Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#AirAsia crash(?) likely to result in large lawsuits

Searchers found debris off the coast of Indonesia today.  It appears the debris came from missing Asia Air flight 8501.  162 people were onboard the flight.


If the plane crashed, there will likely be large lawsuits or substantial settlements without lawsuits.  Generally speaking a lot has to go wrong on in order for a plane to crash.  Usually this involves negligence.  We will have to see how this unfolds.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Those pesky indefinite personal pronouns

It is offensive he assumes everyone knows what he means.  Why not Buddha?

#NYPD officers tweet 2007 photo at #NYPDfuneral and besmirch fallen officers memory

The cops that kept tweeting a 2007 funeral picture are bums.  They totally botched this one.  Such a shame because it took away from this solemn occasion.http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/12/28/nypd-wrong-photo/

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Zombie nativity ordered removed

People offended by this need to get over it.  I would like to use zoning to get rid of Christmas decorations.  Love the zombies.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/zombie-nativity-jason-dixon_n_6374428.html

#Neildegrassetyson enrages people merely by making a factual statement

Certain people have an insane hatred for Tyson for being black and smart.  Below is a picture of a tweet Tyson sent on Christmas Day.  It enraged a bunch of stupid people.

Friday, December 26, 2014

#DustinDiamond #Screech charged with stabbing #SavedByTheBell

Where's Mr. Belding when you need him?Diamond's had a rough time.  First bankruptcy and now this.  He never had much of a career.  Never good to be picked for a show because you are ugly.  He's only gotten uglier sadly.  He did write a tell all book though.  Now an alleged stabbing.

#BlackLivesMatter and #NYPDLivesMatter Mean the Same Thing

The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and NYPD police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were all tragic because they did not deserve to die.  The #BlackLivesMatter movement grew out of the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  The recent killings of two NYPD police officers by Ismaaily Brinsley spawned the Twitter hashtag #NYPDLivesMatter.  Regardless of politics or the differences in circumstances none of these people deserved to be killed because none of their actions justified their killings, and all lives matter.   #BlackLivesMatter and #NYPDLivesMatter are not mutually exclusive because each is a protest against unnecessary killing of another human being.
           
Michael Brown and Eric Garner
At first glance, the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are different from the killings of the NYPD police officers.  Both Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed by white police officers.  Even though there were some differences between Brown’s killing and Garner’s killing, the killings shared one key common denominator: both black men were killed by white police officers.
            
Most people know Michael Brown was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, but the circumstances surrounding his death remain somewhat of a mystery. Although Brown was shot six times and had no weapon on him, a Ferguson grand jury failed to indict Wilson, and the district attorney appeared indifferent at best to the result even though his job was to secure an indictment. 

Eric Garner was not shot to death.  He was choked to death in New York by a New York police officer.  Although the circumstances surrounding Garner’s death alleged criminal activity are unclear, it is obvious from the video showing the police officer choking Garner that Garner was not committing any type of violent crime—he was selling cigarettes on the sidewalk.

In each case, neither officer was indicted, and this fueled the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which has been aided by social media, Twitter and YouTube in particular. 

NYPD Officers Slain and the Finger Pointing Begins
The police officers, one Asian and one Hispanic, were killed by a black man, and, unfortunately, critics of the #BlackLivesMatter movement have used this as an opportunity blame the heartfelt and justifiable protests (the peaceful ones) of the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner for the slaying of two police officers.  Of course, Rudy Giuliani (right wing troll andone of the main critics of the protestors) failed to mention Ismaaily Brinsley had a history of arrest, hatred for police and mental health issues, which predated the Brown and Garner killings.  Giuliani also blamed the president for the killings thus adding to his status of political has been and right wing nut job.
           
Actor and conservative troll, James Woods, also went on a recent Twitter tirade blaming Al Sharpton for the shootings even though Sharpton immediately denounced the killings and had nothing to do with the shootings.
           
