May 22, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of May 22, 2015.  As lawyers, we are subject to two different dynamics.  Our professional life and our personal life.  We have VERY  limited control over our professional life.  We are a serfs, subject to the whims of your “masters”. The Magnificent 7.  The 7 members of the Missouri Supreme Court   …   who, by the way, over the past 10 years have decided to micro manage the practice of law.  The bed news?  Most have never hoed a row in the trenches.  Dealing with and serving clients.  Their big push now, after Ferguson?  Enact rules micromanaging municipal courts   …   with a “one rule serves all” approach.  Supposedly on the table?    No “Failure to Appear” warrants  …  no separate “Failure to Appear” citations.  Further, there is a push by our legislature to amend R.S. Mo. 302.340 capping city use of municipal court revenues currently set at 30% to 20%.  As for our personal lives?  It takes a young lawyer a long time to learn how to separate their personal and professional lives.  Some never do.  One of the reasons, as a profession, we top the list for substance abuse, suicides and failed relationships.  At the end of the day, a plumber washes his/her hands and goes home to family.  We remain lawyers, 24/7.

Further bad news?  “Since the 1960s the IRS has collected and published income levels for all American lawyers filing as solo practitioners. In 1988, solo practitioners earned an inflation-adjusted $70,747. By 2012, earnings had fallen to $49,130, a 30% decrease in real income. And note, $49,130 is not the starting salary for these lawyers. It is the average earnings of all 354,000 lawyers who filed as solo practitioners that year.”

Not something “protesters” want to hear.  (CNSNews.com) — Wisconsin Sheriff: ‘It Is a Myth That Police Kill Black Males in Greater Numbers Than Anyone Else’  “Milwaukee County, Wis., Sheriff David Clarke on Tuesday addressed what he called a “myth” that police kill more black males than any other race in testimony at the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing titled, “Policing Strategies for the 21st Century   …  Clarke referenced “the police use of force data,” compiled by Richard Johnson, PhD and titled, “Examining the Prevalence of Deaths from Police Use of Force,” which shows that between 2009 and 2012, the majority of those who died at the hands of police were white males. Specifically, 61 percent or 915 of 1,491 people who died from police use of force were white males, while 32 percent or 481 were black males, Clarke noted  …  The same report cited FBI data showing that “of the 56,259 homicides from 2009 to 2012, 19,000 (33.8%) were killings of black males.” In comparison, “481 (2.5%) were the result of police use of force.”  “Private citizens killed a quarter more black males in justifiable homicides than did police use of force,” the report said.  “Black-on-black crime is the elephant in the room that few want to talk about. We can talk about police use of force but it doesn’t start with transforming the police profession,” said Clarke. “It starts by asking why we need so much assertive policing in the American ghetto.” 

I can already see the DEA, (Drug Enforcement Administration), and ATF, (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), in a turf war!!  (BBC NEWS)  — ‘Home-brewed morphine’ made possible. “Scientists have figured out how to brew morphine using the same kit used to make beer at home.  They have genetically modified yeast to perform the complicated chemistry needed to convert sugar to morphine. The findings, published in Nature Chemical Biology, raise promise for medicine but also concerns about “home-brewed” illegal drugs. Experts have called for tight control of organisms genetically modified to produce narcotics.”  Tight control of yeast?  Yeast are fungi   …  good luck controlling it!

In the tool news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Oldest stone tools pre-date earliest humans. “The world’s oldest stone tools have been discovered, scientists report.  They were unearthed from the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and date to 3.3 million years ago. They are 700,000 years older than any tools found before, even pre-dating the earliest humans in the Homo genus.  The find, reported in Nature, suggests that more ancient species, such as Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, may have been more sophisticated than was thought.”  Sophisticated enough to form the “craftsman’s tool section” at  Uga-Uga’s Sears franchise.

