A MISSOURI LAWYER'S
MAY 20, 2005
Archived Prior Ramblings
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Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of May 20, 2005. Last
week, we watched the report on
national TV ... an accident. A school bus careening out of control ...
children hurt and two persons dead. David Gleason, (January 5, 1952 - May 9,
2005), was one of them ... sitting at an intersection, on his way to meet a
client. He was a classmate of mine, (UMKC School of Law). I shot his
portrait for the Clay County Bar, last year. Last week, I printed his
picture on canvas, 8 x 10, matted it to 11 x 14 and gave it to my Dear Friend,
Steve Crain to give to David's widow for a memorial gathering at David's home,
(no wake ... David's earthly presence was beyond showing). Last Monday, Steve
called with a request ... David's widow asked if I could print 5 additional
copies, one for each of his children. I printed and matted them on Tuesday and
Steve and I delivered them on Wednesday, (a gift ... a small showing of
respect, for an honorable man, a husband, father and grandfather ... who, years
ago, walked through my life). She and David's children needed a picture ...
with no recognizable body, no wake/showing ... how else could they say
"Good Bye"? An autopsy was done ... and David's widow shared with
Steve and I that she had hoped the autopsy would show David had a terminal
illness. For her, that would explain, give meaning ... to God/providence
calling him home this way. A quick, painless, death. I guess,
"mourning", like everything else, is learned by "trial and
error" ... we don't go to school to learn how to do so, nor do we have an
"owners manual" to guide us, (page 27 ... "How to deal with
the loss of the person that makes your life worth living.") I weep
with David's widow and children tonight ... not for their loss, I could/would
never deem to gauge the depth of their pain and sorrow ... but for me ... my
selfish inability to make sense of it. There is a reason for such tragedy ...
isn't there? There is a purpose, a design in place ... isn't there? Isn't this
need to make sense, give purpose, to random events, the real basis for "Creation
Science"? Every event is part of a divine plan, isn't it? ... or ...
are some or all things just random accidents with random results?
There are folks who do not want to marry ... or ... who can not. Marriage, as a "legal" status, has many benefits. Spousal health insurance under a "family plan". "Tenancy by the Entireties" a way of owning property immune from the creditors of one of the tenants. Social Security benefits. The ability to "elect against the Will", (a spouse has property rights in the marital estate, things purchased while they were married, which one of them, upon death can not give to a third party). "Spousal Privilege" ... things shared, conversations, between spouses is not discoverable in a law suit. The right of sepulture, (the right of a spouse to make burial arrangements). Access to an infirmed spouse, by the other spouse, if hospitalized et. al. Why shouldn't two persons be able to, be allowed to, "marry their fortunes together" and gain the legal benefits of marriage? If not a "marriage" ... how about a "domestic partnership"? "Common Law Marriages" celebrated in the remaining States that honor them, are honored, under the "Full Faith and Credit" provisions of our Federal Constitution, here in Missouri, (and all other States). Marriages celebrated, (under the laws of any given State) ... must be honored by all other States, "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." In Missouri, there is an interesting line of cases dealing with the effects of common law marriages celebrated in other States, (for example, a common law marriage in another State .... the parties split ... one of the parties moves to Missouri ... formally marries someone else ... is the marriage void because of the prior previous common law marriage celebrated in another State? (see Sutton v. Sutton, 143 S.W.3d 759 (WD 2004.)) Share with me, isn't the "fornication" inherent in opposite sex folks living together, as great a sin as the "homosexual" behavior engaged in by same sex couples? Why would "common law" states sanction one sin and until recently, criminalize the other? With our Federal Constitution preempting State Constitutions and the Constitutional mandate, "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." what makes you think California's recognition and celebration of "domestic partnerships", (California Family Code 297.5. (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses." ), will not have to be recognized by all States? And frankly, why shouldn't it? .... California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington State, New Mexico, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey already do so.
