Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rove on Book Tour....

From JJ in San Diego:

Even better: Karl Rove is at Warwick's signing books tonight. Long line of people, many protesters, several police watching everyone. Looks like they're only letting people in 1 or 2 at a time for their moment with the anointed one. And right in front of the door stand two women on the sidewalk holding a big sign with bold letters: JAIL THE TURD

I about fell outta the chair!

Note: Warwicks Bookstore is in La Jolla.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Patriot Act Illegal...

From Secrecy News...


"I believe that there is a discrepancy between what most Americans believe is legal and what the government is actually doing under the Patriot Act," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a statement last week on the Senate floor regarding reform of the Patriot Act.

"In my view, any discrepancy of this sort is intolerable and untenable, and can only be fixed by greater transparency and openness."

"Most members of the public do not expect to have detailed information about how intelligence collection is actually conducted," Sen. Wyden said, "but they do expect to understand the boundaries of what the law does and does not allow, so that they can ratify or reject the decisions that public officials make on their behalf."

Under present circumstances, Sen. Wyden said, Americans do not have an accurate perception of what the Patriot Act permits and how it is being used and, he said on Thursday, this is unacceptable.

"There is key information that is relevant to the debate on the Patriot Act that is currently classified. Over the past two and a half years, I have pressed the executive branch to declassify this information in a responsible way, so that members of Congress and the public can have an informed debate about what the law should actually be."

In partial response, he said, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence have produced a classified account of the use of the Patriot Act that any member of Congress can now read in the intelligence committees' secure offices.

"But by itself this step does not go nearly far enough," he said. "It is just as essential for the public to have this information as well."

Among other things, Sen. Wyden noted that the so-called "business records" provision of the Patriot Act (Section 215) actually applies to collection of "any tangible thing," which means that "it covers things like blood or tissue samples as well."


Monday, March 22, 2010

Tough On Journalists...

From Secrecy News...


It might be pleasant for writers and publishers to suppose that First Amendment principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press are absolute and will prevail in every circumstance. But that is clearly not the case.

For one thing, the Supreme Court has specifically excluded obscenity, child pornography, and certain other forms of communication from First Amendment protections. (See "Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment" (pdf), Congressional Research Service, updated October 16, 2009.) Moreover, courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of prohibitions in the Espionage Act against the unauthorized disclosure of certain types of classified information (most recently in a 2006 ruling [pdf] in the AIPAC case, USA v. Rosen and Weissman).

The intersection of national security law and ordinary newsgathering remains a bit murky, and is contested in some quarters even where it is fairly clear. Although "the right of the press to publish confidential information is well established, [t]here is... a paucity of constitutional doctrine protecting newsgathering activities that seek the leaking of confidential information," according to a recent law review article.

"Ethics codes for news organizations state that reporters must not commit crimes such as trespassing or stealing information but are silent on inchoate crimes such as solicitation," wrote Prof. William E. Lee of the University of Georgia last year. "And while news organizations have elaborate rules about relations with confidential sources, they do not address the propriety of promising confidentiality as an inducement to the disclosure of classified information."

"Although there are practical and political difficulties in prosecuting reporters for solicitation or conspiracy, there is little First Amendment precedent in support of the argument that reporters should be exempt from generally applicable criminal laws." See "Probing Secrets: The Press and Inchoate Liability for Newsgathering Crimes" (purchase req'd) by William E. Lee, American Journal of Criminal Law, vol. 36, no. 2, Spring 2009.

The longstanding conflict over press publication of national security information is revisited in the forthcoming book "Necessary Secrets" by Gabriel Schoenfeld (Norton Books, May 2010).


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Books Arriving In 1011....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly....


Sarah Jio's THE WATERS OF MARCH, in which a bestselling novelist whose life has fallen into disarray takes refuge on Bainbridge Island at the home of a beloved aunt who is the unwitting custodian of a long-lost manuscript that may reveal much about her past and could alter her future, to Denise Roy at Plume, at auction, by Elisabeth Weed at Weed Literary (NA).
UK and translation:


Susan Woodring's GOLIATH, focusing on the interior lives of a clutch of the town's citizens, including the scion of the furniture business, whose suicide sets the events of the book in motion, and his secretary and one-time lover, whose relationships with her boss, daughter and a gentleman friend animate this novel pitched as comparing well to Annie Dillard and Elizabeth Strout, to Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin's, in a pre-empt, in a nice deal, by Peter Steinberg at The Steinberg Agency (world English).

