Let’s ditch the jury pool of today!

When the epic Oscar Pistorius murder trial finally came to an end, a judge and two court officials decided his fate — not a jury. That’s because South Africa banned juries in 1969!

South Africa ditched juries amid fears of racial prejudice among jurors and a reluctance on the part of many people to serve. We should do the same thing in the United States.

Jurors with zero legal training in the U.S. often have to decide cases involving mind-bending issues like patent law. The trouble being that many intelligent people who could best understand those issues, try to duck jury duty because they don’t want to miss work, a planned vacation or whatever.

As a result, juries may consist of people who are least equipped to understand the issues before them. Even if a jury does have intelligent people serving on it, those people are most likely not legal experts.

Law professor Peter Van Koppen explained why this is problematic in a 2009 essay arguing that jurors often have to decide “technical issues beyond their aptitude.” In that essay published in the e-journal “Anatomy of a Jury Trial,” Van Koppen pointed out that you wouldn’t want a panel of lay people acting as doctors. So, why would you want regular people deciding the fate of defendants? The work done by a jury isn’t that different from the work of a scientist like a doctor, he wrote.

“A scientist has to make inferences about states of affairs that cannot be observed directly, inferring from evidence that can be observed. And that is precisely what a jury has to do: make a decision about the guilt of the defendant based on the evidence presented at trial,” Van Koppen wrote. “That is a scientific enterprise that surpasses the intellectual aptitude of most laypersons who are called to jury duty.”

No here’s a thought if the US wants to continue to pursue this insanity. Why not take willing and able citizens and train them to at least understand the basics! They could be placed into a pool of ‘certified jurors’ that would be picked at random and then used on a regular basis. The would be a great improvement over what some courts must settle for nowadays. The other piece of advice I would give anyone who is facing a trail would be to ask for a trail by a judge and skip the jury all together! Note: Some text used here was taken from an article published in Business Insider.



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Random food thoughts!

Hamburger heaven at home!

11aOutside, it was an overcast December day with clouds that were leaking from time to time. Inside was a different story, though, as I was preparing a most bodacious hamburger and French fry type of lunch!

When making a hamburger at home, the ingredients you use will go pretty far in determining how tasty the finished burger may be. In my case, I like to purchase preformed patties made from 81/19% lean to fat and premium buns like Pepperidge Farm’s Golden Potato Hamburger Buns! Those two guys, along with a couple of condiments and a veggie or two add up to a good eating experience! Not that for a real tomato taste, I use sliced cherry tomatoes during the winter months!

For the French fries I often raid the freezer for seasoned frozen fries that get popped into the convection oven for about twenty minutes at 390 degrees. They come out hot and crisp! Just the way I like them!

Hamburger hell, for kids working fast food joints!

momentum-machinesIn response to a growing demand for insanely higher minimum wages, some fast food emporiums are looking at alternative solutions! One San Francisco-based company , Momentum Machines, says it has already built a working hamburger-making robot that can do the job of up to three kitchen workers, grilling a beef patty, adding lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions and dropping it all on a bun. It can reportedly produce up to 400 hamburgers per hour. “Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” co-founder Alexandros Vardakostas has said. “It’s meant to completely obviate them.”

So, I guess when you’re faced with paying your employees $15 an hour, you might just be forced to innovate the problem away….

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Lunch at Subway’s!

subway-counterAt some point last summer, I stopped at a Subway located near my home in Forsyth Missouri and fell in love with their Cold Cut Combo 6” meal deal! (A great lunch time selection and hopefully a healthy addiction over time)!

And so it was on one of the coldest mornings of the 2016- 2017 winter, that I stopped at the 14974 US Hwy 160 venue (a location that was just to the north of small town of Forsyth Missouri), to grab a midday lunch! And, yes, I knew exactly what I wanted to chow down on!

Their Cold Cut Combo is just one of many sandwich offerings to be found at Subway, but it had tickled my fancy mostly because it was a healthy combo of veggies and meats on bread – simple and wholesome, just like myself. [OK. So, maybe I’m just simple].

