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Internet to Obama: ‘Take that N***er Off the TV,’ We Wanna Watch Football!

Internet to Obama: 'Take that N***er Off the TV,' We Wanna Watch Football!

At last night’s game between the San Francisco 49ers v New England Patriots there were many fans holding signs expressing their concern for families in Newtown, Connecticut. But football fans watching at home were a different story.

Some footballs watching the game at home became upset when NBC pre-empted the first quarter of Sunday’s game to show President Obama’s speech at the Newtown memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Robert Griffin III’s Dad Comes to Son’s Defense Against Comments That the Rookie Quarterback Isn’t Black Enough

Robert Griffin III's Dad Comes to Son's Defense Against Comments That the Rookie Quarterback Isn't Black Enough

On Thursday sports commentator Rob Parker went on ESPN to ask if Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was “brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker asked on the ESPN show “First Take.”

“He’s not real. OK, he’s black, he kind of does the thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something els,” Parker went to say. “We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican … Tiger Woods was like, ‘I’ve got black skin, but don’t call me black.’”

Parker delivered his criticism because he believed Griffin III was distancing himself from African Americans at a news conference on Wednesday. Griffin III said he didn’t want to be defined by race.

“You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person you are, your character, your personality,” he said. “I am an African-American in America. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”

Griffins’ father, Robert Griffin II, is coming to his sons defense.

“He [Parker] needs to define what ‘one of us’ is. That guy needs to define that,” RG2 told USA Today. “I wouldn’t say it’s racism. I would just say some people put things out there about people so they can stir things up.

“Robert is in really good shape on who he is, where he needs to get to in order to seek the goals he has in life … so I don’t take offense.”

ESPN released a statement saying Parker’s comments were “inappropriate.” ESPN has suspended Parker “until further notice,” according to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

Women of Color Activists Take On 2 Chainz’s ‘Birthday Song’

Women of Color Activists Take On 2 Chainz's 'Birthday Song'

“All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe,” rapper 2 Chainz raps in the single titled “Birthday Song.” The song released by the Universal Music Group remained on Billboard’s “Hot 100” list for weeks earlier this year.

A group of women part of FAAN Mail (Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now!) say they’re ready move discussions about misogyny to action.

In the video above, that is part of FAAN Mail’s “Talk back” series, the women explore topics like consumerism, colorism and misogyny. And corporate accountability.

The women say they want collective action and want a meeting with Lucien Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, to discuss their concerns and others raised in the video. FAAN Mail has also published an open letter to the Universal Music Group on their site.

FAAN Mail is a media literacy and media activism project formed by women of color and based in Philadelphia.

Owner of Jenni Rivera Plane Being Investigated by DEA

Owner of Jenni Rivera Plane Being Investigated by DEA

The Associated Press is reporting the man widely believed to be behind the aviation company that owned the plane carrying Jenni Rivera was traveling in is an “ex-convict.” Christian Esquino, 50, is also currently under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Associated Press has more details:

The company that owns a luxury jet that crashed and killed Mexican pop superstar Jenni Rivera is under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the agency seized two of its planes earlier this year as part of the ongoing probe.

DEA spokeswoman Lisa Webb Johnson confirmed Thursday the planes owned by Las Vegas-based Starwood Management were seized in Texas and Arizona, but she declined to discuss details of the case. The agency also has subpoenaed all the company’s records, including any correspondence it has had with a former Tijuana mayor who U.S. law enforcement officials have long suspected has ties to organized crime.

In a separate story, The L.A. Times yesterday broke the news that Esquino was accused of conspiring with associates in the 1990s and 2000s to falsify records documenting the history of planes they bought and sold — tail numbers, inspection stamps and logbooks. Esquino’s “fraudulent business practices … put the flying public at risk,” federal authorities argued in documents obtained by The Times.

It still unclear exactly what caused the crash and why Rivera was on Esquino’s plane. Esquino was not on the plane.

Criticism and suspicion has quickly turned to the 78-year-old pilot that was flying the plane.

