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The Bush Administration, entering into its last, lame-duck year, has the usual difficulties finding qualified help. Add to that public approval levels as low as have ever been seen. And consider finally what must be the least desirable place to work in the entire administration: Alberto Gonzales’s Department of Justice.
Truly Gonzales has performed an act of remarkable alchemy. He inherited what was arguably the most highly respected agency in the U.S. Government. For decades, the best and brightest law school graduates of any generation would battle over the handful of openings at main Justice and with various U.S. attorneys offices. No longer. Today, association with the Gonzales Justice Department is feared as a taint on any lawyer’s résumé. And here’s the best evidence I have seen of this so far. When asked if he would take Paul J. McNulty’s slot as Deputy Attorney General, the man who ran the Office of Legal Policy for John Ashcroft, Viet Dinh, has an instant response: “I’d rather trade places with Jose Padilla,” he says, referring to a man who was tortured and placed in solitary confinement in the Naval brig in South Carolina.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount the inventor of the yellow “smiley face” had received for it by the time of his death in April:
An astrophysicist observed that the early universe looked like vegetable soup.
In North Korea, a missile capable of striking U.S. bases overseas blew up immediately after a test launch, and in North Carolina, a G.O.P. headquarters was firebombed.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”