Amanda Craig’s The Golden Rule is a modern take on Victorian narrative traditions – The Canberra Times

life-style, amanda craig, the golden rule, crime thriller, melodrama, canberra times book review

British author Amanda Craig is a freelance journalist, literary critic and novelist. In an opinion piece in The Independent, Craig questioned the current obsession with historical fiction while the contemporary novel seems out of fashion. She says she has, in her novels, "set out to take the DNA of a Victorian novel - it's spirit of realism, its strong plot, it's cast of characters who are not passively shaped by circumstances but who rise to challenge or escape them". For Craig, writing contemporary fiction is "a moral duty". As a result, she has written a cycle of eight interconnected novels dealing with contemporary British society, a multi stranded approach to writing fiction. The Golden Rule is the ninth. Each novel stands alone but they are linked by characters. Craig will take a minor character from one of the previous novels and make him or her the protagonist of the next. Hannah, the main character in The Golden Rule, first appeared as a child in A Private Place, the second in the cycle. Hannah is now 29, living in poverty in London, abandoned by her abusive husband, Jake, cleaning houses to support herself and her six-year-old child, Maisy. Hannah is "exhausted by debt, hopelessness, loneliness, anger and the knowledge that, despite having jumped through all the right hoops, the bigger life on which she had pinned her hopes was not going to happen". Jake has applied for divorce and custody of Maisy. "Fury was what kept her going", and hatred of her husband. Hannah grew up in Cornwall but escaped to university, where she met and married Jake. Now her mother is dying and she travels back to St Piran in Cornwall to be with her. On the train, she meets Jinni, elegant and rich, who invites Hannah to join her in First Class. Jinni too is angry and bitter about her husband and their impending divorce. The two women make a pact to murder each other's husband. Hannah is to kill first, as Jinni's husband Con lives in a decaying stately home near St Piran. However Jinni's husband is far from the tall dark good looking man she describes, rather he is "an enormous creature", drunk, ugly and dishevelled, reeking of "stale sweat and a lot of booze". At this point, The Golden Rule morphs from echoes of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train to Beauty and the Beast, as the novel becomes a romance with elements of gothic melodrama, interspersed with didactic lectures on contemporary issues: Brexit; sexual harassment in the work place; domestic violence; the widening gap between rich and poor and the plight of generation rent who can't afford inflated house prices. The end result, sadly, is repetitive, predictable and at times plain tedious.



September 19 2020 - 12:00AM

British author Amanda Craig is a freelance journalist, literary critic and novelist. In an opinion piece in The Independent, Craig questioned the current obsession with historical fiction while the contemporary novel seems out of fashion. She says she has, in her novels, "set out to take the DNA of a Victorian novel - it's spirit of realism, its strong plot, it's cast of characters who are not passively shaped by circumstances but who rise to challenge or escape them".

For Craig, writing contemporary fiction is "a moral duty". As a result, she has written a cycle of eight interconnected novels dealing with contemporary British society, a multi stranded approach to writing fiction. The Golden Rule is the ninth.

Each novel stands alone but they are linked by characters. Craig will take a minor character from one of the previous novels and make him or her the protagonist of the next. Hannah, the main character in The Golden Rule, first appeared as a child in A Private Place, the second in the cycle. Hannah is now 29, living in poverty in London, abandoned by her abusive husband, Jake, cleaning houses to support herself and her six-year-old child, Maisy.

Hannah is "exhausted by debt, hopelessness, loneliness, anger and the knowledge that, despite having jumped through all the right hoops, the bigger life on which she had pinned her hopes was not going to happen".

Jake has applied for divorce and custody of Maisy. "Fury was what kept her going", and hatred of her husband.

Hannah grew up in Cornwall but escaped to university, where she met and married Jake. Now her mother is dying and she travels back to St Piran in Cornwall to be with her.

On the train, she meets Jinni, elegant and rich, who invites Hannah to join her in First Class. Jinni too is angry and bitter about her husband and their impending divorce. The two women make a pact to murder each other's husband. Hannah is to kill first, as Jinni's husband Con lives in a decaying stately home near St Piran. However Jinni's husband is far from the tall dark good looking man she describes, rather he is "an enormous creature", drunk, ugly and dishevelled, reeking of "stale sweat and a lot of booze".

At this point, The Golden Rule morphs from echoes of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train to Beauty and the Beast, as the novel becomes a romance with elements of gothic melodrama, interspersed with didactic lectures on contemporary issues: Brexit; sexual harassment in the work place; domestic violence; the widening gap between rich and poor and the plight of generation rent who can't afford inflated house prices. The end result, sadly, is repetitive, predictable and at times plain tedious.

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Amanda Craig's The Golden Rule is a modern take on Victorian narrative traditions - The Canberra Times

Letter: Vote to return to norms, standards we’re used to – Whidbey News-Times


Two years ago I wrote a letter to the editor titled, Norms, standards and behaviors.

At that time I had watched a C-Span episode that featured James R. Clapper, former director of national security, and Michael V. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency.

Their main point was that our national institutions had been under tremendous stress when it came to the rule of law, national policy, diplomacy and foreign relations as a result of presidential tweets and actions.

Now we have added stressors that include COVID-19, racial injustice issues, climate change, economic fallout and White House falsehoods, misinformation and incompetence.

If you have decided to vote for Trump, nothing I write will change your mind. If you are weighing the good and bad that have transpired since Trump took office, and are unsure how to cast your presidential ballot, be aware that science, history, tradition and integrity are not welcome in this administration.

We have moved past my belief that men and women of character and professionalism, like Mr. Clapper and Mr. Hayden, would prevail, that they would advise and assist Trumps administration in practicing good governance.

How is it possible that someone with no background in science, health, history, economics or governance could reassure you that he knows best, no matter what the topic?

If my car, and its various parts, stand in for the U.S. government, I want the best mechanic I can get fixing the problems. I want professionals with lots of experience and vetted credentials handling our national affairs. I want accountability, proof and reason as part of the mix, not half-truths, conspiracy tales and made up stuff.

We have moved way past a Ford vs. Chevy, Republican vs. Democrat scenario. We are in the hands of a despot who is a master at put downs, talking over people, and using bluster and pretension to manage our country.

I miss hearing what intelligent Republicans like Jon Huntsman Jr. have to say about our national mess.

I miss public discourse that works to come up with solutions to all of our domestic and foreign policy issues. I miss real Republicans who take a stand based on principles and not party.

I am asking my fellow Americans to take a step back from anger, bitterness, rage and vitriol. Deep down, most of us want for our country what we want for our families, friends and communities; we want respect, cordial relations and social discourse that works toward solutions.

Lets vote that way so we can return to the norms, standards and behaviors that we are all familiar with the ones embodied in the Golden Rule.

Mike Diamanti


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Letter: Vote to return to norms, standards we're used to - Whidbey News-Times

John C. Morgan on Everyday Ethics: The most fundamental question to ask yourself – The Mercury

Let's get back to basics everyday ethics.

I began writing this column to take ethics out of the classroom and into the wider world. My model was Socrates, the father of ethics, who went into the city where he lived to engage in dialog with others. It was Socrates who gave us the most lasting definition of ethics how best to live.

Ethics is fundamentally a practical philosophy. It seeks to help individuals make the best decisions they can for themselves, consistent with their beliefs and values.

There are various ethical traditions that offer roadmaps about how best to live.

The early Greek philosopher Aristotle said we should seek to live a life of moderation. He called that the Golden Mean. Think of the extremes of any value, take courage as one. Courage to live is an ethical principle, but the extremes are what cause difficulty being too risky or being too shy.

Aristotle said the best way to live a good life is to practice what you believe. In other words, if you want to be a compassionate person, you need to be kind to yourself and others as often as you can.

Other world ethical systems from the East and West offer guidance on making moral decisions. The most common principle is treating others as you wish to be treated or love your neighbor as yourself. This is called the Golden Rule.

When you have time to consider a pending decision, here are three areas to consider,

First, look at any existing rules or laws. By these standards would your decision be right or wrong? For example, thinking about whether or not to cheat on a test to get a higher grade is obviously a violation of school rules.

Second, look at issues of character. Would your decision fit your values and needs and that of others? Some might consider sacrificing themselves for the good of others, but that would not be good for you.

Third, examine the situation you are in. Sometimes the context in which you make a decision weighs heavily. A friend may ask you to lie to protect himself, and though as a general rule you don't advocate telling lies, in this particular case that rule takes second to a higher one of protecting a friend.

Ethics is about making decisions, sometimes difficult ones. But a fundamental question to ask yourself is this one: Is what I am going to decide something I will regret later? Asking and answering this one, may clear things up.

John C. Morgan is a teacher and writer whose columns appear here weekly.

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John C. Morgan on Everyday Ethics: The most fundamental question to ask yourself - The Mercury

Dems, GOP relying on tech to register voters this fall – Fox17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. The pandemic has made efforts to get out the vote difficult for both parties, but Democrats and Republicans are still hitting the street when they can. And using tech to get people registered and educated.

The standard, golden rule in politics is theres no substitute for door-to-door canvassing, for talking to voters face-to-face, said Gary Stark, chair of the Kent County Democrats, and we always think we can do that. But were all facing the same kinds of constraints.

Both the Democratic party and GOP have their own registration websites. Theyve been around for a while, but their importance is renewed this year with the pandemic hampering efforts to door-to-door canvass.

Were getting out how we can, obviously you have to do it very carefullyyou have to do it with masks and distance and being respectful of people who want to keep their distance, said Joel Freeman, chair of the Kent GOP. So its kind of an all-of-the-above approach this year but yes, certainly going digital and going by mail is a much bigger factor this year.

We have been reluctant to [canvass] because of the governors guidelines and the dangers of that and the uncertainty of how that would be received, said Stark. Many people dont want people strangers knocking on their door.

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Dems, GOP relying on tech to register voters this fall - Fox17

Letter: Voters need to accept the truth | Opinion | goskagit.com – goskagit.com

Cognitive dissonance. What is it?

It is when a person holds two beliefs that contradict one another. Cognitive dissonance causes feelings of unease and tension, and people attempt to relieve this discomfort in different ways. Examples include explaining things away or rejecting new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs.

Newborns are immune. They have no preconceived notions. They are not swayed by propaganda or fables. They enter life with a clean slate.

As people age, they acquire new information that is either factual or false. Unless they analyze the data that comes their way, they may be duped into believing false evidence appearing real. Opinions and outlooks are thus formed.

Strong personalities are often capable of pulling the wool over the eyes of many otherwise well-intentioned people. Folks hear things that strike discordant chords and thereafter abandon the precepts of the Golden Rule in favor of slick hoopla and myth put forth by silver-tongued orators.

Donald Trump did not become president because he offered rational alternatives to complex yet solvable problems in our nation. His approach was and remains aggressive, belligerent and extremely self-aggrandizing. As an example, any criticisms of the president that appear in the media are simply labeled fake news by the Trump entourage. End of discussion.

And here is where cognitive dissonance appears. Many people who voted for him in 2016 try to explain things away or reject new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs. Doing so is easier than coming to grips with the truth: Voting for him in 2016 was a mistake.

Hopefully, in the quietness of their souls, come Election Day, they will choose to remedy that error.

