Apple watch as MTA seeks to raise fares

Stock analysts debate the new Apple Watch may bring more profits to the already promising payoffs of Apple shares. It’s a success for the once teetering company that almost went bankrupt before the release of the iPhone. New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), conversely, has been on a losing streak through most of its history of almost 50 years. The New York megalopolis has been paying out regular fare increases since MTA inception. A vast majority live imprisoned within the 5 counties of New York City where transit alternatives are sparse and unaffordable. MTA is seeking yet another fare increase in 2015 to cover budget indiscretions and losses. Is it time to revamp the MTA?

Formed in 1968, the New York State Legislature creates the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee transportation operations in 12 counties, including New York City. What seemed like a nice idea, as suburban railroads were facing bankruptcies, the MTA has possibly become the most mismanaged monopoly of transit that affects city life from pleasure to working. MTA needs 32,000,000,000 and it wants you to foot the bill.

The MTA board is governed by a 17-member Board. Members are nominated by the Governor, with four recommended by New York City’s mayor and one each by the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties (the members representing the latter four cast one collective vote). In 2013, MTA board members had salary potentials of $350,000 per year and few ride the MTA system routinely.

According to AMNY, a free newspaper in New York City, MTA is seeking transit and toll fare hikes in 2015 to close a 32 billion dollar budget gap. This April 27 announcement follows an increase that began the beginning of March 2015. The MTA rules the New York Subway System, the NYC bus system, Long Island Railroad, Metro North, and several bridges and tunnels designed for automotive use. MTA is a big company but is also the root of significant inflation over a complex system.

It’s safe to say that the creation of the elevated and subway lines help New York city explode into an active metropolis at a speed far faster than any one person might have dreamed. When many elevated lines were destroyed in the 1940’x, new neighborhoods arose with no transportation routes replacing the original ones.

Granted, the New York Subways system dates to 1903 but elevated lines go as far back as the 1880’s. Parts of Brooklyn’s F train goes back to 1875. The original elevated and subway routes before and after 1900 were competitively run by Interboro Rapid Transit (IRT) and Brooklyn Manhattan Transit (BMT). Other lines formed the Independent Subways around 1920.

Staten Island had its own elevated rail system that was bought by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1885 and expanded in 1895 by Central Railroad of New Jersey.

One could say he competition and differing systems and sizes were and continue to be a mess. Brooklyn and Queens were not originally part of New York City. The IRT trains are shorter and narrower than BMT and IND standards and the lines are incompatible.

LIRR was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad System in 1908 and Metro North was derived from Vanderbilt and NY Central Railroad.

Beyond repairs from acts of nature that wreak havoc, the MTA has waged a costly transit hub, a 2nd Avenue Subway, and an extension of the 7-line to the Javits Center. The MTA also maintains trains, tracks, and buses, and approximately 40% of its projected $16-billion annual budget goes to unionized payroll.

Fares, MTA asserts, account for only a small portion of the budget.

Taxi riders unwittingly pay an 80-cent surcharge on each fare. most of which goes to fund the MTA.

The MTA operated bridges also get hiked with each fare increase, adding costs to private car transit. Many of these bridges were built over 50 years ago and have long covered initial construction costs.

Many required utility bills include State surcharges and a portion are fed directly to MTA budgets.

Meanwhile, bus and train services are reduced placing riders into daily torture sessions to commute to work and back. The MTA cites very little concern to the needs of the average rider.

Since 1979, the only major rider advocacy groups has been the Straphangers Campaign that is run by NYPIRG or New York Public Interest Research Group. It’s a poorly funded research organization that uses students at 20 college campuses as volunteers to conduct interviews and research.

I do support alternate transportation organizations like Transportation Alternatives and CitiBike using bicycles as healthy methods of short distance commuting. Consequently, significantly more people prefer and rely on public transportation and MUST use and cope with what MTA offers.

As Apple marches towards shaping the 21st century, admittedly MTA must cope with 19th and 20th century technologies. Instead of building new discretionary projects, the MTA must focus exclusively on improving the current meat-and-potatoes, everyday infrastructure.

In addition, the New York City Council and Mayor must demand that MTA divest itself of operating New York City transit and bridges.

Beyond NYC, the residents of other counties have cars and cabs to take them to train stations. New York residents, as more rule than privilege, do not have access or the money to use this luxury. Cars, parking, fuel, insurance and other costs are higher in the 5 NYC counties than most of the country.

MTA board members must be paid no more than $100,000 per year. They are appointed civil servants. Like anyone else, the MTA must be held accountable to the quality of living for the riders that MTA represents.

Apple is aware of the competitive flavors of different technologies and, at least this year, is waging some triumphs. As the Big Apple, New York City may one day plan projects like light rails that help access to fringe areas not adequately covered by transit. First, though, NYC must address infrastructure

The MTA must first cater to its users well and account for these tens of billions of budget overspending to each New Yorker. Transit help make New York an empire. An unaccountable MTA may, one day, make New Yorkers seek out elsewhere for preserving and building quality of life.

As the Big Apple, New York City may one day plan projects like light rails that help access to fringe areas not adequately covered by transit. First, though, NYC must address infrastructure of rails and highways. Then more buses must be added to neglected routes that now carry heavy loads of people waiting upwards of a half-hour between bus arrivals.

New York City residents, it may be time to vote for those candidates that agree with divesting the 5 boroughs from a mismanaged MTA that was developed in another era before smartphones and tablets. It may be time for New York, dubbed the Big Apple, to seek out better transit service for those who love calling New York City home. Tell your officials that MTA must not raise fares again.

Falafel instead of meatballs

A Falafel is a meatless meatball made primarily of ground chickpeas instead of soy. Amidst turbulence in middle-east Asia, the Falafel may be seen as a unifier. Falafel is an ancient dish that has been popular in Egypt and now the rest of the Middle East. Falafel is believed to have its roots in Alexandria Egypt but the new Israel may have made falafel popular. Beginning in the 1950s, Yemenite immigrants in Israel took up making falafel to earn a livelihood, utilizing the chickpea version common in the Levant (Ottoman Empire) and transformed this ancient treat into the Israeli national street food.

With influxes of Israelis and Arabs in the United States, Falafel has risen as one of the most popular fast-foods in many cities, as sandwiches and salads. It may also be considered a healthy fast-food, and cholesterol manager, according to an article published in Time Magazine.

In a recent issue of Time Magazine reports on the health benefits of a staple food from the middle-east – Falafel.

According to the article, Falafel is rich in plant protein with about 2 grams per ball, falafel stands in handily for red meat. “I certainly eat falafel,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Imagine falafel with a Middle Eastern salad replacing meatballs and spaghetti made with white flour.” Another science professional added that the same serving adds 26% of your daily fiber requirement. There’s no fiber in meat!

The article quotes Peter Zahradka, PhD, principal investigator in molecular physiology at the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnepeg as saying that “Foods like chickpeas help fill that fiber gap. “Our own research has shown that legumes like chickpeas can actually improve the function of our blood vessels. This makes falafel potentially a very good way of reducing the risk of heart disease, especially if the fat content is kept low through baking.”

Most falafel are served deep fried and that increases fat content but most of the approximately 5% fat content of each ball is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the good kind. Only a small portion is saturated fat. A typical meatball (about 2″ diameter) has slightly more fat, about equal on saturated or polyunsaturated.

A baked falafel ball has less than 1% fat, is about 40 calories each instead of around 60 calories for fried. It isn’t merely falafel. Chickpeas or Garbanzos are from the legume family. Adding more legumes to your diet instead of meat can help lower LDL cholesterol or the bad stuff that can possibly clog arteries.

There are hundreds of shops that sell falafel sandwiches as well as entrees and appetizers. Most of these falafel balls are deep fried. Falafel contains around 325 calories for a 100 gram serving (about 3 to 4 balls @ 2″ diameter) It’s made out of 35% water, 30% carbohydrates, 15 percent protein and some 20% of the rest – which may include some fat and also vitamins and minerals, from potassium and magnesium to foliate. When deep fried, the falafel contains relatively little fat, and when eaten with salad it is both satiating and healthy.

