Archive for September, 2009

Lawyers Jokes

September 29, 2009

I have practiced law for 30 years, and thought I had heard all the jokes until I googled “lawyer jokes”.  Visiting a law school classmate caused me to reflect upon this familiar resentment.  Lawyers are too familiar to joke about our foibles or the painful failures of our legal system.  That is not what we think about in repose.  Admittedly, my friend and I are no longer sharp young lawyers, eager to draw blood.  We have billed hundreds of thousands of hours, and have suffered the rough edges to be worn down.  We are at peace with ourselves, even if others are not.  Lawyer jokes demand an audience.  Mumbled requests for advice come alone.  I forgive the squirming comic and maybe help.  North Carolina’s law license says Attorney and Counsellor at Law.   We value the opportunity to deliver wise counsel.  It is satisfying to help one who needs the stock in trade I have to offer.  Lawyers know stuff.  We have learned a lot, mostly from other people’s mistakes.  Is this the source of resentment?  Years ago, a client turned ugly in the parking lot, when he saw my shiny Lincoln.  So that is what I am paying for!  No, leveling my voice.  You are paying a divorce lawyer because you want to leave your wife.  I am happily married, and bought a new car.  He left well represented, but resentful.  Today, I had lobbying chores waiting, but instead drafted a separation agreement for the son of friends.  Scared, poor, and devastated, the boy recently finished paying for his wife’s college degree & nursing license.  Now she wants his beat up old truck out of her driveway.  Yes, there is a hotter pickup idling around the block, waiting to take his place.   He needed advice based on more than sentiment.  We prayed, and my husband spoke words of hope and comfort.  Then I wrote an agreement to defeat snares set by his erstwhile wife and hyper involved mother-in-law.  His eyes widened as I explained his property rights, financial liabilities, and why he needed the paperwork signed before he moved out.   He departed with tears in his eyes, but legally armed.  Joke, if you care to, but I have had a good day.

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“Give us a king to judge us”

September 23, 2009

Why has Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny been on the NYT Best Seller list for 25 weeks or more?  The battle for the soul of America is being fought in our neighborhoods, offices, schools, and churches.  Conservatives want to conserve/continue values embodied in the US Constitution, with preeminent importance of the individual’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.   Liberals, called “Statists” by Levine, believe the State, and not the people, should rule a nation.  The State rules for the collective good, and the little man must obey, paying his money (taxes), modifying his behavior (forget cars that can actually withstand collisions), and surrendering the more irritating aspects of his freedoms to speak, publish, petition government, bear arms, etc.   When Government grabs immense power by consolidating the means of production (such as GM), I feel the heat of the battle of liberty versus tyranny.   The growth of Government is Goliath in its immensity.  Israel once lived free before the Lord, with no king, no tyrant, no oppressive government.  When they demanded a king, God gave them a tall, handsome man from an obscure tribe.  Although warned by the prophet they were trading freedom for future tyranny, they chose “a king to judge us like all the nations.”  (I Samuel 8:5)  Israel plunged itself into misery, tyranny, and military defeat because the people surrendered their collective will.  Human beings yearn to surrender, deeply and fully, to Something greater than themselves.  As a Christian, I have met the King.  Though I pray for all in civil authority, I can yield to no prince or president.  My longing for a King is satisfied in Christ.  I require little from my political leaders, and will insist on far less in the next elections.  I must be free to think, build, worship, and be happy.  As for Saul, that first king of Israel, he disappointed.  He was weak, jealous, raging, and in the end, cowardly.   His life ended in defeat in battle and suicide to avoid humiliation at the hands of his enemies.

Hunting with hounds

September 18, 2009

This week, I admired the larger than life statutes of George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and other Virginian native sons, standing in bronze splendor in Capitol Square.   When the Virginia General Assembly is not in session, the building feels like a vault.   We turned on the lights, chose a committee room, and began the site’s one millionth political strategy session.  In idolatrous Richmond, there are boulevards devoted to General Lee and other Civil Warriors. Freedom for the person and bitter opposition to centralized power are twin themes of thousands of discussions, not to mention battles.  Richmond has not forgotten war.  The lined faces of  these 21st century gentlemen show decades of sword fighting with words, smiling at friends & enemies alike.  What was the specific topic?  Hunting with hounds.  Virginian & North Carolinian traded secrets of  local politics and balances of power.   They filled no chamber with passionate speech, but Patrick Henry stood guard.  Politics are local, but philosophies live widely.  The North Carolinian relaxed in the company of an ally.  Exchanging war stories, they discovered shared values, similar strategies, and renewed energy.  Their particular foe is the animal rightist, blind with compassion for animals, dulled by spite for human beings.  Hunters love their dogs, the hunt, and their freedom.  Patrick Henry’s voice rang “Give me liberty or give me death”  when death was listening at the door.  There are political battles yet to fight, with warriors defending their traditions, their property, and the hunt.  Animal rightists do not hear Patrick Henry, it seems to me.  They do not remember, or have never learned of the infinite value of the individual human being.  Patrick Henry was not an animal, but a flaming soul.  Ah, so are we all.  I pity the young passionate hearts, and too many sad old hearts, spent on the lowest common denominator of love.  As you know, the English language confounds “love” with too many definitions.  Animal rightists “love” animals with furry affection, but do not love the liberty of their countrymen.

