Janet Reno

Martin Peretz discusses American foreign policy in the Middle East in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death.

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Claim Denied

For a few hours last week, Eric Holder could breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, it wasn’t the attorney general but another African American government official whom right-wingers were smearing with allegations of reverse racism. But Andrew Breitbart and other conservative troublemakers’ efforts to turn Shirley Sherrod into Angela Davis proved so ludicrously unfair that they only wound up enhancing Sherrod’s reputation; even long-time conservative commentator Peggy Noonan is now holding up the once-obscure Department of Agriculture official as an icon of racial reconciliation.

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The Florida Circus

The first thing you need to understand about Florida's political climate is that its seemingly endless summer of Boom Times seems to be coming to a close. The vast migration to the state that caused its population to increase over 16 percent since the 2000 census seems to be winding down, and last year, shockingly enough, it actually lost population. The state's economy is suffering from problems that are deeper than any business cycle: Its 2.7 percent drop in per capita personal income has pushed the state near the bottom of rankings by percent change of personal income data.

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The Florida Circus

The first thing you need to understand about Florida's political climate is that its seemingly endless summer of Boom Times seems to be coming to a close. The vast migration to the state that caused its population to increase over 16 percent since the 2000 census seems to be winding down, and last year, shockingly enough, it actually lost population. The state's economy is suffering from problems that are deeper than any business cycle: Its 2.7 percent drop in per capita personal income has pushed the state near the bottom of rankings by percent change of personal income data.

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Poor Eric Holder. The fact is that he is none too smart ... and none too versed in constitutional issues. Although Ronald Reagan did appoint him Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia! Ah, those were the days when Republican presidents appointed Democrats to judicial office and Democratic presidents appointed Republicans to same. Actually, aside from his graduation from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, "second rate" is what comes to mind when you hear Holder's name. Hey, Janet Reno wasn't so brainy either. Holder's mental equipment matters now more than ever.

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Good Knight

Over the past few days, there’s been much speculation over whether Attorney General Eric Holder will launch an investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11. One of the top contenders in leading an investigation seems to be John Durham, a name you probably don’t recognize--or may have forgotten. So who is this low-key prosecutor that may take on the most high-profile national case since Watergate?   Durham began his career at the Connecticut state attorney’s office shortly after graduating from University of Connecticut Law School in 1975.

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Lest you think Obama's getting all the big endorsements today, it should be noted for the record that Janet Reno is backing Hillary. This is actually moderately surprising, given Reno's conflicted relationship with the Clintons--especially Hillary.

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If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold—perhaps even somewhat reckless-—instincts to pursue the task as he did.

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He Ain’t Heavy

INTIMATE TREASURES, a sex shop in the resort town of Fort Walton Beach, is housed in a pink-and-blue, virtually windowless concrete building—just the kind of faux-cheery structure one finds in commercial strips throughout the Sun Belt. According to its website, the store specializes in sensual lingerie, erotic games, massage oils, and "videos, videos, videos." A few years ago a sales clerk at the store was charged with two counts of obscenity for selling allegedly beyond-the-pale pornography to undercover cops.

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Power to Judge

The public outcry against John Ashcroft's nomination to be attorney general has been remarkable not only for its ideological intensity but for its intellectual confusion. Whether they're women's groups on abortion, civil rights groups on race, or religious minorities on church-state separation, Ashcroft's opponents have largely been protesting the wrong thing. The former Missouri senator, they say, can't be trusted to enforce laws with which he disagrees--on abortion and civil rights, for example.

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