A new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says merchant fees and reward programs offered by many credit-card issuers essentially take money from those who have the least and give it to those who have the most. The imbalance may have to be remedied via government intervention, the authors, Scott Schuh, Oz Shy and Joana Stavins, argued. The paper was published as part of the bank’s Public Policy Discussion Papers on Monday. The paper said that on average, households that use cash for purchases give $151 to those households that use credit cards annually. Meanwhile, card-using households get $1,482 from those who pay cash. The paper calls this a “regressive transfer” of wealth. At the heart of the issue is a lack of knowledge. “The typical consumer is largely unaware of the full ramifications of paying for goods and services by credit card,” and is unaware how the fees merchants pay to offer payment by credit affects the setting of overall prices, the paper said.
While this system offers flexibility and options for card users, it simply raises prices for those who pay cash. The paper notes that while the percentage of households using credit cards has been relatively steady at around 75%, total consumer spending via cards has risen from 9% to 15% over the last two decades, increasing merchant fees. The distortion of prices due to things like merchant fees is further exacerbated by the reward programs that are usually only available to those who spend more via credit cards, the researchers said.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton has issued a preliminary injunction preventing several sections of Arizona’s new immigration law from becoming law, at least until the courts have a chance to hear the full case.
Key parts of Senate Bill 1070 that will not go into effect Thursday:
• The portion of the law that requires an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally.
• The portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry “alien-registration papers.”
• The portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.)
• The portion that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.
GRAND ISLE, La. – A hundred days ago, shop owner Cherie Pete was getting ready for a busy summer serving ice cream and po-boys to hungry fishermen. Local official Billy Nungesser was planning his wedding. Environmental activist Enid Sisskin was preparing a speech about the dangers of…
On Friday evening, cultural critic and writer Michaela angela Davis tweeted: “It is with a heavy heavy heart I have learned that Essence magazine has engaged a white fashion director, this hurts, literally, spiritually.” Michaela’s tweet erupted a series of reactions, re-tweets, and scores of Facebook comments. Responses ranged from shock, disappointment to utter confusion.
Our immediate reaction? As the publication unofficially deemed “Essence‘s little sister”—a growing young urban women’s online brand for news, critical commentary, lifestyle, fashion and beauty—it felt like our Mom walked us hand in hand to the center of the biggest shopping mall in the state, turned around, and left us. But we are no longer the little girls eyeballing the glossy giant who taught us how to love ourselves. We’ve been finding our way through the life, love and labels for quite sometime now, and the likely abandonment of the counselor who taught us everything we know is now evolving into clearer overstanding. The pressing question for many of us is how much does Time Warner have to do with the hiring?
In 2000, media giant Time Warner acquired 49 percent of Essence Communications Partners, and in 2005, the conglomerate purchased the remaining 51 percent. The news was met with a strong contention by the Black community who viewed the transaction as yet another Black business takeover. Time Warner’s purchase of the beloved Essence brand came on the heels of Viacom’s acquisition of the Black Entertainment Television. Essence and Time Warner have yet to officially announce the hiring, but media site, Media Bistro released an article on Monday revealing the pick is Ellianna Placas, formerly of O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly. The report confirms Placas will make her official debut with Essence in their 40th anniversary commemorative September issue.
CLUTCH spoke with Michaela angela Davis, a former fashion editor for Essence, and a current writer for the print, and fashion media personality Najwa Moses. Both women were gracious enough to share their honest and candid thoughts on the news.
Offering her immediate reaction to the hiring, Michaela says, “I am so so hurt and confused and frankly angry by this news. I feel like a girlfriend has died.” Michaela’s tweets and Facebook comments on the hiring informed many media insiders, and former Essence staff members who had no clue. “I am going against my own advice and publicly speaking when I’m so emotionally driven.” Michaela says she reached out to Angela Burt-Murray, current Editor-in-Chief of Essence. “I emailed her as a respectful heads up informing her that I would be speaking up.” Michaela says her feelings on the news have much to do with black women’s hostile history with the fashion industry. Further explaining her concerns around the issue, Michaela wrote on Facebook: “It is personal and it’s also professional. If there were balance in the industry; if we didn’t have a history of being ignored and disrespected; if more mainstream fashion media included people of color before the ONE magazine dedicated to black women ‘diversified’, it would feel different.”