I arrived at the popular eatery early on a Tuesday morning, at around about11:30 AM, in order to skirt the crowds that always seem to show up right at about the noon hour. I ambled into the always spotless eatery and found that there was only one person at the order counter. Perfect! But, now a word of caution! When you approach the counter of any Subway in the US, there is most always a great looking display of ‘chips-in-bags’, just begging to be snatched up. But, don’t do it! These little bags of joy are actually ‘caloric weight bombs’! And when they detonate, they can wreck even the most carefully devised diet! Thus, as I approached the counter that morning… I quickly grabbed myself a bag of Lays chips! [So, go ahead and sue me]!

Bag in hand, I then got the attention of the person I like to call the ‘Facilitator’. (That’s the guy or girl who assembles your sandwich according to your instructions). From a strictly procedural standpoint, you first call out the base and style of the sandwich. ‘White bread, 6 inch cold cut combo,’ I stated assertively that morning. The Facilitator eyed me casually and then asked, ‘Ya’ll want that toasted?’ ‘Yes, I do’, I answered back. (My mouth had began to drool a bit, at that point. A troubling, but well understood development from past visits).

That chore accomplished, the last item in the order process was what most always got me flustered. My ‘virginal white bun’ had just come out of the flash oven and it smelled terrific! It was hot-to-trot and merely awaited my personal selection of veggies from what looked to be a cornucopia of mouth watering selection bins that contained every condiment imaginable. (On this day, however, excessive drooling forced me to forego normal speech in favor of a cannibalistic form of grunting and pointing. Thankfully, the Facilitator interpreted these strange gyrations correctly). [FYI – I prefer hot peppers, mayo, lettuce and onion on my cold cut combo]. In no time, the meal was expertly ‘wrapped up’ and I then paid up.

OK, just a word about Subway and the cost of their food. It’s atrocious! Seriously, I sometimes feel like an addict scoring some drug for a hundred dollars. OK, may be not as bad as all that. Still, the 6 inch sub and the bag of chips cost $5.25 including tax! Personally, I think that a little costly! But hey, I’m a true culinary addict, like I said…

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Call me Mr. Blue!



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Merry whatever!


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Is it the last days of America?

New York City – The stock market Dow Jones average was creeping towards the 20K mark as Wall Street investors seemed a bit nervous. Huh? Was it the credit bubble in bonds or was it the the looming increase in interest rates that was bothering them the most? How long, everyone wonders, before this house of cards crumbles?

Europe – Europe today is a complete financial mess. The strongest countries face lackluster economic growth, while the weakest, like Greece, are struggling to recover from depression-like downturns. Politically, things are even worse, as disillusionment with European and domestic institutions and elites is at record levels, and support for far-left and far-right parties is growing, creating political instability. And then there is the immigrant problem.

While the European Union (EU) and the multicultural northern member states prevaricate over a migrant crisis they cannot seem to get a grip on, more conservative Eastern European nations Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have been meeting in Prague to discuss closing the Balkans to illegal immigrants. The entire continent is fast becoming a tender box of unrest.

Asia – Countries like Iraq and Syria are locked in an ever escalating battle of Christians versus Muslims. Tens of thousands lie dead with no end in sight. And, behind the scenes you can see Russian and Iranian officials making long term war plans behind closed doors. Caught in the middle are civilians who are running, but with no welcoming place to go. ISIS, at about 80 thousand strong continue their insane antics in hot spots all over the region and will serve as a focal point for a military buildup in the US under Trump.

China – Bloated with hundreds of millions of dirt poor citizens, a ‘false’ economy and a leadership intent on world dominance and you have all the makings for major upheaval and even war.

The Baltic’s – Sandwiched like meat in between the West and Russia, these countries face a doom and gloom future. This area is very likely to play a large role in future World Wars that could ignite between the super powers.

The above are just a few of the ‘nasties’ that are working behind the scenes in a world that sits on the ragged edge. Not mentioned are fun realities like climate change, rotting infrastructure, probabilities of pandemic disease outbreaks, shortage of water and pollution. All of which will land on the table in front of the newly elected President Donald J. Trump sometime in mid January 2017! Oh. And, did I mention that the US is pretty much flat broke?

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Looking back two generations!

my-grandfatherDaniel William Owen please meet Daniel Wade Owen!

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