Oklahoma City resident Sweet Brown gained fame after her local news clip garnered over 25 million online views. WePay sought to cash in, but has only collected about 300 views to date. As a financial services hawker, Brown is no Gary Coleman.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Adweek reported on a study showing gender stereotypes affect a woman’s ability to make progress in executive boardrooms. As the infographic reveals, however, women still have it waaaaay better than minorities.
Rosa Parks statue unveiled in U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall
Hailed by many as the mother of the civil rights movement, Obama celebrated Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus as pivotal moment that ‘helped change America and change the world.’
By Dan Hirschhorn / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Washington honored the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks on Wednesday as a woman of “unshakable resolve” who “defied injustice.”
Unveiling a statue of Parks in the Capitol building’s Statuary Hall, President Obama and congressional leaders in both parties hailed Parks as a great American who changed the country for the better.
“She defied the odds and she defied injustice,” Obama said to a crowd that included descendants of Parks. “She lived a life of activism but also a life of dignity and grace. And in a single moment with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.”
Parks was a seamstress and civil rights activist when she famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala. bus to a white rider in 1955. That launched the Montgomery bus boycott and was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. Parks died in 2005. The statue is the result of legislation signed by former President George W. Bush. She’s the first African-American to take a place in Statuary Hall.
“Rosa Parks held no elected office, possessed no fortune, lived far from the halls of power,” Obama said. “And yet today she takes her rightful place among those who have shaped America.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said that with “this statue we affirm that the courage and the cause of Rosa Parks not only earned her a place in the hearts of all Americans but a permanent place in this hall.”
Though Parks held no elected office, McConnell said, “with quiet courage and unshakeable resolve, she did something no less important on a cold Alabama evening in 1955. She helped unite the spirit of America. … We have had the humility as a nation to admit past mistakes. But it has always required people like Rosa Parks to help us get there.”
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Fast Food Consumption Down, But African Americans Still At Front of Line
By Alexis Taylor
Blacks are lining up in drive-thrus, eating at fast food restaurants, or adding pizza to their daily diet at a rate higher than any other ethnic group in the country, according to new information released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though overall adult fast food consumption is down.
In a study conducted between the years of 2007 and 2010, a little more than 11 percent of all food consumed by adults was from fast food, or quick service restaurants (QSRs).
That number was a decline from the 12.8 percent of adult diets made from the kitchens of McDonalds and Wendy’s from 2003 to 2006.
African Americans between the ages of 20 and 39 were shown to have the most fast food in their diet when compared with their Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts, as one-fifth of their calorie intake came from quick service restaurants.
“Fast food is quick and I don’t have time to cook with my lifestyle,” said Kelli Williams, a 24-year-old lab technician. “I’ve gained weight but I think it’s because I’ve been less active physically since I graduated,” she said, adding that her habit of eating fast food multiple times a week hasn’t changed.
“I don’t even like fast food that much but it’s convenient.”
The study showed that for Williams’ age group, 20-39, the presence of fast food in the diet decreased as take-home pay increased.
A separate CDC report on fast food and children ages 2 to 19 showed that the daily calorie intake average shrunk for young boys by 158 calories in the time between studies conducted from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2009 to 2010. Girls decreased their caloric intake by 76 calories.
Researchers also found that for heavier Americans, weight increased as the amount of food taken into the body from fast food restaurants increased.
“As lifestyles become more hectic, fast-food consumption has become a growing part of the American diet,” read information released by the CDC. “Fast food is food usually sold at eating establishments for quick availability or takeout. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and frequent fast-food consumption has been shown to contribute to weight gain.”
The study showed that older adults aged 60 and over, ate at quick service restaurants less than younger Americans with only 6 percent of their diet coming from quick service restaurants. Men and women of that age group had no considerable difference in the amount of fast food they ate.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology, “findings suggest that higher rates of fast food consumption are connected to the increasing rates of severe obesity.”
The World Health Organization estimates that one in 10 humans are currently obese, opening themselves up to a host of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
A man’s face can tell you if he’s likely to be racist: study
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that men with shorter, wider faces were more likely to express racist or prejudiced beliefs. Men with greater width-to-height ratios, the study found, had a greater urge to be socially dominant and cared less what others thought of them.
By Philip Caulfield / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Men with shorter, wider faces may be more likely to express racist beliefs, according to new report.
The report, due out in the journal Psychological Science next month, found that facial structure can be a result of testosterone levels, which are also connected to aggressive behavior and the need to appear dominant in social situations.
Men with greater facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) — that is, men with wider cheekbones and shorter distances between the brow and the upper lip - had stronger dominant urges, cared less about what people thought of them and were more likely to express racist or prejudiced beliefs, the report found.
