Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Sticking Place...

Here is a book that absolutely should not be missed if ever you've wondered what a San Diego policeman's day asks of him.

Even as I write, there's a squad car parked across the street from our house where a neighbor's home was burglarized this morning. Seems the home was entered thru the opened bathroom window. The thieves took jewelry...both old and new, opened the front door and left.

Amazing. This is a quiet neighborhood but lately been a lot of car and home burglaries occuring. Only thing I can figure out is that someone new has moved nearby.

T.B. Smith wrote "The Sticking Place." The man knows what he's talkin' about. He was a San Diego policeman for 27 years. Ended his career as a Lieutenant.

More, this is the fastest reading book I've ever met. Here's the opening sentence:

"Phillip McGrath was on his way to kill somebody." And sure enough, he did.

3rd page begins Chapter 2: Twenty-three-year-old Police trainee Luke Jones was one person who would deal with the mess.

What mess?: McGrath spread his legs, propped the rifle between them, swallowed the barrel and pulled the trigger. With no regard for who would deal with the mess.

Tim Smith's book is no mess. He's a hell of a fine writer. Do not miss reading "The Sticking Place."


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Having My Say...

April 28, 2011...

Would I ever live anywhere else? Never. Right now, the sky is solid blue and San Diego is absolutely blanketed with masses of flowers. Can't go a single block in any direction without seeing flowers of every kind and color.

Been doing what I normally do and that's reading the news...Have BBC for a home page. Good one, too. Had the NY Times until they started charging. Nope. Too many other good choices. If I didn't already subscribe to the LA Times, that paper would be my home page.

But I do. And subscribe to the San Diego Union-Tribune too...a pitiful excuse for a newspaper if there ever was one.

I go out to breakfast every morning and I want those papers in hand to read while I'm there. Been doing that for years. Breakfast without the papers is unthinkable.

Much writing and speculating on Obama's birth certificate lately. Between Trump and that unbelievable Orly Taitz...GAWD! Talk about ignorant!!! Laurence O'Donnell got so fed up with her that he had her thrown off his show. I approve.

I, along with a lot of others, want our military out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan. NOW. Why the hell we're still there, I will never know. Originally, until George W Bush screwed everything up, our guys had Osama bin Laden trapped and were within an hour or so of capturing him...and capturing him was the ONLY reason we ever sat foot in that place. 10 years later, we're still there. Obama says he's starting to bring the guys home in July.

But look at the people he's just nominated to serve in DC. I can only say that I'm hoping they're not gonna behave as that ass, Donald Rumsfeld, did. We won't even discuss that s.o.b., Cheney.

I don't write many posts, but just wanted to have my say at the moment.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rules of Discourse....

Grumble Grumble


Keith Taylor

I disagree with what you say but I’ll defend unto the death your right to say it.

If Voltaire were alive today he’d have a hard time selling that idea, and it was such an impressive idea too. A radio program of the 1940s, Mr. District Attorney, appropriated the line for a stirring lead-in. I knew what Voltaire said before I knew who he was.

Sadly the brightest light of the Enlightenment is out of date.

In today's cyberspace age he would have to say I disagree with what you say but I’ll defend unto the death your right to forward it incessantly even if it's nonsense.

Veracity is taking a beating nowadays. With the immense traffic jam on the information highway most folks just give up and choose what they want to believe.

Then they send it to me via twitter, I-Pod, or the increasingly obsolescent e-mail. Breathless discoveries are passed around at the speed of light. And so are disagreements. Old friends send me things they know will upset me, then get upset if I disagree. It's rough for a geezer like me. Many relationships built up over decades have become strained. Quite a few have been knocked for a loop.

We need some rules of discourse. I have written ten. I hope they help.

1. If you don’t want your ideas challenged, don’t send them to people who think.

2. Don't be surprised if your recipient ignores such admonitions as “If you don’t agree with this, delete it.” He may just keep it just as a reminder of how arrogant you are.

3. Keep in mind that “Don’t send me that crap” means little if you’re sending crap yourself.

4. Don't claim things without proof as fact unless it is something so obvious it cannot be disputed. “God wants you to vote Republican” does not fit that description.

