Monday, December 28, 2015

Let's Kill All The Lawyers

I get it why people don't like lawyers.  Sometimes, maybe most of the time, we do things which are despicable. Especially, those of us who try cases. We are officers of the court, sworn to uphold the truth. In fact, it is unethical to knowingly participate in the giving of untruthful testimony.  We have an ethics code that is strict. We must take classes on legal issues, and importantly on ethical matters, annually.  Yet, every thing is relative.

I did not participate in team sports in school. I was not a high school or college debater. I am a baseball fan, as is most of Kansas City, post-World Series.  I never experienced "taking one for the team."  When I was young, as the oldest sibling, I wanted to protect my brother and sister from harm. As a mother I wanted to protect my son and daughter from harm, and, even though they are now grown, I still have those maternal protective instincts.

When I represent a client, I am protective of him or her. I do not allow my clients to be treated with disrespect in a deposition. I try to empathize with my clients, and, to a certain extent, with all parties. I know, intellectually, that my cases are about my clients and not about me. I know that the facts matter, that I am not engaged in some sort of law school competition, based solely on my performance. But, when I am in trial, I have such difficulty relinquishing control, such difficulty viewing the trial as something other than a duel to the death (metaphorically speaking), such difficulty in dealing with this zero-sum game. The trial becomes about me. I believe the opposing counsel believes the trial is about him. To the lawyers, the trial is no longer about truth. It is not about justice. It is all about winning.

We lawyers, especially those of us who are trial lawyers, can easily get the better of an adverse witness.  I have been cross-examining witnesses for 32 years. I try to be polite, I don't want to alienate the jury, but it is rare that an opposing witness can best me. I have seen lawyers light into my clients, portraying these normally honorable people as liars and cheats. That's the way the game is played. We pander to juries, who see right through to our insincerity, and we suck up to them, for example, gratuitously thanking those who served in the military for there service, while we would never enlist.We are phony, fake, intellectually dishonest.

Winning at all costs becomes everything. We twist witnesses' words. We call them liars, even though, or maybe especially if, we speak more intelligently, after many years of schooling, than does the witness.  We call opposing counsel names, expressly or implicitly, even though prohibited by our ethical rules, if we feel it will give us an edge. We think we are gladiators. The truth matters less than prevailing.  We preen and cajole in front of our audience, the jury. Winning a trial is like winning the World Series.  Even though some of us are modest, most lawyers know what a win means - it's all about us - we were more skilled, more brilliant, more silver-tongued than the hapless lawyer on the other side. We count our wins as a boxer keeps track of his knock-outs, it's all about us and our exceptional talent. What we do to witnesses is not even an after-thought.

We measure our worth as lawyers by how financially successful we are. We buy fast cars, live in exclusive neighborhoods, drink fine single malt Scotch. We advertise on television because we make a lot of money that way. We are difficult to work for, demanding of our employees. We are difficult to be married to, honing cross-examination skills on hapless spouses. We hone our skills by concluding the only things important to people, our potential jurors, are what would be important to Reptiles. We pay large sums of money to go to these "Reptile" seminars. We need to find the "tricks" to help us beat our opponents. We are the gladiators of modern times.

As you might expect from reading this piece, I recently went to trial and lost. But, that does not put me above these lawyers I describe. I want to win trials as much as any lawyer. Recently, I calculated my win/loss record in employment trials and relished discovering I win 74% of the time. See, I don't exclude myself from this indictment. I wish that "winning wasn't everything," but in trial,  it is.  While most cases do not go to trial, I go to trial a fair amount. I do not know how to change. My clients want to win. I want to win.

I have thought, what would I rather do?  I like to write, but writing a book is hard. I considered becoming a mediator, get both sides to agree to settle cases which can foster fair results for both sides in litigation, but then I would have to seek the agreement of lawyers, many of whom have the traits I describe above. There is one job that calls to me - baby cuddler in a neo-natal unit of a hospital. But, I suspect that the pay is not good. Right now, I can't afford to be a baby cuddler. A lawyer is supposed to be an honorable profession. But, I cannot believe that winning was not everything to any trial lawyer of competence - Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, undoubtedly cared about the bottom line. Bryan died just days after losing the Scopes trial. If there is a heaven or a hell, I wonder where all of the dead trial lawyers reside. Sigh......

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why The Kansas City Royals Are Great and What They Can Teach Us

I love the Kansas City Royals.  Having been a Royals fan my entire adult life, I have seen a lot of losing games.  But, this team is different.  This team is way different from the 1985 Royals, which show-cased our only Hall of Famer, George Brett.  George Brett was a superstar.  There are no superstars on this 2015 Royals team.  There are no Babe Ruth-like home run hitters.  There are no Sandy Koufax-like pitchers. What the Royals have is so much more.  These are the qualities of the Royals that make them shine:

1.  Teamwork - They work together.  They celebrate each other.  When one player makes a good play, the others are ecstatic.  You get the impression that this team really cares about each other.  The whole is really greater than the sum of their parts.

2.  Hard work - While the Royals are talented, they work hard.  They run and jump just a little farther to make that play.  They practice catching the ball glove-less and stoking it back-handed to stop that potential double.  They work hard and go above and beyond what is required of a professional baseball player.  They require themselves to continually be exceptional, not be because they are exceptionally talented, but because they push themselves to be great.

3.  Trust - While I have criticized Ned Yost for being anti-sabermetrics, I see that he has a bigger plan.  He does not give up on his players.  Sometimes he has let pitchers stay in the game when it seems too long, but the real message to his players is that he trusts them to figure out a way to play their best.  Johnny Cueto struggled against the Blue Jays, but Yost slotted Cueto for the second game. Cueto was the only starting pitcher on either side of the game who finished an entire game, even though the Mets' strength was their starting rotation.

4.  PERSISTENCE - I wrote this word in all caps because persistence is what really makes the difference in this World Series.  And persistence makes the difference in real life.  If people give up easily, they are less likely to achieve their goals in life or lead a productive, satisfying life.  Coming behind in late innings 8 of 11 postseason games is nothing short of amazing.  When others would give up on the Royals, they never gave up on themselves.  In two of the World Series games, the first and the last, those kids tied up the game in the 9th inning and went on to win spectacularly in extra innings.  Wow!

I hope lots of parents are showing their children what the traits of teamwork, hard work, trust and persistence mean.  Through the entire existence of the Royals only one team member has made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  None championship Royals of 2015 may see their way into Cooperstown, or maybe they will.  It doesn't matter. The Royals are Superstars, examples for us all.