”Racial prejudice is such a sensitive issue and there are societal pressures to appear nonprejudiced,” Dartmouth social scientist Eric Hehman said in a statement about the study.
“More dominant individuals might care less about appearing prejudiced, or exercise less self-regulation with regard to reporting those prejudices, should they exist.”
But, he cautioned, “Not all people with greater fWHRs are prejudiced, and not all those with smaller fWHRs are non-prejudiced.”
”You could think about it as a ‘side effect’ of social dominance — men with greater fWHR may not care as much about what others think of them,” he said.
In a second study, participants who were shown pictures of two male faces were more likely to identify those with greater fWHR as prejudiced, the report said.
The same participants were also able to accurately predict a person’s reported prejudiced beliefs just by looking at a photo of his face.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Advertising Age reported CNN is diminishing the role Soledad O’Brien plays on the network. And the announcement came during Black History Month. Nice.
Diminished Role for Soledad O’Brien as CNN to Move Her Out of Mornings
No Longer a Host, but Her Production Company Will Partner With Network
By Jeanine Poggi
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien will be moving on from her morning show, but she won’t be leaving the cable news network completely.
The network announced that it will partner with Ms. O’Brien’s production company, Starfish Media Group, for long-form programming specials. Starfish, which will launch in June, will produce three of these specials for CNN in 2014, including the franchise “Black in America.”
“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” Mr. Zucker said in a statement. “Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her—riveting content.”
Ms. O’Brien will eventually move out of her morning show, “Starting Point,” according to a person familiar with the matter.
CNN’s new President Jeff Zucker called out the morning as one potential area of growth for CNN when he was hired late last year. To this end, he poached Chris Cuomo from ABC for a yet-to-be-named morning show, and several reports indicate Erin Burnett, who currently hosts the 7 p.m. time slot, could be his co-host.
This is the latest move by Mr. Zucker, who also tapped ESPN veteran Rachel Nichols for a weekend sports program, and ABC News Senior White House Correspondent, Jake Tapper, was named CNN’s chief Washington correspondent. Mr. Tapper show, “The Lead,” will air weekdays at 4 p.m., cutting Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room” back one hour.
Jeff Zucker only officially took the reins as president of CNN on Jan. 21, but he has already made some high-profile moves. Ad Age follows Mr. Zucker as he cleans house and revamps the cable news network.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The new Burger King campaign touting breakfast sandwiches and coffee introduced the tagline: Taste Is King. Obviously, creative is not king. Could Mother N.Y. possibly produce anything worse than Mary J. Blige singing for fried chicken? Well, the place managed to top its own awfulness—and win the freaking account too! What is the price for an agency’s self-pride? Approximately $240 million in media spending.
Adweek’s Young Influentials presented “20 superstars from media, marketing and tech—all under 40 years old.” The list managed to include one Black Influential. Of course, he’s a celebrity with rap skills who will likely be named a brand ambassador or global creative director soon.
Emory University president James Wagner apologized for “clumsiness”—but failed to acknowledge his cultural cluelessness. Catch the clumsy details here and here. Looking forward to seeing Wagner at the university’s Black History Month events.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
CPS Could Be Sued For Lack of Black History in Schools
By Wendell Hutson, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
CHATHAM — State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) is urging a community group to file a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools for not complying with a 22-year-old state law that requires all public elementary and high schools to include black history as part of its regular curriculum.
“I encourage you to file a lawsuit against CPS to make them comply with the state law,” Flowers said at a Saturday meeting with community group We Can Inc. at Josephine’s Cooking restaurant, 436 E. 79th St. “Our kids are way behind in elementary school, high school and college when you compare them to students in other countries like China.”
In 1986, Flowers sponsored a state law, which took effect in 1991, mandating public schools make black history a part of their regular curriculum and not just taught during Black History Month in February.
“The proposed curriculum CPS has presented is unacceptable,” said Florence Cox, president of We Can Inc. and the first black president of the Chicago Board of Education. “It lacks our history and language arts. There is nothing in here about who [African Americans] are and where we came from.”
Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer for CPS, did not attend the meeting, but was represented by Phillip Hampton, chief community and family officer for CPS.
“Barbara needs to meet with you. I do know she is aware of this situation,” Hampton told the community group. “I will speak with her on Monday and elevate this issue to her, so that by Tuesday you have a response back.”
State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) attended the last meeting held on Jan. 27. At that meeting she said too many black kids are attending schools named after blacks, and the students don’t even realize it.
“Most of the students who attend Paul Robeson High School [on the South Side] don’t know anything about him other than he is a black man,” said Davis. “And that’s a shame.”
