New Jobs Report Shows Stubbornly High Unemployment Rates for Blacks, Youth

With just days left until voters head to the polls to choose the next U.S. president, the final election jobs report came out on Friday. In total, 171,000 jobs were created in October, but the unemployment rate ticked slightly upward, from 7.9 percent to 7.9 percent. Politico said that the new mirrors the campaign itself: “a long, grinding march forward with little in the way of big inspiration that still slightly favors Obama.”

Still, the outlook for blacks, Latinos, and youth is far less optimistic. The black unemployment rate actually rose in October, going from 13.4 percent to 14.3 percent. And for black teens, those numbers are much worse: joblessness rose to a high of 40.5 percent.

As’s economic justice reporter Imara Jones noted after the release of last month’s report, these new numbers underscore any at-length discussion of joblessness during this year’s presidential election. “Given that the economy is the number once concern of all Americans,” wrote Jones, “the lack of presentation by the candidates of detailed plans during their exchange is almost unconscionable.”


NYC’s Chinatown Devastated After Sandy, Advocates Say Race to Blame

NYC's Chinatown Devastated After Sandy, Advocates Say Race to Blame

“Income and race have a lot to do with the situation that we’re in, I went by Wall Street last night and all the lights were on, the buildings were empty, there were christmas lights on the trees and it was absolutely crazy because we had just left here [Chinatown] and it was pitch black,” said Helena Wong in an interview with The Nation. Wong is the executive director of the Chinatown-based organization CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.

“What we’re seeing is no officials are coming here, there are no translated documents, there’s no FEMA, Bloomberg isn’t here, no ones invested any resources in to this community and there are other communities as well that aren’t Wall Street and aren’t Time Square and it’s pretty clear that it’s profits over people right now,” Wong went on to say.

The video was shot and produced by Francis Reynolds at The Nation.

CAAAV is currently accepting donations for flashlights, batteries, food and bottled water. Visit their website for more information.

Staten Island Residents Refused to Help Black Mom as Sandy Swept Sons Away

Staten Island Residents Refused to Help Black Mom as Sandy Swept Sons Away

Police on Thursday said two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away Monday night when waves of water crashed into an SUV driven by their mother in Staten Island were found dead.

Glenda Moore left her Staten Island home with two children and was driving to a family member’s house in Brooklyn when her car became submerged underwater. She freed her two kids from their car seats but rushing waves of water swept the kids away from her arms.

“It went over their heads… She had them in her arms, and a wave came and swept them out of her arms,” the mother’s aunt told the NY Daily News.

Local Staten Island newspapers have reported the mother unsuccessfully tried to get help from neighbors but the New York Daily News is reporting another side of the story:

According to the sister, a dripping-wet Moore banged on doors looking for help in the middle of the hurricane, but couldn’t find anyone willing to help her.

“They answered the door and said, ‘I don’t know you. I’m not going to help you,’” said the sister. “My sister’s like 5-foot-3, 130 pounds. She looks like a little girl. She’s going to come to you and you’re going to slam the door in her face and say, ‘I don’t know you, I can’t help you’?’”

Moore spent the night huddled on a doorstep as the hurricane’s assault continued. At daybreak, her sister said, the desperate mother walked until she found a police car and related her heart-breaking story.

The UK’s Daily Mail is also reporting Moore visited a second house in search for help:

Her cousin Nancy Jean, 41, fought back tears as she described the ordeal.

‘I can’t believe the way she was treated by the people she went to for help,’ she said.

‘The first person she knocked on, she begged them and said: “Please call 911”.

‘They told her: “I don’t know you” and closed the door. She tried another door but they turned the lights off.

Connor and Brandon Moore, ages 4 and 2, are believed to be Hurricane Sandy’s youngest victims.

