While the American Health Care Act sputtered in Congress, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced plans Thursday to invoke a filibuster of SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch after the judge’s third day of confirmation hearings. More impressively, he urged his fellow senators to follow suit. Here are the five most devastating lines from Schumer’s speech on… Continue Reading →
While Neil Gorsuch was giving pious and “folksy” testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about how much he loves the law, the United States Supreme Court was busy overturning his ruling on providing students with disabilities with an education. Judge Gorsuch ruled that IDEA called for no more than the bare minimum to be provided to… Continue Reading →
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) March 21, 2017
Sheldon Whitehouse on the rightwing machine that puts cases before the Supreme Court:
— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) March 20, 2017
Meanwhile, in the not-“Russia hacking our election” universe….. At the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings of Neil Gorsuch this morning, Senator Al Franken followed Senator Ted Cruz (don’t get me started) to make an opening statement. Thank goodness Franken is there. — Transcript — [Al Franken addressing Neil Gorsuch] I think it’s important to acknowledge just… Continue Reading →
After his election in 1968, President Richard Nixon asked Robert Morgenthau, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, to resign. Morgenthau refused to leave voluntarily, saying it degraded the office to treat it as a patronage position. Nixon’s move precipitated a political crisis. The president named a replacement. Powerful politicians lined up to… Continue Reading →
Because Bill Clinton saw Loretta Lynch on the tarmac.
Which was the stupidest damn “scandal” ever. Bill Clinton just likes to talk, and I’m sure he wanted to brag about his grandchildren. He just didn’t think about how it would look — because he’s Bill Clinton.
Thirty years ago, China’s communist rulers began to allow the people of China the ability to save money. Not only did Chinese citizens jump on the chance to become financially wealthy, they now have the reputation of being the best “savers” in the world.
As the first full generation of people are aging, and their financial worth increasing, one of the important items many of them are ignoring is a will specifying where this wealth will go when they die.
This lack of estate planning has caused major problems with a large increase in court cases between families fighting over who gets what.
According to government statistics, only one percent of the more than 220 million senior citizens in China have drawn up wills. One of the major reasons no one is making wills stems from the cultural belief in China that if a person discusses their death, they are putting a curse on themselves. So death is rarely discussed.
The refusal to write a will spreads across all economic levels. Even people who are considered rich refuse to specify how those riches should be divided and the consequences of this refusal can be far-reaching.
For example, there was one case where a coal baron died without leaving a will. The dispute over his estate was fought between his wife, his mistress, and his six children.
The battle over the estate became so intense that his company stopped paying workers, forcing the local government to step in and try to negotiate a settlement between all the parties.
When examining the number of contested estate cases which are in the courts, 70 percent of them are due to a lack of will. In cases where there is a will but someone is challenging it, approximately 60 percent of those wills are found to be invalid.
In order to help put a stop to all this, the Chinese government has ordered there be free legal centers for citizens over 60 years of age to assist them in drawing up their wills. These centers appear to be working as many of them now have months-long waiting lists for appointments.
The process for a senior coming to a center is made as compassionately and respectfully as possible. The senior citizen will explain to an attorney exactly how they want their estate to be divided. The attorney will draw up a draft of those wishes. The senior is then examined by a psychiatrist who verifies that the person is of sound mind.
The next step is a video recording of the senior discussing their wishes in the presence of two independent witnesses. The last step is for the senior to take the final draft and copy it by hand.
In order to help convince seniors to have their wills written up, there are even Chinese television shows that highlight the issue of families fighting over deceased relatives’ estates.
These shows seem to be working as some seniors who have been asked why they are making their wills now explain they do not want their families fighting like the people on television do.
Trust & Estates Attorney Kerri Castellini commented, “For countries that allow flexibility in the distribution of assets at death, a comprehensive estate plan is helpful for ensuring that assets and wealth are passed on pursuant to a testator’s wishes.”
What a mess this is going to be when Jeff Sessions starts going after the states who already legalized pot:
As more and more individual states continue to change the laws regarding the criminalization of marijuana use, issues with the differences in these laws continue to occur. What happens when an individual becomes trapped in a collision of the legal use of the drug in one state with the criminal use of the drug in another?
This is exactly what happened to a Texas high school teacher who is being threatened with having her teaching license suspended because she tested positive for marijuana in a drug test ordered by the school officials.
Maryam Roland was a teacher at Parkland High School in El Paso. She had been employed by the district since 2008 and had no disciplinary actions on her employment record.
During the Christmas break of 2014-2015, Ms. Roland traveled to Colorado. Upon resumption of classes after the holiday, she was confronted by school officials over alleged marijuana use.
According to media reports, a former school employee had written an email which referenced drug use by Roland and other school employees. It was this email that prompted school administrators to question Roland and require a drug test. Marijuana use is illegal in Texas.
Roland’s drug test was positive for marijuana and she admitted to these officials that she had consumed an edible marijuana product while she had been visiting Colorado. Marijuana use is legal in Colorado.
Roland resigned from her teaching position in February 2015, however, the Texas Education Agency still sought to suspend her license. Even though she resigned, without that suspension, she could return to teaching at any time.
The education agency filed for a hearing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings to push for that suspension. The administrative judge recently denied the suspension, comparing Roland’s use of marijuana with gambling, which is also illegal in Texas.
