Last week’s news that marijuana-related arrests in the city were up tenfold in the past decade could help explain a rash of fuzzy thinking. Barack Obama, who had been waiting for the smoke to clear over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, instead snuffed out his relationship with his former pastor after Wright gave an aggressive, paranoid press conference. Hillary Clinton, gaining on her Democratic foe in North Carolina, showed possibly impaired thinking when she came out strongly in favor of the unanimously economist-opposed plan to suspend gasoline taxes this summer. Governor Paterson seconded the idea, then in the same breath warned of disastrous, looming state-budget deficits. Mayor Bloomberg revealed that he’s writing an advice book titled Do the Hard Things First, while the city yanked 25,000 dubious parking permits.
Al Sharpton led protests in the wake of the Sean Bell verdict. Chicago helped itself to the federal congestion-pricing funds spurned by Sheldon Silver. Hoboken resident Eli Manning presented an autographed football to President Bush on the South Lawn. A Verizon proposal to crack the Time Warner–Cablevision TV duopoly clicked with City Hall. Gamers zoned out in Gotham doppelgänger Liberty City as Grand Theft Auto IV piled up massive sales in its first week of release. Erstwhile gubernatorial consort Ashley Alexandra Dupré and Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis debated whether she’d flashed her breasts for posterity before or after her 18th birthday.
Bernard-Henri Lévy and Mia Farrow pleaded Darfur’s cause at the French Institute Alliance Française. Fans camped out overnight to catch a mini Madonna show at Roseland. David Blaine definitely inhaled before holding his breath for a world-record seventeen minutes on Oprah. Darren Star threatened to produce a show about Park Slope. Uma Thurman testified about how her alleged stalker freaked her out. And actor turned high roller Robert De Niro rolled out plans for a Nobu Hotel in the financial district. —Mark Adams