Monday, May 24, 2010

Justice Stevens And Habeas....

From Secrecy News...


"Justice John Paul Stevens played a pivotal role in determining the scope of executive-branch power in a post-9/11 world," observed the Congressional Research Service in one of a series of new reports reviewing the legacy and impact of Justice Stevens, who is set to retire from the Supreme Court next month.

"Justice Stevens authored majority opinions in two leading cases, Rasul v. Bush and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Court allowed detainees' habeas petitions to proceed and invalidated the early incarnation of military commissions, thereby rejecting the broader views of executive power articulated shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In the cases, his view prevailed over strongly articulated dissenting opinions authored by Justice Scalia and other justices," the CRS noted.

"Justice Stevens has been instrumental in developing post-9/11 jurisprudence regarding the limits of executive power during -- and following -- armed conflicts. Prior to 9/11, the Supreme Court had rarely considered questions regarding potential limits on the President's Commander in Chief power. The wartime detention cases provide key insights into the Court's views on the reach of executive authority, as well as on other separation-of-power concerns, including Congress's role."

However, a portion of this legacy on detainees' rights may already be subject to limitation or erosion. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that detainees held abroad by the U.S. military in Afghanistan -- unlike those in Guantanamo -- could not invoke habeas corpus to appear before a judge.

See "The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Leading Opinions on Wartime Detentions" (pdf), May 13, 2010.

The companion reports from CRS are these (all pdf):

"The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Federalism Issues," May 19, 2010.

"The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Opinions on Intellectual Property Law," May 14, 2010.

"The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: The Constitutionality of Congressional Term Limits and the Presidential Line Item Veto," May 18, 2010.

Congress has forbidden CRS to make these and other publications directly available to the public online. Copies were obtained by Secrecy News.

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thinking About Things....

Sunday Afternoon: San Diego, CA...

Right off the top, I could give two hoots in hell about whether Supreme Judge nominee, Kagen, is a lesbian or not. That has absolutely nothing to do with her brainpower, which is considerable. In my opinion, she should be nominated for that position right quick.

The Texas Schoolboard...the whole mess of them...need their heads examined. It's pretty plain that they couldn't care less about the quality of education Texas kids get so long as the boards' ideologic opinions as expressed in those books make their way into the kids' heads and therefore, their beliefs. It's assinine. Problem: What to do about it?

So yes. Russia has sealed off gushing oil wells by bombing them. It works. Don't necessarily have to use a nuke to do it. The bunker-buster bomb ought to be powerful enough to do the job, so let's get on with it.

Now here's a question: Are the drones, currently in use especially near the Pakistan border, a good thing or not? I really don't know. Yes, they save American lives, but no, they kill innocent people...both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Which brings us to Osama bin Laden, the cause of the Afghanistan War. Nobody knows where the hell he is. And we'll probably never find him. Money is not his problem. He's a part of the Saudi royal family, so he's set for life. Al Queda is a problem, but I'm not too sure about the Taliban...bastards tho they are to women. Far as I'm concerned, let Karzai and his government deal with them. Thing to do is get our guys outta there. We're just treading water as it is. NATO certainly wouldn't object to getting their people out either. We're not doing a bit of good there, so what's the point?

It was good that President Obama invited the Mexican President, Calderon, to visit the White House. Fact of the matter is, Mexico wouldn't be having the drug cartels shooting everybody and their brother along the border if the US legalized drugs and stopped shipping guns down there. As it is, we're after their illegal drugs and they're after money and guns. It's sort of a similar situation we had during alcohol prohibition. The only way that situation was solved was through legalization. Same with drugs now. So we'd have more car accidents, etc. same as with drinking. And they yell about smoking! At least it doesn't alter/drug your brain like drugs or drinking.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Problem Solving At the DOD....

From Secrecy News...

Basic scientific research sponsored by the Department of Defense has suffered a precipitous decline in recent years, according to a newly disclosed 2009 report (pdf) from the JASON defense advisory panel.

"Basic research" refers to the investigation of fundamental phenomena, and contrasts with "applied research" that aims to meet a specific mission requirement or to solve a specified problem.