I suppose this is real  …  but still, hard to believe.  (HUFFINGTON POST)  —  Woman Charged With Breaking Into Home, Raping Man In Seattle. “A Seattle prosecutor has charged 26-year-old Chantae Gilman with second-degree rape after a man reportedly awoke from a deep sleep and found her on top of him in his bed  …  The unidentified, 31-year-old man said he awoke at 2 a.m. on June 17, 2013 to Gilman straddling him and having sexual intercourse with him. Police say he told the 240-pound suspect to get off, but she allegedly refused and told him to be quiet. He was able to break free from underneath her and said he pushed her out of the apartment.”  You would have to be one deep sleeper, if a 240 pound woman can hop on your shwanze and not wake you up immediately!!  Course   …  doesn’t it make you wonder what he was dreaming about when she did so?

I don’t understand why people share personal sexual information/ online!  (BBC NEWS)  —  Hacking of adult website compromises users’ personal data.  “Adult Friend Finder, a casual dating website, has called in police and investigators after a suspected leak of client information.  Its owner, California-based FriendFinder Networks, said it was aware of the issue’s “seriousness” …  The UK’s Channel 4 News reported on Thursday that the data on as many as 3.9 million of Adult Friend Finder’s 64 million members had been leaked, including personal details such as email addresses and sexual preferences.” Woah!!  FriendFinder  …  “is an internet-based social networking and multimedia entertainment company comprising more than 8,000 websites, according to court documents.  FriendFinder’s sites include FriendFinder.com, AdultFriendFinder.com, Cams.com, Amigos.com, and Penthouse Magazine.”   8,000 websites?

Sitting here editing these Ramblings   …  looking forward to a 3 day weekend.  On the evening news?  The POS that tortured and killed Savvas and Amy Savopoulos,  their 10 year old son, Philip and their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa was arraigned today.  Apparently he was tracked by his DNA found on a pizza crust  …  a pizza he was munching as he tortured the boy while the boys mother and father watched.  There has to be a special place in hell for him.  I hope he get a life without parole sentence, in a cell block containing incarcerated father rapers.   Sunday lunch and a movie?  Grilled Brats, with Potato and Garden Salads.  The movie?  “Sabotage [2014]”

On Monday, we will pause and remember the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.  Several were my buddies.  I always take time to remember and honor their memory.  Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  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.  I remain nicotine free. As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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May 15, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of May 15, 2015.  Had a chance to mentor, (second chair), a young Lady Lawyer on Monday, on her first domestic case. Contested custody with a pro se litigant on the other side. A judge’s nightmare. Worked to get this young lawyer prepared for trial, (she was, as best she could) … when the case was called … it dawned on the pro se litigant she was about to get “slam dunked”, (NOTE: representing yourself against a lawyer, in court, is like walking into a gunfight … with a slingshot!!!). She asked for a continuance. We did not object, BECAUSE the young Lady Lawyer had not completed all of the necessary discovery to prepare her case. Nor had she been paid by the client. A lesson for young lawyers.  A client who has not paid their lawyer, has no dog in the hunt. That means they will fight to the last drop of their lawyers blood.  Puppy Sharks need to understand that. Case continued to complete discovery and give the client some time to come up with the balance of the fee due.

Avoiding probate is a good thing.  Most financial property, (stocks, bonds, CD’s and bank accounts, can be transferred/passed on with a POD, (Pass On Death) provision.  Durable Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney,  are personal and allow a 3rd party to manage the financial affairs and make medical decisions for a person unable to do so. NO need to formally file anything. Just make copies of the SIGNED POA’s to share when and where necessary.  Susan and I have reciprocal POA’s.  They are that important.  Upon death, dealing with real property is another matter.  The preferred form of transfer is a Beneficiary Deed.  Once executed, it MUST BE FILED WITH THE RECORDER OF DEEDS. A Beneficiary Deed springs into being, transferring the real property, upon the death of the owner   …  the beneficiary has NO enforceable interest in the property, until the death of the owner   …  with the “basis” in the property being the fair market value of the property at the time of death. This bypasses probate,  avoids the “gift tax” and potentially significant “capital gains taxes”.  Further, it can be revoked at any point in time prior to death.

