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Kerry Washington Talks Race, Art and James Baldwin in New Short Film

Kerry Washington Talks Race, Art and James Baldwin in New Short Film

Kerry Washington is part Vanity Fair’s 2013 Hollywood Portfolio.

As part of the issue’s launch photographer Bruce Weber shot short films of some of the stars. Washington’s 3.5-minute focuses on her appreciation for the arts and discovering James Baldwin’s “middle road,” race in the U.S., and the artists who inspire her. 

“His work [James Baldwin] is so important, I remember stumbling upon him at a time when I was sort of grappling with who was right—Malcom or Martin—y’know, who had it right?”, Washington says in the film. “Is it about turning the other cheek is it about any means necessary and then James Baldwin came along in my brain and I thought: exactly, there is a middle road of anger for purpose and dignity.” 

Washington stars in the ABC drama “Scandal” that premiered in April 2012. She’s the first African-American female lead in a network drama in almost 40 years. (The first was Diahann Carroll starring as a widowed single mother working as a nurse in the 1968 series “Julia.” A second show, “Get Christie Love,” starring Theresa Graves as an undercover cop, had its debut in 1974.)

According to Nielsen “Scandal” is the highest rated scripted drama among African-Americans, with 10.1 percent of black households, or an average of 1.8 million viewers, tuning in during the first half of the season.

Bruce Weber, the photographer who shot the short film, is responsible for Abercrombie and Fitch’s iconic black and white photography.You can watch his short film on VanityFair.com.

Leaked Memo Urges GOP to Say ‘Undocumented Immigrants’

Leaked Memo Urges GOP to Say 'Undocumented Immigrants'

A prominent center-right group working to bring more Latino voters to the Republican Party sent out a memo urging the GOP to start referring to immigrants without papers as “undocumented immigrants.”

“When talking about immigrants: Do use ‘undocumented immigrant’ when referring to those here without documentation,” read the memo sent out by The Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) that was obtained by The Hill.

HLN is co-chaired by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The organization identifies as an “advocacy action group focused on engaging the Hispanic community on center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government and individual empowerment.”

The leaked memo also urged members of the GOP to stop using the words ‘illegals,’ ‘aliens’ and the term ‘anchor baby.’

“Tone and rhetoric will be key in the days and weeks ahead as both liberals and conservatives lay out their perspectives. Please consider these tonally sensitive messaging points as you discuss immigration, regardless of your position,” HLN executive director Jennifer Korn wrote in the memo.

The memo apparently arrived too late for the Senators that took part in the press conference Monday unveiling the “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) used the term ‘illegal immigrant’ during the press conference.

But a few hours later Jeff Flake (R-AZ), also a member of the bipartisan group of senators developing the immigration reform framework, had a different tone in a conversation with “News Hour” host Gwen Ifill.

“I think you’ll see a different tone all the way around,” Sen. Flake explained to Ifill after she asked if using the term undocumtented immigrant was a conscious decision. “I’m from ground zero in this issue in Arizona and you’ve seen a different tone in the last year or so and you’ll continue to see a different tone moving ahead across the entire country.”

Flake’s words are a sign there is a significant shift on immigration after the party had a disappointing election. But perhaps the more significant change is that the party is coming to accept they can’t call human beings illegal.

“We started the Drop the I-Word campaign because it was clear that the I-word is not neutral. It reflects the value we assign to people, families and communities,” said Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines.com.

“The GOP is now joining many American communities who have decided to stop using a word that is both inaccurate and dehumanizing. Their shift reflects a changed climate for immigrants and hope for a fuller policy debate than we have been able to have in a decade,” said Sen.

Do You Or Someone You Know Need a Pep Talk?

Do You Or Someone You Know Need a Pep Talk?

Meet Kid President.

He’s the star of a weekly series on SoulPancake, the site co-founded by “The Office” star Rainn Wilson.

He delivers a weekly pep-talk for the site that hopes to “open your mind, challenge your friends, and feel damn good.”

Just listen to some of Kid President’s wise words:

“Boring is easy. Everybody can be boring, but you’re gooder than that. Life is not a game, people. Life isn’t a cereal, either. Well, it is a cereal. And, if life is a game, aren’t we all on the same team?”

