Friday, January 25, 2002

Yesterday's Style section of the Washington Post ran a piece on Michael Jordan's soon-to-be ex-wife, Juanita. The article is amazing and revealing, describing Juanita's various legal moves that "encouraged" Michael to play a part in their relationship. She seems impeccably intelligent, especially with the revelation that she is now entilted, at the minimum, to half of Jordan's $398 million personal empire. I wonder what Michael was thinking, if he did engage in all sorts of marital improprieties. Did he so severely underestimate his wife, who is 4 years older and a particularly canny product of Chicago's South Side, to the point where he thought that he, the most famous man on earth could get away with misbehaving and she not know? Or, did he suppose that because he was the most famous athlete on earth, that she would just put up with it because the money was good? I personally think that Jordan should be taken to the cleaners, and that Juanita use her fleet of lawyers to fight hard.

My Missile's Bigger Than Yours
India just completed a test firing of the new missile, over Pakistani objectionsPakistan said that the test, coming at a time of high tension between the two powers over the Kashmir, was a threat to stability. Personally, I never bought this tests-are-unstable line. It's a variation of the argument used against American antiballistic missile tests, as if merely the testing and not the actual deployment of such weapons are dangerous. If this is what the India-Pakistan situation has developed into, with both sides speaking really loudly at one another, popping off their arsenals at no one in particular, then we have certainly avoided a major war in the subcontinent.

Let's Get It On!!
You are a member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. On Monday, you were looking forward to the big Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight to be held at MGM Palace in April. Then, at the press conference, Mike Tyson starts a small war. In Las Vegas, police ask prosecutors to file charges accusing Tyson of sexual assault. Now, what looked like a very hot economic development for post-9.11 Las Vegas is now in danger of never coming off at all. Of course, Tyson could also revisit his now-favorite method of avoiding fights he knows he will lose, biting portions of the human epidermis. Given these considerations, would you vote to give Tyson a license to box?

Flick Picks
In an effort to make ZoNotes more entertaining, I came up with this little game thingy. I will give you guys three items. From those 3 items, you develop a movie title and a plot. Please feel free to use any sort of creative motivation to do so. Ok, let's try this out:

1. Ninjas 2. Priests 3. Supermodels

Death Penalty Continued...
Livy Keithley (C'98) rebuts Aaron Ammerman's (F'00) rebuttal:

"First, let me clarify that my "dark-minded" comment was not a personal attack so much as a generalized attack on the barbaricness of the death penalty in general. Thus, if any offense was taken, I do apologize - and your opposition to the death penalty is duly noted.

That said, I must disagree with the assertion that, simply to have uniformity and moral equivelency, we should abolish the power of prosecutors to plea bargain or not invoke the penalty. Considering the realism of when the DP is and is not evoked in the criminal system today, I personally much prefer the realistic notion that only a handful of cases that qualify for the DP are actually pushed to the limit of invoking the DP. Yes, the idealistic liberal sides with realism, for once.

If I am correct, Aaron's point is that, if we enforce the death penalty at all, we should subject convicts to its wrath in all cases in which it might apply. Doing this serves two purposes: 1) deterrance for the criminal, as a greater incentive to come to justice some other way, and thus possibly reducing the taxing nature of trying DP cases, and 2) sensationalization of the DP in general, so that society as a whole might take notice of this barbaric act and abolish it all together.

The weakness of the deterrance factor is inherent in your latest writing - that being the question of what the innocent defendant does. Remember: as defense attorney Bobby Donnell in "The Practice" (10p, ABC) says, "all my clients are innocent." The basic fact of the criminal system is that people are innocent until proven guilty. Or, as more aptly said by my Crim Law prof, the are "not guilty" until proven guilty. That is to say, you might be guilty as hell (OJ!), but if the prosecution can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty as hell, you walk. It's premised on the notion that our system would rather release 1000 guilty men than convict 1 innocent one. It doesn't always work, but you are correct that it is trying damn hard to be the best it can. That said, if a defendant (and the defendant's lawyer) know that the prosecution has no case, or not enough to push the DP, isn't it to that defendant's advantage to just sit back and literally say "prove it" rather than negotiate his way out of The Chair? If anything, to take away the ability of the prosecutor to use The Chair as an extra bargaining card would only concretize, rather than liquidate, the ability of the prosecution to elicit confessions and bargains.

