November 2, 2007


Bales, Kevin, Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves (Berkeley & Los Angeles: U. of California Press, 2007) (Did you know that “twenty-seven million people are in slavery” today?” Id. at 14. “Then some of the questions hit us right in the heart: Are we willing to live in a world with slavery? Are we willing to share in the profits it generates? Is there some difference between our own children and children forced into slavery that makes their enslavement acceptable? Do all humans have a right to freedom, or is freedom just for the fortunate? Are we willing to pay more for goods made by free people? What would we be willing to give up if it meant slaves were freed? What if our government had to intervene in other countries? Are we willing to pay more taxes to pay for the rescue and rehabilitation of slaves? What can you and I do to stop slavery, and what should we do first?” “This book is about answering those questions.” Id. at 25.).

Eisgruber, Christopher L., The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007)(Nice, short read, but nothing eye-opening.).

Klarman, Michael J., Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History (Oxford & New York: Oxford U. Press, 2007).

Lilla, Mark, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (New York: New York: Knopf, 2007)(This is a very worthwhile read, though a rigorous background in Western philosophy would be useful to appreciate some of the nuances of the argument. “For over two centuries, from the American and French revolutions to the collapse of Soviet Communism, political life in the West revolved around eminently political questions….Today we have progressed to the point where we are again fighting the battles of the sixteenth century—over revelation and reason, dogmatic purity and toleration, inspiration and consent, divine duty and common decency. We are disturbed and confused. We find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still inflame the minds of men, stirring up messianic passions that leave societies in ruin. We assumed that this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong. Id. at 3. “The Stillborn God is not a fairy tale. It is a book about the fragility of our world, the world created by the intellectual rebellion against political theology in the West….The West does appear to have passed some kind of historical watershed, making it barely imaginable that theocracies could spring up among us or that armed bands of religious fanatics could set off a civil war. Even so, our world is fragile—not because of the promises our political societies fail to keep, but because of the promises our political thought refuses to make.” Id. at 6-7. “Those of us who have accepted the heritage of the Great Separation must do so soberly. Time and again we must remind ourselves that we are living an experiment, that we are the exceptions. We have little reason to expect other civilizations to follow our unusual path…. Id. at 308.).

Oates, Joyce Carol, The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates edited byGreg Johnson (New York: Ecco Press, 2007)("July 29, 1976.... The secret of being a writer: not to expect others to value what you've done as you value it. Not to expect anyone else to perceive in it the emotions you have invested in it. Once this is undestood, all will be well. Not indifference, not apathy--but self-containment is the result." Id. at 130. "September 1, 1980.... Bellefleur is #11 in this week's New York Times best-seller list. The competition, however, is crushing. Competition!--novels by people no one in the 'literary' world has ever heard of, except Irving Stone, perhaps. Stephen King with a novel about an eight-year-old who sets things on fire with his eyes. (The most remarkable best-seller at the present time, however, is 'How to Flatten Your Stomach.' It's thirty-seven pages long. Has been on the list for over a year. Yes, it consists of exercises we all know.... How can one underestimate the intelligence of the American public?). Id. at 387.).

Pager, Devah, Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration (Chicago & London: U. of Chicago Press, 2007) (This sociological study is a short, but most worthwhile read.).

Shipley, David; and Will Schwalbe, Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home (New York: Knopf, 2007) (This is my new bible, and had caused me to reduce my email correspondence significantly. It has also caused me to resent just about any email I receive. There is a lot of worthwhile information and good sense advice here. My two favorites are these: “The fact that email always provides a searchable record means that you can be held accountable for our electronic correspondence…. Rule: If you’re working with weasels, watch their email like a hawk.” And, “The ease with which an email can be forwarded poses a danger…. Rule: never forward anything without permission, and assume everything you write will be forwarded.” Id. at 27-28. Needless to say, I want to send an email to everyone I know suggesting they purchase and read this book. Having read the book, I am exercising restraint.).

Tushnet, Mark V., Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can’t End the Battle Over Guns (Oxford & New York: Oxford U. Press, 2007).

OPINION | October 29, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor: The Wiretap This Time
During my lifetime, there has been a sea change in the way that politically active Americans view their relationship with government.

Elia Kazan, Gentlemen's Agreement (1947).
Elia Kazan, Pinky (1949) ("Can't you see? You can't live without pride.").