"Over the past decade, there has been an exodus of scientific and technical expertise from the U.S. government and, in particular, from the DoD [basic] research enterprise," the JASONs said.

"Gone are many of the technically literate program officers who plied the streets of the scientific community to find those remarkable people who could help shape the future. Gone too are many of the scientists and engineers in the academic community [who were supported by DoD basic research contracts] and who contributed to revolutionary advances that changed the landscape of modern war fighting. And most importantly, lost is the opportunity to develop the next generation of scientific talent who would otherwise have been trained and capable of carrying the research enterprise forward."

“Despite the importance of DoD Basic Research, we believe that important aspects of the DoD basic research programs are ‘broken’ to an extent that neither throwing more money at these problems nor simple changes in procedures and definitions will fix them,” the report said.

The JASONs nevertheless offer a series of recommendations concerning program organization and personnel recruitment to strengthen basic research. Among other things, they say that DoD should reject the "peer review" model for evaluating funding decisions, since that tends to reinforce the status quo, and should instead provide funding to exceptional individuals. They favorably cite Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez saying: "In my considered opinion the peer review system, in which proposals rather than proposers are reviewed, is the greatest disaster to be visited upon the scientific community this century...."

The JASON report was originally marked "for official use only." When the Federation of American Scientists requested it last year under the Freedom of Information Act, most of the document was withheld as "deliberative." But upon appeal, DoD agreed this month to release the entire report. To accompany the release, Alan R. Shaffer, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, issued a cover memorandum stating that the JASON report was "one perspective" among several and that it was not based on a comprehensive data set.

See "S & T for National Security," JASON Summer Study, completed May 2009, released May 2010.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Unusual Books Coming...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


David Whitehouse's debut novel, BED, to Paul Whitlatch at Scribner, by Claudia Ballard on behalf of Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavor.
UK/Commonwealth rights to Francis Bickmore at Canongate, by Cathryn Summerhayes.


Greg van Eekhout's THE OSTEOMANCER'S SON, to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (NA).


MI6 field operative Matthew Dunn's international espionage thriller, which features a spy out to avenge his father's death and capture a brilliant and ruthless Iranian spy, to David Highfill at William Morrow, in pre-empt, for publication in summer 2011, on the same day UK rights were pre-empted by Rowland White at Orion, by Luigi Bonomi, by Susan Howe at Orion (NA).


Italian bestseller and Premio Strega finalist Silvia Avallone's ACCIAIO (STEEL), a novel of two best friends growing up in a working-class seaside town in the shadow of a steel mill, who dream of escaping together to the island of Elba, to Alessandra Lusardi at Viking, by Sonia Finotello at Rizzoli (world English).


Jeff Ryan's SUPER MARIO: AN UNOFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY, a colorful history of Nintendo in America detailing the plot-twisted saga worthy of a video game that gave rise to the most successful franchise in the history of video games, if not entertainment, to Courtney Young of Portfolio, in a pre-empt, for publication is planned for 2012, by Lynn Johnston at Lynn Johnston Literary.


Baker and star of the TLC show, CAKE BOSS, Buddy Valastro CAKE BOSS: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia, sharing his family's inspiring and poignant life story as a hard-working family realized their patriarch's dream of making their bake shop a household name, along with 25 recipes for the bakery's most popular treats, to Leslie Meredith at Free Press, for publication in November 2010, followed by a Cake Boss baking cooking for publication in November 2011, from Maura Teitelbaum of Abrams Artists Agency and Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management.


Comedian and writer Moshe Kasher's KASHER IN THE RYE, a comedic story exploring the universal themes of being raised by deaf parents, being kidnapped by his mother to live in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Oakland, and embarking on a whirlwind tour of drug addiction, gangs and lock-down institutions at the age of twelve, to Ben Greenberg at Grand Central, by Richard Abate and Josh Lieberman at 3 Arts Entertainment.


Roger Ebert's memoir covering his life and career, including his relationship with Gene Siskel, his nearly fatal illness and the loss of the ability to speak or eat, and the numerous celebrities he has met and befriended, to Mitch Hoffman at Grand Central, for publication in 2011, by Joel Gotler and Brian Lipson at Intellectual Property Group (world).