According to CPS data, 99 percent of the students at Paul Robeson are black, and at William Harper High School, also on the South Side, 93 percent of the students are black.
John Thuet, 28, teaches world studies to freshmen at Harper High School and has worked at the school the last four years, but he doesn’t know who William Harper is.
“You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know who William Harper is, but now that you’ve asked I plan on looking him up to see,” Thuet, who also chairs the school’s history department, said.
Examples like this, said Hampton, are not good, but fall within the leadership of the school.
“We have a lot of challenges with teachers. When I was a business teacher at DuSable High School, I made sure my students knew who [Jean Baptiste Point] DuSable was, even though I was not a history teacher,” said Hampton.
Possible school closings also were discussed at the meeting.
Many of the 129 elementary schools CPS is considering closing in June are located in black neighborhoods on the South and West Side, said Flowers.
While Hampton acknowledged that the recently released list contains “many schools on the South and West Sides,” he denied Flowers’ allegations that those areas were targeted by design.
“None of these schools being considered for closure are overcrowded,” Hampton said. “As for the empty school buildings, once the closure process is complete, the buildings would probably be sold.”
The method CPS is using to determine which schools to close is a broken formula, added Flowers.
“School closings are done purposely to drive [black] kids out of certain areas experiencing gentrification,” said Flowers. “The closings of these schools are criminal.”
Monday, February 18, 2013
Voting Rights Act Is Challenged as Cure the South Has Outgrown
By Adam Liptak
EVERGREEN, Ala. — Jerome Gray, a 74-year-old black man, has voted in every election since 1974 in this verdant little outpost of some 4,000 people halfway between Mobile and Montgomery. Casting a ballot, he said, is a way to honor the legacy of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a civil rights landmark born from a bloody confrontation 70 miles north of here, in Selma.
The franchise remains fragile in Evergreen, Mr. Gray said. Last summer, he was kicked off the voting rolls by a clerk who had improperly culled the list based on utility records.
A three-judge federal court in Mobile barred the city from using the new voting list, invoking Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires many state and local governments, mostly in the South, to obtain permission from the Justice Department or from a federal court in Washington before making changes that affect voting.
That provision is also at the heart of one of the marquee cases of the Supreme Court’s term, Shelby County v. Holder, No. 12-96, which will be argued on Feb. 27. It was brought by Shelby County, near Birmingham, and it contends that the provision has outlived its purpose of protecting minority voters in an era when a black man has been re-elected to the presidency.
The Voting Rights Act was a triumph of the civil rights movement. It was a response, the Supreme Court said in upholding it in 1966, to “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.”
Congress was entitled, the court went on, “to limit its attention to the geographic areas where immediate action seemed necessary.” Lawmakers chose the areas to be covered based on a formula that considered whether they had used devices to discourage voting, like literacy tests, and data from the 1964 election.
The court in Mobile this month said the case before it, concerning Evergreen, was simple: because the city had not obtained preclearance from federal authorities, it could not revise its voting list using utility records. Nor could it use a municipal redistricting plan enacted by the City Council that had concentrated black voters, who are in the majority, into just two of the five districts, limiting black voting power.
It is not clear when the municipal election, originally scheduled for last August, will be held.
A lawyer for Evergreen, James H. Anderson, said the ruling was justified. “The way the voter list was recomposed was improper,” he said. He added that the redistricting plan “could possibly be adopted by the Justice Department, but we need to tweak it a little bit.” In a court filing on Feb. 11, the city announced that it would create a third majority-black district “to have a total black population in the vicinity of 65 percent.”
Critics of the Section 5 preclearance requirement call it an unwarranted and discriminatory federal intrusion on state sovereignty and a badge of shame for the affected jurisdictions that is no longer justified.
But Mr. Anderson said he welcomed the process, to a point. “I think it plays a very valuable role, and I think we need it,” he said. “Personally, I think we need it nationwide.”
The problem, he said, is that the provision applies in only some parts of the country. “I think it’s discriminatory because it picks on us Southerners,” he said.
Congress has repeatedly renewed the law, and for a while it used fresher data with each renewal. But when Congress renewed the law for 25 years in 2006, it made no changes to the list of jurisdictions covered by Section 5 and used data from the 1972 election as a baseline.
The law applies to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?
By Adam Davidson
Earlier this month I met Pedro Chan at his small apartment above an evangelical church in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Chan, who shares the place with three others, is short and muscular. He has a quiet voice and a patient demeanor that seems to have served him well on his journey to New York. In 2002, he left his Guatemalan village for a long trip through Mexico and, with the help of a smuggler, across the Texas border. In 2004, he made it to Brooklyn, where his uncle helped him find work on small construction crews.
