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Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson to Speak at Rodney King’s Funeral

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson to Speak at Rodney King's Funeral

The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will be attending a public memorial for Rodney King on Saturday, a King family spokeswoman has confirmed with the LA Times.

LA Times reports:

They are expected to speak after a 2 p.m. service and dedication ceremony at the Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty in Hollywood Hills, spokeswoman Kali Bowyer said. King’s family and friends also will make remarks, along with screenwriter and producer Deidra Wayans and radio host Margaret Prescod.

“Rodney’s death creates a great measure of sadness,” Jackson said in a statement after King’s death. “He had become a fixture in our lives through both the tragedy and triumphs of his life.”

Kings’ three daughters have established the Rodney Glen King Memorial Fund through Bank of America in Los Angeles County, and Bowyer said interested donors may contribute by calling or stopping at a branch

Bowyer said the family has “the majority” of funeral costs covered but still seeks donations to help cover flowers, programs, unpaid bills and other costs.

Texas GOP Adopts Platform to Oppose ‘Critical Thinking’ in Schools

Texas GOP Adopts Platform to Oppose 'Critical Thinking' in Schools

First it was the Ethnic Studies ban in Tucson, now the Republican Party of Texas has adopted a 2012 platform that flat out opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in schools. The party now says it was all a mistake… a mistake they’ll have to live with until the next state convention in 2014.

Below is an excerpt from the “2012 Republican Party of Texas Report of Platform Committee” that describes the danger of critical thinking.

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Talking Points Memo points out the platform stipulates that “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Communications Director Chris Elam told TPM on Thursday. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Elam said the members of the subcommittee “regret” the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, “it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.”

In other news, the Texas GOP also appose Early Childhood Development programs, unfortunately, that isn’t a mistake. They are for real.

Democrats Walk Out to Protest House Contempt Vote Against Holder

Democrats Walk Out to Protest House Contempt Vote Against Holder

As the Republican-led House voted to hold Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt on Thursday, Democrats led by the Congressional Black Caucus walked out in protest. Democrats walked off the House floor and out of the chamber chanting, “shame on you” directed at their colleagues. The motion passed 255-67.

“This is not about oversight, this is about overkill,” Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said. “There is something evil about using the processes of the House to further political aims.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the minority leader, said that “what is happening on the floor of the House is a misuse of power” and a distraction from her preferred focus of “jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Previously Pelosi declared that House Republicans are charging Holder with contempt of Congress in order to weaken his ability to prevent voter suppression. Aura Bogado, Colorlines.com’s voting rights blogger covered this story earlier this week in a post titled “Eric Holder’s New Role as Right Wing Boogeyman.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said she was proud of participating in the walk out.

A Satirical Step-by-Step Guide to How to be a Reverse Racist

A Satirical Step-by-Step Guide to How to be a Reverse Racist

A.D Song and Mia McKenzie over at the “Black Girl Dangerous” Tumblr have written an actual step by step list for oppressing white people, in fact that’s the title of their post: “How To Be A Reverse-Racist: An Actual Step by Step List For Oppressing White People.”

Here’s how they start their ten-point list:

White people who are confronted with their white privilege and the white supremacist acts they perpetuate have been known to cry, “You’re being a reverse-racist!” That is completely true: people of color have the power and control to create, perpetuate, and maintain brutal systematic reverse-racism that oppresses white people every day. As such, we have created this handy list on how to continue this oppression.

1976 McDonald’s Ad Shows Long Courtship of Black Customers

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There aren’t too many details available regarding this 1976 McDonald’s ad—Buzzfeed published the image Tuesday and it’s making the rounds on the internet now.

All we know is that it’s a 1976 and the copywriter thought black people don’t like to dress up or tip?

(h/t Buzzfeed)

Anti-Choice Groups: Health Care Gives Biggest Boost to Abortion Since Roe v. Wade

Anti-Choice Groups: Health Care Gives Biggest Boost to Abortion Since Roe v. Wade

Anti-Choice website LifeNews.com published a story Thursday quoting several anti-choice group leaders who claim the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is “biggest expansion of abortion and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.” The anti-choice group leaders included in the story say they’re moving their fight to the ballot box this November.

