My name is Elizabeth but please call me Lisa
77 stories

Yes, the Supreme Court COULD have declined the case, but then what?

1 Comment

“They could have just declined the case” is the overly simplistic but misleading version of Supreme Court law and practice being fed to laypersons by many celebrity television commentators who were rushed on air to breathlessly critique the Court’s grant of certiorari to Donald Trump’s presidential immunity petition.

But they’re not telling you the whole story.

Yes, the Court COULD have declined to take the case. But that’s only part of the story. Among the things the talking heads aren’t telling you is what would happen if the Court DIDN’T take the case.

Had the Supreme Court declned to hear the case, that would not have made Trump’s immunity claim go away or clear the way for him to be held accountable. It would have just settled the issue only for one case, the January 6th prosecution in the DC Federal District Court.

But it would not have been settled anywhere else outside of the DC Circuit, including in Florida where Trump has also raised the same immunity claim in his documents case.

It is possible that, unless the Supreme Court issues a ruling, Judge Aileen Cannon will accept Trump’s immunity argument, which would dismiss the case outright. But, regardless how she rules, the losing side would then appeal the dismissal to the 11th Circuit, which would take several weeks, if not months, to rule. Once they rule, the losing party would appeal and the same issue would be right back before the Supreme Court to be dealt with since it had not ruled on it previously – while the documents case sits on hold.

Same thing in Georgia. If the Court declined the DC appeal, the issue of immunity would remain unsettled everywhere else in the US and Trump would still have an opportunity to raise it anywhere else, including in his Georgia RICO case. If so, he would surely file a motion to dismiss on immunity grounds, just as he did in Florida. Again, whoever is on the losing ends would appeal to the state appellate court. Whoever lost there, would then appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. And then – you guessed it – the immunity claim would eventually go back up to the US Supreme Court, while the Georgia case remains on hold.

In other words, if the Supreme Court had declined to hear this case, they may have sped up the Jnauary 6 trial, but would have allowed Trump to indefinitely delay just about any other criminal proceeding against him anywhere else in the country for much longer than it will take for the Court to permanently resolve the immunity issue raised in this case.

However, by taking this appeal now on a very expedited basis, the Court is going to settle this question once and for all. Their ruling will apply not just to the DC case, but to every criminal case involving Trump or any subsequent president in any court anywhere in the country. While it may delay this one trial for a few weeks or a couple of months, hearing this appeal will prevent huge delays down the road.

The television commentators aren’t telling you any of this. Instead, they are treating this case as a one-off and ignoring the many reasons that the Supreme Court decides to hear appeals and issue rulings in important cases. They are spinning only one scenario – that the Court “could have declined the case” as if, in refusing to take this case, they would have forced Trump to immediately face justice and there would have been no other negative consequences outside of this particular case.

These commentators have no idea why the Court took this case, which justices votes to accept cert, or how they’re going to eventually rule.

But rather than simply explain the legal issues, or, if they feel compelled to speculate, lay out the different reasons the Court could have taken up the case, they are speculating and second-guessing about motives and thought processes and evil intentions and getting laypersons who don’t understand federal appellate practice and procedure all worked up and anxious and suspicious.

Much of this is the result of them trying to cover their own butts after predicting for weeks that the Court wouldn’t take the case. Now that the Court proved their predictions wrong, rather than just admit they were mistaken, they are claiming the Court is doing something outrageous when they know nothing of the kind.

Yes, it is possible that the Court (or even just a couple of the justices) decided to take the case to delay or to get Trump off the hook. But it is just as likely – in fact, more likely – that the Court took the case for the reasons I described: to settle the matter firmly and finally so that Trump’s immunity claim is shut down everywhere for all time.

I don’t know the reason the Court granted cert. Neither do any of the legal “experts.” But, unlike them, I have taken the time to think this through and to try to provide a fuller understanding of how all of this works and am not just throwing out red meat to keep you angry and fearful.

Their approach to “legal analysis” is lazy, incomplete and irresponsible. Please don’t accept everything they’re telling you at face value. Their aim is not to educate or enlighten, but to entertain and agitate so the audience will keep coming back for more.

Let’s wait to see what the Supreme Court does. We may find that all the drama and angst provoked by th teevee talkers was a waste of time and energy.

Read the whole story
48 days ago
This. 💯
California Bay Area
Share this story

Be still my beating heart


In early November, just about a month ago, I woke up tired. I’m old so this is not really out of the ordinary.

I still got out of bed, did my business and then took the dog outside to do his. Pro tip: always go yourself before you have to stand around waiting for someone else to unload.

Anyway, tired.

Before heading to the kitchen for my usual bagel, fruit and coffee, I went downstairs to check on my son and make sure he was up in time to make it into the office for work. I’m retired. He’s not.

But getting back up the stairs was so exhausting that I told my wife I would lay back down for awhile.

Now I was tired, in bed again and feeling sick.

Thinking that eating something would make me feel better, I forced myself up and staggered toward the breakfast bar.

Then fell down before I could reach it.

But I didn’t pass out or, thankfully, bash my head on the kitchen counter.

What the fuck was happening to me? I felt dizzy and weak, all wispy and aflutter. My breathing was labored with an unpleasant pressure in my chest. My fingers and toes were going numb.

Unable to stand on my own, my wife helped me into a chair. And told me I looked pale. I told her to get my son. And then call 911.

I won’t deny being fearful. This was some crazy, scary shit because, despite being 58 years old and overweight, I was remarkably healthy. Nothing really bad had ever happened to me. Until now.

But I thought if this was a heart attack, it’s nothing like what happens on TV. Or how my father described it to me. Other than not being able to get a full breath, I wasn’t actually in pain.

The paramedics arrived within just a few minutes. Surprisingly fast, really. And laid me flat on the floor to take my vitals, blood pressure and a quick electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG or EKG.

That ECG told them I was (good news) not having a heart attack. But it also wasn’t normal. Not even close.

A resting heart rate is supposed to be between 60 and 100 beat per minute. Mine was north of 180. I was essentially running a marathon while laying down.

At least sometimes it was that high. But, really, my heart rate was just bouncing up and down, out of control.

That meant a ride in the stretcher limo and straight to the hospital.

Maybe it’s fate or only fortune, but I live just two and a half miles away from one of the top ten cardiac care facilities in the United States. And as soon as I got there, they knew exactly what was wrong.

I was having atrial fibrillation.

The human heart has four chambers. The top two are the atria. The bottom two are the ventricles. Fibrillation is an arrhythmia or irregular and uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle.

When fibrillation occurs in the atria, it reduces blood flow efficiency. When it occurs in the ventricles, it causes sudden cardiac death. So you want to avoid that flavor of it.

The good news is that while atrial fibrillation is very unpleasant, it won’t kill you. Not directly anyway.

But if the arrhythmia persists, then your uncoordinated, inefficient atria can become blood clot manufacturing facilities. And that could precipitate a stroke. Which can, yes, very quickly make you very dead.

So I was given blood thinners to prevent a stroke and other medication to slow my heart rate.

Unfortunately, the drugs didn’t convert my heart rate back into normal sinus rhythm. But my cardiologist told me it’s no big deal because another technique can do that 99% of the time.

It’s called electrical cardioversion.

The plan was to fix the short circuit in my heart by resetting it with a strong jolt of electricity. So strong, in fact, that I would need to be briefly put under to prevent trauma. Apparently it hurts. A lot.

By this time I’d had so many needles jabbed into me and so much hair peeled away by multiple ECG sensors, that strapping me to a work bench and rebooting me like a fucking Windows PC didn’t seem all that strange or unpleasant.

And it wasn’t. I don’t remember a thing.

What’s important is that it worked. The first time. And I felt much, much better right away.

After the procedure I asked my cardiologist what caused the atrial fibrillation. He told me that while they still needed to do more tests, I didn’t have any of the obvious risk factors.

“Sometimes shit happens,” he said.

Which endeared him to me immediately as a fellow professional.

The bad news is that I was back in the hospital a few days later. And again a few days after that. Not with atrial fibrillation, they said. But I was still tired and short of breath.

My son called it acute hypochondria and told me I was suffering from “old man’s disease.” Which really amused my cardiologist. Apparently, both of them are comedians.

Maybe after a lifetime of general good health, I was just having panic attacks over one scary cardiac episode.

Or maybe it was just muscle soreness from all that labored breathing. It could even be the damn flu shot they gave me during that first hospital visit.

We don’t know.

In the meantime, they taped a portable heart monitor to my chest for two weeks, costing me more of my manly fur. And treated me to multiple echocardiograms, ultrasounds of my heart, before and after a treadmill stress test. Not to mention multiple chest X-rays.