Yeah. And even Oprah is on board.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Surprised There Were No SAG Award Winners of Color

The 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held on Sunday and every single individual award for an actor went to a white actor.

The results don’t come as a surprise to anyone because out of 50 nominees only four actors of color received nominations. Denzel Washington, Javier Bardem, Sofia Vergara, Alfre Woodard were recognized for their work.

SAG’s latest Casting Data Report compiled with data collected in 2008 found 72% of TV and theatrical roles go to white actors. The report found black actors were casted in 13.3% of roles; Latinos took 6.4% of roles; Asians 3.8%; and American Indians were cast in 0.30% of roles reported to SAG.

Americ Ngwije at TVequals.com illustrated the racial diversity of the Fall 2012 TV season and found the numbers are even more dismal if you only take leading roles in to consideration.

Ngwije’s infographic and the complete list of SAG award nominees are below.

LeBron James Gives Mom a Shout Out From White House: ‘Mama, I made it!’

LeBron James Gives Mom a Shout Out From White House: 'Mama, I made it!'

On Monday, President Barack Obama honored the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA championship.

“Everybody doing their part, is what finally put the Heat over the top,” Obama said, as he welcomed the team to the White House Monday to celebrate their victory.

LeBron James presented Obama with an autographed basketball and had a special message for his ‘mama.’

“…I mean, we’re kids from Chicago and Dallas, Texas and Michigan and Ohio and South Dakota — Miami. And we’re in the White House right now. This is like, ‘Hey, mama, I made it.’”

Illinois to Grant Undocumented Immigrants Driver’s Licenses in 10 Months

Not everyone can wait for immigration reform. On Sunday, Illinois became the fourth and most populous state in the country to grant driver license eligibility to undocumented immigrants when Gov. Pat Quinn signed his state’s measure into law.

The program, which will begin rolling out in October, will grant undocumented immigrants the right to apply for temporary visitor driver’s licenses, three-year licenses similar to those granted to people in the country on a temporary visa. Illinois follows New Mexico, Washington and Utah by instituting a program for undocumented immigrants to drive with a license in hand. And, in a nod to immigration restrictionists, the licenses will not be valid for any other use than driving. Undocumented immigrants may not use them as a valid form of government ID; they’ll be distinguished from Illinois’ red licenses with a blue background

An estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants drive in Illinois, and according to an estimate from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, their being uninsured and unlicensed costs insurance companies $64 million in claims a year. Illinois’ program will improve those costs and decrease the number of hit-and-run incidents unlicensed undocumented drivers are involved in every year, advocates have long argued.

Indeed, the law comes just weeks after the California Department of Motor Vehicles released a report which suggests that opening driver’s licenses to people regardless of immigration status could actually save lives, confirming the basic public safety argument immigrant rights advocates have made for years. Unlicensed drivers are three times as likely as licensed ones to cause fatal crashes, suggesting something which should not be a huge surprise; requiring driver’s to pass written and driving tests improves road safety.

Illinois to Grant Undocumented Immigrants Driver’s Licenses in 10 Months

Not everyone can wait for immigration reform. On Sunday, Illinois became the fourth and most populous state in the country to grant driver license eligibility to undocumented immigrants when Gov. Pat Quinn signed his state’s measure into law.

The program, which will begin rolling out in October, will grant undocumented immigrants the right to apply for temporary visitor driver’s licenses, three-year licenses similar to those granted to people in the country on a temporary visa. Illinois follows New Mexico, Washington and Utah by instituting a program for undocumented immigrants to drive with a license in hand. And, in a nod to immigration restrictionists, the licenses will not be valid for any other use than driving. Undocumented immigrants may not use them as a valid form of government ID; they’ll be distinguished from Illinois’ red licenses with a blue background

An estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants drive in Illinois, and according to an estimate from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, their being uninsured and unlicensed costs insurance companies $64 million in claims a year. Illinois’ program will improve those costs and decrease the number of hit-and-run incidents unlicensed undocumented drivers are involved in every year, advocates have long argued.

