Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#PortlandStabbing perp #JeremyChristian represents all that is wrong with America

He's a white supremacist, and he's unapologetic for what he did. He's a vicious murderer.

Trump to pull US out of #ParisAgreement

History will damn him. We need to protect the environment. Many of the conflicts we have flow from environmental issues. For example, our dependence on fossil fuel. This dependence makes us beholden to the Middle East, which embroils us in wars and other conflicts. But the oil companies are too powerful, and they stifle significant talk of non-fossil fuel alternatives.

The destruction of our environment will mean the death of animal and plant life.

People will die and have died. The rollback of this deal will only make it worse.

Conflict and death will result from pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spend too much #micropoetry

It isn't your money to spend
if it isn't your's.
Some people like to
spend other people's money.
So they never miss it.

#Troll in a #sketchbook

Trump's budget director revives a fact-free conservative attack on disability recipients

Trump's budget director revives a fact-free conservative attack on disability recipients: Appearing Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” President Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, engaged in a drive-by shooting of some the nation’s neediest and most defenseless people: the disabled. Mulvaney’s attack shared its essential qualities with most previous Republican attacks on disabled Americans, in that it was arrogant, ignorant and abetted by the news media — in this case, moderator John Dickerson, who let Mulvaney’s words pass without comment. Both should be ashamed of themselves.

#SocialSecurityDisability cases are often "revisited" by SSA, and then benefits cease

Claimants spend years waiting on their disability benefits; many lose everything, and they almost starve or freeze to death. All the while they deal with a system that is skeptical about their case. They confront degradation and unfair stereotypes perpetuated by a group of people, politicians and other idiots. And, if they are "lucky" enough to "win" their case, then they receive benefits of a whopping $14,000 per year on average.

But. Then.

SSA sends them a letter saying they've "revisited" their case. And SSA's learned opinion is they are no longer benefits. Without warning benefits are yanked, and the ordeal begins again. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017



Wine drinkers are annoying #poetry

They swirl their wine 
in their glasses 
like they are in a
It isn't important unless 
they wrap their car around a tree
They sniff.
Then they drink 
out of a glass 
that's way too wide 
and delicate.
Sophistication for the 
And then they talk about it 
with their stained teeth 
if it is red.
If white...
well that's a 
different form of annoyance.

Cold Water #micropoetry

The first time in the pool
Chills you till you can't
Or maybe it is exaggeration
Because you get used to it

Thursday, May 25, 2017



Thrice #micropoetry

It comes in threes.
The trinity.
Years in law school.
But it doesn't have to be 

A ball that doesn't roll #micropoetry

Not all balls roll.
Some sit there unmoving.
It would be easy for you 
to roll.
But no one ever said
you were easy
to deal with.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#SocialSecurityDisability video hearing?

Isn't that the question? Will a video hearing hurt my case? Does the judge need to see me to understand my case? These are all questions that arise in the Social Security Disability world, and lawyers disagree. I believe in video hearings because they aren't all that different than live hearings. Furthermore, agreeing to a video hearing will likely make the hearing come sooner. Time is essential in disability cases because claimants are desperate. Waiting tends to be their greatest enemy. I say tends to be because losing is the greatest enemy. By losing, I mean losing the hearing, which is a setback, but doesn't preclude disability for all time. It just delays things. But time is more often than not the enemy for successful claimants, and sooner is better than later.

#LawyersLife #sketchbook

Old drawing, new day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#MickMulvaney and the #TrumpBudget are unfair to #SocialSecurityDisability recipients as are the Washington Post, 60 Minutes, and NPR

1/10 get SSD. It usually takes a few years, and you have to show you can do no work at all. Average pay out is about 14,000 per year. Mick Mulvaney is really going after it. It is a shame the Washington Post keeps using the shoddy reporting; NPR and 60 Minutes have done the same. Kick the "little guy" when he's down is how the so-called liberal publications show they are not totally liberal I suppose. Really disgusting here

Debunking The Washington Post’s Latest Outrageous Attacks On Social Security

Debunking The Washington Post’s Latest Outrageous Attacks On Social Security: A just-released report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) reveals that, once again, the “serious people” in Washington are weaponizing shoddy, inaccurate data to stoke false claims about Social Security. The CAP report exposes The Washington Post’s misuse of data to inflate the numbers of working-age Americans receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits.