Starving New Yorkers in East Village Forced to Dumpster Dive

Starving New Yorkers in East Village Forced to Dumpster Dive

There’s a lot to say about this reporter broadcasting images of hungry New Yorkers searching for food, but what’s clear now is that people in the East Village and Lower East side—where there are several public housing complexes—are desperate for food. Their priority is getting food, not marathons. 

New Yorkers on food stamps have especially been hit hard because they can’t pay for food, the state distributes benefits through Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT) that can’t be swiped in stores without power.

Jimmy Kimmel Asks a Brooklyn Barbershop About Mitt Romney

Jimmy Kimmel Asks a Brooklyn Barbershop About Mitt Romney

Leave it to a Few L.A. Drag Queens to Explain Mitt Romney and Women’s Rights

Leave it to a Few L.A. Drag Queens to Explain Mitt Romney and Women's Rights

There are dozens of polls that show women will decide who next president is.

Los Angeles based drag queens Willam Belli, Detox, Vicki Vox, Pandora, and Ozma explain what issues “real women” should care about and who they should vote for.

The video was directed by Michael Serrato.

Last month published an investigative story titled “Collateral Damage in the War on Women,” that found poor and uninsured women of color are starting to feel the results of two years of relentless attacks on family planning infrastructure.

Without Electricity, New Yorkers on Food Stamps Can’t Pay for Food

Without Electricity, New Yorkers on Food Stamps Can't Pay for Food

It’s been more than three days since power went out in many parts of New York City, including the Lower East Side where multi-story public housing complexes like the La Guardia Houses don’t have electricity, heat or water.

Many of the residents are also without food.

Many of the low-income residents receive cash and supplemental nutritional assistance from the state electronically through what the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance calls Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT.)

Recipients buying eligible foods are suppose to swipe their EBT cards like any other credit card for their purchases but since Hurricane Sandy hit, most Lower East Side stores don’t have electricity to run credit card transactions and are only accepting cash. Leaving many people on EBT with empty wallets, empty refrigerators and no access to food.

“The supermarkets don’t even really want to sell anything. They’re open but if you don’t have cash, you messed up. And everybody in these projects, they take EBT…food stamps,” a La Guardia Houses resident told WNYC’s Marianne McCune.

Listen to Marianne McCune from the La Guardia Houses below and visit to read her story.

Brooklyn Teen on Track to Become First Black Female Chess Master

Brooklyn Teen on Track to Become First Black Female Chess Master

Rochelle Ballantyne, 17, a Brooklyn teenager featured in the documentary “Brooklyn Castle” is on track to become the first female chess master.

The documentary, filmed four years ago and released last month, follows students from Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Ballantyne was the only female in the team. 

Ballantyne was recently profiled in Teen Vogue and she talked about her hopes, dreams and fears:

TEEN VOGUE: What motivated you to start playing chess? 

BALLANTYNE: “My grandmother taught me to play when I was in the third grade. I was really active as a child, and she wanted to find a way to keep me relaxed and get my brain going.”

What’s driving you to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess? 

“My grandmother. When I first started playing, she introduced to me the idea of being the first African-American female chess master. I didn’t think about it much because for me it seemed like an impossible feat, and I didn’t think it could happen. I wasn’t as focused and dedicated as I am now. I didn’t think I was a good chess player—people told me I was, but it wasn’t my mentality at that moment. But then after she died, that really affected me, because she was the one person that always had confidence in me. She never pushed me, and she always respected me for who I was. I have to reach that goal for her.”

One of the issues raised in this documentary is that I.S. 318 is facing budget cuts, and the chess program is in jeopardy. What do you want audiences to know?

“Kids have achieved so much because of the chess program at I.S. 318, and now because of budget cuts, that program might not be there anymore, and that’s really horrible. It’s so sad that you can take out money from schools because education is what allows you to succeed in life. My brother goes to I.S. 318 now, and the chess team might not be able to go to nationals. When people watch the movie, I want them to see how important the school is to all of us, and how it molded our lives. We have to pave the way so that other kids can achieve what we’ve achieved.”

