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To believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, much more to openly express this belief, is nothing less than spreading a message of hate, at least according to Councilman Daniel Dromm of the New York City Council. Councilman Dromm, however, is not the only one with this view. All other Council members, led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, share the same stance. The main reason why the Mayor has called on all New Yorkers to boycott Chick-fil-A, which serves plump juicy chicken breasts tucked between hot buttered buns, simply because this company’s president does not approves of same-sex marriage.

Chick-fil-A, now about to open its third branch (this time in Queens, the district that Councilman Dromm represents), is owned by a devout Christian family. It was in 2012 when its president, Dan Cathy, told a reporter about his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Since then, militant LGBT leftwing lawmakers and activists have never tired airing their objection which, in turn, got the Mayor’s attention. In addition to saying that what Chick-fil-A’s owners said was wrong, the Mayor also told online news service provider DNAInfo.com that he will not eat at Chick-fil-A and would not urge any other New Yorker to do so.

Besides the cash donations that Chick-fil-A has made to a number of NYC charities, it also employs hundreds of New Yorkers, which translates to a substantial amount of taxes the the city’s chests. Obviously, though, these do not count to the good Mayor and Councilman Dromm, who personally organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival after founding the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee.

Meanwhile, amid all the publicity, many New Yorkers, rather than heeding the Mayor’s call to boycott Chick-fil-A, are heading to the fast food restaurant to enjoy more chicken and waffle fries, and deliciously refreshing lemonade which, according to one keen observer, seem to make people more pleasant and easy going.

teen_bullyingA high school female student, a victim of bullying in her school, decided to end being a victim of her classmate bullies by ending her own life.

Aileen, a 17-year-old 2016 semifinalist for the New York Times College Scholarship program and who also happens to have a twin sister studying in the same school, left the school campus during lunchtime one Thursday and stepped into the path of a subway train in the City of New York.

The tragic incident prompted to a number of students to approach the school’s grief counselor before who they expressed remorse for their harsh treatment of Aileen. They confessed to calling her awkward, ugly or stupid.

Bullying, which remains to be a major problem, especially in many city public high-schools, affects at least one in every five students. Bullying can take place anywhere, in or out of school, and its form can be verbal or physical. Physical bullying, specifically, may be directed against a peer, or against a person older or younger than the bully; it may also be directed towards a victim’s property, which the bully may use either to intimidate, or inflict harm on, the victim. Verbal bullying, on the other hand, can include making obscene remarks towards the victim, name-calling, spreading rumors about the victim, teasing or threatening.

About 45 States have bullying laws, with New York passing its own legislation very recently. However, despite these laws, many school authorities reveal that bullying still persists, one major reason is because the bullied never seek help, trying to deal with his or her pain and sufferings alone. Sadly, though, the only solution a bullied often sees in ending his or her pains is through suicide.

Nobody ever plans to be in an accident. Nobody wants it and nobody in their right mind would ever ask for it to happen to them. It is hurtful and stressful, especially in the aftermath of the thing, and can sometimes affect you for the rest of your life.

Some accidents, for example, can leave you with a permanent disability that could mean you might never walk again. In other cases, the survivor is left to deal with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can be just as debilitating as it involves flashbacks, social anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, and so on…

So what can you do if you’ve been injured in an accident? And, more importantly, what are you owed?

If you were wrongfully injured due to an accident, it is important to remember that there is more than the shallow waters to wade through. An initial settlement in the form of a seemingly substantial lump sum may be offered by the wrongful party’s insurance companies, if the injured party does not have legal representation. Though the sum may seem like a temptingly quick solution to a terrible situation, there are more factors to consider.

There are variables that must be calculated—variables that you may not have initially thought about as you would be, after all, in a state of duress following an accident. Emotionally charged people are not exactly in their best, most objective state of minds to be making important decisions. Help from experienced and knowledgeable people, such as experienced legal help, are the best friends that one could have after an accident for they not only know the best way to recover from such a situation, but they are also the ones who can represent the case well enough and wholly enough, in such a way that you can be given the justice that you so rightly deserve.

Baby Sitter
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and, for a lot of people, that means for countless celebrations occurring all over the city—and someone’s making a profit from all of it.