The judge pointed out that if a person gambled in Nevada – where it is legal – no action could then be taken against that person when they returned to Texas. He declined to suspend Roland’s teaching license.
A spokesperson for the education agency told the media that they would continue to pursue the case, referencing the State Board of Educator Certification.
That board has the authority to also take action against Roland, including reprimands, suspension of her teaching certificate, or even revocation of her teaching certificate.
Legal vs Illegal
Laws in eight states have been changed, legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes. Another 29 states have passed medical marijuana laws, however, employee drug testing laws have not been updated to reflect the changes in marijuana laws.
Defense attorney Stephen Hamilton commented, “In many states, a person who has been approved for medical marijuana use can still be fired for testing positive in an employer-required drug test if they test positive for marijuana.”
In one Colorado case, one of the first states to legalize the drug, a man was fired from his job for testing positive for marijuana in a random drug test. The man was partially paralyzed from a car accident and uses medical marijuana to help alleviate painful muscle spasms.
The case made it all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, which agreed with the lower courts’ rulings that said employers can fire even medical marijuana users who test positive.
Many legal analysts say that a major issue is that under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, and that is still a strong, persuasive argument for judicial authorities.
I don’t know if this is going to apply this year where I live, but it might be useful to you:
The recent winter weather that rolled through North Carolina left an icy mess in its wake, and as a recent report aired on WNCT9 reminds us, that ice can make even a simple activity like walking dangerous.
Officials urged everyone to stay home and off the roads during the storm and its aftermath, resulting in the closure of many schools and businesses. Even as things began to return to normal, people raised concerns about the condition of roads and sidewalks. Although major streets were cleared, the majority of side streets were still not cleared or treated and were very dangerous to navigate.
East Carolina University college students were interviewed for the report, and they expressed concern over the still treacherous conditions of the roads in the area, in particular, the areas around 10th Street.
Many students who live in apartments in that area and walk to classes voiced concern about the increased risks of slipping and falling on ice, not only on the sidewalks they travel on to get to campus, but they were also concerned about the condition of the walkways on the campus itself.
Situations like these often raise the question of who exactly is responsible when a person sustains injuries from slipping and falling on ice. Can a slip and fall victim sue the property owner for damages for those injuries?
In most states, the answer to that question is pretty clear – yes, the victim can sue the property owner if they are injured because they slipped on an icy area on the property.
In North Carolina, however, the answer is not so clear because this state has a section in its personal injury statutes called “contributory negligence.” This means that even if a victim is only 1 percent at fault for their fall, they are barred from suing the property owner.
What types of behavior or activity would be considered contributory negligence in a slip and fall accident?
If a victim was talking on their phone or looking at something that was going on across the street as they were walking, the courts could consider that contributory negligence because the victim was not paying attention. Walking too fast when they fell could also be another reason the court would consider the victim was partly at fault for the fall.
Personal injury attorney Ben Whitley commented, “If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, there are important steps you should take such as documenting details about the environment your fall took place in and obtaining the names of any witnesses to the incident. You should also contact the property owner right away.”
With a few more winter months ahead of us, the chances are great that there will be more stormy weather to contend with. Greenville’s Vidant Medical Center has seen an increase in the number of patients who have been injured in falls and offers the following safety tips when dealing with icy conditions:
- Make sure to wear the appropriate footwear. Ideally, wear shoes or boots which have traction on the soles that can grip. Footwear with smooth soles increase the risk of slipping;
- Walk slowly and take smaller steps than you usually do;
- Keep hands out of your pockets to help maintain your balance. If there are handrails, use them. Try to avoid toting or carrying heavy items; and
- When you are getting in our out of a vehicle, use it to support yourself.
I am always happy when someone else writes the story I’ve been meaning to write about the nice rich white lady who’s telling me not to worry about Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court:
Now I am happy that Mr. & Mrs. Nitze have a very nice, privileged life. But I object to Jane telling me she is okay with Judge Gorsuch and implying that I should be, too. The only thing I have to say to that is: “HOBBY LOBBY!” In the infamous Hobby Lobby decision, Gorsuch argued that the requirement that employers cover birth control for their employees would force business owners “to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg,” despite arguments from the law’s supporters that an exemption would allow owners to impose their faith on employees. BTW I am still boycotting Hobby Lobby (and I’m a knitter!). The picture above was taken at a Hobby Lobby after a protester rearranged the letter blocks.
In Little Sisters of the Poor, Judge Gorsuch suggested that the opt-out allowed in the federal health care law “imposes a substantial burden on that person’s free exercise of religion.”
Reproductive healthcare for everyone, free birth control for women paid for by their employers, preservation of the Affordable Care Act – these are the things I care about – not whether Jane likes Judge Gorsuch.
The Judicial Crisis Network has invested over $1 million in the Republican Attorneys General Association, over $4 million in state judicial races (aren’t you glad Nebraska doesn’t elect judges), funded the ad campaign touting Jeff Sessions as a “civil rights champion”, and now is funding the $2 million campaign for Jane to tell us that Judge Gorsuch is a good guy.
Judge Gorsuch writes scary opinions (even if he is an Episcopalian), and we should be concerned about him becoming the next Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Don’t listen to Jane.
Also, the GOP twisted the law in the first place so commercials like this could help them keep control.