Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 8:31 pm

We’re not a complete dictatorship. Yet.

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 8:31 pm
Tags: , ,

One bit of good news that escaped my notice earlier: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in U.S. v. Warshak that if the government wants to read somebody’s e-mail, it needs to get a damn warrant. Orin Kerr at Volokh writes that three previous, similar 2-1 appeals-court panel rulings have been overturned or withdrawn on other grounds, but he outlines reasons why he thinks this one is likely to “stick around.” (He has written previously on related issues here.)

So, one for the good guys.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:04 pm

The big picture, e-mail edition

Filed under: Hold! Them! Accountable! — Lex @ 10:04 pm
Tags: ,

When you’re doing journalism, there are basically three kinds of stories: stories about events, stories about patterns, and stories about systems. The best reporters don’t just write about events (although they both have to and, for very good reasons, frequently choose to), they also write about the patterns formed by those events and, at the top of the complexity scale, the systems that give rise to those patterns.

Which is why this point by Marcy Wheeler, which gets at something that has bugged me for several years, is so important:

At some point, people have to stop giving Bush era officials the benefit of the doubt. Every single major scandal of the Bush Administration — except, technically, the warrantless wiretap scandal, but if I were NARA I’d start asking about those emails — has included disappeared emails. I mean, it’s time to stop pretending this is anything but intentional.

Precisely. This institutional cover-up manifests itself in pretty much everything the previous administration touched, most recently coming to light in the Justice Department’s “investigation” of the John Yoo/Jay Bybee torture memos, which found that some key e-mails had gone missing.

But I guess it’s more important that we “move on” than that we hold anyone accountable.

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