On the second note, there is what I refer to here as "the Texas factor" (intending no disrespect to the state or its citizens, some of whom might read this here). The Texas Factor is the empirical realization that, the more you use DP in cases where it might be applicable, the less sensitized the population becomes. Why do the DP cases today command any attention? Because they are so infrequent. Because that infrequency lends great weight to the major constitutional argument that they constitute cruel and unusual punishment. To make them "usual," regular, and normal would not only weaken the constitutional arguments against DP, but might just make people stop caring because it is so, well, normal.

On the issue of juries, by no means does the law school teach one about the sacredness of the jury - if anything, at least to this point, the opposite. The juries are 12 people who cannot often grasp what is being told to them (hence the need for experts), do not wish to take on the burden (moral or otherwise) that might be cast to them (especially in DP cases), and are downright unreliable. Why else would the law specifically mandate that jury decisions are not and cannot be legal precedent? It is because juries are fickle, blow around like the wind, have no consistency, and cannot be trusted in the long run, especially with issues like the DP. Considering for a second that DP is taken out of the prosecutor's bag of tricks, and made to be an automatic deliberation upon conviction, there is still no guarantee it will be imposed. Worse still is the danger it will be imposed arbitrarily, i.e. all-white juries in a cop-killer case against a black male, age 18-40.
Your last question I must answer differently: if given the choice between imposing an unjust DP here and there at the prosecutor's discretion, or imposing an unjust DP uniformly in all cases which might mandate it, I choose the former, if only because simple statistics indicate that it will always result in less DP sentences than the latter."

Responses to Wordplay
"Nigeria has no cows.
They forced all their
cows to work in the diamond mines, like the
children. Now they have to
eat diamonds. Diamonds and oil make for a poor

"Decisive action is the practice of faith by other
"Damn straight." --- Jim Dempsey

"You have choices. Someone else gives you options."

Thursday, January 24, 2002

On the Road Again
The Big Dawg heads to the Texas A&M campus at College Station to spend an evening with the Corps of Cadets. These stays help people considering the Corps in that they offer a glimpse of life in the organization. Ernesto was jumpy and excited when I spoke to him last night, hopefully that feeling will stay when he's getting yelled at by angry Corps undergrads. :) Speaking of the Aggies, I cannot believe that the abysmal men's basketball team beat #24 Texas 80-74 in Austin. Who would have thought that?

The Multilateral Pass
Give me your thoughts on the antiterror coalition as it is assembled currently. I tend to think that the coalition is composed of partners doing something visibly and with a large portfolio (U.S./UK), partners with marginal complaints that don't register to the level of significant opposition (the European Union), allies with parallel issues that aggravate the general situation (Israel and India), the strategically acquiescent (Russia), and a state putting its stability in harm's way in order to survive (Pakistan). The outer rings are states previously hampered by terrorism and were previously either unwilling (Yemen, Somalia) or unable (the Philippines) to stop it. Interestingly, this motley collection of states with wildly different interests and calculus for security all essentially followed American lead in the aftermath of 9.11. It seems that the best way to put together multilateral coalitions is not to "ask" for building blocks but to "command" where said blocks are going to be in the general picture by displaying tremendous diplomatic and military capability. Do you think that the Yemenis would have begun their crackdown had it not been for the Americans' display of strength in Afghanistan? Would President Arroyo of the Philippines risked a serious constitutional crisis in her country and invite U.S. forces back to the islands if she didn't think that their presence would help crush Abu Sayaaf?

More of More Death Penalty Debate

Aaron Ammerman (F'00) offers a rebuttal to R. Livingston Keithley's (C'98) comments regarding the death penalty.

"There is a simple fact that our legal system is
founded not on the basis of reason but upon democratic
principles as the next best substitute for reason.
there is a conceit, that i thought was commonly
taught in American law schools, that when those 12
people enter a jury, they are suddenly endowed with
enlightenment and responsibility. they are entrusted
to carry out the most weighty of government
responsibilities as representatives of the American
public. it is this conceit that is the moral foundation
of our current judicial system.

Yes, jury nullification exists. One of your
quickest options for dodging jury service is to ask the
attorneys present whether THEY are familiar with the
principle of jury nullification when they ask you
if there is any reason why you should be excused
from the case. the question alone is usually a
sufficient basis for being eliminated as a potential

"The prosecution can put on a stellar case, the
defense can sit on its thumbs, the jury instructions
can be flawless, the law can be totally on point and
applicable, the guy can be guilty as hell" and he
still goes free

Did he miss that whole OJ thing?