Falafel is simply chickpeas that have been soaked, mashed and combined with other ingredients such as bread crumbs, onions, spices, and egg, shaped into small balls and fried in cooking oil. Healthier versions might omit bread crumbs and substitute egg whites for eggs. Eggs help keep the mix together as a ball.

A falafel pita sandwich with lettuce complete with creamy dressing is about 550 calories. The dressing is traditionally tahini sauce. Its prime ingredient is sesame and is purported to provide more trace nutrition and protein. Use of sesame in diets show evidence of a role in helping to manage HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

While tahini in a falafel may not contribute vastly to sesame intake, the health benefits come from sesamin – a sesame component. Sesamin is fibrous matter known as a lignan, which is a chemical compound found in plants. Sesamin is present in sesame oil and is extracted from sesame oil after sesame oil has been removed from the mature open seeds of the sesame plant It exists in natural foods such as flaxseed (not flaxseed oil unless the hull remains), wheat bran, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, vegetables, cranberries and whole grains such as oatmeal and barley. Sesamin is a protagonist that favorably reacts to the good bacteria and foreign studies hint that sesamin may contribute to maintaining cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels. Adding moderate levels of lignans to your diet may contribute to successes in health management.

Eating falafel with salad on low-carb pita help you get valuable phytonutrients that further contribute to the health benefits of falafel as a super powered food, as part of a responsibly balanced diet.

Apart from political dissonance and turbulence, the middle-east has ancient roots that have helped make them survivors over millenniums. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria was one of the first Christian communities in Egypt, founded in the first-century AD. Alexandria was a thriving Jewish community 300 years earlier and some believe Joseph and Mary fled to Alexandria after fleeing Herod after Jesus was born. The Coptic Christians ate an earlier falafel version made of fava beans. Falafel is not only a potential superfood. Its origins may have been shared peacefully by many ethnicities and perspectives. Perhaps they should serve falafel at peace talks.

There are more healthier pastas available. One is Barilla Protein Plus and is a pseudo-traditional pasta with good flavor plus lots of protein and fiber. Add falafel balls to a 3.5 ounce serving, with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, and you have a cholesterol-free, phytonutrient rich, healthy meal that is very tasty and filling.

Here is a falafel recipe that you can try. Or find a falafel store near you. You may find it to be a great substitute for meatballs in your diet. When it comes to lunch, think of falafel as pita cuisine.

If the brace and shoe fit then wear it with AFO

Whether the origin of “If the shoe fits, wear it” comes from Cinderella, the saying can be traced over two centuries. At those times, shoes were exclusively for feet. Today, thanks to certain medical technologies, people with mobile impairments can choose shoes that fit. Unfortunately, if you are wearing a brace for leg and ankle support, many shoes intended for feet alone do not fit. If they do initially, they wear out rapidly. There are new support braces for children and adults that benefit many incurable conditions. Finding a standard shoe to fit a foot with a brace is often very complicated. You don’t have to wait for a fairy. Knowledge, research, experience and a medical professional motion support team can help.

When the cobbler cobbled his first shoe, it was intended for one foot in each shoe. They may not have been comfortable but they were sturdy and protective from rough terrain. For years, any form of brace, prosthetic or orthotic placed in the shoe with a foot would stretch the leather and the shoe-last would not last.

Shoes and sneakers do not adapt or wear well with braces also inserted with your foot. In addition, many brace users can’t jump over puddles or maneuver easily around them. Walking on smooth surfaces is almost or more challenging than hiking in the woods. A recent class of more supportive hiking boots may help people who rely on braces for degrees of mobility. Low-cut models with flexible midsoles are excellent for day hiking. Materials impact a boot’s weight, breathability, durability and water resistance. These may offer stiffer but comfortable ankle support. They may be the comfort match for brace wearers or those seeking more support than ordinary shoes provide. Low-cut hiking shoes are available virtually everywhere shoes are sold. If the shoes fit, they will wear well with or without a brace.

