Monthly Archives: August 2007

A bad strategy, though I can’t think of a better one

The Washington Post reports that John Edwards is pinning his presidential hopes on his appeal to white male rural voters. I see only two problems with this strategy. First, white male rural voters are outliers in the Democratic party, and thus are not capable of conferring the nomination upon Edwards. Second, white male rural voters have little reason to support a pretty boy leftist like Edwards. There’s certainly not much »

He said/he said

Thanks to Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), I now know which men’s room to avoid at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The men’s room located in the Northstar Crossing of the terminal is apparently a hotbed of anonymous gay sex. Complaints to that effect prompted the airport police to station Sergeat Dave Karsnia in a stall of the men’s room on June 8, where before long Sergeant Karsnia found himself solicited »

The next AG

In deciding on his nominee for Attorney General, President Bush should focus on three main qualities. The nominee should be a strong conservative and, in particular, one who takes a hard line (as Alberto Gonzales did) on legal issues relating to the war on terror. The nominee should also command a high level of respect inside the Justice Department, which probably entails having significant prior experience at the Department. Finally, »

A spectrum of constitutional thinking

Opening briefs were filed today in the Supreme Court by the parties and amicus curiae who oppose the lower court’s decision in favor of the U.S. government in the Boumediene case. The issues presented are (1) whether the Military Commissions Act of 2006 validly stripped federal court jurisdiction over habeas corpus petitions filed by foreign citizens imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and (2) whether the petitioners’ indefinite military imprisonment as enemy »

Gonzales Resigns

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned; a replacement is expected to be named soon. That confirmation hearing will be something to see. The New York Times leads the story: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. False accusations of perjury, made largely by the Times itself. More apt commentary came from an unnamed administration official: The official »

Reaching out to the unindicted co-conspirators

The Islamic Society of North America is one of the unindicted co-coconspirators of the Holy Land Foundation in the government’s prosecution in federal district court in Dallas. The Counterrorism Blog reports via the Investigative Project on Terrorism: Sayyid Syeed, former Secretary General of ISNA, and current National Director of its Office of Interfaith Relations, is also on the list as a »

William Katz remembers: The book business

William Katz has had a long and varied career, as an assistant to a U.S. senator; an officer in the CIA; an assistant to Herman Kahn, the nuclear war theorist; an editor at the New York Times Magazine; and a talent coordinator at The Tonight Show. He is the author of ten books, translated into 15 languages. He admits to degrees from the University of Chicago and Columbia. When I »

The Most Contemptible Man in American Public Life…

…is what I called Bill Moyers, here. The context was Moyers’s unhinged attack on Karl Rove, the centerpiece of which was Moyers’s claim that Rove is an “agnostic” who has cynically manipulated the Christian right for political gain. You can see Moyers’s tirade by clicking on the graphic below:: Knowing (and caring) nothing of Rove’s religious views, I focused on other aspects of Moyers’s over-the-top display. But Chris Wallace, in »

Should he stay or should he go?

On Friday, Charles Krauthammer argued that the U.S. should work with elements in the Iraqi Parliament to bring down the Maliki government. Krauthammer’s criticism of Maliki seems well-founded. But because Maliki is a symptom of the problems in Iraq and not their cause, it’s difficult to see what would be gained by ousting him. Maliki obtained power because the Shiite population overwhelmingly believed that the Sunnis don’t deserve anything like »

1688 and all that

When I started blogging five years ago, I had been reading fairly diligently for decades but writing very little. Now the situation is reversed; I write almost every day but do far too little serious reading. A week of vacation cannot reverse this deficit, but at least it afforded me the opportunity to make a dent in the pile of books I’d been hoping to read. One of them was »

Iraqi Leaders Announce Agreement on Key Legislative Issues

Five of Iraq’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki and representing Shia, Sunni and Kurdish interests, appeared today on Iraqi television and announced that they had reached agreement on several of the key legislative impasses that have stymied Iraq’s political progress: Iraqi officials said the five leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party joining the civil service and military. »

Highway 61 revisited

We traveled up to Hibbing last night to watch my daughter perform in a concert that concluded her study in a violin camp. I was struck by how small and remote the town is from the Twin Cities as well as how nice the people are. Hibbing is of course the old mining town that is famous as Bob Dylan’s hometown. See the excellent Life in Hibbing page posted by »

Killing fields then and now, part 2

In the Sunday Times (London), William Shawcross comments on President Bush’s citation, in his VFW speech last week, of Shawcross’s column co-authored with Peter Rodman: Not everybody would regard it as a badge of hon-our to be cited favourably by President Bush in a speech about Iraq, but it happened to me last week when Bush warned that the consequences of leaving Iraq precipitously could be a bloodbath even worse »

Major Swanson speaks

The new issue of Minnesota Lawyer features Dan Heilman’s interview with my colleague Peter Swanson. Peter has answered the call to return to duty as a JAG attorney in Baghdad. Minnesota Lawyer has kindly posted the interview on its blog here. Heilman’s intro states that Peter has been “called up.” From conversations with Peter before his return to duty, my understanding is that Peter volunteered for duty in Iraq in »

Grace under pressure

I want to expand just a bit on John’s post below. By day John’s colleague Keith Radtke holds down a corporate practice at Faegre & Benson. He lives outside the Twin Cities in a placid town on the St. Croix River. A fugitive packing two firearms shot at police in Hudson, Wisconsin and then fled across the river to Lakeland, Minnseota to steal a car. When he broke into Radkte’s »

“Fleeing Gunman Meets His Match”–A Lawyer

A wanted criminal, armed with an assault rifle, was apprehended Friday evening in Lakeland, Minnesota, a small town on the St. Croix River, when a homeowner disarmed him and held him while his wife called 911: Authorities were already on the way, in hot pursuit of the 23-year-old Circle Pines man who had terrorized neighborhoods in two states after firing at police in Hudson, Wis. Moments later, he was in »

Echoes of Spain

Many people have drawn historical parallels between Iraq and other conflicts, usually for a partisan purpose. At United Press International, security experts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt offer a new one: The conflict raging in Iraq has been compared to many earlier wars, but the best historical comparison has been largely overlooked. *** The civil war that is the most fitting historical reference point to Iraq today is the Spanish »