Politics and Litigation

i.e., the darker side of Philip Greenspun


"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain The Clintons. Well worth a trip to the library (or amazon.com ) is John L. Jackley's Hill Rat (1992; Regnery Gateway). Jackley recounts his career as a press secretary for various Democratic congressmen during the 1980's. Congressmen are whores for honoraria and junkets from the industries they regulate, CSPAN time, and enough campaign contributions to ensure that they remain among the 96% re-elected. Their staffers, the "Hill rats", are whores for receptions where the lobbyists buy shrimp. Every few pages, you learn about another perk the separates Congress from the rest of us. Maybe it is the IRS opening an office in the Cannon House Office Building to help members and staff prepare their taxes. Or perhaps the Congressionally-funded FAA traffic controller revoking the landing clearance of a commercial jet so that Congressman Ron Coleman (D-TX) wouldn't have to circle. I grew up in Washington, D.C., so I thought that I didn't have anything more to learn about politicians. Jackley's strangely apolitical work casts a very different light on the people we thought we knew.


In addition to doing research in the area of computer-aided litigation, I've also got some practical experience to relate.
Top Photo: my friend Norman in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
Portrait of Congressman: from Heather Has Two Mommies.