In a telephone interview from Mexico City with the LA Times) yesterday, Esquino said that the Learjet 25 was perfectly maintained. Esquino, 50, said he believes the 78-year-old pilot suffered a heart attack or was incapacitated in some way, and that a “green” co-pilot was unable to save the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration age limit for commercial pilots in the U.S. is 65.

DREAMer On Washington Post Cover Tells Editors to Not Call Her ‘Illegal’

DREAMer On Washington Post Cover Tells Editors to Not Call Her 'Illegal'

Last week Sonia Guinansaca traveled from New York to Washington D.C. to participate in a public art project that involved flying kites in the National Mall. Guinansaca, 23, was part of a group flying kites bearing their images to make a symbolic statement: “The desire for freedom and dignity is universal, and the natural human need to migrate can’t be suppressed.”

The group of young immigrants led by CultureStrike and artist Miguel Luciano celebrated when they saw their kites on the front page of the Washington Post. A large image of Guinansaca, who identifies as undocumented, was front, center and above the fold.

washpostheadline.png Everyone was excited until they read the headline: “Young illegal immigrants fly kites and dream of freedom.”

“The article was respectful and the cover photo was inspiring, but the i-word in the title took away from the beauty and humanizing aspect of the story,” said Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator for “Drop the I-Word.”

Guinansaca says the excitement quickly turned in to sadness when she saw the headline. She writes in her open letter that even her 10-year-old brother noticed the i-word.

It’s important to note, Tara Bahrampour, the Washington Post reporter who wrote the story never used the i-word to identify anyone in her story. Neither did the caption of Guinansaca’s photo.

Guinansaca told Colorlines.com her letter is directed to the editor because she believes the headline was written by someone above Bahrampour.

On Thursday Guinansaca published an open letter to the to the editor of the Washington Post to let him know how the i-word affected her growing up:

An excerpt of Guinansaca’s open letter to the editor of the Washington Post is below:

Voter ID Plunges Forward in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Alaska

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. said that the new hearing to determine if Pennsylvania’s photo voter ID law is constitutional will likely resume next summer with the intent to wrap it up by August, anticipating an appeal. Meanwhile, the judge is still deliberating whether he should extend the temporary injunction that blocked law for last month’s election to also cover a May 2013 primary in the state. Judge Simpson said there may be a hearing to decide whether to extend the injunciton for May.


If you thought the voter ID saga was over, you’re unfortunately mistaken. The states that have been trying to push photo voter ID laws have not let up, and they are wasting no time with continuing to place restrictions on the vote. Pennsylvania and Mississippi took steps today to cement a voter ID future for upcoming elections. Meanwhile, Alaska is now in fresh pursuit of a photo voter ID law, even though voter fraud — the problem such laws portend to address — was not an issue in last month’s elections.

A quick look at how each of these states are plunging forward with the voter ID agenda:

  • Pennsylvania — A state court temporarily blocked the photo voter ID law Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law earlier this year, inactive only for November’s election though. This was the law that state Rep. Daryl Metcalf said was going to deliver the state to Mitt Romney, and that “lazy” people didn’t deserve to vote if they couldn’t comply with it. The judge allowed the law to work for any election afterward, though, pending the outcome of a full trial on the constitutional merits of the law. A status conference was held today to determine when civil rights lawyers will return to court to argue with the state for a permanent ruling on if the law can stay in effect. ACLU attorney Vic Walczak told a Philly TV station, “The best result would be to extend the injunction until the courts can consider the heavy duty constitutional issues involved here at an appropriate pace, rather than on a rocket docket.”

  • Mississippi — Given this state is a covered jurisdiction under the Voting Rights Act’s Section 5, the photo voter ID law it passed last year must be precleared by the U.S. Department of Justice, to make sure it has neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect. It was not cleared in time for November’s election because DOJ needed further review. Today, the Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released the findings of an exit poll study, which said 98 percent of voters have the photo ID needed to comply with the law. The survey polled 6,000 Mississippians on this past Election Day, asking them if they have one of the eight types of ID required of the law. Black voters represented 38 percent of those polled, and 84% of them answered they had a driver’s license, compared with 97 percent of white voters. Overall, 97 percent of black voters had one of the eight IDs, compared to 99 percent of white voters. Of the two percent the study determined had no ID, over two-thirds of those were black.

