Monday, April 30, 2012

I led off the Fox 8 6 pm news with an interview about the John Edwards trial

My comments were edited, but I said the case will come down to John Edwards' state of mind and whether the money was used for purely political reasons. I don't think the government can prove these things. And they need to prove both. Also, Andrew Young's testimony was not credible, nor was his wife's who miraculously got a headache during testimony today.

Tutored a high school student at North Forsyth

I always enjoy this. There are so many nice kids there. Every time I am there it reinforces the need to support our public schools. We need to support other organizations which provide infrastructure such as the public libraries and health care facilities.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Watch out for crazy people on Twitter

I've been bombarded by tweets from nasty people using aliases. The best thing to do is avoid these kind of people. There are a lot of nuts out there. And they tend to hide behind aliases. Make no mistake: saying nasty things online may subject you to legal liability. So be careful, and stay away from mean people.

Is the economy so bad Lexus SUV owners are mowing lawns for money?

Maybe, but this screams divorcee to me.

I was wondering when Jeremy Lin would be used for propaganda

Here it is. Kind of sad because I'm sure he is genuine. Those who wrote this drivel aren't.

When is his 1588 coming?

He probably doesn't know. None of us does.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I gave interview about John Edwards trial to Fox 8 WGHP

It will probably air on Monday at 6. I talked about the key issues. These are what did Edwards know? Was the money used to cover up the affair or for purely political reasons? What did Bunny Mellon know? What was her intent?

If the money was to cover up the affair, Edwards skates. Or if Edwards didn't know about money used by Young to benefit Edwards politically. If the money was a gift, same result. Lots going on, but that's a short answer.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reflections of former John Edwards Senate intern Michael Wells Jr.

13 is an unlucky number, and that's how many years ago I served as Senator John Edwards' first DC Senate intern. What's transpired and what is transpiring is disappointing. Shakespearean is the word I think of even though it is usually a trite word. It applies here, however.

Here is a man with all of life's gifts who had the guts to take on poverty and inequality. What a message, the unresolved contradiction in our county's history and the great black mark. But is all for naught.

Now Edwards is a pariah and the key player in one of the greatest sex scandals in American political history.

I've remained silent for years on this topic, but I'm going to appear on television station Fox 8 at 6 pm tomorrow to discuss. I'm going to offer a legal and analytical approach (I hope) to the case in Greensboro.

I've stopped thinking about what might have been. All that is left is what is.

It is sad to think of Elizabeth Edwards and her suffering both physical and psychological. I feel for Edwards' children, even poor Quinn, who doesn't deserve this.

I wouldn't trade my time in Washington as an intern for anything. I loved being in the center of the political universe and meeting lions of the Senate such as Robert C. Byrd and Jessie Helms. I even saw Ted Kennedy.

John Edwards wrote one of my law school recommendations and he always remembered me when I saw him on several occasions years later. I'm grateful to him for these things.

Yes I'm sad. I'm disappointed. I'm disillusioned. We all make mistakes, but this one is awful. There's no way around it.

What might of been is just that. Eventually this will be another political footnote. But I guess it will always be like finding out there is no Santa Claus to me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I enjoyed my buddy James Taylor's meet and greet

James is running for State Senate. He is currently on the Winston-Salem City Council. James helped attract CAT to our fair city and has been a progressive voice. He will make a great State Senator! I went to a meet and greet tonight at the Factory Lofts. Lots of fun.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gospel Light Baptist Church in violation of Walkertown city ordinance for failure to build sidewalk

A Walkertown city ordinance requires sidewalks to be built at the edge of roads. I agree with this ordinance. It makes walking safer as it provides a clear thoroughfare.

Gospel Light Baptist Church has failed to comply with this ordinance because it hasn't built the required sidewalk. The church has been in noncompliance since 2010. The price tag is $150,000, so compliance isn't cheap.

Church officials say they shouldn't have to build the sidewalk. They reason no one will walk on it. Maybe not, but that's the law. Other businesses don't get a pass. Neither should a church. Churches are already tax exempt.

