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Presidential Debate Legal Agreement

If you have watched any of the Presidential or Vice Presidential debates, then you know that there is a bit of arguing between the participants. Tuesday’s debate seemed to have more interruptions and moderator Candy Crowley had a hard time getting President Obama and Governor Romney to stop talking or going beyond indicated time limits.

There was some mention of rules. That’s when I found “Time” magazine’s article that lists the rules for all the debates. Among the stipulations: The candidates aren’t supposed to use props. I guess no charts or graphs: The candidates cannot reference specific  individuals in the audience except family members;  and the candidates are not supposed to ask each other any direct questions. I know that rule was broken a few times.

When I watched Tuesday’s debate, it looked like they both were breaking several rules and ignoring time limits. In the heat of the moment, I guess it’s difficult not to directly argue too. It’s the same temptations that all lawyers face in the heat of battle during trial.

During the debate on Tuesday, some of the camera angles looked strange to me. Specifically, it looked like the President was sitting at an angle. Looking at this agreement indicates that the TV networks had rules to follow. Networks were supposed to avoid cutaways that showed one candidate’s expression or visual response to the other answering the question.  I guess you have to maintain a face without shock or anger. Now that is a real public speaking talent.

Everything has rules in politics. To me, it looked like an argument and not like my old college debate days. Maybe that’s why the agreement literally stipulated  that the debate commission would enforce rules and restrictions “to the best of the commission’s abilities”.  The wildness of politics!

For pic o’ day, I went with a cat with a bit of an attitude:

A Pantry of Fears

Daily Bread reminded me of the story of the mother who asked her 5-year-old to go to the pantry and get a can of chicken noodle soup. As he got close, he stopped and didn’t want to go in to get the soup.

“What’s wrong with you?” the mother asked. The little boy hung his head and said that he didn’t want to go into the pantry “because it’s dark in there”.

His mom assured him that it was okay. “Don’t be afraid, Jesus is in there.” The boy slowly opened the door and began to peer in. Then, without going in he shouted, “Jesus, can you hand me a can of chicken noodle soup?”

All of us call it “planning” when we look into the future. What are we going to do about meeting bills or retirement? Is President Obama driving us off a cliff or do we worry if he’s not re-elected? Rep. Michele Bachman has never had a bill or resolution passed and never chaired a committee or subcommittee. How can she be President?

Is the US Supreme Court so “pro-business” that it is eliminating personal rights and ignoring the concept of precedence. Is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes expecting another baby and trying to take over the world with their beliefs of Scientology?

I just saw that the Virginia Governor and Attorney General are attending a policy seminar in Colorado, that is organized by two brothers (Koch) that have made their money, primarily in the Oil and Chemical business. Their beliefs revolve around eliminating government regulation and letting corporations be free to work.

When one of Kochs ran on the Libertarian Party Presidential ticketin 1980, the platform included the following: (from Wikipedia) “abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and U.S. Federal agencies including the SEC, EPA, ICC, FTC, OSHA, FBI, CIA, and DOE.[2][12] The ticket proposed legalization of prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide.

The wealthy have the ears of our politicians and I haven’t even included worries of flying, the ego of Lebron James, or whether your cell phone plan has enough minutes and enough bars.

I’ve gone overboard to discuss worry because one of the greatest damages in many auto accident cases is mental anguish and worry and future medical expense. Many clients ask, “What is going to happen for my care. Who is going to pay for it?” These damages are sometimes the most ridiculed by the defense.

Also, such future damages of what is out there for the future, face some cap limitations in some states. Maryland caps pain and suffering and mental anguish, at 750K. Worries of what is out there for future limitations and surgery may be the greatest damage in a case.

It’s easy to be afraid of the future. Will I have my health? Will I have a job? Will I have enough for retirement? We can feel like the little boy looking into the pantry; the uncertainty brings the most fear. It is the same worry in dealing with the future of injury.

The History of “The Serenity Prayer” (also modified and adopted by some 12 step programs) tells us that the Armed Forces adopted a prayer for soldiers and army chaplains, that was attributed to a minister named Reinhold Niebuhr. It was to help as they faced the fears and difficulties of war. A familar prayer; but also, a good reminder:

“O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen”

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