  • Alaska — African Americans weren’t the only people who had to suffer through literacy tests to vote. When Congress finally extended citizenship to all American Indians in 1924, Alaska’s legislature responded by placing an English-only literacy test requirement to vote, which lasted until 1975 when the Voting Rights Act made the state a Section 5 covered jurisdiction and abolished the tests. This week, Alaska joins Nevada, another state that has discriminated against its indigenous population, in proposing a photo voter ID law for the next election. Alaska also happens to be one of roughly a dozen states that has filed an amicus brief to overturn Section 5 in the upcoming US Supreme Court review of the Voting Rights Act. An Anchorage Daily-News editorial called the proposal “unnecessary” and wrote, “Adding a photo ID requirement will put on extra burden on those voters who live in remote parts of the state, where common sense already waives photo requirements for ID like driver’s licenses, and on others who may not have photo ID.”

Legislators have pretended that photo voter ID laws are needed to protect from voter fraud, but GOP consultant Scott Tranter recently revealed at a Pew Center conference their true intentions when he said, “A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be.”

NFL Sports Drama ‘The Last Fall’ to Premiere on BET

NFL Sports Drama 'The Last Fall' to Premiere on BET

“The Last Fall” is a coming of age sports drama that illustrates the difficulties many young NFL players face when their professional football careers are over at 25. The film that was written, funded and directed by Matthew A. Cherry will have its television premiere on BET next Tuesday, December 18th at 7:30pm.

The average NFL player’s career lasts three years and many players go in to bankruptcy within two years of retiring. It’s an all too familiar story for many black men who make up about 67 percent of the NFL’s active roster, according to the Racial and Gender Report Card published by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

The film will also have a wider video release on January 15th, 2013 when it will be available on DVD, VOD, Digitally (iTunes, etc.) Red Box, Amazon etc.

Supporters Launch Online Petition for Fired Black Meteorologist

Supporters Launch Online Petition for Fired Black Meteorologist

There’s growing uproar surrounding the recent firing of Rhonda Lee, a black meteorologist in Shreveport, Louisiana. Lee was fired after responding to Facebook comments that disparaged her for wearing a short Afro.

As of Thursday morning, the Change.org petition demanding that Lee be given her job back had nearly 3,000 signatures. The petition reads, in part:

[Shreveport station] KTBS has stated that Lee was fired for allegedly violating a social media policy for staff members. However, Lee said that in a meeting with her supervisors, they told her the policy she violated “isn’t written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting (a meeting she did not attend) about a month-and-a-half prior.” Lee also claims, “There isn’t anything in our employee manual talking about social media dos and don’ts.”

Lee isn’t the only news woman to respond publicly to comments disparaging her physical appearance. Earlier this year, La Crosse, Wisconsin anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston’s on-air response to criticism about her weight went viral..

Watch Anita Sarkeesian Deconstruct Sexism in Gaming

Watch Anita Sarkeesian Deconstruct Sexism in Gaming

Sexism, racism, homophobia and general name-calling are longstanding facts of life in many parts of the online/offline video game world. The average player in the United States is 37-years-old and 42 percent of players are female but still a sexist culture thrives online and offline the video game world.

Anita Sarkeesian, who identifies as a Canadian American born to Armenian immigrant parents, found herself in the center of a sexist and racist attack mission after she called out gaming culture for its “limited and limiting ways women are represented.”

“I’d like to share with you a story about how I accidentally became the villain of a massive online game in real life,” Sarkeesian says at the beginning of her 10-minute TED talk.

It’s a 10-minute clip but stick with it. Upworthy.com’s Rebecca Eisenberg has mapped out the highlights of the video: “at 1:00 she talks about why she loves video games, at 2:02 just try to imagine yourself in her shoes, at 3:45 she sticks the people attacking her under a microscope, and at 8:15 she doesn’t just win the game, she absolutely destroys it.”