Sunday, October 11, 2015

OLDER PEOPLE ROCK!!!

Old people are not well liked in the workaday world of this country. One friend of mine remarked that at her company, the days of retirement parties are distant memories. After age 55-60ish, employees are offered a "package" with a mandatory release attached. You know the deal - older workers are set in their ways, are slow, hate technology, yada yada. We represent many older workers in our office. Age discrimination is rampant in this country. 

I say bull. My 83 year old mother shops online, mainly from her iPad, wins trivia contests, and plays a mean game of bridge. Plus she texts us when something needs discussing. We love technology - at least the older folks in my family do. I go a tattoo with my daughter when I turned 52. Perhaps that's not something to brag about. I got my second tattoo at age 59. I don't plan to get anymore, but who knows?  

This is why I love older workers and why I am proud to represent them when their employers decide they are no longer useful -

1.  Older workers are dependable. They don't generally need "mental health" sick days to play hookey.
2.  Older workers are responsible. 
3.  Older workers are wiser. 
4.  Older workers are generally happier and get even happier they get older. People oftentimes become happier and more content as they age. 
5.  Older workers understand what is important in the world - family, friends, making a difference in the world.  
6.  Older workers are more self-confident. They realize the superficiality of material wants. 

You may say, "This is total generalization. She is just exposing her own bias because she is old herself."  And if you do say that, you are absolutely right. I love that I have been a lawyer for 32 years. If one is open to learning new things, one can learn a lot in three decades.  I love that my hair is gray, or a sparkly, shiny silver when the sunlight hits my head just right. I love that I no longer wear high heels or feel the need to ever wear high heels again. Those shoes are unhealthy and hurt. I love my wrinkles. Well maybe I only like the wrinkles, but I certainly would rather have my wrinkles than a tight phony face. I love my GROWN kids. I have always loved my kids more than anything, but it is so nice having them as adults with whom I can share deep conversations and experiences. I love my really old husband of 41 years. He is at 14 months older than I am. Old love is better than new love. Old love doesn't run off with the secretary or feel disgusted when he sees you snoring and drooling in the middle of the night.  

It's too bad these materialistic, competitive, upwardly mobile corporate types understand the pleasure of being old. If they did, perhaps employee morale at these mega-profit factories would increase. Life is too short to discard the wisest people on the planet. I pity the stupidity of the youthful corporate executioners.  They are sad and don't understand that treating others with respect and empathy are the true ways to fulfillment. At the end of the day, the corporate downsizes are likely to experience the same fate as their victims once they come of age. Life is too short. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Quotes By Two Crazy Men

1.  ADOLF HITLER:

All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people. "

2.  DONALD TRUMP:

"Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” 

3.  ADOLF HITLER:

"All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach."

4.  DONALD TRUMP:

"I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created."

5.  ADOLF HITLER:

"Hate is more lasting than dislike."

6.  DONALD TRUMP:

“Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Legislators - -Are You Sexually Harassing Your Interns

Are you a legislator?  Do you wonder if you have sexually harassed your intern?  Well, let's look at these common situations -

1.  Are you an elected representative of a group of people who voted for you in public elections?

Yes ________.    No ________

If your answer is no, you are not a legislator. If your answer is yes, you are a legislator.


2.  Do you have an intern, oftentimes a young college student who gets college credit for working in your office, working in your office?

Yes ________.    No__________

If your answer is yes, or even no, but there are interns in other offices, answer question 3.

3.  Have you done any of the following:

   A.  Asked the intern out for a date, especially if you are married and there is a large difference in your ages;

B.  Intentionally brushed against the interns genitalia;

C.  Touched the intern often, such as massage the interns shoulders, hugg the intern, or touch the intern's butt;

D.  Ask the intern about his or her sex life, talk about your sex life, complain about your marriage, send sexy texts to the intern; OR

E.  Have sexual contact with the intern.

If your answer to any of the questions in A-E above is yes, you are sexually harassing an intern. Interns are generally young college students who admire politicians. Interns have much less power than legislators.  This is not an equal relationship. LEAVE YOUR INTERNS ALONE!!!

Dont't be a despicable pig. Keep your filthy hands off the interns!  If you don't, I hope your interns come to me to sue you. Finally, leave your interns alone.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Do Wrinkled, Gray-Haired Workers Still Matter?

Should older workers retire to make room for younger employees?  Is there a finite number of jobs and are older workers selfish by hanging on to employment?

Missouri discrimination protections are broad, yet older workers in Missouri are only protected against age discrimination until age 70. Missouri judges must retire at 70, regardless of how effective they are as judges.  Federal judges have jobs for life and many federal judges work well into their 80's. Most United States Supreme Court justices are over 70, certainly over 65. Ronald Reagan was president well after age 70. I am 62 years old and I feel like I may have many good years ahead. However, if I retired I suppose younger lawyers would take on the cases that I am no longer accept.

We are recently past a recession that kept many younger workers unemployed and living with parents. In places like Greece, unemployment among recent high school and college grads are more likely to be jobless than employed. What is the solution?

It seems that as I get older, I represent more older people forced out of their jobs. Companies are not loyal to workers, but I read that businesses complain that they suffer from disloyal employees. No loyalty on either side. Remember when workers retired with dignity at big parties hosted by the company after 40 years or more of service?  I do. Now lay-offs are not just for poorly performing companies, but a sign of value for the almighty stockholders. Remember when people were loyal to their jobs, not searching for a better deal or easily lured away by a better deal.

The current corporate environment is not one of loyalty on either side. Both employees and employers treat each other as expendable. However, the people who are more vulnerable, usually the older ones, are more likely to be betrayed. Instead of lavish retirement parties, older workers are forced out, given paltry "severance packages" and forced releases.

Loyalty is important in life. Loyalty fosters security and trust and thus can create satisfaction. Satisfaction is happiness. I know of a workplace where the boss was suffering financial reverses and laid off employees by memo laid on the employees' desks. One of the cut workers was a faithful employee whose breast cancer had resurfaced and would eventually kill her. What did this woman's co-workers do?  They got together and offered to cut their own hours so that the sick woman could keep her job. That is loyalty. I am fortunate.  One of those giving, caring workers works for me now. I am truly blessed. Our workers are loyal, caring and hard-working. I would do whatever I could to keep them. They are our employees and people I can trust. I know this may not be businesslike, but I love them. I am excited when their grandchildren are born into this world, their children are married and their husbands retire. I would no more put one of them out than I would leave my mother or children homeless. I know they will retire someday, we are all in our 50's and 60's.

