Friday, April 19, 2013


George Orwell is credited with saying that we sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to do violence to those who would harm us. Last night an assortment of law enforcement officers from various agencies played out Orwell’s aphorism while television cameras rolled. The cameraman was too far away and it was too dark for viewers to do much more than hear the gunfire, but from the sounds of it, the firefight was intense. As with the immediate aftermath of any such an incident, details are sketchy, confused, and somewhat conflicting. What is not in doubt, however, is the heroism of those officers who put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Boston. I salute them, and all law enforcement officers everywhere who daily stand ready to do violence to those who would harm us.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Rep. Luis Guttierrez was on "This Week with George Stephanopolous" where he made the following profoundly uninsightful statement:

GUTIERREZ: I'll tell you who is applauding and who's clapping any lack of success on gun control, gangbangers and drug dealers across this country. They're happy and delighted. Because they are murdering and killing young people each and every day.

Does he really think that these people give two hoots in a hot place whether assault weapons and high capacity magazines are outlawed? Does he really believe that they are afraid they won't be able to procure assault weapons and high capacity magazines after they're outlawed? Drugs are already outlawed and they don't seem to have any trouble finding all the drugs they want.

He's got to be smarter than his statement makes him look.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Edgar Lee Masters did not like Abraham Lincoln. Masters so disliked Lincoln that his biography, Lincoln the Man, reads like a diatribe against the 16th President. Masters was so uncomplimentary of Lincoln that a bill was introduced in Congress to have his work declared obscene. The incident with Masters' biography of Lincoln gave rise to the coinage of a new word, "Lincolnoclasm," and those authors who were uncomplimentary of Lincoln became known as "Lincolnoclasts."

I have at last finished the first draft of my new book on Lincoln's famous Almanac Trial. It exemplifies Will Rogers' aphorism "There's a lot we know that just ain't so." I am definitely not a Lincolnoclast, but I think the book will show that several incidents from the trial have been portrayed in a way to enhance Lincoln's stature at the expense of historical accuracy. The process started when Lincoln was running for President, and the story of the trial was dramatized as a piece of campaign propaganda. Of course, this spawned counter-propaganda which was highly unflattering, and at least one of those unflattering stories has endured to the present.

I believe that the "true facts" of the trial, though not as dramatic as some of the myth, will show that Lincoln was a superb trial lawyer. I think the book will also answer some modern day criticisms which raise questions about his legal ethics. I was a criminal trial lawyer for 32 years, and I can unreservedly say that I would have been glad to  have Lincoln as co-counsel on any case I ever tried. I believe it would also have been a pleasure to try a case against him. He was well-versed in the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable.