The New York MTA angered a bank by taking down its subway ads. But the bank makes a better point.

Advertisers have gotten a bad rap for ignoring people's best interests, and banks have been among the worst.

They spend huge sums of money on ads touting what are often enough raw deals. So when I heard the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was taking down hundreds of ads by a bank, I was instinctively excited.

But then I saw the ad:


Image by Amalgamated Bank.

This wasn't a typical advertiser. They weren't luring people into predatory products. They were promoting good.

"#RaiseTheWage" on a banking ad? A bank supporting a policy that doesn't just enrich the rich? I could imagine the rider response being a blend of joy and bewilderment. Of course, I came to learn that the advertiser was no ordinary bank.

Photo by The All-Nite Images/Flickr.

According to its website, Amalgamated Bank is the largest majority union-owned bank in the country, and for nearly 100 years, they've catered to people and institutions "fighting for social and economic justice."

To the bank's dismay, the MTA withdrew the ad buy because they want the transit system to be politics-free.

An MTA spokesperson said their ad buyer "erroneously" approved the six-figure deal for 1,260 ads placed in subway stations and train cars. He explained that the ads were in violation of their viewpoint-neutral policy.

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Flickr.

Amalgamated Bank head Keith Mestrich had this to say:

"It's outrageous that the MTA would ban an ad that promotes giving New Yorkers a living wage. The #RaiseTheWage campaign is not about politics, it's about giving the people of New York a fighting chance and Amalgamated Bank is very proud to support and promote this important campaign."

We could grant the MTA benefit of the doubt, but they don't exactly deserve it.

The agency has been called out before for their selective enforcement of the policy.

GIF from "Real Housewives of Orange County."

A judge ruled against the MTA when they tried to remove ads promoting a new comedy documentary called "The Muslims Are Coming," without ever having batted an eye at CNN ads for the Republican presidential debate.

It's sad that in tough times, speaking up for working people can be conflated with politics instead of patriotism.

And it's astonishing that when a business involved in an industry notorious for exploiting people wants to sing a different and more positive tune, a worker- and taxpayer-funded agency, like the MTA, can be so quick to hit the mute button.

If the MTA really wants to be viewpoint-neutral, then they should be clear about the rules and consistent with enforcement. In other words...

GIF from "Breaking Bad."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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