It's a lot, right? It's a lot. It is a firehose of news. How are we supposed to live our lives, cook a meal, uncrimp our hunched-over necks? Even when I shut my computer, it still flashes its little light in the corner, ready to alert me to the horrors of the world like some kind of pulsing Hellmouth.
Photo by Uncalno Tekno
But one doesn't want to be uninformed! So here is my solution, when I can restrain myself from nervously tapping and clicking my phone for new news (kind of like one does with a rosary, if a rosary also had the power to deliver jolts of terrified adrenaline): I head on over to Twitter. But, instead of travelling aimlessly down that endless media highway, absorbing the random thoughts of random people of my totally un-curated Twitter feed and thinking dimly, "That's interesting about how children should be bored during the holidays," or, "Wow, that headline has the suffix 'according to science', so it must be true," or, "I don't think that's what treason means," I've made a Twitter list that limits me to legal- and political-media types who seem to actually understand the Trump/Russia/national security issues that are dominating the news. In addition to the accounts that everyone follows — The New York Times, The Washington Post, Maggie Haberman, Preet Bharara and so on — I glance at this short list a few times a day to keep me up to date.
Take a look! Note that this won't necessarily reduce the amount of time you spend online — these people are prolific tweeters, writers, lawyers and podcasters, and even just this smallish group could send you down some winding Twitter rabbit holes.
Have other suggestions? Leave them in the comments and I'll adjust my list on Twitter.
1. Benjamin Wittes, @benjaminwittes
Benjamin Wittes is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Lawfare, which is devoted to the discussion of "hard national security choices" (itself worth following: @lawfareblog). He was an editorial writer for the Washington Post for nine years and is now a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. His feed serves as both information/entertainment on its own and as an excellent shunt toward other legal tweeters.
You know, a witch hunt is not the worst thing in the world if your country is haunted by an evil witch.
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 18, 2017
2. Josh Chafetz, @joshchafetz
Chafetz is law professor at Cornell and author of the forthcoming Congress's Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers. According to Steve Vladeck, the editor-in-chief of Just Security (see below), he's particularly good on the powers and role of Congress.
3. Seth Abramson, @SethAbramson
Abramson is an attorney and professor of English at UNH and is apparently devoting his every waking moment to explaining stuff on Twitter. He has 118K followers, so I guess a lot of other people need these explanations, too. I like his lengthy threads explaining complicated matters in short sentences, because hey — if I had any kind of attention span I wouldn't be on Twitter in the first place. Here's the start of an epic thread tweet, this one on criminal versus non-criminal investigations:
(1) *Prior* to the appointment of a Special Counsel, there were three Russiagate investigations: House Intel, Senate Intel, and the DOJ/FBI.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) May 18, 2017
4. Just Security, @just_security
A site dedicated to US law, rights and national security. Its co-editor-in-chief, @steve_vladeck, a law professor at UT, is also worth following, as are others associated with Just Security, like Ryan Goodman at @rgoodlaw. (Vladeck calls Goodman good for "random criminal statutes"). I like Just Security for commentary on international events, especially when my attention is so glued to Washington.
— Just Security (@just_security) May 18, 2017
5. Jack Goldsmith, @jacklgoldsmith
Goldsmith is a Harvard Law prof, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a co-founder of Lawfare. His laconic commentary isn't especially hilarious, but then, what is hilarious about US national security these days? But his annotations on current-events media alert me to what stories aren't getting enough attention, as well as longer-form commentary for perspective.
Finally, a brief shout-out to Matt Tait (@pwnallthethings). Tait writes primarily about cybersecurity, but Benjamin Wittes notes that he also follows Tait for stuff in the legal/political/security area too. And with that, I leave you with this tweet:
There is too much news
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) May 18, 2017