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New Yorker Leads Labor Charge For Health Reform

For more than a decade, Dennis Rivera was New York’s mightiest labor leader, running a union of 300,000 health care workers that often bent Albany to its will as it scared — and angered — governors, Democratic and Republican, with its hard-hitting ads.

Two summers ago, Rivera stepped down from that post and largely disappeared. But now, as President Barack Obama’s health care push has run into trouble, Rivera has emerged as a central player in the effort to save Obama’s effort.

Rivera is the point man on health reform for the nation’s most politically powerful union, the Service Employees International Union, which is doing more than any other union to push for health legislation. In many ways, the White House is looking to the SEIU to lead labor in doing the blocking and tackling necessary for Obama to carry the ball forward.

AIG’s Stock Rises, and Many Wonder Why

It may have been written off as a hopeless case less than a year ago, but the stock of the American International Group shot up to $50 on Thursday, capping a fourfold gain in the last two months.

For all the optimism taking hold in the markets these days, it is hard to find a tangible explanation.

“Who would want to buy a stock that’s still 80 percent owned by the government?” wondered William T. Fitzpatrick, an equity analyst at Optique Capital. Shares ended the day at $47.84, a gain of 27 percent from the previous close of $37.89.

Federer and Nadal on Opposite Sides of Open Draw

Roger Federer was calm and cheerful before the U.S. Open draw Thursday afternoon, and he was still calm and cheerful afterward. The 10-minute unveiling of this year’s bracket clearly did not worry him, even if the path to his 16th major title could take him through any combination of Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.

Federer arrived in New York after a momentous summer in which he finally won the French Open, surpassed Pete Sampras’ record for most major titles and became a father to twin girls. With his charge to victory in the Cincinnati Masters last week, it seems that changing diapers has not hurt his form.