L**** J**** [name redacted--see Update below], who worked with me in both my political campaigns as well as in my Tempe congressional office -- L*J* gave me one of my favorite anecdotes when he answered the phone one day during the great health care debate and the caller/constituent said, "You tell Congressman Coppersmith that I don't want any of that government health care. My Medicare works just fine." -- sent me an email that makes me proud to know him.
L* has taken a 6-month position with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Iraq. He will work with the Iraqi political parties, candidates, and staff as they move toward the December elections. He felt he could do his part for peace in Iraq, which will come about only through political process and security; the soldiers on the ground are doing every they can for security, and L* felt he should put his 15 years of political experience to work in helping create a civil society in Iraq.
This is an incredibly brave thing to do and we're all proud of L*. We can only hope and pray that he returns safe and sound in 6 months. If you know L* or want to get on his list for emails from Iraq, send me an email at sam [at] cgson [dot] com and I'll send you his email address.
UPDATE: I've redacted the name of our friend. If you know L*, you can guess who it is. If you don't but you know me, send me an email. But the insurgency in Iraq monitors blogs and websites, looking for pictures of both foreigners working in Iraq as well as Iraqis working with them. L* is braver than I realized and I may be overcautious about deleting his name, but it needn't appear here; his picture most certainly won't.
The other news is that apparently, Judge John Roberts Jr. is a college classmate of mine. But he wasn't in the Band, and I don't ever recall meeting him. A white guy who went to Harvard on the Supreme Court -- now there's a change.