Indeed, the law comes just weeks after the California Department of Motor Vehicles released a report which suggests that opening driver’s licenses to people regardless of immigration status could actually save lives, confirming the basic public safety argument immigrant rights advocates have made for years. Unlicensed drivers are three times as likely as licensed ones to cause fatal crashes, suggesting something which should not be a huge surprise; requiring driver’s to pass written and driving tests improves road safety.

Watch Ryan Coogler’s 2009 Film ‘Locks’

Watch Ryan Coogler's 2009 Film 'Locks'

Director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler took the top two prizes for dramatic films at Sundance this year.

While at USC, Coogler made several short films, including “Locks,” the story about a young man in Oakland who wakes up with a heavy heart and decides to take a walk to the local barbershop.

Why Do NFL Players Risk Their Lives for Football? It’s the Economy, Stupid

Why Do NFL Players Risk Their Lives for Football? It's the Economy, Stupid

Last Wednesday Junior Seau ex-wife and four children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL. The law suit claims the former linebacker’s suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from repetitive blows to the head during NFL games, and accuses the league of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.

An Associated Press review in November found that more than 3,800 players have sued the NFL over head injuries.

The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith looks at why so many men, especially young men of color are risking their lives to play in the NFL:

What would it take for current and potential future NFL stars to give up the game?

My guess is more than the threat of CTE. We talk about the culture of violent machismo as a driving motivator behind their choice to play, but it’s even more basic than that. It’s the economy, stupid. The reason there are over a million boys in this country, of all different ages, playing this violent game is that there are millions of dollars on the table, in guaranteed contracts and endorsement deals, available to those who prove themselves capable of strapping on the pads and play America’s favorite sport at the highest level. This is the lottery, and who is more willing to play than those who are most economically disadvantaged?

It’s no accident that throughout the year the most celebrated players talk about their humble beginnings coming from poor and working class families. It’s also no coincidence that so many of them are African-American. The NFL is made up of sixty-seven percent African-American men. Why? Because this is a hustle, and so long as African-Americans are disproportionately represented among the poor, they’ll also be disproportionately represented in the NFL.

Smith’s story cited research from the 2012 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. [PDF of report]

The report found 67 percent of players in the NFL’s 2011 season were African-American, that percentage has remained the same for four consecutive seasons. The all-time high for African-American players was 69 percent in 2003. The percentage of whites in 2011 remained constant with 2010 at 31 percent. The percentage of Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders remained at one percent and two percent, respectively. Of all the professional leagues in the United States, the NFL continues to have the smallest percentage of international players at one percent in 2011.

TAGS: NFL Sports

How ‘Fruitvale’ Director Ryan Coogler Brought Real Life to the Big Screen

How 'Fruitvale' Director Ryan Coogler Brought Real Life to the Big Screen

The dramatic film “Fruitvale” won both the audience award and the grand jury prizes Saturday at the Sundance Awards. The film was written and directed by a 26-year-old Bay Area native Ryan Coogler who brings a unique experience to the entertainment industry.

“This project was about humanity, about human beings and how we treat each other; how we treat the people that we love the most, and how we treat the people that we don’t know,” the 26-year-old said as he accepted the grand jury prize. “To get this award means that it had a profound impact on the audience that saw it, on the people that were responsible for picking it up. And this goes back to my home, to the Bay Area, where Oscar Grant lived, breathed, slept, loved, fought, had fun, and survived for 22 years.” Coogler calls the film a “love letter to the Bay Area.”

The film, produced by Forest Whitaker’s production company Significant Productions, was shot in just 20-days in and around Oakland.

“This story is a story I couldn’t see shooting anywhere else,” Coogler explained in a recent interview with the San Francisco Film Society. “I felt like I would never be able to forgive myself and that my community would of never been able to forgive me if I would’ve shot five seconds of it anywhere else other than where it actually happened.”

Coogler brings a unique perspective to the film industry because he grew in the area and he’s a black male who was the same age as Grant when he was killed in 2009.

