Joseph Rosenbloom

Joseph Rosenbloom is a freelance writer based in Newton, Mass.

Recent Articles

Richardson's Handshake Gamble

Bill Richardson is hoping the near-celebrity status of the three Democratic frontrunners will keep them from exuding the same folksy charm and handshakes he's using to connect with New Hampshire voters.

To a crowd of more than one hundred people gathered under towering oaks in the backyard of his house in Dover, N.H., on Monday afternoon, former mayor William Boc introduced Bill Richardson, who was there asking for their votes in the Democratic presidential primary. Boc noted that house parties like the one he was hosting for Richardson adhere to a cherished New Hampshire tradition in which voters expect highly personal campaigning by the presidential candidates. "We want to talk to you in our backyards. We want to shake your hand, and we want to ask you some questions," Boc said. That's jibed exactly with Richardson's intentions, and Boc's words only egged him on. "We're building grass-roots support by going voter to voter," Richardson told the crowd a few moments later, "and I love doing it." In at least one respect, the New Hampshire primary and Richardson seem perfectly matched. The New Mexico governor is basing his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination not...

Impeachment, Vermont Style

A. Jeffry Taylor is a 62-year-old lawyer and Democratic activist in Rutland, Vermont. As a young lawyer in the Los Angeles office of the Justice Department, he prosecuted antitrust cases during the Watergate era. The corruption he witnessed firsthand within the Nixon administration (a high-ranking Justice official once told him not to pursue a case, he recalls, because the suspects were “friends of the President, and we don't sue friends of the President. Are you dumb?”) gnaws at him still. His blood is boiling now because of what he regards as another President's unlawful conduct -- namely, what he regards as President George W. Bush's flagrant violations of the Constitution's due-process guarantees. In December, when Michigan Congressman John Conyers introduced an impeachment resolution in Congress, Taylor welcomed it with open arms. The resolution, H. Res. 635, would create a select committee to investigate possible impeachable offenses by Bush. To Taylor's dismay, however, the...

The Unique Brutality of Texas

Gathering dust in Texas Governor Rick Perry's inbox is a clemency petition from Joe Lee Guy, a death-row inmate. The petition declares that "the integrity of Guy's capital trial was severely compromised." Considering how horrendously the wheels of Texas justice turned for Guy, the petition's claim seems, if anything, understated. In 1994, Guy was sentenced to death for his role, the year before, in the robbery of a grocery store and the murder of its proprietor, Larry Howell. Guy was the unarmed lookout for two other men, Ronald Springer and Thomas Howard. Springer supplied the .22-caliber pistol that Howard used to shoot Howell. Springer and Howard received life sentences. Guy's involvement in the crime was never in question, but something went terribly wrong in his legal defense. Frank SoRelle, the investigator hired by the defense, developed a "relationship" with Howell's elderly mother, who was seeking Guy's execution, and SoRelle eventually inherited her $750,000 estate. The work...

The New Anti-War Protesters

SANDWICH, N.H. -- By the end of last week, Maggie Porter's brick collection totaled 1,099 -- and counting. The bricks are meant to depict the coffins that the United States has been transporting to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware since the Iraq War began. Each brick is wrapped in a miniature American flag and labeled with the name of a serviceman or woman who has died in the war. Over Columbus Day weekend this month, there was a popular local harvest fair a mile or so down the road from Porter's large white house in the rural town of Sandwich, New Hampshire. Porter and her husband, Boone, hauled her bricks out of their cavernous barn and stacked them on a plywood pedestal in their front yard. A blue-and-white sign explained the bricks' intended message: “The True Cost of War.” The cost of the war in Iraq as measured by returning coffins haunts Porter and her husband. Their 24-year-old son, Charles, is an Army paratrooper who is completing a hitch in South Korea and, more to the point...

The Unique Brutality of Texas

Gathering dust in Texas Governor Rick Perry's inbox is a clemency petition from Joe Lee Guy, a death-row inmate. The petition declares that "the integrity of Guy's capital trial was severely compromised." Considering how horrendously the wheels of Texas justice turned for Guy, the petition's claim seems, if anything, understated. In 1994, Guy was sentenced to death for his role, the year before, in the robbery of a grocery store and the murder of its proprietor, Larry Howell. Guy was the unarmed lookout for two other men, Ronald Springer and Thomas Howard. Springer supplied the .22-caliber pistol that Howard used to shoot Howell. Springer and Howard received life sentences. Guy's involvement in the crime was never in question, but something went terribly wrong in his legal defense. Frank SoRelle, the investigator hired by the defense, developed a "relationship" with Howell's elderly mother, who was seeking Guy's execution, and SoRelle eventually inherited her $750,000 estate. The work...

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