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Friday, April 18, 2014

Clean water is key to business success

Viewpoints: Our company depends on clean water for our success. That’s why we’re pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new draft rules for enforcement of the Clean Water Act last month. Since the Supreme Court handed down decisions in 2001 and 2006, enforcement of the Clean Water Act’s provisions has become incredibly complex, leaving businesses and consumers without clarity. This action by the EPA will give us the confidence we need to know that our access to clean water will be protected. Comment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Standing tall for the cause 50 years ago

Viewpoints: The commemoration last week at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas of the 50th anniversary of passage of the Civil Rights Act was a powerful enough event to warrant the presence of the country’s sitting president, Barack Obama, as well as three of his predecessors – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (the only other living former president, George H.W. Bush, was named the three-day event’s honorary chairman). Comment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raising NY City’s Minimum Wage – A call to action

Viewpoints: As New York City’s economy recovers from the recession, thousands of working families in all five boroughs face a grim reality: Although one of their members might have a fulltime job, the weekly wages they earn are not nearly enough to make ends meet. There are more than 800,000 of the so-called “working poor” in our City, and they struggle to get by -- fighting a daily battle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Comment.

Letting firms skate on taxes undermines life on Main St

Viewpoints: The Great Recession “officially” ended almost five years ago, but looking at many communities across the country, you wouldn’t believe it. Ten million people are still searching for work, and more than 15 million families have lost their homes to foreclosure. Classrooms are more crowded, roads need repair, and states and cities struggle to meet growing needs as Congress imposes an austerity agenda. Unless you run a wealthy corporation, you are likely experiencing an America in crisis. Comment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Potential for bigger moneybags in the system

Viewpoints: The raging right pounced on Chief Justice John Roberts mercilessly when his turned out to be the deciding Supreme Court vote in 2012 that flipped the challenge to the Affordable Care Act in the Obama administration’s favor. An act of outright betrayal, they charged, was this vote by a soldier considered a sure bet whenever time came for counting heads on the court’s right flank. Comment.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A living wage is an equal voice

Viewpoints: Take a look at your bills: What do you pay for food, housing, clothing, health care, utilities and transportation? How much would it take for your family to just get by? Could you make it on $15,000 a year? $21,000? What would your family have to do without to make ends meet? What exactly does it take to make it in America? Comment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A fair demand, that the state be repaid

Viewpoints: Back in 2011 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was by then “feeling it” as allegedly welcome relief from vanquished Jon Corzine and the buzz was on about him and the presidency, he at first typically refused but later gave in to demands that he repay the state for use of a state police helicopter, for what was thought not to be official business. Comment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Putinism vs. The Global Obama

Viewpoints: After the Syrian genocide and Ukrainian crisis, the foreign policy challenges have pitted Obama against Putin, a Cold-War adversary. Two former presidential candidates McCain and Romney have claimed President Obama has looked weak against Putin’s tactics in trying to reconstruct his motherland and a semblance of an emerging Eurasian union. Conservative neocons may want Obama to behave like Putin, display authoritarian leadership, and start another military excursion, Peter Beinart has suggested. Comment.

Monday, March 31, 2014

No more backsliding

Viewpoints: We have had several thought-provoking conversations recently about a new and surprising description of women’s status in America. According to the latest Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, a study by journalist Maria Shriver and the Washington think tank Center for American Progress, American women are at risk of “backsliding” from their achievements in rights and opportunities over the past half-century. Comment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

While women progress, men fall behind

Viewpoints: UNITED NATIONS, March 20, 2014 (IPS) - – International Women’s Day and the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) are overlooking a critical trend: while girls and women are making notable gains, boys and men are falling behind. Comment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No let-up soon in ‘Money is King’ politics

Viewpoints: Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, has on a couple of occasions now taken to the floor of the Senate to hack away at the infamous Koch brothers for the undue influence they think they have a right to exercise in politics in America. It was what one might call unabashed proclamation of a belief that in this country, money is king, that the Koch brothers would in turn issue a statement charging that Reid was being “un-American” for lambasting their having a money trough made available to seemingly anyone whose credentials align with the right-wing ideology playbook. Comment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UK airport taxes ‘unfair’

Travel: The British Chancellor George Osborne will present his budget on 19 March in a speech to the British Parliament. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will be listening carefully to see if the Chancellor is yet prepared to recognise the widespread concern that exists in the Caribbean and among the Caribbean community living in the UK about the damage being done and the lack of fairness in the way in which the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) is applied. Comment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can’t build a strong economy on weak minimum wage

Viewpoints: It didn’t take long after my husband and I opened our first hardware store in 2003 for people to start coming in and asking us to open in their neighborhood, too. Comment.