Richard Austin

Mount Vernon

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Letter: Voters need to accept the truth | Opinion | goskagit.com - goskagit.com

Want To Be An Amazing Neighbor? Five Ways To Start (And Some Things To Avoid) by Mike Stonestreet | Sponsored Insights – Greater Wilmington Business…

With Americans spending more time at home than ever these days, being a good neighbor is of the utmost importance. Sure, not many people are actively trying to be bad neighbors, but if you sit down and think about it, do your daily habits exude neighborliness? Now that we're seeing a lot more of the people who live next door to us, its a great time to consider some ways we can all pitch in to make our communities better, more harmonious places to live. Here are 5 small ways everyone can ensure they're being considerate of those who live nearby.1. Introduce Yourself to New NeighborsNow I know what you're thinking - how do I know these people want me barging up to their door and striking up a conversation? Well, you don't. But with practicing social distancing and general disconnect many are feeling these days, it would be awfully hard to be the new family in the neighborhood. No, you shouldn't greet strangers with a hug or even a handshake right now, but if you see someone new moving into the house across the street, make it a point to go outside and introduce yourself from your driveway. Welcome them to the street, make some small talk, ask if they need help with anything and encourage nearby neighbors to do the same. Small acts of kindness like this go a long way and will help lessen the burden of what can already be a very stressful time.2. Maintain Curb AppealThat one neighbor who just can't seem to follow the rules regarding trash pickup and lawn maintenance - every community association member's worst nightmare, right? You, of course, don't want to be that person, so make sure you're vigilant in keeping your property neat, well-maintained and in compliance with any association rules and regulations. No one wants to look out their window each day only to see overflowing garbage cans, knee-high weeds and dead flower beds, and you wouldn't either. So, be sure to put your garbage and recycling at the curb on the appropriate pick up day and bring the bins back up once the items are collected. Keep your lawn mown, edged, trimmed and watered (if needed) on a regular schedule. But remember - curb appeal isn't just lawn care and garbage cans. It can also be having a surplus of lawn ornaments, flags, broken bicycles and toys, dirty patio furniture - you get the picture. The main point here is keeping your property neat and clean. Besides potentially incurring HOA violations and fines, messy lawns are just an eye sore and bring down property values for everyone who lives nearby.3. Comply with Community RulesHumans don't necessarily like rules, but we all need them and, if you live in a community association, there's a good chance there is a set of them you're supposed to follow. The point of these rules isn't to be controlling but rather to preserve the property values within the community and maintain a peaceful living environment for all property owners. With that being said, there will probably be a rule or two that you don't care for, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore it - you wouldn't want your neighbors picking and choosing which rules they comply with, would you? Plus, in most communities you'll eventually end up owing some fines if you keep breaking the rules. Disregarding rules and regulations will ultimately lead to conflict between neighbors or between association members and board members or managers, and no one wants conflict. If there really is an issue with a community rule, its best to express your opinion and any suggestions to the board at the next open board meeting so a productive discussion can be held.4. Don't be the Town CrierIf your community actually has a crier in the newspaper-sense, that's wonderful, newspapers are underrated these days but you don't need to personally fulfill that role. No one likes a gossipplain and simple. Part of being a good neighbor is avoiding gossip and this includes listening to it, spreading it or participating in it. When you live close to others, yes, you're bound to hear and see things, but that doesn't mean you should be sharing that information with others. There are certain instances where it may be alright to share something you've heard (for example, a neighbor had a death in the family and you tell some others so they can send condolences), but no one needs to know that Mr. Smith's son has been sent to rehab for the 3rd time. Plus, do you even know if that's true? Spreading gossip will ultimately only hurt your reputation in the neighborhood and cause distrust among neighbors, something you don't want to see happen in an otherwise happy community.5. Be Mindful of NoiseKeeping the music down when you're having a gathering may be a no-brainer, but there are other aspects of hosting a party that may be irritating to your neighbors. If you throw a party, be sure that you've considered where attendees will park - can they all fit in your driveway or in approved street spaces without blocking neighbors? Will there be people outside talking late into the night? If you are planning on having a gathering that will last later than 9:00 or 10:00 PM (especially on a weeknight), it is probably best to let your neighbors know and invite them to text or call you if there are any issues. Noise, of course, doesn't apply to just parties. I can't think of anyone that wants to hear hedge trimmers at 7:00 AM on a Saturday. So, unless there is a hedge trimming emergency that mandates you start those bad boys up at 7:00 AM on the dot, be courteous and wait a bit later until folks are awake.Though we've thrown a bit of humor into this piece (who couldn't use a laugh right now?), the overall message is clear: don't regularly carry out activities you wouldn't want your neighbors carrying out. If this sounds like a subtle variation of the golden rule, that's because it is - if you want good neighbors, you also must be one.We at CAMS know it can sometimes be difficult reading through and understanding your community's rules and regulations. That is why these documents can be easily accessed via our website for each of the communities we serve. And, if you still have questions or concerns about a particular rule or a compliance letter you received, you can always reach out to our team of experts via your owner portal or at 877.672.2276 for trusted guidance.Mike Stonestreet, CMCA, PCAM, AMS, is Founder/Co-Owner of CAMS (Community Association Management Services). CAMS began in 1991 with Stonestreet and a few employees in a small office in Wilmington but has since grown to over 300 employees serving eight regions across North and South Carolina.

His current role at CAMS focuses on mergers and acquisitions, culture alignment and high-level business relationships. Stonestreet is an active member of the NC Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and has spent time on their board of directors, serving as the chapter President in 2019.

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Want To Be An Amazing Neighbor? Five Ways To Start (And Some Things To Avoid) by Mike Stonestreet | Sponsored Insights - Greater Wilmington Business...

COVID will have lasting effects on employment litigation (with video) – FreightWaves

Employment attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP talks about how to avoid legal pitfalls during the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor and employment attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. is tasked with advising clients on avoiding potential legal pitfalls that may arise in the workplace because of the coronavirus.

However, he admits that nothing in his 40-plus years specializing in labor law has prepared him for the challenges employers face because of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 6 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 196,000 people since January.

I thought I had seen everything and then COVID-19 occurred, said Maatman, senior partner of Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw LLP, on Thursday at the virtual American Shipper Global Trade Tech summit. Ive worked harder and longer hours to assist employers with all of the challenges and the changing playing field that they find themselves on today. Its been extraordinary times.

Businesses are already starting to see a spate of lawsuits filed by employees who were furloughed or laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Maatman expects the majority of litigation is going to be filed in the first and second quarters of 2021. However, more than 1,000 COVID-19-related lawsuits have been filed across the country since March.

Companies are battening down the hatches and COVID litigation is going to be with us for the next five to seven years, he said. If you think of litigation as a bell jar curve, were just starting on the front end of the upward curve. We have a long way to go to get through it all.

In March, Maatman said his firm created a task force of lawyers from across the country to track all new laws and regulations and lawsuits stemming from COVID-19 claims. The initial one-page spreadsheet has grown to more than 800 pages in the past six months, he said.

What happened is that at the local, state level and federal levels, a series of laws and regulations were passed, Maatman said. If youre a nationwide logistics company, youve got a bit of a patchwork quilt in front of you in terms of all the duties and requirements.

Complying with employee leave laws and responding to workplace safety concerns is an incredible task for any human resources director or business owner amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

His firm is advising employers to follow five basic guidelines to avoid potential legal pitfalls stemming from workers complaints during COVID-19.

Remember that any personnel decision you make anything you do in this day and age has to pass the social media test, Maatman said. How does this look to your customers? How does this look to your employees? How does it look to an outsider looking in at your business? So the fundamental HR blocking and tackling of doing the right thing pays incredible dividends in this time of stress.

SUBHEAD: Diffuse the problem before it becomes a bigger issue

Addressing small disputes before they become a bigger problem is key to avoiding class action lawsuits and large payouts.

You want to make sure that an individual lawsuit doesnt turn into a giant lawsuit, Maatman said. Diffusing a problem while its small and before it turns into a big problem has lots to do with saving money and avoiding huge claims.

Employers need an understanding of various laws that shield employers from liability, he said.

While employers in the health care industry or first responders may have the greatest amount of immunity by lawmakers, the rules are different for profit companies and vary by state.

In South Carolina, theres a lot of immunity, but in California, theres virtually no immunity, Maatman said. The only way thats going to be solved is on the federal level.

However, determining if a company has immunity is complicated because of the roadblock between the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

I think the best way to make decisions, if youre a company, is assume there is no immunity, he said. Try to make the best, most measured and sound business decisions you can on the theory that those are the best defenses if youre challenged.

Developing a sense of creativity relative to applicable legal standards is crucial for businesses to innovate and adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Plaintiffs attorneys are experiencing cash flow issues right now and tend to settle their cases for less money than before COVID.

A very creative outside-the-box thinking, in my experience, has been the winning formula for these cases, Maatman said. Ive also been able to say, Well settle, but were going to pay it one month at a time over the next 10 months and stage the payments.

The old way of doing business, even in the courthouse, has changed completely, he said.

Theres been a revolution in the way in which cases are brought and defended, Maatman said.

Practicing The Golden Rule is crucial to a companys success during these unprecedented times. This can be achieved by ensuring workers know the rules and that employers interpret the rules consistently and fairly in the workplace, Maatman said.

Would you want to be heard and treated the same way if the tables were turned and you were the recipient of the employers decision? he said. Doing the right thing and doing it in a fair way tends to be, at all times, the best possible defense to these sorts of problems.

Read more articles by FreightWaves Clarissa Hawes

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COVID will have lasting effects on employment litigation (with video) - FreightWaves

Excerpt from ‘Sidelines and Bloodlines’ – Introducing … the Wall of Screaming – ESPN

Dr. Jerry E. McGee enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in the history of college football officiating. From 1972 to 2009, he worked 404 games at the FBS level, including a pair of Rose Bowls, a pair of Army-Navy games and three games that determined the national championship, including his final game between Florida and Oklahoma.

He also raised two boys, my brother, Sam, and I. Now the three McGees have coauthored a book, "Sidelines and Bloodlines: A Father, His Sons, and Our Life in College Football," which is on sale now.

In the following excerpt, exclusive to ESPN.com and presented with permission from Triumph Books, the McGees provide insight into the question that they -- and every sports officiating family -- receive whenever football is played.

"Hey, what's that coach yelling at that ref?"

This excerpt is exclusive to ESPN.com, presented with permission from Triumph Books. For more information or to order a copy, please visit Triumph Books.

After three decades of officiating football in the ACC and Big East, my father, Dr. Jerry E. McGee, has an incredible collection of photographs on display at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, images of him in action everywhere from the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl to Death Valley and Notre Dame Stadium.

However, the best photos are of the angry coaches. I call it the Wall of Screaming.

There's Joe Morrison, the man who built South Carolina into something other than an also-ran, who introduced the Gamecocks' black jerseys and their "2001: A Space Odyssey" stadium entrance, on the sideline during the Clemson game of '84. "Old Dependable" is screaming, his jaw unhinged, and appears to be pointing directly at Dad, who appears to be totally ignoring the coach.

The caption that accompanied that photo in the Sunday morning paper read: "Coach Joe Morrison explains his point of view to a less than interested official."

My father, Dr. Jerry E. McGee, aka Dad:

I don't think he's even actually yelling at me, but the camera angle sure makes it look like he is, doesn't it? I don't know. Maybe he was. What I do remember about that game was that I had to get the South Carolina captains for the coin toss, but no one knew who the captains were because Morrison picked them game-by-game. They told me I needed to ask him, and they walked me down to a door under the stadium. I opened it, and there was Joe Morrison, sitting totally alone on a folding chair in the middle of an empty concrete room. There was one light bulb hanging right over him, like a spotlight, and the room was full of smoke. He was sitting there, basically in the dark, chain-smoking like crazy before the game.

"Uh ... Coach, I need to know who your captains are ..."

The most notable photo on the Wall of Screaming was taken in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Oct. 6, 2006, when Duke visited Alabama. Crimson Tide head coach Mike Shula is standing at most two feet off the back of Dad's head, his mouth wide open and his hand extended to underline the point he's so angrily exclaiming. Once again, Dad seems to be purposely ignoring it, looking toward the scoreboard clock as he fills out his penalty card with the details of the foul that Shula is so unhappy about.

Alabama won that game 30-14, the third from last win of Shula's four-year Tuscaloosa tenure. Six weeks later, he was fired. The Tide replaced him with some guy named Nick Saban.


When I look at that picture, what I think about is the amount of pressure that these coaches are under. When Mike Shula was unloading on me that night, he probably already knew he was finished. It's a reminder that you never truly know what's going on with a coach behind closed doors.

The reality is that over 404 games of college football officiating, almost all of it on the sideline, I only remember a very few times when a coach truly just flipped out on me. And looking back, like Shula that night, there was almost always something else behind it.