If Gospel Light continues not to comply, it will face a $100 per day fine. It will take awhile for that to add up to $150,000. Maybe the church is taking a calculated risk.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Family Dollar robbed by a man with a screwdriver

Criminals use the oddest weapons. A screwdriver is up there with a machete. Next we will see a bayonet. Just as long as no one is hurt, a prison shank would be entertaining. After that maybe the perp will get hit by one of those cars that comes crashing through the front of the store. You see these things on the news every now and again. Wish I could say it is odd, but it's more "normal" than anything else.

Are all people who drive Hummers jerks?

I have never seen anything to disprove this theory.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I enjoyed campaigning for James Taylor for State Senate today

I campaigned for James in downtown Winston-Salem. Downtown merchants were quite receptive. James will make a great State Senator.

What is the point of this sign?

Obviously you can't drive here. It is sad some people need this kind of sign.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Social Security disability hearings all morning

I had two hearings this morning, but the process took all morning.  And why is this?  A lot of the time was spent driving and waiting.  Driving and waiting are ways lawyers often spend their time.  Then we go to court and hope to "speak magic words" (and hope our clients do the same) so we can go back and drive and wait again.  It is a cycle, and it repeats itself.  But this is fine.  I will drive and wait all day if my client gets a good result.  That's why I'm here, and I am patient.  I have to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Surry County Commissioners exhibit further ignorance

The Surry County Commissioners passed a resolution supporting the proposed marriage amendment. Commissioner Paul Johnson said he didn't think this resolution would keep businesses from moving to Mt. Airy, and businesses would rathe deal with people who have "moral fiber." I guess ignorant people like him are more moral than gay people. That's logical.

I don't want to hear people whine about unemployment if the amendment passes, and the state loses jobs because of it. These same people will probably blame the Mexicans though.

Commissioner Johnson, you are an embarrassment.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey and others shouldn't tell people to draft their own wills

Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey shouldn't tell people to draft their own wills.  Although they are well intentioned, drafting your own will is risky.  The will may be valid, but it is more susceptible to a caveat (will contest) if it is drafted by a lawyer from an online form.  In all liklihood the will will be invalid because people will not follow the laws of their particular state.

Chief Justice Warren Burger drafted his own will.  It was valid, but his heirs spent hundreds of thousands of dollars contesting it.  If the will had been drafted at a lawyer's office and the proper formalities followed, there never would have been grounds to challenge the will.

If the Chief Justice can't draft a will without a will contest, do you think you can?

Court in Greensboro

Snippy, snippy. This is the ethos for court in Greensboro. And sharp words are the lingua franca. So it goes, in the words of the immortal and departed Kurt Vonnegut.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A good slogan

This is always a good slogan. I saw it on the back of the truck owned by the guy who cleans my office building. He is also an avid frisbee golf player.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Arpaio lackey and disbarred lawyer, Andrew Thomas, compares himself to Ghandi

These people don't stop. I'm not sure who is worse Arpaio, thug with a badge who disregards the Constitution, or this yahoo who trumps up prosecutions of Arpaio's enemies. Arpaio, Andrew Thomas and Arizona's worthless governor, Jan Brewer, are a disgrace. People like this should never hold leadership positions.

Thomas comparing himself to Ghandi demeans Ghandi's greatness. It cheapens Ghandi's memory. Maybe Jan Brewer can compare herself to Lincoln and Arpaio can say he's Wyatt Earp.

Killer of Wake Forest students, Richard Jones, gets out of prison today

Jones killed two Wake Forest students in 1996 when he drove drunk. In 2003, Jones was tried and convicted of 1st degree murder. In 2007, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Jones should not have been charged with 1st degree murder. The Court ordered a new trial. Jones pled guilty to 2nd degree murder. Jones was released today.

It's a shame a bum like this can ever get out of prison. He killed two people, and now he's out. I'm sure he will drive drunk again. What a worthless person.

Is canceled credit card debt taxable?