Buju Banton pens letter to ‘warrior’ attorney

Music: Dancehall reggae icon Buju Banton reached past prison bars to issue a belated tribute to his former lead attorney Chokwe Lumumba who died recently at age 66 amid suspicion he did not die of natural cause but could have been murdered. Comment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

American hawks risk escalating the Ukrainian Crisis

Viewpoints: With Russia and the United States confronting each other over Ukraine, the world is at a dangerous juncture. While the chances of war between the two behemoths seem small — these are, after all, nuclear powers that have avoided war for over 60 years — nothing can be taken for granted. No one wanted the Great War that began in central Europe a century ago this year either, but things can get out of control. Governments are run by human beings who, perhaps more than others, are tainted by arrogance, vainglory, and the fear of humiliation Comment.

Along with everything else, lacking class

Viewpoints: The conspicuous presence of ultra-right extremist rhetoric and actions has made this a contagion of size and scope on the national political scene that is arguably without precedent. Holders of elective office, screamers with access to print and broadcast media and others of similar ideological bent seem engaged in undeclared battle to determine whose demagogic fervor most effectively serves the cause. Comment.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We need to slow down, and fast

Viewpoints: There is nothing more fundamentally important for this city than the safety of its people. As a 22-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, I have been able to speak to the variety of public safety issues facing the five boroughs, from police-community relations to the protocols protecting our key officials and institutions. As an elected representative of Brooklyn, first as a four-term state senator and now as borough president, I have broadened this dialogue to advocate on addressing the full range of dangers facing New Yorkers, including those on our highways and byways. Comments (5).

Don’t reward corporations for bad behavior

Viewpoints: With any opportunity that seems too good to be true, there is often a fatal flaw. That is the case with The Partnership to Build America Act, introduced by Representative John Delaney (D-MD) in the House and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) in the Senate. Comment.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When the new gentry get involved

Viewpoints: As one might expect, there was more attention paid, media-wise, to the “expletive-filled rant” about gentrification in remarks Spike Lee made in Brooklyn the other day, than to the meat and potatoes of what had induced the filmmaker’s ire. Revisiting the issue in wake of the viral uproar that followed his comments, Lee said he had no problem with newcomers who were predominantly white moving into areas that were predominantly African American. “My problem,” he said, “is when you move in, have some respect for the history, for the culture.” Forget all the media overkill about what was or wasn’t colorfully expressed. That line from Lee (which was essentially reprising a point made in his earlier remarks) hit the thing squarely on the nose. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014

Looking to re-boot the Christie mechanism

Viewpoints: Despite the overhanging clouds looking, if anything, ever more ominous – what with minions pleading the Fifth, worrisome allegations from other politicos and all the rest – the team responsible for packaging Governor Chris Christie has apparently determined that his rehabilitation process needs to forthwith get underway, scandal be damned. So last week saw a resumption of the fabled Christie town hall meetings, the first one since that reputed political payback action surrounding the George Washington Bridge traffic tie-up began derailing the New Jersey governor’s lofty ambitions… some believe, permanently. Comments (1).

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

Communities of color and the environment

Viewpoints: This month marks the 10th anniversary of Campaign for Communities, which created a coalition of Latino, African American, low-income and environmental organizations working to educate, register and turn out voters using environmental issues as motivation. During the 2004 and 2008 election cycles, we registered hundreds of thousands of voters and turned out more -- all of whom were educated as to how their health was at risk from environmental issues and how to analyze candidates’ records. Most recently, we conducted an on-the-ground Latino voter education/registration/turnout on California’s Prop. 39, which passed handily and with no small credit going to Latinos, African Americans and other minorities who voted in higher numbers than whites. Comment.

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

Turning faults around for a happy relationship

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014

Low minimum wage is bad for women, families and business

Viewpoints: As a small business owner myself, I don’t see the logic in business people arguing against increasing the minimum wage. Comment.

Typical half-stepping on immigration reform

Viewpoints: By its very nature, immigration is a major worry-wart policy item for any government, and that’s speaking globally. No surprise that there would be a natural tendency on the part of the citizenry to assume a worst-case scenario as far as the impact on the home space of immigrants or would-be immigrants. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014

Right-wingers’ high-octane hate surpasses all else

Viewpoints: They jumped all over Governor Andrew Cuomo a few weeks ago when, during a radio interview, he took aim on the purveyors of far-right political extremism, saying they “have no place in New York” because “that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Comment.

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014

What You Wearin’ Tomorrow?

Fashion: “What you wearing?” Comment.
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