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Tidbits - April 23, 2015 - Fast Food Strike; TPP, Hillary; Eduardo Galeano; CIA Infiltration at Home; Sundown Towns; and more...

Reader Comments - Fast Food Strike, Low-Wage Workers Struggle for More than Wages; TPP - LAtest Leak; Hillary Clinton, Fracking and 2016; Eduardo Galeano; CIA Infiltration at Home; Anne Braden; Sundown Towns; 'Driving While White'; Cuba Coops; NYT and Russian Wages; Charter Schools; Walton Wealth; Announcements: Walden Bello in New York; Vietnam - The Power of Protest and In Defense of the Public Square - Washington

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - April 23, 2015,Portside

Re: Fast Food Workers in 236 Cities Pull Off Largest Strikes Yet as Other Low-Wage Workers Join Fight

Worker's get the respect they deserve, when they flex a bit of muscle. Good job bro!

Bruce Campbell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


These are all great initiatives. Other people can support these actions as consumers by boycotting McDonald's and Wal-mart  so long as they refuse to pay $15 minimum wage. I have purchased nothing from either company for years as they are the worst employers in the world. It should be noted that workers in other parts of the world are also striking for higher wages, notably in Bangladesh and in China.

Time to push back!

Laurel MacDowell

Re: Low-Wage Workers' Struggles Are About Much More than Wages

SEIU, that's my union! Glad my dues are going to do good!

Francesca Ganino
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Trade Rule that Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Newest Leak Shows TPP Would Do That And More

Nest to last paragraph asks the correct questions...

William Proctor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Please read whatever you can find about the TPP; it's truly awful and our government is attempting to fast-track it with minimal or no debate.

Jim Price
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I'm convinced. (I was always leaning against, of course). The Trans Pacific Partnership is a colossal power grab by corporations. This is an exceptionally bad deal. I oppose Fast track for TPP (in which the exceptionally secret treaty would be voted on with the [no] power to amend it ). I suggest you oppose it as well. We should ask each and every politician from candidates for dog catcher to president to do the same. Thanks to Wikileaks for the leak of the otherwise secret treaty terms, to David Korten for explaining it and to Portside for the link.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This will negatively affect all of us; hardest hit will be communities of color!

Furaha Youngblood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World

There have also been rumors that people tied to her are actually invested in the Keystone XL pipeline in some way...I tried last year to find out if this was true...the comments ceased almost immediately so I don't know if the sources were good...but i do not have the ability to find out.

Investigative journalism is so important and we need more of it.

Mindy Stoltz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Both the post above [click on the title - How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World] and the original post on the MotherJones website - clearly have sources indicated - clickable on the hypertext - for all quotes cited.

Jay Schaffner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


As I recall, when Keystone was first being 'investigated' by State (under Hillary) several environmentalists complained that there were obvious conflicts of interests involved during the procedure.

Jerry Steele
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


People can find all kinds of votes or positions on the left and right to slam her, but her progressive accomplishments far outweigh anything they can find. She had me at "Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights". Her Supreme Court choices alone would be reason enough to support her.

Sharon Gilligan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is another frackin' example of who she truly represents and despite her recent populist stance she is well connected to corporate America. REMEMBER, DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT SHE SAYS , WATCH WHAT SHE DOES

David Alpert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I see the Republicans and Male Supremacist Democrats are already attacking Hillary. I don't particularly care for Hillary. I do give her credit for participating and supporting the Northern Ireland Peace Process when MOST Democratic officeholders didn't (and still don't) have a clue.

And who can forget when that schmuck Bibi ignored Hillary's visit to Israel, and when she was Secretary of State. Does she have warts? Sure! Did Barack? Just check out his statements about Monsanto or follow the Monsanto money. Name the President who signed the Monsanto Protection Act. Memory slipping? The 44th President!!!

Phil Arway
Posted on Portside's Facebook pager


My 'fellow Americans': Obama did this as well. So, ask yourself this... are you going to vote for Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Marco Rubio? Ben Carson? And ask yourself this: Are they going to do anything different? Short of a revolution, all this amounts to is bitching. Which I can understand. But change means yelling and being at the capitol of each state with signs. It's the capitalist system which needs to be changed, especially as it concerns the concentration of power among the wealthy.

Dennis Hastings
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I've said it before and I'll say it again - Given the lunatic alternative I'll support her. But, in reality, Hillary is just another Bill Clinton "New Democrat" (read #CorporateWhore), handpicked by Wall Street to continue the goal of turning AMERICA into #AmerikaInc.. Obama has done some great things, for sure, but he also falls into the category of "New Democrat." Penny Pritzger comes to mind, as does his secret negotiations on the TPP (AKA "NAFTA on steroids!").

Dana Cochrane
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Storm Is Over

Kathy Kelly writes from prison, having completed 2.5 of 3 months sentence for opposing drones. The prison routine of guards flashing into each prisoner's face 3 times per night with flashlights, supposedly to verify they have not escaped, does upset their sleeping, that Kathy compares with lightning.

Joseph Friendly
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Debt Owed to Eduardo Galeano

A moving tribute beautifully written.

Paula Muller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: 10 Eduardo Galeano Quotes In Honor of His Memory

I just was made aware of another particularly good quote in addition to this on Portside:

    "She's on the horizon," Galeano once wrote of utopia. "I go two steps, she moves two steps away. I walk ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps ahead. No matter how much I walk, I'll never reach her. What good is utopia? That's what: it's good for walking."

    Eduardo Galeano's Words Walk the Streets of a Continent
    by Benjamin Dangl   
    April 13, 2015
    Upside Down World

Marty de Kadt


Another warrior gone but his work will inspire for generations to come

Boveda Tribes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

First-Hand Experience of CIA Infiltration Among U.S. Students

Neier's wrongly names his book review, "When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front": The National Student Association was not a movement. It was an association of campus politicians, many of whom were in training or aspiring to become politicians after graduation. SNCC, SDS, the DuBois Clubs and others of our contemporaries were in fact a student movement and, as such, targeted by the CIA and its brethren in spookdom.

I had an email exchange with Karen Paget, the author of Patriotic Betrayal, the book Neier reviews. The gist of what I wrote her follows:

This is an excellent book with much new information. But however well-researched the work is, it is somewhat incomplete. For two years during the period Paget write about, I was president of SLATE, the student political party at UC Berkeley. My closest friend and roommate at Cal was Dan Greenson, whom SLATE had elected to be the NSA rep at UC.  NSA President Dick Rettig stayed at our house on a couple of occasions. SLATE helped give rise to a number of other campus political parties, including VOICE at Ann Arbor. We (SLATE) hosted a summer retreat of these groups in 1960, and Tom Hayden (also with Al Haber) of VOICE stayed with us. Even back then, we had questions about NSA and the CIA.  In 1961, Herb Mills (then a Cal grad student who, after getting his PhD, went to work on the San Francisco waterfront and became leader of the longshore local there) and I went to Madison to the NSA conference on behalf of SLATE. At that time we raised the CIA issue.

Later that year, I moved to New York where I became head of the US Festival Committee that put together the 450-member US contingent to the World Youth Festival in Helsinki. I met with Gloria Steinem who was organizing the counter-festival group on behalf of the CIA, as was clear to me at the time and as I said so to Gloria. After  Helsinki, I returned to Berkeley where in 1963 the DuBois Clubs helped organize the beginnings of the movement against the Vietnam War while JFK was still President and sending "advisors". Later I was a contributor to Ramparts at the time of its NSA/CIA expose.

All of this to say that there were some of us who knew the essential outlines of Patriotic Betrayal while it was going on and said so. Our voices were ignored at the time not so much because we were prescient as that we were the precise targets of the CIA, FBI and local Red Squads. I hope Patriotic Betrayal gets a wide readership 50 years after the period it studies. But for a dime - the cost of a phone call back then - I could have told you its basic conclusion. Whatever our experiences were would not have significantly changed what Paget wrote, but the voices of the targets of CIA spying would have  provided a fuller picture.

Michael Myerson

Re: When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front

To some of you oldtimers, this story is certainly not new. I think that this is the second time I posted a review of this book on the connection between the CIA and the National Students Association (the "other NSA"). I remember when some of these events were taking place, including the CP-organized international youth festival in Helsinki, Finland, in 1962. Some of my comrades in YPSL attended, funded by the CIA.

Some of you who may be reading this I think had connections with the other NSA at the time. I'd like to hear your comments.

Elliot Linzer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Anne Braden's Tireless War on Racism: The South's Rebel Without a Pause

She was a great and tireless advocate for justice. I had the opportunity to work with her on several projects connected to Clergy and Laity Concerned back in the early 1980's.

Mahdi Ibn Ziyad
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sure wish we had more women doing this now. What a role model.I will share this article. We need to know more about women who are part of our history to fight for justice. Thank you for sharing this...

Carmyn Stanko
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Darkness on the Edge of Town
(posting on Portside Culture)

Oklahoma had a sign in my youth saying, "Nigger don't let the sun set on you in Durant."

Jon Floyd Durant
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Great book. My daughter & I heard him speak about 8 years ago. My husband Steve lived in Owensville, MO, which was a sundown town. A similar sign was near his house. It was taken down after World War II.

Ellen Michel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sick times and traditions linger.

Laura Filbert Zacher
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

Elizabeth Lindsay
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Listen here

Sundown Town
Published on Nov 8, 2014

Ry Cooder
c. 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc.
Released on: 2006-09-01

Bass, Guitar: Ry Cooder
Drums: Jim Keltner
Vocals: Bobby King
Vocals: Terry Evans
Writer: Ry Cooder and Joachim Cooder

[thanks to Jim Williams for sending this in.]


I dated a young man once who grew up in one of these towns ... Could tell it broke his heart to talk about it ... But the dangers for anyone unwelcome in these towns were very real !!!!!

Jo Lee Loveland Link
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: There's No Such Thing as 'Driving While White'

Driving while poor. If you don't think cops look harder at those rusty old cars, you're crazy.

William Cutlip
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I'm a white woman living in Indiana who hasn't been pulled over for expired tags. Despite them being months & months out of date (I paid the registration, I just forgot to put the sticker on).

Stacy Bogan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Troops Referred to Ferguson Protestors as 'Enemy Forces', Emails Show

In the land of the free and the home of the brave, a citizen who stands up to protest the murder of an unarmed, helpless Black man by a murderous cop is 'the enemy force'. Good God above please save their souls, if they have souls.

Philip Encinio
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Whither Cuba?

Cuba would do well to remember that there is no difference in Obama and the America that kept it's boot on the necks of Cubans for 50 years.

George Minor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Good piece. I think he's a little too worried about small business becoming medium-sized business. But there's a deeper discussion about that. In China, there's a cell of the CCP in every private business--openly, secretly or in between, to keep things from going too far awry. But the coop law is clearly based on Mondragon, and I think will serve Cuba well. The worse option is to do nothing and stagnate.

Carl Davidson

Re: Unpaid Russian Workers Unite in Protest Against Putin

Such concern for workers by the NYT is touching!

Thomas Sodders


I am surprised to see Portside reprint this piece from the NYT, part of an on-going anti-Russian campaign to justify the attempt of the EU to pull the Ukraine out of the Russian sphere. It contains the same old, tiresome demonization of President Vladimir Putin, as if he makes every economic decision in this huge country.

The sum of wage arrears the Times notes, about $60 million, represents the wages of about 10,000 workers in an economy with 70 million workers. Unpaid wages is a long-standing problem in Russia, where, by law, employers must pay laid off workers 100% of their wages for 3 months. So, if orders are down, companies often keep workers, even though they don't have the revenue to pay them.

This is especially true in the state sector, which is chronically cashed starved from an inability to collect taxes. Under the USSR, workers did not pay taxes. The government took its share up front. It has been very hard to make the metamorphosis, especially since social services declined with the collapse, with the seizure of the economy by the Oligarchs.

As it is, the problem is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, when millions of workers regularly went unpaid, sometimes a third of the labor force.

The Times chose to publicize this problem, just when it is near solution, despite the blows to the economy by the drop in oil prices and the western embargo.

In the US hundreds of thousands of workers get laid off every month, even in relatively "good" times, like now.

Data for these comments came from "The New Russia: A Handbook of Economic and Political Developments" by Ian Jeffries

Bill Shortell

Re: Reparations Package for Jon Burge Torture Survivors Moves Forward in Chicago

...part of the settlement means they must teach about this shameful episode...

Jess Saying
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


An economic remedy for what was, in part, an economic crime.

Diane Crothers
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


At this point we need so much more than conversation

Anita Clinton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Yes, Anita, but the conversation has been silenced by the mainstream media and academia for decades.

Lynn Roberts
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Yeah, well I think Native Americans are first in line.

John Rapp
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Native Americans live in an apartheid system, and Blacks and many Latinos live in a semi apartheid system. To be fair, each of these groups should receive reparations, and whatever the bill comes to it is payable. It won't happen until the white power structure is decimated. It is for that reason the system is desperately trying to consolidate their rule with all these Draconian laws and police tactics. There is more, but I despise writing long winded posts.

Bob Livesey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


African-Americans deserve reparations. So do Native-Americans. So do the descendants of people who came here as "indentured servants," (read "slaves") from Ireland, England, Scotland and China. So do the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Japanese citizens interned in camps during WW2.

By the time we add up all of the people who deserve - really do deserve - reparations for having been screwed over by the US government and corporations, it becomes obvious that what is really needed is full-scale total revolution. Not violent revolution like the right-wing nut-balls are always calling for, but complete and permanent deep and lasting structural changes in the way both economic resources and political power are distributed in this country. And yes, as a matter of fact, it IS time, well beyond time, in fact, for a radical redistribution of wealth.

The usual suspects who are constantly harping about how wealth redistribution is un-American, blah blah blah, are the picture of hypocrisy. What they oppose is not the redistribution of wealth per se, but the DOWNWARD redistribution of it. We've all been the witnesses of forty consistent years of radical UPWARD redistribution of wealth since Mr. Reagan moved into the White House, and I, for one, am crying foul. It is time to turn things around. Certainly for African Americans. And for the entire American working class soon to follow.

Baruch BenAvrohom
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Hipsters for Charter Schools: The Big Lie "Togetherness" Tells About Race and Education

"If "Togetherness" showed the slightest shred of self-awareness, we might interpret this subplot as a radical critique of the worst elements of the charter school movement: its hollow rhetoric and pedagogical vacuity, its appeal to narrow self-interest, the way it divides communities and the way the state has embraced all of it uncritically for political (financial) ends.

Instead, it's clear that the Duplass brothers and their characters are speaking completely un-ironically and obliviously about all their (now cliche,) white privilege and entitlement and, yes, racism and classism in defining what constitutes "good" for them. With HBO's endorsement, they believe (hope) that they are speaking for and to an affluent white audience who are rooting for these characters.

Michelle Pierson's narcissistic appeal on behalf of the Eagle Rock Charter reveals her entire world view - that she and her kids ARE "the community" - and much of the charter school movement depends on that view.

Like everything else, art plays out on a socio-economic battlefield. You may not watch "Togetherness," but people who shape the culture and economy do.

And the viewpoints depicted in the show trickle down Colorado Blvd. to L.A'.s District 5 school board race and join the debate throughout the rest of the country."

Cherie Blackfeather
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Michelle Rhee and Ann Coulter, 2 of Cornell's "finest!" Need I say more?!

Monroe Mishawaka
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Growers Move to Gut California's Farm Labor Law

May have to boycott grapes and peaches this summer!

Tristram Goncalves
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Reminds me of Henry Fonda as Tom Joad in Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath".

Grapes of Wrath - I'll Be There Speech (Tom Joad)

Alan Warren
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why These Victims' Parents Don't Want the Death Penalty for the Boston Bomber

Such brave people - double brave really because they are talking against the death penalty that many in Boston and the rest of the country want.

Shawna McKellar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Irwin Schatz, 83, Rare Critic of Tuskegee Study, Is Dead

......important exposer of medical-racial-color crime.... passes...

Tom Edminster
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What Makes Abraham Lincoln Such a Radical Politician Even Today?

Urge subscribing (free) to Portside. Wonderful range of articles from politics, science & culture.

Carl Finamore
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


He was a racist.

Maria-Cristina Serban
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If Lincoln wasn't a racist, he would have been EVEN MORE exceptional for his time -- that he did the remarkable things he did anyway is all the more amazing!

Maria-Cristina Serban: hope you'll consider not only my above comment, but also the summary assessment of Lincoln by Frederick Douglass, the great 19th century black abolitionist and a contemporary of Lincoln, near the end of this article!

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Minimum Wage and the Wealth of the Waltons

The Wealth of 6 Waltons Exceeds the Wealth of Over 91 million Americans -- by Laura Clawson for Daily Kos, 8 Dec 2011

Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at the University of California Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, dug into the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, then compared those numbers to the net worth of the six (6) members of the Walton clan -- all children or children-in-law of the founders of Walmart-- as reported on the Forbes 400 list in 2007. Their total net worth that year: $69.7 billion. That is equal to the wealth of the bottom 30 percent of all Americans ...

Think on that: Just six (6) people. As much wealth as 30 percent of all the people. In 2007, the population of the United States was 302.2 million people, meaning that six people had as much wealth as 90.7 million Americans. This is not talking about the top 1 percent. This is about the top .00000002 percent.

he gap has worsened since 2007. The 2011 Forbes 400 has the inherited worth of these same six Waltons at $93 billion, showing further widening of the wealth gap given that corporate profits, stocks and CEO pay have all recovered while housing values & equity (the lion's share of wealth for average Americans), wages and family incomes have actually declined

James E. Vann
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Walden Bello Discusses BRICS, the Rise of China and the Future of Global Power - New York - April 27

Walden Bello, one of the Left's foremost intellectuals discusses the rise of china and the future of global power.

The global balance of power is shifting. There is much debate as to whether the rising BRICS countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa-are capable of challenging the West's dominance. At the same time, at least one of these countries-China-has established itself as a new great power. What does China's rise mean for its neighbors and for the global balance of power?

Join us for an evening with veteran Filipino campaigner and intellectual Walden Bello to consider whether China and the BRICS can offer an alternative to neoliberal globalization or just more business-as-usual.

Monday, April 27, 6pm

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office
275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2114 (entrance over 40th St.)
New York

Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

For related reading, see this RLS-NYC study by Vijay Prashad.

Vietnam - The Power of Protest - Washington, DC - May 1-2

Telling the Truth, Learning the Lessons

Join us at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church

Register now

Join us to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam Peace Movement on May 1-2 in Washington, DC. As war continues to be a clear and present danger to our democracy, we gather to reflect and renew our commitments.

View the full event program and schedule [PDF]

Hundreds of us will come to the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, a meeting place and staging area for the huge anti-war mobilizations of the late 60s and early 70s.  Leaders and activists from the struggle to end the Vietnam War will join with young justice-fighters to reflect on the mass movement of 50 years ago and to deepen the links for the challenges we face today. The conference will include honoring the elders of our movement on Friday evening; a commemorative walk past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Saturday afternoon; plenaries, mini-plenaries, workshops and breakout groups for sharing analyses, lessons, remembrances and aspirations, and learning about the war's continuing legacies; and songs, poetry, artwork and celebration. Let's turn the experiences of yesterday into a call for action for today. Register for the conference and commemorative walk today!…

This effort began last fall in reaction to the Pentagon's plans for their own commemoration, including extensive public outreach and a false and one-sided website history of the Vietnam War that excluded the peace movement. The New York Times reported our objections on its front page.  While former presidents and Pentagon officials seek to obscure the memory of what we accomplished, we will keep pushing for an accurate history of both the Vietnam War and one of our country's most important social movements.

Join Tom Hayden, Ron Dellums, Luis Rodriguez, Cora Weiss, Rosalio Munoz, Gerald Horne, Holly Near, Dan Ellsberg, Julian Bond, Marge Tabankin, Peter Yarrow and many, many others on May 1-2. You will want to be at this historic gathering

For more information on attending this historic event, see these frequently asked questions (FAQs). [PDF]

In Defense of the Public Square - Washington, DC - May 1 - 2


May 1-2, 2015
Intercultural Center Auditorium
Georgetown University

The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor is pleased to host In Defense of the Public Square on May 1-2, 2015, at Georgetown University.

A robust and vibrant public square is an essential foundation of democracy. It is the place where the important public issues of the day are subject to free and open debate, and our ideas of what is in the public interest take shape. It is the ground upon which communities and associations are organized to advocate for policies which promote that public interest. It is the site for the provision of essential public goods, from education and health care to safety and mass transportation. It is the terrain upon which the centralizing and homogenizing power of both the state and the market are checked and balanced. It is the economic arena with the means to control the market's tendencies toward polarizing economic inequality and cycles of boom and bust. It is the site of economic opportunity for historically excluded groups such as African-Americans and Latinos.

And yet in America today, the public square is under extraordinary attack. A flood of unregulated, unaccountable money in our politics and media threatens to drown public debate and ravage our civic life, overwhelming authentic conceptions of the public interest. Decades of growing economic inequality menaces the very public institutions with the capacity to promote greater economic and social equality. Unprecedented efforts to privatize essential public goods and public services are underway. Teachers, nurses and other public servants who deliver those public goods are the object of vilification from the political right, and their rights in the workplace are in danger. Legislative and judicial efforts designed to eviscerate public sector unions are ongoing.

In response to these developments, a consortium of seven organizations - the Albert Shanker Institute, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the American Prospect, Dissent Magazine, the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor of Georgetown University, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - has organized this conference. It will bring together prominent elected officials, public intellectuals and union, business and civil rights leaders "in defense of the public square."

Full schedule here.

Film Screening: The Hand That Feeds - New York - May 8

"The Hand that Feeds" by Robin Blotnik and Rachel Lears
The gritty story of immigrant sandwich makers organizing at the Hot and Crusty restaurant in New York City. Filmmakers and worker-organizers will be on hand to discuss the film and the campaign.
Click the following link to RSVP:

Friday, May 8, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Joseph S. Murphy Institute/CUNY
25 W 43rd St 19th Floor
New York, NY 10036
New York, NY