This Is What Should Be Happening in Washington This Morning

FBI Director James Comey, his deputy directors, his IT specialists, and his Justice Department lawyers should be sitting in the Office of Attorney-General Loretta Lynch at the meeting she should have called for 8 a.m. this Saturday morning. Instead, having dumped an incendiary letter on the desks of Republican Congressmen (yes, all men) on Friday afternoon eleven days before Election Day, Comey and the rest of the crew have apparently taken the weekend off. In addition to ordering the 8 a.m. meeting, Lynch should have ordered all FBI agents up and down the East Coast to report to their offices at 8 a.m. this morning to await further orders.

Lynch shouldn’t interfere with the FBI’s investigation, but she shouldn’t allow them to slow-walk it either. When I was a lawyer and there were pressing matters, we didn’t take the weekend off. We called in more staff and got the work done. What’s more pressing than the election of the next United State President? Comey said in his bombshell letter, “I cannot predict how long it will take to complete this additional work.” Well, get to it.

Haul those FBI agents in from around the country, sit their suited butts down at conference tables in the Justice Department with sections of the email trove in front of each one of them and get on with the review. As each email is reviewed, if it does not contain classified information, release it to the American public.

Now, I read from one source that @PeteWilliamsNBC reported last night that the FBI may need to get a court order to read some of the emails. So, get on with it! There are federal judges on call all weekend. Judges issues subpoenas and warrants at all hours of the day and night. We are now 10 days from the election. Get the damn court order.

What needs to be done now: Release the new trove of emails.

What can be done later: Investigate why the FBI is leaking like a sieve.

  • Who are the “U.S. law enforcement officials” who told the Los Angeles Times  that investigators came across the emails while investigating Anthony Weiner?
  • Who is the investigator who leaked that the emails are not “to or from Clinton?
  • Why did Comey send a second letter on Friday afternoon, this one to all FBI employees, surely knowing it would be leaked to the press?

These are important questions. But they can wait until after the election. Now, the important thing is to get the new (or are they merely duplicates of previous?) emails out for review by American voters.

Admitted

I will admit it. I’m consumed by this election. And the weather has been darn good for golf. So, I’ve done no writing unrelated to the election and I’m not reading much fiction. Right now, I am reading Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, which is a pleasant distraction from current events.

If you care who I’m working for, it’s Hillary Clinton. Too bad she didn’t win in 2008, but I’m definitely up for this time around. If you wonder why, here’s just one good summary:

100 Reasons to Vote for Clinton

Now, back to it.

Update on the Work: Whew!

Sat down at 8:30 a.m.  It’s now 5:19. My eyes are tired. Wondering why my back isn’t.

(Blog break for Tylenol fix, just in case.)

Three new scenes. Maybe they will end on the cutting room floor, but two of them have been in my head since the beginning. So there.

That’s it. I’m calling up my Beta-Readers. (Shout out to Roz Morris for the term. No, I haven’t employed you but I’ve devoured your Nail Your Novel series.)

Nine hours ago, here’s what my Autocrit dashboard looked like:

Capture

And, twenty minutes ago, this is the update:

stats

(That doesn’t count the separate Grammarly runs.)

No, my momma never said there’d be days like this.

But, I’ve had them and I love them!

Now, on to the vino.

Math Problem? What an insult!

Since when did a fundamental right to personal liberty become a math problem? Since Casey (1992), that’s when.

The fundamental flaw of Casey has always been its concession that some people could suffer a 100% denial of a constitutional right so long as those people denied their constitutional right were not a “large fraction” of the people seeking to exercise that right.

Does that work for gun ownership? Of course not. But when it comes to a woman’s right to privately decide issues related to her own medical care, let’s do math!

Now a woman at the blog FiveThirtyEight has laid out the analysis in a way that should make the outrageousness of this approach apparent. Though she doesn’t seem to get it herself; she simply hopes that a Supreme Court opinion in the case heard yesterday (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt) will offer a “clearer way to do the math.” Perhaps that’s tongue in cheek? Don’t think so.

Whole Woman’s Health is not a third-grade arithmetic problem. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at oral argument, “What it’s about is that a woman has a fundamental right to make this choice for herself.”

Related:

The Women Take Over | Slate

The Supreme Court’s Test For Abortion Laws Is A Poorly Defined Math Problem | FiveThirtyEight

Kennedy Hold the Key in Texas Abortion Case | Scotus Blog, Amy Howe

Supreme Court Hears Arguments Testing Texas Abortion Restrictions | Nina Totenberg, NPR

 

Roger Pascal, 1941-2015

Mentor, colleague, partner, friend. Roger Pascal, one of the great influences in my life passed on this week.

The case described in the fourth paragraph of this obituary is the one on which I first worked with Roger. There were many more thereafter.

Thanks for the memories, the opportunities, the fun. RIP Roger.

Roger Pascal, a renowned lawyer who for 50 years served as a litigation partner with the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP and as a volunteer attorney, general counsel, and board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, died of cancer at his home on Sunday, December 27.

Source: Roger Pascal, 1941-2015

Non-Fiction Now

So yes, I went to the Non-Fiction Now Conference. Of course, I did not have to travel far. Just across town. That’s physical travel, of course.

Psychic travel went much further. Back to the excitement of learning. Of being among people who are striving through a singular endeavor — yet with individual destinations. Young and old (like me).

Such a range of people. From experts and high-end producers to those just starting out (like me). From those with supreme confidence (cocky, shall we say) to those working through grave self-doubts. I’m somewhere in between — an explorer.

Three days of fun. I couldn’t keep up with the young ones, who ran a schedule beginning at 9 a.m. and ended when the 9 p.m. readings at coffee houses wound down. I took a break on Friday night to keep to my regular symphony commitment with my very important wife. That’s a very important change from behavior in previous professions — family first, life first. We’ll make this writing part of life, not the whole life.

What did I gain at this conference?

  • Inspiration: Brian Doyle was great; others, too.
  • Perspective: All those different people; all those different presses. (I heard no one here mention self-publishing. This is a world of academics. Publish or perish is their world.)
  • Recollection: Experts, too, should strive for perspective and sometimes they don’t. One panel with an exciting title about research was all about navel-gazing. Literally, one panelist read her research on navels, which was, indubitably, interesting. But then each panelist read his or her research. That’s it. No thread binding these interesting vignettes together. No lesson. Just an implication from the panel’s title that only academics were legitimate researchers. Hmm — not impressed.
  • More books for the shelf. At discounted prices.
  • Reminder: Closed minds are everywhere. One woman walked out of a panel. She later told me she felt her religion (“Christianity”) was being insulted and she wasn’t putting up with that “anymore.” Really?

Glad I went. Now, back to the keyboard. Typewriter