The Continuing Story Of Bungling Rob Ford

by P.T. Rob Ford. A name unknown to even Americans who would consider themselves at least a little worldly, it seems that Canada – a nation heretofore mostly known for hockey, politeness, generosity, and universal healthcare – has suffered a discrete and palpable blow to its reputation because of his antics (at least in pop media circles). The mayor of Toronto’s antics has, seemingly, captured the full attention and curiosity of media in the United States as well as the world’s. The government of Canada’s extremely generous matching of its citizens’ donations to those in the Philippines affected by the horrors of Typhoon Haiyan did nothing to curb the Rob Ford mania afflicting the American media. Americans may wonder incredulously how Rob Ford has even remained in power, considering that his penchant for controversy (to put it mildly) is nothing new. However, as is the case in most things presented


The Moral Landscape Of “The Walking Dead”

by P.V. The Walking Dead, the famous comic and AMC TV series, tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.  This group has to deal with not only the dead walkers, but with themselves trying to keep their human morality while surviving, which in several occasions seems to be the least effective way to proceed.  Morality and the continued existence of the group are confronted, but still, there are members of the group that think they will only survive in this apocalypse world if they keep their humanity or, at least, part of it. In our current world, and more accurately in our legal word, there may not be zombies all around, but someone could say that again humanity and efficiency are not compatible at all.  The insensitiveness winner-take-all mentality drummed into lawyers and the profession’s ethics, which bear only a


Recap: A Conversation With Jeb Bush At 92Y

The Forum would like to thank all who came to the 92nd St. Y last night for A Conversation with Jeb Bush. Prof. Rosenbaum’s discussion with the former governor of Florida on topics ranging from immigration reform to the 2016 presidential election has gained recognition from Buzzfeed, Politico, and the Huffington Post. We look forward to future events and are grateful to our partners, the 92nd Street Y, for hosting another insightful evening. Prof. Rosenbaum began with a discussion of Gov. Bush’s new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. Bush currently resides in Miami, and he and his children are all fluent in Spanish. “I think a lot of people view immigration as, ‘by supporting immigrants, you’re taking away from me,” noted Bush. “I would argue the opposite is the case. If we have the narrow perspective of ‘We’re not going to grow any more and the pie is set,’ we’re doomed.


UPDATE: Federal Judge Grants Stay Of Joseph Paul Franklin’s Execution

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey has granted a stay of Joseph Paul Franklin’s execution, which was originally scheduled to take place shortly after midnight tonight. Joseph Paul Franklin, the white-supremacist serial killer behind more than 20 murders and the man responsible for paralyzing Larry Flynt, will be executed by lethal injection shortly after midnight tonight. Franklin claims that between 1977 and 1980, he was attempting “to get a race war started” and sought to achieve that goal by targeting blacks, Jews, and interracial couples. He was convicted of five murders between those years–his victims including an interracial couple and a Jewish man leaving a synagogue–and has been sitting on death row in Missouri for over 30 years. Franklin, who changed his name in honor of Joseph Paul Goebbels, had read Mein Kampf in his youth and engaged with white-supremacist groups in the South. His serial


Where’s The Drama In Trial Courts?

by K.K. Why do jurors constantly fall asleep during trials? Is it the lengthiness of the process? Is it the temperature in the courtrooms after enjoying a big lunch? For many American citizens, their only exposure to our legal system before serving on a jury consists of what is portrayed on television and in movies. As a result, it is unsurprising that some people leave jury duty a little disappointed. Where is the obnoxious, boisterous defense attorney? Where is the innocent defendant taking the stand? If they are lucky enough to be selected for an interesting trial (and they don’t find the whole process too burdensome for their daily lives), why are there so many objections? Working for a judge in a state trial court for a summer, I have come to one conclusion: A little bit of drama can be a very good thing. It is far too easy


Obama Backing Down on Obamacare?