The point is

The system works better than anything else tried
from time to time. I am really very surprised to see
a law student reject a basic concept like "jury"
that is deeply and presumably irreversably enshrined
in the Bill of Rights. would ZoNotes's
liberal like to set aside a right to jury by your
peers in favor of allowing very learned and esteemed
judges who are well respected by their communities to
decide all cases based on their own human whims?
maybe a military tribunal is called for in all
capital cases? Surely the accused would prefer to have
their fate in the hands of the intelligent few
rather than the average dozen. we should be more
amazed by the degree to which a federal judge (appointed
for life) can set aside tomes of law, the opinions
of experts, and the Constitution itself on the
basis "I don't like this law."

Now Livy, esteemed student of law, attacks me
saying that "cave-dwelling dark-minded individuals who
believe in the death penalty should go back to the
Inquisition from whence they came."

If he had actually read my statement, he would have
seen my note:

"Some death penalty opponents know that they can't
eliminate the death penalty, but if we're forced to
live with it, at least let's make it honest"

My point which was largely if not entirely missed
was that death penalty abolition will only have a
chance when we as a society are obliged to confront
it on its bloody moral terms. We as a society are
deeply divorced from the daily demands of American
justice. likewise, throughout dark and unenlightened
eras, many thinkers found the notion of a
"headsman" to be barbaric. when a king or other tyrant
leaves the process of judgment and execution to his
peons, the king's justice loses the divine sanction
wrought through the king's own person.

While this concept might be new to the son of
judges, American does not have a king. it is not a
democracy, yet all authority in the republic stems not
from paper or from God but from the people of that
republic. we have abrogated not solely our right
to be involved in the judicial system but more
importantly our RESPONSIBILITY to be involved in the
execution of our fellow citizens and sundry
foreigners.. although Mr Keithley presumably would hate to
admit it, when a child rapist or cop killer is given
"The Chair" that criminal is not killed by "The
State," he is killed in the name of Mr. Keithley and a
quarter-billion other Americans. if there is blood
on somebody's hands for executing criminals, it is
actually on ALL of our hands. if that thought is
utterly alien to us, then the need to change the
system is even more urgent. To wit:


No Problem-of-God take-home essay is ever going to
solve this dilemma.

We already entrust the lives of men (usually men,
usually brown or black) to the minds and hearts of
12 American men and women on a too-frequent basis.
if we are to realize the significance of this
delegation of power, then we are going to need to
acknowledge that it even exists!! It should not be a
subject that only elicits concern from time to time,
but one that provokes our response each and every

If we assume (and legislate) that a certain crime
because of its nature truly merits lethal
punishment, then with few exceptions, shouldn't every
instance of that crime, however it is defined by law,
deserve to be considered for that same punishment? on
what basis will a prosecutor choose whether a jury
will determine that? We delude ourselves if we
think it is because of the plea-bargaining process.
other crimes do not generally go to trial with a
restriction on the outcome. A prosecutor cannot presume
to tell a judge "okay, we're going to sit here for
a week looking at this embezzlement case, but we're
going to have to insist that if at the end of this,
he's found guilty, the defendant can't have any
jail time since he cooperated with us in the
investigation." If the defendant cooperated to an extent
necessary to justify reducing the potential
consequences before going to trial, why hasn't the plea
bargain been finalized? What is the purpose to going
to a jury trial if it has been finalized?

We can go back to simple game theory (the bane of
all Hoyas) if you like. If we strip our prosecutors
of the privilege of independently waiving capital
punishment (that is, all cases that go to trial will
proceed with the jury's option to elect capital
punishment) then there will be an increased fear of
the court's justice. Consequently, there will be
more pre-trial confessions and plea bargains to avoid

Granted, those who know that they are entirely
innocent will be faced with the stark choice of
admitting guilt to a crime they did not commit or facing a
trial that could lead to death, BUT THAT IS NO
DIFFERENT THAN IT IS TODAY. Do prosecutors only drop
the death penalty when they're NOT SURE if the
defendent is guilty? We should all laugh.

Would we rather have an unjust death penalty used
selectively (dare I say "whimsically") or an unjust
death penalty that at least provides uniform
protection and consistent application for all accused?
Until the armies of the Society of Jesus rise up and
inflict Kant upon us all, we have our choice of
injustices to live with in this world. IGNORING THAT

He's Coming to America
The arrival of Johnny "Taliban" Walker in the U.S. last night now shifts this overengaged soap opera to an American courtroom. It would have suited me better if Walker had been sent to Guantanamo Bay for a few days, but that would create a legal boondoggle befitting a Johnny Cochran-like plea "If in Cuba he's going to sit, you must acquit!!"

