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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…


Unintended Disconnect

So… unintended consequences, I suppose. That’s what politicians say, right?

The move is going forward. Cami packed up much of the storage in the garage yesterday, while I worked on some technical stuff. One of the things I had done was schedule utilities for disconnect as their cycles came up. First up, our home phone on the 8th. We never use it anyway. In fact, it (the phone) actually has never worked despite my complaints to the Verizon Frontier people over the years. In fact, the reason that I was never able to have live phones was simply because Verizon Frontier couldn’t get their stuff together and get it working. For four years they kept saying it was “my fault,” meaning it was something internal to the house. When they finally sent a repair man two years ago, he discovered that it was a ground in their junction box almost a mile away.

Needless to say, he did not fix the ground, he simply bypassed it. To another partially ground out line. I gave up.

So now the phone line is gone and I got to tell Verizon Frontier that their service sucks and I am happy to be rid of them.

What I forgot, apparently, is that my internet is connected to that service. So now I am sitting at a local restaurant with free wifi to upload this.

Moving is such a pain in the rear end!

It’s hard to believe that it was four years ago today that John and sat down on a Thursday afternoon to have a chat with you fine people. I had been up most of the night with Ben’s skin issues. We had gone to yet another Doctor in the morning and I was feeling very tired and frustrated. As usual though, John was there to more or less get me on track and we had a fascinating show that day. Ariel Castro’s brothers had turned out to actually not know what he had been doing. Disney had finally given up on trying to trademark The Day of the Dead, and in the 5pm hour we were discussing Article 1 Section 10, Federalism.

In the subsequent years, some have told me that this is hands down the best episode of Constitution Thursday. I am too close to it so I have a hard time choosing. I know which episodes are really good, which are average and which ones, well… needed more prep time. But this one is among the best ones.

I think that both John and I were stunned by its events. At one point John even says, “I don’t want to know how this story ends.”

The hanging of Captain Henry Gale helped to change the direction of the Convention going on in Philadelphia and consequently the nation. And it has lessons that we should never ever forget.

Original Airdate: Thursday, May 09, 2013

Safety in Numbers

As the debates rolled on, the nation considered many elements of the proposed Constitution. In Rhode Island there was grave concern over the idea that the State would not be able to print its own paper currency. In Virginia the Kentucky Counties worried about the navigational rights on the Mississippi River. But nearly everyone agreed on one issue – the idea that if the nation went to war, it would be stronger united than not.

On April 6, 1917, Congress gathered to vote on whether or not the United States should declare war on Imperial Germany. Four days earlier President Woodrow Wilson had made it clear that the United States was needed and ready for the fight against an evil and depraved monarchy that chose war over peace and threatened the entire world. But, he made he clear, that it would not be, it could not be, his decision alone to send the US into World War I.

Despite the changes in the world since 1787, one thing remained the same. It was that one thing that the Framers had in their prescience foreseen: that no one person should ever be allowed to take the US to war.

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