#BlackLivesMatter and #NYPDLivesMatter mean the same thing 
Ismaaily Brinsley later killed himself, so nothing can be done criminally.  It is possible for the slain police officers to file wrongful death claims against Brinsley’s estate, but these lawsuits are unlikely to accomplish much of anything.
           
At a basic level, the deaths of Brown, Garner Wenjian and Ramos are all the same because they were unnecessary.  Initially Michael Brown’s and Eric Garner’s deaths were separate events from the killing of the NYPD police officers, and the events were deaths of Brown and Garner differed from the NYPD police officers in a variety of ways all of which are worthy of further analysis.  Right or wrong, however, groups with differing viewpoints have linked the events, and this could be a great opportunity to show that all lives matter.  While the issues are separate and multi-faceted, the commonality here is people’s lives matter regardless of who they are and regardless of their circumstances. 

It is important to ignore cacophony of the words of talking heads from warring factions pushing their own agendas and to see the human element here.  There is too much violence in this country.  Too many people are killed for no good reason.  This should offend all of us, and we should all work together to find a way to prevent the unnecessary killing of human beings.  As human beings we all have value, and Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos did not deserve to die.  At a fundament level, #BlackLivesMatter and #NYPDLivesMatter mean the same thing.
           

            

Happy #BoxingDay

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#JamesWoods stupidly blames #AlSharpton for the shootings of two #NYPD officers

James Woods is a crazed bum, and he has gone too far this time.  While he may not agree with protesting the slayings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, he has no right to blame Al Sharpton for the tragic deaths of the two police officers.  Ismaaiyl Brinsley had a long criminal record and a long history of mental health issues, and Al Sharpton is hardly responsible for this.

My interview on @WXII with @veronichwhite about Do's and Don'ts on social media


Thanks to Veronica White for interviewing me yesterday.  I talked about dos and don'ts of social media.  The story focused on a former Nordstrom employee in Portland, who was fired for making statements about killing police officers.  Here is the storyhttp://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/12/16/norstrom-oregon-facebook-employee-fired/20469007/


Here is the link to my interview http://www.wxii12.com/news/dos-and-donts-of-social-media-posting/30368212

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lego Man

Despised by conservatives and others who aren't creative.  And he ponders the banality of being yellow.

#JameisWinston cleared on sexual assault charges at FSU

FSU found Winston did not violate four sections of the Student Conduct Code.  The alleged victim has 5 days to appeal, but her appeal likely won't go anywhere.  Last year prosecutors decided not to pursue a case against Winston due to insufficient evidence.  Rape cases often don't have sufficient evidence, and this is what makes them so hard to prove.  Look at Bill Cosby's alleged rapes.  Of course, Winston appears to be nothing like Cosby.  More than likely, he is just a college kid--a very high profile kid--but that doesn't mean he didn't do it.  There just isn't any evidence.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I loved #Watchmen

Complex plot that says a lot about humanity.  Everyone should read graphic novels.

Friday, December 19, 2014

I enjoyed my time on the Center Point Board

Mental health is a mess in North Carolina, but Center Point does a lot to help make it better.  It doesn't help that the General Assembly and the Governor have no clue when it comes to dealing with these issues.  Center Point distributes the Medicaid waiver from the state for mental health services.  It does a great job of managing a $168 million budget.  I will miss being on the board, but I am moving to Greensboro to marry the love of my life.  So it is a happy choice.  I have enjoyed my time on the board though.

Met with Social Security disability clients at Bethesda Center

I travel and meet with clients on their turf.  How many other lawyers do that?  I can think of a few lawyers who think they are too good for that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Darth Vader

Social Security disability hearing

Approaching the building shot.  It is always sad hearing about people's suffering.  They wait years to be heard, and almost all deserve benefits. 

Heading to Greensboro for a Social Security Disability Hearing #SSA

I enjoy hearings.  Real lawyers go to court or at least have some courtroom experience.  Thinking on your feet is important.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

#Serial is great and disturbing too

#Serial is the acclaimed podcast from NPR (www.npr.org).  Executive Produce and reporter Sarah Koening interviews Adnan Syed about the 1999 Baltimore murder of Hae Min Lee for which Syed is serving two life sentences.  The show is podcast weekly and up to 13 episodes at this point.