It saddens me when I am contacted by a hard-working older person whose company has "put him or her out to pasture."  There is such a sense of betrayal that some can never overcome. Sure, young people need jobs. I believe in mentoring young lawyers. We throw enterprising newer lawyers business and enlist the ones we trust to work with us on cases. There is room for all.

In societies where there are many generations in households, the elders are treated with more respect than sometimes happens here. I sure am glad that there are keen, wise, older people, like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, protecting all of us. Thank goodness for people like the Pope and elder statesmen who show us the way with their wisdom. I bet Justice Ginsberg is not a whizz on an iPhone and she may enlist her law clerks in researching the law on the Internet. We shouldn't throw out the baby, or the old woman, with the bath water.  There are gifts that all generations can bestow on society.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Does the First Amendment Protect Harassing Speech?

Does the First Amendment Protect Harassing Speech?

My answer:  many times it does not.

We all have heard a lot about first amendment speech and religious protections. If speech is protected,  should someone  who verbally harasses others, either sexually, racially or because of LGBT issues be protected?  I think not. Even though most speech is protected under the first amendment, the Supreme Court has always held there are exceptions. One cannot shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre because that cry could cause panic and injury. Some forms of pornograpy, those with no redeeming social value (not really sure what that means) are not protected. Likewise, harassment based on unlawful discrimination is not protected because of federal and state discrimination laws.

Most of us concede that assault and battery, which is oftentimes a form of expression, is not protected speech. In fact, not only can battery be civilly actionable, there may well be criminal penalties. Why is this form of expression, usually an expression anger, frustration, revenge or contempt, exempt from first amendment protection?  Because the purpose of battery is to inflict injury on another. Expressing anger without invoking injury can be perfectly fine protected expression.

With harassment, a form of bullying, the purpose of the expression is also to inflict harm. Sexually denigrating a co-worker, especially if the actor has power over the employee, is perpetrated to harm the employee. Most sexual harassment is about power, as is racial harassment or any other form of workplace harassment. Racial and sexual discrimination in employment is unlawful because our society abhors these forms of discrimination.  Perhaps after hundreds of years of enslaving an entire race we recognize this Country's sins.  Until 1920 women could not vote and up until 1971, in some states married women had no property rights.  This Country has finally recognized the insidious harm discrimination engenders in our society.

Obviously, each case is different. Once a woman came to me and said that her boss told her she looked nice. I took that statement by the boss as a compliment, not harassment and refused to represent her.  Cases are factually distinct and we look at how reasonable people would respond. But, degrading, offensive and disrespectful bullying has no place in society nor in the workplace. I believe Americans can express racist thoughts or sexually disgusting statements outside of the workplace to non-employees under our Constitution. But if that person acts on his or her racism or prejudice, in the workplace or in other public places, he or she should be held liable. Most people can't divorce their prejudices from their actions, and therein lies a problem. In my opinion, bullies suck. But bullies learn how to bully from parents or siblings or friends long before they bully someone at work. We should not tolerate racial or sexual harassment, which is different from what one thinks in their head or says in non-workplace or non-harassing environments. It a man at a rally holds up a sign declaring he hates gays, that expression. But if that man harasses or discriminates against gays in the workplace, that's action. There is a specific victim, not just a declaration with no specific harm to an individual.

Someday, maybe we will have a society were most people naturally treat others with respect. There will be no bullying, no harassment, and your gender, or the color of your skin, etc. will not be a hindrance to anyone seeking their American Dream. That is my American dream, anyway.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Am I A Hypocrite?

Yesterday, someone I know and think favorably about, called me a hypocrite, or at least said I acted hypocritically. I am unnerved by this. I have fairly thick skin, but this one has bothered me.

I posted on Facebook in support of a Facebook friend who was disappointed that many white posters failed to mention the slaughter in South Carolina. I posted an article deriding the state of South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag. It was that post that caused this other person to call me out. You see, I am friendly with a local blogger who refuses to edit or delete comments, even if they are racist or disgustingly sexist because he believes in free expression. Some of these "trolls" appear to be disgusting human beings who lack self-esteem and courage and revel in making disgusting comments. Some of those people may be reading my blog now and penning nasty retorts that enrage my husband. There are racist commenters on that blog. But the blogger is not racist.  He is, however, controversial and has made enemies.

When politicians or other public figures make a misstep, he calls them out.  He is harder on those public officials than the regular press is. He has enemies. But, calling out the missteps of public officials and figures exemplifies speech that the First Amendment is designed to protect.  I may not agree with what he says, but I believe he performs a public service in holding public figures accountable.

A state government flying a flag which symbolizes racial oppression differs considerably, in my book, from refusing to delete comments on a blog. The commenters' comments are written by people who are responsible for what they write. It is no one else's responsibility. Those troll commenters show their true cowardice through their anonymity. If someone refuses to take credit and/or responsibility for their missives, it is their character, not the bloggers', which must be questioned.

Their are many controversial people I admire or respect. Bucking the status quo can be courageous. I like misfits and troublemakers. We need people who are willing to question authority. However, I wish there were no nasty racists in Kansas City. I wish people treated each other with respect. I wish governments and corporations would treat all employees, including women, Blacks, Hispanics, older workers, and people with disabilities, the way they want their family members to be treated. Perhaps I am hypocritical, but I can believe in a persons' freedom of expression, no matter how repugnant that expression is, and still believe that the Confederate flag should not be flown by a governmental entity on government grounds.  So, Tony is still my friend even though I dislike the cowardly comments posted by trolls on his blog. The two issues, for me, are not contradictory.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Importance of Leisure Time

I could really use a vacation!  I need more of this:

I could use a little less of this:


I will need to get a little more balance.   July is my recharge month. I will be pumped in August!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Some Lawsuits Make Me Sick

Apparently, I am a member of a class action against Massage Envy. I was a member, but didn't claim any recovery, in a similar lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, because drink coupons expired. I believe the members of the class got drink coupons and the class counsel received millions of dollars. I guess there is a great public interest in making sure flyers' ability to drink alcohol in the air without paying for the drinks is tantamount. Perhaps we should amend the Constitution.

