Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of January 30, 2015. Our Bar Dues are due tomorrow. $405.00. After a dues increase, a couple of years ago … we were told a dues increase was necessary to provide the “same level of services”. As a Solo … I am really looking around for the services my dues are paying for. Free CLE’s, (Continuing Legal Education … 15 hours mandated each year)? Haven’t seen any. Prosecution of folks engaged in the Unauthorized Practice of Law, (helping folks fill out forms provided by our Court Administrator?) Haven’t seen any prosecutions either. Really? Other than Fastcase, what services? As of 2013, the Supremo’s control:
The Bar Association: Cash and Investments, $4,826,044.00
………………………………………….. Revenues, $9,501,522.00
Trustees of the Missouri Bar: Cash, $ 352,533.00
………………………………………….. Property, $5,013,158.00
Missouri Bar Foundation: Cash and Investments, $2,141,509.00
The Advisory Committee Fund: Cash and Investments, $4,385,815.00
*Financial Arm of the OCDC* ………… I could not find a budget on-line, nor an audit.
Missouri Lawyer Trust Account Foundation: Cash $ 814,435.00
So … our Supremo’s run a $27,035,016.00 million dollar enterprise, with $9,501,522.00 a year in guaranteed revenues. Share with me … why would there be a need for an almost $5 million dollar reserve? The $107,476.00 difference between putting on CLE’s and the revenues generated by hosting/providing them?
According to the above referenced Bar Association Audit … just what was the $1.2 million dollars for “Public Education” spent on?
Do we really need to spend $446,246.00 for the 3 Annual Bar Meetings?
And $438,805.00 for BOG and Officer Travel, (all Officers are also BOG members) … there are 45 members on the BOG … isn’t that $9,751.00 or $813.00 per month, per member? Share with me … did we really need a Dues Increase to pay for this? How about part of the $1.2 million dollars used to educate the public, (no doubt about the benefits of the Non-Partisan Plan), be used to fund Legal Aid, instead of the additional $30.00 a year that we are forced to pay?
If our Supremo’s really gave a damn about provided legal services to the least of us … they would grant a $100.00 Dues Credit to any lawyer who provides/volunteers 50 hours of pro bono legal aid through Legal Aid or the Public Defender system, instead of hitting all up for a $30.00 tithe. Course … talk about being out of touch with those of us, who toil in the trenches, representing working people … one of our BOG members shared … “It’s only $.27 cents a day!!” Perhaps she doesn’t realize … that is a tank of gas!
Better yet? For those of us who are now receiving our Social Security Benefit, (and have less than some trigger income amount) … having faithfully paid our Bar Dues, waive the Bar Dues entirely to encourage pro bono legal or community service involvement. I can’t help but believe, Solo or Small Firm lawyers ACTIVELY involved in their respective local communities … would be priceless, in terms of good will for our profession. No doubt, more so, than paying $1.2 million dollars to some ad agency to pimp it. Look. Solo and Small Firm Lawyers remain the back bone of our system of justice. We are the shield, the average citizen has, against the will of the majority, by bringing the actions defending and defining our Bill of Rights. 49% of us, the minority, can sleep well at night because of what Solo and Small Firm Lawyers do. Laws are enacted by folks who win elections … voted into office by the majority. Historically? Almost every opinion rendered by the US Supreme Court defining our civil rights … was an action brought by a Solo or Small Firm Lawyer representing a person, (the minority), our government, (the majority), stepped on.
And “the French”: (BBC NEWS) — French court stops child from being named Nutella. “A French court has stopped parents from naming their baby girl Nutella after the hazelnut spread, ruling that it would make her the target of derision. The judge ordered that the child be called Ella instead. He said in his ruling that the name Nutella was the trade name of a spread that is commonplace in Gallic homes … French parents are usually free to choose the names of their children, but local prosecutors are empowered to report what they deem to be unsuitable names to a family court.” I wonder … if the child had been a boy, could his parents have named him “Nutello”? Nutella is actually a hazelnut/chocolate paste/spread, developed by Pietro Ferrero in Italy and marketed in 1964. There are obviously folks that love it. As for me? I wouldn’t eat it using your mouth.
Proof that we are all Jewish? (BBC NEWS) — Skull clue to exodus from Africa. “An ancient skull discovered in Israel could shed light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa some 60,000 years ago. This migration led to the colonization of the entire planet by our species, as well as the extinction of other human groups such as the Neanderthals. The skull from Manot Cave dates to 55,000 years ago and may be the closest we’ve got to finding one of the earliest migrants from Africa.” There is also speculation that the Manot Cave may have been the first Jewish Deli as evidenced by the fossilized Gefilte fish found on some of the rock shelves.
The science news: (BBC NEWS) — Bowhead Whales heard singing unique new songs. “Some of the most beautiful and beguiling sounds in the natural world are made by singing animals. Beautiful due to quality and range of the sounds, and beguiling due to their complexity and the complicated reasons animals sing them. And perhaps no singing animals have fascinated us more than the great whales … Twelve new songs are being sung by bowhead whales undertaking their annual spring migration.” Although other whales, such as the humpback, sperm and blue whales also sing, the bowhead appears to have the greatest number: over 66 unique songs have been recorded. These are magnificent creatures!! “In 1946, 14 whaling nations formed the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to manage whale stocks and make recommendations on hunting limits. Originally developed as a whaling commission, the IWC (now also represented by non whaling nations) has become a conservation commission. In 1986, the IWC declared a moratorium on commercial whaling, hoping to allow whale populations to recover. The IWC has no means by which to enforce the moratorium, however, and whaling nations sometimes threaten to disregard it. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 banned the hunting of marine mammals in U.S. waters. The main objective of the MMPA is to maintain the stability of marine mammal populations and marine ecosystems. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. CITES protects all species of whales. Certain whale species, including six baleen whales and four toothed whales, are also protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).” Japan, although a member of the IWC still allows whale hunting in the name of “conservation/research”. Sort of like “raping” in the name of “virginity”, isn’t it?
Sitting here editing these Ramblings. Susan is in her office working on “Little Willies” scrapbook. The little guy went to the Rainbow Bridge, May 17, 2012. It has taken this long for Susan … and I will admit, me, as well … to look at his pictures. Even now, almost two years later, looking at his pictures makes my heart bleed … and I can feel tears forming in my eyes. There was a time when, on my way to court in Harrisonville or Warrensburg, I would start thinking of Willie … and have to pull over because I had difficulty seeing. These little guys are family members and in some instances impact our lives every bit as much as our children. Willie was like that for Susan and I. On the evening news? A measles outbreak in 14 States, involving 84 confirmed folks … and the folks in Arizona freaking out and tracking over 1,000 people who may have been exposed … because of the shear number of folks attending the Super Bowl. The measles virus is very robust and incredibly contagious. The measles and whooping cough viruses were supposed to have been eradicated in the US … but they have made a comeback because some moronic parents refused to immunize their children. Apparently, Polio vaccination is Ok, but not Whooping Cough and Measles. Really makes sense, doesn’t it?
Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman. Super Bowl Sunday Lunch and A Movie? A combo pizza made from scratch! The movie? “A Most Violent Year ”. Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. And “Yes”, I remain nicotine free … and Susan isn’t. She will stop smoking … when she decides to. As always …
A Warm Brotherly Hug
KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)