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    This blog post was coauthored by the Woodstock Institute and the National Council of La Raza.

    Congress has an opportunity to spur job creation and recovery from the foreclosure crisis—and at little cost to taxpayers.

    How is this possible? The “American Community Investment Reform Act of 2010” (H.R. 6334), introduced last week by Luis Gutierrez (D–IL), would promote safe, sound, and sustainable lending to all communities by updating the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Originally passed in 1977, CRA incentivizes banks to meet basic banking needs of communities through safe and sound financial products where they have branches, including low- and moderate-income communities.

    This obligation to serve creditworthy, low- and modest-income persons and communities prevented the economic downturn from being worse than it could have been. Incentivizing mainstream lenders to serve these neighborhoods with sound loans helped curb discrimination and mitigate the effects of predatory loans from non-bank lenders not covered by CRA. Most importantly, it proved that the type of loan product often correlated with whether or not a borrower would default. That is, a responsible loan often amounts to a responsible borrower.

    CRA’s effectiveness has, however, diminished over the years as the financial landscape has changed, and the proposed changes could not have come at a better time. Communities hit hardest by the recession need sound investment. The improvements would prevent CRA from becoming antiquated and ensure that it can respond to the acute challenges brought on by the financial crisis. While modernizing CRA will take time, today’s initial proposal is promising and includes significant advances in sound lending to underserved families. The National Council of La Raza and Woodstock Institute believe there are three particularly standout additions:

    • CRA would require non-bank financial institutions to serve the needs of all communities where they do business. The vast majority of the risky high-cost loans that started the foreclosure crisis were made by non-bank lenders with no obligation to judiciously serve the credit needs of their communities. The “American Community Investment Reform Act” would extend CRA to independent mortgage lenders, bank affiliates and subsidiaries, and securities companies, creating an obligation to invest responsibly in the communities where they make money. Woodstock Institute has advocated for expansion of CRA’s scope for years.
    • CRA would encourage investment in minority-owned, women-owned, or community development financial institutions. Earlier this year, NCLR proposed that CRA-covered institutions receive credit for making responsible investments in institutions with special expertise in offering sound lending to low- and moderate-income communities. This new provision invites banks and finance companies to experiment with innovative and sound practices, including new delivery channels, underwriting criteria, product development, and community projects.
    • CRA-covered lenders would invest in revitalizing or stabilizing low- or moderate-income geographies, designated disaster areas, and underserved rural areas. CRA could play an important role in shortening recovery time after a disaster, saving entire neighborhoods. This provision would extend CRA’s reach to enable nontraditional borrowers, including many Latinos, to gain services and benefit directly from investments made by large mainstream banks that might otherwise have left the community underserved.

    CRA has a 30-year track record of success, and thanks to these proposed provisions, it will evolve with the needs of the new economy. CRA will extend its influence and continue to direct mainstream banks to underserved communities to ensure that families are not excluded from a fair lending market. By generating more models of affordable lending tools, CRA will continue to serve the public interest and help revive neighborhoods suffering from economic fallout. Contact your representative and ask them to support H.R. 6334.


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    October is National Depression Awareness and Education month. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that each year, approximately 20 million people over age 18 suffer from depression. Depression is a serious condition that can affect persons of all genders, ages, and backgrounds and lead to substantial impairments that disrupt an individual’s life. The condition often coexists with other serious medical illnesses (e.g., heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes). Depression is treatable.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 4% of all Latinos in the U.S. suffer from depression at least once in their lifetime; however, Latinos have been found to underuse mental health services in comparison to their non-Hispanic counterparts. There are many reasons for this, including poverty, lack of access to health care services, language barriers, and cultural stigmas associated with mental disorders.

    To address this need, NCLR and five of its affiliated community-based organizations developed the award-winning project, De Blanco y Negro a Colores: Entendiendo la Depresión (From Black and White to Color: Understanding Depression). The project includes culturally and linguistically appropriate education materials that have been used by promotores de salud (lay health educators) to conduct community health interventions. Furthermore, NCLR has actively engaged in discussions with academics, researchers, policymakers, and community leaders to better address the barriers that Latinos face in accessing mental health services. These efforts have resulted in publications that include Critical Disparities in Latino Mental Health: Transforming Research into Action and Latino Mental Health in the United States: A Community-Based Approach.

    Additional information regarding depression and other mental illness is available at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


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  • 10/07/10--07:23: News Roundup for Thursday
  • A new campaign is urging Latinos to turn out on Election Day and vote for respect. Arizona, birthright citizenship, and other issues are motivating Latinos to participate in November. According to The Washington Post:

    “The campaign, which was released Wednesday and will air on Spanish-language media, is a stark black-and-white video with the faces of many Latinos saying they ‘believe in the promise of America.’

    “‘We know that Latinos have tended to lag behind other groups, and we are committed to changing that equation,’ said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, which has brought together a coalition of Hispanic community groups. ‘In our conversations at the community level there's a deep sense of urgency about the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino environment, and that could potentially win out.’

    “She and others point to Arizona, where a stringent immigration law passed earlier this year, as a center of what they see as an attack on immigrants. The law, called SB 1070, requires police to check for immigration status in some circumstances. Immigrant rights groups have decried the law as racial profiling, though supporters say it is a necessary measure for curbing illegal immigration.”

    Cities continue to struggle amid the difficult economic situation faced by our country, according to a new report. The New York Times explains:

    “The nation’s cities are in their worst fiscal shape in at least a quarter of a century and have probably not yet hit the bottom of their slide, according to a report released on Wednesday.

    “The report, by the National League of Cities, found that many cities, which are in their fourth straight year of declining revenues, are only now beginning to see lower property values translate into lower property tax collections, which are the backbone of many city budgets.

    “It can take several years for city assessors to catch up to real estate market conditions, and this year, for the first time since the housing bubble burst, cities are projecting a 1.8 percent decrease in property tax collections.

    “With sales tax collections still down, and unemployment and stagnant salaries taking a toll on cities that rely on income-tax revenues, cities are seeing their revenues drop even faster than many of them have been able to cut spending. They also face the additional burden of paying rising health care and pension costs for their employees.”

    This month is breast cancer awareness month, and we urge everyone to talk to their doctor and get checked out. USA Today does a question and answer session with Dr. Susan Love, a leading expert in the field of breast cancer research:
    “Cancer care and prevention have changed significantly since the first edition of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book was published 20 years ago.