STATEMENT ON TRUMP’S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY: Englewood Cliffs, NJ – Today, NOSSCR Executive Director, Barbara Silverstone, released the following statement on President Trump’s proposed cuts to Social Security:

Disability Rights Advocates Accuse Washington Post Of Perpetuating ‘Myths’ About Benefits

Disability Rights Advocates Accuse Washington Post Of Perpetuating ‘Myths’ About Benefits: Disability rights advocates and a leading Democratic think tank are livid at The Washington Post over a March 30 front-page story on the prevalence of disability benefits in rural America. The newspaper claimed that “as many as one-third of working-age adults” in rural communities receive disability benefits. But as the Center for American Progress calculated ― and The Huffington Post confirmed by looking at the raw data ― that proportion holds true in only one county in the entire country.

Budget holes #micropoetry #TrumpBudget

What's a few trillion here and there?
When you are playing with house money.
Everything you do uses house money,
so why pay attention to a few trillion?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quit fussing #micropoetry #sketchbook

Accountability is not in your DNA.
You were born this way,
yet you got worse.
Look at yourself, 
and you will see the lack of an answer.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We already live in #theHandMaidsTale #micropoetry

We don't have far to go
before we fall into the abyss.
And we may already be there.
But it is too dark to see it.

Pinhead who knows nothing #Micropoetry #sketchbook

Ignorance abounds 
in some more than others.
But you wouldn't expect it from
a pinhead.
They are supposed to know.

Could this be us now? #TrumpRussia #Flynn #DonaldTrump

We are in a tailspin as a nation, or maybe our country is correcting itself. It is difficult to say. This all should end in a Trump impeachment, and a conviction, though I think resignation is more likely. Trump will resign and declare victory because that's how his mind works. He's crazy like that.

None of this is good. It was always going to lead here. Everyone knew that.

My how the "deckchairs on the Titanic" are being rearranged, but the iceberg has already hit. And the ship is sinking.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

#SocialSecurityDisability and the value of the post-hearing brief

Advocacy does not always end after a Social Security Disability hearing. In fact, good advocacy sometimes requires work after the hearing to drive home arguments raised in the hearing brief, in the medical records, and during hearing testimony. Sometimes it is not enough to rest the case with the hearing, and this is when a post-hearing brief can make or break a case.
A post-hearing brief is not required, but it can be a helpful tool. The post-hearing brief is a brief or memo written after the hearing takes place that addresses a specific issue(s). I cannot speak for other attorneys as to why they feel the need to write (or not write) a post-hearing brief, but I write one when I feel there is a lingering issue that is essential to the case.
For example, I recently had a client, who had a history of hernias. These hernias greatly limited his ability to lift, bend, twist, and stoop. Given his age, past work, and education, my theory was the limitations imposed by the hernias precluded his past work and any other work, and this meant he met the definition of disability (cannot perform “substantial gainful activity,” essentially eight hours a day, five days a week).
Client had evidence of one of the hernias, but he had surgery for a double inguinal hernia while in prison in Colorado prior to the agreed upon date of disability. Obtaining medical records from a prison in Colorado is not easy, so we had to ask for additional time to obtain those records. The judge allowed it.
Client testified about the double inguinal hernia at the hearing, but there was no objective medical evidence of it until the prison records came in. I felt we needed evidence of all of the hernias to nail down that issue as an ongoing ailment precluding all work.
Fortunately we did receive the records, and I used a post-hearing brief to argue the new records corroborated the claimant testimony. This argument made the case stronger because it drove home the point made during the testimony and supported it with objective evidence, the medical records.
Lawyers can disagree over the value of post-hearing briefs. Some lawyers do not write briefs at all, which I completely disagree with because zealous advocacy requires it, in my opinion. Some do not write post-hearing briefs; they are content to “just handle the hearing,” and I disagree with this too. Sometimes just going to the hearing is not enough.
Post-hearing briefs are not needed in every case, but they are necessary when a lawyer, trusting his or her instincts and experience, has the nagging feeling that there is a lingering issue in the judge’s mind. If you have that feeling, you need to write the brief. I have never seen an instance when writing a post-hearing brief hurts your client’s case.

The sad state of things in America #ComeyMemo #TrumpRussia

Anyone who thinks has to be disturbed with what's going on in the United States these days. I certainly had my fears when Trump was elected president, but I wished him well because I wanted the country to do well. Trump has been an unmitigated disaster since day one. He has done even worse than I expected, but his downfall has been far more dramatic than I imagined.

