NEWS STAND: Is Obama's Stimulus Program Shortchanging Minorities?

Plus, the obese go hungry in the South Bronx, Chicago foreclosures, MJ's afterlife payday, and more

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President Obama promoting the stimulus program in 2009 (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Minority-Owned Firms Get Fewer Stimulus Contracts
They were hit hardest by the recession but receive less of the money that's being doled out

Latino and black business owners are asking the Obama administration to do a better job of seeing who gets federal stimulus money. According the U.S. Census Bureau, blacks and Hispanics own 5.2 and 6.8 percent of all businesses, respectively. Yet of the $46 billion in federal stimulus contracts, blacks have been awarded a paltry 1.1 percent. Latinos barely fared better, at 1.7 percent.
STIMULUS WATCH: Less Stimulus for Minority Firms

Michael Jackson's Estate Signs $250 Million Sony Deal
The King of Pop is still making paper posthumously

He's bad. Even in death, Michael Jackson is breaking records. The deceased singer's estate inked a 10-album deal with Sony worth a reported $250 million, making it the most lucrative recording contract ever. The deal, which allows Sony to release previously unheard tracks and package lesser-known songs, will help the estate tackle Jackson' massive debt.
REUTERS: Sony in $250 Million Deal With Jackson's Estate

South Bronx Plagued by Obesity and Hunger 
How can some of the heaviest people also be considered food-starved? One word: poverty.

Eating fatty foods doesn't mean you're getting nutrition. In fact, it's likely the opposite. According to the Food and Research Action Center, the South Bronx section of New York City has the most severe hunger-related problems in the nation, while at the same time being home to one of the largest populations of obese people. What's happening in the Bronx, experts say, is indicative of what's taking place in low-income communities everywhere, where full-service, reasonably priced supermarkets are a rarity, causing residents to seek out nutritionally low processed and fast foods.
NEW YORK TIMES: The Obesity-Hunger Paradox

Chicago's Epidemic Foreclosures
Unjust lending practices to minorities spread to all corners of the city

What began as predatory lending to Chicago's minority homeowners has quickly spiraled out of control, and now the effects are being felt throughout the Windy City. In 2009, Chi-town had 118 foreclosures filed per square mile, with the largest increases occurring in middle- and upper-income communities. On average, Chicago residents have lost $27,000 from the value of their homes.
HUFFINGTON POST: Spike in Chicago Foreclosures Speak to Need for Strong Consumer Protection

The Republican-mandated No Child Left Behind was heralded as the educational second coming - until it was considered a failure. Yesterday, President Obama pledge to do better. As part of his overhaul, schools will no longer be penalized for failing to meet the goals of certain groups of students. By contrast, the new blueprint calls for states to identify their lowest-performing 5 percent of schools and upgrade them, even if that means firing the principal and teachers.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Obama's No Child Left Behind Revise

Chana Garcia is a journalist, blogger, and cancer survivor who lives in New York City.

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