Friday, September 23, 2016

What Terrifies Me About Donald Trump!!!!!!!!

This blog is dedicated to courageous plaintiffs, but I notice I spend much of my time worrying about Donald Trump.  I decided to write down all of the things about a potential Trump presidency that scare the shit out of me:

1.  I am concerned about his personality, his lack of introspection, depth, and critical thinking.

2.  Would he use atomic bombs?  Maybe. He doesn't rule it out.

3.  Would he use executive orders to violate the Constitution?
       A.  Change "libel" laws - violating the First Amendment.
       B.  Refuse to allow attorneys to U.S. Citizens charged with crimes.  In violation of 6th Amendment.
       C.  Refuse citizens charged with crimes to be afforded jury trial - violation of 6th Amendment.
       D. Profile and frisk "suspicious" people - violation of 14th Amendment.
       E.  Torture - violation of 8th and 4th, 5th Amendments.

4.  He doesn't realize that there are three branches of government and he can't make and enforce laws.

5.  He brings out the worst in people -   Racism, sexism, xenophobia, hatred, violence.

6.   He is narcissistic and self-involved.

7.  He is inherently dishonest and opportunistic. I WANT TO SEE THOSE TAX RETURNS.  He swindles people and takes advantage of those he can.

8.  He is extremely insecure. I do not want my president to literally get into dick measuring contests. He is easily offended. A President must have thick skin and think of the country's before his.  He is vindictive.

9.   He is greedy  and ungenerous.

10.  He lacks diplomacy, intellectual curiosity and intelligence - NARCISSISM is his most obvious personality trait.

I am scared of him.  I have never felt this way before in the past ten elections in which I was able to and did vote. This election is important.  YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is serious. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Friends Are My Friends - So Leave Me Alone

Lately, I have been criticized in the Comments section on my blog because I have a good relationship  with Tony Botello. Several people indicate I shouldn't like because he is a sexist, or racist, or mean - blah, blah, blah. In fact, I got a couple of comments about Mr. Botello on a tribute I wrote about an amazing, courageous woman who just passed away. I considered deleting the comments, since they had nothing to do with the legacy of this amazing woman, but I did not. I only delete troll comments, and these comments were fair comments, but inserted in a place which I thought was inappropriate.

Apparently, as a feminist, I am supposed to have only friends or people with whom share my every view and share all of the views of all of the people who generally agree with me. I believe we are multi-faceted beings and I find it offensive that my choice of friends is subject to comment.

I am sure many people disagree with many of my beliefs or actions. So be it.  That does not mean I hate people with whom I disagree. I admire that Tony believes in the First Amendment and chooses not to delete troll comments, no matter how disgusting, racist, sexist or just pathetic the commenters may be. I disagree with Tony on the comment issue. I delete troll comments. I don't post photos of women in bikinis either, nor do I intend to do so. Tony may write things you find to be offensive. Some things I find to be offensive. However, he has done some amazing work exposing malfeasance and corruption. And sometimes he makes me laugh.

I saw Louis CK and he was hilarious, and said many, many offensive things. But, he was very funny. Actually, I will forgive a lot if someone makes me laugh. Laughter is one of my most favorite things in this world. I laugh at sick things at times.  Mt favorite joke is, "I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather.  I don't want to die screaming and afraid like his passengers."   Perhaps I am shallow or hypocritical that way, but get over it. We are all multi-faceted and hopefully we are complex human beings. Life is not black and white. I appreciate shades of grey.

Now, Tony, I will not be voting for you for president, or governor, or even mayor. You may say things with which I do not agree, but, I am not going to tell you to do or be anything but who you are. So, you commenters, or Facebook peeps who are upset with my friend choice,  get over it.


Monday, September 12, 2016

The Brief, Brave Life of Denise Henning

Denise Henning died yesterday.  I don't know if it is appropriate for me to write this blog about her, but I feel compelled to do so. I cannot stop thinking about who she was and the life she lived. I feel like everyone should know her name, she was such an amazing person.  I knew Denise for more than twenty years.  I always liked her, always admired her, but we were not really girlfriends,

Denise was a trial lawyer.  She had guts.  She went to trial when others were too afraid.  And, she won. I remember when she started her own firm across the street from ours.  Unlike me, Denise was not satisfied just practicing law.  She was truly a role model.  She was a leader.  She volunteered her time doing charitable things.  She had celebrations for women who achieved recognition in the field of law.  Denise excelled, and she gave back.

Denise founded a charitable branch of the Association of Women Lawyers.  She started a mentoring group for young women lawyers.  Her energy seemed inexhaustible.  I remember her pregnancies, giving birth to two healthy boys a dozen or more years ago.  I remember meeting her husband, Denise's high school sweetheart.