Some advice about end of life issues.  Call a Family Meeting … maybe a Sunday meet at Mom and Dads. Prior to doing so … discuss with your partner end of life options. What you want to have happen. My Mom and Dad decided that they would be cremated … Dad went first and was cremated, (cost $1,100 with a really nice urn). When my mother passes, she will be cremated as well, Mom and Dad’s ashes mixed together, and divided among their 4 children … to be placed where each one of us, would honor their memory. Point being, I suppose … we come from dust, and dust we will become again.

Speaking of dust   …  “85” our 18 year old miniature black poodle passed away, (of old age), in her sleep last night.  We adopted her in 2004 from a rescue in St Louis.  She was found wandering the streets of St Louis by animal control   …  some POS had superglued her eyes shut.  The last couple of years, she was blind and deaf as a door knob    …  and absolutely loved!   A rough beginning  …  but a great ending.

Times are a changing.  (BBC NEWS)  — Vienna brings in gay pedestrian crossing lights.  “Dozens of traffic lights in the Austrian capital have been changed to show gay couples crossing the road instead of the traditional lone figure. Vienna has changed the signal images at 120 pedestrian crossings – also showing heterosexual couples – in preparation for the Eurovision Song Contest. Officials said the signals were a sign of Vienna’s open-mindedness. Toni Mahdalik of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria called the initiative gender politics “gone mad”. He said the money would have been better spent on reducing poverty and improving unemployment figures.”   Personally  …  if it were me?  Instead of the light showing a person or gay couple crossing the road   …  I would have the light showing a chicken.  Would trigger the eternal question:   Warum hat der Hahn die Straße überquert?”   

Interesting predictor of heart health. (BBC NEWS)  —  Palm ‘holds secrets of future health’.  “The chances of having a heart attack, stroke or dying young may be hidden in the palm of the hand, a study suggests. A trial on nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries, published in the Lancet, suggests grip strength is better than blood pressure at predicting risk. The international research team said it would be a “simple, inexpensive” tool for doctors. Experts argued the link between grip and the heart was unclear and needed more study. The maximum crushing force you can exert in your grip naturally declines with age. But those whose grip strength declines fastest may be at greater risk of health problems, the study suggests. Women in their mid-20s have a grip strength about 75lb, which falls to 53lb in a 70-year-old. The equivalent figures for men are 119lb falling to 84lb. The huge trial, in 14 countries, showed each 11lb reduction in grip strength increased the odds of an early death by 16%. The odds of a fatal heart problem increased by 17% and a stroke by 9%.”  I guess “get a grip” is really good advice.

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, waiting for Susan to make it home.  Wednesday evening watched the first of Hallmark’s Jesse Stone movies, (there are 8 … commencing in 2005 with the last one in 2012.). A new episode has been ordered. Acting, screen writing … TV at it’s finest. Unlike the reality cr*p the 4 major networks have been feeding us.  This afternoon watched 2 and 3.  Look forward to watching 4 – 8 this weekend. On the evening news? On CNN 24/7 coverage of the train wreck earlier this week. A federal jury sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. ISIS on offensive in Iraq’s Ramadi, taking over mosque and government buildings. Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  Grilled Brats with a Potato and Garden Salad.  The Movie?  Episode 4 – 8 of Hallmark’s Jesse Stone series.

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  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.  I remain nicotine free. As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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May 8, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of May 8, 2015.  Not much to share, so a short Ramblings.  Attended my last case in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Thursday  …  oral argument.  My young friend Ron Ribaudo   …  did the dance   …  I was second chair.  He is a GIFTED young appellate lawyer.  You know, when you are called on a fact by one of the WD Supremes   …  and you can CORRECT them with the facts contained in the transcript  …  you are prepared.  He was.

In keeping with Sunday’s “Mothers Day”   …  (BBC NEWS)   —  Mother in legal battle to have dead daughter’s baby.  “A mother has launched a legal battle to access her dead daughter’s frozen eggs, so she can carry her own grandchild.  The unnamed mother and her husband are challenging an independent regulator’s refusal to let them export the eggs from London to a US fertility clinic.  The High Court heard the daughter, who died from bowel cancer, wanted her eggs fertilized by donor sperm and implanted in her mother’s womb.”    So   …  would grandma be the mother of her own grandchild?  How would you approach a sperm donor to ask for a contribution.

