Saturday, February 18, 2017

National Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, dies

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, dies at 69

Norma McCorvey, who was 22, unwed, mired in addiction and poverty, and desperate for a way out of an unwanted pregnancy when she became Jane Roe, the pseudonymous plaintiff of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that established a constitutional right to an abortion, died Feb. 18 at an assisted-living facility in Katy, Tex. She was 69.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its historic 7-to-2 ruling, written by Justice Harry A. Blackmun, articulating a constitutional right to privacy that included the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
The ruling established the trimester framework, designed to balance a woman’s right to control her body and a state’s compelling interest in protecting unborn life. Although later modified, it was a landmark of American jurisprudence and made Jane Roe a figure­head — championed or reviled — in the battle over reproductive rights that continued into the 21st century.
Roe v Wade Affirmation argument by Aggie Whelan Kenny

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces Brooklyn federal judge

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces Brooklyn federal judge; U.S. official vows he won't escape this time

A half-dozen federal agents carrying assault weapons flanked the entrance to the Brooklyn Federal courthouse Friday as notorious 59-year-old drug czar and escape artist Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman was arraigned on a laundry list of crimes as the head of the Sinaloa cartel.
Dozens of NYPD cops joined the agents, forming a protective ring around the Cadman Plaza West courthouse.
“We can assure you there will not be any tunnel being built from his bathroom,” Angel Melendez of the Homeland Security Department's Immigration Customs Enforcement said, referring to Guzman’s 2015 escape from Mexican prison.
Dressed in a navy blue prison smock, his fingers interlocked behind his back and surrounded by five burly U.S. Marshals, the billionaire drug lord pleaded not guilty to the 17-count indictment.
The charges included drug trafficking, money laundering and his involvement in 12 murder conspiracies.
“I didn’t know until now,” Guzman said about the charges, speaking through a translator, when asked if he understood what he was accused of.
Artwork by Aggie Kenny

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reportage of 2016 NYC Presidential Election Scenes by Artist Melanie Reim

Melanie Reim is one of the original UrbanSketchers correspondents and is a top notch art professor of illustration at FIT in NYC.
Her blog highlights her reportage artwork. The pieces are reminiscent of Feliks Topolski
Below are her drawings of the recent Trump rallies on 5th avenue and election day at the Javits Center


Trump Tower protests on 5th ave
"Like so many others, my shock soon turned to action, as the outrage at the results of the election became a living, hard,reality. The immediate and visceral reaction
by much of NY, on a daily basis following the election was nothing short of historical- and demanded documentation from the POV of the reportage artist. The protests continue and so will I." Melanie Reim


 Below are some drawings from the day- from waiting on line to vote, to waiting to get into Javits Center, to being ushered out to the "block party" and ultimately, to close-by Frazier's Bar, where the whole place was pro-Hillary, but the scene of all hope lost. Plenty of pantsuits. There are bound to be many moments in the coming years that are worthy of fighting for and against - and to document.

The morning started out with great anticipation. I stood on line on the UWS for close to an hour but no matter- it was a beautiful morning with great conversation. Exciting to see the turnout to vote.
We were ushered into the vast, characterless vacuum of the Javits Center, into a holding "pen"- divided into the 'haves' and 'have nots'- that is the real ticket holders and us. There we sat for another two hours, waiting, watching. By this time, more pantsuits had arrived. Having grown into my working life wearing one, it amused me, and I loved watching that sisterhood emerge. Occasionally, a modest effort to galvanize the crowd with a chant for Hillary rumbled, 
but again, the energy seemed to be in a measured conservation mode.

As afternoon turned to early evening, the golden glow of the sun faded through the windows. 
Soon, the security would usher us through the airport like gates, and send us out- to the street! And to the "Block Party." Whaaaat? Here we were, on 11th Avenue. under the center, that glowing H sign and coupled with hundreds of other H supporters, clamoring for info, a glimpse of the candidate, 
a way back inside. It was coming up on 7pm. Reports that Hillary was not going to show up until 11pm. No one at that time had any notion of what was in store. Food trucks opened, lines formed, more hanging out, meeting new folks, sharing stories and waiting.

