Friday, May 30, 2008

Sanity Finally Prevails in Texas Child Seizure Case

The Texas Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court ruling vacating the seizure of four hundred children. The ruling does not end the parent's troubles with the Texas CPS or answer any of the difficult questions that arose about the religious organization. But, it does show that Texas judges are capable of rendering a logical verdict without bowing to political correctness.

The most frightening aspect of this whole misadventure has been the silence of attorney and civil rig
hts groups. It would seem that if the accusations are vile enough, the group odd enough and law enforcement determined enough, too many American attorneys are all too willing to suspend the U.S. Constitution.

As the events were breaking, I was involved in a online discussion with a group of civil rights attorneys. Many of that group were highly critical of those of us who questioned the evidence (now proven to be non-existent) and the process (now proven to be unconstitutional). That heated but important conversation was soon terminated by higher authority within the hosting organization.

One courageous attorney in that conversation was blistering in his criticism of Texas
Southern Baptist Churches who loaned buses to law enforcement to transport the detainees. Now we have learned that the State of Texas asked Baptist Family and Child Services to provide command and control services in operating the detention centers (aka concentration camps). Link HERE. This same attorney observed that those Mormons will remember for the the rest of their lives that the people who call themselves the true church and them cultists helped the state haul them away into captivity and that the SBC and its people may well get a deserved hosing in Federal Court right along with the state officials who violated these people's civil rights so badly.

The Texas Supreme Court Opinion can be found HERE. Note that there were three partial dissents with those justices concurring in part but suggesting there were grounds to remove a few pubescent girls. Link HERE. And to make sure that the everyone in the legal community that wouldn't speak up about this travesty of justice until the courts returned sanity to the situation gets the point, read "The Civil Rights Watchdog That Didn't Bark" HERE and "Appeals Court Ruling Makes Blogging About YFZ Raid Safe" HERE.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Difficult Lawyers - Part II

In a recent post, I reported how OKC Federal Judge Vickie Miles LaGrange struck a blow for the good guys in our profession by a very clever sanction against an attorney that she decided had behaved badly in a case before her court. Link HERE. However, it would appear that this gentleman's troubles before the bench were not over.

The following took place in a state court case this same attorney and insurance company were involved in:

¶5 On January 28, 2003, the passenger's counsel contacted the liability examiner and requested the $15,000 limits of the UIM policy. On January 28, 2003, the liability examiner settled the liability claim for the $10,000 policy limit. Throughout these negotiations, the passenger's counsel often mistakenly used the liability claim number when referring to the UIM claim and vice versa. When negotiations on the UIM claim were not fruitful, on March 26, 2003, Denise Thompson, the UIM examiner's supervisor (the supervisor), called the passenger's counsel and offered $2000 to settle the UIM claim. On April 3, 2003, the passenger's counsel counter-offered to settle the UIM claim for $14,000. On May 6, 2003, the supervisor offered $3,000 to settle the UIM claim, the full amount at which the insurer had valued the claim.

¶6 The passenger then deemed the $3000 an "undisputed amount" and demanded payment of the $3000 without settlement of the claim. The insurer refused, and on July 10, 2003, the passenger brought an action in district court alleging breach of contract and bad faith for the insurer's refusal to pay the "undisputed amount" and improper "dual representation" for the insurer's alleged leveraging of the liability and UIM claims against each other to prevent a fair valuation of either. The insurer moved for partial summary judgment on the issues of bad faith. The trial court granted the insurer's motions on both issues, leaving only the breach of contract claim to be litigated.

¶7 On September 9, 2005, the trial court ordered that the parties attend mediation pursuant to the District Court Mediation Act, 12 O.S. §§1821-1825, (the Mediation Act). On September 23, 2005, the parties attended mediation, but could not reach a settlement. On October 17, 2005, before the trial began before District Judge Tom A. Lucas, the passenger submitted motions in limine seeking to prohibit the insurer's counsel from: 1) mentioning collateral sources; 2) eliciting testimony from the investigating officer; and 3) suggesting or implying that the passenger's counsel fostered perjury from the passenger's treating physician. The parties argued the motions in chambers, and the trial court granted all three motions. During opening statements, Gerard F. Pignato, counsel for the insurer, stated that the investigating officer determined that there were no injuries sustained by the passenger. The passenger objected and the trial court sustained the objection and advised the jury to disregard counsel's statements about the investigating officer. Later in the opening statement, the insurer's counsel claimed that the passenger's expert medical witness "churned fees" and agreed to testify as "part of the deal." The trial court called counsel to the bench and advised the passenger's counsel that if he moved for a mistrial, it would be granted. The passenger's counsel so moved, and the trial court declared a mistrial.

