Fort Greene Supermarket Hires Locally

The Fort Greene Clinton Hill Local reported in September that the Red Apple Supermarket at Myrtle Avenue and Ashland Place began hiring area residents. Since then, Red Apple representatives said that it hired most of its 75-person staff from local public housing.

The store opened in late October and hired more than 70 employees, most of them residents from the Ingersoll and Whitman houses, according to District Leader Lincoln Restler.

Ingersoll resident Victoria Samuel, 44, attended the fair, along with 130 of her neighbors and community members. At the time, she said that she spent more than two years looking for work in the neighborhood to with no success.

“It’s sad because we live here and there aren’t jobs,” she said. “They’re not hiring us and we’re their customers.”

The Ingersoll and Whitman houses, which have more than 9,000 residents combined, were recently found to be in Brooklyn’s poorest census tract.

Hired the week after the job fair, Samuel said that it is nice to work with her neighbors and that she hopes to see more business pursue similar hiring practices.

“If they had a lot more of that happening around here, it would be a little better for a lot of people,” Samuel said. “They would see that the people here aren’t useless.”

So, Does Social Security Actually Matter?

Washington still hasn’t been able to decide on whether prioritize either jobs or budget deficits, and the partisanship of the issue drives a wedge on at least one particular issue that cuts across both: retirement.

With jobs not providing the retirement packages of yesteryear, and with the job market being what it is, Americans have steadily grown dependent on the federal Social Security program as a means to support themselves after retirement.

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The Timmy Loves Julie Show

Timmy Wood and Julie Gomez are newlyweds. In their five years together (or six depending on which one you ask), they’ve gone through a period long-distance, a break up and a move to New York during one of the roughest economic climates. Through it all, however, they do the one thing that brought them together: laugh.

Wood is a comedy writer and improv actor, and Gomez is a producer at New York’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. They met on stage when they were in their late teens in Texas, and continue to share the stage durin their occasional “Timmy Loves Julie” showcase.

Social Security Survey: A Primer on Methods

As a nation, the United States has a stable of perennial debates, but none are as pervasive as the subject of Social Security.

Despite the politics driving the discussion, Social Security merits a serious, contemplative look. Our parents and grandparents paid into a system that they rely on today thanks to young workers, and we’ll spend the next couple of decades looking for some degree of security when we get to a point where we can’t work any longer.

Does Social Security Matter” is a survey aimed at getting a nonpartisan survey on a range of demographics. To that end, there were no questions about partisan politics or the pending elections. Instead, the questions are limited to individual experiences and opinions about not just Social Security, but also retirement in general.

As of Tuesday night, 43 respondents of differing ages, regions and opinions responded to the survey. The first few responses were almost exclusively students in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism program, but many of those students also come from different perspectives and experiences with retirement. That said, all of them are too young to really experience a gripping reaction to the need of a solvent retirement plan.

I extended my search for responses by reaching out to an e-mail list of more than 30 individuals from around the country, and requested that the recipients forward the request to their circles. I then used Google Reader to search for articles and blog posts discussing Social Security. I would then register in the respective communities and post a comment asking readers to take part in the survey.

“Off topic, but if any TK readers have a moment, I’m a student journalist doing a quick nonscienti­fic, nonpartisa­n survey on Social Security and am hoping to get some feedback. It’s just a few questions aimed at better understand­ing how people perceive Social Security and retirement­. If you have any interest in participat­ing, it’s at http://bit­.ly/ss_sur­vey.


The comment was left on a range of sites: Huffington Post, Hot Air, Patterico’s Pontifications, Daily Kos, Think Progress, the Washington Post’s Wonkblog and The Daily Caller. All blogs are political blogs of different political affiliations but with vibrant and active commenter communities.

The responses are candid, and most seem willing to express their honest opinion. The biggest hurdle was in my asking for e-mails. I decided against requiring it until halfway through the first three weeks only because I didn’t want to deter people from participating. Unfortunately, I found that interesting answers had no attribution and I had no hope of reaching out to the person. Making e-mails required, however, led to at least one false e-mail and responses to comments asking if I was just phishing for e-mail addresses.