Response to Wordplay
The globetrotting Melissa Ryan (F'00) responds to my Wordplay --
"If you own cows and oil, you don't have to
worry about some .com's IPO"
That may be true, but I'm not rushing to
immigrate to Nigeria!

"Decisive action is the practice of faith by other means."

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

As you may or may not know, when I'm not working on ZoNotes, I am the Associate Editor of the Marine Corps Gazette, in Quantico. In our November 2001 issue, we published a piece by military theorist William S. Lind that basically proposed that we should have nuked all of Afghanistan 48 hours after the 9.11 attacks. This February, we run the Letters to the Editor on that approach. Boy, it's a doozy. I've read about and studied the prospects for a nuclear slugfest -- I dedicated my final paper in Military History of NATO (taught by the "dean" of NATO historical material -- Dr. Lawrence S. Kaplan) to a "what-if" scenario between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. However, this whole India-Pakistan conflict is all the rage right now. I don't think either side would use their "immature" arsenals given the difficulties both sides have of perfecting "smart" delivery systems. Then again, maybe the Indians and the Pakistanis don't necessarily need fully-developed nuclear arsenals, and could resort to simply dropping dumb bombs on each other. Thoughts?

Once Biting, Never Shy
It seemed so cliché that perhaps I should have expected it. At the press conference to announce the 6 April fight between champion Lennox Lewis and WBC #1 contender "Munchin' " Mike Tyson, a brawl broke out, with Tyson punching one of Lewis' entourage and allegedly biting the heavyweight champion on the leg. Boxing, at least in the moribound heavyweight division, is a joke. It's highest-profile figure (Tyson) is on the record as having said that he wants to eat Lewis' children. After the scuffle was broken up, I heard on the radio this morning that a sportswriter called out to Tyson and said that he needed a straitjacket. In response, Tyson said that he would "f%(@! you till you love me, b*%^$!"
I want to think that this was staged, as all major media outlets are running this story on or near their front pages. What's a boxing press conference like without a fight, anyway, but a forgettable event? However, if these biting allegations are true, the Nevada Athletic Commission might seriously reconsider allowing Tyson into the ring if he is going to display his more cannibalistic tendencies again. The commission votes next week, but given the potential size of the purse, it may not do anything but register its discontent.

More Thoughts on Executions
After a brief hiatus, R. Livingston Keithley (C'98) makes a return to ZoNotes' pages, responding to Aaron Ammerman's (F'00) posting regarding the death penalty:
"Ammerman's piece in today's ZoNotes. It is interesting that Ammerman brings up the idea of "retribution" and the death penalty. On the short cuff, my personal response is that cave-dwelling dark-minded individuals who believe in the death penalty should go back to the Inquisition from whence they came. But let me expand my Jesuitical liberalistic views....

Ammerman argues that it is 'a function of the people's retribution for crime' that the death penalty is an option in the first place. This presupposes two things, two very important and key ideals, neither of which are as solid upon closer inspection: 1) the idea that it is the people, rather than the representatives of the people, who determine what is good for society, and 2) the death penalty is a form of retribution. I'll address the second point first, if only because it is the fuzziest in my mind, and my real argument is with the first point anyway. Regarding the death penalty being a form of retribution, it is not necessarily such. If it were true and righteous retribution, it would not be the state killing the convicted, it would be the victims (or their relatives, friends, et. al.) getting a turn at killing the convicted. In a truly Kantian world, the only harm done is to the people harmed. Sure, we can argue all the fluff of "social utility" and "social efficiency," and how the "death of one affects us all," but deep down, why is it that people do not seem to really favor the death penalty until it is put to them about "what would you do if your wife/daughter/husband/etc. were killed? Would you still sit on the fence?" While a great comeback to get someone off the proverbial fence, I do believe such a question would be stricken in a court as "argumentative," legalspeak for "yanking my chain" or "getting my goat." At the deepest, most base, most basic of emotions, sure - the death penalty makes perfect sense. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. And then my mind wakes up and says "hey idiot." A collateral argument (for another time, as I coincidentally have 30 pages of reading in Crim Law about - PUNISHMENT and its JUSTIFICATIONS - no shit!) is how a society can condemn the killing of an individual by another and at the same time justify its own killing of that person. Doesn't make sense, except to say it is a purely emotional response - but that, I believe, is what the whole legal system is supposed to get away from, isn't it?