After all that, I show absolutely no signs of heart disease, valve problems, blocked arteries or excess pericardial fluid. My cardiologist said that I have a perfectly normal, healthy heart. And I can live my life without any special medication or diet.

So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

But I still have a 50% chance of another atrial fibrillation episode during the next year. Why? Because those are the odds for anyone who’s ever had it once.

To prevent further stupid trips to the emergency room, I bought an AliveCor Mobile ECG for my iPhone. It can very quickly detect atrial fibrillation as well as many other cardiac problems. It’s worth it just for the peace of mind.

The other thing that makes me feel good about this whole ordeal is the response from family and friends.

My wife and son, of course, were by my side the entire time. Another reason I love them. And my sister and in-laws were checking on me constantly. That’s what our family does.

But the response from all of you out there was amazing. Thank you so much, my friends, for your concern and support. Seriously.

And to everyone who told me to “calm the fuck down,” yes, I got the joke. And I really deserved that advice this time.

Read the whole story
3054 days ago
Thank you, sir!
California Bay Area
Share this story
1 public comment
3054 days ago
Hope you feel better @donmelton wishing you and your family happy and healthy holidays
Saitama, Japan

∞ Apple Confidence

1 Comment

1. The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

Confidence is a powerful feeling. It makes countries strong, athletes perform amazing feats and it allows companies, like Apple, to release products that bring a smile to faces around the world. As strong as confidence can be, lack of confidence can be absolutely devastating.

We are seeing both of these situations in the tech market these days.

Listening to analysts and the mainstream media suggest what Apple needs to do in order to maintain its success falls somewhere between amusement and frustration in the emotional scale. Reading their actual comments is as insufferable as finger nails on a chalkboard.

On of the favorite comments is “Apple needs to release a game changing product,” or some such nonsense. My reaction is always the same: Really, show me a company that doesn’t need or want to release a game changing product.

This is where Apple shows a lot of restraint in its product releases. They could release many more models of the iPhone than they currently have available. Such a move would arguably make Wall Street happier, but it would be confusing for the consumer, and quite frankly, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

When you walk into an Apple store to buy an iPhone, you have two choices—the high-end iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. Your choices are clear, the features for both devices are clear, even the colors are clear. Everything you need to make a decision is very clear. That’s a benefit for Apple and the consumer.

What is it that allows a company to only have two models of one of the world’s most successful product? Confidence.

It’s the same confidence that allows Apple to update its iPhone models once a year, instead of every few months. Confidence allows them to dominate the upper end of the smartphone market. It’s also that feeling that won’t let Apple release a low-end, cheap device and slap the iPhone name on it just to gain market share.

Compare that confidence with what I see as a complete lack of confidence in the industry. You could choose almost any other phone maker in the world and see how having no confidence in their product strategy affects how they sell to consumers.

Those 2-for-1 sales are classic ways to drive sales of a product, but it also indicates that the company doesn’t care much about the product or brand. When was the last time you saw Apple offer a 2-for-1 sale on any product? They don’t, because they don’t have to—they care about the brand and the products they produce, so they take the time to get it right the first time. Apple doesn’t have to continuously offer new models because the one new model they have is exactly what they want to sell.

Samsung’s tactic of releasing a dozen Galaxy S4 models to keep things fresh for consumers reeks of a lack of confidence. Throw as many products out there as you can and see what sells—that’s not a successful long term strategy.

That’s effectively what Samsung did with the Galaxy Gear too. Release a smartwatch that was uncomfortable, has poor battery life and really doesn’t do anything beyond adding a step to seeing what’s on your phone.

It’s pretty clear that if you made a list of feature you would like to see on a smartwatch, the Gear doesn’t begin to measure up. So why would Samsung release a product like that? It seems the only reason is to be first on the market, which shouldn’t be a motivating factor for a company if they want to change the way we think about a product category.

Apple hasn’t released or even announced its so-called iWatch yet, but even with the competitors releasing their products, we expect more from Apple. We expect more because we know that Apple can do better.

You don’t need to invent a product category in order to change it. Apple has proven this many times with the iPod, iPhone, iPad and even the Apple TV. Existing markets have been revolutionized because Apple relied on its confidence to change an entire market by doing things better.

Apple finds a problem, devises a way to fix the problem, and releases an easy to use product that seemingly delights users. That is the way to solve a problem and grow a successful business.

