When I became a reporter for the daily newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut, one of the controversies we were covering concerned garbage collection. Residents were upset about service cutbacks -- so much so that one of them sued. You might think garbage collectors were limiting days for pickup, or limiting the amount of trash each household could leave on the corner. But no. The controversy was that trash collectors were no longer going into people's backyards to cart their trash cans all the way to the truck. That's right. These residents were up in arms that they now had to cart the bins across their yards themselves.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about college football star Tim Tebow's upcoming Super Bowl ad that will likely tell us about his mother's complicated pregnancy in the Philippines and her refusal to get an abortion despite her doctors' advice. In the post, I argued that triumphal stories like the Tebows' obscure all the stories about women who die trying to obtain abortions.
Most immediately, the proposed 2011 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development calls for a 5 percent reduction in its budget from last year, which in turn was a 9 percent increase from the year before. In the introduction, Secretary Shaun Donovan writes that last year's increase was necessary because of the declining economy and because the agency had been neglected.This year they had the ability to make more targeted reductions and increases, he said.
As the USDA's latest appointee, Elisabeth Hagen has been charged with keeping our food safe. But can one person fix a system that in some ways still resembles The Jungle? Monica PottsFeb 01, 2010
Last week, after leaving the post vacant for a year, President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Elisabeth Hagen to be undersecretary for food safety at the Department of Agriculture. The appointment comes after years of food-borne illness outbreaks spread by everything from spinach to peanut butter, and after George W. Bush weakened biotechnology oversight as he was headed out the door. During the time the post was unoccupied, TheNew York Timesrevealed that much of the ground beef we consume contains ammonia -- an additive meant to kill E. coli and salmonella, of course. That kind of lax regulation of the industrial food chain is exactly the kind of thing food-safety advocates hoped Obama would change.
In yesterday's New York Times, Gretchen Morgensonwrote that the soured deal to buy Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan -- two rent-regulated apartment buildings bought at the top of the market by developers who intended to turn them into higher-rate rentals -- was just the most high-profile failure. Little deals like that all over the city sucked up about 100,000 affordable apartments, or about 10 percent of the rent-regulated stock, she writes.