    “Love, who just published a 734-page fifth edition, recently answered questions during a live chat on Facebook with readers and USA TODAY reporter Liz Szabo. Here are edited highlights of that chat:

    Q: I just got the latest edition of your book on breast cancer. What are the most important changes in breast cancer since you wrote the first edition, 20 years ago? — Szabo

    A: It is amazing how complicated breast cancer has become. Twenty years ago, the only question was lumpectomy and radiation versus mastectomy. Now, it is partial breast radiation versus total breast; skin-sparing mastectomy versus nipple-sparing mastectomy; immediate reconstruction versus delayed, and then what type. And that does not even include chemotherapy, hormones and targeted therapy. The book, needless to say, is fatter. I can't wait until I can write a pamphlet that says, ‘Here is the answer. The end!’

    Q: Never have had a mammogram, never will unless I find a lump. I have done a lot of research on mammograms, and I have my own theory about the cumulative radiation it exposes women to, after years and years of constant mammograms. Never had any cysts either. I'm 58, still have the same opinion. What is your opinion on this? — Cara Swann

    A. You are right that cumulative radiation is bad. But the age you get them (mammograms) is important. The younger breast (under 40) is more sensitive to the radiation than the older breast. If you started mammograms at age 30 and had them every year, you would cause more cancers than you cure. Between 40 and 50, it is a wash. And after 50, you cure more cancers than you cause.

    Not-so-free public education? Financially squeezed schools in California are asking parents to chip in on their children’s education. According to the Los Angeles Times:

    “Like libraries and parks, public education has a special place in civic life as a democratizing institution that offers free and equal access to all. But in recent years, financially squeezed schools have become less democratic, or at least less free, by levying a variety of fees on everything from books to extracurricular uniforms.

    “Among the things that various California schools are asking parents to pay for:

    Novels assigned for literature classes.

    Vocabulary workbooks and even some textbooks.

    Gym uniforms that students are required to wear for mandated physical education classes.

    Student identification cards that are required by the schools.

    Lab fees for science classes.

    Art supplies for art classes.

    “The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state in September, contending that the expenses deny children the free public education they are guaranteed under the California Constitution.”


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    For Immediate Release
    October 7, 2010

    Contact
    Raúl Arce-Contreras, 202.478.5318
    rarcecontreras@americanprogressaction.org

    ADVISORY: Improving the Economic Well-Being of Latino Kids

    Tuesday October 12, 2010, 9:00am – 10:30am

    New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that more than one in five children in the United States lived in poverty last year. The data point to potentially devastating consequences for child well-being and the future of our nation. Given that a large and growing portion of children are Latino—92 percent of whom are U.S. citizens—our country cannot fully address child poverty without considering the particular challenges Latino families face.

    How does the new American Community Survey data compare to previous years? How does the data for Latino children compare with other communities? How is poverty different for Latino children? What are state and federal policies that can improve Latino child well-being?

    In light of Hispanic Heritage Month, join us for a conversation on child poverty in the Latino community and why investment in this population is critical to our country's future.

    Introduction:
    Neera Tanden, Chief Operating Officer, Center for American Progress Action Fund

    Keynote Speaker:
    Cecilia Muñoz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

    Presentation of paper:
    Patricia Foxen, Associate Director of Research, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, National Council of La Raza

    Featured Panelists:
    Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, National Council of La Raza
    Maria Gomez, RN, MPH, President and CEO, Mary's Center
    Melissa Boteach, Half in Ten Campaign Manager, Center for American Progress Action Fund

    Moderated by:
    Vanessa Cárdenas, Director of Progress 2050, Center for American Progress

    RSVP
    If you are a member of the press and would like to RSVP for this event, please contact Raúl Arce-Contreras at rarcecontreras@americanprogressaction.org
    Location
    Center for American Progress Action Fund
    1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
    Washington, DC 20005
    Map & Directions

    Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

    ###

    The Center for American Progress Action Fund is the sister advocacy organization of the Center for American Progress. The Action Fund transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world. The Action Fund is also the home of the Progress Report


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    October 7, 2010

    Contact:
    Sherria Cotton
    (202) 785-1670

    NCLR TO HOST FIRST-EVER LATINO-FOCUSED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO

    Chicago, IL—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, will hold its 2010 Workforce Development Conference—“¡Listo! Preparing Latino Workers for the New Economy”—on Wednesday, October 13 and Thursday, October 14 in Chicago, Illinois. This two-day conference will convene business leaders, advocates, and policymakers to discuss the barriers limiting Latino workers’ career mobility and focus on effective programs and policies that will help Latino workers succeed in today’s labor market.

    “Representing 14.2% of the workforce, Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the United States workforce and will play a crucial role in getting America’s economy back on its feet,” said Simon Lopez, Senior Director of Workforce and Leadership Development. “Through a network of community-based Affiliates, business partners, community colleges, and local and state governments, NCLR is making great strides toward identifying challenges that Latinos face in the workforce and building programs that bridge Latino workers’ education and skill gaps to prepare them for lifelong career advancement.”

    Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training, Department of Labor, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday. Highlights also include workshops following five tracks: Career Pathways Strategies, Serving Vulnerable Workers, Youth Workforce Development, Strategic Partnerships, and Local, State, and Federal Policy Solutions. NCLR will also release a new report during the conference titled Learning In Context: Preparing Latino Workers for Careers and Continuing Education,which explores the impact of integrated training programs on low-skill and limited-English-proficient participants.

    To learn more about the 2010 Workforce Development Conference, visit www.nclr.org/wfdconference.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: 2010 NCLR Workforce Development Conference: ¡Listo! Preparing Latino Workers for the New Economy
    WHEN: Wednesday, October 13
    Workshop Sessions 1–4 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CDT
    Luncheon Noon–1:30 p.m. CDT
    • Keynote Address: Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training, Department of Labor
    Thursday, October 14
    Workshop Sessions 5–7 8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. CDT
    Breakfast Plenary Session 8:30–9:15 a.m. CDT
    • Speakers:
      • Julio Rodriguez, Director of Program Services, Bureau of Workforce Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
      • Bruce Herman, Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development, New York State Department of Labor
      • Ken Ortiz, Secretary, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions
    Luncheon 12:30–1:30 p.m. CDT
    WHERE: Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile
    300 East Ohio Street
    Chicago, IL 60611
    HOW: Press credentials are being offered for workshops and luncheons. Please email Sherria Cotton at scotton@nclr.org by Tuesday, October 12 for credentials.

    ###


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  • 10/08/10--07:27: News Roundup for Friday
  • Edward Schumacher-Matos writes about the Latino Vote in The Washington Post today:

    “Latinos make up more than 15 percent of the population, and they were 7.4 percent of 2008 voters. But more important politically is their especially large role in heavily populated states such as California, Texas and Florida and swing ones such as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.

    “In California, the races between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina for the Senate and Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman for governor are essentially tied among non-Latino voters, according to a poll by the Los Angeles Times, Latino Decisions and the University of Southern California. Democrats Boxer and Brown, however, were leading overall, and the difference was almost entirely due to Hispanics. They make up 19 percent of California's electorate.

    “But Brown's race is tight, reflecting what the Democrats do wrong. Brown has invested almost nothing in Latino media, while Whitman, who has a Latino running mate, pumps out the Spanish-language TV ads.

    “Of course, she has to. The Spanish media have been beating her up over how she callously fired her longtime maid, an unauthorized immigrant, as Whitman prepared to run for office.

    “The number of Latino undecideds in that race is so high and the Latino support for Brown so shallow -- 15 points lower than Democratic affiliation -- that the Whitman ads might be enough to keep many Latinos from voting for either of them. She would benefit.”

    The discrepancies in foreclosure paperwork that were reported earlier this week are also causing problems on the home sales front. According to The New York Times:

    “Like many buyers across the country, Ms. Ducksworth was about to complete the purchase of a foreclosed house when it suddenly went off the market. Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage holding company that buys loans from commercial lenders, is pulling back sales of homes that might have been foreclosed in bad faith.

    “‘I gave up my rental thinking I would have a house,’ said Ms. Ducksworth, a 28-year-old catering assistant. ‘Now I’m sharing a room with my son. What the hell is up with that?’

    “With home sales this past summer at the lowest level in more than a decade, real estate is ill-prepared to suffer another blow. But as a scandal unfolds over mortgage lenders’ shoddy preparation of foreclosure documents, the fallout is beginning to hammer the housing market, especially in states like Florida where distressed properties are abundant.”


    Women are closing the income gap, according to a new Census data that gets a write-up from The Washington Post:

    “The number of women with six-figure incomes is rising at a much faster pace than it is for men.

    “Nationwide, about one in 18 women working full time earned $100,000 or more in 2009, a jump of 14 percent over two years, according to new census figures. In contrast, one in seven men made that much, up just 4 percent.

    “The legions of higher-income women have grown even faster in the Washington region, further burnishing its reputation as a land of opportunity for ambitious professional women.

    “In the metropolitan region, one in six women earned more than $100,000 last year, the second highest ratio in the nation behind No. 1 San Jose. But Washington women had the highest median pay among all full-time working women, almost $54,000 compared with the national median of nearly $37,000.”

    USA Today has a write-up on the jobless rate for September:

    “The U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 9.6% for another month in September. The economy lost 95,000 jobs last month as Census layoffs continued, but the private sector gained 64,000 jobs.

    “Economists don't foresee a broad employment recovery any time soon, but it's not all bad news. For example, it was announced this week that, for the fourth time in five weeks, fewer people applied for jobless benefits, and the number of open jobs rose in August for the second month in a row, to 3.2 million.

    “Before the report was released, a Bloomberg analysis predicted this month's numbers, the last until after the midterm elections, could solidify voters' ambivalence toward Democrats. The jobless rate has barely fallen from the 26-year high of 10.1 percent reached last October.”

    Obesity may be playing a big role in the increase of U.S. adults hobbled by arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Los Angeles Times has the story:

    “A surprising jump in the number of Americans hobbled by arthritis may be due to obesity, health experts said Thursday.

    “About 22 percent of U.S. adults have been told by a doctor that they have arthritis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The statistic comes from national telephone polling of tens of thousands of adults in 2007 through 2009.

    “That translates to nearly 50 million people with the joint disease. It's also roughly the same percentage with arthritis as reported in a 2003-2005 study.

    “But there was a significant jump in adults who said their joint pain or other arthritis symptoms limited their usual activities, to 9.4 percent from 8.3 percent. That means more than 21 million adults have trouble climbing stairs, dressing, gardening or doing other things, up from less than 19 million only a few years before, the CDC researchers estimated.”


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    By Eric Rodriguez

    Reports of the recession ending do not mean that we’re well on our way to recovery. Black and Latino workers know this well. In our communities, the economic crisis has hit hard, and it is unrelenting. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12.4% of Latinos and 16.1% of Blacks were unemployed in September, compared to 9.6% of the nation.

    The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has been working tirelessly with its network of community-based Affiliates, labor unions, and civil and human rights organizations, who believe it is within our power as a country to build a stronger, new economy that works for everyone. What we want is an economy where a child who goes to school in a rural area has the same chance of success as a child who goes to school in a middle-class suburb. An economy where workers in the tomato fields and those on Wall Street both earn enough to provide for their families. Where employers who play by the rules and provide decent wages, health care, and retirement plans to their employees have an edge over those who do not. Where owning and keeping a home is within reach for most families. Where a student who was brought to the United States as a child has a chance to contribute to this country—the only country she calls home.

    Although Congress and the administration have taken steps toward getting America back on its feet, more must be done to create jobs where they are needed most. We must build an economy that reflects our American values: hard work, fairness, and the sense of a shared destiny.

    Recognizing that building a new economy won’t happen without strong leadership and a collective will, NCLR has partnered with dozens of national and local organizations to increase voter registration in the communities that they serve. More than 17 million Latinos are eligible to vote. NCLR encourages Latinos—and all eligible voters—to make their voices heard on November 2 at the polls.

    Now, more than ever, it is important to elect decisive leaders who will move smart policies forward and advance inclusive solutions that overcome the challenges we face as a nation. On Election Day, we will tell our elected officials that we want a new economy that works for everyone—and we expect them to fight for it.


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  • 10/12/10--07:41: News Roundup for Tuesday
  • The Latino vote could be a game changer, according to an article by POLITICO:

    “But the shifting political crosscurrents in the immigration debate are making it increasingly difficult to predict how Hispanic voters will behave in the upcoming midterm elections.

    “Hispanics have been frustrated by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats’ unfulfilled promises to reform the nation’s immigration system. But they’ve also been alienated by Republicans, who have taken a harsher stand on illegal immigration this year, including Arizona’s new law at the heart of the immigration battle.

