Monday, March 30, 2009

Close D20 Race Shows GOP Weakness

The national GOP is so desperate to recapture the 20th Congressional seat, that it has dumped $1,600,000 to shore up Jim Tedisco's flagging campaign.

In contrast, the DCCC has invested a more reasonable $574K in Scott Murphy's run. But remember, Republicans hold a huge 28 point registration advantage in the sprawling, rural and still conservative district.
Rightwing pundits are trying to make the race a referendum on the Obama administration and his economic policies, which Murphy supports and Tedisco opposes. But that's utter nonsense.

Objective observers can see that this race is really a test for the Republicans; after all, the fact that Tedisco is not trouncing Murphy in the very red 20th speaks volumes about the low level of confidence in the GOP by the district's Republican majority.

With a 64% to 36% advantage over the Democrats, it seems to me that Tedisco needs to win with over 60% of the vote in order for Republicans to brag about anything. A close victory by Tedisco or a defeat, which is possible, is not good news for the Republicans--no matter how they spin it.

North Country Public radio reporter Brian Mann agrees that the stakes are huge for the Republicans.

NY-20: Democrat Closes with Palin, Limbaugh
NY House special election seen as Obama's 1st test
NY-20: The War of Surrogates

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Scott Murphy Upsets GOP Plan to Retake the 20th

New York's 20th Congressional District seat was supposed to be an easy pickup for the Republicans; after all, the voters in the majority Republican and rural district prefer their politicians to reflect their socially conservative values.

While Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won in the 20th, she did so as a hometown girl from a prominent Republican family and as pol with social conservative views on issues such as guns, war, immigration and government spending -- a so-called 'blue dog' democrat.

So, the newly minted GOP Chair Michael Steele thought it smart to fly to Albany to declare that the GOP's rebirth starts with a win in the 20th. The GOP has poured resources in support of their standardbearer, 58 year old Jim Tedisco, a longtime Albany politician who's against the Obama stimulus bill. The GOP's enthusiasm further heightened when the Democrats picked Scott Murphy, a 39 year businessman and political novice with progressive views aligned with Obama's policies.

Needless to say, Steele's tenure as GOP Big Dog has not gone as planned, and neither has Tedisco's imagined stroll to Congress. With a recent Marist poll showing Murphy gaining a slight lead in the run-up to the March 31st Special election, Tedisco is sinking under the weight of the obstructionism of the Party of No.

It seems the more national Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Boehner and others support Tedisco, the weaker he grows.

Is there a message here?

On the issues concerning Latinos in the 20th and across the country--as well as Americans of all stripes, a smart, energetic, moderate progressive newcomer like Murphy representing New York's 20th is hugely preferable to an old-line Albany pol aligned with national reactionary forces like Tedisco.

For Republicans, 20th Race Will Be 'Battle Royale' Says Steele
Murphy Takes 4-Point Lead Over Tedisco in Final Week
President Obama Endorses Scott Murphy for Congress
Scott Murphy for Congress
NY-20: Libertarian Sundwall Endorses Murphy
D-20 Map
ACTBlue: Scott Murphy

Monday, March 9, 2009

Do You Pay the Same State Tax Rate As Donald Trump and Bernie Madoff? The Answer Will Shock You!

In New York State, how much money would you have to make in order to be in the very highest income tax bracket? That's the question posed by the WFF to a sampling of New Yorkers. The answer is truly shocking! Needless to say, not one of the individuals interviewed was even close.

Watch this video and then do something about this stunning injustice--even if it's only forwarding the video to friends and family members in New York.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rights for Domestic Workers in New York

El Diario today called on New York's legislature to give Governor David Paterson legislation to provide basic labor protections to the state's 200,000 domestic workers. See the editorial below.

Latino New York joins El Diario to finally move to protect some of society's most vulnerable and easily exploited workers. With the horror stories of greed run-a-muck on Wall Street, the harassment--and even murder--of immigrant workers, and the mistreatment of domestic workers (including enslavement), New York must quit stalling and move quickly to extend labor rights to all domestic workers. Doing so will send a loud message that New York will once again stand on the side of economic justice.

Rights for domestic workers
Derechos para trabajadoras domésticas

Today, on International Women's Day, we honor the long struggle and accomplishments towards equality and respect for women. Another milestone is within reach if New York state lawmakers push through a bill in the legislative pipeline.