Take, for instance, Jim Young. During Young's 17 years as head coach at Arizona, Purdue and Army, he was universally considered one of the truly good guys of college football. So Dad was shocked on Sept. 27, 1986, when Wake Forest traveled to West Point, and his experience on Young's sideline at Michie Stadium was a cacophony of cuss words. The Black Knights were favored in the game by a couple of touchdowns but instead were trailing the Demon Deacons early en route to a blowout upset loss.

There was bad call at the start of the game, a defensive pass interference flag on the other side of the field. Those officials were too far away to hear Young, so he aimed his anger at the field judge, the ref who was most easily at his disposal. He stalked Dad up and down the sideline, screaming over and over again, "You have already f---ed up this entire game!"

My brother, Sam McGee:

I think that football fans assume that an official is out there just looking for a reason to throw his penalty flag, but the good ones have the complete opposite approach. Typically, if a player draws an unsportsmanlike penalty, or even something like a holding, there's a really good chance the official has already warned them about it at least once. "Keep that up, and we're going to have to flag you."

Anyone who doesn't believe that needs to do what we have always done and really watch how a good sideline official reacts to a coach who has spent a ridiculous amount of time in the game screaming, yelling and complaining. The official will walk away from a coach like that. They will warm him directly. They will even go to other people on the sideline and say, "Hey, someone needs to calm him down before he draws an unsportsmanlike." If he keeps it up after that, there is going to be a penalty. Or if he breaks the golden rule.

Ah yes, the golden rule. When it comes to flagging a coach with a personal foul, the guideline is very simple. You unfurl the yellow napkin only when the rants have become personal. For example: "That's was the stupidest god damn call I've ever seen!" is OK. But "You are the stupidest god damn human being I have ever seen!" is not. If you need a more detailed illustration, please watch the film "Bull Durham" and the scene in which Crash Davis calls the umpire the one name he knows you can never call an umpire because he's trying to get thrown out of the game and perhaps get his teammates to finally become fired up and focused.

Jim Young kept railing, and it was getting worse. Dad went to the Army assistant coaches and asked them to tell their boss to cool off because he didn't want to flag the supposed nicest man in football. They told Dad no way. He was on his own.


The clock is ticking down to the end of the first half, and he is just getting louder and louder. I'm watching the clock thinking, "OK, we're going to be saved by the bell here." Then, with about 38 seconds remaining, Young leaned right into my ear and screamed, "You guys are just a bunch of god damn sons of b----es, aren't you?!" I threw my flag. Personal foul, 15 yards.

I went to the white hat, Bob Cooper, and he said, "What in the hell have you done? That's probably the nicest head coach in America."

I said, "Well, I flagged him."

Bob said, "Why? What did he say?"

"He called me a god damn son of a b----."

Bob said, "Well, you are a god damn son of a b----."

I told Bob, "Well, he said you were a god damn son of a b----, too."

Bob said, "Well, then give me that damn football ..." and he marked off the 15-yard penalty.

Nearly a decade later, Dad was back at Michie Stadium for a Rutgers-Army matchup as part of a Big East officiating crew. As that crew held their pregame meeting, in walked Jim Young, now retired as a football coach but still omnipresent in West Point as a living legend. Young introduced himself to the room.


When I said my name, he said, "You know, there used to be a McGee who officiated in the ACC." I told him, "Yeah, I know. It was me." He said, "You are the only official who ever flagged me during a game."

I asked him, "Well, did you deserve it?" And Coach Young said, "Oh, hell yes. The only mistake you made was that you didn't flag me five minutes earlier. Sorry about that. I was just trying to do something to wake my team up."

Just like Crash Davis.

For Dad, the most notorious case of "pressurized coach + dealing with problems no one knows about + losing a game you shouldn't = sideline explosion" took place on Halloween 1996. Boston College was visiting Pitt for a coveted Thursday night national showcase game on ESPN. The 4-4 Eagles were 11-point favorites over the scuffling 2-6 Panthers. But BC never got into gear and lost an ugly contest 20-13.

In the middle of it all, Boston College head coach Dan Henning, a former NFL quarterback, two-time NFL head coach and two-time Super Bowl champion, totally and completely lost it.


Honestly, it escalated so quickly that it didn't seem real.

The back judge had a penalty against Boston College for 12 men on the field. We actually had some disagreement on that. I had counted, like I always did, and had 11, but the back judge was adamant, and he was a good official, so the penalty stood. That triggered Henning, and as always, I was the guy who was right there next to him, so I was the one catching hell. At one point, I even tried to explain, "Coach, if you'll notice, there's a flag on the field out there, but my flag is in my pocket." I was trying to let him know: Stop screaming. Certainly stop screaming at me.

For the next little while, he is following me up and down the sideline, just F-bomb after F-bomb, and finally he says, "My job is on the line, and you motherf---ers are out here half-assing the game ..." and then he said something that ended up triggering me. "I don't know where the f--- they found you guys!"

Now I turned around and walked toward him. I said, "Well, I'll tell you where they found me! In a university president's office, where I work Monday to Friday ..."

Dad was in his fifth year as president of Wingate University, a job he would hold for two decades. He continued to respond to Henning.


"The question is where they found you. You're losing to Pittsburgh. On national television on Thursday night, with everyone in the country watching. If I was president at Boston College, you'd be looking for a job!"

I shouldn't have said that. And I wish that had been all that I said. I tried to walk away, but he followed me. He said something, and when he walked away, I followed him. It was the only time I just lost the handle. But I was a university president now, and there was a lot of stress in my job, too. Football was supposed to be my stress release, but on a Thursday night, getting screamed at by this guy, who was supposedly known as a good guy, I just couldn't take it anymore gracefully.

Once it finally started to calm down, I looked over, and I saw a kid holding a sideline microphone for ESPN. I said to him, "You didn't get all of that, did you?"

He didn't get all of it, but he absolutely got some of it. Most of the exchange had taken place during a TV timeout, so the nation didn't hear it. But I was two years into my entry-level career at ESPN, and at the Worldwide Leader in Sports, we don't see commercial breaks during games on our air. The satellite feed that is beamed back to our offices is what we call the backhaul, a clean feed that includes everything at the stadium during those breaks when the viewing audience is watching ads or SportsCenter score updates. In the booth that night was play-by-play man Mike Patrick, a man with deep ACC roots, who called many of Dad's earliest TV games on Jefferson-Pilot back in the '80s. The sideline reporter was Dr. Jerry Punch, a coworker I knew very well.

This particular night, I was in the ESPN Charlotte office. The only sound in the building was from BC at Pittsburgh, echoing throughout every room. But then, during this one commercial break, I heard a familiar sound that made me look up from my paperwork. Was that ... Dad? And did he just drop an F-bomb?

2 Related

I heard Doc Punch reporting to the production truck, not to be aired, but just in case it became a bigger problem once they returned from the commercials: "Guys, Coach Henning is really going at it with an official down here. That's the field judge, Dr. Jerry McGee, Ryan McGee's father."

In the closing moments of the game, Henning walked over to Dad. This time he didn't scream. "Jerry, if I offended you, I apologize."

"Me, too, Coach. We both lost our cool, didn't we?"

After the game, when cornered by a very nervous Big East officiating coordinator, Dad refused to divulge the content of his conversation with Henning, saying only that they were having a disagreement over where to get the best steak in Pittsburgh after the game. In fact, he never fully explained what happened until now, not even to Sam or me.


I've never gotten into that much because I'm not proud of it. It was not my finest moment. Nor was it Dan Henning's finest moment. He didn't know the kind of stress I was under at my job. And, as we know now, that night we had no clue what a total and complete mess he was in the middle of at Boston College.

The following week, the entire nation knew. That's when Henning announced that he was suspending 13 Boston College football players for gambling. The game before Pitt, the Eagles had been crushed by Syracuse 45-17, and rumors were rampant in the Boston College locker room that some of the players on the team had placed bets on the game -- against their own team. In the days leading up to the Pitt game, Henning held a team meeting to address those rumors and asked anyone who had bet on the Syracuse game to come forward. No one did. But as the night at Pitt turned ugly, so did Henning's mood. In the locker room after the loss, before leaving for the airport, he exploded on his team, promising that he would get the bottom of the gambling chatter. By the end of November, the county district attorney had become a regular in the BC football office, a campus gambling ring had indeed been exposed, eight Eagles were off the team permanently, and Henning would never coach college football again.


In the early 2000s, he lived in Charlotte, not far from us. He was offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. I used to wonder what would happen if we ran into each other at the grocery store. We never did.


I think, looking back, we understand why Dan Henning was in the frame of mind that he was that night at Pitt. But when he was calling the offense for the Panthers, if they had a bad day, I don't think any of us went out of our way to cut him much slack when it came to criticism.

By the way, there is no photograph of the Dan Henning vs. Jerry McGee exchange on the Wall of Screaming. But there is videotape in the ESPN library. I know -- I checked. Maybe I should have erased it.

See the rest here:

Excerpt from 'Sidelines and Bloodlines' - Introducing ... the Wall of Screaming - ESPN

Transcript of Attorney General’s Remarks as Delivered and Q&A at Hillsdale College – Lawfare

Below is a transcript of the remarks as delivered by Attorney General William Barr at Hillsdale College on September 16, 2020, including the subsequent question and answer period. The remarks as prepared are available here, and full audio of the event is available here.

Thank you very much. I'm very honored to have been invited to speak at this dinner and I really appreciate your comments. Its been great to get to know you. I've been reading you over the years, and it's a real delight to have spent the evening with you. And Im very pleased to be able to speak to you at this Hillsdale College celebration of our magnificent Constitution, and I'm a great admirer of Hillsdale.

As I was telling Larry, I don't get to make many speeches like this, I'm usually talking about crime rates and that kind of thing. But I wanted to speak at Hillsdale because it's one of the few, maybe a handful of institutions of higher learning where it is actually worthwhile spending the money to get an education. And I mean that sincerely. Sadly, many colleges these days don't even teach the constitution, much less celebrate it.

You know, one out of every four Americans don't know who we fought the revolution against. It's pretty pathetic. And that number is increasing steadily as our educational institutions fail us. But at Hillsdale, you recognized that the principles of the founding are as relevant today and as important today as ever, and vital indeed today to the survival of our great experiment here, freedom. And I appreciate your observance, and all you do for civic education and education period in this country.

Now, when many people think of the virtues of our Constitution, they first mention the Bill of Rights. Of course, that's the talking point of the Constitution. There's a bill of rights, you have rights. And I guess that makes sense. They get the great guarantees of the bill of rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and especially the right to keep and bear arms, just to name a few that are critical safeguards to our liberty.

But as President Reagan used to remind people, the Soviet Union had a constitution and even included some of these lofty sounding rights. Ultimately, however, those promises are just empty words. Because there was no rule of law in that society to enforce them. The rule of law is the linchpin of American freedom, and the critical guarantee of the rule of law comes from the Constitution's structure of separation of powers.

Now, there are many, many elements of the rule of law, and there are many, many safeguards built into our great Constitution. But tonight I want to talk about the separation of powers. The way the framers recognized that by dividing the legislative, executive and judicial powers, each significant, but each limited, would minimize the risk of any form of tyranny. That is the real genius of the Constitution, and it ultimately is more important to securing liberty than the Bill of Rights. After all, the Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the original Constitution. And I know you all know that the framers did not think it was needed.They didn't need to include it into the Constitution and express an enumeration of rights.

Today, I want to talk about the power that the Constitution allocates to the executive branch, particularly in the area of criminal justice.

The Supreme Court has correctly held that under Article Two of the Constitution, the executive has virtually unchecked discretion to decide whether to prosecute individuals for suspected crimes. We all know that the executive is vested with the responsibility for seeing that the laws are faithfully executed.

The power to execute and enforce law is an executive function all together. And that means discretion is vested in the executive to determine when to exercise the prosecutorial power. The only significant limitation on that discretion comes from other provisions of the Constitution. For example, the United States Attorney could not decide to prosecute only people of a particular race or a particular religion. But aside from that limitation, which thankfully, remains only a hypothetical in our country, the executive has broad discretion to decide whether to bring criminal prosecutions in particular cases.