5. If you don’t care enough about what you send to check it out, someone will take great delight in looking it up and sending his findings to everybody on your mailing list.

6. Claims of the paranormal are encouraged as long as they are accompanied by proof of the paranormal.

7. Believing is not science. Do treat not something as if it is, even if it comes from a politician.

8. Sending an e-mail telling a dissenter to “sit down and shut up” is not the best use of the first amendment.

9. The wisest thing a person can say is “I don’t know.”

10. Or, it might be "I was wrong." I don't know.

10. Don't start to write list of ten rules unless you can count. -30-


//Keith Taylor is a retired Navy officer living in Chula Vista. He can be reached at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cyber Threats...Pay Attention

From Secrecy News:


The American public does not have an accurate sense of the threat posed by attacks in cyberspace because most of the relevant threat information is classified, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who introduced legislation last week to raise public awareness of cyber security hazards.

"The damage caused by malicious activity in cyberspace is enormous and unrelenting," Sen. Whitehouse said on April 14. "Every year, cyber attacks inflict vast damage on our Nation's consumers, businesses, and government agencies. This constant cyber assault has resulted in the theft of millions of Americans' identities; exfiltration of billions of dollars of intellectual property; loss of countless American jobs; vulnerability of critical infrastructure to sabotage; and intrusions into sensitive government networks."

"These massive attacks have not received the attention they deserve. Instead, we as a nation remain woefully unaware of the risks that cyber attacks pose to our economy, our national security, and our privacy," he said.

"This problem is caused in large part by the fact that cyber threat information ordinarily is classified when it is gathered by the government or held as proprietary when collected by a company that has been attacked. As a result, Americans do not have an appropriate sense of the threats that they face as individual Internet users, the damage inflicted on our businesses and the jobs they create, or the scale of the attacks undertaken by foreign agents against American interests."

With Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Whitehouse introduced the "Cyber Security Public Awareness Act" to require government agencies to provide increased public reporting of cyber threat information.

"As of 2011, the level of public awareness of cyber security threats is unacceptably low. Only a tiny portion of relevant cyber security information is released to the public. Information about attacks on Federal Government systems is usually classified. Information about attacks on private systems is ordinarily kept confidential. Sufficient mechanisms do not exist to provide meaningful threat reports to the public in unclassified and anonymized form," the bill stated.

Last year, Sen. Whitehouse chaired a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee task force on cyber security.

"The government keeps the damage we are sustaining from cyber attacks secret because it is classified," he said last November. The private sector keeps the damage they are sustaining from cyber attacks secret so as not to look bad to customers, to regulators, and to investors. The net result of that is that the American public gets left in the dark."


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Obama Classification...

From Secrecy News:


An Obama Administration initiative to curb overclassification of national security information that was announced in December 2009 has produced no known results to date.

The Fundamental Classification Guidance Review, which was mandated by President Obama's executive order 13526 (section 1.9), requires each classifying agency to review all of its existing classification instructions prior to June 2012 and "to identify classified information that no longer requires protection and can be declassified." While more than a year remains to complete the process, it is already behind schedule.

The Department of Defense, the most prolific classifying agency, failed to produce implementing regulations for the executive order in advance of the December 31, 2010 deadline for doing so set by the President. As a result, most DoD components have not even started to review their classification guides, of which there are thousands.

Most recently, U.S. Central Command said that it had no records concerning the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review. "We conducted a thorough and good faith search for responsive information," CENTCOM told us in a March 28 letter (pdf). "Despite our extensive and careful search for documents pertaining to your request, we were unable to locate responsive information."

U.S. European Command, on the other hand, said that it had already completed its Fundamental Review. But it concluded that its existing classification practices were already optimal, so no reductions in classification were required!

"The EUCOM Intelligence Office conducted a review as directed by E.O. 13526 for a Fundamental Classification Guidance Review," EUCOM said (pdf) on January 18. "No inefficiencies were found during the EUCOM review. No documents were produced during the review therefore, EUCOM reports a no records found in response to your FOIA request."

Other agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State seem to be taking a more diligent approach to the Fundamental Review, though even in those cases no specific elimination of any current classification instruction is known to have occurred thus far.

Some significant reductions in Obama Administration classification policy have occurred, including dramatic changes in intelligence budget secrecy and nuclear stockpile secrecy. But these important developments emerged from issue-specific circumstances, and not from systematic classification reform efforts.

Last January, the director of the Information Security Oversight Office wrote to senior agency officials to emphasize the importance of the Fundamental Review and the need for rigorous implementation.

"The scope of this review needs to be systematic, comprehensive, and conducted with thoughtful scrutiny involving detailed data analysis," wrote ISOO director William J. Bosanko. But Mr. Bosanko has recently moved on from ISOO, which awaits appointment of a new director. Meanwhile the Fundamental Review appears stalled and unproductive in much of the executive branch.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

On Not Voting Republican...

Vote Republican? Like Hell I will!


Keith Taylor

Icie Taylor was a cantankerous sort -- called herself as independent as a hog on ice no less. Icie's biggest cantanker was her assessment politics. She just never saw anything good in any Republican. I'm sure she never voted for one, not even if he was a good customer in the dilapidated general store she ran in northern Indiana's smallest hamlet, Sevastopol.

Icie was also my Mom. I idolized her, even though for the first eighty years of my life I was sure she was wrong -- dead wrong -- about Republicans. An entire organization could not possibly be that bad.

Now I'm not so sure, especially when I see the parade of fools holding forth on C-SPAN. One after the other they bloviate on the what they perceive to be the evils of sin and socialism on the floor of the House.

Then I have to wonder if, once again, Mom wasn't right. Nary an idea from those right folks varies from wisdom as perceived by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Bill O'Reilly.

Their virtues would be more evident if they showed the ability to stop yammering about patriotism and showed some. Shutting down the government to protect God's will doesn't do it. Neither did eight years of trying to throw out a very effective president on spurious charges of lying under oath.

As they say in sporting contests, that was a nice try, but lying isn't just for Democrats. The icon of modern conservatism, Ronald Reagan, lied some thirty times under oath.

Some thirty times he smiled, said "by golly," gave us that disarming smile and swore "I don't remember " when he was deposed about the Iran-Contra affair. And in case someone wants to claim the onset of Alzheimers for the record breaking lapse of memory, Ronnie's Veep and successor G. H. W. Bush used the same cop-out. A huge computer couldn't calculate the odds of both forgetting every salient point of the biggest scandal of their administration.

It takes a tremendous leap of imagination to consider lying about a sex act to protect a marriage, a moral equivalency to lying about selling arms to a nation to a belligerent nation in order to help a rebellious one overthrow its own government.

But in a world bounded by lies leaping imaginations abound.

When today's Republicans get going, there is no telling what they will tell us. Truth is what they choose to believe, especially anything that has to do with science. Following the example of that noted climatologist, Rush Limbaugh, they simply choose not to believe climate change is a problem. Research on embryonic stem cells is abortion. So is most birth control.

When they lack proof or empirical evidence, they resort to childish wise cracks. Everybody remember Bush's childish comments about Gore? Ozone head indeed! Limbaugh evokes the same sarcasm with "duddle up duddle up duddle up."

But that was history. How about today?.

Yeah, how about it? It just keeps on getting worse. On the opening of the 112th Congress, the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader held a special news conference to take their bows. They paid lip service to the debt, national defense, terrorism, unemployment, and all the rest. But their overriding objective was to get rid of Obama!

And lies, the offense for which Clinton was impeached? The party wallowed in them. Not all Republicans told the most egregious ones, but if it fit the overriding objective, even those with a veneer of common sense sat back and smiled as fanatics repeated tales that Obama is a Muslim, socialist, Kenyan, unpatriotic because he didn't salute properly, or whatever sounds good in their zeal to thwart the democratic process.

Surely there are some good folks in today's Republican Party. Am I not being just cantankerous in refusing to even consider supporting them? Oh yes, but "considering" is as far as it goes. When the voting comes, it is unanimous. No dissent in today's Republican Party!

