I cover national politics and civil liberties issues for the Washington, DC bureau of Mother Jones. I have also written for The Economist, the Washington Monthly, the Atlantic, and Commonweal. Email me at nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com.
This post was originally titled “Remix to Rendition,” (apologies to R. Kelly) which for some crazy reason my colleagues did not embrace. I wrote lyrics, which I’m willing to share if you buy me a drink.
"I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret."
"I’m convinced that the whole shoe-bomber business was a prank. What got me onto this theory was reading that the shoe bomber, a Muslim convert named Richard Reid, had been described by someone who knew him well in England as ‘very, very impressionable.’ I had already decided that the man was a complete bozo. He made such a goofy production of trying to light the fuses hanging off his shoe that he practically asked the flight attendant if she had a match. The way I figure it, the one terrorist in England with a sense of humor, a man known as Khalid the Droll, had said to the cell, ‘I bet I can get them all to take off their shoes in airports.’ So this prankster set up poor impressionable Reid and won his bet. Now Khalid is back there cackling at the thought of all those Americans exposing the holes in their socks on cold airport floors. If someone is arrested one of these days and is immediately, because of his M.O., referred to in the press as the underwear bomber, you’ll know I was onto something."
"It’s hard to think of many other journalists who have slogged through such a thankless beat for so long. It’s hard, too, to think of many other beats that are more important to give such tireless coverage."