At I.S. 318, more than 60 percent of the students come from families with incomes below the federal poverty level, according to the NY Times. But that isn’t holding the chess team back, in April the school became the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship—yes, the middle school beat out some the nation’s top high schools like Stuyvesant in Manhattan and Thomas Jefferson in Alexandria, Va.

The 2012 World Youth Chess Championships to be held in Maribor, Slovenia from November 7-19.

Watch the trailer for “Chess Master” below and visit Teen Vogue to read more from Ballantyne.

Romney Airs Spanish-Language Ad Linking Obama to Hugo Chavez

Romney Airs Spanish-Language Ad Linking Obama to Hugo Chavez

Mitt Romney may be desperate for Latino voters as we get closer to election day. 

The Miami Herald reports the Mitt Romney campaign has been “heavily running” an ad that links President Barack Obama with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro’s niece and Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The Miami Herald translated the commercial:

NARRATOR: Who supports Barack Obama?

CHAVEZ: “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama.”

NARRATOR: Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, would vote for Obama.

CASTRO: “I would vote for President Obama.”

NARRATOR: And to top it off, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency sent emails for Hispanic Heritage month with a photo of Che Guevara.

CHAVEZ: “If Obama were from Barlovento (a Venezuelan town), he’d vote for Chávez.”

ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.

The irony is that both Castro and Chavez have been very public with criticism of Obama.

Think Progress’ Hamed Aleaziz offers some context and facts:

In 2011, Chavez criticized President Obama for being “the president of an empire” and said he little “hope” for the President. For his part, President Obama has called out Venezuela for its repressive policies, saying in December that “we have been deeply concerned to see action taken to restrict the freedom of the press, and to erode the separation of powers that is necessary for democracy to thrive.” Relations between America and Venezuela haven’t changed much since President Obama took office: in 2010 Chavez did not accept the nominated U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. As a result, the U.S. withdrew a visa for the Venezuelan ambassador. In 2012, the Obama administration expelled another Venezuelan diplomat. 

The ad is already having negative affects on some Latino voters. 

Rosa Hombredela, a Cuban-American who identified with the Republican party, told the Miami Herald that the ad disgusted her because it reminded her of “the same infectious style of politics that put Castro in power has germinated in Miami making it a banana republic. I was born in Cuba, raised in the United States, I’m a woman, a Republican and I voted yesterday for President Barack Obama. Proud to say so.”

Did Giants Sergio Romo Call Out the DREAM Act in his Victory Speech?

Did Giants Sergio Romo Call Out the DREAM Act in his Victory Speech?

The Giants pitcher Sergio Romo, a son of Mexican immigrants, said nothing publicly Wednesday about the shirt he wore to the victory rally held in honor of the team’s World Series win. The message was clear though, big bold white letters read “I just look illegal” on Romo’s black t-shirt.

During his speech at the rally, Romo thanked fans and celebrated the Bay Area’s diversity and its “different folks with different strokes” and “different faces from different places.”

What he said next is open to interpretation:

“You look at each one of my team mates and we all have a different story but we all have on goal in mind, we all have one job in mind, we all have one, how do you say, [pause] dream, and that’s to become the world series champions as a group.”

This might be a stretch but the pause before Romo said “drrrream” may mean something.

What do you think? Watch the clip above.

Sergio Romo’s Other Controversial Showstopping Shirts

Wednesday’s big story from the San Francisco Giants’ victory parade was relief pitcher Sergio Romo’s and the message in front of his T-shirt: “I just look illegal.”

Immigrant activists interpreted the message “I just look illegal” as a satirical look at the term they believe dehumanizes immigrants in the country without authorization.

Monica Novoa, campaign coordinator for the “Drop-the-I-Word ” campaign, which seeks to eliminate the widespread usage of “illegal” in reference to immigrants had similar thoughts.

“Romo used his platform to show how ridiculous the notion is for anyone to be considered ‘illegal,’ said Novoa. “He also is pointing to how this dehumanizing, inaccurate language goes hand in hand with racial profiling.”