Other medical news? (BBC NEWS)  —  Ebola ‘lives on in eye of US survivor’. “The Ebola virus has been detected in the eye of a US doctor who had already recovered from the illness. The medic, who caught the bug while working in Sierra Leone, had blurred eyesight and pain two months after being declared Ebola-free. Scientists say his eye infection presents no risk to the public  …   But there have been suggestions the virus may live on in some bodily fluids as certain parts of the body could act as reservoirs. Now a team, including scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, say Ebola can persist in the eye and lead to further damage.”  It is amazing how little we know about this disease and the aftereffects of an infection.  Most troubling   …  how infectious is Ebola once eradicated from the blood stream? 

As a Roman Catholic, we have a bunch of religious articles around the house.  (BBC NEWS)  —  Devoted followers of fashion. “Every two years, in the little Italian town of Vicenza, merchants gather for the biggest religious fair in the world. Vestment producers, sculptors and rosary sellers satisfy a growing demand for religious articles, from Pope Francis fridge magnets to devotional candles, a business that generates billions in Italy alone.”  Billions?  That’s a lot of Rosary Beads, Crucifixes and St Christopher medals!

Global warming news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  CO2 levels reach monthly record.  “Global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have reached a new monthly record of 400 parts per million, according to scientists.  The milestone was announced by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).  They said it was the first month that the entire globe broke 400ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen for about two million years.  Noaa’s Pieter Tans said that reaching the mark was “a significant milestone”. Let me guess.  2 million years ago, the CO2 levels reached that level due to giant plant eating dinosaurs breaking wind?

(BBC NEWS)  —  Pop music marked by three revolutions in 50 years. “The evolution of western pop music, spanning from 1960 to 2010, has been analyzed by scientists. A team from Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London looked at more than 17,000 songs from the US Billboard Hot 100.  They found three music revolutions – in 1964, 1983 and 1991 – and traced the loss of blues chords from the charts, as well as the birth of disco  …   In the early 1960s, chords called dominant sevenths, found in jazz and blues started to die out.  Instead, in 1964 the invasion of British bands – from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones – introduced a radical new rocky sound.  New technology, synthesizers, samplers and drum machines, drove a second major style shift in 1983.  The third, in 1991, came about when rap and hip-hop went mainstream. “The third revolution is the biggest,” explained Dr Mauch.  “This is so prominent in our analysis, because we looked at harmony – and rap and hip-hop don’t use a lot of harmony. The emphasis is on speech sounds and rhythm.”   I have lived through all three and in my mind,  Rap isn’t music.

And a new business model for Microsoft.  (BBC NEWS)  —  Microsoft to stop producing Windows versions.  “Windows 10 is going to be the last major revision of the operating system. Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive, said in a conference speech this week that Windows 10 would be the “last version” of the dominant desktop software.  His comments were echoed by Microsoft which said it would update Windows in future in an “ongoing manner”.  Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular installments, the firm said.”  Sounds like they are going to a yearly renewable license like Adobe Photoshop. 

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, listening to a male fog in the concrete pond in our garden.  He is LOUD!!!!  Ft Timmerman is in the middle of Holden, with wall to wall concrete in every direction. I would like to know how he got here??  On the evening news?  The threat level is raised on all military bases in the United States. ISIS posted the names and addresses of some of our men and women in uniform.  Just reinforces my staunch belief in our 2nd Amendment and conceal carry.  Susan and I both have a Florida CCW, (which is recognized in Kansas and Missouri and you don’t have to be a Florida resident to get).   Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  Grilled Brats, potato and garden salads.  The movie?  “Barely Lethal [2015]”

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  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.  I remain nicotine free. As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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May 1, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of May 1, 2015.   Interesting series of posts on the SFIG, (Mo Bar Solo and Small Firm Internet Group0, this week about the mother in Baltimore who smacked her 16 year old kid in the head and shoulders, after she found him wearing a ski mask throwing stones at police officers.  On one side, this reaction: “This isn’t NLS or POL. This is just disgusting. The woman being called the Hero of Baltimore for beating her son by striking him in the head on national TV should have been charged with a couple of crimes according to the way I’ve seen the police state operating over the past few decades. Why is she not being charged with a crime?” And on the other:  “The “child” had a rock in his hand, was wearing a ski mask, and his mother was certain he was going to throw the rock at the police. She just saved that kid from facing what could have been a whole lot worse. I personally applaud the woman for not being afraid to reign her child in the best way she could think of given the circumstances.”  Makes me consider adding another SFIG Email Subject Header to the Netiquette Haiku,  “STU” and “IGN”.  Of course, there would have to be a corresponding HAIKU:

                                                           Stupid? Ignorant?

