Romney addresses Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
September 18th, 2012
08:49 AM ET

Romney addresses Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

By Rachel Streitfeld, CNN

Los Angeles, California (CNN) – Mitt Romney reached out to Hispanic voters Monday in a speech tailored to the growing Latino community, offering a new veneer on long-standing campaign policies.

The speech came hours after a top aide to the GOP presidential candidate said Romney would focus more on policy specifics in the 50 days that remain before Election Day.

The aide, senior adviser Ed Gillespie, said Romney would put "new emphasis" on the specifics of what he would do as president, beginning with the Monday remarks.

"I'm convinced that the Republican Party is the rightful home of Hispanic-Americans," Romney told an audience of 1,400 business leaders at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce conference in Los Angeles.

He vowed to pursue policies that would help Hispanics, such as expanding trade with Latin America and offering school choice to lower-income students, and derided President Obama's actions on immigration reform as "playing politics."

September 17th, 2012
05:15 PM ET

Opinion: Occupy fizzled, but made 99% a force

Editor's note: Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, is an editor of "Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective."

By Stephen Zunes, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It's been a year since the Occupy Wall Street movement sprang up. Since then, it has fizzled, but this does not mean that the underlying issues that gave rise to the protests have gone away.

Until last year, mainstream political discourse did not include nearly as much emphasis on such populist concerns as rising income inequality, tax policies that favor the rich, growing influence by large corporate interests in elections and the reckless deregulation of financial institutions that resulted in the 2008 crisis. It is hard to miss them now.

These concerns still impact 99% of Americans. Even if Occupy protests have petered out, the movement has affected the political narrative in our country.

Meet the Original Occupiers

We can see Occupy's impact in the current presidential campaign. Whereas Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election strategy focused on the idea of "triangulation" - taking centrist positions on key economic issues to isolate his Republican opponent on the right - President Barack Obama has taken on much more of a populist stance, mobilizing his Democratic base and economically stressed independents against an opponent whom his campaign is depicting as the quintessential representative of the 1%.

Occupy activists justifiably express skepticism over how much to trust the president's left-leaning rhetoric when his actual economic policies have been decidedly centrist. Still, the fact that Obama's re-election campaign recognizes the advantage of decrying unfair tax laws and similar policies that affect middle class Americans is indicative of how the tone has shifted.

Read Stephen Zunes' full column

Cancer now No. 1 killer of U.S. Hispanics
Although the death rate has been declining since 2000, cancer is now the leading cause of death for U.S. Hispanics.
September 17th, 2012
01:27 PM ET

Cancer now No. 1 killer of U.S. Hispanics

By Dr. Otis Brawley, Special to CNN

Editor's note: CNN conditions expert Dr. Otis Webb Brawley is the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, a world-renowned cancer expert and a practicing oncologist. He is also the author of the book "How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America."

(CNN) - Cancer has surpassed heart disease to become the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States, according to an American Cancer Society report released Monday.

Every three years since 2000, scientists at the cancer society have published Cancer Facts and Figures for Hispanics/Latinos. Such studies provide data that help develop an efficient science-based cancer control plan.

Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States. Approximately 16.3% of America's population (50.5 million out of 310 million people) is Hispanic. It is estimated that 112,800 people of Hispanic ethnicity will be diagnosed with cancer and 33,200 will die of the disease in 2012.

The finding is due in part to the younger age distribution of Hispanics. Approximately one in 10 Hispanics is age 55 or over, compared to one in three non-Hispanics.

Among non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans, heart disease remains the leading cause of death, according to Monday's American Cancer Society report, the fifth.

While cancer is the most common cause of death for all three populations under the age of 85, there are fewer Hispanics in the United States over the age of 85, where heart disease is predominant.

Opinion: Can Romney connect with Latino voters?
Mitt Romney and Hector Barreto Jr., chairman of the Latino Coalition, greet guests at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in May.
September 17th, 2012
09:28 AM ET

Opinion: Can Romney connect with Latino voters?

Editor's note: Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and commentator, served as national Hispanic campaign chairwoman for John McCain in 2008 and national Hispanic co-chair for Jon Huntsman's 2012 campaign. Follow her on Twitter @ananavarro.

By Ana Navarro, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - A few weeks ago, I said Mitt Romney's Hispanic outreach was not visible to the naked eye. I try to call 'em as I see 'em, even when it means criticism of my own party.

Today, I see a Romney Hispanic blitz. Latino-Palooza is underway. Hispanic volunteers are holding events, making phone calls, knocking on doors. Romney began to spend significant resources on Spanish TV ads in swing states with a sizable Hispanic population. He's doing an interview with Telemundo, speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and participating in a Univision Candidate Forum, all this week.

My unsolicited advice to Romney: CONNECT! For the love of God, Mitt, acknowledge you are in front of Latinos. It's OK to talk to different communities about specific issues that affect them more than others. If done correctly and with sincerity, it is called speaking to your audience. If it strikes an inauthentic note, it's pandering.

Earlier this year, Romney spoke to the Latino Coalition. He mentioned "Latino" twice, once while thanking his hosts. Recently, he spoke at an event in Miami, Florida. You may have thought it was taking place in Miami, Ohio. He made no comments specifically targeted to the thousands of Hispanics braving the heat and humidity to hear him. Romney never mentioned foreign policy toward Latin America, not even Cuba. How someone fails to do that in the heart of Cuban-American Miami is puzzling.