So Icie Taylor would probably smile if she learned that the baby of her family finally agreed with her about the bad guys. I will not vote for a Republican until we hear some of that loyal opposition stuff from them.


To borrow from one of the more visible ones: "Vote Republican? Like Hell I will!"

//Keith Taylor is a retired Navy officer living in Chula Vista, Ca. He can be reached at //

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Classifications...and then some...

From Secrecy News...


The Senate Intelligence Committee is proposing to punish leaks of classified information by authorizing intelligence agencies to seize the pension benefits of current or former employees who are believed to have committed an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

The pending proposal would "provide an additional administrative option for the Intelligence Community to deter leakers who violate the prepublication review requirements of their non-disclosure agreements," the Committee said in its new report (pdf) on the FY2011 Intelligence Authorization Act.

"This option may require individuals to surrender their current and future federal government pension benefits if they knowingly violate the prepublication review requirements in their non-disclosure agreements in a manner that discloses classified information to an unauthorized person or entity," the report said.

But the premises of the new proposal are questionable and it has generated some controversy even within the Senate Committee itself.

The starting point of the Committee proposal is that leakers are rarely if ever punished. "A particular source of frustration has been that leakers are rarely seen to suffer consequences for leaking classified information." In fact, however, the number of ongoing leak-related prosecutions is currently at an all-time high.

Secondly, the Committee believes that existing administrative sanctions that stop short of criminal prosecution -- including "security clearance revocation, suspension, or termination" -- are inadequate and incomplete because they cannot reach persons who are no longer government employees. "Unfortunately, these sanctions are not generally available for use against a key source of leaks, former Intelligence Community employees." But it is not at all clear, and the Committee does not attempt to demonstrate, that former Intelligence Community employees are "a key source of leaks." In practice, the government already has strong legal authority to enforce prepublication review requirements, and the CIA is currently engaged in suing at least one of its former employees ("Ishmael Jones") for an alleged violation of those requirements.

Perhaps for those reasons and others, the Intelligence Community itself did not request the pension seizure authority that the Senate Intelligence Committee now proposes to bestow on it.

But the pending proposal may be worse than unnecessary, said Sen. Ron Wyden in a dissenting statement attached to the new Intelligence Committee report. He said it could discourage whistleblowers and impede congressional access to information.

"My concern is that giving intelligence agency heads the authority to take away the pensions of individuals who haven't been formally convicted of any wrongdoing could pose serious problems for the due process rights of intelligence professionals, and particularly the rights of whistleblowers who report waste, fraud and abuse to Congress or Inspectors General," Sen. Wyden wrote.

"It is unfortunately entirely plausible to me that a given intelligence agency could conclude that a written submission to the congressional intelligence committees or an agency Inspector General is an 'unauthorized publication,' and that the whistleblower who submitted it is thereby subject to punishment under [this provision], especially since there is no explicit language in the bill that contradicts this conclusion."

"Withholding pension benefits from a legitimate whistleblower would be highly inappropriate, but overzealous and even unscrupulous individuals have served in senior government positions in the past, and will undoubtedly do so again in the future. This is why it is essential to have strong protections for whistleblowers enshrined in law, and this is particularly true for intelligence whistleblowers, since, given the covert nature of intelligence operations and activities, there are limited opportunities for public oversight. But reporting fraud and abuse by one's own colleagues takes courage, and no whistleblowers will come forward if they do not believe that they will be protected from retaliation," wrote Sen. Wyden, who voted against the pending bill (pdf).

Another provision of the bill calls for establishment of "an effective automated insider threat detection program for the information resources in each element of the Intelligence Community in order to detect unauthorized access to, or use or transmission of, classified information."

Setting aside the specifics of the proposals, the underlying message from the Senate Committee is that agencies should do even more, not anything less or different, to combat leaks of classified information. The Senate Committee was silent on other aspects of classification policy. In particular, it had no guidance to offer concerning the halting efforts in the Intelligence Community to reduce overclassification.

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

The Secrecy News Blog is at:


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Adult & Children...BOOKS!