Author of LIFE AS I KNOW IT Melanie Rose's COMING HOME, pitched as in the vein of Cecilia Ahern and Allison Winn Scotch, about a woman who sparks a second chance at life for a young widower when she's stranded at his house during a blizzard along with his mute six-year-old daughter -- who suddenly begins to speak again, to Caitlin Alexander at Random House Trade Paperbacks, by Valerie Borchardt at Georges Borchardt (US).


John Grisham's THEODORE BOONE: Kid Lawyer, about a 13-year-old, amateur attorney who unwittingly becomes involved in a high-profile murder trial, plus a second in the series, to Don Weisberg and Julie Strauss-Gabel at Penguin Children's, for publication on May 25, 2010, and again in 2011, by David Gernert at The Gernert Company.
UK rights following longtime editor Oliver Johnson to Hodder & Stoughton, for publication on June 10, 2010.



Mark Lamster's PHILIP JOHNSON: Architect of the Modern Century, moving to Michael Sand at Little, Brown, at auction, by Sarah Burnes at The Gernert Company (world).

Guggenheim fellow and professor at University of Nebraska Lincoln Rhonda Garelick's exploration of Coco Chanel, ANTIGONE IN VOGUE, capturing not only the story of Chanel's life and loves but her impact on 20th century culture, as well as the cultural and political forces that shaped her, to Jennifer Hershey at Random House, by Scott Moyers of The Wylie Agency (NA).


Lisa Gansky's THE MESH: WHY THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS IS SHARING, explaining how a new and disruptive model for commerce---sharing rather than owning---is turning the business world inside out and how companies can operate, create value, and effectively compete within this new framework, to Courtney Young at Portfolio, on an exclusive submission, by Lisa DiMona at Lark Productions.


Associated Press correspondent Kevin Maurer's THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS, an inside look at Special Forces in action in southern Afghanistan, to Natalee Rosenstein at Berkley, by Scott Miller at Trident Media Group.

MEMOIR: producer Rachel Bertsche's MWF SEEKING BFF, chronicling the author's search for a new best friend after she moves to Chicago for love, and the many discoveries she makes while embarking on 52 girl-dates over the course of a year, to Jennifer Smith at Ballantine Trade Paperbacks, by Alison Schwartz at ICM (World).


New York magazine executive editor John Homans'sWHAT'S A DOG FOR?: What the Changing Human-Canine Relationship Tells Us about Who We Are, a narrative exploration of the co-evolution of man and dog, combining first-person reportage, memoir, and state-of-the-art "dog science" research to understand the dog as an artifact of human culture, and to trace the progression of the dog from its rural past to its urban present and future, to Colin Dickerman at Rodale, at auction, by David Kuhn at Kuhn Projects (NA).


Journalist Richard Rushfield's AMERICAN IDOL, a look behind the scenes at the tumultuous ten year history of America's most popular television show, to Elisabeth Dyssegaard at Hyperion, with Brenda Copeland editing, for publication in January 2011, by Daniel Greenberg at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (world).


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Army & Cyberspace...

From Secrecy News...


U.S. Army doctrine (pdf) published last week anticipates an increasingly unstable information environment that may challenge Army operations and test national capabilities.

"Unprecedented levels of adverse activity in and through cyberspace threaten the integrity of United States critical infrastructure, financial systems, and elements of national power. These threats range from unwitting hackers to nation-states, each at various levels of competence. Collectively, the threats create a condition of perpetual turbulence without traditional end states or resolution."

Under prevailing circumstances, the Army says, "Notions of 'dominating' cyberspace are simplistic and unrealistic. A realistic and meaningful goal is to achieve and maintain freedom of action in and through cyberspace while being able to affect that of the adversaries."

The Army's assessment and proposed response are described in "Cyberspace Operations Concept Capability Plan 2016-2028," TRADOC Pamphlet 525-7-8, February 22, 2010.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Caught My Attention...

*Repub Senator, Jim Bunning, from Kentucky had no qualms about cutting off unemployment benefits for 1.2 million jobless people. And had the nerve to follow up with this comment: "Tough shit." A friend from Arkansas, hearing this, asked, "Does he want to get shot?" Guess not. He hasn't gone anywhere near Kentucky since doing his dastardly deed.

*The 8.8 earthquake that just hit Chili literally moved the earth to the point that we have a shorter day. Not much shorter, but still....

*Skip Jurus has been a doorman at the San Diego Convention Center for 20 years and has shaken the hands of 11 million people from all over the world. Last Thurs evening, he was honored with a top award at the annual meeting of the Hotel & Motel Assn. International: The James V Cunningham Award for Personalized Service.