Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Patent Troll Reform Killed

I'll digress a bit into another area of law that, like the divorce system, is sorely in need of reform, namely patent law. Last week a very weak but nonetheless important first step in patent reform was killed in the U. S. House. 

In the past I have had to deal with some of these so called patent trolls, entities that exits to, what is in essence, legally extort money from companies.  Their modus operandi is to acquire vague patents from third parties and then send letters to companies stating they are in violation of those patents and asking them to settle. Many companies settle because it is often quite a bit cheaper than fighting the patent due to the legal costs. 

One suit I was involved with was from a company claiming to have a patent for (roughly) putting information on a web page and then electronically sending that information to a program initiated via user interaction. So they claimed that anytime anyone entered information on a web page and pressed  enter they deserved a licensing fee. Utterly ridiculous. We used to joke that we were going to patent the concept of a gas that would sustain life. Anyone who breathed would then own us a fee. Trying to extort money from companies based on obvious concepts should be a crime not a get rich quick scheme. 

The cost to the economy? $29 billion in direct costs. Not quite up to the divorce industry but still significant. And like divorce the direct costs are only a small fraction of the true costs. Think how much stronger our country would be and how much more taxes the government would bring in if all those smart but unethical patent trolls actually worked to increase the wealth (whether that be GDP, artistic, or moral) of the nation.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Players - Judge Robert Vaguely

I have added a page on Judge Robert Vaguely in the Players section.

I have also taken off the "Draft" on Spring's page. Instead I will just post whenever I update any of the Player pages.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jobian Challenge

At times, maybe when I am driving or out walking, the vileness of what has happened to me hits me hard. I feel an aching void in my chest that seems to consume my soul. It isn't Spring's leaving me that hurts, I am long over that, but the fact that our society not only tolerates but rewards such criminal actions. The people that commit the crimes not only get way Scot-free but are looked up to by their peers as successful. I will never know how Spring, Nelly Wince and Judge Mearly can look themselves in the mirror. Is the money, the control, the power, really worth becoming an evil person? I guess they made their Faustian bargain and will have to live with the consequences. A least I can take comfort in the knowing that I have acted with integrity during my Jobian challenge.   

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Players - Judge Richard Mearly

I have added a page on Judge Richard Mearly in the Players section. 

MRP - Lifetime Alimony

"Is it time to scrap lifetime alimony payments in divorce cases?" -  was published over a year ago on the Minnesota Public Radio website but is still very relevant. The comments especially are highly informing. Not one of the comments, whether written by a man or woman, supports permanent alimony. Many of the stories in the comments are downright painful to read. How can we as a society tolerate such injustice? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

NPR - Corruption in Ukraine

I head an story on NPR titled, "Corruption In Ukraine Robs HIV Patients Of Crucial Medicine" in which Ari Shapiro states, 
I recently took a Ukrainian taxi from the airport to my hotel. The fare should have been $20. The cab driver was adamant that I pay $30. When I finally paid him $30, the driver gave me a receipt with a wink. He'd made it out for $40.
The driver got a cut by overcharging me, and assumed that I would take a cut by overcharging NPR (which I did not).
In Ukraine, corruption is a daily fact of life. It reaches into big business, law enforcement, education and even the smallest transactions between people on the street.

Now many people may view this as an example of how corrupt the rest of the world is compared to the United States. However, I have been on business trips where the taxi driver handed me a couple blank receipts along with the real one. This is common in a number of cities. In many localities our taxi drivers are just as corrupt as the Ukrainian ones. And in many industries such as the $50 billion divorce one, we rank among the most corrupt in the world. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Divorce Corp

I just learned about a movie that came out in January called Divorce Corp. I have not seen the full movie yet but the trailer is compelling. There is also a companion book. Divorce is a $50 billion industry and growing. And it is utterly corrupt and unjust.  This needs to change. Hopefully this site will help achieve that goal in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"It's Not Fair! But Why Should It Be?" - Psychology Today

I ran across an article in Psychology Today titled, “It's Not Fair! But Why Should It Be?” by Mark Banschick. The basic premise is that even if you went through a terribly unfair divorce, get over it. Don't let the bitterness define you.

I imagine there are some that believe based on this site that I am defined by my divorce. But I think that is the wrong impression. Mind you my divorce certainly has embittered me, no doubt about that, but it has not defined me. I am in fact very proud of many things including:
  • That during the divorce I was able to fully function and even thrive at my job despite the fact that my company was under going a buyout from an out of town competitor. During that time people at work did not even know that I was going through a divorce. In an environment where people were breaking down and often crying in the office, I just could not burden them with my personal problems. My colleagues have mentioned many times to me how much they appreciated my support and upbeat attitude during those times. Much of that “upbeatness” was in reality acting as I was hiding my personal pain but that is exactly what I am proud of.
  • Although I did not want to get a divorce and held on to the hope that reconciliation was possible long after it wasn't, I have moved on emotionally. Indeed, I have been in an absolutely wonderful relationship for the last three years or so. I feel blessed because it is so much better than what I had with Spring.
  • I have served as a good example to my kids on how to behave when the worst happens. I could have broken down. I could have treated them badly. I didn't. We found a fixer-up house and learned how to fix it up. I continued to coach swimming and be fully involved in their lives even as Spring grew even more absent both physically and emotionally. The boys and I talk about all sorts of things. The games they play and the books they read. They tell me about girls they liked and I talked about the my new relationship - by the way they absolutely love the girl I have been dating. There were hard times too. We went through my mother's long painful illness and eventually death together. Her twin sister and a close Aunt also passed away. But there were also weddings and births to celebrate. I have a very large family and the boys have become even closer to their cousins.
  • I have a huge number of interests in life. I read a lot. (and am in a very active book club) I am physically active. I garden. I cook. I build computers. I build all sort of things. I write. And now I advocate for divorce and judicial reform. The later is just one more item.
In truth, however, the part of the divorce that embitters me the most is that it is