The “I just look illegal” t-shirt wasn’t the first controversial shirt Romo wore to public events. At the 2010 World Series victory parade he wore a shirt that read “The Beaners,” making fun of another derogatory term aimed at Latinos

sergio romo

Romo seen at the 2010 Giants World Series victory parade. (Photo: CC/Art Siegel)

Northeast Tribal Lands Hit Hard by Hurricane Sandy

The latest report from United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) tribes says tribal lands in the northeast are still assessing their damage but it’s clear they’ll need both federal and non-governmental agencies to help in response and recovery efforts.

The following update comes from the United South and Eastern Tribes : 

Narragansett Indian Tribe in Rhode Island: Tribal Police Department Chief Jonathan Montey says the Rhode Island Tribe has been hit with rain and high winds that have toppled trees. Chief Montey says the power in the area will take some time to restore. “I’ve been told that it’s going to be weeks before we get power. So our greatest need is to get generators so we can continue our government functions,” Montey reports. The Narragansett health clinic has been closed because there is no power, but Narragansett officials are reporting that Indian Health Service is sending generators.

Shinnecock Indian Nation near Southampton, NY: Shinnecock Tribal Chairman Trustee Randy King reported a 100% power outage in his Tribe on Long Island. The Tribal offices have been working to coordinate emergency relief efforts without power, mobile phones, or Internet. King says the Shinnecock Emergency Management facility has been working using residential type generators and will need more power to work effectively. “Our buffer areas are going to need some attention to it. We have a Tribal building that has a portion of its roof ripped back. We have residential homes with ripped off roofs. We are still assessing the situation, but for the most part, power need is what we need. We are going to be placing orders with local food banks for food, if we need it, and water,” King reported.

Connecticut Tribes: Reports from The Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation have shown minimal damage. Reports say some trees are down and roads are blocked. The Mohegan Sun casino says it will be fully operational and has had some damage to its golf course. Foxwoods Resort Casino has been closed because employees are unable to get to work. However operations are expected to resume today (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) according to the Pequot Tribe.

A FEMA representative has promised the agency’s help.

“Our Tribal liaisons are not just there to refer you (Tribes) to someone else. They are there to help you (Tribes) coordinate that information. So if you need to go to the Red Cross, we do not want the Regional Tribal Liaisons, or anybody else in the agency to say here is a number call them,” said FEMA Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “We (FEMA) will coordinate that contact until we can build that relationship.”

Sergio Romo, SF World Series Champ, Declares: ‘I Just Look Illegal’

Sergio Romo, SF World Series Champ, Declares: 'I Just Look Illegal'

San Francisco Giants’ Sergio Romo, who threw the series-winning last strike out in the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, strode through the city during the team’s celebratory victory parade today wearing a t-shirt with the words: “I just look illegal.”

Romo comes from Brawley, Calif. a small, remote farming town about 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Romo was raised in a baseball-loving family, and is the grandson of migrant workers.

LA Times has more details about how the small-town kid ended up in the big leagues:

Many of these players would cross the Mexican border on weekends to compete in adult leagues in the city of Mexicali. Promising young players would be invited to play shortly after they entered high school. In this way, a devotion to the game was passed from one generation to the next.

So when pitcher Sid Monge broke in with the Angels in 1975, many of the players in town felt he took part of them to the major leagues with him. They felt the same way about Rudy Seanez, who played 17 big league seasons with nine teams, including the Dodgers. And now they feel like that about Romo.

“Everybody has a little story about Rudy, Sergio and Sid,” said Rusty Garcia, who was Seanez’s pitching coach at Brawley Union High.

Romo is remembered as the child who used to tag along with his father on weekends to Mexicali. Memories of those days were shared over lunch recently at Las Chabelas, where six men gathered at a back table to trade stories.