“By the time he had passed away, the video footage of him being shot was already on the Internet. It was already online; we were able to see it. And, I mean, the interesting thing about it was—was that, you know, it was taken with cellphone cameras and video cameras from that time, so it was grainy, it was pixelated,” Coogler told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. “Like, all you could tell, that he was a black guy wearing a certain kind of clothes, with a certain group of friends, and he looked like he could have been any one of us. Like, he dressed like all of us, you know what I mean? His friends look like my friends.”

Several different law enforcement agencies police the city of Oakland including the Oakland Police Department, BART Police, Oakland Port Authority Police and federal police officers that work in and around federal buildings in the area. Coogler comes from a politically active family and works with incarcerated youth and has a deep understanding of the criminal justice system.

“Coming up in the Bay Area and being African American in a city that has a history of complex issues of violent crime, interaction with the police is always intense. That’s something you have to learn,” Coogler said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “My mom taught me at a young age that if ever a cop stops you, you put your hands up and freeze — don’t move. Because the wrong move could get you shot.”

Coogler has been counseling incarcerated youth since he was 21, following in his father’s footsteps who has been working in the same profession more than 20-years. Coogler’s uncle is Clarence Thomas, of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and a former Black Panther.

Coogler says he’s asked incarcerated youth what they would like to see in films. He carries those stories along side lessons from film school he learned at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, the same school that includes George Lucas, John Singleton, Ron Howard and Jason Reitman as alumni. (Yes, all dudes. Coogler says if there was one thing he could change about the industry is he wishes there were more female directors.)

To end this story on a more positive note, Oscar Grant’s family approves of the film.

Grant’s mother, sister and uncles attended the premiere of “Fruitvale” at Sundance, where they saw completed film for the first time.

“I sat right behind them and we all went through those emotions again and I talked to them afterwards,” Coogler told Entertainment Weekly. “They were a little emotionally spent, but they spoke positively about the film. That’s something I’ll carry with me forever.”

Study Finds Latino Toddlers Make Up For Scholastic Shortcomings With Strong Social Skills

Most Latino toddlers start school at least seven months behind when compared to white children. But Latino children enter kindergarten with social skills that rival white peers, despite social-class disparities, according to new research from UC Berkeley and UCLA.

The report recently published in the “Maternal Child Health Journal” found the social competencies between Latinos and whites toddlers are indistinguishable. The researchers caution teachers, pediatricians and other health care providers to “not assume social-emotional delays, even when language or cognitive skills lag somewhat behind.”

The team of researchers looked at how cognitive trajectories widen during the 24-48 month period and how these patterns may differ for Latinos, especially Mexican-Americans.

More on the findings from a press release:

The UC pediatricians and child development specialists tracked a nationwide sample of 4,700 children born in 2001 over a three-year period, when they were between ages 2 and 5 and not yet kindergarteners. Two-thirds of these children were of Mexican descent. Just under one-fifth (19 percent) of them had at least one parent of Latino heritage.

The researchers found startling evidence: Mexican American toddlers between ages 2 and 3 displayed language and cognitive skills about eight months behind those of their white peers, whether assessed in English or Spanish. This gap persisted through ages 4 and 5, with Mexican American children entering kindergarten already behind.

“We found that Latino kids bring to school strong emotional skills and strong social skills, which means they know how to share with their peers. They know how to follow instructions. They know how to listen. And one other thing that we found is that these kids are being raised in very supportive and warm family environments,” Claudia Galindo, a sociologist at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, who helped with the study told NPR.

“We’ve got to move education policymakers away from the assumption that we need to fix these kids, we need to fix the parenting skills, not simply assume that they have weaknesses that need to be tinkered with and corrected,” Bruce Fuller, one of the main authors of the UCLA-UC Berkeley study, told NPR.

The researchers also noted findings from a the 2011 book “The Immigrant Paradox in Children and Adolescents” that found children of Latino and Asian immigrants at times show more healthy social behavior and stronger engagement in school than later-generation offspring.

Obama Meets With Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Obama Meets With Congressional Hispanic Caucus

President Obama met with members Congressional Hispanic Caucus this morning to discuss plans for immigration reform. The meeting comes just days before Obama is expected to give a major speech on immigration reform, launching a hard push to pass and immigration reform law this year.