I watched the "Academy of Country Music Awards", (ACM), on Tuesday night ... most of the players were there ... Toby Keith wasn't ... there was a satellite link for his performance ... he was in Baghdad entertaining our troops. He didn't win anything. I noticed no one, not one winner of any of the awards ... acknowledged the service of our troops ... guess the "artists" were too busy ... enjoying their place in the sun, (while Toby Keith entertained the folks who allow them to do so.) I always thought "Country Western" artists sang, spoke, shared what most of us are thinking. The views and concerns of "Grass Roots" America. Other than Toby Keith performing for our troops .... I did not hear one reference to our men and women in uniform. Has acknowledging their service become "passe"? Have we started to abandon our men and women in uniform ... once again?
In political news this week, one of the senior mental munchkins from Kansas, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, (Senate Intelligence Committee? How's that for an oxymoron), is working on a bill that " ... would allow the FBI to subpoena materials ranging from health and library records to tax documents without a judge's initial approval, as part of federal terrorism and intelligence probes ... " expanding the subpoena powers of the "Patriot Act". This "Wizard of Oz" would empower the FBI to issue "administrative subpoenas", subpoenas not reviewed by a judge or a grand jury, (you know, them folks that have to adhere to the limitations against unreasonable searches and seizures, imposed by that pesky 4th Amendment) ... [for an overview of 4th Amendment law, click HERE] the only constraint being ... the Bush administration would have to tell Congress twice a year exactly how the FBI was using the subpoenas. Care to make a wager on whether the FBI will abuse this expanded investigative power? And to justify expansion of the "Patriot Act", in a press conference this week ... "Violent animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists now pose one of the most serious terrorism threats to the nation, top federal law enforcement officials say." To the Nation? There are two primary animal rights/conservationist groups the Animal Liberation Front, (ALF) ... (they have in the past, spray painted fur coats worn by celebrities and have broken into research labs and let the animals out) ... and the Earth Liberation Front, (ELF) ... (these folks have set SUV's, parked in Car Dealer Lots, on fire and torched a private resort under construction in one of our National Forests). These two groups pose the most serious threat to our America? Share with me, how many persons have these two groups killed? You know ... I have a hard time picturing one of these "tree huggers" hijacking an airliner or setting off a "dirty bomb". Interesting isn't it? Our mental munchkins enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect a person's privacy interest in their medical records from the public or public inquiry ... but want to give the FBI ... <whispering> ... aren't these the folks who in the past kept open investigative files on ordinary American citizens? ... unfettered access to any and all of your personal records, including HIPAA protected medical records, without a warrant and no rational oversight ... with the goal, in the name of, protecting us from the folks who they claim pose the most "serious terrorism threats" to our America .... defined by "top federal law enforcement officials" as ... terrorist animal rights and environmental activists??? Bite me in the leg, Toto ... maybe the pain will make me stop laughing at such stupidity long enough to help me realize ... they actually believe this crap!!
In this months Scientific American, the latest research on the differences between male and female brains. " ... over the past decade investigators have documented an astonishing array of structural, chemical and functional variations in the brains of males and females." ... an interesting article because for years, most neuroscientists believed the only difference between male and female brains, was in the hypothalamus, a small structure at the base of the brain that regulates hormone production and basic behaviors like eating, drinking and sex. Due to new non-invasive imaging techniques, like positron-emission tomography, (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging, (fMRI), neuroscientists have now documented other differences, in other parts of the brain. The brain, like any muscle, enlarges. (becomes denser), in those areas used most. The frontal cortex, in women, the area responsible for higher cognitive functions and the limbic cortex involved in emotional responses ... compared to men, are larger, while in men, the parietal cortex, responsible for spacial perception and the amygdala, responsible for fight or flight reactions is larger, (perhaps superior spacial perception explains why men never ask for directions?) In the 60's, the feminist movement argued there were no psychological-biological differences, that gender differences were environmental, nurture rather than nature. Aside from the plumbing, there are fundamental psycho-physiological differences ... any male lesbian will tell you that Lady folks see and experience the world ... see our common reality ... differently. Would be interesting to see if there are corresponding differences, (acknowledging, my Dear Lady Friend, Shelley Bishop's concerns about current psychological research paradigms ... although the findings would still be "correlative" ) ... in the brains of gay men. I would suspect there are. On a different note, question: menopause and menstruation? Why aren't they called "womenopause" or "womenstration"? Men don't have anything to do with it ... other than having to suffer when they occur, do they? .... <looking over his shoulder> ... hehehe ... hmmm .... No comment. Better, 'Nuff said.