Which leads to the 2nd point, that the people do not make or decide policy or its implications or applications. Plainly put, America is not a democracy - it is a republic. And in this republic, the people elect representatives who decide policy, enforce policy, etc. We as people have knowingly abrogated our responsibility for this, and should not use the death penalty (or anything else) as a vehicle for somehow carving out some niche of "well, we didn't give this part up yet." As an example, in Crim Law we just learned about an idea called "jury nullification." Although the son of 2 judges and lawyers, raised in the law my entire life, friend of multiple lawyers, and now a law student, I had never heard of this concept before. Simply, nullification is the idea that a jury does not have to enforce the law in a trial if it does not want to. You heard me right - the prosecution can put on a stellar case, the defense can sit on its thumbs, the jury instructions can be flawless, the law can be totally on point and applicable, the guy can be guilty as hell, and if the jury goes back and decides "we just don't want to convict this guy", they don't have to, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Nothing. Now, think about that for a second: the people elect legislators, the legislature goes to all this trouble to create laws, the judiciary creates this framework for enforcement of the laws, but ultimately that means nothing if 12 people just don't feel like enforcing the law for whatever reason. It's really a big deal in Crim Law circles (as I am beginning to learn, apparently), but the idea personally scares the hell out of me. 12 people and their emotions ultimately deciding what the law really is - what good is having law at all? I am personally thankful it is not well publicized and known (even in son-of-judges circles ;-).

Now you flip nullification, and say that, with all these laws and checks and balances and processes and services, somehow we should subject every suspect to the whim and fancy of 12 people regarding punishment (despite legislative mandate, prosecutorial belief and argument, and judicial oversight), especially when considering a punishment as severe as death? Again, I think not.

Absent the "nullification" of the death penalty as a whole (to mix metaphors terribly), the current system of checks, balances, and prosecutorial decisions is more than fair and balanced when it comes to invoking the "worst of all punishments." If a prosecutor believes that circumstances are extenuating enough not to justify The Chair, or even simply that there is not evidence to convict of 1st degree murder (& The Chair), and the prosecutor can only convict on manslaughter, that is the responsibility the people gave to the prosecutor (especially in jurisdictions where the DA making the decisions is elected by the people - there, the people especially decided not to manage the DA's decisions so much as to elect him/her as their representative. You don't like the DA's decision? Vote for someone else...) To argue that we should leave such decisions as the death penalty to the angry emotions of 12 people is to reverse 200 years of legal progress in this nation, in a legal system that (though flawed) is a model for the world to follow."

Here is Gil Cabrera's take:
"Interesting... The death penalty discussion is interesting, but would also destroy (or more likely hamper) plea bargaining in every capital case. The death penalty is often used as the bargaining chip after all."

DVD Questions
What makes a Region 2 DVD different from its American counterparts? Anybody with a tech background know why? If miffs me mighty that I could conceivably buy Seasons 2 and 3 of Buffy from Amazon.UK but wouldn't be able to play them here in the states because my computer's DVD player doesn't take. I can live with the absurdity of "watching the computer," but what gives?

"If you own cows and oil, then you don't have to worry about some .com's IPO."

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

GU IS NOW 12-6, (3-3 BIG EAST).

Inside the Apple's Core
Sunday's day trip to New York had many, many highlights. After a jolly good breakfast at the Diner on the Square, we went down to Ground Zero to pay our respects. It is a sad place, but it's amazing that the city can come together the way that it did. We then attended 12 Noon mass at the Church of St. Peter near the wreckage. As you may already know, the church is the oldest Catholic parish in NYC. It is beautiful in its simplicity, and the woman singing the verses and hymns had a powerful voice. Interestingly, the service was very Jesuitical -- we were in at 12 and out at 12:35. After that, we did our retail shopping duty at Macy's, walked down 5th Avenue, and went all the way up to the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building. Now that is a sight to behold, and with 15 miles of visibility, we were able to see alot. I just didn't have the nerve to look down, though.
We availed ourselves to an early dinner at the Kosher Delight, where I encountered my only example of NY rudeness, when the server didn't want to put hummus on my falafel pita because I "wasn't the only customer here." Still, it was some really good falafel. And I saw lots of Jews! They're everywhere!
After a brief stop at the Jerusalem 2 bakery to grab some sweets, we hustled back to the Amtrak station. I would recommend that if are on the East Coast and want to go to NYC, take Amtrak. I would have flown, but I heard that it takes an hour to get from LaGuardia to the city.
The only lingering doubts about, say, living in NYC is that if you don't know many people, you are alone in a city of millions. That's quite a paradox. The city also goes at a pace that is faster than anything I can comprehend here in the DC area. Comparatively, Washington feels like a small town when matched up with New York. But the city has an electric enthusiasm to it. If I were making 500K a year, perhaps it would be an option. Otherwise, I prefer vacationing and traveling there.