Video games are expected to be the fastest-growing form of mass media over the coming decade. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers the global video-game market was worth around $56 billion in 2011 and predicts sales will rise to $82 billion by 2015. The Economist Magazine points out “that is more than twice the size of the recorded-music industry, nearly a quarter more than the magazine business and about three-fifths the size of the film industry, counting DVD sales as well as box-office receipts (see chart below). PwC predicts that video games will be the fastest-growing form of media over the next few years, with sales rising to $82 billion by 2015.”

L.A. May Send Hundreds of Foreign Teachers Back to Their Home Countries

L.A. May Send Hundreds of Foreign Teachers Back to Their Home Countries

A few years ago the Los Angeles Unified School District was facing a teacher shortage and hired more than 600 foreign instructors to fill the jobs. The majority of the teachers came from the Philippines—district officials estimate 250-300 Filipino teachers were recruited—to fill shortages in math, science and special education.

But now the LAUSD isn’t having a teacher shortage and plans to send the teachers home. Some of them have been in Los Angeles for close to half a decade and call the city of angels home.

Many of the Filipino teachers were sent to underperforming schools in rough neighborhoods that they had to learn to love so that they could be successful. And therein lies a complex issue.

“Most of us teachers doesn’t want to go back home. We want to bring our family over so we can be together here,” teacher Roda Mongen told KPCC. Mongen started teaching at Virgil Middle School in 2006.

For a lot foreign exchange teachers staying in the U.S. is also a financial concern. The high processing fees from recruitment and visa sponsoring agencies have left some of them with debts of $10,000 or more.

“When the teachers were recruited there was no guarantee that permanent residency would be part of the package,” Ignagni told KPCC.

So a result teachers are being forced back home.

“It appears that the district is allowing competent, well regarded teachers to be treated as disposable based on their immigration status and that just doesn’t seem fair, United Teachers Los Angeles area chair Dan Barnhart told KPCC. He has tried, unsuccessfully, to help Mongen keep her teaching job.

Ravi Shankar, Sitarist Who Introduced Indian Music to the West, Dies at 92

Ravi Shankar, Sitarist Who Introduced Indian Music to the West, Dies at 92

Composer and musician Ravi Shankar passed away Tuesday. As our own Kavita Das, who has studied Shankar’s life and work, put it, he was “the singular greatest cultural ambassador, composer, and innovator of Indian music of our times.”

Shankar died Tuesday at age 92. A statement on his website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home with his wife and a daughter by his side. Shankar had suffered from upper-respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last Thursday. Though the surgery was successful, recovery proved too difficult for the 92-year-old musician.

The Times of India has more on Shankar’s history and legacy:

A Bengali Brahmin, he was born Robindra Shankar on April 7, 1920 in Varanasi, the youngest of four brothers, and spent his first 10 years in relative poverty, brought up by his mother. He was almost eight before he met his absent father, a globe-trotting lawyer, philosopher, writer and former minister to the Maharajah of Jhalawar.

In 1930, his eldest brother Uday Shankar uprooted the family to Paris, and over the next eight years Shankar enjoyed the limelight in Uday’s troupe, which toured the world introducing Europeans and Americans to Indian classical and folk dance.

As a performer, composer and teacher, Shankar was an Indian classical artist of the highest rank, and he spearheaded the worldwide spread of Indian music and culture, said writer and editor Oliver Craske, who provided additional narrative for Shankar’s autobiography ‘Raga Mala’.

Ravi Shankar maintained residences in both India and the United States. He is survived by his wife Sukanya; daughter Norah Jones; daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright and husband Joe Wright; 3 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

Memorial plans will be announced. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ravi Shankar Foundation. Donations can be made online at JustGive.org.

This post has been updated since publication.

TAGS: Ravi Shankar

Morehouse to Offer its First Black LGBT History Course

Morehouse to Offer its First Black LGBT History Course

Morehouse College, the nation’s most well known all-male college for black men, announced this week this week announced a new course focusing on LGBT pop culture, history and society.