The key question then is how the executive should exercise its prosecutorial discretion. 80 years ago this spring, one of my predecessors in this job, then-Attorney-General Robert Jackson, gave a famous speech to the conference of United States Attorneys in which he described the proper role and qualities of federal prosecutors. Justice Jackson was one of only a handful of, I think three, maybe, attorneys general who ultimately ended up as a justice on the Supreme Court. Much has changed in the eight decades since Justice Jackson's remarks, but he was a man of uncommon wisdom. And it is appropriate to consider his views today and how they apply in our modern era.

Federal prosecutors possess tremendous power, power that is necessary to enforce our laws and punish wrongdoing, but power that like all power carries inherent potential for abuse. Justice Jackson recognized that, as he put it, the prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America. Prosecutors have the power to investigate people, to interview their friends, and they can do so on the basis of mere suspicion of wrongdoing. People facing federal investigations incur ruinous legal costs and often see their lives reduced to rubble before a charge is even filed. Justice Jackson was not exaggerating when he said that while the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficence forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst. Think about the power of a prosecutor: he doesn't have to answer to anything outside the office of the prosecutor and he can destroy peoples lives just by bringing an investigation, destroy their reputation, destroy their livelihood in today's world.

Its not just individuals: think of the corporations -- Anderson, the accounting firm, thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs done away with in an instant because of a prosecutorial decision, and a decision that was largely discretionary, because individuals are initially responsible for the crime. And the question of whether or not you're going to impute that to the corporation and take down the corporation as well as largely a discretionary call by prosecutors. In today's world, going after a corporation or a white collar defendant is like shooting fish in a barrel. There is no contest. You threaten the company with criminal liability and all the collateral effects. No corporation is going to go to trial and fight that and the prosecutors. Its just the question of how much the check is gonna be.

That's all within the control of a prosecutor: the power, as Justice Jackson said, to strike at citizens .The power that the prosecutor has can strike at citizens not with just his individual strength, but with all the force of the government itself. And that has to be carefully calibrated and carefully supervised, because left unchecked, it has the power to inflict far more harm than it prevents.

The most basic check on prosecutorial power is political accountability. It is counterintuitive to say that, as we rightly strive to maintain a political system of criminal justice.

But political accountability is what ultimately ensures our system does its work fairly and with proper recognition of the many interests and values at stake. Government power completely divorced from political accountability is tyranny.

Now Justice Jackson understood this. And as he explained, presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of the United States Attorneys and the senior Department of Justice officials is what legitimizes their exercises of sovereign power. You are required to win an expression of confidence in your character by both the legislative and the executive branches of the government before assuming the possibilities of a federal prosecutor.

Yet in the decades since Justice Jackson's remarks, its become a commonplace to argue that prosecutorial decisions are legitimate only when they are made by the lowest level line prosecutors, the career prosecutors handling any given case. Ironically, some of those same critics see no problem campaigning for highly political elected district attorneys to remake state and local prosecutorial offices in their preferred progressive image, which often involves overriding the considered judgment of the career prosecutors and police officers. But aside from that hypocrisy, the notion that line prosecutors should make the final decisions within the Department of Justice is completely wrong. And it is antithetical to the basic values that undergirds our entire system.

The Justice Department is not a praetorian guard that watches over a society impervious to the ebbs and flows of politics. It is an agency within the executive branch of a democratic republic, a form of government where the power of the state is ultimately reposed in the people acting through their elected president and their elected representatives.

I know I don't include many applause lines in my prepared speeches. Had I known this was going to be a fireside chat, I would have cut this shorter -- but I will give you something to clap about later. Okay.

The men and women who have ultimate authority in the Justice Department are thus the ones on whom our elected officials have conferred that responsibility: by presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. That blessing by the two political branches of government gives these officials democratic legitimacy that career officials do not possess. The same process that produces these officials also holds them accountable. The elected president can fire senior Department of Justice officials at work, and the elected Congress can summon them to explain their decisions to the people's representatives and to the public. And because these officials have the imprimatur of both the President and Congress, they also have the stature to resist these political pressures when necessary, and they can take the heat for what the Department of Justice does or doesn't do.

Line prosecutors, by contrast, are generally part of the permanent bureaucracy. They do not have the political legitimacy to be the public face for tough decisions, and they lack the political bias necessary to publicly defend those decisions. Nor can the public and its representatives hold civil servants accountable in the same way as appointed officials. Indeed, the public's only tool to hold the government accountable is an election, and the bureaucracy is neither elected nor easily replaced by those who are. Moreover, because these officials are installed by the democratic process, that is the appointees, they are the most equipped to make the judgment calls concerning how we should wield our prosecutorial power. As Justice Scalia observed in perhaps his most admired judicial opinion, his dissent in Morrison vs. Olson, almost all investigative and prosecutorial decisions, including the ultimate decision -- whether, after a technical violation of the law has been found, prosecution is warranted -- involve the balancing of innumerable legal and practical considerations. Those considerations do need to be balanced in each and every case. As Justice Scalia also pointed out, it is nice to say, Fat jstitia ruat clum -- Let justice be done though the heavens may fall -- but it doesn't comport with reality.

It would do far more harm than good to abandon all perspective and proportion in an attempt to ensure that every technical violation of criminal law by every person is tracked down, investigated and prosecuted to the nth degree.

Our system works best when leavened by judgment, discretion, proportionality and consideration of alternative sanctions -- all the things that supervisors provide. Cases must be supervised by someone who does not have a narrow focus, but who is broad-gauged and pursuing a general agenda. And that person need not be a prosecutor, but someone who can balance the importance of vigorous prosecution with other competing values. In short, the Attorney General, senior DOJ officials and U.S. attorneys are indeed political, but they are political in a good and necessary sense.

Indeed, aside from the importance of not fully decoupling law enforcement from the constraining and moderating forces of politics, devolving all authority down to the most junior officials does not even make sense as a matter of basic management.

Name one successful organization or institution where the lowest level employees decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren't any. Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori Preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency. Good leaders at the Department of Justice -- as any organization needs to -- trust and support their subordinates, but that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do.

One of the more annoying things that I hear and face and you know, this has been going on for decades, is this strange idea that political officials interfere in investigations or in cases.

I'm saying, What do you mean by interfere? Under the law, all prosecutorial power is vested in the Attorney General. And these people are agents of the Attorney General. And as I said, FBI agents, Whose agent do you think you are? I don't say this in a pompous way. But that is the chain of authority and legitimacy in the Department of Justice. And I say, Well, what exactly am I interfering with? When you boil it right down, its the will of the most junior member of the organization. He has some idea that he wants to do something, and what makes that sacrosanct? What makes the judgment of the next layer up or the next layer up or the next layer up -- each layer, by the way, fanning out and having broader and broader experience, much more experience and a broader portfolio portfolio and a broader perspective -- what makes the line attorney who's handling a particular case, their judgment so sacrosanct? The idea is, I guess, well, they're not political, and therefore their judgments won't be political.

But from my experience in the department in two different eras, career employees are not apolitical necessarily. Some are. Some are very political and can check their politics at the door, and others can't, and can be partisan. But they're not apolitical necessarily. They're human beings like everybody else, and they're very, usually less experienced individuals than their supervisors.

So this is what presidents, the Congress and the public expect. When something goes wrong in the Department of Justice, the buck has to stop somewhere, and that's at the top. The statute I referenced was 28 USC section 509, which couldn't be plainer: All functions of other offices of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.

And because the Attorney General's ultimately politically accountable for every decision that the department makes, I and my predecessors have had an obligation to ensure that we make the correct decision. The Attorney General, the assistant attorneys general, the US Attorneys are not figureheads. We're supervisors. Our job is to supervise and anything less is an abdication.

Active engagement in our cases by senior officials is also essential to the rule of law.

The essence of the rule of law is that whatever rule you apply in one case must be the same rule you would apply in a similar case. Treating each person equally before the law includes how the department enforces the law. We should not prosecute someone for wire fraud in Manhattan using a legal theory we would not equally pursue in Madison or in Montgomery, or allow prosecutors in one division to bring charges using a theory that a group of prosecutors in another division down the hall would not deploy against someone who's engaged in indistinguishable conduct.

We must strive for consistency. And that is yet another reason why centralized senior leadership exists: to harmonize the disparate views of our many prosecutors in a consistent policy for the department.

I was being interviewed by a member of the press for a radio interview. And I got one of these questions like, Why are you interfering in some case over here or some case over there? And I said, Well, why do you think we have one Attorney General? I said, We have 93 districts -- 50 states, 93 districts. Why don't you think each U.S. attorney should be a law unto themselves? Why do you think we have one Attorney General? For uniformity of law. For having consistency in the application of law. For having someone who has the entire perspective of the playing field. And the cameramen were all nodding their heads. This made sense, this made sense.

Jackson said, We must proceed in all districts with that uniformity of policy which is necessary to the prestige of federal law. But I think there's more involved than prestige. Uniformity is what protects us. At the end of the day, our system is really the crystallization of the golden rule in a political system. And that's ultimately what protects us, which is, I'm not willing to do to somebody else, what I'm not willing to have done to me. That is ultimately the foundation of our freedom, okay?

We see that in the legislative branch. Think about it constitutionally here, since I'm talking about the constitution tonight.

The legislature in the United States, our national federal legislature, can't make one law that applies to New York and another to California. Now, there are a lot of reasons for that, think about it. Because then you could have little factions in the country, you know, buying favor and building a majority to adopt rules that don't apply to everyone the same. But it's also because you can't have the rest of the country say, we're gonna go to war and by the way, the draft law only applies to New York.

The Constitution requires a uniformity across the nation, so that's legislative. When you make a rule legislatively, it has to apply to everybody. But it also applies in the enforcement of the law. The same uniformity is required, because that is the ultimate guarantor of freedom.

All the supervision in the world won't be enough, though, without a strong culture across the Department of fairness and commitment to even-handed justice. That's what Justice Jackson described as the spirit of fair play and decency that should animate the federal prosecutor.

Sounds quaint today, doesn't it? In his memorable turn of phrase, even when the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done. We want our prosecutors to be aggressive and tenacious in their pursuit of justice, but we also want to ensure that justice is ultimately administered dispassionately.

So one thing I'll say is that the job of the prosecutor is to try the case and attempt to achieve a conviction of guilt. But that's when the job of the prosecutor is over. In some cases, we may express our views as to what the sentence should be, but the sentencing belongs to the judge -- the judicial function. And thats after the prosecutor wins the case. We like that competitiveness. We like that spirit and aggressiveness, but once the case is won, passions must cool. And justice in the sentencing phase has to be fair, and that's why the sentence is given by the neutral judge.

We're all human, and like any person, a prosecutor can become overly invested in a particular goal. Prosecutors who devote months and years of their lives to investigating a particular target may become deeply invested in their case and assured of the rightness of their cause.

But when a prosecution becomes my prosecution, particularly if the investigation is highly public, or has been acrimonious, or if the prosecutor is confident early on that the target has committed a serious crime, there's always a temptation to will a prosecution, a charge into existence. Even when the facts of the law, or the fair handed administration of justice do not support bringing the charge.

This risk is inevitable and cannot be avoided simply by hiring as prosecutors only moral

people with righteous motivations. I am reminded of a passage by CS Lewis: It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep. His cupidity may at some point be satiated. But those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to heaven, I don't know, but at the same time likelier to make hell on earth. There's yet another reason for having layers of supervision. Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters. It's all too often. They're consumed with taking down their target, subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors to ensure the involvement of dispassionate decision makers. This was, of course, the central problem with the independent counsel statute that Justice Scalia criticized in Morrison vs. Olson. Creating an unaccountable headhunter was not some unfortunate byproduct of that statute. It was the stated purpose of the statute.

That was what Justice Scalia meant by his famous line, this wolf comes as a wolf. As we went as he went on to explain, how frightening it must be to have your own independent counsel and staff appointed, with nothing else to do but investigate you until investigation is no longer worthwhile -- with whether it is worthwhile or not, depending upon what such judgments are usually hinged on, competing responsibilities, and to have that counsel and staff decide, with no basis for comparison, whether what you have done is bad enough, willful enough, and provable enough, to warrant an indictment. How admirable the constitutional system that provides the means to avoid such a distortion. And how unfortunate the judicial decision that has permitted it.

