Monthly Archives: April 2018

Inside the Belley of the Beast – The Just Us System

Sworn as an AUSA by US Attorney Paul Curran, SDNY

Sworn as an AUSA by US Attorney Paul Curran, SDNY

I’m a recovering N.Y. federal prosecutor.

I say “recovering” because you never quite get over the power and authority you enjoyed as a young man – as a ‘puppy” prosecutor.

In New York, a port city, the cases are a big deal, mobsters plot their crimes a few blocks from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in lower Manhattan, vast quantities of drugs, heroin and cocaine come into the Big Apple from every direction imaginable, there are illegal transfers of money, in and out of banks, securities fraud and oceans of bad acts and words deceiving the public, plots and devices hatched by a variety of rogues within walking distance of Foley Square, where the Courts and federal prosecutors are lodged.

If you do it right, when you’re a prosecutor, no matter the jurisdiction, your mission is to do justice for the individuals charged.

The Executive US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sylvio J. Mollo, pulled the flag around him while he was testing my resolve to become an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Sylvio said, “when you stand before the court as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, you represent the people and the government, but, like the flag [that he had in his hand], those you represent are silent, not there with you, and they depend on you to do what’s right.”

Years after walking out of my last grand jury as a prosecutor, I started representing the Accused, upset about how the government was pushing around those they accused – in a way I’d been instructed was just plain wrong. Continue reading

Non-Fat Meat and no Dead Animals – Really!

Best selling Author, Paul Shapiro – “Clean Meat” (courtesy photo)

Best selling Author, Paul Shapiro – “Clean Meat” (courtesy photo)

Many of us have cut off the fat on meat.  I did as a kid.  Some of us go further, and cut out meat entirely.

It may be because it has fat you don’t like or because you dread to kill an animal to eat its meat.

You can’t ask an animal, for example, to contribute only, say, his leg because that’s all you want, begging the question whether we must waste the whole animal for some small part of the evening repast.

There is also a drain on our limited natural resources, on our eco-system, and, to choose a simple example, consider what it takes to make a single egg or a gallon of milk.

Paul Shapiro, the former head of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote it takes fifty gallons of water to make a single egg – “enough to fill your bathtub to the brim.”

As for our bovine bounty, Paul wrote, it takes “nine hundred gallons of water needed for every gallon of cow’s milk…”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has famously said that the compromised purity and shrinking inventory of the world’s water supplies will be the oil crisis of this century.

In 1932, the famous WWII PM, Winston Churchill, predicted, “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

Paul has now written a best seller, titled, “Clean Meat,” that describes a “suitable medium” to escape Churchill’s attack on his observed wasteful “absurdity.” Continue reading

Rising Waters

jonflan-surf - 1

I was at a fair a few years ago, to attend a live broadcast, and don’t remember our topic, but, on the way, in somewhat of a rush to find the set on time, I passed by two booths, side by side, one with a realtor, and a contingent of members from the Union of Concerned Scientists at the other.

The realtor had houses for sale on the seashore at North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The scientists had pamphlets discussing the consequences of global warming including rising seawaters.

I suggested the realtor might want to talk to the next booth about his business plan, and just perhaps consider renting out properties instead of selling them.

According to coastal geologists, storms, development, and sea level rise have caused sections of this 200-mile island chain we know as the Outer Banks to collapse.  Shifting sands, new inlets, newly formed ecosystems are transforming the banks.  More houses on spindly stilts now rest in the surf.  Continue reading