Leading Congressional Hispanic Caucus members who attended the meeting include Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Representatives Rubén Hinojosa of Texas, Xavier Becerra and Linda Sanchez of California, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

“The President is the quarterback and he will direct the team, call the play, and be pivotal if we succeed,” Rep. Gutierrez said in a statement. “I am very optimistic based on conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate that we will do more than just talk about the immigration issue this year.”

Today’s meeting follows a similar one held last week between the White House and CHC members. Rep. Guiterrez, a leading Congressional prominent of immigration reform and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, confirmed to Colorlines.com last week that he met with the White House.

The president appears to be on the brink of a full court press on immigration reform. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday where he will deliver a speech on immigration. Though the president has said reforming immigration law tops his 2013 policy agenda, he has provided few details about a plan. The meeting today and the Tuesday speech may fill in the gaps.

A number of congressional Democrats and Republicans have spent much of the last month preparing a renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform. A bi-partisan group of Senators promised to release a set of guiding principles this month, and Senator Marco Rubio, a leading Republican, has already offered his own vision. Late last year, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus released its own principles.

It’s still not clear whether the opening gambit on immigration law reform will come from the bi-partisan Senate group, from Republican lawmakers like Rubio, or from the White House. Whether reform advocates can garner enough support from House Republicans to pass a bill remains unclear and according to a CHC press release, the president and lawmakers today discussed how to generate bi-partisan support. Hill staffers generally agree that the language for reform package will emerge in March.

Soledad O’Brien Tricks Opponent Of Women In Combat

Soledad O'Brien Tricks Opponent Of Women In Combat

U.S. military leaders on Thursday formally lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said women have already become an “integral part” of the military.

“The fact is that American women are already serving in harm’s way today all over the world and in every branch of our armed forces,” Panetta said in a statement. “Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, and our nation owes them a deep debt of gratitude.”

But opponents say the decision will affect unit cohesion, the same argument that was made when blacks (and more recently, openly gay service members) were integrated in to the military.

CNN host Soledad O’Brien invited Professor Kingsley Browne, author of “Co-Ed Combat” to her show yesterday. As CNN points out, Browne argues that the military will have to lower physical standards to allow women to compete because of the “very little overlap in physical capacity between men and women.”

At one point during the segment O’Brien referenced a quote by an unnamed colonel that opposed integrating blacks and got Browne to support the argument.

Here’s the exchange:

O’BRIEN: I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this: ‘The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’

BROWNE:* I think that that’s true*. I don’t think it’s true with respect to ultimate defeat of the United States in a war. I think what’s likely to occur though is the defeat of the United States in small battles, which means people are going to die. […]

O’BRIEN: That was from a guy in 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military. That was his exact argument of why blacks should not be allowed in the military, because it’s a danger to efficiency and discipline and morale and will result in ultimate defeat.

Gun Group Launches ‘What Would Django Do?’ to Rally Black Support

Gun Group Launches 'What Would Django Do?' to Rally Black Support

The group behind Gun Appreciation Day’ is launching a new campaign dubbed “What Would Django Do?” in an effort to woo African-Americans to their side in the debate over gun control, reports the Hollywood Reporter. The campaign would also recruit veterans to teach gun safety to “inner-city youth and engage them in community activities.”

The Hollywood Reporter has more details:

The group is called Political Media, and it’s the same entity that was behind Saturday’s controversial Gun Appreciation Day, which encouraged Americans to show up at various places with a copy of the U.S. Constitution and signs reading, “Hands off my guns.” Larry Ward, president of Political Media, a company that designs websites and organizes ad campaigns for right-of-center organizations, said hundreds of thousands of people participated in Gun Appreciation Day, crowding gun stores and gun shows and demonstrating at various state capitals nationwide.

He’s hoping for similar success with his follow-up effort, dubbed “What Would Django Do?” Ward plans not only a campaign but a nonprofit organization that would bear the name, though he acknowledges he hasn’t sought permission from Tarantino or from The Weinstein Co., the studio behind Django Unchained.

Ward called Gun Appreciation Day a success but it should be noted five people were shot at three different gun shows that day.

Earlier this month the chairman of Ward also went on CNN to argue slavery wouldn’t of happened if slaves had been armed.

