Muhammad Ali and the Law

The internet is replete with powerful tributes to Muhammad Ali, but I’ll humbly add the story of his legal travails. This is excerpted from a Federal Bar Council piece I co-authored with Steve Edwards on boxing law. Re-reading this five years later, I am struck by the final quote, in which Ali forgives an institution…

Next Stop: Closing Rikers

Rivers Island is a depraved and dangerous place, a moral stain on New York City. The time has come to close it down. Starting March 11th, that will be the sole focus of my work, when I join JustLeadershipUSA as its new Director of Policy and Campaigns. JustLeadership’s founder and executive director, Glenn Martin, has…

Beast of the Southern Wild: Trump in Biloxi

Medical school starts with the dissection of a human body, a grisly task that tests whether you’re for real. If you think politics matter, Trump is that cadaver. There’s a desire to dismiss him as a racist carnival barker and ignore what his campaign can teach us, but that’s like turning away at the first…

A Thanksgiving Poem

This was scrawled on the Temple wall at Burning Man, and it really resonated: It’s all so terrifyingly simple We’ve overcomplicated it There is a deliberate continuum being maintained throughout all the detailed narrative No matter what your crazy theory is no matter what mouth noises or squiggly lines you make to point towards something…

Your Ticket To An Incredible 2016

Could Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID program be the sleeper program to rejuvenate New York City? We all know this city is full of cultural gems, but now we no longer have an excuse to ignore them, just because we already experienced them once on a high school field trip or a first date. The Muni…

Fantasy Overdose

My life would be a lot more productive and a lot less interesting if I weren’t addicted to New York politics and fantasy basketball. Those two worlds collided last week when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a cease & desist order against two Daily Fantasy Sports gambling sites, FanDuel and DraftKings. To make sense of…

How Bossy Was He?

These are grim times for New York political bosses. Former Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial ends on Monday. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ corruption trial has just begun. Former Kings County Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez is dead. Today is an for anniversary celebrating a rare win for New York reformers: on November 19, 1871, William…