Now that was a problem that took care of itself. It was a statute that Democrats applauded until it applied to Bill Clinton. We did away with it in H.W. Bush's administration, took the heat, [were] castigated by all the media for killing the independent counsel statute. And then during the transition, Bernie Nussbaum, who lasted about two seconds as a White House Counsel -- a fancy New York lawyer came down, and he was part of the transition, and he came in and he said, Do you have any advice? This was while I was in my last days as Attorney General and I said, Well, I think you should allow the independent counsel to die its natural death here. We took the heat for it. We did what had to be done. Don't resuscitate it. As a Republican, nothing would please me more. But as an American, its a bad statute. And he said, Well, we are committed to the most moral and ethical administration in history and we're gonna reenact it. So they did, and the rest is history.

By the way, if you want a little kick, go to C-Span. I think they took my name off of it. But if you put in, you know, special independent counsel statute, Nadler, you'll see a hearing from like 1995 or six or whenever the lightwater thing was going on, with Nadler leading the committee [talking] about how terrible the independent counsel statute was, and how terrible Ken Starr was. Its great actually, if you have time to look at it, because you know, all the arguments that were made here today nowadays were laid out before. The role of the players was. He said, Mr. Barr, I admire you, you're very consistent on this question. So anyway. [laughs]

Now, I said headhunters, and that's because as Jackson said, if the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick the cases that need to be prosecuted.

Any erosion and prosecutorial detachment is extraordinarily perilous, for as he said, it is in this realm in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal. And the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to the prosecutor himself.

And that's what we frequently say. I'd like to be able to stand here and say, we don't see headhunting in the Department of Justice, and that would not be truthful. I see it every day. And it's a temptation that the power of prosecution is a heady power. And it is a temptation sometimes to go after people rather than crimes.We see that every night, you know. This country is in serious problems with all the problems, with real problems, we face in international affairs and domestically, when most of our news coverage -- or what passes for news coverage -- are bloviating talking heads discussing whether some action in Washington, some action taken by an official, constitutes some esoteric crime. And, you know, looking through statute books to see if we could, you know, say that this is a crime? Because disagreement no longer is enough -- political disagreement and political debate. Now, you have to call your adversary a criminal. And instead of beating them politically, you try to put them in jail. So we're becoming sort of like an Eastern European country, where if you're not in power, you're in jail or you're a member of the press.

Now one of the areas that I think there's a problem is the way we interpret statutes these days, and we have to recalibrate that if we're ever going to restore the rule of law. Clarity in the law is indispensable to the rule of law..

If a law is malleable, then it can be applied differently in different cases, and that is the breakdown of law. Now one of the most irritating developments over the last 50 or 60 years is equity driving law out of the marketplace. If you go and read Supreme Court decisions, the Supreme Court thinks it's being oh so . And this has been going on, as I say, going on for decades instead of articulating a law, a rule, they say it's the totality of circumstances and its equity. What is the conscience of the fifth vote on the Supreme Court? They can't articulate the rule. Its that very discipline of being able to universalize the principle that you're applying in a case that ensures the rule of law and that ensures that the person is being treated fairly. And it is that process of universalizing it that says, I'm only going to apply to this person what I'm willing to do to every other similarly situated person and be able to articulate the rule, and we've completely lost that in our law.

That's why lawyers are so infuriating beyond their normal, you know, irritating nature, which is they can't tell the client what the law is. Yeah, well, you could go this way, it could go that way. And that's because their law has broken down, and it's broken down because the justices don't feel they have to go through that discipline anymore. The nature of judicial power is being debased.

Equity has its uses and its place, but it can't be constitutional law. And these are some of the points that are similarly made by Justice Scalia in his article about the rule of law being the law of rules. And in recent years, the Department of Justice has sometimes acted like a trade association for prosecutors -- more like that than the administrator of a fair system of justice based on clear and sensible rules. In case after case, we've advanced and defended hyper- aggressive extensions of the criminal law. This is wrong, and we have to stop doing it. Now.

I couldn't believe it, you know, Id get in and I'd see some statute and people would say, Well, how are we going to interpret this statute? This court over here said this should be limited to such and such, are we going to acquiesce in that and adopt that as our interpretation? And normally the answer you would get in the Department of Justice is, Well, that sort of ties us down. Of course, that's the whole point of the law. That sort of ties us down, we want our prosecutors to have the broadest possible discretion. We can't buy into that. Let's leave it loosey goosey.

And I said, Well, no, I mean, we have to say what the law is. And that decision was a good interpretation of the law. And it should be adopted. The fact that it hems us in and we can't just use this law, you know, as a utility knife is a good thing.

But that's not the perspective generally and institutionally recently in the Department of Justice. We should want a fair system with clear rules that people can understand. It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions and maximize the options of the prosecutor. Preventing that sort of pro-prosecutor uncertainty is what the ancient rule of lenity is all about. Sure, you know what that is, which is if there's fakeness in a law, you interpreted in the most lenient way possible from the standpoint of the defendant, and that rule should likewise inform what we do at the Department of Justice. When we think about the substance of the criminal law, advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean that we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believed is engaged in bad conduct. But that is what it means to be a government of laws and not men. We cannot let our desire to get bad people turn into the functional equivalent of the Mad Emperor Caligula who inscribed criminal laws in tiny script, atop a tall pillar where no one could read it.

To be clear, what I'm describing is not the Al Capone situation, where you have someone who has committed multiple crimes and you decide to prosecute that person for only the clearest violation. I am talking about taking vague statutory language and then applying it to a criminal criminal target in a novel way that is, at minimum, hardly clear from the statutory text. This is inherently unfair because criminal prosecutions are backward-looking. We charge people with crimes based on past conduct. If it was unknown or unclear that the conduct was illegal when the person engaged in it, that raises real questions about whether it is fair to prosecute the person criminally for it.

Examples of the department defending these sorts of extreme positions are unfortunately numerous, as are the rejections of those arguments by the Supreme Court. These include arguments as varied as the department's insisting that a Philadelphia woman violated the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, implementing the Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. She did this by putting chemicals on her neighbor's door knob, as part of an acrimonious love triangle involving the woman's husband. The Court unanimously rejected that argument in Bond vs. United States.

Or they argued that a fisherman violated the anti-shredding provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley law when he threw undersized grouper over the side of his boat, which the Supreme Court rejected in Yates vs. United States. Or more recently, arguing that aides to the governor of New Jersey fraudulently obtained property from the government when they realigned the lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create a traffic jam, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected in Kelly vs. United States.

There are many other examples. In fact, you know, it's interesting when people say that the Trump administration is lawless. And I usually am kind of scratching my head saying, you know, we, we litigate all our stuff, we win a lot of it. We go through the process -- what exactly is the lawless panic? The fact is that the Obama administration had the worst record in the Supreme Court of any recent administration losing cases. Our administration so far has been doing above average in terms of winning in the Supreme Court. So, you know, I wouldn't say we were lawless.

But again, the Obama administration had some of the people who were in Muellers office writing their briefs in the Supreme Court, so maybe that explains something. Yeah, very aggressive positions very, you know, sort of aggressive and we're gonna prosecute these people and so forth. And then they're not crowing so much after they get whipped in the Supreme Court.

Anyway, taking a capacious approach to criminal law is not only unfair to the criminal and bad for the department, it's corrosive of our political system. If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, and everything becomes a potential crime, rather than watch policy experts debate the merits and demerits of a particular policy choice, we see pundits speculating about whether things can be prosecuted. This criminalization of politics is not healthy. The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct, conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment up to and including being locked away. These tools are not built to resolve political disputes. And it would be a bad development for us to go the way of these third world countries where political parties routinely prosecute their opponents for various ill defined crimes against the state. This is not the stuff of a mature democracy.

We abet this culture of criminalization when we are not disciplined about what charges we will bring, what legal theories we will adopt, rather than root out true crimes, while leaving ethically dubious conduct to the voters.

Our prosecutors have all too often, and they insert themselves in the political process based on the flimsiest of legal theories. We have seen this time and time again, with prosecutors bringing ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures, or launching debilitating investigations that thrust the Department of Justice into the middle of the political process and preempt the ability of the people to decide.

This criminalization of politics will only worsen until we change the culture of concocting new legal theories to criminalize all manner of questionable conduct. Smart, ambitious lawyers have sought to amass glory by prosecuting prominent public figures since the Roman Republic. It is utterly unsurprising that prosecutors continue to do so today, to the extent the Justice Department leaders will permit it. As long as I'm Attorney General Im not going to permit it.

In short, it is important for prosecutors at the Department of Justice to understand that their mission above all others is to do justice. And that means following the letter of the law and the spirit of fairness. Sometimes that will mean investing months or years in an investigation and then concluding it is without criminal charges. Our job is to be just as dogged in preventing injustice as we are in pursuing wrongdoing. On this score, as in many, Justice Jackson said it best, and I'll close with his words: The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive, and as impossible to define as those which mark gentlemen, and those who need to be told would not understand it anyway. A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power. And the citizens safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes. And who, above all, approaches his task with humility.

Thank you.

-- - -- - - ----- - - - -- -

Questioner: So thank you, General, that was spectacular. Also profound, I think. So I have the first question. I've got a few from the audience, and the minute your duties require you to go home and rest, you may do so. Partly what you just said was a process of a transfer of authority from elected people to civil servants. Do you see that going on in other parts of the government?

Barr: The Department of Justice -- I love the Department of Justice. I love the people in the Department of Justice. But as I say, the legitimacy in our system comes from political supervision and political accountability.

Questioner: Should the Supreme Court have the exclusive power to interpret the constitution?

Barr: Yes. I think President Jackson was correct that each branch has in the first instance the responsibility to interpret the constitution and what they think the constitution means. And so if the President believes that he has the power to do something under the Constitution, he should be able to exercise that power. And if the Court disagrees and orders him not to, then he's lost the case.

Questioner: What's your favorite song to play on the bagpipes?

Barr: I don't know. Too many, there are too many songs there. It's not songs. They're called tunes.

Questioner: Scotland the Brave.

Barr: Well, that's a very common one. That's the one that you see on the video playing Scotland the brave. I miss playing the bagpipes. Once when I was Attorney General last time, you know, Scalia called the chambers and said to my assistant, do you think the Attorney General would like to take a quick walk with me around the mall? And I said, Justice Scalia, whether he realizes or not, it's a federal offense to threaten the life of a federal official. I say the same thing about playing the bagpipes these days. People ask me to play the bagpipes. I say you know, it's an offense to threaten the life of emergency vehicles standing by.

Questioner: I think the definition of a gentleman is somebody who knows how to play the bagpipes and does not

Barr: Ive played since I was eight years old. And, you know, my parents being academicians and growing up on the Upper West Side in Bella Abzugs district in New York, we lived in Columbia University Housing, which was great housing overlooking the Hudson River. But they said, Billy, it's time that you learn an instrument: violin, piano? I said, bagpipes.

Questioner: What if somebody wonders if ballot harvesting is constitutional, and also how do we go about in this day and age guaranteeing the propriety of our elections?

Barr: I was once head of the Office of Legal Counsel, which is sort of a legal beagle office. I can't off the top of my head give you authoritative answers on some of these questions. I will just say generally, I'm very concerned.

Let me draw a distinction between what may pass muster under some recent case law at the Supreme Court and what really is in accord with the constitutional scheme and the basic principles. And sometimes you have to go back to basic principles to understand what some of the provisions of the Constitution should mean. As I've said, the whole idea of an election is to have a single expression of will by everybody at the same time based on the same information. That's what an election is. So we have Election Day, and now we have an election season. And not only that, it's a season that has like, extra innings. So it's becoming absurd. Decisions made weeks apart are not the body politic making a sober decision about the state of affairs at one time. We're losing the whole idea of what an election is.