    “‘It’s translating into a sense of anger and frustration among the Latino community, and one of the strongest motivators for voters is anger,’ said Arturo Vargas, who heads the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Los Angeles.”


    California is considering joining several other states in investigating the possible violation of foreclosure laws by some lenders. According to the Los Angeles Times:

    “The investigation, which is expected to be publicly announced Wednesday, is spearheaded by Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller. Under his leadership, coalitions of states have won lending-abuse settlements of $484 million from Household International Inc. and $325 million from Ameriquest Mortgage Co.

    “The probe stems from disclosures that some major lenders filed faulty paperwork in the 23 judicial foreclosure states — the states in which foreclosures are handled by the courts.

    “In these so-called robo-signing cases, employees signed thousands of legal affidavits assuring judges of facts regarding the defaulted loans — without reading the documents. The banks have described the problems as procedural, saying the foreclosures were justified even if the paperwork was botched.”

    It appears that the agriculture industry is recovering at a faster pace than other sectors of the economy, according to The Wall Street Journal:

    “Major agricultural commodities continued their extended run-up in price, underscoring how much of America's farm belt is booming even as the overall economy continues to struggle.

    “Contracts for the delivery of corn and soybeans into mid-2011 jumped Monday by 5% and 2%, respectively, after rising their daily permissible limits on Friday, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sliced production estimates by small percentages. Cash cotton prices rose 3.3% Monday after a 3.9% gain Friday. They are 86% higher than a year ago.

    “For many crops, prices are climbing even as big harvests pile up, a rare combination. Farmland values are up while those for some other kinds of real estate languish. Debt on the farm is manageable. Incomes are rising.

    “And trade, of which many Americans are growing wary, is for agriculture a boon. Asia's economic vigor and appetites make the farm sector's reliance on exports—once thought a vulnerability in some quarters—a plus today.

    “‘The farm economy is coming out of the recession far faster than the general economy,’ said Don Carson, a senior analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, New York.”

    Education reformers in Colorado will issue a report this week which recommends key changes that have worked in several other states, according to DenverPost.com:

    “Today, the nonprofit Colorado Succeeds will release ‘Proving the Possible,’ a study pushing Colorado to adopt specific education reforms that Florida under Gov. Jeb Bush put in place over the past decade — giving grades to schools based on performance, holding back third-graders who can't read and giving bonuses to teachers when students pass Advanced Placement tests.

    “‘The idea is our report will say, “Here are what states have done and let's be inspired by that,”’ [Tim] Taylor [President of Colorado Succeeds] said.

    “Any reforms being discussed for Colorado would take legislative action, but the idea of looking at what other states are doing is a good one, said Education Commissioner Dwight Jones, who said he had not yet read the report.

    “‘Florida is doing a lot of good things and helping a lot of kids, and I believe we can benefit from their experience,’ Jones said

    “The Colorado Succeeds report pays close attention to the 2009 fourth-grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam — tests taken across the country that provide a national yardstick for education.”


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  • 10/13/10--07:32: News Roundup for Wednesday
  • For many across the country, there is little difference between an economic recovery and an economic recession. The New York Times writes:

    “In Atlanta, the Bank of America tower, the tallest in the Southeast, is nearly a fifth vacant, and bank officials just wrestled a rent cut from the developer. In Cherry Hill, N.J., 10 percent of the houses on the market are so-called short sales, in which sellers ask for less than they owe lenders. And in Arizona, in sun-blasted desert subdivisions, owners speak of hours cut, jobs lost and meals at soup kitchens.

    “Less than a month before November elections, the United States is mired in a grim New Normal that could last for years. That has policy makers, particularly the Federal Reserve, considering a range of ever more extreme measures, as noted in the minutes of its last meeting, released Tuesday. Call it recession or recovery, for tens of millions of Americans, there’s little difference.”

    Mental health providers are struggling to understand what a Medicaid expansion means for them, writes Darryl Fears in The Washington Post:

    “For District health officials, it was an easy decision.

    “The federal government handed them an opportunity to save $56 million over four years by expanding Medicaid this summer and they jumped at it. They switched 35,000 low-income residents from the city -funded D.C. Health Care Alliance insurance plan to a Medicaid plan and reaped the reward.

    “It looked like a win-win: The city got some financial relief and the new Medicaid beneficiaries got mental health coverage, which was not part of the Alliance plan. But it creates a problem for the city's mental health-care providers, who said this week that they are faced with serving thousands of new clients they are not prepared to manage.

    “‘We support expanding Medicaid eligibility, but you have to have the provider capacity to do it,’ said Shannon Hall, executive director of the D.C. Behavioral Health Association, an advocate for providers. ‘If you do one without the other, you're going to have a bad experience for the people who need care.’

    “The complaint by Hall and local mental health providers echoes general concerns about the health-care overhaul raised by hospitals, doctors, nurses and their advocates nationwide who say the mammoth program is being built on a network that cannot support it.”

    Judge Susan Bolton allows a lawsuit against SB 1070, the controversial “Papers, please” law in Arizona, to continue. CNN writes:

    “U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton rejected a request by Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and other defendants to dismiss the case. The judge issued her order on Friday.

    “Home to the busiest border crossing for illegal immigration, Arizona has passed a sweeping law allowing police to check a person's immigration status while officers enforce other laws, and which criminalizes people who fail to carry ‘alien registration papers.’ That law also is referred to as Senate Bill 1070.

    “The lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Friendly House, the ACLU and other advocacy and labor groups is one of several challenging the law. The U.S. Justice Department also has filed a lawsuit.

    “While dealing a setback to the defendants, the judge also ruled against the plaintiffs who had sought an injunction against the law. Bolton called that request "moot" because in the Justice Department suit, the court already has issued a preliminary injunction against the more controversial provisions of the law. In Friday's ruling, the judge also threw out a few of the plaintiffs' claims for ‘lack of standing.’”

    Do your children like vegetables? You can certainly put a plate of broccoli in front of them, but what does it take to make them eat it? Jedi mind tricks? USA Today writes:

    “Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

    “These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

    “The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids' use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

    “A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

    “About one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight. Bans on soda and junk food have backfired in some places. Some students have abandoned school meal programs that tried to force-feed healthy choices. When one school district put fruit on every lunch tray, most of it ended up in the garbage.

    “So instead of pursuing a carrot or a stick approach, schools want to entice kids to choose the carrot sticks, figuring children are more likely to eat something they select themselves.”