Otherwise, I’m fairly confident that my questions were targeted and that the survey was structured in a logical and productive way that garnered a good share of helpful data points.

Working Hard/Hardly Working: Brooklyn Woman Juggles Four Jobs

Sarah Booz is a New Yorker, born and raised. She is a unicyclist, an avid science fiction reader and has lived in the twenty-something nirvana known as Bushwick for six years and, despite the generally disdainful stereotype held against her young neighbors, Booz supports herself by working. A lot.

As the economy slowly transitions into a service-based one, jobs can be scarce. However, in a city already accustomed to its residents adapting to a high cost of living, the question isn’t so much if one can get a job but rather if one job is enough to pay the bills.

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Employment versus and Education: Selling Obama’s Job’s Plan

Most people know that a good education is the making for a good job. President Barack Obama is on the road in attempts to convince people that good jobs can also make for a good education.

It’s hard to remember a time when education hasn’t been partisan issue. While Democrats have spent decades prioritizing public schools and supporting higher education, Republicans have battled national standardization and lauded locally based alternatives to the Department of Education, including the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. Texas Governor Rick Perry recently rejected federal funds specifically for education despite his state’s severe education cuts.

But that’s not really the issue at hand. In his speech, President Obama pressured Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, specifically 16 times. He spent the last three years trying to convince Americans to invest in its infrastructure, but the lack of results have managed to turn “shovel-ready” into a pejorative turn of phrase. Continue reading

Linkage: Economics 101.

Loose Change 2 by jswieringa.Photo by Flickr user swieringa. Some rights reserved.

There are a lot of smart people out there writing about complicated things, and it rarely gets more complicated than the economy. But there are a few smart people out there that can aptly dissect the Glass-Steagall Act and describe how toxic assets can actually be relevant to us:

  • Ezra Klein cut his teeth (at the ripe age of 23) as wonk blogger for The American Prospect. Four years later and a he’s a leading voice in left-leaning economic policy circles.
  • Scott Sumner’s been teaching economics for as long as Klein has been alive, though Sumner frequently takes a much more conservative/libertarian and free market-based approach.
  • While Nate Silver and his contributors at FiveThirtyEight doesn’t broadly discriminate against what subjects they’ll examine, their framing of fiscal concerns are always as precise as Silver’s political projections are keen.
  • NPR’s Planet Money is widely lauded as a blog and podcast that usually succeeds in its breaking down of inherently complicated macroeconomic concepts into easy-to-understand presentations.
  • If you like a little more contention in your economic newsfeed, The Economist’s Free Exchange blog manages to house smartly written posts from Kenseyians, Friedmanites and everything in between.

Financial woes aren’t limited to macroeconomic policy, though. The average New Yorker still needs some immediate relief from the day-to-day financial pressures, whether it’s figuring out how to make a lunch worth actually making or finding a new good read on the cheap:

  • Brokelyn is a one-stop blog that covers a pretty wide range of life necessities and a couple of indulgences here and there that helpfully remind you that you are not the only miser in the borough.
  • Jake and Thomas Browns are your instructors at the Brothers Brown School of Cooking, where the two do their best to break down how to make deceptively fancy foods without breaking the bank.
  • Manhattan might have The Strand, but now everyone can get in on the Half-Priced Books bandwagon. The Texas company expanded to the online marketplace with HPB Marketplace, where you can get rare books at even rarer prices.
  • The web’s been flooded with coupon sites over the last couple of years, but RetailMeNot is actually consistent and has coupon codes for anything from J&R to Duane Reade.
  • More exclusive than anything listed above, Janelle’s List is a semi-closed Facebook group that describes itself as “Craigslist without the creeps, Linkedin without the lame.” All you need is an invite from a friend, and with more than 2,000 members, you’re bound to get in soon.