Commenting on if the hiring of a White fashion director has to do with a possible Time Warner strong-hold, Michaela tells CLUTCH, “I do not dare speak on whose brand got who. What I do know is that I’ve seen women go to combat with the biggest of corporate big wigs to protect their audience.”
Michaela shares, “I remember when Vibe launched, I overheard Martha Stewart (whose magazine was a Time publication at the time) laying a corporate executive out–literally screaming at him telling him he has ‘no authority’ to tell her what to put in her magazine, and that he had ‘no idea’ what her ‘culture’ is like. Martha Stewart said ‘she was the expert!’ I will never forget that.”
Michaela continues, “But closer to home Susan L. Taylor demanded things for her people, and the community, like the free empowerment seminars at the Essence Music Festival. My point is there are examples of people braving corporate pressures for the love of their audience.”
Connecting the news to the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Michaela says, “I think I am also so sensitive to this ‘unprotected Black women’ issue off the heels of Shirley Sherrod. The NAACP didn’t even call her or Google her history.” Michaela says, “How many qualified Black fashion professionals did they [Essence] call?”
All Hail Jean Gregoire Sagbo, who was the first black politican ever elected to office in Russia. The native of Benin in West Africa was elected to the 10-member council of Novozavidovo, a city of 10,000 people 65 miles north of Moscow. No need to tell you this is big progress in a country where racism is pervasive and often violent.
Sagbo has lived in the town for 21 years and is widely viewed as an honest man, say news reports. he came to Russia to study economics. By some estimates there are 40,000 “Afro-Russians” living in the country.
He promises to revive the impoverished, garbage-strewn town where he has lived for 21 years and raised a family. His plans include reducing rampant drug addiction, cleaning up a polluted lake and delivering heating to homes.
“Novozavidovo is dying,” Sagbo said in an interview in the ramshackle municipal building. “This is my home, my town. We can’t live like this.”
“His skin is black but he is Russian inside,” said Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor. “The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.”
Sagbo isn’t the first black in Russian politics. Another West African, Joaquin Crima of Guinea-Bissau, ran for head of a southern Russian district a year ago but was heavily defeated.
Eat the cheap foods: Beans and rice, peanut butter and jelly, potatoes, corn, etc. Look at the diets of people who didn’t have access to cheap meat. Try to eat like those people by basing your diet on simple plant foods.
Make your own food: Convenience foods are usually more expensive than whole foods. So don’t pay other people to make your food for you. Pass the frozen meals and get the whole foods.
Share: Have potlucks with other vegans where you can pool your food and resources for better, bigger meals.
Spread out the flavor: Instead of using the most expensive ingredients as the center of the meal, use the most expensive stuff in smaller quantities, added at the last minute on top of a dish, serving mainly as flavor.
Stop buying substitutes: You don’t need meat substitutes or vegan cheese. If you like them and can afford them, by all means get them. But you don’t need them. So if money is tight, opt for lentils and rice instead of frozen fake chicken.
Plan your meals: Plan your meals so that shopping trips don’t involve unnecessary, expensive items or foods that will go to waste. Make large batches of soups, chilies and other foods and freeze half for later.
Shop at farmer’s markets: Farmer’s markets are often cheaper than Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or other large groceries. And farmer’s markets are often organic, but at a lower cost than at the grocery store.
Look for sales: Often groceries will put produce on sale if they have an excess quantity or if it’s ripe and will over-ripe tomorrow. You can snag these items in large quantities, prep them at home, and toss them in the freezer for use later.
