The Jury Question

Many years ago, back in the 1970’s, you could, on rare occasions, actually learn something watching a TV crime drama. And so it was that way back when, Dave watched an episode of Quincy, M.E., during which he learned a fact about how Jury trials can work that he retains even today. That single fact is helpful when we recall the purpose of the Jury is to serve as a mighty bulwark against government. To make certain that government isn’t allowed to just run roughshod over accused citizens.

At the same time, that simple fact also makes certain that a person who is guilty can’t hide behind confusion and misdirection.

Back in 2012, a man stood accused of hacking into PriceWaterhouse and stealing the Romney’s tax returns, which he threatened to release to the highest bidder if he didn’t get paid $1Million in digital currency. The self-named “Dr. Evil,” was about as competent as his nom de guerre, and ended up in the custody of the US Secret Service, who take a dim view of people threatening potential Presidents with blackmail. He denied being involved, of course, and eventually found himself sitting in front of a Jury as the Secret Service laid out their digital case against him.

It was extremely complicated, and for people who aren’t computer experts, somewhat confusing. To make sure that the Jury understood the case, the Judge allowed the same thing that Dave learned watching Quincy, M.E., all those years ago to happen…

Emu Wedding… It Was in Escalon..

Original Airdate: May 17, 2012

It way on this day in 2012 that a 14 year old boy bit into a Wendy’s hamburger and provided much entertainment to Dave, John and Mazzy. More importantly, Donna Summer passed away, which was sad, but at the same time allowed Dave to at long last forgiver her for the long national nightmare she inflicted on the entire nation in 1978.

It turned out that Mazzy was quite the Richard Harris fan, and his clothes as well. Also at least two of the Gibb Brothers remain dead. But  in any case, the boys, know how the whole Wedding DJ thing works, including what songs get the wrong people dancing…

Pondering The Fail Safe

Normally a Monday goes kind of like this: Get up between 0600 and 0630. Get coffee. Read online papers and listen to the TV news. Check Fantasy baseball waiver wire (I am having a terrible season). Around 0730, wake up Ben. Feed Ben. Pack lunch for Ben, dress Ben and generally finish tasks until 0843, then we leave for school. At 0900 Ben starts school, so I return home to finish up a few things and then by 0930 or so I try to be in the studio to record whatever it is that I have cooked up for the days podcast.

Usually I have had the weekend to think about things, and I have some remarkable thought that I want to build a show around. For example, we stayed in a hotel this weekend where Ben insisted on reading to us the emergency procedures every time we passed them. Specifically he was most concerned that in the event of a fire, we not use the elevator. He had the “don’t use the elevator” part down, but he wasn’t so clear on the why. I really didn’t want to get too graphic with him, so I tried to explain to him that when the electricity fails the elevator gets stuck and you might roast in the elevator.

Also, I informed him – NEVER use an elevator on a ship. Period. Always take the stairs. He wanted to know why, and I didn’t have the heart to share with him the stories about the Lusitania cooks who panicked and tried to escape using the elevator. So I just told him that if the ship floods, it’s easier to swim up the stairs than it is the elevator.

Which all left me to thinking about elevators and emergencies. Specifically, why don’t elevators have Fail Safe systems built into them so that when power is lost, they automatically descend to the next floor down and open the door? Or even the lobby floor? Why are they designed so that they just stop on loss of power? On a submarine, when we lose power, the Main Ballast Tank Vents “fail shut.” They fail in a position that allows them to function and the submarine to blow ballast and surface. It didn’t seem to me that elevators would be that difficult to design to fail safe.

So normally I would have worked that into a conversation this morning about how the plan for the firing of James Comey didn’t appear to have a built in fail safe; or how the PDRK missile launch flew for 700km over thirty minutes (seriously?) lacked a fail safe system. It would have been something along those lines.

But instead of all of that, today I have a rare opportunity to spend time with my parents and some extended family I have not seen since… 2006, I believe.

If you know anything about me, you know that my family is simply the most important thing there is. In the past year I have learned a great deal about our history. But sadly, I have also discovered how much of that history is lost. Forever.

So I have this rare opportunity and I am taking it. As you read this I am probably sitting around a table engaged in a conversation about the past. My past. My family’s past.

All so that I can try to preserve as much of it as I can, for the future.

See ya tomorrow.

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