From Publishers Lunch Weekly....


#1 NYT bestselling author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves Elizabeth Kostova's untitled new novel, set in the U.S. and Eastern Europe, moving between the past and present and combining elements of suspense, myth and folklore, moves to Libby McGuire for Ballantine, with Jennifer Hershey to edit, for publication in 2013, by Amy Williams at McCormick & Williams Literary Agency (NA).

NYT bestselling author Amy Tan's THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT, set in 1890-1940 San Francisco and Shanghai, about a painting called the 'Valley of Amazement' that is passed along through three generations of women of the same family, moves to Dan Halpern at Ecco for the US, by Sandra Dijkstra at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, and to Iris Tupholme at Harper Canada, by John Pearce at Westwood Creative Artists on behalf of Sandy Dijkstra.
UK rights sold again to Clare Reihill at Fourth Estate.

Author of THE IMPRESSIONIST, TRANSMISSION and MY REVOLUTIONS, Hari Kunzru's GODS WITHOUT MEN, a multi-stranded narrative set in the Mohave Desert revolving around the disappearance of an autistic little boy whose parents find themselves at the center of a media witch hunt that kicks off a malestrom of events, where the present is connected with the past, before the boy is found mysteriously changed, moving to Carole Baron at Knopf, for publication in spring 2012, by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.

NYT bestselling author of COLD MOUNTAIN and THIRTEEN MOONS Charles Frazier's NIGHTWOODS, set in rural North Carolina in the 1950s and telling of a young woman who cares for her murdered sister's twins, to Random House, for release in October 2011, by Amanda Urban at ICM.

Children's/Middle Grade...

Anne Cameron's ANGUS McFANGUS, the first in a four-book series about a boy who learns he is someone with the rare ability to predict catastrophic weather, to Steve Geck at Greenwillow Books, in a pre-empt, by Madeleine Buston at the Darley Anderson.

Children's/Picture Book...

Caldecott-winning author of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and other classic children's books (which have collectively sold nearly 30 million copies in the US) Maurice Sendak's BUMBLE-ARDY, the first book illustrated and written by Sendak since OUTSIDE OVER THERE in 1981, about a mischievous pig who has reached the age of nine without ever having a birthday party -- all that changes when Bumble throws a party for himself and invites all his friends, leading to a wild masquerade that quickly gets out of hand, to Harper Children's, for publication in September 2011.

Children's/Young Adult....

USA Today bestselling self-published ebook phenomenon Amanda Hocking's WATERSONG series, to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, for four books, at auction, reportedly for over $2 million, for publication beginning in Fall 2012, by Steven Axelrod at The Axelrod Agency (World English).
Lenore Appelhans's debut YA novel LEVEL 2, a thriller set in the liminal place between our world and heaven, about a 17 year-old girl who spends her days reliving her memories from the security of her pod until she gets broken out by a boy from her past life, to Justin Chanda and Alexandra Cooper at Simon & Schuster Children's, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media.
Film rights sold simultaneously to Wolfgang Hammer at CBS Films, by CAA. Audio rights to Rebecca Waugh at Listening Library, also in a pre-empt.

NYT bestselling author Gail Carriger's debut YA historical fantasy series ESPIONAGE AND ETIQUETTE, set in her Soulless Alexia Tarabotti world but 25 years prior, an incorrigible aristocrat is sent off to finishing school to learn how to be lady only to discover that the school trains young ladies alright but for the wrong kind of "finishing," pitched as Ally Carter meets Steampunk, to Kate Sullivan at Little, Brown Children's, in a pre-empt, in a four-book deal, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (NA).
UK & Translation:

Christopher Paolini's INHERITANCE, the fourth and final book in his #1 NYT bestselling Inheritance cycle, to Michelle Frey at Knopf Children's, for simultaneous publication in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand on November 8, 2011, by Simon Lipskar at Writers House (World).
Random House Germany imprint CBT will again publish the German edition.