Here is the email I sent to the class administrator of the Massage Envy class action:

Dear Class Manager:

This case is disgusting. The attorneys get $7,800,000 and the class members get a massage.  I was a member of Massage Envy and when I left I was owed a couple of massages. I will not be asking for reinstatement. 

I am also an employment discrimination plaintiffs' lawyer. This lawsuit and others like it give all plaintiffs' lawyers a bad name. Is this the same firm that handled the class against Southwest Airlines because drink coupons expired?  Give me a break. 

Cases like this make me ashamed to be a lawyer. 

Lynne Jaben Bratcher

BRATCHER GOCKEL LAW, L.C.
P.O. Box 26156
Suite 1935 City Center Square. 1100 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64196
phone 816-221-1614
fax 816-421-5910
website www.bgklawyers.com

Monday, May 25, 2015

Women and the World In the Year 2112

It is amazing what women have accomplished in the last century.  Presidents 57, 58, 82, 82, 84, and 90 have all been women.  Our first African-American president was Barak Obama in 2008.  Since then, our presidents have been both men and women and have been from so many different ethnic and racial backgrounds.  The same is true for most of the industrialized countries in the world.

Mo'Ne Davis had a wonderful career as a Major League pitcher.  She won the Cy Young award in 2025, 26, and 27.  She after her retirement, she was a pitching coach for the Mets in New York. Shondra Miller became the first place kicker in the NFL.  Of course, Davis and Miller opened the flood gates of female participation in formerly male dominated sports.  It wasn't until 2037, after Amanda Fincham became president of the Major League Baseball Union, that female athletes finally earned the same salary as their male counterparts.

Finally, the Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Cleveland Clodhoppers, while the Kansas City Chiefs became the Kansas City Monarchs, as an homage to the best Negro League team in baseball.

it's hard to believe that women only earned 76 cents for every dollar earned by a man in 2015.  Currently, in 2112, women out-earn men by 5 cents on the dollar.  The salary advantage given to women is attributed to the female ability to work better in teams, their willingness to do any work, their organization skills and the way they have incorporated both family and work life efficiently.  Since 2084, men have increasingly taken over child-rearing and housekeeping chores and sociologists and psychologists report an increase in parental and child wellbeing.  In fact, society could not be operating more efficiently.

Since the seminal Harvard/Smith collaborative study on effective leadership, showing that traditional female traits of cooperation, nurturing and willingness to take on all tasks regardless of whether it was formally considered "menial," women have headed most multi-national corporations.  Those women who pioneered running large corporations, while being tentative at first, developed a business model that rewarded patience, kindness and recognition of hard work, thereby increasing productivity of businesses in general.

President L'Tonya Johnson's last State of the Union address spoke of an increase in empathy and cooperation between businesses and nations.  With the downturn in crime and war, and the upturn in the economies of the world, hunger and poverty have been almost eliminated.

However, discrimination is still a problem.  The old discrimination laws are most commonly applied to anti-male sentiments in both industry and international relations.  President Johnson hopes to eliminate anti-male discrimination during her term.  While men have started all wars throughout history, President Johnson and other world leaders believe that, through concerted global policy, male aggression can be contained.  Through research and study, gun laws have been radically changed throughout the last century, lawmakers are experimenting with allowing qualified women to own handguns for protection.  Congress is concerned about returning to the violent crime rates of the 21st Century.  This issue is hotly debated and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Since lawmakers made college educations available to all, the trend of women comprising most college graduates continues.  Congress and lawmakers in general are considering both financial and other incentives so that more males will pursue college and even post-graduate educations.  Since the marked reduction of defense spending across the world, lawmakers hope that males will again seek jobs in science and math.  Since the early 22nd Century, when teacher training to encourage girls in the sciences became such an overwhelming success, teachers realize they must redouble their efforts to keep boys interested in science and math, and not just in homemaking and cooking.

Professors Eliza Schmidt and Andorra Schickenheim successfully eliminated 98% of climate change and the world is on track to be human-climate-change free for the next millennium.  The anti-nuclear weapon research of Professor Melanie Smithson and Yura Mengovi revolutionized world fear of annihilation.  All countries of the world voluntarily destroyed all of their nuclear weapons and vowed to refrain from producing any more weapons of mass destruction.

Things have changed so much in the last 100 years, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next century.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Paid Maternity and/or Paternity Leave

I am a civil rights lawyer and a small business owner. I struggle with the issue of paid maternity and paternity leave. I have no doubt that paid leave would benefit families, mother's, fathers and children. The selfish problem I have centers on who would be required to pay for this leave. I assume that employers would be required to offer paid time for childbirth or adoption. When you have a small business, like mine, having to pay an employee for up to a year with no concomitant work performed by that employee would be a burden.

Yet, I know how important leave to care for a new-born is. I raised two children. When I gave birth to the first child, my son, I was employed by the federal government. I carefully planned to take three months off work, using my sick leave and vacation. After I had been off work for only six weeks, my boss tried to force me to return to work. I resorted to getting a physician's excuse so that I could complete the meager 3 months at home with my son. After I returned to work, I successfully lobbied to reduce my workweek to 4 days at 80% of my former pay. Within two years, I was gone, enrolled in law school.

When I gave birth to my daughter, I was a young, self-employed lawyer. I brought my baby with me to the office and she napped swaddled on my office floor. I did stay away from work for around 3 months, obviously with no pay. I kept my daughter with me as much as possible. Being a sole proprietor has its advantages.

We still hear about parents' dilemma when having a family.  As a society, we are well-served by providing to both mother's and fathers Leave from work to care for their newborn babies. I think many business requirements for professionals with children are barbaric. We should not require parents to sacrifice their children in order to succeed in business.

But, who should pay for this paid leave for new parents?  Most large companies may be able to provide paid parental leave up to a year with little economic detriment. But really small businesses, like mine, would struggle.

I know that America is a rarity because of the lack of mandated paid parental leave. We need to change this. But, in all of the other countries in the world, where paid parental leave exists, who is required to pay for the leave, the businesses or the taxpayers or both?  This is a societal issue. I think we need a societal solution.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Uncommon Courage - Witnesses With Nothing to Gain and Everything to Lose

When I started this blog, I wanted to write about many of the incredible people I have represented throughout the years, those souls willing to buck the status quo and stand up for the rights of themselves and others. Those clients demonstrate uncommon courage, hence the name of the blog. I have represented many amazing people and I have learned so much from these exceptional people. I have represented woman and men who were sexually harassed and decided not to take it.  I represented ordinary citizens discriminated against by management in large companies, small companies and the government. I have represented whistle-blowers, victims of racism, sexism and ageism, who had the courage to speak truth to power.