We headed to 11th Avenue. As we waited for my bus, we realized that we were across from Clyde Frazier's Bar, and through the windows, we saw that results were starting to show up. Off we went. But then, reality started to set in. The bar kept filling, it did not get any quieter, but the expression and body language was all too telling. There were reporters and statisticians, a constant flow of beers, fries, all the while on their phones, laptops, tablets, furrowed brows, eyes never leaving the screens.
Though we kept our hands moving, we felt every jab, every shocking report. "How could this be happening?!" The collective thought that is still reverberating throughout New York, certainly, and the country.
And then, it became just too painful to stay. 
We left together, proud that we carried our hope, recorded history.

More of Melanie's work:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

WSJ Bankruptcy: Big Apple Circus Gets Buyers’ Expressions of Interest

Big Apple Circus Gets Buyers’ Expressions of Interest

Big Apple Circus has received expressions of interest in buying the organization that is plying its way through bankruptcy proceedings.
At the hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane expressed hope Big Apple Circus, which filed for chapter 11 this week after an emergency fundraising drive came up short, would be able to find a buyer.

Circus’s lawyer, Chris Updike,( pictured)  told a court on Tuesday that he has received letters of interest from potential buyers, and the circus is open to receiving offers that would allow the show to go on. Mr. Updike said the nonprofit organization is looking to secure an auctioneer.  “The hope is that New Yorkers will see the Big Apple Circus performed in the city again,” Mr. Updike said following the hearing. Artwork by Elizabeth Williams ( click on image to see larger)
The judge said Big Apple Circus could tap a zero-interest loan provided by Circus’s directors that would pay the bills while a team of professionals looks for a buyer for the organization’s intellectual property and equipment, including its big-top tent.
“Hopefully, bankruptcy will serve the Big Apple Circus well,” Judge Lane said during the hearing in Manhattan.

Founded in 1977, Big Apple Circus’s one-ring show became a New York cultural institution, with holiday-season performances at the Lincoln Center and later on tour. The circus held special performances for children with autism and visual and hearing impairments. It also offered free and discounted circus tickets for disadvantaged children, court papers say.
Mr. Updike told Tuesday’s hearing that beginning around 2009, Big Apple Circus’s revenue began to plummet, as financial institutions and law firms cut back on private performances.
Mr. Updike and his firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, are representing Big Apple Circus pro bono.
Big Apple Circus has scaled down its staff, Mr. Updike told the court, and is now running with the minimum number of people needed to keep operating. Most of the staff are part-time and involved with the organization’s “Clown Care” community-outreach program, which sends professional clowns to pediatric hospitals, he said.

An emergency fundraising drive was launched in June, but contributions Big Apple Circus received weren’t enough, prompting the organization to cancel its 2016-2017 performance season. Aside from marketing its circus equipment and intellectual property, Big Apple Circus intends to sell its training and storage facilities in Walden, NY.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition

NJSBA Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition

 Mock Court Workshop for Students' Coaches 
October 26, 2016

This year, the mock trial case is about a mock trial competition! After years of trying, Metropolitan High School's mock trial team finally defeated longtime rival Greenward Academy in the Metropolitan County finals, only to find their victory dampened in light of allegations of cheating. Did a student blogger from Greenward defame senior Shea Simmons, a star student-attorney from Metropolitan, causing Simmons to lose a much needed college scholarship?

Speakers at podium are David Azotea, Esq. and standing next to him is David Pfeifer, lawyer-coach and teacher-coach respectively for Holy Spirit High School in Absecon    

Drama Students Proved Credible Witnesses

Star witness "Shea Simmons"

Student jurors listening intently

   Mock Court Art by Aggie Kenny