In recent years, nearly a dozen local governments--cities, counties, and even school districts--have brought lawsuits against paint manufacturers, charging that lead-based paint has created costly public-health problems, especially affecting children. Now Rhode Island has become the first state to sue paint manufacturers. One in five children entering kindergarten in Rhode Island has elevated levels of lead in his or her blood. Ingestion of paint chips and dust causes most cases of lead poisoning.
For four decades, the AFL-CIO's international presence was notable less for its promotion of labor rights than for its Cold War ferocity. At global conventions, for instance, the labor federation's protocol required AFL-CIO representatives to stand up and leave the room whenever members of insufficiently anti-Communist unions like Italy's CGIL entered. The labor federation's Latin American arm, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), was especially notorious for its CIA connections and for siding with repressive governments, often against progressive unions.
The exploding Firestone tires on Ford vehicles set off significant aftershocks in the media and government. While the car company and the tire manufacturer blamed each other, the Senate Commerce Committee took both companies to task at a high-profile September hearing. Even Republican senators called for increased regulatory power and funding.
One could almost sense the hard-line conservatives' knees jerking: Surely it wouldn't be long before someone tried to shift the tire-scandal focus from big corporations to big government. Sam Kazman, it turned out, was the man for the job.
Darryl King was the very model of a model inmate. While serving 25 years for murdering a police officer -- he continues to protest his innocence -- he earned a college degree, taught disabled inmates, opened a law library, and served as commander of his prison's chapter of the American Legion.
Since his 1995 release, King, 52, has also been the very model of a model ex-offender. He worked for a state senator, and then, for five years, as a property manager for the Fifth Avenue Committee, a Community Development Corporation (CDC) in his home borough of Brooklyn.