He Fought the Law, and the Law Detained Him At Camp X-Ray
Aaron Ammerman (F'00) sent me this email last week that I forgot to post on ZoNotes. I think it's relevant insofar as all the handwringing regarding the detainees at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay. All the organizations that weren't doing anything about al-Qaeda mistreatment of people in Afghanistan, the Int. Red Cross, the Netherlands, even our British allies -- are getting themselves all wrapped up about our treatment of the captured evildoers. In LA (where else?) former Attorney General and radical lawyer Ramsey Clark filed a lawsuit forcing that the U.S. give a "reason" for detaining the terrorist murderers.
"A very surprisingly good op-ed on death penalty
reform appeared in the Post last summer/spring. Used
an argumentative technique that I particularly find
appealing with regard to the death penalty: some
death penalty opponents know that they can't
eliminate the death penalty, but if we're forced to live
with it, at least let's make it honest. I had a lot of respect for Utah's death penalty in
this regard. not too long ago, their options for
execution were simple: hanging or shooting. None
of this prissy lethal injection bullcrap behind
closed doors in the dead of night. if we're gonna
enforce capital punishment, we should at least do it in
a manly manner.
Ok, tangent off, back to Washington Post op-ed (might have
been a Mark Fisher column). The author was arguing
that the right to impose capital punishment, as we
all know, is a right reserved for a jury of the
defendent's peers. the question then should be- why
does the DA get to waive the death penalty option
before 90% of all capital trials begin? why doesn't
a jury get to rule on the capital merits of EVERY
SINGLE capital crime? I can see a national security objection. Like with
Robert Mueller, stalwart defender of the American
people. I think that that was an extremely
grotesquely bad decision in that case, but I could see
national security ramifications for similar cases being
valid. Let the American people express their justice.
let's abolish the right of the prosecutors to waive
our collective right to seek just retribution from
capital criminals. it is a right reserved to the
people that should not be squandered by the politicos,
as it has been too often of late."

Peeking Over the Mountaintop
Much of yesterday's coverage of Martin Luther King Day centers on his rousing, goosebumpy "I Have A Dream" speech in the unforgiving summer of 1963. As much as I like that speech, it actually, in my opinon, wasn't the most important words that he has uttered. No, his most prophetic words were the ones spoken the day before his assasination in 1968 at the hands of the murderous James Earl Ray -- King's "I May Not Get There With You" speech. I saw a good portion of the footage of that speech yesterday, and not only do you get chills watching that speech, you get a little teary-eyed. It seems to me that King, on the brink of both physical and psychological breakdowns, had actually seen past the mountain, and knew that, even through all his work, it would take a long time to achieve the equality he was looking for in the 1963 speech.
King was a flawed individual -- the obligatory "as all great men are" would naturally follow that. He tilted to the hard left, was a plagiarist, and committed other sins. If you read Michael Eric Dyson's book on King, aptly titled I May Not Get There With You, it wasn't solely the racist South that radicalized King, it was his experience in Chicago. So, the question is, how far do you think we've come, and do you think that it would be what King was expecting? (ZoFact: King would be 73 in 2002).

Turow's Syndrome
On the train on Sunday, I read Scott Turow's harrowing recount of his time as a first-year (1L) law student at Harvard -- One L. The book is a sharp-edged read, surprisingly difficult to put down, and it seems like you're reading 1000 pages instead of the 277 of the latest printing. The book is now a personal favorite, right up there with Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Feast of the Goat, Five Days in May, 1940, and the timeless, venerable, supreme A Time For Trumpets. I found though that the high drama that Turow creates is largely based on his own capabilities as a writer, having taught creative writing at Stanford in the early 1970s before arriving at HLS in 1975. Still, the white hot nature of the competition is the one thing I could identify with. It is a stunningly superb book, even with Turow's infamous eccentricity plainly visible.

"Defeat is best relieved by redemption."