Home

As I look back over my sixty years on this planet, I have been a lot of things for a lot of years.  I have been married for forty years and a parent for twenty-nine.  I have been a full-time student for twenty years, a part-time teacher for five, and a school board member for twenty.  I have built cabinets, cleaned toilets, prepared engineering drawings, and written software for a living.  With a physics major and mathematics minor, I have been an amateur scientist and mathematician all my life.  And, for the last thirty years I have been a lawyer, helping paying clients and pro bono organizations alike.

Like virtually everyone else, I have reached my current point in life after an eclectic and serendipitous set of experiences, choices, successes and failures and have built up an amalgamation of insights, prejudices, habits and skills that are unique to me.  Like many others who have reached the same point, I actually think that a bit of what I have learned and some of my views could be useful or interesting to others.  The blogs that follow are presented in that context.

If you think that I am flat wrong, that I understand only a piece of the puzzle or that you would like to combine your musings and thoughts with mine, you are encouraged to chime in.     


Extending the Medicare Base

President Obama's proposal to extend the 2.9% Medicare tax from its current base (wages and self-employment income) has been met with cries of socialism, Obamanation, and a number of less printable labels.  Virtually all of the attacks on the proposal ignore the underpinnings of how Medicare is currently fina...

Take the Mandate

We Americans overwhelmingly want to eliminate the use of pre-existing conditions to deny health care coverage.  At the same time, we don't want to be forced to buy health insurance when we don't want it.  Unfortunately, we can't have it both ways.  The two issues are so closely related that the first doesn't make much sense without the se...

The Law of Middle-Sized Risks

As I lawyer, I have often been asked why high-priced lawyers can't seem to be able to write a contract that is litigation proof.  The lawyers tasked with contract drafting certainly have a number of advantages.  Many are a fairly smart.  Most are well trained.  Many have been plying their craft for a long time.&...

Two 61st Birthday Presents

I turned 61 a few days ago.  This morning, for the first time since my birthday, I rode a city bus in Chicago.  I was lucky enough to actually get a seat.  It was in the priority seating area, but it was a seat.&...

Leave it better than you found it

Many of us seek change.  Some want school vouchers.  Others want smaller classrooms.  Some want quality health coverage for everyone.  Others want cost reduction.  Some want to reduce the size of humanity's carbon footprint.  Others want to make sure that we don't damage our economy in the process.  Some want all of the above.  We see something we don't like, and we want to "fix" it with something be...

Revenge of the Oligopolists

Two proposals to reduce climate change risk, "cap and trade" and a carbon tax, have floated to the top. Others, like "tax and dividend," fight for recognition. Properly administered, both of the frontrunners will reduce emissions. Both will also impose a multi-trillion dollar burden on energy consumers. What distinguishes the two from their lesser known competitors is what happens to the cash that is taken out of the consumer's po...

Science, Truth and Ockham's Razor

A fourteenth century Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, proposed a scientific principle that is now called Ockham's Razor.  Although Friar Ockham's principle has been variously explained over the centuries, a common formulation is:  If two competing theories explain natural occurrences equally well, the simpler of the two is the better theory.  Constantly selecting the simpler theory confers a key advantage to a scientist pushing the boundaries, but there is no proof that a bias toward simplicity brings us closer to t...

Calculators Missing Carbon

It has been reported that 99% of green advertising claims are false; the OECD is concerned that biofuels do more harm than good; and various scholars wonder whether ethanol is a bane or a benefit.  Clearly, thinking and saying you have a “zero carbon footprint” is much easier than knowing you are right.  At the center of the gulf between hope and hard fact is the carbon footprint calculator (software that lets you calculate how much carbon dioxide you annually put into the atmosphere).  A quick search of the Web produces a plethora of calculators that transfo...

Strengths and Weaknesses

We continue to fight the same semantic battles that Darwin fought almost two centuries ago.   "Heretic," "infidel," "creationism" have been replaced by "theory not fact," "strengths and weaknesses" and "academic freedom."   Questions like "Do you believe in evolution?" abound.  It is time to show ideologues out of our children's science classrooms and let the scientists bac...

A Real American Lion

During the heat of the last congressional and presidential election, Republican Robin Hayes told a crowd that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."  Although Hayes immediately distanced himself from his own words, they express a sentiment that is held by many conservatives  You can be a...

Syndicate content