The report supports passage of the Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act, which would prohibit the imposition of taxes by multiple jurisdictions on the same digital purchase, and the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which would impose a five-year moratorium on new, discriminatory state or local taxes on mobile services, providers and property.
"Right now, thanks to a regressive patchwork of state and local taxes, Americans are paying more than they should for their phones and the products they buy online," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "This unfair tax burden hits hardest those who can least afford it, including many Hispanics.”
Both measures would deliver significant savings for all Americans, including the many Hispanics who rely heavily on digital devices for employment, education, commercial and other economic and social interactions.
-- by Melissa Healy, The Los Angeles Times:
A day after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Health Department went to court to defend its proposed cap on the sale of super-sized sodas, a published study has offered evidence that Bloomberg's plan would reduce average calorie intake among those most likely to buy large drinks, and would have its greatest effect on overweight and obese kids.
The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, also found that low-income consumers were no more affected by a portion cap than were those of higher income -- a major challenge to opponents of the proposed cap, who have argued it unfairly targets the poor.
The research was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition...
... At the same time, the finding that low-income consumers pared about the same number of calories from their daily intake as those with higher incomes may undermine an argument mustered by many opponents of soda restrictions or taxes: that such measures restrict poor people's choices but not those of higher-income consumers.
Gus K. West, president of the Washington-based Hispanic Institute, says it's time for that argument to lose its power anyway. In low-income communities and Latino communities disproportionately affected by obesity and diabetes, measures that drive down sugar-sweetened beverage consumption should and will have a heavy impact -- for the better, West says.
-- for the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
May 6, 2013
Is this the year Washington finally tackles immigration reform?
The bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators just released a proposal for "comprehensive immigration reform."
But the "comprehensive immigration reform" on offer serves to legally deprive undocumented immigrants of fundamental civil rights — in spite of their outsized contributions to the U.S. economy.
The basic plan from the Gang of Eight has not changed much since the last time Washington showed an interest in immigration reform, in 2007.
It starts with stern promises to "secure the border." A guest worker program would follow.
The Gang of Eight proposal would enable undocumented immigrant workers
to remain here legally after a criminal background check, a hefty
registration fee, and a number of other onerous requirements.
-- by Jose De la Isla, Hispanic Link News Service:
The Hispanic Institute of Washington, D.C., recently released a report: "Obesity: Hispanic America's Big Challenge." It's in line with the growing notion that some Latino community groups are too cozy with the food industry.
Commercial interests are flooding stores with sugary soft drinks and other foods that are too salty and fatty. Latino families have favorable demographics for increasing sales. Unfortunately, this also contributes greatly to the national obesity problem.
Among the solutions: The institute urges national Hispanic organizations not to accept funds from companies whose products hurt people and for whom those groups exist as advocates.
The institute's report stands out by going a step further than simply serving as just one more criticism of food-industry products. It examines the marketing as well and the politics of goodwill behind some of the support given to Latino organizations.
"Of course, we're responsible for what we eat and drink," says the institute's president, Gus West, "but we're also subject to the effects of massive advertising and misleading promotional campaigns -- especially on our children and the poor."
-- from Industry Today:
Like most Americans, Gus West always thought of yogurt as a nutritious and healthful food item rather than something that could be unhealthier for you than a bowl of sugarcoated cereal.
But, to his great surprise, he found out that, at least in some cases, it is the latter.
That is the last time he will buy that particular brand of yogurt for his child.
“I’m the leader of a national organization and you think I would be more knowledgeable of things like this,” he said. “But I didn’t know that, and I feel like I should have.”
Now, as the board chair and president of The Hispanic Institute, he is directing a campaign to help better educate fellow Hispanics about the dangers lurking inside a wide range of processed foods and sugary products.
The newly-launched campaign is based on a recent report by the organization, titled “Obesity: Hispanic America’s Big Challenge,” which strongly criticizes the processed food industry and its countless list of manufacturers for its complicity in flooding stores with drinks that are too sugary and foods that are too salty and contain too much fat.
Individuals Must Change Diet, Exercise Habits
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – Regulation of big sugary drinks and processed foods can help reduce alarmingly high rates of obesity among Hispanics, but changes in individual behavior and support from community organizations are also crucial, according to a new report released today by The Hispanic Institute.
The report, “Obesity: Hispanic America’s Big Challenge,” criticizes the processed food industry for its complicity in flooding stores with drinks that are too sugary and foods that are too salty and fat. It also urges national organizations not to accept funds from companies whose products hurt the people they represent.
“Of course, we’re responsible for what we eat and drink, but we’re also subject to the effects of massive advertising and misleading promotional campaigns – especially on our children and the poor,” Gus West, president of The Hispanic Institute, said in announcing the report. “Education and awareness can make a difference, but we also need the community organizations to walk away from funding by the processed food and big sugary drink companies. Community Organizations did it in the ‘90s, when they broke with tobacco companies; they can do it again now with these companies,” he added.
The report applauds public officials like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose much publicized effort to control the sale of big sugary drinks was blocked by a court ruling on an appeal brought by the sugary drink manufacturers, supported by Hispanic and African American Organizations.
“Obesity: Hispanic America’s Big Challenge” details the impact of diabetes and heart disease on the Hispanic community, which suffers from those obesity-related conditions at rates surpassed only by those of non-Hispanic African-Americans, and it offers some solutions. The positive roles of diet and exercise and technology are also examined
About the Hispanic Institute:
The Hispanic Institute (http://www.thehispanicinstitute.org /) is a 501 (c) 3 designated nonprofit organization that provides an effective education forum for an informed and empowered Hispanic America.
XiNomara Velazquez Yehuda, COS
-- by Catherine Thompson, TPM.com:
One Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is signing on to a Democrat-led push to advance immigration reform before year's end, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) told the Post he's the first Republican to co-sponsor with 185 Democrats a plan giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and he expects "more to come on board."
The plan takes up most of the Senate's bipartisan immigration bill, according to the Post, but includes a House GOP-approved border security bill. Denham told the Post he was sold on the plan when Democrats agreed to include a provision providing a path to citizenship for young immigrants who serve in the military.
-- by Cindy Chang, The Los Angeles Times:
Immigration court backlogs have increased 85% over the last five years, with wait times also increasing to an average of 562 days, according to federal data compiled by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
At 686 days, California has the second-longest wait time. Nebraska has the longest wait time, at 761 days.
The national increase in pending immigration court cases, from 186,108 in 2008 to 344,230 in fiscal year 2013, is largely due to an increase in deportations under the Obama administration, said Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Assn.
-- by Matea Gold, The Washington Post:
A network of Latino donors that played a pivotal role in raising money for President Obama’s reelection is now focused on a new campaign: an effort to oust lawmakers who stand in the way of overhauling immigration laws.
The Latino Victory Project, a new political advocacy organization modeled after the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, is planning to spend as much as $20 million on campaigns targeting members of Congress who have sizable Latino communities in their districts but oppose comprehensive immigration reform.
At a private meeting for about 30 donors, fundraisers and union leaders Friday, leaders of the group laid out a strategy to make the issue central in next year’s midterm elections if Congress does not pass a bill, identifying 10 House Republicans who would be vulnerable to pressure from Latino constituents.
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