Babysitting services are popular services offered by young people towards adults who would entrust them with the care of their children for a night due to one reason or another, usually to spend some time as a couple. Many couples still follow this practice for New Year’s celebrations and so employ babysitters for their children – however, the holiday comes with an increased price.

While amateur babysitters often make around $10 to $22 per hour, the rates from reliable babysitting services can range from $40 to $50 an hour.

Noa Mintz, teenage founder of Nannies by Noa, has said that the higher fees are reasonable, given that the sitters would spend the holiday with someone else’s children. Mintz goes on to say that: “It’s not the same as being with friends and family.”

While some mothers in the New York City area, such as Joanna Stanberry from the Upper West Side, have called the higher rate as “totally excessive”, there are others – such as Caroline Blackman Coakley from Manhattan – who say that the competence of and the trustworthiness that can be bestowed upon a sitter to care for her children was “priceless”.

State workers in New York would see a raise in their paycheck as Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to announce an hourly minimum rate of $15, according to a report by the NY Times. This move makes the minimum wage of public employees in New York far higher than in any other states, and it also places the state in the frontline of a movement against stagnant pays.

According to Mr. Cuomo, it’s high time that a wage increase should be implemented because insufficient minimum wage keeps dragging many families across the nation down. He plans to implement the increase gradually, which could benefit approximately 10,000 workers. State workers outside New York City would see a $15 per hour rate by the end of 2021. On the other hand, due to a higher cost of living, employees living in NYC would have their wages climb to $15 faster, by the end of 2018.

Many admired the governor’s move, including Paul Sonn, general counsel at the National Employment Law Project. According to Sonn, Mr. Cuomo’s move was a testament to the “power of the movement towards $15 wages.” However, some fiscal groups warned about the move’s possible implications to the state’s growth and economy.

Among the many job categories that will benefit from the increase include custodial staff, lifeguards, and office assistants.

Samuel Harrell, a 30-year-old black inmate at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon New York, died last April 21 after more than a dozen witnesses saw him being handcuffed and severely beaten by a group of about 20 corrections officers. Now, the office of the United States attorney in Manhattan is working with the Dutchess County district attorney’s office on the brutal circumstances surrounding his death.


According to a report by the New York Times, a total of 19 other prisoners witnessed the attack on Harrell unfold. Based on their accounts, Harrell had gotten into a confrontation with several corrections officers after “packed his bags and announced he was going home, though he still had several years left to serve on his drug sentence.” Eyewitness reports note that the confrontation quickly became violent, escalating to Harrell—who is known to have a history of erratic behavior commonly linked to bipolar disorder—being “repeatedly kicked and punched”.

The New York Times reports eyewitness accounts, saying that the victim had endured racial slurs as he was being assaulted by his attackers. Harrell was then thrown “thrown or dragged down a staircase”. According to one of the inmates, Harrell ended up on the landing, “bent in an impossible position”. Witnesses also point out that many of the officers that had attacked Harrell were members of a group known around the facility as the ‘Beat Up Squad’.

While corrections officer called for emergency assistance, Harrell’s medical records show that the ambulance crew were told that he had suffered from an overdose of a synthetic marijuana substance. Still, as the New York Times was able to uncover, an autopsy report from the Orange County medical examiner found that Harrell had died of cardiac arrhythmia and had suffered several cuts and bruises to his head and extremities. The autopsy had only traces of tobacco and antidepressant in Harrell’s system and ruled the manner of his death as homicide.

It was these accounts that led U.S. attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara to begin “coordinating and working” with the district attorney of Dutchess County in investigating Harrell’s death. Similarly, Dutchess County’s William V. Grady was originally quoted by the New York Times saying that “[the] very nature of this case calls for a full, fair and objective investigation into not only potential criminal law violations, but constitutional violations as well”.

The Huffington Posts reports that Harrell’s death has launched protests in upstate New York as part of the growing Black Lives Matter movement all over America. The movement calls attention to the overwhelming number of police brutality cases against African American individuals. It began after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It then gained significant traction after the high-profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014.

Your spine is composed of individual bones, called vertebra, each stacked up on each other. Between these vertebrae are rubbery disks that serve as a cushion for each compartment. Each disk is composed of a soft, gelatinous center surrounded by a tough exterior called annulus. When the annulus ruptures or breaks, the gelatinous center may ‘slip’ and protrude and push nearby nerves, causing extreme pain. This condition is called slipped disk, or herniated disk.

Slipped disk can be a result of a host of different factors. Too much weight, for instance, can put much strain in your lower back, making you more prone to this condition. A family history of slipped disk and a workplace with poor ergonomics may also increase your risk. According to the website of a Tennessee personal injury lawyer, herniated disk can also be a result of traumatic incidents.

Pain is the primary symptom of a slipped disk. But apart from that, a person suffering from this condition may also experience numbness and tingling. Muscles being served by the nerves compressed by a slipped disk may also weaken due to lack of nerve energy.

To diagnose slipped disk, your doctor will perform physical examination to check for any slipped disk symptoms. Nerve tests may also be conducted to see if any of your nerves near the spinal column are being compressed, which may indicate slipped disk. Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scan may also help detect slipped disk.

Therapy and medication relieves the symptoms of herniated disk to most people. But in cases when a herniated disk can cause permanent paralysis, or when its symptoms still persist even after treatment, surgery might be required.

Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, has pushed for the increase of minimum wage for all workers in New York to $15 an hour. If successful, the state will have the highest minimum wage in all fifty states of America.

The current hourly minimum wage in the state is at $8.75, reported to increase to $9 by late 2015 or early 2016.

It has been stated that the White House is in favor of an increase to a $12 hourly minimum wage, though no comment has been made regarding the status of making it as high as $15. Cuomo has been quoted to have been in favor of an hourly minimum wage of $11.50 in New York City and $10.50, statewide.

The primary target of the increase is workers within the fast food industry. A Democrat, this move has pitched Cuomo as a defender of laborers of the state. However, this movement has been combated by other claims, stating that many smaller businesses will suffer (should the increase pass into fruition) and will be forced to let go of many workers with deemed “less essential” jobs. Some disputes sound out to saying that the increase to $15 would be “too high” and is not, at the time being, economically possible or advisable.

There are, however, some other cities in the United States that have also passed for the increase of minimum wage to $15 an hour – specifically, the cities of Log Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

A month ago, two New York prisoners escaped from a maximum security prisons causing a 22-day long manhunt that made national headlines.  The prisoners, Richard Matt and David Sweat, reportedly used heavy power tools to cut through prison walls and pipes and eventually making their way to the outside by climbing through a manhole.  The two men were eventually found, with police shooting and killing Matt and leaving Sweat injured.  Clinton Correctional Facility is one of the largest and most highly guarded prisons in New York, leading to a number of questions on how the escape was possible.

The escape has launched a major investigation into prison workers who allegedly helped the inmates. Some prison officials have been charged with helping the prisoners smuggle in and hide the power tools that made the escape possible.  The overall security of the prison is being scrutinized as well.  Officials investigating the prison break are wondering how prison workers did not notice the preparations for the escape by the inmates, apparently having been weeks long.  The inmates also had holes in their cell walls for days prior to the escape, raising questions as prison workers are required to inspect the inmates’ cells on a daily basis.

The escape is one of the most organized and planned escapes in recent history has caused $300,000 in damages to the prison.  The investigation into how the inmates were able to break free from the prison is ongoing.

Houston has the advantage of size over other major cities in the US. It is no wonder that the Space City is rivaling the Big Apple in terms of the performing arts. The Theater District in Houston sprawls over 17 blocks downtown and has nearly 13,000 seats. There are four venues were the many performing arts organizations, including nine world-renowned ones, light up the stage. Here are two of them.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

The Hobby Center is in the center of the Theater District, and has an entrance and large lobby festooned with commissioned artwork. From there you can gain access to two theaters with excellent acoustics, perfect for musical performances. The second level houses the Arista Restaurant and the parking lot, so it is very convenient to have dinner and a show. Among the performances held there are the classics such as Cats and West Side Story. However, the shows are always changing so it would be best to check out the website for the schedule and pricing.

Jones Hall

Jones Hall is another popular venue in the Theater District. Built in 1966, it is the base of the Houston Symphony and the Society for the Performing Arts, and hosts approximately 250 performances in any given year, to which 400,000 people attend. Among the people who have held the stage at this splendid venue are John Denver, Sting, David Copperfield, Tony Bennett, and Faye Dunaway. Check out their website for the schedules.

You can also check out Wortham Theater Center and Alley Theatre while you are at it. These are the other two of the four major venues in Houston’s Theater District.