Possibly.  The IRS considers forgiveness or cancellation of debt as income.  According to the tax code and www.irs.gov, creditors and debt collectors who agree to accept at least $600 less than the original balance are required to file 1099-C forms with the IRS.  Creditors are also required to send debtors notices as well.  Tax payers must report the portion of the forgiven debt as "income" on Line 21 of the 1040 tax form.  This may result in a sizable tax bill in mid-April.

Tax issues are complicated.  If you have specific questions, contact a CPA or tax attorney.

My kind of person

I saw this car at LJVM Coliseum today.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Truth Radio to host May 3rd 50/50 debate on proposed Marriage Amendment at Wait Chape

This will be an interesting event.  The proposed Marriage Amendment is the most controversial item ever on the ballot in North Carolina.  I commend 830 WTRU The Truth for holding this debate, which will be a civil discourse.  We need to hear each others' opinions so we can understand all the arguments.

Jack Russell and the Clueless Lawyer


           Ronnie Thompson sauntered into the Honky Tonk Angel roadside bar.  His red clay encrusted CAT work boots might as well have been boots of the finest Spanish leather.  You don't get many days like today, he thought, so live it up.

            "Drinks for everyone."  The few who paid attention cheered as well as tired old drunks could cheer.  The meaty waitresses scowled at Ronnie.  He talked too much and almost always had nothing worth saying.

            Down the bar next to a flashing Budweiser sign with the B-U-D burnt out sat Earl Watson, a quiet man whom life had trampled over since he could stand up.  Earl didn't like loudmouths either, but how could he dislike a man who wanted to buy him a beer?  Exceptions could be made.

            Ronnie sat down beside Earl directly under the half-lit Budweiser sign which read W-E-I-S-E-R.  "Thanks Ronnie."

            "You are welcome Earl, how's it hanging?"  Earl didn't reply.  He assumed it was a rhetorical question.

            "Okay Earl, since you are the only one who seems to care, let me tell you why I'm in such a great mood.  I just got $150,000—that’s right, $150,000-- for my personal injury settlement, and I got the check today.  But that's not why I'm so happy about it.  I'm pleased, but something much better happened.  Something I will never forget.  A crowning achievement as them people on TV say."

            "Yeah?"  Earl stared incredulously.  Every lawyer he had ever met was smart, especially "Buzz Saw" Billy Peterson, the divorce lawyer who took 60% of what he owned and gave it to his ex-wife, Elma Lou, who he happened to be screwing at the same time.  He doubted Ronnie Thompson could outwit a lawyer.

            "I'm going to tell you Earl, but you will probably laugh beer out of your nose so make sure you don't take a drink before I deliver the punch line." 

            Earl nodded in agreement.

            "This lawyer took what's called my deposition.  That's lawyer code for busting your balls.  And this insurance defense lawyer--let's call him Mr. Dumb Ass--appeared ready to go.  He had gone to Harvard Law School or HLS I heard him say to my lawyer who went to Carolina.  Hell, he’s a great guy.  Ain’t nothing like that sonofabitch  Mr. Dumb Ass, Esq."

            Earl wanted to hear what Ronnie had to say, a feeling he never thought he would have.

            "Let me tell you how it went."  Ronnie proceeded to explain:

           

             Mr. Dumb Ass:  Let's talk about witnesses to the accident.

                        Ronnie:   Okay.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Who is Jack Russell mentioned in the accident report?

                        Ronnie:    He's a friend of mine.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Was he in the car when the accident occurred?

                        Ronnie:   The truck.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Okay the truck?

                        Ronnie:   Yes.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Was Mr. Russell injured?

                        Ronnie:   Not that I know of.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Did he tell you he was hurt?

                        Ronnie:   He didn't say anything.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   He didn't say anything to you after the accident?

                        Ronnie:    I said no.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   How long have you known Mr. Russell?

                        Ronnie:   About ten years.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Do you and Mr. Russell spend a lot of time together?

                        Ronnie:   Every minute I am not working.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   So is it safe to say you all are good friends?

                        Ronnie:   Of course, do you think I would spend that much time with

                                        someone I don't like?

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   OBJECTION.  Unresponsive.  I'm asking the questions here. 