First Nation Chief Theresa Spence Hospitalized, Ends Fast

First Nation Chief Theresa Spence Hospitalized, Ends Fast

Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has announced she will end the fast she began on December 11th 2012 in protest of Canada’s omnibus Bill C-45 that rescinds environmental protections across Canada, including the land base of First Nations.

Aura Bogado update on the TheNation.com has more details:

Spence, who has lost some thirty pounds since making the decision to survive on water, therapeutic tea and fish broth, has been hospitalized. She has been placed on an intravenous drip in preparation to consume solid food for the first time in well over a month. Although Spence was admitted as a precautionary measure, it’s unlikely she will be able to attend today’s news conference, which marks the end of her principled action and the announcement of the declaration of commitment. Spence’s spokesperson, Danny Metatawabin, has made clear that the end of the hunger strike doesn’t mark the end of her fight.

“Chief Theresa Spence and Elder Raymond Robinson have agreed to end their hunger strikes based on the commitments outlined and endorsed in a Declaration of Commitment supported by the Assembly of First Nations National Executive Committee, Native Women’s Association of Canada, NDP National Caucus and Liberal Party of Canada Parliamentary Caucus,” said the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in a statement on Thursday.

Chief Spence is expected to remain hospitalized until later today or Friday, Bogado reported at The Nation.

Penn State Professor Compares Voter ID Laws to KKK Tactics

Penn State Professor Compares Voter ID Laws to KKK Tactics

A media studies professor at Pennsylvania State University compared the GOP push for more voter ID laws to methods employed by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) to suppress people of color from voting. His lesson plan has caused some uproar on conservative blogs but Professor Matt Jordan still stands by his lesson plan.

Earlier this month Professor Jordan presented scenes from the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” to his class that showed armed Klansmens intimidating black voters into not voting. Jordan then went on to show video clips of recent voter ID law news coverage to illustrate both tactics were used to disenfranchise certain groups of voters.

Victor Schleich, a student in Jordan’s class who objected to the lesson plan, published an e-mail he wrote to the professor on the Young America’s Foundation’s (YAF) New Guard blog. Schleich’s email to Jordan is below:

On Jan 10, 2013, at 2:59 PM, Victor Schleich wrote: There was something at the end of class today that greatly concerned me. Towards the end of class we were going over the film THE BIRTH OF A NATION. The final shot we saw was a scene where a number of the KKK members were scaring black men back into their homes signifying voter suppression. I had no problem displaying that scene with the proper context that it was incredibly racist and that the content was unacceptable. However, as class was ending there was footage on the screen of news coverage concerning the issue of voter ID laws and commentary suggesting that these laws were new minority voter suppression. John Stewart even made references that these were the new horsemen of intimidation when it came to minorities voting. Now, in the context of the film we had discussed I can’t help but see this display as an attempt to equate a voter ID law to actions taken by the KKK. If this was the intention of that footage then this is is incredibly offensive. However, I hope this is simply a misunderstanding.

Jordan’s response unapologetic response was also posted on the blog:

On Jan 10, 2013, at 3:12 PM, Matt Jordan wrote: Victor I was - indeed - trying to elicit moral comparisons with this juxtaposition, given that the KKK was behind voter suppression in the 1880s and 1920s, by splicing that clip in there. I am sorry that you find that offensive, but I find disenfranchizing [sic] minority and elderly voters based on specious arguments about voter fraud (which multiple studies have shown to be trumped up and, indeed, many of the architects of these laws have all but admitted were purely designed to suppress the vote) equally offensive in a country predicated on one person, one vote. I don’t think I equated them, but I certainly want you all to think about it. I am sorry that you find this work of challenging you all to think offensive. Matt Jordan Associate Professor Dept. of Film/Video and Media Studies College of Communications Penn State University

Houston Waiter Stands Up For Special Needs Child [Video]

Houston Waiter Stands Up For Special Needs Child [Video]

Michael Garcia is a waiter at Laurenzo’s Restaurant in Houston, Texas. We’re celebrating him today for taking a stand and standing up with 5-year-old Milo Castillo and his parents.

