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Huffington This Week: A Battered Borough and a Controversial Merger

12/12/2012 09:23 pm ET | Updated Feb 13, 2013

In this week's issue of Huffington, Saki Knafo and Lila Shapiro put the spotlight on the borough of Staten Island, where 23 people died during Hurricane Sandy -- more than half of New York City's total deaths in the storm. The larger story of Staten Island and the storm -- a story of the real estate industry's deep political ties, of the borough's history of flooding, and the inadequate post-Sandy emergency response -- is brought to life through Pedro Correa, an Iraq veteran who made his home on Staten Island's southern shore with his wife and two children. Correa's story, and that of his house on Kissam Avenue, is like a capsule history of the American Dream. Years ago, he bought a fixer-upper on a third of an acre with an in-ground pool, just 50 feet from the beach, affording him a lifestyle he always thought would be out of reach for a middle class guy working as a corrections officer at Sing Sing. In time, Correa put his carpentry skills to work, adding a deck with sea views, a front porch, a bathroom and an apartment for his mother in the basement.

He also put in a new kitchen, and that's where he was standing on the night of Oct. 29, when the storm rolled in. Correa's family had followed the city's mandatory evacuation order, but he and a friend stayed behind. Looking out the window, Correa saw his car floating by in a surge of floodwater. Then he saw something larger floating toward him -- the roof of a neighbor's house. What follows is the amazing story of Correa's escape, including the moment after he had climbed aboard the floating roof: "Correa imagined that the lights blinking on and off across the marsh belonged to rescuers. Then he realized with a sickening feeling that the SOS flashes came from people trapped in their homes. They must have thought he was a rescuer, too."

Elsewhere in the issue, Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter write about a potential shakeup in the music industry. In a controversial $2 billion deal, Universal Music is planning to take over EMI, which would give the company control of a staggering 40 percent of the industry. As the American Antitrust Institute warned, the Universal-EMI outcome could lead to "diminished consumer choice" and "diminished innovation."

Cherkis and Carter place the potential merger in context, revisiting the battle between big labels and digital services that goes back to the 1990s, when the giants tried to quash upstarts like Napster and innovations like the mp3 player and CD burners. It's a reminder that, while companies like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify have led a digital music revolution, the big labels still have a great deal of influence on the ways we listen to, create and pay for music.

This piece appears in our FREE weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available in the iTunes App store.