I remember years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her announcement that she had it beat.  She deservedly received award after award.  When she was on the cover of Kansas City Magazine as a Super Lawyer, I read with interest about her life.  The article is attached.  Denise Henning.  That was in 2011.

Then, in 2012, when her boys were playing baseball, Tim, Denise's husband, had a major heart attack and died.  He was only 47 years old.  I felt so bad for Denise.  I think, I hope, I let her know.

What I did not know then, but came soon to find out, was that just a few months before Tim's death, Denise discovered that her cancer had returned.  Her boys were young.  Denise called and asked if I knew who could hire her secretary, because she didn't want to leave her employee out in the cold while she ended her practice to tend to her boys and to her health.

Then, Denise started a foundation in memory of her husband, The Henning Family Foundation. She held golf tournaments to purchase AED devices so that if someone had a heart attack in a public, perhaps, unlike her husband, their lives could be saved. Every year we contributed to the foundation so another AED could be purchased.  In 2015, with an AED in her car, Denise saved a man's life whose heart had stopped.  Henning News Article She received an another award, this time from the Red Cross.

This past May I did not hear from Denise.  May is when she held the Tim Henning golf tournaments. I feared her health was deteriorating further.  In June, I learned that the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys was honoring Denise with its highest award, the Tom Strong award.  I made sure that I attended the banquet.  There is no one I know who was and is more deserving of that award.  I sent Denise a long email telling her how much I admired her.  Denise accepted the award at the annual banquet.  She needed help getting onto the stage.  Her boys were with her.  She did not look well.  I made my way to her and hugged her and told her again how deserving she was.

That was is the last time I ever talked to Denise.  I noticed that within the past few weeks, her friends on Facebook had been posting photos of Denise.  Denise's oldest son, a teenager, posted a loving tribute to his mother.  He wrote of how much his mother had sacrificed for he and his brother in the wake of their father's death.

On Sunday evening, September 11, 2016, Denise died.  I cannot stop thinking about her.  I cannot stop worrying about her sons.  I cannot stop mourning the loss of this wonderful women.  I can just imagine how hard Denise's passing is for her loved ones.  Denise Henning is irreplaceable.  The world is a better place for her having lived among us for oh too short a time. What an amazing person she was.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

MORAL AMBIGUITY AND LAWYERING

I watched 60 Minutes tonight. They broadcast an expose of Manhattan lawyers asked to launder money for a fictional African politician, who was seeking to buy a building, a jet, and a yacht, without divulging the true ownership. Out of the 16 lawyers unknowingly being videotaped, only one flatly refused. The president of the American Bar Association was interviewed. In the videotape, he expressed some reservations and stated that if the funds were gained illegally, he would report the crime. Apparently, the other lawyers expressed no reservations.  What was most troubling to me was one lawyer declaring that lawyers would not get in trouble, because lawyers run this country. All of a sudden, I wondered if I was an accomplice in this sleazy behavior.

Lawyers do seem to run this country. President Obama is a lawyer and so is Governor Jay Nixon. Senator Claire MCaskill is also a member of the bar. Jason Kander, my choice for Senator is, guess what, a lawyer. Lawyers have a lot of power in our government. And what about the lobbyists. Lawyers are in the money and power making business, for sure.

Are lawyers up to the task of running this country? I have my doubts whether any profession measures up. I do not know what profession is immune from greed and deceit. Money complicates everything, as does power and sex. I am not here to talk about the corrupting power of sex, but I have wondered if society would be different if humans were devoid of testosterone and estrogen. But, I digress.

I earn my living by accepting contingent fees. That means I am not paid on a regular basis. I am paid when my clients recover. My clients, by and large, cannot afford to pay the hourly fees I could bill in working on a case. In employment discrimination cases, fees through trial usually amount to six figure amounts. It's possible that when a case settles, my client is handsomely compensated, and so am I. I try my darnedest to separate my client's interests from mine. My duty as a lawyer is to my client, not to me, nor my family, nor to the bank holding my mortgage. In theory, I heartily believe in the ethical code and I abhor a lawyer who puts his or her interests ahead of the client's. However, when the bills are due, or my dog is sick, or when my kids need money, or when I want to go on vacation, it is a greater challenge to only consider my client's best interest. I have successfully rationalized my dilemma and have convinced myself that my ethics are intact. But, in reality, what other occupation requires someone to work for hundreds of hours with no immediate pay, and with the real possibility of not getting paid at all. Workers in America expect compensation for their work. I feel that I, in reality, am merely a professional gambler, which doesn't really comport with my perception of what a lawyer should be.