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    by Delia Pompa

    Thousands of Americans gathered in Washington, DC, recently for the One Nation Working Together march to show their support and commitment to the idea that all people—regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or ability—should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and contribute to an economy that works for everyone. The event featured an impressive lineup of speakers and organizations, which supported the notion that if we can put aside our differences in favor of meaningful change, we can ensure a more unified, sustainable, and prosperous future.

    Now more than ever, we need this spirit of commitment and solidarity to truly reform one of our country’s most vital institutions: our education system. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) fully supports and endorses the education policy principles that One Nation Working Together promotes and will continue to help make them a reality. We are working hard to improve opportunities for all of our students and we are leading the way in helping Americans reimagine how, when, and where young people learn.

    One way we work to reform our education system is through our service on the advisory board of the New Day for Learning task force. Together with educators and experts from throughout the country, we have outlined the realities that education faces today as well as the economic impact of leaving our students in a system that has ceased to serve them effectively. The New Day task force has put forth its 21st-century vision for learning that expands the definition of student success, uses research-based knowledge to define how students learn best, integrates various learning approaches and places, fosters collaboration across all sectors, and provides opportunities for leadership and professional development. An education system that includes these essential elements will ensure that Latino students, and indeed all American children, are adequately prepared to lead our nation in the future.

    At the root of everything we do is the idea that all children deserve the best education available, no matter who they are or where they live. To this end, NCLR is working on various other fronts in education as well, including the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. One Nation Working Together embodies our belief in high-quality education for all and promotes the kind of collaboration necessary to make it a reality. With everyone playing a unique and essential role, we can work together to make learning relevant and effective for all children.

    Delia Pompa is Senior Vice President of Programs at NCLR. This post originally appeared on MakeItStick.org.


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  • 10/13/10--13:55: Wealth-Building Wednesday
  • Foreclosure Crisis May Well Be Catastrophic In Any Case
    by Emptywheel
    We should expect the foreclosure crisis to get a lot worse as the paperwork debacle unfolds.

    Will Republicans Still Push to Defund New Consumer Agency Despite Foreclosure Fraud Allegations?
    by Pat Garofalo
    Republicans are threatening to withhold funding from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Mortgage Trouble Redux
    by Tim Fernholz
    Fraudulent papers signed to rush foreclosures will likely lead investigators to the shaky mortgages to which they were attached.

    A Look at How Unregulated Servicers Are, and the Consequences for Leaving this Crisis
    by Rortybomb
    Problems with foreclosure affidavits underline the necessity of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    The Enormous Mortgage-Bond Scandal
    by Felix Salmon
    Investors weren't worried about shaky loans or an insufficient paper trail because they knew they would unload the loans.


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  • 10/14/10--06:28: News Roundup for Thursday
  • On Wednesday, the Georgia state legislature passed a ban on undocumented students from attending five public colleges in the Peach State. The New York Times writes:

    “Education officials in Georgia voted Wednesday to bar illegal immigrants from attending the state’s five most selective public colleges, a decision that immigrant rights groups threatened to challenge in court.

    “Georgia is the second state, after South Carolina, to enact such a ban. The policy requires colleges to check the legal residency of all applicants and prohibits illegal immigrants from enrolling at any college with a selective admissions process. The ban takes effect next fall and applies to the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology and three other colleges.

    “The ban comes as lawmakers across the country grapple with whether illegal immigrants who attend high school in the United States should be permitted to continue to public colleges — and whether they should be granted discounted in-state tuition. The California Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a case over whether giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants violated federal immigration law.”

    The foreclosure debacle threatens to have a serious effect on the economy as a whole, writes The Washington Post:

    “The federal government's pressure on lenders Wednesday to fix the paperwork problems plaguing foreclosures left unaddressed a far greater potential threat facing the financial system and the U.S. economy.

    “Beyond sloppy documents, the foreclosure debacle has exposed one of Wall Street's little-known practices: For more than a decade, big lenders sold millions of mortgages around the globe at lightning speed without properly transferring the physical documents that prove who legally owned the loans.

    “Now, some of the pension systems, hedge funds and other investors that took big losses on the loans are seeking to use this flaw to force banks to compensate them or even invalidate the mortgage trades themselves.”

    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Hispanics are living longer than other populations. USA Today writes on the new study:

    “On average, Hispanics outlive whites by 2.5 years and blacks by 7.7 years, according to the report. Their life expectancy at birth in 2006 was 80.6 years, compared with 78.1 for whites, 72.9 for blacks and 77.7 years for the total population. Asians are not included in the data.

    “The report shows that the Hispanic population has higher life expectancy at birth and at almost every age despite a socioeconomic status lower than that of whites.”

    Charter schools tend to perform better than public schools and some private schools, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    “At their best, charter schools in Los Angeles shatter the conventional wisdom that skin color and family income are the greatest predictors of academic success.

    “Setting standards high and wringing long hours out of students and teachers, the highest-performing charters push low-income black and Latino youth to levels of achievement, as measured by standardized tests, more typical of affluent, suburban students.

    “If such schools were the norm, any debate over the value of charters would be moot. But there is no typical charter. They adhere to no single vision and vary widely in quality.

    “That said, a Times analysis showed that, overall, L.A. charter schools deliver higher test scores than traditional public schools. But charters lag well behind L.A. Unified's network of magnet schools.”


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NCLR contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670

    Ozomatli press contact:
    Rob Moore
    (646)918-4360

    OZOMATLI AND NCLR CALL ON LATINOS TO VOTE FOR RESPECT

    New Ozomatli Song “Respeto” Available for Free Download at www.nclr.org and www.ozomatli.com

    Washington, DC — Today, Ozomatli, a Grammy-award winning multicultural fusion band from Los Angeles, and NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, released a bilingual song titled “Respeto” that calls on Latino voters to participate in next month’s midterm elections.

    “NCLR applauds Ozomatli for their efforts to get Latino voters to the polls,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Latinos have a lot at stake in these elections. In the 2008 elections, a record number of Hispanic voters turned out to ensure that politicians heard the voice of the Latino community loud and clear. In the midst of an economic crisis and harsh anti-Latino climate, Latinos cannot afford to stay home on November 2. We need to stand up to those who allow our community to come under attack. We need to tell our lawmakers to work toward real solutions to our nation’s problems.”