For five years, domestic workers in New York have rallied for a bill of rights that would provide them with basic protections. These workers, estimated at 200,000 in New York State, are often exploited, even more so in this economic climate.

Thousands of families count on domestic workers to care for their children, elders and households. This allows professionals to perform jobs in sectors on which the city depends. Yet domestic workers are not guaranteed sick or vacation days or pay increases. They can be fired at will and without notice.

The vast majority of domestic workers are immigrant women, many from Latin America. Here, they find themselves isolated, underpaid and mistreated by employers taking advantage of the fact that their work is not protected under state and federal laws. It's abuse employers would not tolerate for themselves.

Tomorrow, the State Senate's labor committee is expected to vote on legislation that would address unfair working conditions for domestic workers. A bill long sponsored by Assemblyman Keith Wright is in the rules committee. The committees should approve these bills so they can be presented on the floor for passage.

This is the fifth year that domestic workers, represented by Domestic Workers United, have tried to get a bill approved. The legislature and Governor David Paterson should make sure this is the last year they have to advocate for overdue protections.
From Stand in Long Island Slavery Case, a Snapshot of a Hidden U.S. Problem
Albany drags feet on domestic worker bill
Domestic workers sue, organize for their rights: Long denied sick time, vacation and health care, group pressures politicians
Nanny abuse rally eyes domestic worker plight
Domestic Workers: Little Protection for the Underpaid
Break The Chain Campaign: Assisting the Enslaved in the Land of the Free
Maid to Order: Modern-day Slavery in the USA
Domestic Workers Unite

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The History, Music and Culture of the Indigenous Taíno People - 3.20.09 @ The New York Open Center

This evening, indigenous activist, historian, artist, musician and storyteller Roberto Borrero, one of only a handful of actual Taino descendants who are considered authorities on the ancient Taino culture, will introduce us to the history, creation stories, spirituality, music and song of the first indigenous people encountered by Columbus in 1492.

The program will include stunning slides and a performance of Taino music by Roberto and other members of the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Taino culture.


Friday, March 20, 7:30pm
The New York Open Center
83 Spring Street (Btw B'way and Lafayette Sts.)
212-219-2527 Ext.2
Program #09WSN14P
Members: $18/Nonmembers: $20
Location: The New York Open Center, 83 Spring Street
(Btw B'way and Lafayette Sts.)
Contact: www.opencenter. org

Source: UCTP - email:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Great Recession Hits Latinos Hardest

The Great Recession of 2008 (and beyond) is hurting men more than women. It is hurting homeowners and investors more than renters or retirees who rely on Social Security checks. It is hurting Latinos more than any other ethnic group. A year ago, a greater share of Latinos held jobs than whites. Today, the two have switched places.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Severe & Deeply Rooted Housing Discrimination on Long Island

The advocacy group Education Research Advocacy Support to Eliminate Racism (ERASE Racism)'s latest report, The Racial Equity Report Card: Fair Housing on Long Island (pdf), concludes that African Americans and Latinos are still treated unfairly when searching for homes in Long Island (New York).

The discrimination, the report observes, is severe and deeply rooted in the highly segregated society that is Long Island.

A primary culprit? Real estate professionals.

The report found that some Long Island real estate agents routinely practice housing discrimination, despite efforts to crack down on it, including repeatedly steering African Americans and Latinos to rundown neighborhoods.

Seventy three percent (73%) of all housing race discrimination complaints on Long Island from 2000 to 2007 were filed against real estate professionals.
The report also found that local state and federal government agencies failed to act to stem housing discrimination based on race on Long Island.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under George W. Bush failed to oversee and monitor New York’s human rights cases.

The state’s Division of Human Rights under George Pataki dismissed most housing discrimination complaints. Between 1999 and 2007, 90 percent of the race-based fair housing complaints from Long Island received a “no probable cause” finding.

And local municipalities failed to take “any significant steps towards drafting and implementing community development plans that address inequities caused by racial segregation.”

Report: Housing discrimination on LI 'routine practice'
Not so fair housing on LI
Housing Barriers Persist on Long Island: New Study Reveals Housing Discrimination on
Long Island Is Severe and Deeply Rooted - report press release

The Racial Equity Report Card: Fair Housing on Long Island