                                                            Ignorance is fixable

                                                            Stupid never is.

What ever happened to the folk wisdom:  “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  That said, I don’t believe in corporal punishment once a child can be disciplined by with holding privileges   … 2  or 3. And some children   …  the only way you can get their attention is by the rod!

Tragic!!   (BBC NEWS)  — Nepal quake: 1,000 EU citizens still unaccounted for, says envoy. “Officials are struggling to find 1,000 EU citizens who are unaccounted for in Nepal, six days after an earthquake that killed more than 6,000 people.  An EU official said most are thought to have been trekking in the Everest or remote Langtang regions. Many are hoped to be alive but isolated by the quake. The fate of thousands of Nepalese in remote communities is also unknown.”  The CIA Nepal Facebook states that Nepal has 47 airports  …  11 with paved runways.  Difficult to fly in supplies. Getting the supplies into the rural areas is difficult because Nepal has only 36.6 miles of railroad track and 3,077 mile of paved roads.  It will be awhile before these 1,000 EU citizens will be accounted for.  God knows, what the final number of people killed will be. 

So now I know why I am so happy most of the time!!  (BBC NEWS)  —  The surprising downsides of being clever.  “If ignorance is bliss, does a high IQ equal misery? Popular opinion would have it so. We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest. As Ernest Hemingway wrote: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”   Take pride in the fact, that if you are miserable, you are probably a genius! 

Everything has consequences.  (CNN MONEY)  —  To fight revenge porn, I had to copyright my breasts. “You wouldn’t think your own breasts were something you’d need to copyright. But for some victims of revenge porn, copyright law has been the only way to get their naked pictures off the Internet.  “Hilary” is one of those people. Hilary (a pseudonym) was in a long-distance relationship that, like many in the 21st century, involved some nude selfies and videos. And like many relationships, it came to an unhappy end. But then it got worse: her ex posted those photos online to humiliate her  …  When Hilary learned the images were public, she found she had little recourse. Attorneys say the law hasn’t caught up to revenge porn, a growing form of online bullying in which private photos are posted online.  Given the pain that such an invasion of privacy causes, one would think that it’s a crime. It is — but only in 17 states.”  I do not believe Missouri has criminalized “revenge porn”.  I can honestly say, I do NOT have one picture of Susan I would not post on the Internet. None. Whether she took some of me while I was sleeping   …  I don’t know.  I doubt it!!

And no doubt showing my age!!  Ben E. King passed away today.  I remember “Stand By Me [1961]”.

I suppose anything online can be retrieved. Washington (CNN)  —  IRS watchdog finds 6,400 missing Lois Lerner emails.  “The IRS watchdog investigating the disappearance of Lois Lerner’s emails told a Senate committee it has found roughly 6,400 messages that have never before been turned over to Congress.  Lerner was the IRS official at the center of allegations that the agency targeted tea party groups applying for nonprofit status. Congress requested Lerner’s emails from the IRS and agency officials told lawmakers an unknown number of emails had been lost when Lerner’s computer crashed.” So  …  I wonder if Hilary’s erased Email about Benghazi will ever show up? 

