Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 5.10.00 PM

In years’ past, I’ve heard the word presumptive used to describe a political party’s nominee during that period after the primaries have determined a winner, but before the convention delegates make it official.

But this year, it has seemed to be used so much during the past couple of months, that I decided to check Google Trends. Sure enough, it’s been a banner year the word presumptive.

I’ve been trying to recall what words were used in the past instead of presumptive. Likely? Assumed? Anticipated?

Perhaps the reason presumptive was googled so much this year was wishful thinking by people hoping the two presumptive nominees would change their minds and decide to run for office in another country.

Tony Schwartz Could Have Saved Civilization

trump-shadeJane Mayer’s New Yorker magazine piece about Tony Schwartz, ghost-writer of Trump’s book, Art of the Deal, is depressing.

While yes, it’s depressing to learn what Schwartz is revealing–that his 18 months of being embedded with Trump convinced him that Trump is a “sociopath”–that’s not what I’m talking about. Even his fans would probably admit he’s, well, “different,” when it comes to his personality. And, frankly, the word “sociopath” is not really a clinical term these days, if my TV crime-show training is correct. I think the “politically correct” term is antisocial personality disorder. But then, we know that Trump is not a fan of the politically correct.

Here’s what’s depressing: That Schwartz waited so long.

To Mayer, he admitted, “I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

I don’t care that Schwartz now says he’s donated to charities his percentage of the proceeds from the books sold (a 50% cut) since Trump announced he was running for President.

I don’t care that Schwartz now says he hasn’t been able to sleep since then, as well.

I care that he has waited until Trump is one of only two people who will be our next President…and it has taken him over a year to share his unique insight with the rest of us, “that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

I’m sorry, but if someone thinks there is an “excellent possibility” that “the end of civilization” will occur if people don’t know what he knows, that person doesn’t have the liberty of sitting on such information for over a year–or several decades if one goes back to the original publishing date..

It may have meant something during all those rallies when Trump held up the book and claimed it was the best book ever written (except when he discovered the evangelical vote, he changed that to “second best after the Bible”).

Now it’s a little too late for Schwartz to ask for a Martin Niemöller-esque mulligan on saving civilization. You said nothing when it mattered most.

No, Mr. Schwartz, you were the boy with his finger in the dike.

You waited too long.

You could have saved civilization, but you blew it.

As I’ve written before, Trump backers won’t care.

They won’t believe Schwartz, now.

Even Trump knows he could take a gun out on 5th Avenue and start shooting people and his backers won’t care.

That’s why it’s depressing.

Actual Good Deals on Amazon Prime Day


Some people celebrate Amazon’s Prime Day by trying to be funny in tweets with the hashtag #PrimeDay or #PrimeDayFail. Once in a while they are funny. But mostly, they are ham-fisted, profane and goofy.

Once in awhile, the Amazon deal is actually a good deal.

Here are the best places to look for good stuff. Well, best if you have my narrow tastes. (Note, the links are affiliate links. I think I’ve made $5 in commissions since 2004):

Amazon devices
Power tools, yes!
Bicycle stuff
Hammock stuff

And then there is this worst-ever Prime Day Deal and an affront to the Rex brand.


This post has some suggestions about where to look for deals from local sellers on Amazon.

U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index

A database and search tool that provides the most recent cases and decisions related to different facets of fair use.


I ran across the U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index recently. Since my legal training is from the Jackass School of Law, I’ve never attempted to dive into the deep end of legal research. But the approach of this search tool uses is tightly focused on the most recent cases relevant to the many different facets of fair use. It’s one of those hidden-gem resources you can find on government websites when you are looking for information that’s more than the Wikipedia version.

How the U.S. Copyright Office describes the Fair Use Index:

The Fair Use Index tracks a variety of judicial decisions to help both lawyers and non-lawyers* better understand the types of uses courts have previously determined to be fair—or not fair. The decisions span multiple federal jurisdictions, including the U.S. Supreme Court, circuit courts of appeal, and district courts. Please note that while the Index incorporates a broad selection of cases, it does not include all judicial opinions on fair use. The Copyright Office will update and expand the Index periodically…

For each decision, we have provided a brief summary of the facts, the relevant question(s) presented, and the court’s determination as to whether the contested use was fair. You may browse all of the cases, search for cases involving specific subject matter or categories of work, or review cases from specific courts. The Index ordinarily will reflect only the highest court decision issued in a case. It does not include the court opinions themselves. We have provided the full legal citation, however, allowing those who wish to read the actual decisions to access them through free online resources (such as Google Scholar and Justia), commercial databases (such as Westlaw and LEXIS), or the federal courts’ PACER electronic filing system, available at

*By coincidence, “non-lawyering” was my major at the Jackass School of Law.

Radio Lab’s Seven-Episode Podcast Series About the Supreme Court is Beyond Perfect

More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings


I’ve just listened to a couple of episodes about the workings of the Supreme Court in the seven-part podcast series, More Perfect. The series is the first spin-off from the Radio Lab folks at WNYC Studios. The host is Jad Abumrad, the founder and co-host of Radio Lab.  (Did I mention Abumrad, a MacArthur Fellow, is a Nashville native?)

More_Perfect___NPRIf you are familiar with the production approach of Radio Lab, you’ll recognize how the podcast episodes are edited with layering approaches that are like those you’d hear in recorded music, not spoken word reporting. This is a signature of Abumrad, who majored in music at Oberlin College and, well, have I mentioned he’s a native of a place that has the nickname, Music City?

The episodes are also filled with parenthetical conversations that allow Abumrad to interject questions to the reporter right at a point where the listener may be getting a bit confused. “I can’t believe I’m hearing you say that,” Abumrad says at one point when the show’s lawyer explains a way in which the legal system works.

According to the show’s website, “More Perfect, dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench….More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings.”

I agree.

Another thing to check out are the episode pages for the way in which they provide and organize links related to all aspects of the podcast. Well done. Here’s the page for one of the episodes I heard.