“Remember how much of a pain he was?” Reyes asked the others. “Sergio was so hyper when he was a little kid.”

“Romo used his platform to show how ridiculous the notion is for anyone to be considered ‘illegal,’ said Monica Novoa, who leads the Drop the I-Word campaign. “He also is pointing to how this dehumanizing, inaccurate language goes hand in hand with racial profiling.”

This story includes reporting by Julianne Hing.

Check out some responses from Twitter and Instagram below:

Border Towns Honor Fallen Migrants on Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) begins Thursday, November 1, 2012, and ends Friday, November 2, 2012.

Since Dia de los Muertos in 1994, the year that Operation Gatekeeper tightened border security and diverted migrants to remote and dangerous areas, artists and activists have been hanging art on the border fence as a way of honoring the men, women and children who lost their lives on their way to the U.S.

These two images were taken at the U.S.-Mexico Border in Mexicali B.C. Mexico and Calexico, CA. The pictures were taken on November 10, 2009 and uploaded to Flickr by Sergio Apolinar.

US-Mexico Border day of the dead 2 "Dia del muerto"

Ariz. Official That Banned Ethnic Studies Cited in Hit-run Crash, Caught in Affair Scandal

Ariz. Official That Banned Ethnic Studies Cited in Hit-run Crash, Caught in Affair Scandal

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was cited last Wednesday for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident earlier this year. Two FBI agents who had Horne under surveillance earlier this year saw him hit a parked SUV and then leave the scene of the collision.

In January 2011, Horne declared the Tucson Unified School District MAS (Mexican American Studies) program illegal.

The local Arizona ABC affiliate ABC15 has more details on Horne’s most recent scandal:

On March 27, 2012 at 12:45 p.m., two FBI agents had Horne under surveillance.

The federal investigators were tailing Horne in the course of their investigation into allegations of campaign finance violations .

The agents watched Horne and his employee, Carmen Chenal, drive to 202 West Roosevelt, where Chenal has an apartment. They then saw Horne back into a vehicle, a white Range Rover, then drive off without leaving a note.

Horne claimed he didn’t know he hit another car.

Sources tell ABC15 the woman in question is his mistress.

Confused About Whether Your Costume is Racist or Not?

Confused About Whether Your Costume is Racist or Not?

Not sure if your costume is racist or not? Consider the links below a public service announcement.

1) Seven Racist Costumes to Avoid This Halloween 

This is one is from the archives. Check out the illustrated list.

2) Ohio Students Warn Against Being a Racist Fool This Halloween

Controversy surrounding racially offensive Halloween costumes and theme parties have become a routine part of costume parties on college campuses. Check out Ohio University’s “Students Teaching About Racism in Society” (STARS) new ad campaign.

3) Need Halloween Ideas? Take Fashion Tips From This Adorable 5-Year-Old

Conservative Christian Leader Compares Non-Romney Vote to Vote for Hitler

Yesterday in Tampa, conservative preachers had their own souls to the polls, kinda. During the WTBN Ninth Annual Pastors Appreciation Lunch yesterday, keynote speaker Robert Jeffress, in a quasi-endorsement of Mitt Romney, told a crowd of 600 Christian activists that if they didn’t get political that it would be the same as allowing the Jewish Holocaust to happen. As reported by Michelle Bearden in The Tampa Tribune:

“I believe the preservation of America depends on pastors,” said Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas. “This is no time for God’s men to be passive. It’s time to stand up and push back against all the evil in our country.

“Tell your people that they have a choice: to cast a vote for righteousness or vote for unrighteousness.”

Jeffress urged the capacity crowd at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa to use their pulpit time this Sunday to stress the importance of voting for the candidate who supports the “biblical values” of the sanctity of marriage, sanctity of life and religious freedom.

Stay silent, he warned them, and you’re no different than German Lutheran pastors who didn’t speak out against Hitler’s growing influence in the late 1930s. That lack of action led to the Holocaust, he said.