Read the whole story
3703 days ago
"Yep." :)
California Bay Area
Share this story

The Loop Magazine: Memories of Steve Jobs

1 Comment

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steve Jobs and everything he did in his life, so I wanted to put together an issue of The Loop Magazine dedicated to Steve and his accomplishments. What better day to publish it than on Steve’s birthday.

I gathered together people that worked with Steve and those that were influenced by his extraordinary life. Former Apple executive, Richard Kerris, tells of introducing Jobs to The Rolling Stones to show off iTunes before it was released to the public; Don Melton, former head of the Safari team at Apple, tells of a number of interactions with Jobs; Industry analyst, Tim Bajarin, recounts how he watched Steve grow into the showman we all saw on stage; Actor Matthew Modine played John Scully in the recently released “Jobs” movie and talks about that experience; Matt Gemmell believes we’ve all met Steve through his work; and Jonathan Zufi talks about why he set out to photograph as many Apple products as he could to publish “Iconic,” a design book about Apple.

You can download The Loop Magazine from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.

∞ Read this on The Loop

Read the whole story
3707 days ago
Hopefully another reason to subscribe.
California Bay Area
Share this story

This is all about dogs taking shits. If that sort of thing grosses you out, don’t read it.

1 Comment

This is all about dogs taking shits. If that sort of thing grosses you out, don’t read it.

I walked out into the backyard, and got the dog-shit-picker-upper-thing out of the place where it lives. I carried it to the lawn, and began using it for its prescribed purpose.

After a couple of scoops, Marlowe joined me on the lawn. “You guys sure do poop a lot,” I said. She looked at me with sweet eyes and a pibble smile.

I continued to pick up their dirty, sinful business, and Riley arrived. She surveyed the situation, and decided to take a huge shit in the middle of the yard. “Thanks for not waiting until I put this away, Piles,” I said.

I turned my back to her and worked my way toward the back of the lawn. The sun was warm on my back, a very light breeze rustling the leaves on the camphor trees.

I turned around just in time to see Marlowe eating Riley’s poop.

“Goddammit, Marlowe! Stop eating shit!” I said.

She took a few steps away from me, looking guiltily back over her shoulder. “That is so gross, dude. Don’t do that!”

She looked at me, hunched her back, and pooped. I’m pretty sure she was thinking, “I’m sorry. Here, let me put it back.”



Read the whole story
3737 days ago
When you have dogs, this kind of thing happens more often than you would believe.
California Bay Area
Share this story

Netflix’s Dumbed-Down Algorithms

4 Comments and 5 Shares

Felix Salmon:

Netflix’s big problem, it seems to me, is that it can’t afford the content that its subscribers most want to watch. It could try to buy streaming rights to every major Hollywood blockbuster in history — but doing so would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and could never be recouped with $7.99 monthly fees. What’s more, the studios can watch the Netflix share price as easily as anybody else, and when they see it ending 2013 at $360 a share, valuing the company at well over $20 billion, that’s their sign to start raising rates sharply during the next round of negotiations. Which in turn helps explain why Netflix is losing so many great movies.

Netflix’s movie selection is getting so bad that I’m quite surprised when it actually has a movie I’m looking for.

See also: Can I Stream It — a unified search service for movies and TV shows across iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go, and more.

Read the whole story
3755 days ago
Holy crap! I've never heard of "Can I Stream It."
California Bay Area
3755 days ago
I use it once a week. Great site.
3754 days ago
It says no a lot
Share this story
2 public comments
3755 days ago
Just now you're surprised when they have a movie? That's been a problem with their streaming service since the beginning. It's the main reason I haven't dropped by blu-ray/DVD service from them.
Bartlett, IL
3754 days ago
Kids shows is what keeps streaming at my house, otherwise I'd never use it. We do discs all the time
3754 days ago
Exactly! Kids shows is what gets used the most. Although, older tv series I want to watch also is a good match.
3755 days ago
Personally I find that the only issue Netflix really has (besides stupid regional limits and forced subtitles which often go hand in hand, no Scandinavian subtitles, not available in Scandinavia) is the same problem that every platform that gives you digital access to TV and movies has. Availability of new content. I'd gladly pay for the latest season of, well, any show directly on iTunes but oh, no TV there at all and Netflix has nothing remotely new (except Breaking Bad I suppose).

I don't get why they insist that people wait for local TV to maybe air a show or for Netflix to have it years later. It makes sense for a US TV channel to want people to watch their shows on TV first but outside the US they're just encouraging piracy...
Next Page of Stories