attorney

The NYT has a short piece today that gives us yet another reminder of why it's so much fun to tell lawyer jokes.

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Weight Watchers

In New Jersey, any candidate for high office can count on getting smeared over taxes, corruption, the economy, or all of the above. But in this fall's hard-fought gubernatorial race, an unlikely issue has popped up amidst the usual mud-slinging: the portly physique of Republican challenger Chris Christie. Ever since Jon Corzine released his now-infamous attack ad, in which a disdainful voiceover claims Christie improperly "threw his weight around" as a U.S. Attorney, neither candidate has managed to entirely escape the politics of fat.

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Drowning

Thursday October 8, 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. I pick up sleepily. "My family! My family! Magda … my family!" I hear sobbing and low, sad groans on the other end.

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For much of this year, one of the surest bets in political circles has been that embattled New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine would go down to defeat at the hands of Republican former U.S.

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The wittiest scene in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 2001 film The Man Who Wasn’t There is one in which a fast-talking defense attorney, Freddy Riedenschneider (marvelously played by Tony Shalhoub), invokes Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as grounds for a not-guilty verdict in a murder case: We can’t know what really happened.… Because the more you look, the less you know. But the beauty of it is, we don't gotta know! We just gotta show that, goddamnit, they don't know. Reasonable doubt. Science. The atom. You explain it to me.

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The Usefulness of Cranks

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,

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The Plot Thins

Among those who know me well, few can remember when I covered any subjects other than Al Qaeda and the global jihad. I wrote about Osama Bin Laden when he was "Usama bin Ladin." And so since September 14, all anybody's been asking me are questions about a young Afghan immigrant named Najibullah Zazi and his alleged involvement in the first Al Qaeda cell uncovered in America since the 9/11 attacks. Here are my answers to the four most common questions I've been getting.  1. Is this just another of the government's over-hyped terror plots?  U.S.

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The New Yorker's Jeff Toobin offers a good response to my open question about how we should be handling Najibullah Zazi, an accused al Qaeda terrorist who may be in league with men still on the loose: Time to break the waterboard out of storage? I think not—and not just because it’s illegal. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn which is bringing the case (and where I was a prosecutor in the early nineties) filed a brief where it outlined the reasons why Zazi should be detained rather than released on bail.

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When former Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant was released from prison yesterday after 7 years behind bars, the AP reported that he "had his famously wild hair pulled back." Well, yes and no. The piled-high pompadour that had long been the congressman's calling card--the technical term for the style was, I believe, the "artichoke," and Traficant often joked that he trimmed it with a "weed-whacker"--was famous and wild, but it was not in fact his hair.

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    Sitting in her lawyer's office at South Brooklyn Legal Services, her hands folded calmly in her lap, Sandra Barkley describes how she became the first person in her family to buy a home. The 52-year old single mother begins by speaking in a relaxed southern drawl, but as she comes to recount her experiences more fully, her voice rises, and her cool breaks. In the winter of 2002-2003, an acquaintance of Barkley's put her in touch with United Homes, a New York City-based company that specialized in fixing up and reselling homes purchased at foreclosure auctions and distress sales.

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