Wearing a shoe with an AFO or Ankle Foot Orthosis, a new term for a supportive brace, means you’re using the shoe beyond its expected intent. Most shoes will not withstand this use.

An AFO is a form of brace that supports and aids a common joint action called dorsiflexion. Dorsiflexion of the foot is sometimes referred to as dorsiflexion of the ankle. Flexing the ankle joint so that the underside of the foot rotates upwards. That is, the upper surfaces of the toes (including the toe nails) move towards the shin bones at the front of the lower-leg. Many are born with diseases that disallow those muscles (or associated nerves) to function normally. An AFO is added to the foot and lower leg. Both are inserted in a shoe.

Can you necessarily go to any shoe store or order online for a pair of shoes to fit a brace or AFO? Many will find it a stupefying task. You might have to opt for orthopedic or custom shoes that, for many, are not insured and beyond affordability. Furthermore, these custom shoe designers are usually podiatrists or orthopedists. They are often ignorant of what AFO is and how it works.

Many AFO manufacturers recommend and warranty each AFO foot brace for use with sneakers. Most sneakers are soft and these can stretch rapidly to the point of instability. Yet there is more to this dynamic. Weight and foot-size are two significant variables that can quickly damage ordinary shoes. Few AFO manufacturers are aware or recommend low-cut hiking shoes.

Among the best patients for an AFO are children that are low in weight. Children want to be mobile and AFO is a form of brace that helps support ankle and lower leg muscles that are necessary.

The ToeOFF KiddieGAIT is among the more popular AFO braces that many pediatric therapists prescribe. This brace offers dynamic technologies that help children rise and move from wheelchairs and walk.

The Allard KiddieGATE is a dynamic AFO and is very different than the brace you might have seen, such as the ones Forest Gump wore in the movie. Those are static braces. Static AFOs are devices that hold joints in constant position and are made of rigid materials.

Dynamic AFOs have varying types including hinged, articulating, static progressive or inhibitory. The dynamic components may be based on materials, mechanical joints, exertion of forces on joints, freedom of joint motion, or inhibitory influences to properly guide foot motion to simulate a normal gait.

David Zwicker, New York orthotist with Prothotics labs, indicates that dynamic AFO devices are helping children find mobility in varying degrees, based on their conditions. There are many more to choose from. Zwicker, among many other caring orthotists, understand that mobility is very precious to people at any age. Orthotists strive to use and explore technologies that help find the best and most comfortable fit to deliver the best mobility possible. In some cases, physical therapy aids in using the AFO devices more effectively.

Lighter body weights do allow a brace and foot to fit more sturdily in shoes and sneakers. Low-cut hiking shoes may add a little more stability while allowing other muscles to stretch and perform properly.

Adults with an AFO, on the other hand, over 175 pounds, bear more pressure that compromises the fit and durability of most shoes and sneakers. As adults age, calf to ankle muscles become more limited across genders and more complaints rise of walking issues. Over the course of ages 40 through 80, compromised dorsiflexion increases although sometimes related to other joint muscular problems.

Then there are adult-onset nerve and muscle diseases that wear nerves and/or muscles more rapidly, such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Passive adults over 60 experience normal muscle wear and require additional support from shoes. You find New Balance sneakers more prevalent on normal aging feet, without braces. Some wear over-the-counter orthotics for

There’s a drop-off of how aging people might treat drop-foot dorsiflexion. They use canes, walkers, and power scooters. Many are unaware of what an AFO brace is, Very few are stubborn enough to want to stand and walk. That may be why fewer elect a brace and fewer than that choose an AFO.

Heavier bodies, larger feet, heavier feet, and an AFO can stretch almost any ordinary shoe, including leather or synthetic New Balance sneakers.

Hiking shoes are more rigid but an AFO foot brace doesn’t comfortably fit in a boot. It can fit in hiking shoes just at the ankle, and not tied to the top.