Through the years, I have witnessed others who demonstrate incredible courage, with no real reward. I hold these people in great esteem. This group is rare, the rarest of all, but also among the bravest. These are the witnesses who tell what they see and hear, even when they would be better served by lying or fudging or laying low.  These are co-workers, many still employed by the defendant, who do not put their own interest before the truth. It takes a great deal of courage to testify for another against one's employer. There is a tendency for witnesses to have memory lapses when questioned about situations in which their jobs are at stake. It is human nature to protect oneself and one's livelihood. I know this from personal experience. Yet, every now and again, a person puts the truth before self-interest and fights the very real urge to alter one's memory to help oneself. After enough time, many people, including me, can misremember facts and convince themselves that what is false is true. To those souls who maintain their integrity and refuse to waiver, you are amazing. I hope that if I find myself in a position where a lie helps me more than the truth, I can muster the courage to act as I have observed those brave witnesses act, with honesty and integrity.

I believe that this uncommon courage is borne from these witnesses ability to empathize. When a person can put himself in the shoes of another, compassion and courage are oftentimes the by-products. In fact, people's ability to empathisize with other humans is a foundation of our society and of our justice system. Empathy begats bravery.  I have seen it work.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

People - It's Okay to Express Emotions

My grandmother used to tell me that you could read my emotions by my looking at my face.  She told me within a few seconds of talking to me on the phone, she could tell what my mood was.  As a child and teenager, I loved that my grandmother could read me so easily.  It seemed to me that if people could read me, I was being true to how I felt.  It wasn't until I grew to adulthood, more specifically became a lawyer, that expressing emotions seemed weak.  More specifically, that expressing emotions as a female was weak.  

People are filled with emotions.  But, we feel that being stoic, or the strong, silent type is preferable than expressing sadness, anger, joy or any of the many emotions that people feel every day.  People, including me, do not like whiners and complainers, but that is not what I am talking about.  A few times in trial, when talking about what has happened to my clients, I have become choked up.  The emotions were real, and very limited.  Yet, in federal court, before a trial I was admonished to not cry.  I do not think of myself as a crybaby.  I feel I am honest with my emotions, but emotions are frowned upon in court.

Why are we so afraid of true emotions?  Macho men do not cry.  When a baseball player is hit in the side by a 96 mile per hour pitch, he had better not flinch.  If he does, we think he is weak. Plus, you know how women are, around that time of the month.  Totally emotional.  Whole families go through generation after generation without expressing love for one another.  It's common for families and friends and co-workers to prefer talking behind another's back rather than confronting someone with a perceived slight or misdeed.  

What kind of macho, stoic, confrontation avoiding society is this?  Why do we feel it's strong or brave to hide hurt, compassion, or love?  Do we all need to behave like Gary Cooper in "High Noon?"  I come from a family of strong, silent-type men.  They hate my emoting.  Is it excess testosterone?  

As a female lawyer, I worry about how juries will perceive me.  I am emotional.  That makes some people uncomfortable.  I am old enough to no longer care.  It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.  

I know that this blog post may make little sense to some.  It may not be the most articulate or well-reasoned piece, but I don't care.  


Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Is It Like Living In Kansas City?

We don't have mountains, or oceans, or palm trees.



We do have extreme temperatures, over 100 degrees in the winter and below 0 degrees in the winter.


We have beautiful lights in the winter, even though it can get cold.

We are not overly crowded, but over city is vibrant and beautiful.


We love our families and we love our neighbors.


We are kind, courteous, and hospitable to strangers, with really good beer.


We love our animals.


We love the wildlife around us.


And most of the people around here are decent and kind.


And, perhaps most of important of all in a weird sort of way, we are having Renaissance of sorts, since our baseball team is no longer desolate and sad and hopeless.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/10/kansas-city-royals-name-origin-why-cows-lorde-world-series

So, here's a look outside my office window.  Kansas City is a pretty great place to live.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Good Life

Most of us live in a time and place where living well is an option. We are not among the unfortunate souls who exist in war-torn places, or among those who are the victims of abuse and neglect or famine and war. For those of us fortunate to live in peace, with plenty of food and shelter, surrounded by those we love and who love us in return, we have good lives. Sometimes it's not readily apparent to us that our lives are good until our lives are not.  We inhabit this earth for only a short time.  If we live a full life, we fall ill and die in just a relatively short length of time - 60, 70, 80 years or so. Most of us want to make a difference, want to be special, want to make our mark.

Before each of us succumb to our inevitable demise, how can we live a "good life."  Most of us are not rich, or beautiful or brilliant. We have neither the intellect of Stephen Hawkings nor the beauty of Charlize Theron. We are not rich like Warren Buffett, nor powerful like President Obama. We do not command large armies, nor oversee mammoth corporations. When we die, only our loved ones will weep, and once they end, so will the memory of our existence also end. 

Yet, we have the capacity for living as joyous, satisfying and fulfilling lives as anyone. These are some of the ways I have found to appreciate the lives we live:

1.  Be grateful for what you have.  Remember that horrifyingly painful abscess in your tooth when the pain radiated so intensely your aching jaw felt on fire?  Remember the relief of the Novocaine?  Remember after your baby emerged and you held him or her and the all-encompassing contractions stopped?  Remember after you graduated from school and your friends and family celebrated?  Your wedding, your first kiss, the embrace of a parent?  These are things for which we should be grateful. 

2.  Understand what it means to make a difference in the world.  When we give to another, we make a difference. We all want to make a difference, or leave our mark. When you love someone else, a sibling, a friend, a child or a lover, I believe you make your mark. We are not all Abraham Lincolns. But, if you  have made at least one person happy, even for a little while, you have made the world a better place. 

3.  Experience life.  Experiences are more satisfying than acquiring possessions.  do you remember your honeymoon, the family trip to the lake, the time you climbed that tree?  Do you remember how your grandmother sounded, the way your spouse's clothes smell with his or her sent, the way that wonderful birthday steak tasted?  Did the pleasure of acquiring a new television or car last as long? After the raise, did you relish in the additional money, or take it in stride and hope for more?