    “The simple act of voting has proven to be an important tool in the shaping of my surroundings,” said Ozomatli’s Raul Pacheco. “As a modern American Latino, it is a meaningful step to counter the specifically hateful and hurtful rhetoric that has been aimed at Latinos throughout this country.” Pacheco adds, “Voting demonstrates self-respect. It is the dream of many that all who are eligible to vote do so on November 2. Vote for your family, vote for Respect!"

    To receive a free copy of the Ozomatli song “Respeto,” and for more information on the Latino vote and NCLR’s Vote for Respect campaign, visit www.nclr.org/vote. For more information on Ozomatli, visit http://www.ozomatli.com/.


    ###
     


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  • 10/14/10--10:47: It’s About Respect
  •  

    It is undeniable that in the 2008 general election, Latinos were an essential factor in the equation. Three weeks out from the 2010 election, Latinos again will play key if not decisive roles in several races, including California, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, and Illinois, and their participation rates will be watched closely in Arizona and Texas. If past trends hold, we could see an additional 700,000 Latino voters, compared to their 2006 numbers. The factors most likely to drive Hispanic voters to the polls have been a prominent point of speculation, but voting for respect may be the clearest incentive that these voters have.

    Participation dips in midterm elections across the whole electorate, as compared to turnout numbers for presidential elections. For Latinos in 2010, there are additional competing factors shaping turnout. On the one hand, high rates of unemployment stemming from the economic crisis, displacement created by the foreclosure crisis, and lack of progress on issues of interest to the Hispanic community could reasonably lead to lower Latino participation levels in 2010. On the other hand, there is deep concern over growing anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment in the country, hate speech, the threat of measures that legitimize the racial profiling of Latinos, and the movement to repeal birthright citizenship. All of these elements are creating an environment where Hispanics can be treated as second-class citizens and their contributions to the American mosaic can be denigrated. Polling and local civic engagement efforts point to this growing concern as powerful motivation for Latino voters to go the polls.

    It should be clear that no party should ignore Latino voters. But while many politicians are engaging in tactics that alienate or demonize the Hispanic community, others are not really working for our vote. Both approaches are ill-conceived and leave Latino voters with less of a choice. Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the electorate and will be looking at who is blocking progress, as well as who is standing on the sidelines while the community is under attack.

    The rhetoric and tone of this campaign season have crossed the line. Numerous nonpartisan efforts, including ours, are partnering with the Hispanic community to leverage participation as a step toward restoring Latinos' long and proud history in America and to stand up against the scapegoating of this community and the demonization of millions of hardworking people. NCLR's Vote For Respect campaign, which includes work with community-based organizations in 22 states, a voter participation pledge, celebrity and community public service announcements, and a single by Grammy Award-winning multicultural fusion band Ozomatli, is a rally call to Latinos to show up on Election Day for their community and their country.

    It's time to address our problems as a country, together, and reject the politics of division. Latinos stand to make a significant contribution to get us on that path and send a message that we need lawmakers who are willing to work toward real solutions to our nation's problems.

    Follow Clarissa Martinez De Castro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@nclr.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Telephonic Press Conference

    Call-In Number: (800) 862-9098 Conference ID: NCLR Study

    Washington, DC—Recent news stories have brought attention to the impact that discrimination can have on young people as they struggle with issues of identity and belonging. Under pressure to acculturate rapidly to American society, Latino adolescents face unique challenges to fulfill their potential in an environment increasingly hostile to immigrants and Hispanics. In a study to be released at a telephonic press briefing at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, October 21, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will reveal findings from focus groups with first- and second- generation Latino teenagers in Los Angeles, Nashville, Langley Park, MD, and Providence, RI.

    Researchers have noted that Latino youth and parents place a high value on education and strongly believe in the premise that hard work, discipline, and ethical behavior lead to success and the chance to make significant contributions to the U.S. Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States documents the perspectives of a population not often heard as they describe how negative ethnic stereotypes by teachers, employers, police officers, and others in their daily lives affect the teenagers’ optimism, natural resiliency, and ability to embrace opportunities for a good education and a successful future.

    NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, will provide analysis and recommendations for how our nation can help the 16 million Latino youth—92% of whom are U.S. citizens—in their quest for achievement and inclusion. Experts who work with Latino youth in the communities surveyed will provide insight into the distinct results found in Los Angeles, Nashville, Providence and the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

    Contact Kathy Mimberg at kmimberg@nclr.org to RSVP for this briefing.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: Telephonic briefing to release NCLR study on Latino youth and discrimination
    WHO: Patricia Foxen, Associate Director, Research, NCLR
    Lori Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer, Latin American Youth Center, Washington, DC
    Molly Sehring, Teacher, Metropolitan Nashville Publ Schools, Tennessee
    Gisselle Acevedo, President and CEO, Para Los Niňos, Los Angeles
    Carolyn Campos, Health Programs Director, Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy (CHisPA), Providence
    HEN: Thursday, October 21, 1:00 p.m. EDT/ Noon CDT/10:00 a.m. PDT
    HOW: Call-In Number: (800) 862-9098 | Conference ID: NCLR Study
    RSVP for the briefing to kmimberg@nclr.org.

    ###


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  • 10/15/10--09:06: News Roundup for Friday
  • Two years after Luis Ramírez—an undocumented immigrant from Mexico—was beaten to death in Shenandoah, PA, a guilty verdict has been reached. The New York Times reports:

    “A federal jury found two young Pennsylvania men guilty of a hate crime on Thursday in the 2008 beating death of a Mexican immigrant. The verdict was welcomed by Hispanic organizations, which saw the trial as a national test case for the treatment of Latinos.

    “The men, Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky, were found guilty of violating the civil rights of Luis Ramírez, an illegal immigrant, when they and a group of football players beat him in Shenandoah, Pa., in July 2008. He died shortly after from head injuries.

    “The men were acquitted of the most serious charges in a state trial last year, a verdict that angered Hispanic advocacy groups and drew criticism from Gov. Edward G. Rendell. The Justice Department later indicted the men on the hate crime charges on the grounds that they beat Mr. Ramírez because he was Latino and they did not want Latinos living in their town.

    “Prosecutors said Mr. Donchak and Mr. Piekarsky, both teenagers at the time of the crime, hurled ethnic slurs at Mr. Ramírez and told him: ‘This is America. Go back to Mexico.’”

    For the second consecutive year, Social Security benefits will not increase. The Washington Post reports on projections for 2011:

    “For the second year in a row, the nearly 54 million retirees and other Americans who receive Social Security benefits will not get any cost-of-living increase in 2011 in their monthly checks, government officials announced Friday morning.