And when people try to play games like, Do you have any empirical evidence that you know, mail-in ballots are, you know Common sense. We haven't had it on the scale that's being proposed now. So I don't have empirical evidence other than the fact that we've always had voting fraud. And there, you know, there always will be people who attempt to do that. I don't have empirical evidence that on this scale, you know, these problems were materialized. But what I say to people is, Why do we vote today the way we do? Think about it? Why do people show up at one place where they have a list of people who are eligible to vote, you show who you are, you go behind a curtain? Why do you go behind the curtain? Secret ballot. No one else is allowed there. Why is that a rule? Coercion, undue influence. Why a secret ballot? Many reasons. You can't sell or buy votes easily if there's a secret ballot. You don't succumb as much to undue influence or pressure.

That is all blown away -- the lessons of the English system before us and the American system, and how the vote evolved and how we tried to perfect it and protect its integrity for all this time are just swept away by mail-in voting. You don't have anonymity -- your name is connected to that vote, and you open the floodgates to coercion. And so I don't think harvesting should be permitted, personally. Some states have passed down under the Constitution, the state sets the rules and theyre permitting harvesting of ballots. But it's a potential abuse.

Questioner: Ill go back to your main argument and that is, the authority of the Attorney General comes through the president from the people. And so do you sense a growing spirit of managing the people, managing how they vote, managing what they can do by the government?

Barr: Our constitution was meant for a discerning, informed, virtuous people. And you have to raise the question of whether we still have that in our country. We certainly have forces that are attempting to cultivate a dependent people. And it's, you know, it's the same old game. What's our bread and circuses today? It's all distraction. You know, as Pascal said, it's all about distracting people from anything that's important and principle and what's happening. That's why so many people don't pay attention. They're distracted. They're distracted by, you know, all the stimulation of their senses that go on, and that goes part and parcel with creating dependence. So you have more and more people that just don't care.

You know, I was mortified. I saw today that most people don't know what the Holocaust is about in the United States, some poll or something. I couldn't believe it. Now, I thought they taught holocausts or concentration camps very well in school, because when I was giving a memorial day speech one year, I did some research. And most high school students, if you ask them, What do you know about World War Two? Well, first they don't know who fought in World War Two. But then they say what they know about World War Two is about the concentration camps. And that we used nuclear weapons against Japan. Those are the two things. So I said, at least you learned about the concentration camps. Yes, the internment of the Japanese."

Questioner: Yeah, you should visit some high schools today. If Muller's team destroyed information, who's responsible? And what I think they're talking about is wiping phones. Who's responsible? What consequences can there be?

Barr: Well, I don't want to get into that particular thing. The appropriate people in the department are taking a look at that. And we'll see. We'll see where that goes.

Questioner: What are the constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during COVID-19?

Barr: The rule right now is articulated by the Supreme Court. Some people might disagree with that, in the sense that it doesn't go far enough in protecting religion, but the current standard is that you can place restrictions on the exercise of religion as long as you don't discriminate against religion and apply the same restrictions on everybody else that is similarly situated. You cant allow people to go to theaters and get together in commercial establishments or other kinds of activities and then prohibit churches from doing it. And some of the states were going that far. So that's the basic hurdle you have to get over.

I know you're from Michigan, and therefore you're particularly sensitive to the caprice of the governor's regulations. I am very amused, because the press gets all huffy, huffy and puffy about you know, Bill Barr believes in strong executive power, ooh, you know, he's a, he's a fascist or something like that. But they couldn't be happier with the Governors. What kind of power are they exercising? Executive power. In many states, there are no statutes, or the legislators bowed out of the picture. Theyre just letting the governors do what they want to do.

What I've said is, yes, executive power by its very nature does come and should fill the void right at the beginning of any crisis like this. In some crises like war, you do need a strong component of executive leadership. But once the emergency nature of it starts to abate, the legislature should give a little bit more guidance -- like yeah, you can do this for 30 days and then come back to us. If we don't like what we're doing, well exercise a little more control over it. But there has been very little of that. And most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they act, you know, they defy common sense. And a lot of what they do is they treat free citizens as babies that can't take responsibility for themselves and others. So I was saying, well, one, you know, we have to give businesspeople an opportunity. Tell them which rule of masks you have this month. Tell the business people what the rules are, and then let them try to adapt their business to that. Then you'll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living. But putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.

We supported this case. We did get a lot of the states to ease up on the churches and you know, we'd write letters to the governors and the governors would comply. But my view was, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that an artificial cap of 10 doesn't make any sense when you're talking about St. Patrick's Cathedral compared to a small country church. And so one of the rules under the Constitution is you have to sort of calibrate whatever burden you're going to place on religion, you're gonna have to take account of the circumstances and make it as narrow as possible to achieve your end. And so we said, how about just a percentage of the fire marshal occupancy standard? The Supreme Supreme Court, five, four vote wouldn't go along with that because they wanted to say that you have to give a lot of latitude to governors in these crises. I agree, you should give a lot of latitude but we have epidemics and pandemics -- this is a very serious one, a grave one. But they come and just because something is a medical crisis, it doesn't give a complete blank check to executive rule.

Questioner: That leads me to wonder: I read that there have been north of 75,000 suicides during the shutdown. And what mechanism is there or should there be in the government to take care of all these ancillary effects?

Barr: Here's my problem. I have great respect for the medical profession. But the scariest day in a lawyer's life is when he realizes the medical profession is really pretty much the same as the legal profession. They're human beings. They put their pants on one leg at a time. Theyre right sometimes, theyre wrong other times. There's some good doctors, there's some bad doctors. But just like lawyers, doctors are specialists. They will view a broad social problem and issue through a set of blinders in a sense. So, you know, your doctor might say to you, Bill, if you want to live 20 years longer, you should just do this, this, this, this and this. And he might be right. But I don't want to pay those costs to live 20 years longer. I'd rather take my chances. Now, I understand there are externalities here, and you can't threaten other people's lives. But the point is that you have to balance that against a lot of other factors. The point you made is exactly what was not done, but was self evident to anyone who had the power of logic. Which is, yes, doctor, you might be right. But just think of all the collateral consequences and the costs of that. And that is not science, okay? It is the generalist and the representatives of the entire community that should be making these balancing acts. It is not dictated by science. So all this nonsense about how something is dictated by science is nonsense.

Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg. The overdoses are out of control, they're getting back up again. After the first time in decades, this administration actually started flattening it out and bringing it down a little on opioids -- theyre going back up again. And now, with cheap methamphetamine swamping the country, and forms of opioid that are extremely deadly -- fentanyl, synthetic opioids -- we now have the overdose deaths going up. We have domestic violence getting out of control. I'm sure that the shutting down of the economy and telling everyone to stay in their house has contributed to violent crime going up in many of our cities. The interruption of education, especially for disadvantaged children in the inner city, is devastating.These costs are massive.

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Transcript of Attorney General's Remarks as Delivered and Q&A at Hillsdale College - Lawfare

Can we keep calm and carry on, asks Sheffield minister – The Star

People of all ages are included in the rule of six in England

Im the minister of a large church community who live across Sheffield and we are desperate to meet each other again.

We can get together in church with masks on, and our livestreams of our services are fantastic. However, there is nothing like the richness of old and new friends gathering and talking in the same room.

Right now, it cant be done.

This week as the sun shone, I felt more like banging my head against the wall and giving up, not keeping calm and carrying on.

As track-and-trace and the rule of six take force, it will mean a major test of the strength of Sheffields community spirit.

Its easy to blame the young for refusing to distance. Or the Government.

Its a big ask for everybody to keep to the rules after our patience has been tried.

But more significantly, why would we?

Were being asked to be selfless, to put others above ourselves.

As Jesus puts it in the Bible, to love your neighbour as yourself.

I remember learning Jesus Golden Rule in RE lessons at school, treat people the same way you want them to treat you (Matthew 7).

Now the whole nation is being called to new levels of self-control and consideration for the sake of the most vulnerable in our communities.

I feel lifes challenges are best kept in perspective.

A friend of mine works in medical development in Afghanistan and tells me the entire nation has no more than 50 ventilators in their hospitals.

In countries with minimal medical care when peoples family and friends get very sick with Covid, they will probably die, and thats a fact of life they live with everyday.

We can prevent unnecessary suffering, and that motivates me to follow the guidelines.

So this week Ill be trying harder to keep calm, and carry on.

The Reverend Nick Allan is a minister at The Well Church, Ecclesall Road, Sharrow.

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Can we keep calm and carry on, asks Sheffield minister - The Star

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi review a homage to the whodunnit – The Guardian

No other genre of literature has been subject to as many strict rules as detective fiction in its golden age of the 1920s and 30s. Crime author Ronald Knox established 10 commandments for its mechanics and insisted that it should present a mystery whose elements are clearly presented at an early stage in the proceedings. Jorge Luis Borges and WH Auden came up with their own formulae, the latter with an elaborate Aristotelian analysis in his essay The Guilty Vicarage.

The world of the classical whodunnit is one of order, repression and good manners, which is why it was so successful among the English middle classes as a place to explore shocking subconscious desires. And there is plenty pater les bourgeois in Alex Pavesis first novel Eight Detectives. A set of seven golden age-style mysteries with an abundance of brutal slayings in genteel surroundings are rendered in a heightened pastiche of the form. These are nested within a greater narrative where their fictional author, Grant McAllister, discusses his own set of rules for the detective story with an editor, which leads to an eighth murder mystery.

This metafictional conceit has much potential, but Pavesi doesnt quite pull it off. Much is made of his authors theories, but they seem rather banal and offer no real or relevant challenges to the protagonists. And Pavesi himself breaks the golden rule of the form by concealing much crucial information until the last minute.

As homage, the stories are entertaining enough, and at times capture the deadpan surreality of the early 20th-century whodunnit. Victims are dispatched by absurdly gruesome methods at one point a detachable fork tine proves fatal. But Pavesi lacks that delicate precision needed to construct a true mystery as accomplished as any classics of the period. The golden age was characterised by a formal elegance, in a mathematical as well as literary sense: the denouement should be like a balanced equation with the reader able to follow the workings of the puzzle. Instead we are led into a series of confused twists that dont seem to rely on any clues given to us early on, so we are effectively locked out of the game. In their day the masters of the form could produce exquisite labyrinths to astound and engage the reader in equal measure. Eight Detectives is a bit of a clumsy maze in comparison.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi is published by Michael Joseph (14.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

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Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi review a homage to the whodunnit - The Guardian

Learn to understand statistics and you can better understand the world, Tim Harford says – iNews

If you know Tim Harford as the man on the radio who debunks numbers on the BBCs popular show More or Less, well, it turns out hed rather you didnt. He would rather not need to debunk any numbers, full stop. But right now he would settle for listeners doing some of his work for him.

You see, the economist is on a mission to stop people being so scared and suspicious of statistics, which are really just figures with a story attached.

The world is a really interesting place and I wanted people to be able to to think more clearly about [it]. And statistics are a really important tool for doing that, he adds. His new book is called How To Make The World Add Up. The trick, he says, is to be curious but not overly cynical. Statistics arent always trying to fool us, however much it might feel like that, especially when government spin doctors get involved.

My golden rule is be open minded and ask questions, adds Harford, a father of three. He originally made his name explaining the economic rationale behind everything that we do in his first book, The Undercover Economist. I want people to feel that we all have it in us to think more clearly and evaluate the statistical claims that get made. Often people dont realise how simple it is.

In true Harford fashion, his ninth book opens not with a story about numbers but about one of historys greatest art forgeries. It involves fake Vermeers, the Nazis and the worlds leading scholar on Dutch paintings.

I wanted to make the point that a lot of the judgements we make are not about numbers at all, Harford says, via Zoom from his Oxford home.

Take Harfords own reasoning about whether to go ahead with his familys pre-booked summer holiday to Germany. Sure, he crunched the numbers, figuring they had a lower chance of succumbing to Covid-19 there than in the UK. He also considered the chances someone on the plane would be infected (pretty low) and the evidence the virus might spread on the plane (could happen; pretty unlikely).

But the numbers werent ultimately what pushed him to proceed with their plans, he concedes. We went to Germany because friends who are doctors said, Weve done our bit, were going to Greece for a week. At that point, we thought, Okay, if you can do it, we can do it too. Theres no logic behind that. Thats just an emotional response.