by A.W. In the wake of the 16-day government shutdown last month, President Obama was presented with a small window of opportunity to utilize public dissatisfaction with the Republican Party to garner support for his healthcare reform. Obama’s approval ratings may be low these days, but they are nowhere near as dismal as Congress’ 9% job-approval rating, its lowest in 39 years. Unfortunately, the initial failure of the ACA website, www.Healthcare.gov, blew any chance the President had to turn the public opinion around on what was once expected to be the defining achievement of his time in office. 26,000 Americans enrolled in new health insurance plans through the ACA website its in first month of operation, a drastic improvement from the sites disastrous first day where only six people were able to complete enrollment. The Department of Health and Human Services reported that over 106,000 people have successfully signed up


Genevieve Sabourin – Alec Baldwin’s Stalker, Or Victim Of His Charm?

by K.T. Genevieve Sabourin, currently on trial for stalking Alec Baldwin, recently gave her side of the story to the Manhattan courtroom.  She claims that they had a romantic date, after which there was a two-way exchange during which Baldwin “led her on.” However differing their accounts of what happened next, Baldwin and Sabourin agree that they had dinner on a certain date, at a certain restaurant; what happened after is what’s contested. But how will any of us ever know what truly happened? We claim to want justice for whoever was not in the wrong – be it Baldwin or Sabourin – yet short of physical evidence we don’t know which person is telling the truth.  This case calls to mind a French movie centered on a similar scenario, entitled “À la folie…pas de tout,” or “He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not.”  Throughout the film, we see a young woman fall in love with a married doctor, and their budding relationship; however,


Settling the Score in an NFL Locker Room

By A.T. In professional sports, locker rooms frequently insulate their rough and tumble athletes from substantive social, moral, and legal debate.  This is especially true in football, which has fostered a culture that defines “manhood” and “toughness” in stereotypical, regimented ways and celebrates brutish behavior both on the field and off of it.  So whenever the locker room culture comes under attack, as it does ever so often, heads roll, and headlines are made. Such is the case right now with the most talked-about sports story of the year:  the mysterious leave of absence of Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.  The story is not really a sports story, but a story of cultural shortcomings, moral failings, and debilitating groupthink that has, at least for now, prompted a team to defend a disgusting bully and kick a “less manly” teammate to the curb. While details continue to emerge about what


Moral Justice and “Ender’s Game”

by N.S. Nearly three decades after publication, the much anticipated Ender’s Game movie is finally in theatres. Without spoiling too much of the plot, the movie follows a child, as he trains to become admiral of Earth’s fleet against an alien adversary. Eventually, young Ender is faced with a decision: us or them. Despite the fact that this sci-fi thriller depicts a space fight against an insectoid alien race, many Ender’s Game fans have had trouble suspending disbelief with regards to a more human element, namely, the fact that children are leading and making ethical choices about our race’s survival versus the elimination of the other. Indeed, the justification of xenocide (extermination of another species) takes on a new flavor when viewed from a child’s perspective. Hammurabi knew it. So did Don Corleone. Ask any kid on the schoolyard why he hit his playmate, you are likely to hear the


Richie Incognito, Maximus Meridius, and the Glorification of Violence in Sports

by S. S. The dust is still settling on the Miami Dolphins hazing affair. The NFL has been caught with its pants down and its hands firmly in the cookie jar. What had previously been the subject of whispers and rumors has now been exposed in as public a fashion as possible. Guard Richie Incognito is accused of spewing racial epithets and death threats at teammate and fellow lineman Jonathan Martin. Worse still, in classic Jack Nicholson fashion, there are allegations that the coaching staff and management of the team charged Incognito with the task of “toughening up” Martin. The allegations are nothing less than shocking. Or are they? As Rick Reilly pointed out in an ESPN.com opinion piece earlier this week, football is a sport which has long glorified tough-guy culture and has long ignored ex-players’ pleas to make the game safer. Similar to the attitude of Bud Selig