Emmy award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano's THE GREAT DEPRESSION, experiences with being his mother's son, making it in Hollywood, coping with mental illness, and finding the path to recovery, to Judy Hottensen at Weinstein Books, by David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates.


Journalists Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum's I WANT MY MTV, pitched as in the style of the book Live from New York, an oral history of MTV with exusive interviews from music and network executives, performers, managers, and fans to chronicle the heyday of the network from its founding in 1981 through the launch of The Real World in 1992, commissioned by Carrie Thornton at Dutton, for publication in 2011, by PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit (world)


Monday, May 17, 2010

Most Unusual Website....

New website!!! And a really interesting one. Surprised nobody has had this idea before that I know of.

The owner, Miles, says:

"my site is finally hot. it's not anywhere near finished but if you want to take a gander it's at: "

Oh, you betcha!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who's Plane Is This Anyhow?

Hah! A friend of mine recently flew back from Virginia. Here's what he saw:

So, I know the economy has been particularly rough on the airlines this past year, but
check this out:

My US Air ticket said in small print "Carrier: United Airlines" (?) so I had to literally board a United jet...It's an old commuter jet and the seats are all embossed with America West's logo. I look at the emergency procedure card in the seat back pocket and it says Mesa Airlines and when the flight attendant gives her spiel, states that the flight is operated by Canadian Air...huh???

Talk about Corporate America consolidating!


Different Books Coming Up.....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


2010 Bellwether winner Naomi Benaron's RUNNING THE RIFT, about a young Rwandan man training for his ultimate dream -- the Olympics -- amid the rising tensions of Rwanda that ultimately lead to the devastating 1994 genocide, to Kathy Pories at Algonquin, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (World).

Erika Marks's LITTLE GALE GUMBO, in which a woman and her two teenage daughters leave an abusive home in New Orleans to start over again in a quiet Maine town where they open an authentic Creole restaurant that becomes a mainstay on the island, as does the legacy of an unlikely love affair that results in secrets that test the limits of lifelong friendships and unrequited love, to Danielle Perez at NAL, in a two-book deal, by Rebecca Gradinger at Fletcher & Company (World).


Orange Prize shortlisted author Monique Roffey's THE WHITE WOMAN ON THE GREEN BICYCLE, set in postcolonial Trinidad, an exploration of political unrest in the wake of colonial rule, as seen through the eyes a married couple and the wife's undelivered letters to Eric Williams, the island's charismatic leader, to Alexis Washam at Penguin, for publication in August 2011, by Melissa Chinchillo at Fletcher & Company, on behalf of Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann (US).

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and photographer Art Wolfe's OF DOGS AND MEN: A 15,000 YEAR ROMANCE, an illustrated celebration of the ancient and universal bond between dogs and humans, to Nancy Miller at Bloomsbury, in a good deal, for publication in fall 2011, by Peter Beren at Peter Beren Publishing, representing Art Wolfe, and Andy Ross at Andy Ross Agency, representing Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (world).


Tara Hudson's HEREAFTER trilogy, about an eighteen-year-old whose afterlife is forever altered the night she saves a boy from drowning and suddenly finds herself haunting the all-too-willing boy, who not only sees her but is determined to reintroduce her to the world of the living, to Barbara Lalicki at Harper Children's, in a pre-empt, for publication in Summer 2011, by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management.
Film: Matthew Snyder at Creative Artists Agency

NYT bestselling YA author of LITTLE BROTHER and FOR THE WIN Cory Doctorow's PIRATE CINEMA, a story of teens on the raw cutting edge of the Internet, pirates who set out to save the world from Hollywood and Hollywood from itself, to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor Children's, for publication in 2011, by Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency (NA).
Foreign: Baror International


Author of the forthcoming FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M., Sam Wasson's BYE BYE LIFE: The Loves and Deaths of Bob Fosse, poised to be the definitive biography of the legendary choreographer whose legacy extends across the worlds of dance, theater, film, and television, with an off-stage life that was fueled by pills, drugs, and serial infidelity, and whose fingerprints on popular culture remain indelible, to George Hodgman at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in a pre-empt, by David Halpern at The Robbins Office (NA).


