Author & Speaker

Archive for June 2008

Adventure and History

In a little over three weeks, I’ll be setting off on a trip through Eastern Europe, and through history. Our oldest son, Matt, and I will meet in Warsaw with our bicycles. We will set off to my grandfather’s home town, Czyzew-Osada, to see what we can see. Only in the last week, I have…

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The Supreme Court: Writing on Sand

This week’s big Supreme Court rulings demand some attention, and did some remarkable things: — Interpreting the Second Amendment for the first time in 1939, the Justices voted 5-4 that the provision creates a personal right to own guns, though that right may be regulated for common safety. District of Columbia v. Heller. — Interpreting…

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The Anniversary Everyone Forgets

Well, I missed it by three days, too. June 21 is the anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution! On that date in 1788, the New Hamphshire Convention ratified the new national charter, becoming the ninth state to do so. Under the Constitution’s own terms, it went into effect with ratification by nine of the…

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When James and Alexander Were Friends

In preparation for a panel I’m doing tomorrow at the First Amendment Center at the Newseum here in Washington, I just read Liberty’s Blueprint: How Madison and Jefferson Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World, by Michael Meyerson. It’s a good book that offers an insightful view take…

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Good News

On Saturday, Washington Independent Writers gave its first annual Washington Writing Prize to . . . The Summer of 1787, by moi. They were nice enough to say that the book creates “a bright and colorful rendering of the extraordinary convention that created the American Constitution,” adding that this “unusually readable account… allows us to…

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Guantanamo

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Boumediene v. Bush recognizing the right of detainees in Guantanamo to press habeas corpus petitions to their continued detention, is a huge moment in the nation’s constitutional and political life. FULL DISCLOSURE: I submitted, with assistance from colleagues at Ropes & Gray, a brief amicus curiae on behalf of…

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Books, Too! Digitization and its Discontents

Paul Krugman in the New York Times has a fascinating/appalling treatment of the future of the book. As in, not much of a future. His message, that the Kindle e-book-reader is good, confirms a report I recently received from a friend from college. What does this mean economically for writers? Nothing good. At least not…

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Biggest Upset In History?

Some commentators are suggesting that Barack Obama’s apparent winning of the presidential nomination is the biggest upset ever in winning a nomination. Pish posh. Did he basically come out of nowhere? Yes, indeed, I’ll grant that point. He didn’t bring a whole lot to the fight. Few achievements in public service, no family connections or…

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What next for writers and readers?

OK, it’s getting personal now, this shrinking of the media, this revolution in our world of writers and readers. Last week I tried to get in touch with the travel editor of a major newspaper to pitch a project. Oops, she just took a buyout. Her successor? His voicemailbox was full. A tiny symptom of…

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Ten More Years

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, gave an interview with the Washington Post on June 5 in which he said: “[T]here will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an…

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