A profile of Ben Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP:
"'Governor,' said Jealous. 'You know the death penalty is used exclusively on poor people.'
"'You know it’s used disproportionately against blacks and Latinos.'
"'Well, Governor, this is what I want you to do: imagine the person you most worry about in trying to explain why you abolished the death penalty. I want you to imagine telling that person this: "Every time a prosecutor seeks the death penalty, it pulls hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions, out of our state treasury. Dollars that therefore cannot be used for anything else. And in our state, like any state, there are places where 30, 40, 50, sometimes 60 percent of the homicides go unsolved every year. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and decided that we as a state would be safer if we spent that money on homicide units rather than killing the killers we’ve already caught and put in cages. So I’ve abolished the death penalty, and I’ve asked the counties to send their savings to the homicide units and get the uncaught killers off the street."'"
PUBLISHED: April 23, 2013
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5530 words)
The story of Lucien Carr, who befriended Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs while he was a freshman at Columbia. The four friends had their lives changed when Carr murdered a man during his sophomore year:
"The day after Carr confessed, both Kerouac and Burroughs were arrested as material witnesses. Burroughs’s father came to New York to post his bail, but Kerouac’s family refused. Instead, his girlfriend Edie Parker came to his rescue, though the judge would not allow her to bail him out unless the pair married, which they did in a short ceremony on August 22, setting the course of Kerouac’s next several years.
"Though Ginsberg was the only one who escaped arrest, it was on him that the murder arguably had the gravest impact. Deeply in love with Carr, he had also developed a close friendship with Kammerer and was struggling with his own homosexuality. Johnson suggests in The Voice Is All that, while Carr denied it, Ginsberg may have experimented sexually with both men before the murder. And in August, she writes, Ginsberg 'spent some intensely lonely weeks mourning the loss of Lucien and "wonderful, perverse Kammerer," twice drafting suicide notes in his journal.'"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 25, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3103 words)
Paul Auster opens up about his life and work:
"Academics theorize endlessly about Auster and his literary motivations, labeling him everything from a New York Jewish hunger artist to a clever semiotician whose every decision — down to the color of the notebook his protagonists choose to write in — is fraught with symbolism. Auster dismisses most of this as academic overanalyzing, usually with a hidden agenda.
"'So many of these people have a point of view, a position, and are trying to articulate this position by using me as an example. But I myself, living within myself, never try to put labels on what I do. I just follow my nose.
"'I’m a man of contradictions, you know; I can’t say any one thing about myself. Yes,' he says with a laugh, 'I’m the hunger artist who likes to eat.'"
PUBLISHED: Oct. 5, 2012
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4381 words)
How a second-generation Chinese daughter of two doctors in Birmingham, Mich., became one of New York City’s finest chefs:
"Wanting to expand her culinary outlook to include more Eastern flavors, Lo moved to a French-Vietnamese restaurant, Can, where she met Scism, who was working as a grill cook. But it was when Lo took the helm of a Korean restaurant called Mirezi that she caught the attention of the New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, who praised her inventive dishes and 'beautifully arranged food' in a glowing review. After Mirezi closed in 1998, Lo and Scism spent a year traveling the world.
"'Anita will eat anything,' says Scism, recalling a day in Bangkok when a vendor challenged Lo to eat a cockroach. 'At one point, I told her she had a wing stuck in her two front teeth,' says Scism with a laugh. 'The thing about Anita is, she didn’t try the bug because she was challenged; she tried it because she really was curious about how it would taste.'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 1, 2012
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2901 words)