September 2014

September 2014

You can’t put that on an invoice. In a new paper on competence and warmth submitted to the National Academy of Sciences, lawyers are seen as unquestioningly competent and as warm as a taxi driver or prostitute.

Talk at the top. Light-hearted banter – occasionally with an edge – has always marked baseball. It’s fairly rare in other professional sports. (OK, golf.)  For two decades, retiring second baseman Derek Jeter complimented, joked, and simply shot the breeze with runners on second base. For that and a multitude of other reasons, The Captain was one of the greats.

Feed the hungry? Not in this cafeteria, you don’t! A 13-year-old boy in California was sentenced to detention for the crime of sharing his lunch with another student. The boy, just as befuddled as you are now, had this to say: “It seemed like (the other boy) couldn’t get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn’t really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage.” The school system said: “Because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals.”

And now for some good NFL news. His little girl had been diagnosed with stage 4-neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer, and the life of Devon Still of the Cincinnati Bengals took another downturn when he was cut from the team. But management, knowing Still’s predicament, re-signed him to the practice squad. There, he will receive the league minimum of $405,000 a year and full healthcare, all the while being able to spend more time with his child.

The price of purity. If John R. MacArthur of Harper’s (circulation: 150,000) wants to know something, he doesn’t Google it. He just asks one of his staffers at the venerable monthly (founded in 1850; J.D. Salinger and Teddy Roosevelt are among its contributors).  The 58-year-old publisher allows no mining of the Internet for magazine content. And no online-only subscribers; everybody has to get the magazine in the mail. Digital dependence drains panache and attacks the literary soul, he says. Of course, it’s pretty handy when the boss asks you a question.

Come to think of it, I’m not even sure I have a job any more. The long-untouchable monthly unemployment rate is no longer reliable. Why? 1) Increasingly untrusting Americans self-select out of phone surveys. 2) The Labor Department created a misleading category called “out of the workforce” for certain people formerly folded into “unemployed.” Conclusion: a 6.5 percent unemployment rate is in reality at least 7.5 percent. Princeton economists get the credit for this finding.

National stifle. A century ago, the Qing Dynasty calcified China with educational strictures that closed the empire’s door on Western innovations. In France these days, the educational system can make you a member of the French elite by age 17. Now a warning for the U.S. from   Internet billionaire and increasingly independent thinker Peter Thiel: “We’ve built a country in which people are tracked, from kindergarten to graduate school, and everyone who is ‘successful’ acts the same way. It distorts things and hurts growth.”

You want a story about boyhood? Here’s a story. As movie critics go all Goo-Goo Cluster over the ultimate slacker movie (Boyhood), the world is suddenly reminded of the boyhood of Werner Franz, dead last week at 91. A cabin boy of 14 in 1937 when the air ship Hindenberg exploded around him and started its fiery plunge towards the New Jersey earth, Werner kicked open a floor hatch, dropped to the ground right before the awful curtain enveloped him  (it was three times the length of Air Force One), and ran like hell. Carrying for life his grandfather’s charred pocket watch retrieved the next day from the wreckage, Werner went on: a radio operator and Wermacht instructor in Germany during the war, he became a postal worker and a skating coach, a father and a grandfather. RIP.

Quote to Note: “I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself.” – Johnny Carson (1925 – 2005)

Thanks for reading,

Legal defense teams in the following states have benefited from our advice in federal matters over the last two years: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Idaho, Utah, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California.

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