Brands like Oboz Footwear, The North Face, and Merrell make low-cut hiking shoes that are more likely to properly support an adult foot with a dynamic AFO brace in a shoe, while allowing dynamic natural foot movement in accordance with the brace.

AFO users have very case specific support needs. Avoid shoes that offer special supports for normal people. Some offer 3–5mm thick inserts are sandwiched between a boot’s midsole and outsole to add load-bearing stiffness to the midsole. They vary in length; some cover the entire length of the midsole, while others only cover half. There are also Plate supports –
thin, semiflexible inserts are positioned between the midsole and the outsole, and below the shank (if included). They protect ordinary feet from getting bruised by roots or uneven rocks. Most AFO wearers are more likely to be concerned about walking smooth hills or slightly bumpy surfaces. This is why use of a cane is helpful to avoid accidents.

Hiking shoe brands are not on many AFO brace manufacturer recommended lists and, in some cases, may nullify a replacement warranty. Consult with your prescribing health practitioner.

If you are an adult who wants to retain upright mobility and a choose a brace for support, then a low-cut hiking shoe is a lightweight alternative to flimsy sneakers. Remember that NO SHOE was designed for a foot and a brace and, as an adult, using a brace places you in a minority. Do not use a shoe for more than 3 consecutive days and switch to another. None of these shoes will last long under daily use. All will be more dependable than sneakers.

Nothing is better than stable, healthy muscles. An AFO helps people who can’t move as a helping aid. Ask a physiatrist for a recommendation. Ask you user to customize it for your comfort, Competent, professional orthotists like David Zwicker, can help you adapt and optimize a new pseudo-active lifestyle.

If the brace and shoe fit then wear it with AFO but make sure your shoe provides the support you need. A foot, an AFO device and a shoe must work in concordance. People with neuromuscular mobility problems need the assurance that fit and support must coexist for better mobility degrees, when nerves, muscles, or both can’t do the job.

Benjamin Netanyahu for USA president

After republican Ted Cruz threw his hat into the running for USA President in 2016 elections, it was discovered he was born in Canada. New documentation has arisen that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was not born in Israel. He was born in Philadelphia. As a result, Benjamin Netanyahu is considering a run for United States President.

It is believed that house speaker John Boehner may be discussing policies and strategies on an upcoming visit to Israel.

A major glitch is that Benjamin Netanyahu has no party affiliation in the United States. It is unlikely that he can pose a challenge as an Independent.

Benjamin Netanyahu was always believed to have been born in Tel Aviv, Israel. New documentation from an anonymous source appears to reveal that Netanyahu was born in Philadelphia but circumcised in Israel. Pundits believe bid for USA president by Benjamin Netanyahu may be more valid than one-term Texas Senator Ted Cruz. It is unclear whether Netanyahu has United States citizenship.

Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. As such, he was a dual citizen, Cruz is an American because of his mother, and Canadian because the country. Canada grants automatic citizenship to anyone born there, as does the United States. If this validates Cruz, Benjamin Netanyahu may also be valid.

Early in March, Netanyahu addressed US Congress about an impending nuclear threat from Iran. His appearance was sharply criticized by politicians and, most disturbing, Jon Stewart. Though a potential political powder keg, a run by Benjamin Netanyahu may offset intricate political balances.

Americans for Netanyahu, a recently formed PAC, believe Netanyahu, as US born, is as valid as Ted Cruz claim. Cruz counters that he is an American because his mother is an American. Does this possibly sound like the Jewish law that religion is passed through the matriarch? Are we missing something?

Asked if this is an April Fool joke, a representative for Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment. The newly re-elected Prime Minister of Israel has other issues to consider.

It is unclear, and nothing is evident, that Boehner will discuss this with Benjamin Netanyahu during his planned visit to Israel. United States Secretary of State John Kerry declined to comment but fears any such move may upset current US-Iran negotiations.

Many Israelis are skeptical and claim that Benjamin Netanyahu should remain focused on protecting Israel’s interests. One Israeli, Yisrael ben Yosef thinks, “This sounds like an April Fool’s joke.”