Read Ana Navarro's full column

September 16th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Sisters navigate new Pennsylvania voter ID law

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia - Suzanne Williamson is breathing a little easier.

On Saturday, Williamson and her sister, Mattie Lee Williams, were escorted by volunteers to get the proper photo ID that will allow Mattie to vote this November.

Williamson says her sister, who has autism, has voted in every election for as long as she can remember.

But this year, after Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a new law requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting their ballots, was the first time she had to fight to make it to the ballot box. FULL POST

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A day in the life of a New York Fashion Week model
Croatian model Petra Vujevic took a year off from pursing a university degree in computer science to give modeling a try
September 15th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

A day in the life of a New York Fashion Week model

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - "Release the models!"

The stage manager's voice fills the backstage area, busy with hairstylists and makeup artists wielding the tools of their trade over a row of girls in front of brightly lit mirrors.

"It's time for a quick run-through."

It takes an extra moment for Petra Vujevic to break free from her chair, where she is surrounded by three stylists trying to tame her long blonde hair into a "punky ballerina" bun. The head stylist is teasing sections of her natural hair while another tends to neon pink extensions woven into her ponytail. A third handles clips and brushes.

Vujevic winces. It hasn't been a good hair day for the 20-year-old Croatian model. It's the second time today that her head has been pulled in a million directions, loaded down with gooey products and hairspray.

But she refrains from pouting because it's part of the job. Anyway, modeling isn't her life - not yet, at least. It's just something she decided to try by taking a year off from university in Croatia, where she's studying computer science. She started exactly one year ago, making the rounds in Milan, Paris, London and Spain before arriving in New York three weeks ago for Fashion Week.

Complete coverage: Fashion Week

"When you're tall and thin, everyone says you should be a model, so I thought: try it for a year," Vujevic said in accented English, which she learned in school and from television. "It's been good. I decided to model because it was completely different. How would I know if I didn't try?"

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Shaq attacks binge drinking at black colleges
September 14th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Shaq attacks binge drinking at black colleges

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) -  Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal was once asked about his favorite drink: a blend of strawberries, blueberries, organic apple juice and ice.

That's how he'd prefer college students drink. But they don't.

About four in five college students drink alcohol, the National Institutes for Health estimate. Half of those who drink also binge drink, meaning that they consume four or more drinks at a time.

But binge drinking patterns are not the same everywhere.


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Filed under: Black in America • Education • How we live
Who are the unbanked?
Are you living in an unbanked state?
September 14th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Who are the unbanked?

By Blake Ellis, @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Nearly 10 million households across the country are living without a bank account. And in some states, these residents make up a big slice of the population.

Among all of the regions in the country, the South has the largest percentage of residents who are "unbanked," meaning they don't have a checking or a savings account. According to an FDIC report released this week, 10% of the region's population doesn't have a bank account, compared to the national average of 8.2%.

While 37% of U.S. households live inthe South, nearly half - or 46% - of all unbanked households in the country reside in this region. And so do nearly 40% of the nation's poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here to see if you live in an unbanked state

And that's no coincidence, said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of CardHub.com and former head of a team at Capital One tasked with identifying products for unbanked customers. "Wherever you see high poverty and low-income populations, you will see higher populations of unbanked," he said.

Mississippi, which has suffered the highest poverty rate in the country for years, also has the biggest population of unbanked households - with 15% of its residents lacking a bank account. Texas and Arkansas follow, with bankless rates of 12.8% and 12.3%, respectively.

Compare that with New Hampshire, which has the lowest rate of unbanked, at 1.9%, as well as the lowest poverty rate in the nation.

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Filed under: Economy • How we live • Poverty • Where we live
Pennsylvania high court hears high-profile Voter ID case
September 14th, 2012
08:22 AM ET

Pennsylvania high court hears high-profile Voter ID case

By David Ariosto, CNN

(CNN) - Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court has taken up a controversial case over the state's new voting law, which requires voters to show a photo ID before casting their ballots.

Court spokesman Art Heinz said the case, which is an appeal from a lower court's August 15 decision which upheld the law, is not expected to be resolved by Thursday.

At issue is whether the new requirement will disenfranchise voters during an election season that has already seen a series of high-profile legal challenges over voting procedures.

The law's opponents say the measure undermines potential voters and was passed without sufficient evidence of prior identity fraud.

Its proponents argue that the law instead strengthens voting procedures and protects against potential fraud.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, said the law, which he signed in March and was passed largely along party lines, "sets a simple and clear standard to protect the integrity of our elections."

After the hearing, Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of State Shannon Royer said, "It was clear by the lower court ruling that this law is absolutely constitutional.

"Many other states around the country have voter ID laws. Pennsylvania's voter ID law was modeled after Indiana, which was implemented back in 2008 and upheld on solid legal ground. And I'm hoping based on my observations of the justices today, that they'll come to the same conclusions," Royer added.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • How we live • Politics • Where we live
September 13th, 2012
05:21 PM ET

What would you do if you were branded a racist? Here's what she did

By Elizabeth Mayo, CNN

(CNN) - She was smeared, taken out of context, and forced out of her job.

Shirley Sherrod became a household name after Andrew Breitbart published a video of her speaking at NAACP event in 2010. An edited portion of that speech went went viral:

"The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm I didn't give him the full force of what I could do," Sherrod said in the edited clip.


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Filed under: Black in America • History • How we live • Race • Who we are
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