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September 12, 2022

An illustration can illuminate the meaning of a news story. Or it may not. We have financial advice for lawyers and the recession-depressed among you.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Don’t look a fee horse in the mouth.

Instead, check out his legs, pedigree and race record.

I bring this up in light of the news report last week that yet another tell-some book about Donald Trump revealed that Trump once tried to pay a lawyer with a stallion he claimed was worth $5 million.

The lawyer turned down the offer. This was either the smartest or the dumbest thing the lawyer could have done.

My advice to you if you’re presented with a similar offer is to consider it and do some research. Some horses are worth — commercially-speaking — practically nothing. Other horses are worth many millions.

To give you just one example from the world of thoroughbreds (which are not the only type of amazingly expensive horses), a stallion named Tapit was bred to 110 mares last year. His public stud fee is $185,000. Not everyone paid that much, but you get the idea. Tapit would not be a fee you should turn down.

My favorite part of this, though, is the illustration below that the Huff Post used to accompany the horse fee story. It came with the caption “Donald Trump and a horse (generic file photo).”

This was for those of you who had no idea what a horse looked like.

Trump, by the way, is the one on the left (I think).

The Huffington Post used provided an insightful cutline for this composite image used to illustrate an article. (Screenshot via Courthouse News)

Thanks for the help? It’s not often that I guffaw when reading the business section of a newspaper. Heck, it’s not often that the word “guffaw” comes to mind.

But I had to guffaw last week when I saw a lengthy piece in the Los Angeles Times with the headline: “Money advice for the recession-weary.”

That was the headline in the print version. (Yes, I read the print version. I’m elderly and back in my day…. Oh, never mind). I found a different headline for the online version when I looked it up to give you this link. That headline was “Is a recession coming? 4 money moves to make right now.”

“Ah!” you might think. “The $3.66 I paid for the newsstand edition is going to pay off if I’m getting advice like this!”

The article begins by telling us that people are worried about the economy, but the Times has spoken to four experts and they have recommendations that we can read about in the following six — not four — sections with mini headlines (or subheads, as we call them in the biz).

Here are two of the subheads: “Increase your income” and “Maximize your compensation.”


Why didn’t I think of those things?!? Really good advice. That advice was so nice they offered it twice.

OK, I know I’m having too much fun with this — I realize that you have to fill the newspaper with something.

My advice to the Times: “Increase your reporting” and “Maximize your journalism.” Also, get some better experts.

I did appreciate the illustration that came with the article:

Image used to illustrate a Los Angeles Times article on the recession. (Screenshot via Courthouse News)

This cries out for a caption contest. I think it’s meant to illustrate the mind-melting joy of realizing that all you have to do is increase your income.

Bad example. Free speech issues can be so difficult — especially when it comes to speech in and around schools. One parent’s factual history or science lesson can be another parent’s critical race theory or godless evolution.

Are classrooms supposed to protect children from uncomfortable reality or are they supposed to prepare children for uncomfortable reality?

You don’t need my opinion on these issues. I’m only pointing this out because a woman named Elizabeth Caparelli-Ruff has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against a school district in Kane County, Illinois, because she lost her job as executive director of Middle School and Secondary School Services after promoting a raffle in support of an election campaign.

One of the raffle prizes: a handgun.

Said the lawsuit: “The Plaintiff has a valid interest as a citizen of the community to comment on matters of public concern, including the promotion of the gun raffle in support of her campaign for Regional Superintendent of Schools for Will County, which outweighs any purported concerns of District 131 that led to the Defendant terminating the Plaintiff’s employment.”

Does it?

I’d be concerned.

Maybe she should have found something else lying around the house to raffle off.

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