These days, Chan helps skilled (and fully documented) carpenters, electricians and stucco installers do their jobs by carrying heavy things and cleaning the work site. For this, he earns up to $25,000 a year, which is considerably less than the average entry wage for New York City’s 100,000 or so documented construction workers. Chan’s boss, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that unless he learned a specialized skill, Chan would never be able to move up the income ladder. As long as there are thousands of undocumented workers competing for low-end jobs, salaries are more likely to fall than to rise.
As Congress debates the contours of immigration reform, many arguments have been made on economic grounds. Undocumented workers, some suggest, undercut wages and take jobs that would otherwise go to Americans. Worse, the argument goes, many use social programs, like hospitals and schools, that cost taxpayers and add to our $16 trillion national debt. Would deporting Pedro Chan and the other 11 million or so undocumented workers mean more jobs, lower taxes and a stronger economy?
Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. Similarly skilled native-born workers are faced with a choice of either accepting lower pay or not working in the field at all. Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent.
The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has written a series of influential papers comparing the labor markets in states with high immigration levels to those with low ones. He concluded that undocumented workers do not compete with skilled laborers — instead, they complement them. Economies, as Adam Smith argued in “Wealth of Nations,” work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. Pedro Chan’s ability to take care of routine tasks on a work site allows carpenters and electricians to focus on what they do best. In states with more undocumented immigrants, Peri said, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew. From 1990 to 2007, undocumented workers increased legal workers’ pay in complementary jobs by up to 10 percent.
I saw this in action when Chan took me to his current work site, a two-story office building on Coney Island Avenue. The skilled workers had already installed wood flooring in a lawyer’s office and were off to the next job site. That left Chan to clean up the debris and to install a new toilet. As I looked around, I could see how we were on one end of an economic chain reaction. Chan’s boss no longer had to pay a highly skilled worker to perform basic tasks. That lowered the overall cost of construction, increasing the number of jobs the company could book, which meant more customers and more money. It reminded me of how so many restaurants operate. Without undocumented labor performing routine tasks, meals, which factor labor costs into the price, would be more expensive. There would also be fewer jobs for waiters and chefs.
Earlier that day, I was reminded of another seldom-discussed fact about immigrant life in the United States. Immigrants spend most of the money they make. Chan had broken down his monthly expenses: $400 a month in rent, another $30 or so for gas, electric and Internet. He sends some money home and tries to save a few thousand a year in his Citibank account, but he ends up spending more than $10,000 annually. That includes the $1,400 or so he pays the I.R.S. so that he can have a taxpayer I.D. number, which allows him to have a credit score so that he can rent an apartment or lease a car.
There are many ways to debate immigration, but when it comes to economics, there isn’t much of a debate at all. Nearly all economists, of all political persuasions, agree that immigrants — those here legally or not — benefit the overall economy. “That is not controversial,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told me. Shierholz also said that “there is a consensus that, on average, the incomes of families in this country are increased by a small, but clearly positive amount, because of immigration.”
The benefit multiplies over the long haul. As the baby boomers retire, the post-boom generation’s burden to finance their retirement is greatly alleviated by undocumented immigrants. Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, told me that undocumented workers contribute about $15 billion a year to Social Security through payroll taxes. They only take out $1 billion (very few undocumented workers are eligible to receive benefits). Over the years, undocumented workers have contributed up to $300 billion, or nearly 10 percent, of the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund.
The problem, though, is that undocumented workers are not evenly distributed. In areas like southern Texas and Arizona and even parts of Brooklyn, undocumented immigrants impose a substantial net cost to local and state governments, Shierholz says. Immigrants use public assistance, medical care and schools. Some immigrant neighborhoods have particularly high crime rates. Jared Bernstein, a fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told me that these are also areas in which low-educated workers are most likely to face stiff competition from immigrants. It’s no wonder why so much political furor comes from these regions.
Undocumented workers represent a classic economic challenge with a fairly straightforward solution. Immigrants bring diffuse and hard-to-see benefits to average Americans while imposing more tangible costs on a few, Shierholz says. The dollar value of the benefits far outweigh the costs, so the government could just transfer extra funds to those local populations that need more help. One common proposal would grant amnesty to undocumented workers, which would create a sudden increase in tax payments. Simultaneously, the federal government could apply a percentage of those increased revenues to local governments.
But that, of course, seems politically improbable. Immigration is one of many problems — like another economic no-brainer: eliminating farm subsidies — in which broad economic benefits battle against a smaller, concentrated cost in one area. As immigration reform seems more likely than at any time in recent memory, it’s important to remember that it is not the economic realities that have changed. It’s the political ones.
Adam Davidson is co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money,” a podcast and blog.