                                        Just answer my question.

                        Ronnie:   Okay.  Settle down.  To answer your question, he is my best

                                        friend.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   How long have you known Mr. Russell?

                        Ronnie:   About ten years.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  Do you all talk much?

                        Ronnie:  Nah.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  Is that a no?

                        Ronnie:  NO.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  Okay how much do you all talk?

                        Ronnie:  None.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  None?  You don't talk any?

                        Ronnie:  That's what I said.  We've never spoken.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  You are saying Mr. Russell is a good friend of your's, whom

                                       you have known for over 10 years, and you've never                                                                        spoken?

                        Ronnie:  That's right.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  I'm not sure I understand this.  How is it Mr. Russeel has

                                       never said anything to you in 10 years?

                        Ronnie:  He just doesn't have anything to say I guess.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  I'm not being pedantic here.  I'm just curious from a human

                                       perspective.

                        Ronnie:  What does pedantic mean?

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  OBJECTION.  Again, unresponsive, and pedantic means

                                       dwelling on picayune details.

                        Ronnie:  What does picayune mean?

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  OBJECTION.  Again, unresponsive.  And picayune means          

                                       dwelling on inane details.

                        Ronnie:  What does inane mean?

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  OBJECTION.  Again, unresponsive.  Sir, please let me ask

                                        the question, and try and respond to my question.

                        Ronnie:   I need the question repeated sir.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:  How is it Mr. Russell has never said anything to you in 10

                                        years?

                        Ronnie:   I think you know the answer to that.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   No.  I don't.  Enlighten me.

                        Ronnie:   I don't know what enlighten means.  I ain't never gone to

                                         college.  And I'm a far cry from a Harvard man.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   Okay, fair enough.  Can you tell me why you think Mr.

                                        Russell has never said anything to you in 10 years?

                        Ronnie:   He's a dog.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   OBJECTION.  Surely the witness jests.  Motion to strike.

                        Ronnie:    I'm telling the truth.  Surely you don't take everything you

                                        read literally.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   So Jack Russell--the "Jack Russell" in the car--is a dog?

                        Ronnie:   Yep.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   What kind of dog?

                        Ronnie:   He's a Jack Russell Terrier.

            Mr. Dumb Ass:   No further questions.  Thank you Mr. Thompson.



            "That son of a bitch thought he would trip me up.  Can you believe it?  Who could be that stupid?”

            Earl nodded.  Then his beer spewed out of his nose, and he almost choked with laughter.

            Ronnie roared out a laugh.  "Get my man Earl another beer.  He just spit his beer out of his nose."

            Earl composed himself.  He could not believe what he heard.  How could anyone have been so stupid?  This made him feel better.  Lawyers were people too.  They made mistakes and said dumb things.

            Ronnie went to the restroom, and, when he came back to his stool, he seemed to  glide across the floor like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk except walking forward while wearing CAT boots.

            "I tell you Earl, a man don't get many days like that day and today.  And to top it all off I got $150,000 out of it.  I wasn't even hurt that bad.  But my lawyer kept threatening to introduce that deposition transcript as my testimony at trial had we gone to trial."

            Man I could have used a lawyer like Ronnie's, thought Earl.

            "My lawyer read the accident report.  First thing he did was to ask me how that dumb ass cop could have put down Jack Russell as a witness.  I told him some cops is just dumb.  Sonofabitch was so embarrassed he paid out the money himself."

            Earl agreed, but he felt a twinge of sadness.  He had tried out for the Police, but he never could handle the physical part.  He couldn't do a pull-up.  Not one pull up.

            "Earl, I looked up Harvard University on the computer at the public library on Saturday.  I read all about their famous alumni.  John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and their most famous dropout, Bill Gates, but that didn't mean nothing to me.  Not a lick."

            Ronnie paused.  As he did the first E on the Budweiser sign flickered out. Now it read "W-I-S-E-R".

            "You know the motto of Harvard is 'veritas,' which is Latin for truth.  This got me to thinking.  What's the truth?  That's the kind of question a simple hick like me never asks," Ronnie said as he stroked his chin in a sartorial matter worthy of an Ivy League classics professor.

