took the podium to address the convention.“Where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved?” he asked, wondering why Americans valued tough talk over genuine emotion.“Well, I am moved,” he continued.“I want a kinder and gentler nation.” He would reaffirm that desire during his inaugural address, when he defined our purpose as Americans.“It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world,” he said. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, we can all agree that treating each other with kindness should be part of the American character. It may sound self-evident and obvious, but it’s something we seem to have lost in recent years. Turn on the TV, and it won’t be long before you encounter bile and anger. The same goes for the internet. Now, I don’t want to condemn technology for making us colder, but I do wonder what has led to the decline of kindness in our society. Some of it, I believe, is down to just how busy we all are. Americans’ lives are more hectic than ever before. When you’re scrambling and overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget to show your appreciation to the person who made your coffee or bagged your groceries. But these little gestures make a big difference. As somebody who grew up working in supermarkets, I can tell you firsthand that a customer saying thank you always made my day brighter. That’s true for everyone. Nobody likes to feel invisible or unappreciated. We don’t always mean to make people feel this way, but nevertheless, we do.
to offer the hottest take on it. All you have to do is flip on a sports talk radio station for one minute or look at the comments section of news websites to know what I’m talking about. In the race to be the loudest and most forceful, we forget that kindness and gratitude are more valuable than bluster and anger. And, honestly, it’s up to us to reverse this trend before our discourse becomes a never-ending shouting match.
That’s why I think it’s so important to keep Bush’s famous words in mind as we kick off 2019. Ask yourself how you can be kinder and gentler to those around you this year. I promise you won’t regret it. If everyone reading this resolves to focus on kindness, we’ll be many steps closer to creating the nation that George H.W. Bush envisioned. –Jim Snell
Another issue is that our culture seems to value volume over nuance and intensity over warmth. Whenever a noteworthy event happens, people race
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Social Media Reminders for Parents
Social media has been making the world smaller than ever. The distance among cross-country relatives and friends shrinks with each post or Skype call. And instant updates from loved ones are particularly valuable during the holidays. That Christmas morning video call means Grandma and Grandpa get to see their grandkids in their new holiday outfits, but so can online predators.
3. Check your settings. Your privacy settings may be exposing your family to more people than you know, and if you feel the need to share every minute of your child’s day online, making these settings airtight will protect your children and their reputations.
According to digital and safety experts, half of the photos filtered onto the darknet are stolen from parents’ social media accounts. If these predators are privy to your photos, they’re also able to snag your location and other sensitive information, putting you and your children at physical risk as well. On a less disturbing note, social media content is permanent. Even after you delete a post or a photo, it leaves a digital footprint that could follow your child throughout their education and could even affect job interviews or future relationships. It’s still possible for you to foster a sense of privacy in the digital age, but it’s important to respect what your child deems private information. After all, it’s their future. Consider these rules before you share. 1. Ask your child’s permission. If they can speak, then they can speak for themselves. Children love to see photos of themselves, but they may also be aware of what they are and aren’t comfortable with, even at a young age. 2. Limit the nudity. Everyone loves a beach day, but think twice before posting swimsuit or skinny-dipping pictures. Opt to post safer photos, like the family posing prior to fun in the sun.
Consider some of these safe alternatives to regular public posting:
1. Tinybeans.com is a secure photo-sharing website for parents of babies and young children. The digital photo album app allows you to share photos with only the people you choose. 2. Create a separate, secure group on Facebook. Family, friends, or coworkers in closed groups can still fawn over their little ones in a personal, safe setting. Despite the dangers your digital life can elicit, you don’t have to avoid the digital world completely. Social media is still a great tool for families to stay connected, as long as you take precautions. Go ahead and brag about your kids online — just be safe and considerate of your child’s wishes.
Occasionally, we’re a little short-staffed at the office and need to call in some extra help. When those situations arise, we always turn to Jim’s dad, our self-appointed fill-in person at Snell Law. While his name is James R. Snell Sr., we all know him affectionately as Mr. Ross. How does Mr. Ross feel about his son’s chosen profession? “I used to tell my kids, ‘Be whatever you want to be, but be a lawyer first,’” Mr. Ross says with a laugh.“I guess it worked, because both of my kids ended up becoming attorneys.” Mr. Ross spent most of his career running grocery stores before working in human resources for a number of years. He also served 23 years in the U.S. armed forces; first in the Army and then in the National Guard. These days, he’s technically retired, though we’re always happy to call on him for a little work. Mr. Ross describes feeling immensely proud of everything Jim has achieved at his firm.“It’s amazing to see not just what a great attorney Jim is, but also the respect and dignity with which he treats everyone who comes into his office,” Mr. Ross says.“I’d like to think he
learned some of those customer service skills from his days at our grocery stores, but I can’t take any credit for his skills in the courtroom.” Mr. Ross would also like to share some praise for Lee.“She’s the rock of the practice and of our family. Without her, who knows where Jim would be today?” In addition to being our favorite pinch hitter, Mr. Ross has some experience of his own producing newsletters. He sits on the board of the retiree council at Fort Jackson and creates a newsletter designed to connect retired veterans with resources in their area.“For me, it’s an opportunity to do good for others and keep them in the loop,” Mr. Ross says.“We’re lucky to have an amazing veteran community here in South Carolina, and I’m honored to play whatever small role I can within it.” It’s always a joy to have Mr. Ross with us at the office. If he’s not careful, we may just coax him out of retirement permanently.