Those lawyers on 60 Minutes are undoubtedly not paid by contingent fee, but to recover their $1,000 an hour hourly fees, they have to get the business. Lawyers are held to high ethical standards, as we should be. But, lawyers, as humans, can be blinded by greed. While I was embarrassed by the 60 Minutes expose, I also understand the dilemma those lawyers who were  surreptitiously recorded faced. Fortunately, I can't fathom being asked to launder money, since I have no expertise whatsoever in setting up shell companies or hiding assets.  So, my immediate dilemma is avoided. If I had such "expertise," I hope I would act as the lawyer who threw the bums out of his office. I have to believe that I would. I really hope I would. Theoretical moral dilemmas are easier to solve than real ones.

We lawyers rationalize that people hate us because we are misunderstood. We rationalize that people hate us because of the tacky lawyers ads that are beneath those of us who do not buy television time.
We lawyers rationalize that people hate us because of the few bad apples like Saul of "Better Call Saul."  Those reasons may partially explain the lawyer hatred dating back to Shakespeare's time. I wonder if other lawyers worry, as I do, that lawyers are really, deep down, hated because sometimes we just act despicably.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In Praise of Political Correctness

These days "Political Correctness" receives a lot of flack. Clint Eastwood, a wealthy, famous, old white man decries our pursuit of political correctness. He pines for the America of his youth. Of course, the America of his youth included state sponsored racial segregation, married women who could not get credit cards in their own names, and the criminalization of inter-racial marriage. But, at that time, there was a certain group, of which Clint Eastwood is a member, in charge. No African-American or female would dare seek the Presidency. 

Why do people hate political correctness anyway?  Freedom forum politcal correctness is freedom to bully others without recourse. Refraining from using the "n" word is politically correct. What's not politically correct?  Racial slurs, sexual harassment, jokes about Hipanics, people with disabilities, women. 

For some people, it makes them feel better about themselves if they can insult and denigrate others. Bullies have thin skin, are insecure and have low self-esteem. Perhaps they were bullied, or were abused, maybe verbally, physically and/or sexually. Sometimes, the oppressed becomes the oppressor. We do not really explore what oftentimes makes bullies - generations of abuse. Bullies create other bullies.

Political correctness is synonymous with treating others with respect. Treating people with respect is contagious. Compassion brings out the best in others. Bullying brings out the worst. I like political correctness. It shows we as humans are improving as a species. Treating others with respect is the best way to live. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why We Need A Woman President

I know that many people, including women, do not see the need for a female president. They think that women are capable, women head other countries, and a woman will eventually be president anyway. Many of these women are young and have experienced no sexism in their lifetimes. Perhaps, for them, once they bear children, society will treat them as well as men and there will be no pay differential. Perhaps, my representation of women in employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases will dry up, because sex discrimination will be obliterated in this new, open-minded society. However, we are not there yet.

I know things are better than when I was a girl. We no longer have want ads that separate "men's" and "women's" jobs in the newspaper, like we did when I was young. Women can no longer evade jury duty simply because of their gender. Perhaps the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the Vatican won't prohibit women with sleeveless blouses and shorter skirts, like I was banned in 1973 when my grandmother took our family to Israel and Rome. And, at least in the Kansas City area, judges can no longer ban women in slacks from their courtrooms, as one judge did early in my career. Perhaps bosses no longer will try to order their employees back to work 6 weeks after giving birth, as my boss did. I refused and stayed off for 3 months, but I caught hell for it.

Perhaps judges no longer will chat only with male lawyers about hunting and fishing during a trial while ignoring rye female lawyer, as happened to me even though the male lawyers were incompetent and unable to ask appropriate questions and make an appropriate opening statement, as happened to me early in my career. Perhaps judges will no longer order me and my female clients to refrain from "crying" during trial, while requiring no such behavior from male lawyers or witnesses.  Perhaps rural male judges will not tend to believe male trial lawyers in contested trials over female lawyers, ruling in favor of the males most of the time as happened to me just a few years ago.

Perhaps girls will automatically be paid as much as boys, unlike the young pizza restaurant employees in KCK, who spoke at the Democratic convention.  Perhaps people will recognize the substantial women breadwinners instead of statements made by Donald Trump's campaign director, claiming women will vote in the interest of their husbands/breadwinners.  Perhaps sexual harassment will just stop suddenly.

Women have had the right to vote in this country only since 1920, when my grandmother was 15. While three women are on the Supreme Court, I don't think it is a coincidence that only one of them is a mother. It is much easier for male lawyers to be parents than female lawyers.

Whether you see it or not, we need a female president. It will make a difference In the lives of millions of girls.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Russia

Why so many hits from Russia on this blog?  Did Donald Trump send you?