Last week, an
beneath a street near Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan sent a giant
stream of scalding, brownish steam up through the street and into the sky. The
explosion caused a large crater, roughly 35-40 feet wide, and was so strong
that it flipped over a tow truck. The cloud of steam and hail of debris from
the explosion lasted more than two hours and raised concerns of asbestos
contamination. The cause of the blast? Not as some rushed to assert, a
terrorist attack, but an underground steam pipe constructed in 1924 that
exploded when too much cold rain water leaked on it. New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg acknowledged this when he stated, "There is no reason to
believe this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure."
York Governor Elliott Spitzer
new regulations that will increase fourfold state spending on
civil legal services, critical
help in protecting the working poor's legal rights regarding housing,
protection from domestic abuse, child support and essential heath care.
Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin. The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:
If a restaurant employer is willing to break the law by violating the minimum
wage or other laws, can you trust them not to endanger customer health as
well? In fact, a study by the
Center in New York (ROC-NY),
Out, Dining Healthy, unsurprisingly found that employers violating
labor laws were also more likely to cut corners in ways that harmed the health
of customers, from serving spoiled food to handling food improperly.
little fanfare, the New York General Assembly and Governor
Eliot Spitzer enacted a budget in early April that includes
care for essentially all children. The budget increased SCHIP
eligibility for children in families with incomes up to 400% of poverty
($80,000 for a family of four) and allows families above 400% without
other options to purchase the SCHIP coverage at full-cost, which is still
cheaper and likely more comprehensive than private options. Premiums for
families below 400% of poverty will be set at $20, $30 and $40 per child
depending on income.
On Earth Day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
his plan to create the "first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city,"
and integrate an estimated population growth of 1 million people by 2030.
comprised of 127 proposals for environmental improvements in six areas: land,
water, air quality, transportation, energy, and climate change. The proposals
range from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% to improving transit
connections to planting 1 million new trees.
While the Bush Administration has reduced taxes on the wealthiest Americans
and undermined social welfare programs over the past 6 years, 5 million
more Americans have fallen into poverty, bringing the total to 37
million. That means at least one in eight Americans are now living in
the problems of predatory lending industry a few weeks ago and now, problems
are coming to light with the student loan industry. In one of the more
egregious examples, Student Loan Express, a student loan company that is a
unit of CIT Group, Inc, is alleged to
more than $21,000 for Johns Hopkins University's director of student
financial services to attend graduate school. Coincidentally (or not),
Student Loan Express happens to be on the preferred lender list at Johns