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, Susan is resting   …  she had a medical procedure this morning.  It is finally sinking in, that I am retiring.  Frankly, with the micro management of our practice by the Supremo’s, to include not allowing the use of credit cards that offer “reward points” to pay filing fees  …  I am looking forward to it.  I will take a cut in pay   …  and may have to work part time as a greeter at Walmart   …  but going to sleep at night, NOT going over a mental checklist on things that need to be done in open cases   …  and sweating little green apples, when I can’t remember if I did them    …   it will be worth it!!!  This is no longer the “profession” I worked so hard to become a member of, 33+ years ago.  A time where we were viewed as Atticus Finch or Perry Mason   …  instead of Alicia Florrick in the “Good Wife”.  A “profession” which has been betrayed by it’s leaders   …   who have managed to make it into just another business. Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  Grilled Ribeye, Mashed Potatoes and Corn on the Cob. The Movie?  “Kingsman The Secret Service [2014]”

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  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.  I remain nicotine free. As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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April 24, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of April 24, 2015.  No doubt, racism exists   …  and is a problem.  Here in Holden  …  we have African American families  …  from what I see   …  they are treated the same as white families.  The racism in Holden?  (Chuckling)   … the discrimination German immigrants face  …  being labeled “Krauts”!

Tried a contested custody paternity case on Thursday, in Kansas City, Division 7.  My first case before Judge S. Margene Burnett, (she was appointed November 2013). Darn good Judge. Knows the law and has a “judicial temperament” worthy of the position. GOOD addition to the bench! Rendered an opinion at the end of the evidence. My client was VERY happy with the result.

I wonder what Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky does to earn her daily bowl of rice? (DAILEY MAIL)   —  Chelsea Clinton buys new $10.5 million apartment across the street from her husband’s $4 million ‘starter pad’ bought just before they married.  “Most young couples could only dream of buying a luxury four-bedroom apartment in the centre of Manhattan.  But Chelsea Clinton, 33, and husband Marc Mezvinsky, 35, are about to swap their $4 million pad for a huge new $10.5 million one nearby  …  Assuming a 4 per cent interest rate and 20 per cent down payment, Ms Clinton and Mr Mezvinsky’s already-hefty mortgage payments total around $18,460 a month.  But they’re set to skyrocket.  According to StreetEasy.com, if the pair put down a $2.1 million – or 20 per cent – deposit on their new $10.5 million home, their monthly mortgage bill will be in the region of $52,000 and closer to $60,000 if the couple handed over a 10 per cent down payment instead.”  Kind of ironic isn’t it  …  that Chelsea’s momma wants to be the poster child for the American Middle Class.  Wonder how many middle class Americans have a $60,000.00 monthly mortgage payment?

One of the reasons I remain opposed to the death penalty?  Hard to fix dead. (BBC NEWS)  —  FBI admits forensic evidence errors in hundreds of cases. “The FBI has admitted “errors” in evidence provided by its forensics laboratory to US courts to help secure convictions, including in death penalty cases, over more than 20 years.  A report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) noted “irregularities” in the hair analysis unit  …  Flawed forensics were used in at least 60 capital punishment cases, the OIG report found. Fourteen defendants were either executed or died in prison, says the Washington Post, which first reported the story at the weekend.”  I wonder how many of the 14 executed defendants were innocent? The number of inmates convicted, sentenced to death and then exonerated is surprisingly large!

And we will be picking up the tab   …  when the “Student Loan Bubble”, (this link should be a mandatory read!!),  bursts.  (CNN MONEY)  —  Rich universities are getting richer. “The wealth gap between the nation’s 40 richest colleges and universities and the rest is getting wider. That’s thanks to strong investment returns and a tremendous fundraising advantage, according to credit rating agency Moody’s  …  The top 40 include seven of eight Ivy League schools – all but Brown University – along with prestigious institutions such as Stanford, MIT and Duke. But half of the wealthiest schools were state schools, led by the universities of Texas, California and Michigan  …  The 40 richest schools have median cash and investments of $6.3 billion, versus only $273 million for the 500 other schools tracked by Moody’s. Harvard is the richest school with $42.8 billion assets, followed by the University of Texas at $36.7 billion. The University System of Maryland is at the bottom of the list with assets of $3.4 billion.  The richest schools had average investment returns of 50% between 2009 and 2014. Returns for other schools were between 22% and 38% over the same period. The top 40 also collected 59% of all donations made to the 500 schools during fiscal year 2014.”  I was chatting with a young lawyer a couple of months ago, who shared, he had a $150,000.00 student loan debt.  $1,500.00/mo for the next 20 years.  I wonder how much pro bono work he will be able to do.

