Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oral Argument

I argued an appeal in the Iowa Supreme Court this morning. Immediately got peppered with questions. No time to develop the six elements. But my brief was structured by Lincoln's/Euclid's six elements of a proposition. Not only did the six elements make for a better brief, it was easier (and quicker) to draft -- David Hirsch

Monday, June 13, 2011

What is this?

This is a picture of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad shaking hands with David Hirsch. All that appears of David is his hand, wrist, and a few inches of his arm. But the photographer did not miss the handshake. Rabbi Yossie Jacobson is in the background. It was at this meeting that the Governor was presented with a copy of Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. See May 17, 2011, posting below.

Conscious or Unconscious?

A reader, who is an attorney, emails: "At this point in time I have read the preface, foreword and introduction to your book. I have one question. Perhaps it is answered in the book, if it is, just tell me, it’s answered in the book. Did Abraham Lincoln consciously apply the elements of a geometric proposition to his writings and speeches or did it just happen subconsciously because of his study of Euclid? It is interesting to me that I never did truly grasp algebra, but I did grasp geometry."

Response: There is a big difference between geometry (not including analytical geometry) and algebra. Euclidean geometry is based on language. Algebra is based on equations. In Euclidean geometry you see the big picture. In algebra you see tiny steps. Your question (about whether Lincoln consciously used the elements of a proposition -- or whether it was subconscious) is pretty much answered in the book. If, after reading the book, you don't think so, ask again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blagojevich Trial

Jim Matsumoto mentions Dan Van Haften in another WTTW Blagojevich bog post:

"Lincoln author, Dan, told me a story concerning columnist/author Jimmy Breslin and the first Blagojevich trial. During a recess, Breslin asked Dan what he thought of the closing arguments. Dan replied that he wanted to hear the judge’s instructions before he made up his mind. Breslin replied sharply that in New York there wouldn’t have been a trial because this trial was about nothing. Dan has since named the current defense strategy as the Jimmy Breslin defense: 'It’s about nothing.'

"Another incident involving Dan happened Wednesday. As Dan was explaining to Jim and his sister about his book about Lincoln and giving them the full laminate, Euclidian, Lincoln’s speeches, Rod was nearby. With only a few minutes to spare before court convened, he started to converse with Dan about Dan’s book, Lincoln and his knowledge of Lincoln’s study of Euclid during his 'wilderness years.' The former governor’s knowledge of Lincoln lore impressed Dan very much."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blagojevich Trial

Jim Matsumoto, jury foreperson in first Blagojevich trial, comments on meeting Dan Van Haften at the second trial, and has has nice things to say about Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. Jim's post is on the WTTW Blagojevich blog.

Also, Dan is briefly interviewed by WLS-TV at the trial.