Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Quoted in "Party Unfaithful" by Jeffrey Goldberg
New Yorker Magazine, June 4, 2007 Issue
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I recently came across a post on the LDS blog By Common Consent that featured the caffeine content of a variety of popular drinks. One particular comment on the thread got me thinking about how many of these drinks stack up to some popular chocolate products on a caffeine per ounce basis. The results are sure to keep the debate on whether caffeine is prohibited by the Mormon Word of Wisdom raging on...
Caffeine per Ounce
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I owe you an apology big man. Your former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's testimony yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee convinced me that I may not have given you a fair shake as Attorney General. I used to think of you as a narrow-sighted rubber stamp who was too tightly-wound and carried a rather prickly demeanor. I'm here to say I was mistaken. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still not a fan of your politics. The original Patriot Act had some pretty troubling issues and your proposed Patriot Act II seemed like one hefty push toward a police state. Plus, you have to admit, draping a curtain in front of the Spirit of Liberty in the Justice Department was just a little weird, and, the fact that you lost to a dead guy in the 2000 Senate election and were subsequently confirmed as Attorney General three months later by a meager 58-42 vote in the very Senate you just left suggests that neither your former constituency nor your former colleagues were really itching to have you back.
But James Comey's riveting testimony (you can watch it here) does speak volumes about your integrity and your respect for the law. I'll admit to being surprised, but it was refreshing. I found it inspiring that you stood up to an attempt by the White House to take advantage of you in a gravely ill state and at a time when you had temporarily ceded your powers of office to your Deputy, Comey. To lock horns with the full force of the Executive Branch as Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card attempted to sidestep your Deputy and a Justice Department determination that the Surveillance Program had no legal basis is no small thing. But, despite your weakened condition, you held your ground and refused to re-authorize the Program. Comey describes you as having "stunned" him:
[Attorney General Ashcroft] lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact... and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, "But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general."When the White House reauthorized the program anyway without any signature from the Justice Department attesting to its legality, the fact that you stood ready to resign, along with most of the Justice Department's leadership, made clear to me that I'd sized you up wrong. We may not agree on all the same policies, but it seems that we do see eye-to-eye on the need for the rule of law. When the Administration backed away from its position and changed its Program to secure the Justice Department's blessing—ultimately deciding to submit all of its surveillance requests for judicial approval—a Constitutional crisis was averted and the Executive branch maintained its legitimacy.
So a belated thank you John Ashcroft. On this decision, you were right on key and you truly Let The Eagle Soar.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
It started out as just a few emails here and there to a couple of family members and a few friends. Over time, however, it's become a much larger list of family, friends, classmates, and associates. The articles I send out sometimes cover funny stories of general interest, occasionally something betraying my political bent, but, more often than not, they tend to deal in some way with Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I readily admit that I've unilaterally opted most of the current "News Group" onto the list (though a good handful or two have requested themselves on), but I tell myself that everyone must enjoy the emails since I have yet to receive any cease and desist orders. That's not saying much though. My emails very likely might be flagged and filtered as spam by some who don't want to risk offense.
Others might take a more low key approach in the form of subtle mockery. One friend, Woo, actually started a pretty entertaining blog devoted solely to chronicling and abridging "the hundreds of uninvited emails of varying quality from Marc." For a time, he essentially lampooned every one of my emails on the site (though I did manage a few positive reviews, see here and here). He's thrown in "the proverbial towel" on his gold standard of one post for every email, but it seems as though he still plans on gracing us with commentary from time to time. We'll see if he can keep a handle on inflation and manage another statistical analysis of bohnspam (my personal favorite). I should note that I've specifically asked him if he wants off the list and he didn't bite, so perhaps he enjoys the emails more than he lets on.
In any event, for those that want off the list, feel free to let me know (no offense taken). For those who appreciate the additional opportunities to bag on me, have at it. And for those who are curious enough now to want on the list, just say the word (I promise I won't tell anyone).
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Hello world. I'm back.
I've weathered yet another round of finals and managed to tie the bow on three years of law school.
Three years down... just like that. Don't get me wrong, by all accounts law school was a pretty miserable experience, but I'm still surprised by how fast it flew by. I haven't quite adjusted to the idea of moving beyond academia into the professional world, but I'm betting that preparing for the bar exam will disabuse me of that hesitation.
For the time being, I'm just relishing the post-finals (and post-law school) lull. I submitted my bar application today, and I tell ya', life is good. The difference between this week and last week is simply remarkable... No worrying in the back of my mind at all times about papers to write, reading to catch up on, outlining to do, or essay questions to prepare for. Best of all, no "next semester." I've got myself a job lined up this fall; I've passed the mantel on all of my extra-curricular responsibilities; and I've got the satisfaction of having finished one of the hardest things I've ever undertaken. I honestly think it's the first time I've fully relaxed in almost three years.
While I'm well aware that the stress is certain swing back full circle as my bar studies ramp up, it sure is satisfying to catch my breath.