Sunday, May 21, 2017

Easy to Be Hard by Three Dog Night

This song's lyrics keeps going through my head after the Missouri Legislative Session:

Easy to Be Hard from the musical Hair, covered by Three Dog Night

  "How can people be so heartless
   How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about being proud
How about I need a friend, I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
You know I'm hung up on you
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about being proud
How about I need a friend, I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be proud, easy to say no
Easy to be gone, easy to say no
Come on, easy to get read
Easy to say no
But too easy to be cold
Easy to say no
But too easy to say no"
Songwriters: Galt Mac Dermot / Gerome Ragni / James Rado
Easy to Be Hard lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Get Affordable, Great Health Insurance With Pre-existing Conditions

Do you need health insurance and you, like many others, have pre-existing conditions?  Screw Trump and Congress. Here is what you should do:

1.  Apply to be a "community" or "visiting" student at a college like the University of Missouri-Kansas City or whatever is local to you. No need for transcripts, etc. just get permission to take a course for credit. (I have taken the History of Rock and Roll, Physics for Non-Majors, and Women's Studies, Ancient Classic Literature, and in the fall, a photography class.)

2.  Enroll in the course. Take the class.  Make sure the college provides health insurance for domestic students.  An added benefit is learning new things. A three credit hour class costs about $1000 a semester at UMKC.  

3.  Sign up for domestic student health insurance. At UMKC it is with Aetna. You can sign up per semester, or on August 15, for a year. The annual cost is approximately $2500. The insurance is great, since most people in the group are 18-22 year olds. $4500 per year (a class for 2 semesters, plus the insurance) averages $375 per month, about half of what comparable insurance costs for me, a 64 year old, under Obamacare, assuming no government subsidy. 

The student health insurance for an older non-smoker ineligible for subsidies, like me, is much better than Obamacare, and cheaper, and not subject to political whimsy.  I paid less than $2500 for great health care coverage for an entire year, as compared to $800 per month with the ACA.  Check out the college of your choice. I bet you can find a good deal. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SB 43 - Keep Contacting Your Representative

The bill promoting greater discrimination and injustice, Senate Bill 43, has still not been voted on by the Missouri House. Please keep calling for representatives and ask them to vote no. Balance the Scales. SB 43 gives away the hard fought civil rights we obtained in the 1960s for race discrimination, sexual harassment and whistleblowers.  Missouri would be the first state to take protections away. Tell your representatives to vote no. There are two weeks left in the legislative term. We have to be vigilant.

Monday, April 24, 2017

SB43 - A Bad Missouri Bill Promoting Discrimination

The Missouri Legislature is considering making it much harder to bring discrimination and whistleblower cases. The bill's sponsor, Senator Romines, has a business that is being sued because his management committed vile racist conduct against an employee.

Missouri has been a leader among states in fighting racism, sexual harassment, and other forms of discrimination. Missouri will be the first state, if this bill is passed, to reverse progress in civil rights.

Please call or write your representative in Jefferson City and implore him or her to vote against SB 43. We need to move forward, not backward.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

White Privilege

I am white.  Until recently, I never gave serious thought about white privilege. Sometimes I speed on the highway, past a cop, and I do not get pulled over.  I have gotten many warnings, instead of tickets.

In school, I always got the benefit of the doubt, that I was capable of doing the work. I never had much trouble with job interviews. In court, I am treated with respect,by lawyers, judges, and litigants.

We were poor when I was growing up, but my sister and I always felt that we could succeed. She is a mathematical genius.  We were put in the accelerated classes for the smart kids. We knew we were going to college, even though we needed scholarships and financial aid to get through.

White men had it even easier than we did. They looked for part-time jobs in the "men's" section of the want-ads and got paid more. They were, and generally still are, the bosses. We worked hard at our typing jobs working through college and did okay.

I know of Black executives and politicians who routinely are subject to traffic stops. Most bosses are white men, not people of color. We don't hear the "n" word like I heard it as a kid, but implicit bias is a real thing. The people with the most power are still predominantly white and predominantly men.

I do not know when or if society will change. Change terrifies those with power. People don't willingly give up power, especially when they refuse to acknowledge that they hold the power. Just look at Fox News. A bastion of white, male privilege.  Roger Ailes was bought out for $40,000,000. Let's see what happens to Bill O'Reilly.  I bet neither Ailes nor O'Reilly believes in white privilege, while they continue to profit from despicable behavior.

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Letter to Governor Greitens. (PLEASE OPPOSE SB43)

I sent the following letter to Governor Greitens in early March, 2017:

Dear Governor Greitens:

I am writing this letter to you about the Missouri Human Rights Act.  However, there is so much more I would like to tell you.  As you were running for Governor, I did some research about you and I feel I can relate to you.  I believe our upbringings were similar.  I am Jewish and my mother, grandparents and great-grandmother fled Nazi 
Germany in 1938, days before Kristallnacht, to live in the United States.  Unfortunately, many of my relatives were denied immigration status to the U.S. and perished in Auschwitz.  Being lucky enough to survive religious persecution, I became a civil rights lawyer, mainly representing victims of discrimination in employment.  I read that you were taught by Holocaust survivors and I imagine you understand my motivation.

I am a plaintiffs' lawyer and I know that is not popular with many people.  While I believe that the little guy deserves competent representation in lawsuits, quite frankly, I believe discrimination cases are different than other types of lawsuits.  Our country is special because we protect those who are disadvantaged by others because of their religion, race, sex, age and disability.  I have always been proud to be a Missourian, because Missouri protects the rights of minorities.  Without civil rights protections, I probably could not have gone to law school or gotten the education I did.  I am proud that we have a Jewish governor, something I never thought would happen in Missouri.

I have been to the National Archives and seen the original bill proposed for  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In 1964, when Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, Southern senators did not want a bill that gave equal rights in employment to African-Americans, so they wrote in another category thinking that it would kill the bill.  They added "sex" as a protected class, and the bill passed anyway.  That is how women came to be protected in employment discrimination and that was the genesis of anti-sexual harassment decisions.

If the limitations on civil rights proposed in SB 43 and similar statutes in the House are passed, civil rights of minorities are in jeopardy.  Unfortunately, we have not eradicated unlawful discrimination and the discrimination laws do make a difference.  When I started trying sexual harassment cases in 1994, the harassment was horrendous.  Bosses were sexually assaulting female employees in the cases I tried.  After more than twenty  years, sexual harassment is far less common and I attribute the societal awareness to women with the courage to come forward and complain.  The changes to the law proposed by the legislature will discourage victims from coming forward.  I respectfully request that you veto any bill restricting civil rights.  Missouri has always been progressive, passing a discrimination law in 1959, five years before the federal government passed Title VII.  I have always been proud of our state's commitment to equality and fairness.  Please make sure that Missouri's commitment to civil rights is not compromised.

Lynne Jaben Bratcher

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Retaliation. All Too Common

It is unlawful to retaliate against someone who brings a charge of discrimination. It is. But human nature, being what it is, retaliation is a fact of life. Some people retaliate, and tell themselves they are not.  No one is above retaliation. People in responsible jobs retaliate. Public servants retaliate. Famous people retaliate.

I have a case where I just discovered a well known person with considerable public responsibility retaliated against my client who was already being retaliated against by his supervisor. It's really despicable. I can not divulge any more about the case, since it's ongoing. I wish there was a way to test a person's character before placing him or her in positions of power.  As our president would say, "Sad!" Retaliation can destroy a person. It is really sad.