Aaron Dignan's GAME FACE: UNLOCKING THE POWER OF GAME MECHANICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE, explaining how to use our naturally hard-wired affinity for play to improve our society and incentivize productive behavior in routine activities, using scenarios that range from "How can I exercise more/drive traffic to my store/improve employee work ethic/improve airline passenger boarding" to successful case studies, including the new dashboard screens on the Prius, the FourSquare app, Target's checkout system, and a reexamination of popular cases like Nike+, to Amber Qureshi at Free Press, by Meg Thompson at LJK Literary Management (World English).


Lisa Fain's THE HOMESICK TEXAN COOKBOOK, based on a blog of the same name, documenting her trials recreating Texas food in Manhattan with photos, stories and recipes, to Elisabeth Dyssegaard at Hyperion, with Leslie Wells editing, in a pre-empt, for
publication in September 2011, by Brettne Bloom at Kneerim & Williams (NA).

Founder of a gourmet ice cream company in Columbus, OH whose unique seasonal flavors have been hailed by Food & Wine magazine, the New York Times, and Food Network, Jeni Britton Bauer's JENI'S SPLENDID ICE CREAMS: Artisanal American Ice Creams for the Home Kitchen, showing home chefs how to create artisanal quality American-style ice cream in their own kitchens, to Ann Bramson at Artisan, at auction, by Jonah Straus at Straus Literary (world English).


Vanity Fair deputy editor and journalist Bruce Handy's book on reading children's books -- an historical and erudite look at the classic books we read as kids and reread to our own children and why; a humorous and personal narrative about rediscovering lasting stories with his own kids, and a guide to reading the children's canon, from GOODNIGHT MOON to HARRY POTTER and beyond, to Sarah Hochman at Simon & Schuster, for publication in spring 2013, by Jennifer Joel at ICM.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On Classified Information....

From Secrecy News...


Last week, prosecutors in the case of Thomas A. Drake, the former NSA official who is charged with unlawfully retaining classified information that he allegedly disclosed to a reporter, asked the court to hold a pre-trial conference on the use of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) in that case.

CIPA was passed by Congress in 1980 to regulate the disclosure of classified information in criminal prosecutions, such as espionage cases, and to prevent so-called "graymail," in which a defendant threatens to release classified information in the hope of forcing the government to abandon the case.

In a nutshell, CIPA requires the defense to notify prosecutors and the court of any classified evidence it intends to introduce. Courts must then determine if the classified evidence is admissible. If so, the government may propose an unclassified substitution that does not involve classified information. But if the court finds that the unclassified substitution is inadequate to preserve the defendant's right to a fair trial, and if the Attorney General objects to disclosure of the classified version, then the indictment may be dismissed.

Perhaps assuming that the judge (or the defense) was unfamiliar with the law, prosecutors in the Thomas Drake case filed a motion (pdf) explaining the meaning of each section of CIPA.

The purpose of their CIPA tutorial was "to inform the Court of the applicability of CIPA and its procedures to issues involving classified information that will arise before and during the trial of this case," they wrote. See "Government's Motion for Pretrial Conference Under Section 2 of the Classified Information Procedures Act," May 5, 2010.

The development and early history of CIPA were reviewed by the Congressional Research Service in a March 2, 1989 report entitled "Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA): An Overview."

The use of CIPA to preserve defendants' rights while protecting classified information in criminal trials presents a stark contrast with the absence of any comparable procedure in civil trials, particularly those in which the government invokes the state secrets privilege to prevent the use of classified evidence.

"For almost 30 years, courts have effectively applied [CIPA] to make criminal trials fairer and safer," the Senate Judiciary Committee noted in a 2008 report on the pending State Secrets Protection Act. "Yet in civil cases, litigants have been left behind."

"Congress has failed to provide clear rules or standards for determining whether evidence is protected by the state secrets privilege. We've failed to develop procedures that will protect injured parties and also prevent the disclosure of sensitive information. Because use of the state secrets privilege has escalated in recent years, there's an increasing need for the judiciary and the Executive to have clear, fair, and safe rules," the Judiciary Committee report said.

A legislative response to the problems posed by the unilateral use of the state secrets privilege by the executive branch remains to be accomplished.