Divers weights at The Insider

September 14, 2009

Over the weekend, Civitas Institute hosted a conference for about 200 conservatives.  I met friendly, gracious people, including wide eyed teenagers fascinated by civics.  Dined once with Tami Fitzgerald, the saintly lobbyist for the NC Policy Council & Christian Action League.   Sessions featured the political/governmental aspects of Islam, fact checks & truth serum for Obamacare, some celebrities, and a full length film by John ZieglerMedia Malpractice, featured at the Newport Beach Film Festival, is a chronology of mainstream media coverage of the presidental campaign, showing increasingly idolatrous coverage of Obama.  A parallel thread is the post-election interview with Sarah Palin, in which she responds to the thrashing she received, with clips revealing deceptive editing and repeated misrepresentations about her by mainstream news media.  Today, I read The Insider‘s take on this conference.  Twenty percent of its article focussed attention on 8 insignificant socialists, who had more face time with the reporter than the 200 earnest conservatives.  The Insider concluded with a gleeful quote that conservatives are “cynical & hateful” .  Proverbs 20:23 warns, “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.”  Picture the scale held in the hand of “Blind Justice” in legal advertisements.  On the two sides of the scale, product is measured against a fix weight.  A sly merchant would put his “light” weight on the scale to balance a less than accurate amount of product.  An unsuspecting  buyer would pay for a pound and receive slightly less.  The crooked merchant would use his “heavy” weight to require more on the other side of the scale when he is buying.  He would pay for one pound and get slightly more.  The “divers” weights were dishonest, and cheated the people who trusted his scales.  Media is big business, and its daily product for sale is news.  Deeds and words in context, or rumors , insults, & misquotes?  Give us fair weights, guys.  The Lord cares about this sort of thing.

Esse Quam Videri = “To be, rather than to seem.”

September 13, 2009

Esse Quam Videri is North Carolina’s motto, adopted late, in 1893, doubtless because we were working too hard to care about a motto.  Historically, North Carolina had no aristocracy to speak of, and little concentrated wealth as a colony.   English, Scots, Irish, & Germans labored to arrive, survive, and live free.  We built homes & churches, cleared farm land, gathered into towns, & invested in business.  Fast forward to 2009.  After unparalleled economic growth in which cities burgeoned, widened highways stretched in all directions, and fresh voices joined North Carolina’s conversations, we are again struggling to survive.   Industrial engines of our traditional economy have fallen silent.  Struggling companies list like overloaded boats, and it is difficult to create new business.  Taxes (money taken from us & given to someone else) sap economic strength and discourage ingenuity.  I attended a Civitas conference this week, in which Chris Doss of The Leadership Institute mentioned the motto.  Next to me was a couple who wore tee shirts bearing the emblem of a rattlesnake & the motto “Don’t tread on me.”  I recognized the Revolutionary War inference.  As a lobbyist in the NC General Assembly, I understand why that coiled rattlesnake is regaining popularity.  This year was an ideal moment in our populist history to scale back government.  Elected leaders proved unwilling, even incapable of changing direction.   Their words seemed sincere, but their deeds failed us.  Disappointing?  Yes.  Hopeless?  Certainly not.   As voting citizens, there is an arsenal of weapons we can & will use to require elected officials to BE RATHER THAN TO SEEM.  How?  I choose prayer as my beginning weapon.  Christians are commanded to pray for those in authority (I Tim. 2: 1-4) that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  The KJV may sound old fashioned to you, but the words are true and promising.  Envision North Carolinians, living quiet & peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty.  Less government needed, more prosperity possible.  Sounds like heaven on earth.  In the meanwhile, this is my first blog.  So, who am I?  More later, Henri McClees