I understand there are cultural differences  …  but  …  strippers?  (BBC NEWS)  — China: Funeral strippers in authorities’ sights. “The Chinese authorities say they will push to end the rural practice of having strippers perform at funerals. The culture ministry put out a statement condemning as “uncivilized” habit of inviting exotic dancers to induce more people to attend the funeral, the official news agency Xinhua reports. The ministry named two recent examples where strippers had been invited to stage “obscene performances” – one in north China’s Hebei Province and another in east China’s Jiangsu. In both cases, both organizers and performers have been punished, it said, adding that it will work with police to stamp out the practice.”  I suppose, if the stripper were talented enough   …  she could raise the dead!  Personally,  I would prefer an Irish Funeral“Wakes lasted through two or three nights. Food, tobacco, snuff, and liquor were plentiful. Out in the countryside, the liquor served consisted of whiskey or poteen, which is a very potent and illegal Irish homemade brew. Laughter and singing as well as crying filled the air as mourners shared humorous stories involving the deceased. In addition to this seeming merriment, games were played.” 

In 2004, I dropped close to 100 pounds.  I went from a size 48 portly, to a size 36 regular by modifying what I ate.  Here is the diet.   (BBC NEWS)  —  Exercise ‘not key to obesity fight’  “Physical activity has little role in tackling obesity – and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating, doctors say. In an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three international experts said it was time to “bust the myth” about exercise. They said while activity was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal. Instead excess sugar and carbohydrates were key.”  Diets don’t work.  I am living proof that you can lose weight by changing how and what you eat.

What’s with all the suicides lately? (BBC NEWS) —  Child star of US show Everybody. Loves Raymond kills himself.  “Sawyer Sweeten, the child star of hit US show Everybody Loves Raymond, has killed himself.  His family confirmed in a statement that the 19-year-old “took his own life” on Thursday morning.  He is reported by US media to have shot himself on the front porch of the family home in Texas.  Sawyer played Geoffrey Barone in the hit show, which also featured his twin brother Sullivan as Michael Barone and older sister Madylin as Ally Barone.”  Tragic.

Man is the only animal that poops in his own nest!!  (BBC NEWS)  —  Assessment questions plastics’ non-hazardous ranking. “A study has questioned plastic’s non-hazardous ranking, as an estimated 150 million tons “disappears” from the global waste stream each year.  Researchers outlined measures that can be used to shed light on the wider environmental impact of waste plastic. An estimated 150 millions of tons of plastic “disappears” from the global waste stream each year, much of it is believed to end up in the environment  …  “The issue with plastic waste in the environment is that plastic has a non-hazardous ranking,” explained co-author Mark Browne, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  It has the same ranking – at the moment – as food scraps or grass clippings.”  Most of the plastic winds up in the ocean.  The facts:  “Our plastic waste has created a gigantic “plastic soup” in the Pacific of up to 15 million square kilometers – almost the size of Russia.   Over the next 10 years, the plastic soup could double in size. At this speed, the plastic grows as much as 8 football fields every second.  The plastic soup consists mainly of plastic bottles and caps, and, above all, of plastic bags. A good argument for recycling and using bio-degradable bags.  In the plastic soup there are 60 pounds of surface plastic to every one pound of plankton.” Plastic sure isn’t biodegradable “food scraps or grass clippings”. Plastic is recyclable.  Why not build a ship that can suck up this plastic soup, grind it down and sell it?

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, waiting for Susan to come home and listening to the evening news.  On the news?  53% say the Boston bomber should be put to death.  And possible Democrat Presidential candidates distance themselves from Obama:  Biden, Iran Deal is not a “Grand Bargain”.  How will the Chief Justice John Roberts rule? “The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could decide whether gay and lesbian couples nationwide have the constitutional right to marry.”  We will spend the weekend going through our “stuff” and decide what we will keep and what we will sell.  Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  Either a meat loaf or a grilled ribeye, with boiled potatoes and corn on the cob.  The movie? “Mercenary Absolution [2015]”

 

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  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.  I remain nicotine free. As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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