Let's review the last week or so: 1) Trump fired Comey; 2) the story broke that Trump gave classified intelligence to the Russians; and 3) the Comey Memo came out, and it stated Trump asked Comey to stop the Flynn investigation. This is in about one week. The first charge against Nixon was obstruction of justice, and this is a textbook case for obstruction of justice because Trump tried to thwart an investigation into his campaign's dealings with the Russians. It is eerily similar, yet worse still because it involves collusion with a foreign enemy.

It appears Trump has sold America out, and this should come as no surprise to anyone. Perhaps the most troubling part of this is: there are people who elected Trump,  and they would vote for him again. Rough days in America are here, and they are ahead too,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#ComeyMemo means end for #Trump

Obstruction of justice will be the first claim. There likely are many more. The doors and wheels are falling off the Trump Administration.

#LibrariesMatter #Fightignorance

Nothing will save you #Micropoetry #pencilsketch #sketchbook

Your options are like
hair falling out.
And you ramble

Monday, May 15, 2017

#SupremeCourt says NO to North Carolina #VoterID law case @NCCivitas

The GOP effort to suppress the vote was stymied because the Supreme Court denied cert. Hopefully the GOP will eventually stop these unconstitutional efforts, but I doubt it. They care nothing for the Constitution.

But for today: YOU LOSE!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bye-bye #micropoetry

I don't bother to say hello.
Because I don't hear you.
Not anymore.
If you are noise,
I don't hear it.

Zinger #micropoetry

Words can sneak up behind you.
And they bite like a viper.
But you'll never pin it
on the snake.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Defective Phone" #flashfiction #microfiction

First time I saw one of those awful blue tooth ear devices was about three years ago. This guy, though, technology had bitten him in his scrawny, red, Irish ass.
He sat at the end of that polished bar right off 4th Street in a gray, button-up-the-front shirt with pink flowers and cream color slacks with woven basket sandals. And he had this bald shaved head that shone a light pink color because he’d forgotten to cover it in the sun. So it got burned up. I could even see it peeling under the low light.
None of it seemed to bother him as he rambled on the phone with his hook nose and beady eyes. He swilled this giant goblet of white wine. He sniffed the crap and then swirled it around his mouth. Then he slapped his lips like he was some freaking expert. What a tool.
I could over hear brief snip-its of what he said. “Yes…John-Paul…we inked the deal today. Yep…$1.1 million sale with a 6% commission for us.” Then he barked out this high-pitched laugh that sounded like a hyena caught in a lions mouth. All the while he stared off into the mirror behind the bar, and this blue light beeped on his ear.
I’d never seen anything like it, and my first thought was he was some redneck version of Lo-Bot from the Empire Strikes Back. Then I thought he was crazy and talking to himself, but I saw his rectangular black phone strapped to his thick, black, leather belt with the same blue pulse.
That’s some damn phone device, I thought.

Before I could ask him about it some blonde with a tight white dress and big boobs bounded up and kissed him. She looked like she could tear him apart, and she grabbed his hand. They started to leave out the front door as she tottered on her red spike heels. Apparently she’d had a bit to drink.
Then it got weird––that's not the right word for it––it became surreal.
Blue tooth guy started screaming. "My hip is burning. My hip is burning."
And it was. I saw this smoking coming from that giant cell phone. Pretty soon his pants started to smoke. I imagined they were highly flammable. Some guy ran in from the back room with a fire extinguisher, and he sprayed him off, phone and all. 
Then a guy from somewhere in the bar came and said, "Let's go." And they went without the woman. And she didn't seem to care. She started hitting on another dude at the bar. I supposed they went to the hospital, and she lost interest.
Things settled down. "And the band played on," as they say. 
I saw the bar tender with a wan smile on his face as he started to clean up the guy's glass and napkins. He saw me watching him. "Everyone knows those Samsung phones will burn up on you, but I guess he didn't get the memo. Too busy making deals." 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

All in a shirt #micropoetry

I saw the big one
in the hall.
With a fishing shirt on.
Does he try and catch himself?
And then take a picture.

Fired #micropoetry #comeyfired

Told late
about your own firing.
It's been coming
for awhile.
But it went down

It comes in threes #micropoetry

Three is a crooked number.
Its meaning depends on context.
Don't let anyone hang a crooked number on you.
Out of context.
Because it won't be good.

Advice from #TheHandMaidsTale rings true in light of #Comey firing

Always applicable.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Truth justifies itself #micropoetry

It glows in the dark
when all else can't be seen.
Because it can't be

#SallyYates to testify today regarding #MichaelFlynn and #TrumpRussiaties

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is going to testify before Congress today regarding Michael Flynn's communications with Russia, payments from Russia, and alleged connections between the Trump White House and Russia. It should be interesting and potentially explosive.