James R. Snell Sr. MeettheManWeKnowasMr. Ross
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The Origin of New Year’s Day
The month of January kicks off by welcoming the new year — there are countdowns, fireworks, and of course, the ball drop in a freezing-cold Times Square. But why? Why do we start our calendars when much of the U.S. is in the dead of winter? Why January? The short answer is Julius Caesar and Roman politics. The calendar had long been a political tool in Rome. Depending on who was in power, Roman pontifices would add or subtract entire weeks from the year, manually adjusting the term limits of elected officials. As you could imagine, this caused a lot of chaos, because months frequently slipped out of time with the changing seasons. After becoming emperor, Julius Caesar brought about some much-needed reforms. Inspired by the Egyptian solar calendar, Caesar fixed the Roman year at 365 days and instituted the leap year to keep months aligned with the solstices. He moved the new year from the spring to the day that elected officials traditionally began their year-long terms, Jan. 1. This choice carried spiritual significance, since January was named for Janus, god of doors and gates. What better month to celebrate new beginnings? Under Caesar and subsequent rulers, the Roman Empire expanded its reach, carrying its calendar with it. While much of Europe adopted Caesar’s calendar, New Year’s Day remained a hot-button issue for centuries.
Thanks in part to the spread of Christianity and to the colder conditions in Northern Europe, there was a lot of resistance to the January start date. Religious leaders saw it as a pagan holiday, and much of Europe chose to restart the calendar on March 25, during the Feast of Annunciation. Much of Catholic Europe officially recognized Jan. 1 as the start of the new year after Pope Gregory reformed the solar calendar again, correcting certain mathematical errors made in Caesar’s day. There were still holdouts, however. In fact, England and its American colonies continued to celebrate New Year’s Day in March until 1752. So there you have it —we were very close to having our fireworks celebrations in lovely spring weather. Ultimately, the ubiquity of the Gregorian calendar won out, as the demands of our increasingly interconnected world made a shared calendar a necessity. So if you struggle to start your New Year’s resolutions this winter, blame Julius Caesar.
Chicken Chop Suey
Which famous son of a president failed the bar exam twice before passing it on attempt number 3? Send your answers to Caitlyn (email@example.com).
2 large or 4 medium chicken thighs
3 pounds bok choy, cut into 3–4-inch ribbons
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1. The first correct answer wins a $15 gift card to Starbucks.
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2. All other submissions are entered in a drawing to win a second $15 gift card to Starbucks.
1. In large pot, boil three cups of water. Add chicken and reduce to simmer, cooking for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. Once cooled, remove skin and bones, chop, and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid. 2. In a large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil. Once simmering, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute, stirring throughout. Add half of reserved cooking liquid, cover skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy to a plate. 3. Add remaining cooking liquid and chicken to the pan, maintaining high heat. Heat chicken, then add oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch-and-water mixture, sesame oil, and bok choy. Season to taste, toss together, and serve over rice.
3. The funniest wrong answer will be chosen by Caitlyn and will also win a $15 gift card to Starbucks. All entries must be sent to Caitlyn by Friday, Jan. 25, and the winners will be announced in our next edition.
Inspired by The New York Times
Last month’s winner: Fred Gailey
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Inside this Issue
A Year to Act Kinder PAGE 1
Staying Safe on Social Media Spotlight on Mr. Ross PAGE 2 Why Start the New Year in Winter? Chicken Chop Suey PAGE 3
Have You Seen The Report Of The Week? PAGE 4
Sometimes, a little light-hearted entertainment is the perfect antidote after a stressful day or a busy week. YouTube is a treasure trove of such fare, but it’s also notoriously hard to navigate. In an effort to introduce you to some of the best content providers on the service, we’ve decided to begin a “YouTube Channel of the Month” feature in the newsletter. To kick things off, we take a look at one of Jim’s personal favorites: “The Report Of The Week”. Only on YouTube can somebody become famous for reviewing fast food items while wearing a suit. That’s exactly what happened to John Jurasek, better known to his fans as “Reviewbrah.” Originally, Reviewbrah’s channel featured analyses of energy drinks. His popularity didn’t really take off, though, until he began looking at specialty fast food items. “I want to be applicable to the largest number of people,” Jurasek told CNN in 2016, which is why he predominantly focuses on major chains. While the items he reviews contribute to his success, most of The Report Of The Week’s prominence is the result of Reviewbrah’s inimitable style.
Reviewbrah always wears suits, and not those of the cutting-edge, GQ variety. If not for his boyish features, it would be easy to confuse him for an accountant. His delivery is just as unique as his sartorial choices. Speaking slowly and deliberately, he investigates garden-variety fast food products in exacting detail. While his tone remains deadpan throughout, it’s clear he expects you to enjoy his videos for their humor as well as their insights. The Report Of The Week is one of those channels that could never have come to fruition without a platform like YouTube. There’s not a network in the world that would green-light a program based solely on one man’s takes on fast food. Luckily, they didn’t have to. Reviewbrah created success for himself, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank— and maybe stopping at the nearest drive-thru along the way. Check out The Report Of The Week for a truly unique, often hilarious entertainment experience.
YouTube Channel of the Month TheReport Of TheWeek
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