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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Latino Dems Should Rethink Loyalty

By Joel KotkinSeptember 26 2010
Appearing in:
Politico

Given the awful state of the economy, it’s no surprise that Democrats are losing some support among Latinos. But they can still consider the ethnic group to be in their pocket. Though Latinos have not displayed the lock-step party loyalty of African-Americans, they still favor President Barack Obama by 57 percent, according to one Gallup Poll — down just 10 percentage points from his high number early in the administration.

This support is particularly unusual, given that probably no large ethnic group in America has suffered more than Latinos from the Great Recession. This is true, in large part, because Latino employment is heavily concentrated in manufacturing, and even more so in construction.

A half-million Latino workers in the construction sector — in which their share of the work force is double what it is in the broader economy — have lost their jobs since the start of the recession.

Unfortunately, the Obama stimulus plan was light on physical infrastructure. It favored Wall Street, public-sector unions and large research universities. Big winners included education and health services — in which Latinos are under-represented.

Not surprisingly, Latino communities across the country are in trouble. Today, of the 10 most economically “stressed” counties, seven are majority or heavily Latino, according to The Associated Press.

Theoretically, Republicans should be able to take advantage of this situation. But not with the party’s increasing embrace of its noisy nativist right — evident not only in support of the controversial Arizona immigration law but also in the strong move against “birthright citizenship.” This makes the prospect of earning back President George W. Bush’s 40-plus-percentage-point support difficult at best. Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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