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My Surreal Day with Obama, the NYPD and Snipers

Vivia Chen

September 26, 2016

Sniper-Article-201609222206Time for another edition of strange but true news.


1. Obama was in my apartment! Okay, President Obama wasn't in my actual apartment, but he was in my apartment building. Last Sunday, he dined in the apartment directly above mine. My neighbor hosted the event and graciously invited me (and I assume everyone in the building). Sadly, the meal ticket was $25,000 per person, and, as a poor journalist, I had to decline. (Note to aspiring journalists: Don't be.)

Even sadder I couldn't get close to the President. But I had plenty of contact with the New York Police Department and the Secret Service.

In fact, I had a little altercation with the NYPD. After stepping out to do some quick shopping before the dinner, my family and I found ourselves behind a barricade. NYPD told us we might have to wait two hours.

That's when I flipped my wig. After arguing fruitlessly with the police to let us through, I remembered that I had left something simmering on the stove (not a lie). I told the cops that it would be on  NYPD's head if my stove exploded and Obama got hurt. That got their attention. The NYPD escorted me back to my building, and the Secret Service took care of the rest. (By the way, the Secret Service was lovely.)

The real highlight, though, was having three heavily armed men pacing outside our door when we returned (photo above taken from our door viewer). We didn't dare go out to the hallway, lest we be shot as some kind of enemy combatant. I felt like I was in an episode of Homeland. Thrilling.

A few hours later, they were all gone. And no one said goodbye.

 2. A law professor for the Trumpian era? He's definitely not your average stodgy academic. Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the creator of the Instapundit blog, is being accused of inciting violence.

He posted on Twitter, "Run them over," urging motorists to mow down demonstrators protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man in Charlotte, North Caroline. Twitter then suspended Instapundit.

In response, Reynolds wrote on Instapundit: "Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we've had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn't like me, I'm happy to stop providing them with free content."

Did Twitter overreact? Some thought so. One of the catchier defense comes from libertarian Nick Gillespie: "Chilled speech isn't like chilled vodka; it sends people out the door quicker than you might think."

3. Would Trump put Peter Thiel on the Supreme Court? Trump "deeply loves Peter Thiel," says Huffington Post, citing "people in the real estate mogul’s inner circle" who say he's a serious contender. (Trump's camp has denied these reports.)

Thiel is not only the founder of Paypal and the slayer of Gawker.com, but a bona fide lawyer with impressive credentials. A graduate of Stanford Law School, he worked at Sullivan & Cromwell (for all of seven months!). He would also be a truly transformative figure on the high court. For starters, he'll probably change libel laws to make it easier to sue and destroy media companies and dismantle anti-monopoly laws (he loves monopolies).

Most awesome of all, Thiel could change the meaning of life-long tenure. Vanity Fair notes: "The 48-year-old is obsessed with radical life extension and overcoming the 'inevitability of the death; an endeavor that, if successful, could transform his Supreme Court life tenure into a potentially infinite appointment."

Feel better, now?



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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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