Trump attempted to discredit Yates on Twitter this morning, but, as usual, the tweet appears defensive given the negative impact Yates's testimony will likely have on Trump and his administration. Sally Yates testimony

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Stumbling #micropoetry

Over padded yards 
Unsure of foot 
And of direction 
Yet fully alive 
And in the minutes 

Picture from the Greensboro News and Record #ACHAnoVote #Obamacare #imapreexistingcondition

This lady's child with Down's Syndrome is in my child's swimming class. Under the House health care bill (if it were to stand), her child would not be able to receive health insurance. This is deplorable; it shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

#House votes YES to denying coverage to 95% of people with #preexistingconditions #VoteNOAHCA

Republicans passed the House version of a new health care law designed to repeal Obamacare. It is perhaps the worst piece of legislation since the Fugitive Slave Act. It makes pregnancy a pre-existing condition, which will make the cost to have a baby a minimum of $20,000; rape will be considered a pre-existing condition under the bill, which means women who become pregnant will not have their abortions covered--AND they will have to pay $20,000 or more for the birth of the baby; old people will be kicked out of assisted living places; Medicaid will be slashed; Medicare will be slashed; and people will die, literally die, as a result. ACHA House Bill. These are just a few of the parade of horribles.

Our only hope is that it doesn't pass the Senate, but I'm not hopeful.

#Maythe4thbewithyou #StarWars #StarWarsDay

Happy Star Wars day to all.
Image may contain: 1 person

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Might #Colbert (#FireColbert ?)have been right about #Putin and #Trump?

Stephen Colbert's monologue about Trump is getting a lot of attention. He certainly pulls no punches with his comedy and with his colorful metaphors––assuming they are actually metaphors.

It does raise an interesting question: how much can actually be said about a public figure, who is the president, without running afoul of libel or slander laws? Quite a lot.

People need to accept that this is what free speech looks like; if they don't like it, then they can stop watching Colbert's show. Colbert Monologue

The #HandmaidsTale hits too close to home #dystopian #Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, was published in the 1980s.  It is also a TV show on Hulu. The 4th episode debuts tonight. The protagonist, Offred, is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, which exists after the United States has for the most part fallen to right wing extremists. Offred is not he real name––it is June––but she's stripped of her identity and made to live in her "Commander's" household where she will serve as a surrogate for the Commander's wife because it is thought the wife is barren. This is the role of the handmaid.

Women have no rights. A theocracy exists where free speech is limited; homosexuals are murdered; and anyone who opposes the system is murdered or tortured. It hits all too close to home because the United States has seen efforts by the current administration to do the following: expel non-white non-citizens the "other") Trump's immigration executive order ; efforts to curtail women's reproductive rights Trump's attempt to limit the right to choose ; increased surveillance and the erosion of the right to privacy Congress can sell your browsing history ; attempts to destroy the free press erosion of the 1st amendment ; attempts to break up federal courts Trump wants to split the 9th Circuit ;  and discrimination against homosexuals Trump to crack down on LGBT community .

All of this should scare anyone who loves the rule of law and the United States in general. As the metaphor goes in The Handmaid's Tale, when the water is turned up on us gradually, eventually we are boiled to death. The policy changes in the US have been fast and extreme, but it will get worse. Deprivations of freedom against many of us are occurring more slowly so that we do not see it. In may ways, we are distracted by the constant sideshow of extreme executive orders, crazy statements, and scandal du jour.  Wait until people are arrested and jailed indefinitely for opposing the current administration; wait until a terrorist attack is staged as a proxy to declare marshall law; and pretty soon we will be in a police state, and we will wonder how we got there.

It could happen. It is happening.

Don't let it happen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

#SocialSecurityDisability cases are all about credibility (of everyone)

The claimant needs to be credible. You may think this goes without saying, but it doesn't. Claimants often overstate or understate their respective ailments, both to their detriment. Understating doesn't hurt credibility, but overstating sure as heck does. I've seen it quite a bit.

Sometimes cases are made up of a number of ailments that add up to disability. There's no one thing to point to, but saying you can't walk at all is overstatement if you have trouble walking more than a few hundred yards. You've taken a decent fact and made yourself look bad to the judge. Looking bad to the judge can be fatal for your case.

People go through a lot with these cases, but you must remember: you aren't the only one. Claimants who think they are the only person who was ever in pain tend to annoy the judge, and they are the ones who overstate their ailments thus losing credibility. Losing credibility often means losing the case.