Some 'Three Dot Journalism' in Honor of Herb Caen

In homage to the legendary San Francisco columnist who died 15 years ago this week, a round-up of recent news on Guantanamo Bay... Texas gerrymandering... Proposition 8... Geico's Rescue Panther... the Super Bowl... 

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You may or may not remember Herb Caen, the great and prolific newspaper columnist, the beloved and respected Pulitzer-Prize winner, who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner for nearly 60 years. Caen, who died 15 years ago this week, often strung together his columns in a style widely described as "three-dot journalism": a series of short items separated by ellipses. I thought it might be appropriate on this first Friday in February to pay tribute to the wonderful man by offering up a column in the old-school Caen style. Here goes...

Did you read Sen. Saxby Chambliss' comments about a gently proposed White House plan to send five Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar in advance of peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan? "These are five of the meanest, nastiest killers in the world," the senator said, even though he doesn't know the names of any of the men... The senator's reaction was sadly reminiscent of all those false and disingenuous "worst of the worst" labels placed on the Gitmo detainees by members of the Bush Administration...

... It will cost you an hour, but you should spend the time and watch this panel discussion  (click on link that says "Journalism Panel") from a recent Brigham Young University Law School program on how some of the country's best Supreme Court reporters cover their beat... So unemployment now is down to 8.3 percent, and I'm waiting for another brilliant political journalist to write yet another definitive column linking that number to President Barack Obama's re-election chances. How low does it have to go?...

... Back in Texas, the judges now responsible for coming up with a new redistricting plan for the Lone Star State evidently have their doubts about the Republican gerrymander. From the Associated Press: "It's hard to explain changes to the map 'other than doing it on the basis of reducing minority votes,' said the presiding judge, Rosemay M. Collyer."... And, a little further south and east, we mark today the 50th anniversary of the American embargo on Cuban cigars and other goods...

There was a ton of coverage this week over a court ruling that kept video recordings of California's long-ago Prop 8 trial secret. Having followed that case closely, and seeing how one-sided it was, I can understand why same-sex marriage proponents want the world to see it... Meanwhile, back in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder took some serious heat on Capitol Hill this week for his testimony about the "Fast and Furious" fiasco. This tense moment was particularly interesting. Yikes...

Presented by

Andrew Cohen is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is a legal analyst for 60 Minutes and CBS Radio News, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Commentary Editor at The Marshall Project

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