Morehouse’s campus newspaper The Maroon Tiger has more details:

Having this course is due to Hodge, the Chair of the Morehouse College sociology department. Academic departments often offer special elective courses, such as this, to “allow the department to trial-run a course to strengthen the learning outcomes, judge student interest and clean up any loose ends before submitting it to the official committee for curriculum.” Based on Allen’s syllabus and learning outcomes, the course was approved by the division Dean Dr. Clarissa Myrick-Harris and faculty of the department.

The class has also been cross listed by the African American studies department.

The course is expected to outline various key concepts in Black feminism and critical cultural theory and methodology. Described as “an interdisciplinary survey of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) culture and politics” in the course’s syllabus, the class will serve as an in-depth look into critical, social and cultural theory that will vastly benefit the Morehouse community.

SafeSpace, one of the student coalitions who pushed for the class, has high hopes for the class.

“We’re not here to make people feel comfortable, we’re here to make people think and this course will foster a much needed discussion about the Black experience through an LGBT lens here within Morehouse’s walls,” SafeSpace’s President, KennethPass told the Maroon Tiger.

Top ‘Donation’ Google Searches in 2012: Obama, Sandy, Romney…and Zimmerman

Top 'Donation' Google Searches in 2012: Obama, Sandy, Romney...and Zimmerman

Google has released the new Zeitgeist, its annual list of most popular searches and search trends throughout the year. The death of Whitney Houston in February led to Google’s top search for 2012.

Among other interesting findings: Election polls showed the economy was the issue voters cared about the most but according to Google Zeitgeist the most searched issues were Abortion, Gay Marriage and Immigration.

Also George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, made the list of top 10 list for donation queries.


The top 10 list for 2012 worldwide Google search is as follows:

1. Whitney Houston

2. Gangnam Style

3. Hurricane Sandy

4. iPad 3

5. Diablo 3

6. Kate Middleton

7. Olympics 2012

8. Amanda Todd

9. Michael Clarke Duncan

10. BBB12


Insiders Say Jenni Rivera’s Death Shows U.S. Media is Clueless About ‘Mexican Anything’

Insiders Say Jenni Rivera's Death Shows U.S. Media is Clueless About 'Mexican Anything'

OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano is criticizing some of the nation’s largest news publications for not reporting on a “mega-superstar” until it was too late.

In his piece titled “Death of Jenni Rivera Proves—Again—How Clueless Los Angeles Times and MSM Continue to be About Mexican Anything,” Arellano calls out NPR, the New York Times, Long Beach Press-Telegram and most notably the LA Times for not paying much attention to Jenni Rivera prior to her death.

An excerpt from Arellano’s story is below:

The media requests for me to opine on the death of Mexican regional superstar (and Long Beach) gal Jenni Rivera are already coming in, and I expect them to only increase as the American media trips over themselves to cover the story. After all, I’m America’s Mexican, right? I’m more than happy to take them, if only to help the MSM correct their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar that operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn’t bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans—and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them.

No media outlet is the bigger sinner, however, than the Los Angeles Times, the perpetual pendejos when covering Latinos in Southern California. A look through the Proquest archives show that they never did a single full profile on Rivera—not once. The only full stories on her were two—one was a story on a reality show involving her youngest daughter. Another—of all things!—was a real-estate story on Rivera purchasing a multimillion-dollar estate in Encino. Before her death, there were only two other shorter stories, both by freelancers: a concert review, and a record review.

Arellano also pointed to similar criticism made by Univision’s lead anchor Jorge Ramos.

“The English media doesn’t understand the TV coverage in Spanish of the death of [Puerto Rican boxer] Macho Camacho and Jenni Rivera…that’s why their ratings fall,” Ramos tweeted on Sunday evening.

Ramos may have actually been alluding to the lack of coverage on English language media on Sunday.

But the biggest media failures in the Jenni Rivera coverage were stories that led with comparisons between Rivera’s death and the murder of Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla.