Robert Egan and Kurt Pitzer's EATING WITH THE ENEMY, a true story about a New Jersey rib joint owner who befriended high-level North Korean officials in New York, improving decades of poor US diplomacy and eventually negotiating with them over nuclear proliferation, to HBO Films for James Gandolfini to star and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions to produce, by Hotchkiss and Associates, on behalf of Jim Rutman at Sterling Lord Literistic and Alice Martell at The Martell Agency.

NONFICTION: Advice/Relationships...

Oscar-nominated filmmaker and novelist Dana Adam Shapiro's YOU CAN BE RIGHT OR YOU CAN BE MARRIED, in which the author intimately interviews dozens of divorced men and women in hopes of understanding what really makes marriages fail so that he can find happiness in a marriage of his own -- pitched as "the most provocative relationship guide couples will ever read," to Nan Graham and Whitney Frick at Scribner, by Daniel Greenberg at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (World English).

History/Politics/Current Affairs....

Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels's KEEPING THE REPUBLIC: Limited Government, Unlimited Citizens, addressing America's urgent need for limited but more effective government, fiscal discipline at all levels, increased liberty for individuals, and a restoration of our national greatness, to Adrian Zackheim for Sentinel, for publication in September 2011, by Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly.

Washington, D.C.-based BBC State Department correspondent Kim Ghattas's FROM BEIRUT TO WASHINGTON, the story of Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, an on-the-ground account of Ghattas's time traveling and reporting as part of Clinton's press corps, using Ghattas's global perspective as a Dutch-Lebanese citizen raised in the crossfire of her country's civil war to explore the larger question of America's place in a rapidly changing global landscape, and drawing on extensive interviews inside the administration, around Washington and further afield, to Serena Jones at Times Books, in a pre-empt, by Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

Professor of Egyptology at UCLA and host of Discovery Channel's Out of Egypt Kara Cooney's HATSHEPSUT: THE WOMAN WHO BECAME KING, providing the definitive account of one of the ancient world's most accomplished and audacious rulers who at the age of 25 took on a masculine identity to transform herself into the androgynous ruler (and god on earth) of ancient Egypt, reigning peacefully and successfully for over twenty years, only to have her name and likeness mysteriously erased from monuments throughout the kingdom after her death, to Vanessa Mobley at Crown, for publication in Spring 2014, by Marc Gerald at The Agency Group.


Dan Sinker's THE F***ING EPIC TWITTER QUEST OF @MAYOREMANUEL, an at-the-time anonymous, fake Rahm Emanuel mayoral campaign Twitter feed, annotated and to include Sinker's first-person account of the phenomenon that has attracted loads of followers and media, with a Foreword by co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone, to Brant Rumble at Scribner, by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company in association with co-agent Johnny Temple (NA).


Founder of M.E. Thomas's HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: Inside the Mind of a Sociopath, the first-ever confession by a high-functioning, non-criminal, diagnosed sociopath and accomplished law professor, a story of cruelty and manipulation followed by redemption and ultimately love and friendship, combining memoir and the latest research on the science of the "empathy-challenged," to Jenna Ciongoli at Broadway, at auction, by Emmanuelle Morgen at Judith Ehrlich Literary Management (NA).

Legendary conductor Maestro James Levine's untitled book, to be written with Harvey Sachs, on his brilliant, more than fifty-year career in music (35 of those at the helm of the Metropolitan Opera), to Jonathan Segal at Knopf, by Denise Shannon at Denise Shannon Literary Agency (World).


Caroline Stoessinger's ALICE'S WORLD, in which the life of 107-year old Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest living Holocaust survivor and concert pianist, is used as a lens not only to show the power of music, but how her refusal to hate brings goodness into the world, to Cindy Spiegel of Spiegel & Grau, in a pre-empt, for publication in early 2013, by Marly Rusoff of Marly Rusoff & Associates (World).

Linda Alice Dewey and James Campbell's THE KASSEL MISSION, a dramatic account of survival and unlikely friendships set during World War II, about an elite U.S. Air Force squadron (of which Dewey's father was a member), a secret bombing mission gone disastrously awry, and a daughter's present-day search for the truth, to Bruce Nichols at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in a pre-empt, by David McCormick at McCormick & Williams Literary Agency (NA).