4.  Forgive others. Hatred and revenge tear up your soul.  We all suffer injustices, slights and ill treatment. We all need to remove ourselves from these situations. Once removed, it be hooves us to let the anger, hatred and desire for revenge go. It is only when we free ourselves of our anger, can we live fulfilling lives. Spite is poison. Seeking revenge erodes your soul. Someone, I don't know who, explained it this way, "Seeking revenge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."  

5.  Love yourself. accept yourself for who you are. You need not be beautiful or rich or the most popular person. You are who you are, with warts and faults and all. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Admit your mistakes. Apologize for the wrongs against others you commit.  But, do not change who you are simply to be liked. You are enough. 

6.  Love others.  To truly love another person or people, you must be willing to give without expecting anything in return. It is the act of giving, unconditionally, that sets you free. Give to others anonymously. Feel the joy of giving without expecting anything. 
  
7.  Empathize with others.  The world would be a better place if we just tried to understand other people's points of view. We all are products of our experiences. If we understand the pressures or fears of others, we can be patient, kind or at least understanding. The world is not black and white. If we want to feel understood and valued, we must try to understand and value others. 

I hope that all of you reading this figure out, in your own ways, to have a good life. 

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Too Violent Too Soon or Is This How We Cull The Herd?

Years ago, long before I went to law school, I witnessed the aftermath of a car chase. The man the officers were chasing was dragged out of his car, dropped on the ground and hit and kicked by two or three officers. What did I do?  Nothing. I regret I just drove off.  I hope I would raise hell if I witnessed something like this today. This was long before cellphones, long before Rodney King and long, long before Ferguson. I believe the man who was pummeled was white. I have no idea why he was being chased. The incident disturbed me, but not enough to tell anyone or do anything. Sigh... I am not proud of my inaction.

Years later, I represented a police officer who had been injured in a car chase. He joined the chase in progress.  My client assumed the the man being chased had committed a felony. In fact, the guy had merely been speeding and the chase ensued when a deputy sheriff of a rural county got ticked because the speeder wouldn't pull over. When the deputy commenced chasing the speeder, he had his eight year old daughter unrestrained in the front seat of his cruiser and he then smashed into my client's police car. At that time, the speeder got away, but was ultimately at his residence after his license plate was run through the system.  What a Keystone Cops-like experience. Fortunately, the 8 year old daughter escaped injury.

Unfortunately, I have also represented, in more than one case, the families of men who were gunned down by police officers. One man killed was the unarmed father of a suspect. All the decedents were unarmed at the time they were killed. None of the suspects had committed violent crimes.

These are examples of reckless acts I either witnessed or with which I had some participation.  Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line daily and many are real heroes.  But, sometimes, there is a disconnect.  Why are unarmed people being shot to death?  Why are innocent bystanders killed in silly car chases?  And, most disturbingly, why are a disproportionate number of African Americans men being stopped and even shot and killed?  There is something wrong with how we allow law enforcement officers to enforce laws. And, the fault lies with all of us who do not demand more.

We need to reevaluate how law enforcement personnel are trained and accepted into academies. Too many people, suspects and police,  are carrying guns out their and killing and maiming others.  Other countries don't experience the number of police/suspect vain violence as does the United States. When you add fear and bigotry and increasing distrust of officers,we are faced with perilous consequences.  There is a disproportionate number of minorities who are routinely stopped for DWB (driving while Black). Guns are too easily accessible for irresponsible and unhinged citizens. For crying out loud, this isn't 1880's Dodge City. Oh, I fogot.  Perhaps it is with the new Kansas gun laws allowing unrestricted carry for untrained and potentially unhinged citizens.  Perrhaps we will have future showdowns at the OK Corrals. 

You know, humans have no natural predators, except other humans. Are we wired to be violent and paranoid so we don't overpopulated the earth?  How messed up is the human race?  Really messed up. We need to stop!!!  We need to change!!!  The alternative is not just terrifying, it's sub-human.

Post-script - 9:09 pm. Blue Springs teen dies in wreck following police chase http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article18348026.html

Sunday, April 5, 2015

FOR ALL OF THE MISOGYNISTIC TROLLS : The Sadistic Psychology Of Internet Trolls by Jennifer Gollbeck and published by viralwomen.com

This post was written by Jennifer Golbeck.  I couldn't have said it better,  "Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun . . . and the Internet is their playground!". So, for all you sadistic sociopaths, enjoy.  Signed, Lynne Bratcher:

"Internet trolls have infested every corner of the social internet. Anyone who makes the mistake of reading the comment section of an article by, about, or even mentioning women knows a lot of those trolls turn to deeply misogynistic, threatening, and even violent comments. What drives them to act out like this? Science offers some insight…

Last year, researchers at the University of Manitoba investigated trolls and their personality traits, publishing their findings—"Trolls just want to have fun"in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.

The study gathered information about people's psychological traits called the Dark Tetrad. This is a group of four personality traits: narcissism (selfishness, obsessive self-interest, feelings of grandiosity and superiority), Machiavellianism (a belief that the ends justify the means), psychopathy (lack of empathy, low inhibitions, antisocial), and sadism (enjoyment of inflicting pain on others).  

The researchers wanted to see if trolls had those traits more often than non-trolls. They had over 1,200 people in their study. Everyone took personality tests to gauge their Dark Tetrad scores, a test that measured how much they enjoyed trolling online, and a survey about how they liked to spend their time online. 

Everyone in the study had close to normal scores on their personality tests—except for people who like to troll. The trolls had extremely high scores on all four Dark Tetrad traits. In fact, the scientists said " . . . the associations between sadism and [trolling] scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists."

The researchers continue, "Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun . . . and the Internet is their playground!"

So if your goal is cause distress and suffering for other people, how do you do it? If you're addressing women, you demean them, objectify them, and threaten sexual violence. It may also feed into troll's narcissistic feelings of grandiosity, especially if male trolls believe their gender is part of what makes them superior. 

Unfortunately, this sadistic component of trolling makes it hard to combat. The angrier people get in response to the trolling posts, the happier the trolls are. They intentionally choose their misogynistic, violent messages because they are socially unacceptable and produce a response. Ignoring them can be hard, however, because letting such messages go unchallenged can feel like offering passive approval. 

As a computer scientist, I see the true solution to trolls in technology that automatically blocks their messages before they are seen. This would prevent said trolls from getting the attention they crave and causing the harm they're after; it would also prevent their hateful comments from being seen as acceptable online behavior.