What other time in the world would people compare and contrast the tragic deaths of pop stars and put them against each other? It appears it’s only when they’re Latinas.

Yesterday, Josh Kun, a journalism professor at USC noted the upcoming river of comparisons between Rivera and with Selena Quintanilla.

And he was right. A quick Google search will show you dozens of respected news organizations are still comparing the two Mexican-American singers.

And P.S: Just one quick life lesson,  resist temptation and don’t click on headlines that compare people’s experience. That’s what’s called “Oppression Olympics.” Click on this link instead.

Michigan Police Don Riot Gear and Pepper Spray As Workers Protest Anti-Union Laws

Michigan Police Don Riot Gear and Pepper Spray As Workers Protest Anti-Union Laws

Pro-union protesters in Lansing today were met by Michigan State Police in riot gear and wielding pepper spray. Crowds began rallying in the Michigan’s capitol city last week after Gov. Rick Snyder and the state legislature began moving aggressively on a law that will labor leaders say will restrict their ability to organize. The protests grew to more than 12,000 people in Lansing this afternoon as the bill began to move.

The Michigan House of Representatives today passed two bills expected to dramatically diminish union power in the home of American manufacturing. The House voted 58-51 in favor of a so-called “right-to-work” law for most of the state’s public workers, and 58-52 on a similar bill for private sector workers. The laws prevent unions from automatically drawing union fees from the paychecks of workers at union shops. In the 24 other states with similar laws, unions have struggled to maintain significant power.

Snyder is expected to sign the bills as early as this evening.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

As the first right-to-work bill was being passed inside the Capitol by the state House, protesters outside jeered at the news. They began to scream and shout in opposition, prompting a large contingent of State Police troopers to form a line in front of mounted police and begin pushing the crowd back from the Capitol steps, drawing even louder complaints from protesters.

“Shame on You!” chants could be heard across the Capitol lawn.

More State Police began arriving, with about 10 mounted officers and more than 40 other state troopers standing two deep near the Capitol steps. Some of the officers on the edges of the crowd carried tear gas.

Judge Clears Way for Georgia’s ‘Show Me Your Papers’ Provision

On Tuesday a federal judge in Atlanta cleared the way for a section of Georgia’s anti-immigration law that had been previously blocked to enter into effect.

AP Reports: “A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit in August ruled that a part of the law that authorizes law enforcement to verify the immigration status of criminal suspects who fail to produce proper identification should be allowed to go into effect. Thrash’s order, which showed up in an online filing system Tuesday, seems to indicate that law enforcement agencies can immediately begin enforcing that section of the law, said lawyers in the case.”

“We’re going to be monitoring the implementation of the show-me-your-papers provision in Georgia very carefully,” Karen Tumlin, a lawyer with the National Immigration Law Center, told the AP. She said the next step is to gather evidence on how the law is interpreted and enforced to use in seeking a permanent injunction of that section.

In June 2012 the Supreme Court also upheld Arizona’s SB 1070 “show me your papers” provision.

Reports: Remains of Jenni Rivera Have Been Recovered, Lupillo Rivera Arrives in Mexico

The remains of singer Jenni Rivera and six others were recovered in Northern Mexico overnight and taken to a Mexican forensics facility, CBS reported authorities said Tuesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is assisting Mexican authorities with the investigation, confirmed Monday that Rivera died in the crash near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon.

The singer’s brother Lupillo Rivera arrived in Mexico Tuesday morning for formal identification of the remains of his sister, Televisa Noticias reports.

Televisa reports:

It is expected that in the course of the next few hours officials will proceed with rigorous DNA samples to formalize the corresponding legal proceedings and move the remains of the Diva of Banda to the state of California, where funeral plans will be made.

The singer’s lawyer, publicist and the plane’s flight crew also perished, CBS News reports.

TAGS: Jenni Rivera

Culture of Sexual Abuse in New Orleans Prison Addressed with Consent Decree

The U.S. Department of Justice has reached agreement with New Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) for a federal consent decree that will hopefully halt a culture of unlawful abusive conditions for prisoners.

“Conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison have been dangerous and unacceptable for far too long,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Arrest for a criminal offense should not subject anyone to a sentence of physical and sexual assaults, inadequate medical care, and risks of suicide and mental health decompensation.”

A 2008 federal investigation into OPP turned up a list of violations against the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) — violations that had not been corrected as of April this year. Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit to compel OPP to improve safety measures for those imprisoned, especially in terms of sexual assault and rape.

“We are hopeful the judge will agree that this settlement is in the best interest of all parties involved,” said Katie Schwartzmann, managing attorney for the SPLC’s New Orleans office and lead attorney on the case. “We also applaud Sheriff Gusman and his office for taking the important first step of acknowledging the problems within the jail. While implementation will be difficult, we are committed to improving conditions, and will work with him to do so. We also need the city to work with us and provide the funding to truly fix this jail.”

The terms of the consent decree include a monitoring plan for prison operations, new policies governing the use of force and restraints on prisoners, proper documenting of excessive force from prison staff, a plan to make sure there is adequate staffing to ensure prisoner safety, a ban on placing teenagers in cells with adult prisoners, guidelines for medical and mental health provisions, and assurance that Spanish-speaking inmates will have better access to medical treatment.

An independent monitor is also called for to monitor progress and submit bi-yearly compliance reports. This announcement follows a federal consent decree that gives DOJ oversight over New Orleans Police Department after a pattern of abuse and corruption was exposed, especially following Hurricane Katrina.

Read a copy of the consent decree here.

Obama: Right-To-Work Laws Mean ‘Right To Work For Less Money’ [Video]

Obama: Right-To-Work Laws Mean 'Right To Work For Less Money' [Video]

President Barack Obama visited the Detroit Diesel Corp. plant Monday to build support for his plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” During his visit he dubbed the state’s “Right to work bill” as the “right to work for less” bill.

Right-to-work laws are “giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama said.

“What we shouldn’t be doing is try to take away your rights to bargain for better wages or working conditions,” he said, arguing for the need for high-skilled, well-payed workers. “We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

Earlier this year, Indiana became a right-to-work state, and in 2011, Wisconsin passed laws restricting union rights for public workers.

Penn State Plans March To Counter Sorority’s Mexican-themed Halloween Photo

Penn State Plans March To Counter Sorority's Mexican-themed Halloween Photo

A photograph of Penn State sorority members donning sombreros and ponchos at a Mexican fiesta-themed Halloween party made national headlines news last week.

In the picture, dozens of young women are seen wearing fake mustaches and sombreros with one woman holding a sign that reads: “Will mow lawn for weed + beer.”

Penn State officials chose not to pursue any disciplinary actions but the student body is planning it’s own action later this week.

“Unfortunately, the Chi Omega incident is just one of many instances of racial insensitivity that has beleaguered the Penn State community in recent years,” a Penn State student group called PSU For All Student Equality said in a news release.

The group said it is denouncing “all forms of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia and seeks to draw attention to social inequality, like those before us.”

The Centre Daily Times interviewed one of the organizers behind the march:

Penn State junior Manuel Figueroa, the Penn State Puerto Rican Association student, is helping to organize the peaceful march and said the route will go from East Halls into the heart of campus with a stop at Old Main.

Figueroa said PSU For All Student Equality includes students from multicultural groups, advocacy groups and students concerned about diversity issues at the university, where Hispanic students make up 5 percent of the 45,351 undergraduate and graduate population.

Asian students make up another 5 percent, and black students are about 4 percent of the population. There are 5,540 international students at Penn State’s main campus.

A letter sent out last week by Penn State president Rodney Erickson didn’t specifically reference the photos or name the Chi Omega sorority but said it became clear in recent days that some students “celebrated Halloween in costumes that offended others” and acted contrary to university values.

Erickson said the school won’t pursue disciplinary action.

Chi Omega’s national governing council placed the Penn State chapter on probation effective last week.

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