There are problems with the prosecution's witnesses, and much of the case rested on suspect cherry-picking of cell phone records and dubious witness testimony (Syed's friend Jay in particular).  From a legal standpoint, it appears Syed's now deceased lawyer either botched the case or threw it, which would not be surprising given the sleazy nature of Baltimore "justice."  I am on episode 7, and, at this point, I am unsure if Syed did it.  But I don't think there was enough evidence to convict, and, if the lawyer did her job, I doubt he would have been convicted.

Friday, December 12, 2014

#MillennialHistory is the best new hash tag I've seen in awhile

It chronicles the crap that has gone on during so-called the Millennial age group's lifetime.  Millennials are people born in the 1980s, and they've gotten a raw deal.  The economy collapsed during their coming of age.  We fought (still sort of fighting) two pointless wars.  Massive student debt was incurred for jobs that don't exist because the so-called responsible adults lied to everyone and screwed up the country.  75% of those killed by cops are black men, and their killers rarely if ever are indicated.  Now the "adults" are calling people who questioned them "entitled," "thugs" and "lazy".  Here's what I call those adults: duplicitous.  And they do, "Cling to their guns and Bibles," but they don't understand what the Bible says.  They certainly aren't real Christians.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#Crimingwhilewhite shows how unjust our country is

It is where white people talk about how they weren't arrested or brought up on criminal charges even though they should have been.  And why? So-called white privilege.  It shows how unjust our society remains.

#chewbacca

When he hits you it goes. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Facebook copyright message is garbage

Review the terms and conditions.  Yes you "own" your content.  However, you are licensing your content "subject to" your privacy settings.  This means Facebook gets to use your content until you delete the content AND until everyone who may have shared your content deletes your content.  See how this may be a tricky proposition if your stuff is shared thousands of times?

#WalkingDead zombie figure

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My new audio book for running

Nothing like a dense, English novel.

Bill Cosby and possible criminal charges?

Will criminal charges be brought against Bill Cosby?

Statute of Limitations
The law is in large part driven by time.  Most civil claims and criminal charges cannot be brought after a certain period of time has passed.  Although people sometimes complain about this aspect of the law, in a recent International Business Times article, New York attorney, Stuart Slotnick, says, “’ That’s a fundamental concept in our legal system, that people can’t be questioned for things that happened decades ago.  One of the reasons for the statute of limitations is that if an accuser makes a claim, then the person who was accused will have a very difficult time going back 10, 15, 20 years to defend themselves because evidence and witnesses may be gone.’”  http://www.ibtimes.com/bill-cosby-rape-allegations-why-doesnt-he-face-criminal-charges-1727754.
To date, charges have never been brought against Cosby, and, unless more recent allegedly criminal acts occurred, it is unlikely charges will ever be bought.

Lack of Evidence
Unless obtained right away, physical evidence is difficult to procure.  Alleged rape victims often have a difficult time getting their cases heard and bringing charges against their attackers.  Victims of rape are often reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, retribution, social stigma and unresponsiveness of authority figures, resulting in a dearth of evidence.  Even when an alleged victim comes forward and charges are brought it is still one person’s word against another’s. 
 2005 Decision Not to Prosecute and 2006 Civil Settlement
 In 2005, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania district attorney, Bruce Castor, chose not to prosecute Cosby for the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand.  Castor cited a lack of evidence, and he said he would not act on the accusations. http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/timeline-of-the-abuse-charges-against-cosby.html. 

Civil cases require a preponderance of evidence which is much lower than the criminal standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.  In November 2006, Cosby settled a civil law suit with Constand.  The settlement terms remain confidential.