"There is added challenge to blocking worthless trolling comments while still allowing free speech and open dialogue, but many scientists are working toward a solution. When we have a high-quality troll-blocking tool, it will bring us one step closer to making the internet a safer, more comfortable place for women to interact.
--

Author Jennifer Golbeck

(via ravishly.com)
- See more at: http://viralwomen.com/post/freedom_of_speech_should_not_protect_hate_speechor_violent_threats_online#sthash.9c7QJNot.dpuf

Sunday, March 15, 2015

FEELING AT PEACE IN A BEAUTIFUL WORLD

Humans engage in shenanigans, but if all we do is focus on the negativity of societies, we miss its glorious ess. Here's to celebrating beauty, love, and empathy!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

No Glass Ceilings When You Stay Outside

Today is the International Day of Women.  I read a lot about women hitting the glass ceiling.  We know there are few female CEO's in America.  Germany, this last week, passed a law requiring a certain quota of women in corporate leadership.  It is true that women earn less money in business and women of color earn much less than both men and white women.  Our society has a lot of problems with equality.

I submit that one of our major problems with equality stems from the majority of us following a minority of people who dictate what it takes to get ahead, make money, and who should perform all of the housework and child-rearing.  Why is it so great to ignore your family, overwork, over-drink, and be a cutthroat in the boardroom?

I think that the majority of us in this country, those of us not at the pinnacle of corporate power and wealth, lead rather than follow.  Most of what I read about what women need to do is how to fit in with the status quo. Why? I don't want to live that way.  I don't want to think of money before all else, at the expense of family and a well-rounded life.

This life offers so much.   We live in an age where anything we want to know about science, history, philosophy is at our fingertips.  There has never been a better time for those of us with intellectual curiosity, creative minds and nurturing hearts.  Why do we have to follow the oppressive corporate model.

I am lucky.  For all but three years of my 31 years as a lawyer, I have been self-employed.  While I do not have free reign when a judge requires me to be in court, or when I have to do what I do in my job, I have some control.  There are no "glass ceilings" in our office.  We have the best staff in the world (of that, I am sure and if you met them, you would be sure, too.  And my law partner and I love being lawyers.  We love the law, the intellectual and creative challenges, the belief that we are making a difference.  And we get to represent people we grow to care about, a lot.  We represent courageous people who remind us of what is important in life.  We have families, we work hard, but it is a labor of love, most of the time.

If everyone stuck in a job with an oppressive or abusive boss, or in a rut that management will not let them escape, had an opportunity to find work they love, and that will pay the bills, people wouldn't care about the glass ceiling.  Being in charge of thousands of people, clawing one's way up the corporate ladder over the corpses of the less-driven is, in my opinion, a miserable way to live.

If more of us had the courage and drive to think outside the box, find a way to circumvent the dead-end jobs, start a cupcake store, or design websites, or whatever, perhaps this would be a better place to live.  We need entrepreneurs, we need free-thinkers, we need creative people.  Perhaps for many, busting through the glass ceiling only ends with a terrible headache.

This is not advice for everyone.  This is just for those who are sick of taking orders and have an innate sense that they can do it better.  If that's you, find a way to break free.  And then, you must work harder, and be more dedicated and more passionate about what you do.  Hang in there.  You are the real movers and shakers.

Stay outside, away from the ceilings, and bask in the sun.  The rain will come, but it will help the flowers grow.  STAY OUTSIDE and no ceiling will hurt you.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

House of Cards, Missouri Style

I have been home feeling very poorly since Wednesday evening,  bored and feeling too sick to concentrate on real work. Two things happened while I was filled with self-pity and boredom. The first was, on Thursday morning that Auditor Tom Schweich shot himself and was in the hospital.  We soon discovered he was dead.  I do not know Tom Schweich at all, and I voted for his first opponent, but I and apparently many others, were shocked that this 54 year lawyer, in his first time politically elected position, and just a month and a half after he announces his candidacy for Governor, would then shoot himself in the head.

Even though I had never met the man, in the few years he served as out auditor, I was impressed.  He audited.  He went after several agencies.  We had a trial in St. Joseph, Missouri around the time the first hint of Schweich's audit of the school district broke. The news was disconcerting, money running out of the school board as if it were running a marathon.  No educators or administrators accounting for expenses, going through the bid process, or acting as if they were handling public funds.  This was outrageous stuff and heads were going to roll.

When Schweick announced for Governor, he criticized Missouri's self-appointment Little Caesar, Rex Sinquefield, for engaging in bribery, presumably legal bribery nonetheless, for contributing $1,000,000s  to candidates and causes with which Mr. Anti-Tax, Anti-Kindness and Anti-Dear Heart would contribute.  Reading through the lines, I thought Schweich felt like many, this blatant buying off Missouri government was not just disappointing, but down-right scary.  Sinquefiled seems to want to call the shots, and I thought we don't have monarchies here.

But the thing that was the strangest, was the Republican Party leader, John Hancock (really, his parents could not be a little more original?) admitted that he might have told other Republicans that Schweich was Jewish, even though he was Episcopalians with a Jewish father.  Hancock claimed he really thought Schweich was Jewish.  As a Jew, I wonder why Republican Hancock thinks Schweich being a member of the Jewish faith was significant to his work as a Republican.  It feels the same way when men criticize other men by telling them the "throw like a girl."  You know it's an insult and you wonder why it's needed.  Schweich had a Jewish grandfather, so what?

However, Hancock had riled Schweich up so much the day Schweich died that Schweich had scheduled a press conference to discussion the issue, scheduled for Schweich's home at 2:30 p.m., some 5 hours or so before Schweich died.

There are a lot of things here that make no sense to me.  Again, I don't know Schweich and I do not know who does.  He may have been very upset, perhaps suicidal.  It seems odd, though, that a person would muster the energy to declare a candidacy for the highest office in this state, start campaigning, go to some whatever they go to, hear personal slams, etc., call reports to schedule a press conference that day, and then kill oneself hours before the press conferences and minutes after the conferences were scheduled.