Jeffress is no stranger to incendiary, extremist, if not partisan views, particularly as they pertain to President Barack Obama. Jeffress said last month that Obama was “openly involved in high-handed sins” that are like “a clenched fist in the face of God,” in reference to the President’s positions on marriage equality and pro-choice policies. Jeffress has called same-sex love a “miserable lifestyle” that leads to pedophilia.

Asked by the Bearden if Jeffress was making an endorsement of Romney, he said, “people can connect the dots. It’s clear which candidate shares our views.” Church leaders can not endorse political candidates as it would be a violation of their 501(c)3 status.

Black preachers involved in the Souls to the Polls campaign this past weekend have toed the line of presidential endorsements. The campaign itself was a GOTV effort, built to get people to the polls without telling them who to vote for. At the St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, African American pastor Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Banks spoke Sunday from his pulpit about the importance of voting, especially given those who fought and died for that right during the Civil Rights Movement.

Said Banks, “If we do nothing we will suffer. If we go back to the Bush years, we will suffer. We can’t lose hope. We are standing at a crossroads in our country but we can’t lose hope, we are too close to stop now.”

Watch Romney Refuse to Answer Questions About Defunding FEMA 11 Times

Watch Romney Refuse to Answer Questions About Defunding FEMA 11 Times

Pool reporters covering GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “storm relief event” in Ohio asked the candidate at least 11 times where he stands on FEMA, but were met with either silence or a smirk.

In the video above, Rachel Maddow offers some context to the story and at the 2:30 minute mark shows a sequence of clips with Romney ignoring reporters.

Romney’s New Ad Gets Obama’s Welfare and Food Stamps Policy All Wrong

Romney's New Ad Gets Obama's Welfare and Food Stamps Policy All Wrong

The Romney campaign has released a TV ad titled “Can’t Afford Another Term,” that makes misleading claims about President Barack Obama’s welfare policy and slanders food stamps.

“If you want to know President Obama’s second term agenda, look at his first: gutting the work requirement for welfare, record unemployment, and more women in poverty than ever before,” says the male voiceover in the ad. “Doubled the number of able-bodied adults without children on food stamps. Record unemployment. More women in poverty than ever before,” the commercial goes on to claim.’s investigative reporter says the Romney campaign has made welfare and food stamp bashing a central part of it’s strategy to win the White House, convinced as ever that it can appeal to the GOP base by attacking programs for the poor.

Wessler emailed the following statement about the ad:

In the lastest ad, Romney resurrects the thoroughly discredited idea that Obama gutted welfare’s work requirements. (In fact, the waiver the administration offered to states would make it easier for welfare systems to move recipients into jobs.) The ad lumps welfare and food stamps together, again lambasting the President for large food stamp roles. The narration is careful not to slander all food stamp recipients, focusing instead on “able-bodied adults without children on food stamps.” The message is clear: Obama’s in the business of giving handouts to the underserving.

The Huffington Post reports the ad is running in markets that include Cincinnati, Dayton, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Zanesville, in Ohio. It’s also running in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado; Gainesville, Jacksonville, Panama City and Tampa in Florida; Davenport, Omaha, Ottumwa and Sioux City in Iowa; Rochester, N.Y.; Las Vegas; and Charlottesville and Roanoke in Virginia.

Bush’s Heckuva-Job FEMA Director Criticizes Obama For Responding to Sandy ‘So Quickly’

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who faced a great deal of backlash for the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is back in the headlines. This time he’s offering advice and criticism for Obama on how he should’ve dealt with Hurricane Sandy.

On Monday, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City, Brown told the Denver Westword that Obama holding a press conference at FEMA yesterday might have been a bit premature.

An excerpt from the Denver Westword’s story titled “Michael Brown, ex-FEMA head, has advice, criticism for Obama about Hurricane Sandy:”

“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown said. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”

Brown resigned from his position as director less than two weeks after Katrina hit.

(h/t Think Progress)

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