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December 21st, 2007


by You the Reader

The Union of Adjunct Faculty at Pace (UAFP/NYSUT/AFT) had a busy week delivering “gifts” and a strong message to Pace University President Stephen Friedman and the Pace Administration.

The adjunct union, which represents 1000 adjunct faculty members who teach more than half the classes offered at Pace University, has been negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with Pace for more than three years. Pace has utilized legal delaying tactics which are meant to prevent the union from reaching an agreement that will provide salary increases, access to health insurance, and job security, to name three important concerns.

Tuesday, December 11th and Thursday, December 13th were “Employee Recognition Days” at Pace University, at which various Pace University long-term employees were given watches, pins, and rocking chairs, as “recognition” for their contributions to the University.

Pace adjunct faculty, along with numerous supporters, rallied on both December 11th and December 13th with a strong message for Pace University: “Real Employee Recognition is Negotiating a Fair Settlement with the Union of Adjunct Faculty”.

Santa Claus was on hand at the rallies, and he joined adjunct faculty as they caroled Pace University alumni on Wednesday, December 12th at Grand Central Station. At the rallies, Santa delivered presents for Pace University President Freidman and other administrators: Coal, rats, and a clock showing the 11th hour.

Bah humbug, Pace University!

Filed Under: Community | New York | Politics

December 21st, 2007


by John Coakley

Golem mixes klezmer with swing, punk, and traditional Eastern European music. The accordionist sings in at least 5 languages and the other singer sometimes slaps his cheeks to amazing sonic effect, as if the spirit of Curly was stuck in Moe’s body. They are a blast, a hoot, and you’d be meshuggah to miss them.

Bowery Ballroom
With Toubab Krewe
6 Delancey St and Bowery
$15 advance/$18 at the door
Doors 8pm, 18+


Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

December 19th, 2007


by You the Reader

Thank you to the good folks at for keeping us apprised.

Former EPA administrator Christie Whitman should be held personally liable for misleading statements that led downtown residents to return to their homes after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center when the entire area was contaminated with toxic dust, a federal judicial panel was told this week.

Lawyers in a class-action suit brought by area residents against Whitman and the EPA told the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals that an earlier lower court ruling which denied Whitman’s claim to immunity from liability should be upheld. The government is appealing that decision and arguments on the appeal were heard on Monday.

Five days after 9/11, Whitman stated, “The good news continues to be that air samples we have taken have all been at levels that cause no concern.” A damning report issued in 2003 by the EPA’s Inspector General detailed false and misleading statements the EPA made to the press about the air quality following 9/11 and noted that the White House had instructed the EPA to downplay air quality issues.

In a ruling last year U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts refused to dismiss Whitman as a defendant in the class-action suit and said, “Whitman’s deliberate and misleading statements made to the press, where she reassured the public that the air was safe to breathe around Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and that there would be no health risk presented to those returning to those areas, shock the conscience.”

This week the government argued that if Whitman is held liable for her statements, it would silence government officials in the future for fear of being subject to personal liability, “Then the clear message for government officials is to say nothing,” Justice Department attorney Alisa Klein told the appeals panel.

“We don’t need silence and we don’t need lies. We need credible information,” said NYCOSH Industrial Hygienist David Newman, who has provided expert testimony in multiple Congressional hearings on the environmental impact and toxic contamination that resulted from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

“When Christie Whitman said the air was safe, we know it was a lie. EPA’s own tests showed elevated concentrations of a variety of contaminants, at a variety of points, at a variety of distances from Ground Zero. The EPA operated on political imperatives, rather than public health imperatives. That’s what happened here,” Newman said.

Just in time for the holiday season, the newest report from the National Labor Committee may keep shoppers from hanging Wal-Mart ornaments on their Christmas tree.

Entitled “A Wal-Mart Christmas Brought to You from a Sweatshop in China,” the report exposes conditions for the 8,000 workers inside the Guangzhou Huanya Gift Company in Guangdong, “where every single labor law, not to mention internationally recognized worker rights standards, are being grossly violated on a daily basis.” The company, with $60 million in annual sales, is one of Wal-Mart 4,800 supplier factories in China.

The ornament workers, who include children as young as 12 years old, work from 10 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, and may go for months without a day off. Many workers earn as little as 26 cents an hour–just half of China’s legal minimum wage, according to the report.

Workers in the spray paint department “lack even the most rudimentary protective gear–going without gloves or the cheapest disposable respiratory masks–while handling potentially dangerous paints, ‘gold’ dust, thinners and solvents,” the report says. It cites the example of “a young man, working without gloves or a mask, who sprays rack after rack of 32 Christmas balls each, completing between 64,000 and 76,800 ornaments a day.”

Video footage smuggled out of the factory shows workers sitting on low stools and plastic crates, without backrests or cushions, racing to complete one operation every three seconds. Some workers will complete 12,000 to 14,400 such operations in a day, the report says.

“With its expensive PR campaign, and masquerading as Tiny Tim, Wal-Mart is glorifying the virtue of buying cheap goods in its stores, claiming this is the real holiday spirit,” said Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the National Labor Committee. “But, especially at this time of year, no American would knowingly purchase a product in Wal-Mart if they knew that bargain was based on the exploitation of children and teenagers forced to work grueling hours, seven days a week, who are stripped of their rights and paid pennies an hour.”

The report is available at the NLC website at

Filed Under: New York | News | Politics | Take Action

December 11th, 2007


by You the Reader

Piaf: Love Conquers All
Opens December 8th 2007 – January 20th 2008
Saturdays and Sundays 2pm and 8pm
The SoHo Playhouse

Piaf: Love Conquers All starring Naomi Emmerson as Edith Piaf presents the life and loves of the remarkable French singer who’s ultimate “raison d’etre” was to find true love at any cost and to sing or die. The production was awarded “Outstanding Musical” at The FringeNYC and has toured Canada and gets a limited Holiday run in SoHo.

Running time: 110 minutes with intermission
Rating:12 yrs +
visit: for info
for tickets visit

Tickets: Regular $45, Seniors $35, Student $25.00

The SoHo Playhouse
15 Vandam St. NY NY 10013
(between 6th and Varick)
(C/E line to Spring Station-“1” to Houston)

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

December 11th, 2007


by You the Reader

Thanks to Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation for keeping us informed.

12/11/07: A public hearing tonight on plans to develop a 7-story, 70 ft. tall residential, commercial, and community facility building at 685 Washington Street (NE corner of Charles Street) in the newly expanded Greenwich Village Historic District. The hearing is being held by Community Board #2’s Landmarks Committee, which will vote on whether to approve, reject, or ask for modifications to the design. That meeting is at 6:30 in rm. 809 of the NYU Silver Bldg., 32 Waverly (at Wash. Sq. E.– bring photo ID to enter bldg.), The design must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which will hear the plan on December 18. The South Village Town Hall will likely last until after 8 pm, so feel free to go from this hearing to the Town Hall, just a few blocks away.

12/12/07: A public presentation by the New School about their plans for a new 265 ft. tall building at the southeast corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue on Wednesday, Dec. 12th at 6 pm at the New School’s Albert List building (the building proposed to be demolished and replaced), 65 5th Avenue (at 14th Street), 1st floor cafeteria. The meeting is being held by Community Board 2’s Institutions Committee.

12/19/07: The St. Vincent’s Community Working Group meeting re: the plan by St. Vincent’s Hospital and developers the Rudin family for a new hospital and 650,000 sq. ft. of new luxury housing on the site of the current St. Vincent’s Hospital. The meeting, where the public can ask questions and make comments, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 19th from 6 to 7:30 pm in the Cronin Auditorium of St. Vincent’s Hospital, 170 W. 12th Street, 10th floor. See for background and details on the plan.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Politics | Take Action

December 7th, 2007


by John Coakley

What is SantaCon? It’s a gathering of everyday folk who dress up as Santa. But unlike other Cons, the ones where people go to hotel meeting rooms dressed up like AquaMan or obscure Japanese cartoon characters and rack up thousands of dollars of debt on comics and toys of dubious value, this Con is mobile. The Santas are given a schedule via text message and roam around town spreading cheer and maybe getting a little drunk along the way. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he’ll be right back as soon as he finishes his Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Mmmm. Ale.

Go here for more info:

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York





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