The broader point stands: people should think about their emotional reaction to statistical claims.

What we believe is all about what we feel and who we think we are, rather than about the facts. I can give you all the technical advice in the world, but if youre guided by your gut instinct, its not going to help. Im sounding like Yoda with a calculator!

Harford read PPE at Brasenose College, Oxford, and has worked for Royal Dutch Shell and the World Bank. He first fell for statistics as a teenager, when he read a seminal book on the subject, How to Lie with Statistics, written in 1954 by a US journalist named Darrell Huff. But these days hed rather people appreciated statistics for the good they can do.

Take the pandemic. Without the scramble to gather data on the virus since January, the world would still be flying blind, Harford says. The least we can do as ordinary citizens is show some interest in the figures, he adds.

Its a pretty thin silver lining to a very dark cloud. But I do think the last six months has taught us that this stuff matters. The decisions we are making are hugely influenced by the statistics we gather. The better the statistics, the better the decisions.

And right now, with the testing crisis and track-and-trace failure, the micro data isnt good enough to make the right call about a second lockdown, he adds.

Thanks to More or Less, which vastly increased its audience after moving to a prominent 9am weekday slot during lockdown, Harford gets MPs calling him before going into committee meetings, begging for help understanding the latest data. But he finds it slightly depressing that the show got the most attention for holding the government to account for the way it was misleading people about the number of tests being done. Im trying to think about what [numbers are] true, but were having to spend so much attention debunking a claim and showing whats not true.

Holiday dilemmas aside, Im curious how he applies statistics to his own life. Or, to cut to basics, how worried he is about rising infection rates? Im trying to be very cautious and at the same time Im trying not to be anxious. Im still very worried about contributing to the spread of the virus. Im not worried about myself. Which seems about as good a use of statistics as anyone can hope for right now.

How To Make The World Add Up by Tim Harford(The Bridge Street Press, 20) is out now

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Learn to understand statistics and you can better understand the world, Tim Harford says - iNews

Let’s kick the Golden Rule up to Platinum Rule – westvalleyview.com

I very much dislike the phrase new normal. News media has pounded us with this phrase more often in a few months than during the eight years of the Great Recession, when the term was coined. No one ever said, Microwave ovens are the new normal. Will some parts of our society change because of the virus? Definitely. Its called adaptation, and we are good at finding innovative ways to achieve goals. If you doubt that, think of one example of the new normal from the recession that is still around now. We adapted rather than accept a perceived necessity.

No matter what happens, there are aspects of life that will remain the same. Courtesy being one example. The Golden Rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated is common courtesy. Why not kick it up a notch with the Platinum Rule? Do unto others as they want to be treated. That rule has been the first thing I teach at customer-service classes. Its politeness and a happy attitude. Everybodys day becomes much easier, brighter and happier when some of us practice simple courtesy. Especially while driving.

Leadership is another quality that will always be around and be needed. More so when things get unexpectedly crazy. A boss barks orders at people sometimes using intimidation. A leader guides and directs using influence, inspiration and support. A step up would be the servant leader. Servant Leadership is a philosophy where the well-being of others is placed before that of the person in charge. This type of leader creates an atmosphere of trust, encourages open thoughts and ideas from everyone, develops leadership skills in others and has an unselfish mindset. Ive been told this style of management works at home, too. The entire organization (or family) becomes better.

How about caring and giving? Different from courtesy; its an emphatic reaction to a situation. The neighbor with whom I share a landing is a single mom with two kids. We exchange hellos on the very rare days when our schedules coordinate. If she happens to leave a trash bag on the landing, I take it to the dumpster on my way out. Am I a good neighbor? Id like to think so. Ive never been a parent, but I assume one less task that she has to do would be helpful. Think about bigger issues: homelessness, domestic violence, hungry families, veterans in need and the list goes on. Supporting our communitys charitable groups is one way to demonstrate our giving and caring nature. The nonprofit organizations will be grateful, too.

Change is part of life. Ive given three qualities that I feel should always be part of us or our society. I have more suggestions, but choosing core qualities is a personal decision. Standing true to your core beliefs will make adapting easier. Call it your new normal if you want. Begin by asking yourself, What do I want in my life to be inevitable?

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Let's kick the Golden Rule up to Platinum Rule - westvalleyview.com

What to Know: School daze, cool daze and all that – fortworthbusiness.com

School daze, cool days, oh those golden rule days.

To paraphrase that old song (from 1907!).

School days, school daysDear old golden rule days

reading and riting and rithmeticTaught via Zoom or some technology trick

The original ends with Taught to the tune of thehickry stick, but hey, thats a little old, old school.

My first school was Alice B. Carlson Elementary, where I was in kindergarten for a year. I was born late in August, so my parents thought I needed a little early education to catch me up to those folks born nearly a year before me. I dont know if it helped, but I do recall the colorful cartoon characters that surrounded the doors to our restroom facilities they were attached to the room as I remember. I knew then that the mouse was not Mickey and the duck was not Donald. I knew something was up.

Heres one of my favorite clean, I should mention Little Johnny jokes:

The teacher asked little Johnny if he has been studying his numbers while he has been working at home during COVID. Yes, he said. I do. My father taught me. Good. What comes after three? Four, answers the boy. What comes after six? Seven. Very good, says the teacher. Your dad did a good job. What comes after ten? A jack, says the boy.

So this week were going back to school. Weve got a story about the new president at Cristo Rey Fort Worth College Prep who took the reins at the school just as COVID was shutting things down.

See: New President at Cristo Rey deals with COVID challenges

We also have a column from T3, not the disappointing third installment of the Terminator franchise, but Tarrant To & Through (T3) Partnership, a new local coalition of school districts, colleges, universities, employers and community organizations.

Leveraging national best practices and building on existing efforts, the group is focused on providing direct services to boost the number of high school graduates who excel. Its key to developing a highly skilled, creative and motivated work force.

See: Student Success is OUR Success

See: Teaching Tech: Fort Worth ISD hoping rates fall to allow return to campus

The start of school means football. It makes me think of a couple of my teachers who would read Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio by James Wright

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful

At the beginning of October,

And gallop terribly against each others bodies.

I remember Newell E. Faulkner, my junior English teacher reading the poem at R.L. Paschal High School with an actors perfection. You could hear the leaves falling as he read it.

Alas, this year football is problematic. The TCU-SMU game has been COVID canceled, so now you can not only bet on games, but also bet on whether they will play the games.

See: Coronavirus cases postpone TCU-SMU game, the seasons first college football matchup involving a Texas Big 12 team

But hey, theres hockey. Canada has its COVID caseload in order, so the Stars play on, freezing coronavirus out.

See: Stars captain Benn finally past 2nd round into West final

And the horses dont worry about COVID. They ran the Kentucky Derby this weekend and there were some surprises.

See: Authentic wins Kentucky Derby; Baffert notches 6th victory

Everyone seemed want to read what the late T. Boone Pickens has up for auction, from high end etchings by Picasso to an Onyx bathtub. Check out what the billionaire has to offer.

See: T.Boones auction

Heres a trivia question from Today in History:

Most of you can recall the Pledge of Allegiance, but can you recite the 1892 early version of The Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy? It appeared in The Youths Companion on this day in 1892. It went: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Also today in history, in 1900, Galveston was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.

See: Today in History

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What to Know: School daze, cool daze and all that - fortworthbusiness.com

The smile behind the mask – CBS News

I had to run to the grocery store the other day to pick up a couple of things.

Watching the cashier behind her protective plastic partition, ringing up my loaf of bread and a couple of bottles of seltzer, I was hit with this surge of gratitude. No, she wasn't a doctor or nurse in a COVID ward, but she was certainly exposing herself to a lot more risk every day than I do.

I wanted to express my thanks, make sure she knew how deeply I appreciated her essential service. So, I locked eyes with her, and smiled the warmest, widest smile I could muster.

She looked at me blankly and didn't say a word. It was almost as if she hadn't seen my smile at all.

I was leaving the store when it hit me: of course she hadn't seen my smile! My mask had concealed my gratitude.

For the rest of the day, with every interaction I had with someone I didn't know the gas station attendant, the kid behind the take-out counter I made sure to tell them how thankful I was, my words replacing the smiles they couldn't see.

But still, something was missing.

Smiles are the grease for our interpersonal communications, our most efficient way to signal warmth, safety, empathy, compassion, or at the grocery store gratitude a non-verbal supplement to expand the limits of what words alone can express.

Studies have shown smiles are actually contagious. They lift the mood of both the source and the target of the smile. And now, COVID has robbed us of this critically-important tool we use to connect with each other.

We've been sad before as a country, living without smiles for a time in the aftermath of assassinations, terror attacks, school shootings. But this is different. Wearing masks is a structural change in the way we live. COVID has literally wiped the smiles from our faces.

So, keep this in mind as you go about your business, for now our words are all we've got. Not just the ones we choose, but how we deliver them. From behind a mask, tone and inflection are the new smiles. Forget the face-to-face world. In a mask-to-mask world, the golden rule is that people can't feel what they can't see.

Let's all be part of the solution, and find other ways to smile at each other.

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The smile behind the mask - CBS News

Please respect each other and their opinions | Columns – HNGnews.com

Those who know me know that I am a man with great pride for our country, our state, and our community. However, I am extremely disappointed in what I have seen from so many over the last few years. That disappointment does not lie with any one political candidate or political party, but rather with some in our communities who have chosen to be disrespectful of others property and their opinions. I hope and pray that there is an improvement in the way that we treat one another. It seems that some have forgotten the golden rule that we all learned when we were growing up, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Freedom of speech and respect for others is such an important topic right now. There are many in our country who, whether they know it or not, have created more division than we have ever seen before. Again, I am not referring to politicians or any political party. Yes, they make decisions regarding governing, but we the people have the power to control the narrative. Our voices are louder now than ever before. That is possible through the power of the internet, videos, and social media.

Social media has so many positives that allow us to stay connected and share memories. Social media has also turned our country on one another. Perhaps thats because it allows us to sit behind a keyboard not having to speak to someone face to face. As a result, there is very little chance of repercussions. Regardless of the reason, our country has changed and I am fearful of the future we are leaving for our children.

Unfortunately, social media typically has two types of disagreements. In the first type, people disagree. At the end of the conversation, they agree to disagree and they remain friends. I have several friends like this and I enjoy having a debate and considering their perspectives. The second type is unfortunately much more common and unpleasant. This is when two or more people share their opinions, followed by angry outbursts, hateful comments, or threatening statements. People become intolerant of each others opinions and hateful stereotypes are often a result. These stereotypes have only one purpose, to intimidate that person while also shaming others who might share that same opinion into keeping it to themselves.

Recently, I had several residents here in Dodge County tell me that they fear sharing their opinions. They are afraid of the backlash from others who are intolerant. This includes refusing to openly support a candidate, placing a campaign sign in their yard, or even having a discussion with friends or family. This is unfortunate because it is intimating someone into forfeiting their constitutional right.

I undoubtedly will be the subject of these hateful comments following this column. That too is unfortunate but does not bother me as I stand by my convictions and respectfully refuse to be bullied. At the same time, I will respect the opinions of others, and will not shy away from a friendly debate. Remember that no one can bully you in the ballot box and social media bullies are just people typing words on a website, nothing more.

I hope that eventually, our country returns to one of mutual respect for differences of opinion. It will not happen overnight, but if the majority of us begin to recognize the problem and refuse to tolerate hateful speech, we can begin to make a needed change so Dodge County can continue to be a great place to live, work, and visit.

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Please respect each other and their opinions | Columns - HNGnews.com

Letters to the Editor – Politics of fear, voting, the Golden Rule, Republican convention, Vice President – The Dallas Morning News

Fomenting fear from one side

Re: Dont give in to politics of fear, by Gromer Jeffers Jr., Monday Metro column.

I was shocked when I read Jeffers column urging readers to not be frightened by doomsday messages of our presidential contenders. Perhaps he was trying to be balanced and fair, but his perspective about not letting the candidates scare you reminded me of President Donald Trump saying, There are good people on both sides. I agree that Trump is fomenting fear it is his normal technique for the last almost four years. I do not know what world Jeffers is living in these days, but Joe Bidens message is consistently about healing and coming together in formal and informal conversation.

