Sunday, March 15, 2015


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.