            "Then I remembered the only Latin I ever learned in school.  Fourth grade history.  Ms. Beasley.  God rest her soul.  She made me memorize the North Carolina state motto.  It is esse quam videri.  Know what that means?"

            Earl shook his head.

            "To be rather than to seem.  That lawyer, Mr. Dumb Ass, needs to learn the truth--or veritas in his Yankee Harvard way--that it's better to be rather than to seem.  But hell he don't even seem smart no more.  And that's the truth."

           

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Attorney Andrew Thomas faces disbarment in Arizona for acting on behalf of Sheriff Arpaio

This guy appears to have acted as Sheriff Arpaio's lackey. He went after enemies of Arpaio through trumped up investigations based on concocted evidence. Now he is facing the consequences.

I hope they disbar the guy. Also, I would love to see Sheriff Arpaio, the self-promoting thug with a badge, eventually go to prison where he belongs.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I hate paying over $70 for gas

We need to not be so reliant on oil.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I am watching Judge Mathis and all the Crumley Roberts ads

On this holy day I am watching trashy tv. Trashy law related tv to be more precise. Judge Mathis is a sharp guy, and he knows the law. I can't say I blame him for taking a fun job where he makes over $20 million per year. The people he deals with are trashy, but small claims court doesn't always attract model citizens.

Every break there are Crumley Roberts ads. I'm not going to say anything about that, but you can form your own opinion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Take the time to screen tenants

Landlord tenant law is a dead end. Tenants don't pay. They trash the place, and then they don't leave.

Landlords should do a better job of screening their tenants. Take the time to thoroughly investigate possible tenants. Perform background checks. Hire a lawyer to write a decent lease. I can't tell you the drivel I've seen masquerading as a lease. These are all possible considerations but not an exclusive list.

Always remember: no one is ever happy after a landlord tenant case.

I love how judicial activism is now called judicial review by some

My how things change. Now that the Supreme Court may overrule health care some call it judicial review. Typical hypocrisy and diarrhea of the mouth. But what do you expect for ideologues?

The commerce clause gives the government the power to regulate health care, which affects commerce more than any other field. Yes the Supreme Court is supposed to check the Congress, but not when Congress is doing what the Constitution allows it to do--regulate commerce.

Like it or not national health care is here to stay. The rest of the civilized world has it. Why not us?

Should you cosign?

Never. The reason people need cosigners is they either have no credit history or bad credit history. The lender wants a cosigner because the borrower is a credit risk. If the borrower defaults, then the cosigner is liable. If you don't want to be liable for the debt of another, refrain from cosigning.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Children should not be used to campaign

Rep Earline Parmon used children to campaign for her today. I don't agree. Parmon used members of the Crosby Scholars program, although the program didn't endorse the event.

In full disclosure, I support James Taylor for State Senate. But I disagree with Parmon using these kids and giving the impression Crosby Scholars supports her when it takes no position in elections.

Michael meets the Lizard Lick cast

Please forgive the amateur picture.

Home for homeless veterans opening in Winston-Salem

Veterans Helping Veterans opened a home for homeless veterans on Glenn Avenue in Winston-Salem today. This is great. We need to look after our veterans. This county doesn't do a good job of that. There is a lot of room to improve. Homes such as these are an improvement.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Denise Hartsfield gives back to the comminty

I read a nice story on Judge Hartsfield in the Winston-Salem Journal today. It talks about how she is volunteering in the community during her suspension. Anyone who knows Judge Hartafield knows she is a good person who cares about the community. She possesses considerable intellect. I will be glad to see her back on the bench.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thomas Jefferson, Romulus and Remus and a winter scape

A view of my desk. Thomas Jefferson the great American genius and "man of the second millennium" watches over me. Romulus and Remus suckle the she-wolf or Roma Lupa. Then a picture my mother painted.

Jefferson is the central figure in American history. Without Rome where would we be? Without my Mom where would I be?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Liberty Tax solicitors do not quit

This guy is always out near the mall.