Search Results for: Nathan Reeves

Opinion  /  February 26, 2013  / 

The Tall Tale Of Chuck Hagel

Let me begin by framing the absurdity. President Obama nominates Republican Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Really?  He couldn’t find a single Democrat willing or able to take the job? Okay, fine. We’ll accept one absurdity.  But there’s more. The Republican Party says no. Really?  Would they rather have a Democrat doing the job?  Because it’s absurd to think that Obama will appoint someone more conservative—although with absurdity popping up all over, I suppose that assumption could be made. But there’s more. Why does the Republican Party say no?  Two of the most often cited reasons: because they’re afraid Hagel sympathizes with something called the “Friends of Hamas” and something else called the “Junior League of Hezbollah,” and because they want to continue to hit the President over Benghazi. Really?  Because about 30 seconds after this “Friends of Hamas” story broke (on, which is a conservative blog that … Continue reading

Opinion  /  February 12, 2013  / 

It’s Coming Right For Us

In an early episode of popular television series South Park, Stan’s uncle Jimbo takes the boys on a hunting trip.  Up in the mountains, Jimbo explains that because “Democrats have passed a lot of laws to stop us from hunting”, they can only shoot animals that pose “an immediate threat.”  Therefore, before shooting any animal, they have to yell “It’s coming right for us!” I don’t think anyone in Congress has used quite the same terms, but there seems to be a consensus that gun control legislation is “coming right for us”: Congress will pass some kind of gun control law and that will be that, a proper and complete response to an outbreak of tragedy. Notwithstanding the question of whether an assault weapons ban or universal background checks would help reduce the problem of gun violence in America, such legislation doesn’t address the problem; only the symptoms.  We can … Continue reading

Opinion  /  January 29, 2013  / 

Mr. Barry’s Classroom

MR. BARRY’S CLASSROOM A SHORT FILM (Based on a true story) The film opens on a small, packed classroom, desks arranged in curved semicircular rows.  One side of the classroom seems to be embroiled in some kind of war with the other side.  Children are yelling, throwing balls of crumpled up paper, and generally causing mayhem throughout the classroom.  A young, well-dressed teacher sits at a desk at the front of the room, his head in his hands.  Behind him, the blackboard reads “Good morning, class,” and below that, “Mr. Barry.”  The teacher slowly lifts his head and yells at the class. “All right, children, it’s time for recess!” The class is quiet for just a moment, but quickly ignores Mr. Barry and resumes their yelling and fighting. “Class, I said it’s time for recess! Get your coats and head outside!” This time the class remains silent.  Finally, one of … Continue reading

Opinion  /  November 6, 2012  / 

An Election Day Primer: What to Watch

I’ve done the hard work of finding out what’s interesting, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy Election Day. Presidential Race What to watch for: Number of write-in votes for “Bronco Bamma” Why: Because someone inexplicably decided that every news outlet in the known universe needed to cover this.   What to watch for: Number of states Nate Silver predicts incorrectly Why: Because in 2008 he got 49 of 50, plus the District of Columbia, plus every Senate race.  Can he do better this time? Hint: This is not a good drinking game.   What to watch for: Whether Obama wins Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania Why: Because longtime Obama strategist David Axelrod has agreed to shave his mustache of 40 years if Obama loses any of those states.  Coincidentally (or not?), these are the states Romney is pouring money into these past few days.   Bonus: Where to watch … Continue reading

Opinion  /  October 23, 2012  / 

Truthiness in Action: A Modest Proposal for Better Presidential Campaigns

This year’s debates, both presidential and vice-presidential, have been a triumph for the math nerds. Candidates have hurled numbers at one another at a lightning pace.  A $5 trillion tax cut.  23 million Americans out of work. They might as well have claimed that  as far as the American public’s understanding of things has gone. That’s the first problem: average Americans can’t understand this stuff. The second problem is that, as the candidates never miss an opportunity to point out, we can’t trust what either of them actually says.  Each contends that his opponent is lying to the American people.  Third parties, especially on the Internet, seem to take extreme relish in substantiating these claims.  And so, with the words each candidate says dismissed as “malarkey” and “stuff” (in Joe Biden’s overly sanitary description), we can’t trust a thing they say. How do we fix these two problems that, together, … Continue reading

Opinion  /  October 2, 2012  / 

Hoist With His Own (Cheesy) Petard

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a problem. His name has become synonymous with a deep, abiding hatred of all things unionized—a desire to consign all unions to a deep, fiery pit of hell, and absent that ability, to slowly choke them until they choose a quick, fiery death instead of the slow, agonizing one to which they would be subjected. Scott Walker is, in short, the Voldemort to the unions’ Potter; the Khan to their Kirk. But when confronted by an equally angry legion of Green Bay Packers fans, Scott Walker had a dilemma. He could either choose to stand firm on his principles—his dearly held tenets of anti-union rhetoric—which would certainly anger the people of his state even more. He could try to explain to a growing mob of Packers fans, angry at the oh-so-sorry state of NFL officiating that led to their team losing a game they almost … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  October 7, 2013  / 

Anchors and Rancid Chicken: How the Democrats Can Win the Shutdown

In the absence of an external force, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. -Newton’s First Law of Motion The Democrats have a problem. This problem did not begin with Tuesday’s government shutdown. No, this problem began some time ago. It reared its ugly head in the last debt ceiling debate, and the one before that. It was the cause of the sequester. And it’s not going away anytime soon. In a May 8, 2005 blog post entitled “Why Pay $36.09 for Rancid Chicken?”, Stephen J. Dubner (one of the authors of Freakonomics) bemoaned a poor restaurant experience. In the post, Dubner explained the behavioral economics concept of anchoring—that is, setting a background assumption that provides the starting point for negotiations. Dubner suggests that after a meal of rancid chicken, one has many possible openings with which to … Continue reading

From the Editor / From the Print Edition  /  September 21, 2013  / 

After Hiatus, Record Returns to Print

Note: This article first appeared in the September 16, 2013 print edition of the Harvard Law Record. Welcome to the all-new print edition of the Harvard Law Record. I, together with The Record staff, am excited to reintroduce this edition to the Harvard Law School campus. The Record is an historic and important publication. Founded in 1946, it is among the oldest law school newspapers in the United States. Authors published in its pages have included Supreme Court Justices (Chief Justice William Rehnquist); famous jurists (Judge Richard Posner); professors (Alan Dershowitz, Charles Ogletree); and esteemed public advocates (Ralph Nader). Among its most storied articles are a first draft of Ralph Nader’s eventual bestseller, Unsafe at Any Speed, and an exclusive interview with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. While The Record has maintained an online presence over the last several years, we felt the time was right to reintroduce a print edition. … Continue reading