¶8 On November 28, 2005, the passenger moved for sanctions against the insurer for its attorney's conduct in the first trial. The passenger also based his motion for sanctions on what he considered an unreasonably low settlement offer made by the insurer during mediation, the amount of which he disclosed in the first sentence of his motion for sanctions. On November 30, 2005, the insurer responded by moving for sanctions against the passenger and his counsel, Michael W. Phillips, for revealing the settlement amount offered in mediation, which the insurer alleged violated the Mediation Act.1 On December 21, 2005, District Judge William C. Hetherington, Jr. awarded $2500 in sanctions to the insurer against the passenger's counsel, and awarded attorney fees to the passenger against the insurer.

Taking inventory of the above we find several interesting tidbits .... a lowball offer to settle far below the actual value of the claim ... an attempt to "leverage" the claims against each other to reduce the value of both and ... and an obviously retaliatory motion for sanctions against the opposing attorneys who did not go along. Amazingly, the trial court, while granting attorneys fees against the insurer, at the same time levied a $2500.00 sanction against the insured's attorney. However, on appeal the Oklahoma Supreme Court did not agree:

Imposition of sanctions under these circumstances was premature and excessive. Because the trial court had no authority to sanction the passenger's counsel under §2011(C)(a) and an order of sanctions under the circumstances of the cause was an excessive extension of the trial court's inherent powers, the trial court abused its discretion by sanctioning the passenger's counsel.

The case is Garnett v. GEICO, 2008 OK 43. Link HERE.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

It is Memorial Day, 2008. This morning, U.S. troops are deployed in a vicious occupation/"peace action" in Iraq and an ongoing counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. This is the longest running "hot" war the United States has ever fought, 1893 days, and the second longest combat engagement of troops, surpassed only by Viet Nam where the first several years were compromised of small "adviser" forces only. This war has many critics, some of them honorable people, such as former Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Webb, a decorated Marine combat veteran.

But, this is a day to put aside criticism and even analysis and instead simply honor our fallen dead. American troops do not make foreign policy. They are the blunt end of it who go where they are told and obey their orders. They put themselves in harms way so that we can be safe. The fact that they have been cynically misused for political purposes on occasion does not detract from their valor and sacrifice.

So, as I do every year, I am going to post perhaps the best Memorial Day/Veteran's Day poem ever written. It was written by Sgt. Joyce Kilmer of the "Fighting 69th" of the 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division, a unit of New York National Guard. Kilmer was a world class poet and scholar. He did not have to serve. Rather, he voluntarily left his family and comfortable position to serve his country and his fellow man. He was a devout Catholic and much of his work reflected his deeply abiding faith. Kilmer was killed in action July 30, 1918 while on a reconnaissance mission during the Battle of the Marne.

Memorial Day
"Dulce et decorum est"

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

McCain REFUSES to Meet with Dobson, REJECTS Key Evangelical Endorsements But APPEARS on Ellen Degeneres Show

I cannot imagine a way that a presidential candidate could do anything else to show his contempt for the religious conservative base of the Republican party than John McCain has.

First, he has stiff armed powerful evangelical leaders such as James Dobson by refusing to even meet with them. See NewsMax article McCain Rebuffs Dobson HERE.

Second, he has rejected the endorsement of two powerful evangelical leaders who had been convinced to endorse him. He rejected the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee because of his previous statements critical of the Catholic church. See article HERE. And, he has rejected the endorsement of Rev. Rod Parsley because of his strong anti-Muslim stand. See ABC News Article HERE.

But third, while stiff arming Dobson and rejecting the endorsements of Christian pastors whose views he found embarassing, McCain had no problem appearing on the Ellen Degeneres show and being extraordinarily deferential to her about their alleged difference of opinion on so called gay marriage. McCain takes the moderate GOP approach first offered by Bush that gay s should be granted same sex marital benefits under different legal theories such as the right to contract. Here is the video clip of the McCain appearance:

The only cogent reason I have been given to vote GOP this presidential election is that a McCain presidency would be better for we Christians and our causes than any other candidate so we must vote for the lesser of evils to prevent the greater evil Hillary or Obama. Well, given McCain's previous attempt to enact laws that would silence the religious community in the political marketplace of ideas and his treatment of evangelicals BEFORE HE was elected, I can't agree . I see no difference and frankly, the Dem's just might treat us a little better to try no to lose our votes in local and state elections because it is obvious that McCain doesn't care if he loses our our votes or not in the national elections.

As a matter of fact we have a very good example of how McCain would treat Evangelicals if he were elected. Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt was dismissed from the Naval service for praying in Jesus' name and holding traditional evangelical beliefs. Here is his description of how McCain's staff treated him when he went to them for help:

Sen. McCain refused to help me when I fought to pray "in Jesus’ name" as a Navy chaplain. When I walked into his office on Capitol Hill, two of his liberal staffers told me I should water down my prayers and stop praying "in Jesus’ name." McCain will surround himself with similar liberal appointees in key White House positions.

But, Klingenschmitt did not stop there:

In 2006, McCain was one of only three Republican senators to vote against defining marriage between one man and one woman. Why? McCain said: "I think that gay marriage should be allowed if there’s a ceremony kind of thing, if you wanna call it that, I don’t have any problem with that." No wonder Dr. James Dobson replied: "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances."

McCain not only refused to participate in Janet Folger’s Values Voter Presidential Debate, he has repeatedly distanced himself from religious groups. He won the Republican nomination without faith-based voters. So, if he wins the White House, will he suddenly listen to our pleas? No chance! Only by treating ourselves with respect can we demand respect from others. Have we no dignity?

For several excellent reasons NOT to vote for McCain this fall see the rest of Klingenschmitt's blog entry HERE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Classic Dixie-crat - A Winning Formula for Oklahoma Democrats?

Let me start by saying that I come from a Republican heritage. My grandmother was a Republican. Not a country club Republican by any means but rather a combination of a staunch anti-communist and an old woman with a long memory of the association between long dead local Little Dixie Democrat leaders and the Klan. This unusual situation had nothing to do with a particular love or hate of any race but rather was due to the fact that her husband, a socialist politician, had been driven out of the state by the Klan leaving her destitute in a sharecropper's shack with three small children and a crop in the field.

And, while she continued as a sharecropper during his terms in office, Grandma also thought that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a combination of a Communist and the Anti-Christ. She was so hard core Republican in a Yellow Dog Democrat district that my earliest memory involving an election also involved her being forced to take a literacy test, an unheard of insult for a white voter at the time, and Republican lawyers from the state GOP telling officious Little Dixie precinct workers that my grandmother was going to vote or there would be hell to pay for all concerned.

I have made no secret of my disappointment with the GOP for the last several election cycles. As a matter of fact, sadly, I no longer identify myself as a Republican. I am a Conservative. A strict constructionist TheoCon for you wonks. That puts me about forty miles to the RIGHT of the current RINO dominated GOP. I did not leave the GOP. The GOP left me. But having said that, it would still take a rim of ice on the shores of Hell to make me vote for anyone with a JackAss beside their name on the ballot.

But, the Democrats are not stupid. They realize that they have lost the South and they are going to have make accomodations to get it back. It is a pity John McCain isn't that flexible. This is a campaign ad that could make me think long and hard about voting for a Democrat if I lived in his district. The strategy behind it should be the GOP's worst nightmare.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our New One Party Political System

Several years ago, I was banned from the allegedly conservative Free Republic online political discussion group for criticizing President George Bush. I was banned for repeatedly saying that Bush and his NeoCon handlers were destroying the GOP as we know it and that we TheoCons would be better off revolting and even sitting out an election rather than allowing the party and ourselves to be driven into insignificance. That was several congressional election cycles ago and unfortunately, all of my dire predictions have come true and then some. Even the best conservative pundits such as Peggy Noonan are now predicting a GOP train wreck of massive proportions in the upcoming election:

The Democrats aren't the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they're finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They're busy being born.

The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They're frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party. .

… The moment when the party could have broken, on principle, with the administration – over the thinking behind and the carrying out of the war, over immigration, spending and the size of government – has passed. What two years ago would have been honorable and wise will now look craven. They're stuck.

Mr. Bush has squandered the hard-built paternity of 40 years. But so has the party, and so have its leaders. If they had pushed away for serious reasons, they could have separated the party's fortunes from the president's. This would have left a painfully broken party, but they wouldn't be left with a ruined "brand," as they all say, speaking the language of marketing. And they speak that language because they are marketers, not thinkers. Not serious about policy. Not serious about ideas. And not serious about leadership, only followership.

Pity Party, Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, Link HERE.

In the meanwhile, fresh on the heels of his public support of the recent California Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage, nominally Republican California Governor Arnold Schwartzengger is calling for a “re-branding” of the GOP:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger created shock and awe in the Republican Party when he warned years ago that the GOP was in danger of "dying at the box office" by failing to make the sale to a wide swath of voters.

... The answer for GOP presidential candidate John McCain: take a page out of the Schwarzenegger playbook and sell a product that is "counter" to the current GOP brand on issues like global warming, spending and even immigration reform.

And the governor, in an interview with The Chronicle last week, had some candid advice and observations, not only about the GOP brand - but on McCain's efforts to expand his appeal to independents and disillusioned Democrats.

"The Republican idea is a great idea, but we can't go and get stuck with just the right wing," Schwarzenegger said. "Let's let the party come all the way to the center. Let those people be heard as much as the right. Let it be the big tent we've talked about. Let's invade and let's cross over that (political) center," he said. "The issues that they're talking about? Let them be our issues, and let the party be known for that."

The San Francisco Gate, May 18, 2008 link HERE:

So, the nominally GOP governor of one of the largest states in the nation, who is married to a Kennedy, is suggesting that the GOP not only move to the political center but move past it to the left in order to compete with the Democrats with their own positions. Forgive me for being naïve, but that sure sounds like a one party system to me. It’s just a question for voting the Red Social Democrats or the Blue Social Democrats.

All of my dire predictions have come true. The GOP access that Evangelicals prized so highly dried up during the Bush years to the point that McCain has stiff armed them entirely. He has been openly contemptuous of Evangelical GOP voters intelligence, relying upon the old and now discredited "poorly educated and easily led" and "where else do they have go to anyway?" strategies of years past. In the meanwhile, the GOP continues to lose key house and senate races, its public approval numbers are abysmal and the possibility of a GOP president getting anything done that conservatives want, even if he were miraculously elected, is almost nil under the current political conditions.

But, worst of all, the two parties have become politically indistinguishable to principled conservatives. The GOP has become, in its own words, a badly shop worn brand that is no longer attracting the numbers its "owners" need to stay in power.

Sometimes, you hate to be right. But, I was. And, in the immortal words of Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts boys and girls. It's going to be a bumpy ride.


Just in today from NewsMax:


Republican John McCain’s campaign has begun holding regular conference calls with leftwing bloggers and blogs that focus on single issues such as healthcare and the environment.

On May 15, McCain held a conference call with bloggers including Greg Sargent of TPM Election Central, Kate Sheppard — a political reporter for the environmental Web site — and Erin Kotecki, who blogs at and The Huffington Post, according to

An earlier call included Med Gadget and other blogs devoted to healthcare issues.

Link to full story HERE.


Sen. John McCain's campaign has so far turned a deaf ear to invitations to meet with politically powerful evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson at his Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., raising the possibility that the nation's sizable evangelical bloc will sit out the presidential race in November.

The move would all but assure the election of Sen. Barack Obama, columnist Robert Novak argues in a recent column.

Noting that Dobson has indicated he can't support McCain for president, Novak writes that Dobson's opposition to McCain "reflects continued resistance to the prospective presidential nominee among Christian conservatives who are unhappy with McCain's current positions on stem-cell research, immigration and global warming, not to mention his past sponsorship of campaign-finance reform."

But conservatives are surprised that, despite the differences between McCain and some key conservatives, McCain hasn't responded to their olive branches and sought meetings.

Link to full story HERE.


And this fresh in from


The Republican Party is in distress. Doomsayers are everywhere. Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. Duncan complains that conservative, pro-life, pro-gun Democrats won three special elections by stealing GOP issues.

"We can't let the Democrats take our issues," Duncan told the New York Times. "We can't let them pretend to be conservatives and co-opt the middle and win these elections. We have to get the attention of our incumbents and candidates and make sure they understand this."

Democrats didn't steal your issues, sir. You abandoned them. Your party discarded them. Democrats simply engaged in dumpster harvesting.

Unable to win by labeling Democrats "liberals," Republicans don't know what to do. Labeling worked before. Why isn't it working now? The answer is that it only works in combination with superior ideas, which you then contrast to those of your "liberal" opponent. You can't do that credibly unless you have embraced those ideas and sought to implement them. Republicans traded in their ideas in favor of gaining and keeping power as their sole objective. The party wants credit for giving lip service to its abandoned ideology while it practices cave-in politics.

John McCain has promised to bring Democrats into his Cabinet and work with Democrats in Congress. Does that mean ideas don't matter? Does it mean that when Democrats disagree with him he will embrace their ideas just to get along? If so, why should voters vote Republican? They might as well vote for Democrats and get their liberalism straight-up.

GOP- Get Back, Cal Thomas,, May 20, 2008. Link to full column HERE.

And from William Rusher today:

So you will look high and low before finding a professional politician, in either party, who privately expects a Republican victory this fall -- either in the presidential election or in Congress. Realistically speaking, can anything be done about this? Probably not much. In all likelihood, this is going to be "a Democratic year." Still, there is no reason why the GOP has to watch the Democratic juggernaut descending on it like a deer transfixed in the headlights of an oncoming car.

Avoiding a Republican Rout in November,, May 20. 2008.

The Unfinished Grisham ...

I was a John Grisham fan. Over the years I have been entertained, enlightened, challenged and even humbled by his work. His last book, a wonderfully researched piece of non-fiction, The Innocent Man, was thought provoking and shocking. Anyone who reads it will never look at the Oklahoma Justice System the same way again.

And, it is because I was a fan and because his work has been so good in the past that the failure of his current work, The Appeal, is so much more disappointing. My half read copy of it has been sitting on my nightstand for weeks. I have just about decided I will not finish it. And, I have also just about decided that I will sell it to my favorite used book store instead of keeping it, the first Grisham novel I have not kept.

The first half of The Appeal is classic Grisham, a small town tale of a giant toxic tort case. And, in classic Grisham fashion, he nails the hardships of small time lawyers who take on a big case. The lesson is timeless. Small time lawyers who take on big cases almost always go broke whether they win or lose because litigating against giant corporations is inevitably a test of financial resources and staying power, not the skill of the attorneys or the case itself. The moment that one side has the money to file one more appeal, or even more motion, and the other side doesn’t have the money to respond the game is over.

If Grisham had stuck to this theme and developed his point to its logical conclusion, that is that the disparity of funding between litigants in the justice system often perverts justice, he would have had a winner. In this part of the book he was on solid ground that he, a former small town trial lawyer, understood perfectly, and he was stating facts for civilians through his fiction that every lawyer who has been in practice over a year or two takes for granted.

But, it appears that Grisham wrote a good short novel or even a novella and his publishers told him that he needed two hundred pages more to meet his quota. And given that, he launches into unlikely conjecture that stretches his credibility to the breaking point and past.

The second half of the book is a highly improbable parade of horrors about the dangers of a conservative cabal of greedy big businessmen and sycophantic evangelical leaders projecting their influence into state judicial elections and stealing justice from the poor and downtrodden victims of big business greed. Grisham's oversimplistic, melodramatic handling of very complex, multi-dimensional issues in the justice system in which both sides of the political aisle share blame lost me about half way through the book. But then, his thinly disguised attack on Judicial Watch, Focus on the Family, The American Family Association and others caused me to put the book down and not pick it up again.

There was an attempt to balance this one sided theme further with some discussion of the inherent “insider” nature of judicial elections and how bar associations and politicians do the selection of our judges and trial lawyers for the most part do the election. Grisham chose to portray this side of the equation as the underfunded champions of truth, justice and the American Way. After reading thirty or forty pages of this crap, I simply gave up. It was apparent that Grisham was writing a one sided political screed just in time for the election and I had paid him good money to do it.

And, that’s a pity. In the past, I have respected Grisham. I still respect his past work. But, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I will probably now buy Grisham’s future books in used paperback rather than new hardback since I may not be keeping them or even reading them through.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Missing Cache ...

In the last episode of the mystery that has become my blog, I explained how an article very critical of John McCain suddenly disappeared from my blog server. I further explained that the blog entry could still be read in Google's wonderful "cache" feature which preserves deleted web pages, etc. for posterity.

I just checked my last blog entry and clicked on the link to the cached blog entry that had gone missing. More strangely still, the Google cache entry is now missing as well.

But, further investigation leads me to believe that it was not sinister forces in the McCain campaign that cause the disappearances because the column I quoted extensively (60% of the blog entry) can still be read HERE. I have always taken a pretty loose attitude toward quoting and using stuff from I always link and give proper attribution but they are a public policy organization. They publish their material on the web for it to be quoted and distributed. To date, I have never had a complaint from, Salem Communications or any of their columnists.

That leaves only two possible sources. Either Mr. Hawkins personally took exception to my long quote of his blog or Amway took exception to my relating my own experiences with them in the "80's. The blog author, John Hawkins, is a former AMWAY distributor who has good things to say about AMWAY despite the fact that he admits that he left the organization with less money than he began with. Link HERE.

Officially, AMWAY has been cleared by the Federal Courts of being a Ponzi scheme because of internal regulations designed to avoid the legal elements of one. It is a legal pyramid scheme aka a "multi-level marketing company." There is a difference in the law. However, if you Google the words AMWAY and Ponzi, you will get a fascinating read. But, also be advised that AMWAY has a reputation for aggressively pursuing online sources that are critical of their company so be careful if you decide to blog about what you read.

Shoot, I just meant to be critical of John McCain and Country Club Conservatism not AMWAY. I just assumed that everybody in America already knew about AMWAY.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Missing Blog ...

The strangest thing has happened. My last blog entry titled "A Political Ponzi Scheme" has simply disappeared. Gone into thin air. It is missing from my blog server and missing from BlogNetNews Oklahoma which mirrors my blog. If you Google the term "Bill Kumpe Ponzi Scheme" the web index entries for the articles still appear but the links direct you to a statement that the blog entry has been removed. I did not remove it.

This blog entry was highly critical of the current GOP leadership and compared the GOP to a well known multi level marketing scheme. It was not original for the most part but rather an extended quote from another blogger whose work was featured on Everything was properly attributed. I added commentary at the end.

If someone, either the author or someone mentioned in the blog entry has a problem with what was said in that blog entry, I would ask them to contact me privately.

But, in the meanwhile, thanks to the modern web where nothing really disappears, the cached version of the article can be read at the following link:

A Political Ponzi Scheme?

I could say a lot of things about the First Amendment, free speech, the ghost of McCain Feingold and political parties that are afraid of what a couple of bloggers have to say .... but I won't. The missing blog entry says it all. Be afraid folks. Be very afraid.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Dirty Little Secret of Tort Reform

Just about "everybody" in the GOP agrees that so-called "tort reform" is a good idea. And, they have convinced a lot of voters who should know better that giving up their rights to be heard by a jury of their peers in a civil dispute may be the only way that they can "save" private health care. Unfortunately, that is just not the case.

It is no secret that insurance companies were heavily invested in commercial real estate before that market crashed a few years ago. And, they have been trying to make it up ever since by raising premiums. And they have also been trying their best to rig the court system so that it is nearly impossible to bring a civil action against them. But, the cost of medical care is not being driven up by so-called frivolous lawsuits nearly so much as it is by mismanagement, recalcitrance and outright incompetence by insurance companies. Anyone who has ever gone through the mind numbing torture that is dealing with a mid level insurance clerk should already suspect this.

But, why should you believe me. After all, I am a lawyer, one of those greedy *&^()%$'s that are trying to steal your wealth and make you die without your medicine so that I can drive a Rolls and give millions to Hillary or Obama's campaign.

Well, there is a simple way to prove my point. What if you could take the insurance costs out of a typical hospital bill and see how much less your health care provider could provide the same services for if you did not have to deal the insurance companies? There is an easy way to do that. Some hospitals ADVERTISE cash discounts of from fifty to seventy five percent for patients who pay cash up front for medical care and many others quietly provide one. The following is typical (link HERE):
Q. Does El Camino Hospital offer a discount if I pay cash for services?

A. Yes, El Camino Hospital extends a 75% cash discount to patients without insurance who choose to pay with cash, or to patients receiving services not covered by insurance who choose to pay with cash, or patients who choose to pay cash for services in lieu of billing their insurance.
One major Tulsa area hospital offers a fifty percent cash discount for on services paid for in cash in advance. So, that makes it pretty clear that at least fifty percent of the cost of medical care is tied up in collecting from INSURANCE COMPANIES. Think about that for a second. The administrative costs of collecting medical fees from insurance companies, Medicare, etc. is anywhere from fifty to seventy five percent of the total bill. There's something really wrong with that business plan.

It looks to me as though doctors and hospitals could collect the same fees they are collecting now without continual fee increases or destroying the constitution if they could simply get insurance companies to pay them what's due them for less that fifty percent of the take. Any "normal" company that charged fifty percent or more the total charge for "handling charges" would probably be brought up on charges by their state's consumer affairs divsion. Why should insurance companies get a pass?


“Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds.” —John Adams, 1774

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hard Cases Make Bad Law

In a copyrighted story, the AP is reporting that the arrest warrant that triggered the largest child seizure in American history since the "pacification" of the Native Americans has been dropped:

A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman would not say why the warrant was dropped for Dale E. Barlow, 50, who lives in Colorado City, Ariz. Barlow has denied knowing the 16-year-old girl who called a crisis center.

The girl reported that she was a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that she was beaten and raped at the sect's Eldorado ranch.

An investigation led to the April 3 raid, in which state welfare workers took 463 children living at the Yearning For Zion Ranch. A boy was born to one of the sect's mothers Tuesday; he and the other children remain in state custody.

Authorities have not located the 16-year-old girl and are investigating the source of the call.

Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger would not say when the warrant for Barlow was dropped, only that "it is no longer active."

Link to story HERE. A first year law student could have gotten that warrant kicked given the events that followed. It is entirely possible that the only people that should have been arrested, the adult male perpetrators of statutory rape will walk on those charges because Texas CPS decided to make headlines instead of exercise restraint and do their job.

There is an old saying that "hard cases make bad law." The meaning of it is that precedent setting decisions should never be made on an unusual set of facts. This is a classic example of hard cases making bad law and I fear there is no way that it can resolve without the parental rights of a lot innnocent people suffering in the process.

Friday, May 02, 2008

On Difficult Lawyers ....

Recently, Judge Vickie Miles LaGrange of The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma struck a blow for the good guys in our profession and it is now being reported around the country. An article about her action can be found in the ABA Journal. (Link HERE.) And, it is being commented upon in the upper echelons of the legal blogosphere as well. (Link HERE.) Her order speaks for itself. Click on the images to read it. There is a classic line in the Motion for Protective Order that prompted this order:

" The seriousness of the allegations and the potential for a significant verdict justify an aggressive defense but not a defense based upon personal attacks, character assassination or threats and innuendos ..."

Having been the victim of such attacks myself, I can fully understand why the motion was filed and am glad to see that Oklahoma judges are refusing to put up with such conduct.