Schweich sure looked good on paper.  He was a maverick-y, whistle blower-type.  He listened to the beat of a different drummer.  I thought those qualities were so refreshing.  An auditor who audits he government, who fights greed and corruption for the common good.  Ahhh.  What a nice thought.  I suspect Katherine Hanaway, who I do not know at all, has a particular set of skills that differ from Schweich's.    I

I am at a loss because I did not know of Schweich enough to imagine what could have been.  But, this weekend, I began watching Season 3 of House of Cards.  That was the second event of which I mentioned above. Yikes!  For the first time I have more insight into what government can become if there are no checks.  Schweich was renowned for fighting corruption.  We need those with courage to fight the status quo.  We need people like Tom Schweich.  I hope no elected officials more mysteriously die.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Patricia Arquette - A New Appreciation

I watched "Boyhood? and really enjoyed the movie.  It is a sweet story about a boy growing up in a household after his parent's divorce. Patricia Arquette  was very good as the boy's mom, but I have never really thought much about her.  I knew she has won a lot of awards for her performance and I think her acceptance speeches have been just fine, until tonight.

Watching the Academy Awards, Arquette predictably won the Oscar for best supporting actress.   She got up to give her speech, like she did at the other awards ceremonies.  As she got to the end of the obligatory thank you's, her words began to come more rapidly.  This is not what I had seen before.  In a hurried fashion, trying to get the words out before the orchestra started playing, she raised her Oscar and declared, "We need to make sure that women are paid equally."  She went on about pay inequity and and the struggles of female workers.  Meryl Streep and other women in the crowd started clapping their hands over their heads.  It was so cool.

When the movie "The Interview" was protested by North Korea, and the Sony emails were leaked, some interesting facts came out.  In "American Hustle." Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.  Why?  There was no explanation, but women actors typically are paid less than men, even when women such as Lawrence and Adams are major audience draws.

Our society pays women less than men, and women of color are paid considerably less than men of any color, but especially white men.  Gender pay inequity is so ingrained in our society that it goes unquestioned.  There is excuse after excuse, but the fact remains, women are paid less than men. Single mothers are oftentimes hard-pressed to pay their bills.  I grew up in a household where my parents were divorced,. My very intelligent mother worked hard, but we hardly got by and my grandparents helped subsidize our living expenses.  We could not live on my mother's wages.  There is no good reason that men should be paid more than women.  It has been 50 years since the the Equal Pay Act was passed outlawing pay discrimination, but women still make $.76 for every $1.00 a man makes, on average.

It was so unexpected and wonderful to hear Patricia Arquette.  It's about time that women are valued monetarily, where it counts in our society.  Good for Arquette!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Throwing Like A Girl

You know when movies show soldiers in war and the Sergeant comes up and calls them to attention, and calls the men to attention by saying, "Ladies, are you going to fight or run?" or some such nonsense after calling the guys "ladies."  Well, folks, calling men "ladies" is no insult.  Calling anyone "ladies" is a downright compliment.

I represent both women and men and I have met some pretty amazing people of both genders.  Some of my male clients have demonstrated amazing courage, but no less than some of my female clients.  In today's day and age, women fight in wars, play baseball, drive race cars, climb mountains, become neurosurgeons, write computer programs, and fight fires.  Men bake cakes, drive the kids to school, type, clean houses and grocery shop.

When I grow up I want to be Mo'Ne Davis.  She throws like a girl.

Monday, February 9, 2015

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH OUR TAXES GOING FOR COLLEGE?

When I was a teenager, my family did not have a lot of money to send me to college.    Even though I had decent grades in high school, with little effort or extra-curricular activities, I need to stay home and help my brother and mother get by.  A single mother back then, my mother, could not raise a family on a secretary's salary.  My mother was, and is, smart and she worked hard, but she just couldn't stretch the pittance she was paid.  My dad was not sending child support and I suspect that he could not, with another son and wife in the mix.  So, I feared it was up to me to get through college.

When I went to my guidance counselor at Southwest High School, she asked me to which schools I applied and I told her UMKC.  "Oh, your grades reflect that you can go away to a better school than that."  I explained, I could not. I was helping my mom pay bills and the easiest way to be able to pay bills was to work in Kansas City while in school.  Of course, my decision was made more palatable by my then boyfriend, now husband, living in the area and also attending UMKC.

When I got ready to apply for school, I applied for financial aid.  In addition to the application for scholarships (I got one which I lost after the fun first year), I applied for somethings I had never heard of before - a Pell Grant and work-study.   I did not know these programs were need-based, what many would call "welfare."  I got that aid, and worked in various departments for work-study, Speech and Hearing Science and English and Biology.  I liked those jobs and learned things there , doing clerical work, that I would not have known otherwise.  Plus, I developed a strong work ethic.

The Pell Grant sure came in handy!  I do not know how I would have got through undergraduate studies with out those funds.  When I married after my junior year, I no longer qualified because of my husband's family's assets and income.  By then, I did not need the money.  My husband worked, and he helped with my last year of undergrad and he and my grandmother, along with my work, were able to help me through law school five years later.

I am sure grateful for the government assistant, welfare, if you will, that I received that helped me to get an education.   I hear some people say that a college education was not worth the price.  I sure got many times more than the assistance was worth.  Up until college, I could type.  Typing was my only real skill.  I could have worked as an administrative professional my whole life, but,  to be brutally truthful, I was not that great of a secretary.  I worked hard, but I was not a perfectionist.  I hated to proofread and I loathed correcting errors not only on the cover letter, but also on copies with "white-out."  Plus, my hand-eye coordination is not that great and I do not type fast and make lots of mistakes.  I am much more suited to be a lawyer.  I feel I have been a productive citizen and the investment this country made in me was a good one.

Now, instead of increasing aid to students, some states like Kansas, want to cut aid.  People balk at President Obama's plan for more educational assistance. I guess if I had been born thirty years later, I would be somebody's horrible secretary messing up letters and would be burned out.

It seems to me that we can set up a system for free college education at some public colleges, just a s we do for secondary education.  In a few short years,  manual jobs won't exist and technical will continue to be more intense.  Don't we owe the people of the future the opportunities to succeed and to make this world succeed.  We are all part of this great big marble.  We need to start acting like it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

TEN SUGGESTIONS FOR LIVING A FULFILLING LIFE

Ten Suggestions For Living A Good Life

1.  Give more than you take and give with no expectations.

2.   Be persistent and tenacious.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.  Don't take the easiest way, challenge yourself even when you are scared.

3.   Laugh every day and make others laugh every day. 

4.   Surround yourself with bright colors.

5.   Listen to music you love every day, and sing even if you are tone deaf.

6.   Become serene, breathe deeply, and be outdoors.

8.   Stay curious and read a lot and continue to learn, grow and accept change.

9.   Realize that forgiveness sets you free.

10.  Surround yourself with people you love and love children and dogs.