To equate Trumps fearmongering with Bidens messages of hope and recovery in no way represents reality. Jeffers has a loud megaphone and as with many other readers, I have counted on him to tell it like it is. It is the duty of the free press to inform the people and to state clearly when the king is naked and call out lies and hypocrisy.

Jeffers calls on us to do our research and determine which candidates plan for the future best serves us. Since Trump has no plan, that cuts our research time in half.

Liz Wally, Old East Dallas

Voters saw in 2016 President Donald Trumps campaign tactics and have witnessed his brand of presidency for the past four years. It is safe to assume that his current campaign and future presidency will be more of the same.

The Democratic candidates must present detailed plans of what they intend to do, how they will accomplish it and what impacts it will have on our nation and the world. Those who vote want and need facts, not more political platitudes and tasteless bashing of the opposition.

We, as a nation, are facing many serious challenges from many directions. We, as the electorate, must have trustworthy facts and direction prior to casting our votes for those who we decide will be leading us for the next four years.

Stewart K. Wysong, Richardson

What a refreshing change to watch positive messaging from the pro-America Republican speakers versus the doom and gloom Democrats at the recent conventions. When the Democratic platform consists only of bashing President Donald Trump, raising taxes, and shutting down the country again it was difficult to stomach.

Americas best days can still be ahead, but only if we as a people embrace God again. The Golden Rule can only be followed if you understand what it means. The blessing on America is evaporating at an alarming rate because we have become spiritually bankrupt.

I fear judgment is upon us because we have drifted into a secular society, thinking the government will solve all our problems. The Scriptures are replete with warnings of what will happen to a nation that once had the light and rejects it. I pray that people will return to God for any chance that our land will be healed.

Anton Skell, Plano

As we watched the Republican National Convention, we were told to fear the America that will result if the other side gains power. It is claimed that this America would be one of anarchy, chaos, unrest, divisiveness and guns on the street. Wait a minute! Arent these images the images of Trumps America? The America of right here, right now under his watch after over 3 1/2 years? What am I missing? My secret agent decoder ring seems to be lost in the mail.

Sharon Lathrop, Richardson

There is enough conservative viewpoint ammo for conservatives to use against Democratic candidates that using misleading material should be unnecessary. Vice President Mike Pence, nonetheless, went ahead and implied to convention watchers that David Patrick Underwood, a federal officer, was murdered by Black Lives Matter protesters during riots in Oakland, Calif. It appears (no trial/conviction yet) that he was murdered by a white supremacist who subscribes to the idea that such murders will lead to a desired race war. He is not a member of the protesters and our vice president knew it.

Shelton G. Hopkins, Dallas

If you want to talk politics, our 45th president has not only achieved tremendous success on his own but he has also helped our country do the same. And sadly through it all he has gone through tremendous hate and torment by everyone, including his own employees. Now that takes heart to withstand and hey, America, he has also fought for our second stimulus package, our additional unemployment benefits, our safety and even our own economy.

So give him a break. You want to talk politics? Ive seen politics in action and President Donald Trump is a great, great man! Vote for whom you want to vote for, but think first before putting down our incumbent. Its rude, crude and makes you sound uneducated. Either way, go vote because that is what makes Americas democracy work.

Ashley Barg, Dallas

I always thought the press was to provide news and information to all subscribers. What happened to that? As I read my Dallas Morning News, all I can find is Trump-bashing, including Letters to the Editor. I used to submit letters pertaining to my experiences in the Vietnam Air War and my 50-year career in aviation attempting to correct some perceptions. Many of those were published.

Now, because Trump-bashing is top priority, I will refrain from any more submissions. I have a deep respect for my country, as most combat veterans and others do, and that includes respecting our president. I have never met the man and I dont think the bashers have either. I have witnessed many presidents in the past, each one very unique and very human, trying to do the job as best they could.

Robert J. Ponti, Far North Dallas

Click here to submit a letter to the editor. Be sure to include sources.

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Letters to the Editor - Politics of fear, voting, the Golden Rule, Republican convention, Vice President - The Dallas Morning News

Society could benefit from this set of rules – The Chatham News + Record

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist

As a civilized society although when I see the news lately Im starting to wonder our nation has all kinds of laws, rules and regulations (or regs).

Some are asinine and/or completely foolish at least to me. For instance, the Internal Revenue Tax Code for pastors, which applies to part of my life, is a booklet about four inches thick. By contrast, the Gettysburg Address soars to great heights with just 270 words.

I imagine the contents of the tax code and other laws and rules and regs are like many laws passed by Congress such as the one some months ago, when the Speaker of the House chided other members to get the bill passed so we can read it. I may be old and have been born at night, but it wasnt last night. I thought you read those things before they became the law of the land.

Others laws and rules and regs, by comparison, are either, as my late wise father said, fair to middling or quite helpful. Personally, Im glad its unlawful to rob, steal, kill or otherwise create mayhem, although there doesnt seem to be an overabundance of enforcement of those in some parts lately. And, of course, there are rules, regs, and laws at all levels. Its not a federal violation, for instance, to dump trash alongside N.C. Hwy. 751 or the Pittsboro-Goldston Road, but local folks take offense to such behavior.

To me, the bottom line is if mankind would treat his or her fellow creature with a little more of the milk of human kindness, there would be little or no need for a tractor-trailer load of do this or dont do that. Thats where Biblical admonitions that we call the Golden Rule of treating other folks like you want to be treated or the Ten Commandments not the Ten Good Ideas or the Ten Suggestions engraved boldly over the U.S. Supreme Court building in D.C. comes in.

Ive been a big fan of the Golden Rule for years, thanks to my mama. The cynical part of me does admit that there could be a problem if someone really wanted you to beat the tar out of them and so they treated you that way. Deep down inside, though, I dont think most folks are like that but someone could be. So I think maybe we ought to amp up that idea and operate under the norm of do unto others better than youd like to be done to. Wouldnt it be a hoot if everyone acted that way?

Im also pretty sure the Ten Commandments have been around long enough and have enough of a track record to prove their worth if wed just pay attention to them. And there are some natural laws that still are in effect. I did not make a career of physics, didnt even expose myself to it at ol Pittsboro High School, especially since the other class at that hour was advanced phys ed, but I do understand that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, such as two cars at the stop sign at the same time. When that happens, we call it a wreck.

That brings me to a point that rules, regs and laws keep our society from completely falling apart, and I still have hope and faith that wont happen just yet.. But I still say if our hearts were bit more as they should be, we could all do better. Not so long ago a friend gave me a list of what she called Golden Rules for Living. Consider these if you will:

If you open it, close it.

If you turn it on, turn it off.

If you unlock it, lock it.

If you move it, put it back.

If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.

If you borrow it, return it.

If you dont know how to operate it, leave it alone.

If you use it, take care of it.

If you break it, admit it.

If you cant fix it, call someone who can.

If you mess it up, clean it up.

If its none of your business, dont ask questions.

Could it be that if we lived by those rules wed need fewer rules?

I think maybe so. You?

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Society could benefit from this set of rules - The Chatham News + Record

IOWA STRONG: Willie Ray’s Q Shack gives out free food with help from ‘Advocates for Social Justice’ – kwwl.com

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - 'Treat people the way you want to be treated' is the golden rule Willie Fairley has been following since the derecho hit.

The owner of Willie Ray's Q Shack has been handing out free food almost every day. On Friday, he teamed up with the 'Advocates for Social Justice'.

The Q shack is located on Blairs Ferry Rd in Cedar Rapids, but Fairley wanted to get closer to the community.

Burgers, ribs, beans, and more were coming straight off the grill and into peoples' hands all day Friday. Some people even tried to donate money, but Fairley refused.

"When you have a passion for people and you just have to do the right thing, and doesn't matter how long we do it," Fairley said. "We just gonna do it until everyone needs it. And it could be six months from now someone needs something. We still want to be there. We want to be that rally call to make sure everyone has what they need."

He says the support he has been getting from the community is unbelievable and he plans on continuing to hand out food for at least a few more weeks.

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IOWA STRONG: Willie Ray's Q Shack gives out free food with help from 'Advocates for Social Justice' - kwwl.com

COVID-19: How to Safely Enjoy Fall Activities Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Like most things in 2020, fall will look and feel different this year compared to last. But with a little planning and caution, you can still enjoy some of falls signature activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Instead of focusing on all the changes, its really about shifting our expectations and reimagining how to do some of the same activities, explains family medicine specialist Neha Vyas, MD.

There are still plenty of things we can safely do, we just need to take precautions to protect ourselves and those around us, which from time to time, might mean passing on an event or activity if those precautions cant be followed, she says.

Maintaining at least six feet from other people is key, and for times when that isnt possible, wearing a face mask is crucial. And if you havent already caught on, hand sanitizer and hand washing will continue to be the coolest trends of the season.

Dr. Vyas shares some insight, advice and modifications for a safe fall.

Parents and kids alike are wondering about Halloween this year. But how do you handle trick-or-treating, costumes and passing out candy in the middle of a global pandemic?

Your city will determine if trick-or-treating is happening or not, says Dr. Vyas. If it is, then its really about deciding as a family what youre comfortable with and how youll protect yourself and those around you. If your city has determined that trick-or-treating will be canceled, everyone will need to respect that rule as well.

Parents who allow their kids to trick-or-treat will need to consider quite a few things: How will your child maintain social distance from others? How many houses will they be allowed to visit? How will you help your child keep their hands clean and not touch their face?

And then of course, theres the concept of incorporating a face mask (and no, were not talking a Spiderman mask) into your childs costume.

Children who are trick-or-treating (and parents who are out with them) will still need to wear a proper face mask, aka it covers the mouth and nose, has multiple layers and ties around the ears or back of the head.

Get creative and encourage your child to think about how their face mask can be part of their costume, says Dr. Vyas. Opt for a mask that matches the costumes style, or have them pick a costume where a face mask is an essential part like a doctor or a ninja. And as long as your child can still see and breathe fine and theres plenty of ventilation, you can layer a Halloween mask over a cloth face mask.

When you get back home, you might be wondering if you should sanitize your childs candy haul, but according to Dr. Vyas, its not really necessary.

The transmission of coronavirus on surfaces is very low, she says. But if you feel safer doing it, than by all means do.

If youve opted not to go out trick-or-treating, but still want to pass out candy, consider leaving candy and hand sanitizer out on a table at the end of your driveway. You can even sit farther back from the table so you can enjoy the evening from a distance. Or, you can designate one person with clean hands to pass out candy. Unfortunately this year, experts say to avoid having kids pick directly from the bowl because it could spread more germs. Its also advised to skip on passing out homemade goods.

If youve decided that youre not comfortable with Halloween outside of your direct household (which is perfectly OK!), get creative and have some fun with how youll celebrate:

Just because were spending more time at home these days doesnt mean we have to skip every fall activity we once loved. With a little organization, preparation and creativity its possible to still enjoy some of your favorite fall events.

The trick (to this treat) is reimaging and setting the correct expectation. Youll also want to keep the golden rules of COVID-19 in mind: Wear a face mask, social distance, dont touch your face, wash your hands regularly and stay home if you arent feeling well.

Heres what else to keep in mind for several popular fall festivities:

We know this year has been a bummer for many things and events. But just as we learned in the spring and summer, if were safe, we can still enjoy some activities theyll just look and feel a little different.

Theres still time to enjoy the great outdoors and local parks this fall, so take a socially distanced hike and pack a picnic. Enjoy a family car ride to enjoy the fall foliage when the weather turns cool, or hold a faux tailgate in your driveway. Rake leaves, perfect your apple pie recipe or warm up next to a campfire on a crisp night.

Coronavirus doesnt have to take all the fun out of everything, says Dr. Vyas. If we all practice and respect the safety guidelines, we can slow the spread of the virus and still experience things that bring us joy.

And dont worry, pumpkin spice lattes are fall 2020 approved for the occasional splurge, of course!

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COVID-19: How to Safely Enjoy Fall Activities Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic