Tag Archives: New York Times

Credit Cards and Financial Protection

After the CARD Act went into affect on Monday, Feb. 22, I had a feeling that was all we would be hearing about credit card legislation for awhile because it was some pretty sweeping reforms. Making it harder to raise interest rates, give cards to people under the age of 21 and making it easier to see just how long it will take to pay off a particular credit card were some of the larger changes, as I reported for Vox Magazine.

I was wrong.  I came across this post on the NYT’s money blog, Buck, today. It’s saying that the Fed is considering limiting the types and amounts of fees that credit cards can charge.  This was the biggest loophole left in the CARD Act that just about every news organization discussed.  I’m kind of excited about it.  While loopholes will probably remain, it does make protect the consumer a little bit better than before, which I think is always the goal of reform.

And while we’re worrying about reform, the status of the Consumer Protection Agency is a little up in the air right now. But to lobby for the people is an unlikely source: the website Funny or Die.  Basically, the last five or so presidents, played by actors more frequently associated with SNL, come back to Obama in a dream and tell him to clean up their mess.  Check it out!

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The Fight Against Sugar

I came across this NYT’s article about a possible national tax on soda.  I find it interesting that they are comparing soda to cigarettes and kind of got me thinking about my own soda-drinking habits and how they would compare to levels of cigarette smoking.

If soda-drinking were cigarette smoking, I think I would be a light drinker.  I drink soda about once a week, maybe a little more during stress-filled weeks.  Although I haven’t had one during these last two weeks, which have certainly pushed my limits.  Definitely more if I’m drinking because I don’t like beer.

It also reminds me of the new ads running defending high-fructose corn syrup.

So then, if they start taxing my weak amount of soda drinking, will they start taxing everything with corn syrup in it? Because I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford to eat if they do.

The foodie movement is complicating life.

The Business of life lines

Photo from NY TimesI ran across this article in the NY Times the other day about who uses a pay phone.  The reporter apparently stalked the pay phone located close to the Queens Courthouse for two days and asked people who they were calling and why.  It’s a fascinating article, and the way its presented, its mostly people being released from custody using pay phones.

But it got me thinking about how much it would cost to run a pay phone.  The article says that in seven days, people deposited $52 into the phone.  He also mentions that a company recently had to remove 50 phones because they weren’t profitable enough.  I would be curious to know where that line is drawn.  How much does it cost to operate a pay phone?  How profitable are they?

I’d also like to know about pay phone use in a location other than just outside a courthouse.  Because pay phones are dying, but other than the homeless and those just released from custody, who uses a pay phone?  Any ideas?

Meet Cute

This is an excerpt from an NYT article run 4/1/09.  I think its the cutest of the meet cutes (Go “The Holiday”) ever.

Annie Pezzillo Moon, Mr. Moon’s wife, who has been a homemaker for more than 65 years, grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one of 12 children — nine of whom survived — of Italian immigrants. Her father was a self-employed truck driver, she says, delivering fruits and vegetables in an operation controlled by the Mafia. (“If you didn’t pay off the Mafia, they shot you,” she says. “I guess my father paid.”) As a 13-year-old during the Depression, she sometimes sold shopping bags in the street. A few years later, she dropped out of high school to make 50 cents an hour working at Woolworth’s. She met her husband when she was 21 and he was a sailor on leave in New York.”

photo courtesy of the New York Times

photo courtesy of the New York Times

“My sister wanted to go roller skating one Christmas Eve. I wasn’t doing nothing. I said, Oh, heck, I’ll go. My sister met these two sailors and brought my husband over to me. He didn’t pick me up, I’ll make that clear. That was Dec. 24. We got married March 11.

He was never on a pair of roller skates in his life. He fell down, they ran over his fingers. He said he was in love, so there was no pain.”