Older Asian American Women Have Highest Suicide Rate

Older Asian American Women Have Highest Suicide Rate

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Asian American women ages 65 and older had a higher suicide rate - 6.5 per 100,000 - than any other racial or ethnic group between 2004 and 2007. White women had the next highest suicide rate: 4.3 per 100,000.

Below are some key findings from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health:

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and also was the 10th leading cause of death for White Americans, in 2009.

Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over age 65 in the United States.

Southeast Asian refugees are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with trauma experienced before and after immigration to the U.S. One study found that 70% of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were diagnosed with PTSD.

For Asian Americans, the rate of serious psychological distress increases with lower levels of income, as it does in most other ethnic populations.

The overall suicide rate for Asian Americans is half that of the White population.

Studies have found Asian-Americans experience financial, physical and communication barriers to accessing health care. But some subgroups also face social stigma.

“Traditionally, in Chinese culture, if you have a mental health problem, you tend to try to deal with it yourself or within your family,” Joyce Chu, an assistant clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University, explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. “If someone has a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar (disorder), that family member is not talked about or kind of hidden.”

A 2008 CDC analysis looked at different Asian-American populations facing serious psychological distress:

Oakland Hires Former LAPD Chief Who Says Cities Without ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Are Doomed

Oakland Hires Former LAPD Chief Who Says Cities Without 'Stop-and-Frisk' Are Doomed

Early Wednesday morning, the Oakland City Council approved a $250k consulting contract with a team that includes former Los Angeles Police Department chief William Bratton. Mayor Jean Quan proposed hiring Bratton to develop a public safety plan and the City Council supported her, voting 7-1 to hire the former LAPD chief.

Bratton, who also served as the New York City Police Commissioner and Boston Police Commissioner, is known for his unapologetic support of ‘stop-and-frisk’ laws.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Councilwoman Desley Brooks who was the lone “no” vote against hiring the consulting team:

Brooks, who cast the lone “no” vote, said Bratton would have little accountability under the $250,000 contract, and would be obligated to set foot in the city only three times over six months. She also said his overwhelmingly white consultant team didn’t reflect Oakland’s diversity.

“I am deeply concerned that we are feeding into the politics of fear and playing on people’s emotions on crime,” Brooks said. “It makes it seem like if we don’t pass this contract tonight that nothing gets done

Critics worry Bratton will suggest a ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy that could lead to racial profiling.

“Bratton is the father of suppression policing,” Oakland resident Jay Donahue told the Oakland Tribune. “He destroys black and brown communities.”

Last year the NYPD released ‘stop-and-frisk’ statistics to the City Council that revealed that out of 685,724 stop-and-frisk stops, 87% percent of those stopped in 2011 were black or Latino. The stats also showed nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.

An NYCLU analysis showed that black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011, though they make up only 4.7 percent of the city’s population.

Bratton is an unapologetic supporter of ‘stop-and-frisk’ policies.

“I’m sorry, but any police department in America that tries to function without some form of ‘stop-and-frisk,’ or whatever terminology they use, is doomed to failure. It’s that simple,” Bratton told San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX earlier this month.

Bratton told CBS 5 he also has a consulting contract in Detroit and a proposal to consult police in Baltimore, which recently hired former Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts to lead the force.

Professional Lip Reader Says He Knows Why The First Lady Rolled Her Eyes at Boehner

Professional Lip Reader Says He Knows Why The First Lady Rolled Her Eyes at Boehner

Leave it to the investigative reporters at “Inside Edition” to hire a professional lip reader to make out just what was said before the First Lady rolled her eyes and delivered a bit of shade to John Boehner.

Inside Edition has the details:

So what was said? We asked expert lip reader Larry Wenig. Wenig believes John Boehner is asking President Obama whether he had a chance to have a cigarette before the luncheon.

President Obama gave up cigarettes three years ago. Boehner is a known chain smoker.

Our lip reader, Wenig, caught Boehner saying, “Somebody won’t let you do it”, referring to Michelle, which prompted the first lady’s big eye roll.

The Hill reached out to Boehner’s camp, which has rejected Wenig’s reading of the brief conversation, calling it “not true.”

The UK’s DailyMail also reached out to three different lip-reading experts but none of them could confidently make out the words.

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