Sitting here editing these Ramblings and checking links. Enjoying some Port ... and feeling heart sick. Thinking about a comment made by David Gleason's widow on Wednesday ... she was offended, hurt, by some folks giving her the business cards of lawyers wanting to represent her in a "Wrongful Death" action ... cards, passed to her, at her husband's memorial service. I am as offended as she is, I am outraged. I have this really strange desire to collect the business cards ... and visit with these folks ... spend a few moments, alone together, in the courtyard at Ft Timmerman ... and help them see the light, (perhaps the blinding, flashes of light, that come, happen, when someone steps on your lips.) Perhaps, also share with them, my disappointment in their lack of compassion, their lack of morals and their lack of professional conduct. I have no love for the OCDC ... but also acknowledge we HAVE to police our profession because of the actions of folks like this. Policing encompasses two different and separate issues, malfeasance and negligence. I would suggest, given limited resources, (if it is not current policy), that our OCDC focus on malfeasance, (the willful violations of our ethical rules) and leave negligence/malpractice complaints to our courts.
On the evening news, Korean researchers have perfected a method for mass producing custom "embryonic stem cells", "South Korean researchers, funded by their government, reported producing human embryos through cloning and then extracting their stem cells. It is a major advancement in the quest to grow patientsí own replacement tissue to treat diseases." [A human egg has it's DNA removed and replaced by the DNA from a donors skin cell ... the egg is chemically stimulated into growing into an embryo and then the resultant stem cells harvested] While President Bush vowed to veto a Bill that would relax restrictions on American stem cell research. "I 'm very concerned about cloning, the President said. I worry about a world in which cloning becomes accepted." Frankly, I worry about a world, in which, the leader of it's most powerful Nation, doesn't have a clue that cloning is already accepted, (or for that matter, what cloning is). The lead story on ABC? Someone took pictures of Sadam in his underwear and sold them to the British press. Al jazeera refused to print them ... "they are not newsworthy". Guess Al jazeera has more sense than ABC. In other news, some parents are enraged that the "No Child Left Behind Act", (NCLBA), requires schools to give student information to military recruiters. Helpful when recruiters are having a hard time meeting quotas, (didn't we use to draft 18 years olds because they are so malleable, (read that to mean stupid)? Never mind that the NCLBA is a federal unfunded mandate wreaking havoc on school district budgets across our America. How about being enraged about that?
It's a warm, sunny evening at Ft Timmerman. Susan has decided to learn "Scrapbooking". She is happily ordering supplies on-line. I built her a workbench last week. Makes me smile to see her get excited about a project ) Digital photography remains my passion ... other than making Susan smile. Tonight as I go to sleep, curled around my first passion, I will say a prayer of thanks for having such a good life ... and a prayer for the safe return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) .... <whispering> .... Please, Please, Please, God ... let them come home safe and soon!! Be and sleep well, take a moment to be thankful for the life you have ... it could change, just sitting in an intersection, on your way to meet a client or on your way to court. There are only so many sunrises. If my post offends, I apologize ... that is not my intent. As Always ....
A Warm Brotherly Hug
Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer, from Holden, Missouri)
Karl H. Timmerman M.A.J.D. © 2005
All Rights Reserved