In this issue: COMMENT "The Fire This Time", by David Remnick: The strained relationship between the Mayor and the N.Y.P.D. THE TALK OF THE TOWN "New Threads", by Michael Schulman: A project aimed at helping female singers dress appropriately. ANNALS OF EDUCATION "The Talking Cure", by Margaret Talbot: The mayor of Providence is trying to close the "word gap." PARIS JOURNAL "The Outside Game", by Adam Gopnik: The sociologist Howard Becker studies the conventions of the unconventional. BOOKS "The Bill", by Malcolm Gladwell: Steven Brill and how health-care reform went wrong. THE CURRENT CINEMA "Dirty Oil", by David Denby: A review of A Most Violent Year.