Buy in bulk: Shop at places like Costco where you can get bulk produce and some other non-animal foods. And if you don’t have storage for bulk items or if you can’t afford the price, go in on it with a friend or neighbor.
Get the generic stuff: Nuff said.
Bag it yourself: Many groceries have a dry foods section with grains and beans. If you bag and label the food yourself, you’ll usually save some money at the register.
Shop in season: Try to buy the foods that are in season where you live. They will often be less expensive than the imported foods.
Use coupons: Most of the time coupons are only for specific brand names, but sometimes you’ll find produce coupons. So just keep an eye out for them and use them when you see them.
Shop online: You can buy some vegan foods online. Depends on the product, but sometimes you can find items online at about half the cost of what the stores charge.
Opt for the alternatives: You don’t have to buy always fresh, organic produce if it’s too expensive or not available. Nonorganic produce, canned, frozen, and dried vegan foods are still a better choice than animal products.
Use vegan cookbooks designed for cheap living: This book, Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook, is designed for the frugal vegan. There are other vegan guides, too, like Alternative Vegan, that focuses on easy to find vegan foods.
Take their advice and veganize it: You can often adapt advice about frugal living geared for omnivores to fit your vegan lifestyle because most of it is about saving money, not about consuming animal products. The advice, “don’t go to the grocery store hungry” applies to all of us.
Grow your own food: Even if you only have room for a small container garden, you can still grow some herbs and cut back on that expense. If you have more room, you can grow some fruits and vegetables. And if you don’t have room, but you’re feeling adventurous, you can start a guerrilla garden.
Keep your produce fresh longer so nothing goes to waste: You can also use specialty “green bags,” paper bags, the crisper in your fridge, or you can freeze the produce to make it last longer.
Reuse bags or use cloth bags: Many grocery stores give a discount of 5 cents per bag. It might only save 25-50 cents per shopping trip, but that adds up. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for your pocketbook.
Don’t buy junk food: Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Avoid the chips, cookies, crackers, soda, soy ice cream, etc. You don’t need it and it usually costs more than it’s nutritional worth.
Save left-overs: Keep the leftovers from dining out or from large home-cooked meals. Freeze them and save for later.
YES! For all you folks, who think being vegan is “bougie,” I sure as hell couldn’t afford meat when I wasn’t veg.
“I remember it as if it were yesterday,” the man sitting across the table says softly. “Willy went up first; he was leading the centre group. We were almost at the top of the ravine when we heard them.”
Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro on Sunday sent a message to South African former President Nelson Mandela, asking him to keep his country away from U.S. military bases and NATO, the official website Cubadebate said.
“You should exercise all your immense moral force to keep South Africa away from U.S. military bases and NATO,” said Castro.
He called Mandela his old and prestigious friend, adding he is happy to see him “acknowledged by all the world political institutions as a symbol of freedom, justice and human dignity”.
Mandela, an anti-apartheid legend, turned 92 on Sunday. Cuba marked the internationally recognized Nelson Mandela Day on his birthday.
Castro and Mandela met personally when Mandela visited Havana in 1991, after his release from prison. Castro decorated him with the Jose Marti’s order, the highest honor.
(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) — Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to grant gays and lesbians all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.
So Bullock’s a hero. While black women are belittled for being single mothers, even if the numbers say that they aren’t that much more likely to raise kids alone than other ethnicities, women like Bullock are praised. I call it the altar worship of white motherhood.
For further proof, see how this transracial adoption works when it’s reversed. I’ve never read anything about African-American Lionel Richie and his African-American wife “saving” white-Latino Nicole Richie when they adopted her. And where’s the praise for Seal, an African man who is raising a European man’s child (Heidi Klum’s eldest Leni)? Those adopters are merely parents while Bullock, and other white women who have adopted black children like Madonna, Angelina Jolie, and Jolie Fisher, are saints, worthy of our praise.