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Intelligencer: December 13–27, 2004

Bernie Kerik’s brilliant career path, Martha Stewart’s big book deal, art hipsters in “Democracy Plaza,” O.J.: The Musical, and more.


Illustration by Vault 49

It Happens This (And Next) Week
• Hanukkah ends; the twelve days of Christmas begin.
•Martin Scorsese, chronicler of NYC grit, takes on L.A. glitz with The Aviator.
• First Knicks-Nets showdown of the year in N.J.; neither lackluster team has a star to rival Nets co-owner Jay-Z.
•Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announce fourth-quarter earnings; will Eliot Spitzer, the ghost of governorship future, dampen their holiday spirits?

Bernie Kerik’s Brilliant Career
But how did all those overachievers get Cabinet jobs?
Bernie Kerik, 49, didn’t take the usual path to a Cabinet post. Like his new boss, he was something of a late bloomer. The year the nominee for head of Homeland Security dropped out of high school, 1972, Harvard grad Tom Ridge was finishing up his law degree after earning a Bronze Star in Vietnam. In 1975, when Kerik conceived a child in Korea with a woman he never married, Donald Rumsfeld was Gerald Ford’s chief of staff. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice was receiving a master’s degree from Notre Dame at age 21. In 1993, when Kerik became Rudy Giuliani’s driver, Colin Powell was finishing up his job as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Kerik received his mail-order bachelor’s degree from Empire State College in 2002, the same year the city’s Conflicts of Interest board fined him $2,500 for having police officers do research on his prostitute mother for his best-seller, The Lost Son. Kerik was 46; at that age, W. was running the Texas Rangers.

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