Future Criminal Charges and Civil Liability Unlikely
 When it comes to future criminal charges Bill Cosby appears to be in the clear.  Criminal laws vary from state as do the requisite statutes of limitations.  The dozen plus women who have come forward thus far, however, all alleged sexual assaults that occurred well outside of the statute of limitations.  Therefore, it appears criminal charges are time barred.
Even if new claims arise, unless evidence was obtained at the time of the alleged incident, there is a proof problem because rape is so difficult to prove without direct physical proof and strong testimony.  Likewise, Cosby and his attorneys will have a myriad of resources and defenses at their disposal to torpedo such charges.  Namely, they will be able to argue the victims just want money.

Civil claims are likely time barred as well as the respective statutes of limitations ran long ago.  Again, there are proof problems here as well.

Damage to Bill Cosby’s Legacy
Unless all of these accusations are false, Bill Cosby’s reputation is irrevocably damaged.  Gone is the image of Dr. Cliff Huxtable, who imparted wisdom with love and humor.  Suffice it to say, there is now a wide gulf between Cliff Huxtable and Bill Cosby.  The iconic Cosby Show, which ran on television in perpetuity is now off the air, banished from the collective American lexicon.  A recent Washington Post article, “Bill Cosby’s legacy, recast: Accusers speak in detail about sexual assault allegations” chronicles Cosby’s career back to his early days in the 1960s. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bill-cosbys-legacy-recast-accusers-speak-in-detail-about-sexual-assault-allegations/2014/11/22/d7074938-718e-11e4-8808-afaa1e3a33ef_story.html.   It is not a particularly flattering picture, and Cosby’s past will likely receive even more scrutiny.  This story is not likely to go away anytime soon.

Cosby is already suffering financially as reruns of the Cosby Show have been pulled from the air, comedy shows canceled and his attempted comeback stymied.  Even though criminal and civil liability do not appear likely, Cosby is forever damaged, and the repercussions will be (and are) an unprecedented fall from grace and public scorn for the rest of his life.  More troubling, however, is the suffering inflicted upon his alleged victims, who will have to live with it for the rest of their lives with no recourse other than to tell the truth.
           

            

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bill Cosby Rape Allegations: Why Doesn't He Face Criminal Charges?

Bill Cosby Rape Allegations: Why Doesn't He Face Criminal Charges?.  It is question of statute of limitations.  In all likelihood, Cosby's alleged actions took place outside the statute of limitations.  This means no criminal charges unless there are new acts within the statutory period.  That appears unlikely.  Even then the evidence isn't likely to be strong enough to bring charges.

Guardianship Basics

Guardianship Basics.  This is useful information.  There will only be more guardianship questions as the population ages and people live longer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Honest Abe

Those who oppose the President now wouldn't have been in favor of Lincoln's proclamation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Is Bill Cosby legally at risk?

Lots of allegations are swirling around about Bill Cosby.  It is disappointing to say the least, but life disappoints you.  People sometimes are not what they appear.  As a lawyer, I look for the legal angle as many things are legal--often legal and political.  From what I understand most of these alleged incidents occurred outside of the statutory period, and this likely means they are time barred by the statute of limitations.  Cosby and his lawyers are smart to say NOTHING. Criminal liability, however, is another issue because some states do not have statutes of limitations for felonies.  Depending upon the state where the alleged criminal act(s) took place, there could be criminal liability.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wells Liipfert Social Security disability seminar, Tuesday, November 18th, from 2-3PM at Reynolda Manor Library

I will be there to answer whatever questions you have regarding Social Security disability.  The seminar will last about an hour.  During the seminar I will discuss the following topics:
  • What is Social Security disability?
  • How is Social Security disability defined?
  • What are the qualifications?
  • What is the process like?
  • If you do receive disability, when do you receive it and for how long?
I hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lorenzo de' Medici

New library will have auditorium, cafe - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News

New library will have auditorium, cafe - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.  This is great news.  We needed something like this a long time ago.  It has taken way too long, and, as a result, our community has suffered from an intellectual malaise.  Libraries are egalitarian intellectual hubs because everyone, regardless of social standing, has access to knowledge.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How do you deal with anonymous trolls on your blog's comments section?