    “The absence of any growth in Social Security checks for consecutive years is unprecedented in the 3 1/2 decades that payments have been automatically adjusted according to the nation's inflation rate. The Social Security Administration made the announcement moments after the Labor Department released the latest figures for the consumer price index. They show that prices for the third quarter of this year rose by 1.5 percent compared with a year earlier, but fell by 0.6 percent compared with the same time in 2008.”

    The U.S. Department of Education has seen a spike in civil rights complaints, and USA Today looks into what may be causing them:

    “The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights received nearly 7,000 complaints this fiscal year, an 11% increase and the largest jump in at least 10 years, according to data provided by the department. The increase comes as the office proceeds with 54 compliance reviews in districts and institutions of higher education nationwide, including cases involving disparate discipline rates and treatment of students with disabilities.

    “Why the spike?

    “Russlynn Ali, director of the Office for Civil Rights, said the reason for the increase in complaints is unclear, but believes students, parents and administrators have more faith that officials will take action.

    “Gerald A. Reynolds, head of OCR for the Bush administration from 2001 to 2003, said the increase is more likely a reflection of the different approach taken by Democrats—with Republicans running the civil rights office as a law-enforcement shop, and Democrats focusing on social change.

    Does raising children in a bilingual environment benefit their brain health? A new editorial published in Science gets some attention from the Los Angeles Times:

    “Should parents raise their children bilingually – teaching them two languages from a very young age? It’s a thorny subject, but as UCLA linguist Jared Diamond writes in an editorial in the journal Science, knowing more than one language could improve your multitasking skills from infancy and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in old age.

    “Here’s how it works, according to the editorial published online Thursday: When a bilingual person hears a word, it starts a mental flitting between two language systems to figure out what that word means, how to put it in the context of the conversation and how to respond. That high-level ability is governed by a process called executive switching, which happens in the prefrontal cortex.

    “Executive switching is also the process that enables “multitasking” – which isn’t really doing multiple things at the same time, but rapidly switching from one to the other.”


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    October 12, 2010, 9:00am – 10:30am

    About This Event

    “A place at the table isn’t the goal—it’s a prerequisite to the goal,” said Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs, during a keynote address at an event sponsored by the Half in Ten campaign, the National Council of La Raza, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund this week on improving the economic well-being of Latino children.

    Muñoz was referring to advocacy organizations’ concerted efforts to bring Latinos’ concerns to bear in forming and modifying public policy. One of these concerns—and a big one—is that more than one in five children in the United States, and approximately one in three Latino children, lived in poverty last year. A policy brief released at the event provided background on Latino child poverty, including demographic information, state-by-state differences in the data, and policy solutions to reduce poverty and close racial and ethnic disparities.

    Clearly, our country cannot fully address child poverty without considering the particular challenges Latino families face. A large and growing proportion of children in the United States are Latino and 92 percent of them are U.S. citizens.

    Muñoz argued that even though much has been done to address Latino child poverty, successful programs and policies need to be extended or expanded to ensure the well-being of Latino children going forward.

    She noted that many current programs—namely, the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps; the Child Tax Credit, or CTC; and the American Opportunity Tax Credit—are all vital tools in combating poverty in general and poverty among Latino families and children specifically. She also stressed the importance of job creation, accessible health care, and education to alleviate child poverty.

    Muñoz pointed out that at least 100,000 jobs are at risk as a result of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, or TANF ECF’s expiration. She reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to this important job-creation engine. Muñoz also drew from her experience working with state and local governments and emphasized the need for federal, state, and local governments and advocacy organizations to work together to address this critical issue.

    Following Muñoz’s remarks a panel of experts discussed child poverty statistics and further elaborated on the policy changes needed to deal with child poverty. Patricia Foxen, associate director of research for the National Council of La Raza, kicked off by presenting NCLR’s 2008 Latino children’s databook. She highlighted that Latino child poverty has increased from 30.6 percent in 2008 to 33.1 percent in 2009. This makes the 2009 figure the highest since 1997. She also noted that 59 percent of Latino children live below 200 percent of the poverty line.

    Moreover, a high concentration of Latino children live in low-wage households, lack adequate access to the social safety net, and face cultural and linguistic barriers that exacerbate these problems even further.

    A panel discussion followed Foxen’s presentation. Representatives of NCLR, Mary’s Center, and the Half in Ten campaign participated. Maria Gomez, the president and CEO of Mary’s Center, a local service agency in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, elaborated on some of the best practices needed to combat these trends. Gomez stressed the importance of fostering communities capable of lifting children out of poverty through supportive services like quality day care centers, school lunch and breakfast programs, and a strong public education system.

    Eric Rodriguez, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, emphasized that policies are needed that target low-income, mixed status, Latino families. Rodriguez also remarked that lifting the five-year bar for legally present immigrants to receive public benefits and implementing health care reform are necessary steps to reducing Latino child poverty.

    Finally, Melissa Boteach, Manager of the Half in Ten campaign at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, discussed Half in Ten’s work, highlights from the 2009 poverty data, successful federal programs, and recommendations to improve antipoverty policies. Boteach emphasized the need to extend the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, extend unemployment benefits, and increase the number of eligible people enrolled in SNAP/food stamps.

    Latino children are tomorrow’s workers and taxpayers. Investing in their education and well-being, therefore, is investing in America’s future.

    Introduction:
    Neera Tanden
    , Chief Operating Officer, Center for American Progress Action Fund

    Keynote Speaker:
    Cecilia Muñoz
    , Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

    Presentation of paper:
    Patricia Foxen
    , Associate Director of Research, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, National Council of La Raza

    Featured Panelists:
    Eric Rodriguez
    , Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, National Council of La Raza
    Maria Gomez
    , RN, MPH, President and CEO, Mary's Center
    Melissa Boteach
    , Half in Ten Campaign Manager, Center for American Progress Action Fund

    Moderated by:
    Vanessa Cárdenas
    , Director of Progress 2050, Center for American Progress

    Location

    Center for American Progress Action Fund
    1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
    Washington, DC 20005


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  • 10/18/10--06:50: News Roundup for Monday
  • Amid the outrage that has been unleashed over the past weeks regarding bank foreclosure practices, the White House urged proceeding with caution as investigations begin. The New York Times writes:

    “In a piece posted on the Huffington Post Web site, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, wrote: ‘The notion that many of the very same institutions that helped cause this housing crisis may well be making it worse is not only frustrating — it’s shameful.’