There are a few ways to deal with it.  First, you could ignore then.  Second, you could call them on their BS and get them going.  I go back and forth between which is best.  Generally speaking, someone who criticizes you under the cover of anonymity is a coward.  There is no way around that.  The internet makes it easy to say nasty things and run away, BUT it does not shield the commenter from libel laws if the statement is deemed libelous.  Most anonymous commenters don't know this.  My best advice is: don't let it bother you, and the more you get slammed the better the job you are doing.  "Haters are going to hate," as the saying goes.

I'm now a contributing writer for Elite Daily (@EliteDaily)

I am thrilled to be a new contributing writer for Elite Daily (http://elitedaily.com/), which is one of the fastest growing--and most widely read--new websites on the internet.  My articles will focus on law, politics and how social media is interwoven through these integral areas of our lives; I may write on other topics as well, but these will be my primary topics.  It is likely my articles will appear on the weekend as that's the only time I have to write articles because I have my thriving law career to attend to during the week.

Forsyth County Elections officials adjust Election Day results - News-Record.com: North Carolina

Forsyth County Elections officials adjust Election Day results - News-Record.com: North Carolina.  Another debacle for voting in North Carolina.  The Forsyth County Board of Elections limited early voting places in the primary and in the general election--much more so than Guilford County.  Now it can't count votes the right way.  This is embarrassing, and it is what happens when you pass laws that restrict the right to vote.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is this person a lawyer?

It appears so.  Not sure which firm though.  I will refrain from commenting.

Medicaid hearing at DSS

I handle these for my SSDI and SSI clients.  Other lawyers do not.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hard to see a homeless veteran on Veteran's Day

I see this guy out a lot, and he is a veteran.  Often I wonder what led him to this situation.  He probably didn't get the VA disability benefits he likely deserves.

Edgar Allan Poe

Iraq war veteran and outspoken war critic Tomas Young dead at 34

He volunteered after 911 for the Army.  He was sent to Iraq, and he was paralyzed on the 5th day of fighting.  Young was the subject of the award winning documentary Body of War.  In 2013, he wrote "The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran."  See www.commondreams.org for the article.

Medieval Irish catapult

That my fiancé bought, and I drew a picture of...

The recession affects everyone

Even the faithful.  God is stingy on the cars these days.

My article in NCBA's "the Advocate"

Online at least.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who gets Social Security disability?

Like almost all answers in the law, it depends.  The Social Security Administration (SSA, www.ssa.gov) considers a number of factors such as age, education, years worked, type of work, whether your skills are transferrable and salary received.  They also consider evidence of physical impairments and evidence of mental impairments.  I tell my clients there is no "silver bullet," as the saying goes," because there are intangible things about a case that can turn a case.


If the case goes to hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will issue a written decision.  In cases that aren't as clear cut I often see the judge rely on testimonial evidence.  This means how the client came across at hearing.  In other words, was the claimant credible?  Fortunately the "human element" is still relevant, and judges, who are people too and trying to do the right thing, can be--and often are--swayed by a compelling story.


So I can't say who gets disability, but I can say when I've got something to work with to create a case that has a fighting chance.

Don't be surprised if VA disability funding gets cut in 2015

VA disability funding will likely get cut in 2015 due to Republicans taking power.  This will be done in an effort to "shrink the size of government," when, in reality, the size of government will only grow.  It is just a different kind of growth, namely more tax breaks for billionaires and corporations and money for defense contractors.

My Dante Alighieri drawing

Because NC is such an inferno with no parididiso in the near future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The thanks I get for talking about Guy Fawkes on Guy Fawkes Day

I guess I changed the subject.  This person has anger issues.

Messenger stone a sign for lawyer

My parents gave this to me.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 1605 "Gunpowder Plot" remembered.  My lovely fiancé, Jillian Brevorka, reminded me of this fact.