    “But, he added, ‘a national, blanket moratorium on all foreclosure sales would do far more harm than good, hurting homeowners and home buyers alike at a time when foreclosed homes make up 25 percent of home sales.’

    “It was the second effort in two weeks by the administration to deflect pressure for a national moratorium on foreclosures. In televised comments last Sunday, David Axelrod, a senior White House adviser, urged moderation, saying there were foreclosures with valid documents ‘that probably should go forward.’”

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new head, Lisa Jackson, is placing a fair amount of emphasis on how the environment is affecting low-income communities. The Los Angeles Times has the story:

    “Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

    “On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

    “At a town hall meeting in Oakland, attended by scores of community leaders, elected officials and students, she announced $100,000 in grants for programs to educate low-income communities in Richmond and Oakland about climate change, to restore wildlife habitat in Richmond and to engage Latinos in San Rafael's Canal district on environmental issues.”

    Secure Communities, a flawed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program meant to identify undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records, gets fully implemented in Texas. The Wall Street Journal writes:

    “In the past two weeks, Texas became the first border state to fully deploy the Department of Homeland Security program, which is scheduled to be rolled out to all U.S. counties by 2013. “The program automatically routes prisoners' fingerprints to the department, which tries to determine whether they are allowed to be in the U.S.

    “Known as Secure Communities, the program is designed to intercept and remove illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes such as homicide, rape and kidnapping, immigration officials say.

    “But immigrant groups and lawyers argue it is also singling out immigrants with no serious criminal record, clogging up the courts. Political analysts say Secure Communities and related programs are alienating Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters from the Obama administration.

    “‘Why are we wasting funds to deport people who aren't even supposed to be targets of the program?’ said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which provides legal assistance to low-income people.”

    The health care costs of obesity are nearly twice what the most common estimates indicate, according to a new study by the Bureau of Economic Research. The Washington Post covers the study:

    “Nearly 17 percent of U.S. medical costs can be blamed on obesity, according to new research that suggests the nation's weight problem may be having close to twice the impact on medical spending as previously estimated.

    “One expert acknowledged that past estimates likely low-balled the costs and said the new study - which places obesity-related medical costs at around $168 billion - probably is closer to the truth.

    “‘I think these are the most recent and perhaps statistically sound estimates that have come out to date,” said Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory University who has focused on the cost of health care.”


    0 0

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, women are five times more likely than men to become victims of domestic violence. In response to national concern over domestic violence, President Obama proclaimed October to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, emphasizing the U.S. government’s commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence, supporting victims, and bringing offenders to justice.

    The generally accepted solution to domestic abuse is for victims to leave home and seek shelter and support services elsewhere. But when it comes to Hispanics affected by domestic violence, research has shown that Hispanic women may not think that leaving their home or partner is an adequate solution. Instead, Hispanic women want an end to the violence, and they seek culturally competent violence prevention education for men in the general and the entire family.

    Social and traditional cultural dynamics surrounding Latino families affected by domestic violence are forcing public health and community-based organizations to revisit prevention and intervention strategies for the Latino population. Several organizations have stepped up to the task of developing new programs such as Alianza’s Latinos Who Batter program, which is geared toward the entire family, and the National Compadres Network’s El Hombre Noble (A Noble Man), which focuses on male education.

    NCLR has teamed up with advocacy groups around the country to promote culturally competent solutions to domestic violence for Hispanic families, including Casa de Esperanza. Please join us for the Dialogue on Diversity a colloquium on domestic violence led by NCLR Affiliates Mary’s Center and La Clínica del Pueblo. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 20 from Noon–4:00 p.m. EDT at NCLR Headquarters, located at 1126 16th Street, NW in Washington, DC. Register at dialog.div@prodigy.net.


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  • 10/18/10--07:17: News Roundup for Monday
  • Amid the outrage that has been unleashed over the past weeks regarding bank foreclosure practices, the White House urged proceeding with caution as investigations begin. The New York Times writes:

    “In a piece posted on the Huffington Post Web site, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, wrote: ‘The notion that many of the very same institutions that helped cause this housing crisis may well be making it worse is not only frustrating — it’s shameful.’

    “But, he added, ‘a national, blanket moratorium on all foreclosure sales would do far more harm than good, hurting homeowners and home buyers alike at a time when foreclosed homes make up 25 percent of home sales.’

    “It was the second effort in two weeks by the administration to deflect pressure for a national moratorium on foreclosures. In televised comments last Sunday, David Axelrod, a senior White House adviser, urged moderation, saying there were foreclosures with valid documents ‘that probably should go forward.’”

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new head, Lisa Jackson, is placing a fair amount of emphasis on how the environment is affecting low-income communities. The Los Angeles Times has the story:

    “Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

    “On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

    “At a town hall meeting in Oakland, attended by scores of community leaders, elected officials and students, she announced $100,000 in grants for programs to educate low-income communities in Richmond and Oakland about climate change, to restore wildlife habitat in Richmond and to engage Latinos in San Rafael's Canal district on environmental issues.”

    Secure Communities, a flawed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program meant to identify undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records, gets fully implemented in Texas. The Wall Street Journal writes:

    “In the past two weeks, Texas became the first border state to fully deploy the Department of Homeland Security program, which is scheduled to be rolled out to all U.S. counties by 2013. “The program automatically routes prisoners' fingerprints to the department, which tries to determine whether they are allowed to be in the U.S.

    “Known as Secure Communities, the program is designed to intercept and remove illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes such as homicide, rape and kidnapping, immigration officials say.

    “But immigrant groups and lawyers argue it is also singling out immigrants with no serious criminal record, clogging up the courts. Political analysts say Secure Communities and related programs are alienating Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters from the Obama administration.

    “‘Why are we wasting funds to deport people who aren't even supposed to be targets of the program?’ said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which provides legal assistance to low-income people.”

    The health care costs of obesity are nearly twice what the most common estimates indicate, according to a new study by the Bureau of Economic Research. The Washington Post covers the study:

    “Nearly 17 percent of U.S. medical costs can be blamed on obesity, according to new research that suggests the nation's weight problem may be having close to twice the impact on medical spending as previously estimated.

    “One expert acknowledged that past estimates likely low-balled the costs and said the new study - which places obesity-related medical costs at around $168 billion - probably is closer to the truth.

    “‘I think these are the most recent and perhaps statistically sound estimates that have come out to date,” said Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory University who has focused on the cost of health care.”


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