“All voters who care about the value and dignity of human life must do everything they can to elect Mitt Romney and a Congress who are committed to repeal of ObamaCare,” National Right to Life President Carol Tobias told LifeNews.com. “If President Obama wins re-election, it will mean massive abortion subsidies and it will put the lives of millions at risk through systematic government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeNews, “The Supreme Court today officially declared that our current government pays no heed to the Constitution. Neither the President, nor Congress, nor the Supreme Court appears willing to protect life or liberty. If ever there were a time in history when the American people needed to be informed voters on Election Day, this is it.”

“Well-funded anti-choice sources are claiming that the Affordable Care Act represents a federally funded abortion free-for-all because it doesn’t flat-out outlaw private insurance coverage for this legal procedure. But if they truly care about the lives of all children and their mothers, I would encourage a more holistic approach,” said Akiba Solomon, Colorlines.com’s Gender Matters blogger.

“The ACA intends to expand access to contraceptives that would prevent unwanted pregnancies. It mandates annual screenings for chlamydia, an STI that can lead to infertility. The ACA also provides folic acid supplements for women who plan to become pregnant and provides co-pay free breastfeeding support—a win for poor moms and their babies. The ACA rightfully identifies domestic violence screening and counseling as preventative health care. And the list goes on,” Solomon went on to say.

“If you’re pro-life, for all lives, how can you ignore these key provisions?”

Pew Study: 65% of Latinos in the U.S. Self-Identify as Being of Mexican Origin

Pew Study: 65% of Latinos in the U.S. Self-Identify as Being of Mexican Origin

Sixty-five percent of the Nation’s 50.7 million Latinos self-identify as being of Mexican origin, according to tabulations of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center. No other Latino subgroup rivals the size of the Mexican-origin population, according to the report. Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second largest Hispanic origin group, make up just 9% of the total Hispanic population in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians make up 92% of the U.S. Latino population.

TAGS: Census Latinos

Groundbreaking ‘Today’ Co-Host Ann Curry Bids Emotional Farewell

Groundbreaking 'Today' Co-Host Ann Curry Bids Emotional Farewell

When Ann Curry first appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” 15 years ago, there weren’t many faces like hers on morning television.

Curry was born in Guam to Bob Curry, from Pueblo, Colorado who is of Cherokee, French, German, Scottish and Irish descent, and Hiroe Nagase, who is from Japan, according to Marie Claire. Her childhood followed her father’s military career, and she was raised in San Diego and Alameda, California, Japan, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Oregon.

“For all of you, who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line,” an emotional Curry said this Thursday morning as she said her goodbye.

She quickly moved on to discuss her next step.

“They’re giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially mean I get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing,” Curry went on to say.

USA Today reported this morning Curry’s new multiyear contract with NBC has her “leading a seven-person unit with a ticket to cover the world’s biggest stories, from the civil uprising in Syria to the plight of the poor in America.” According to reports, Curry will produce network specials and pieces for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center— and Today— and she’ll “occasionally fill in as anchor on Nightly News and elsewhere.”

Curry declined to discuss her salary with USA Today but said reports of a $10 million or $20 million payout are wrong. “I can say that I’d love to earn that much,” she said.

There are also dozens of rumors speculating why Curry was forced to leave the show, The NY Times’ Mike Hale, who is of Asian descent himself, alluded to her race as a factor that may have contributed to audiences not being able to connect with her.

“I don’t know what personal factors might come into play in creating an on-screen distance. You could speculate about certain things. Ms. Curry is biracial (Japanese-American) and spent part of her early childhood living overseas, a situation that has been known to generate self-reliance and reserve,” Hale wrote in a story titled “Morning TV’s Stepsister Feels the Ratings Heat.”

The New York Times reports that “Today” correspondent Savannah Guthrie is in negotiations to fill the her spot alongside Lauer.

In 1978, Curry began an internship at KTVL in Medford, Oregon, eventually becoming the station’s first female news reporter.

What Today’s Ruling Means for the Health of People of Color

What Today's Ruling Means for the Health of People of Color

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that President Obama’s health care reform can move forward, with some complicated caveats around the expansion of Medicaid. The take home point of the ruling: The controversial “individual mandate” to buy health insurance is constitutional, because the penalty for not doing so is a tax and the feds have the power to tax you.

Colorlines.com’s economic justice contributor Imara Jones will have an in-depth analysis of the ruling and its impact tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s some quick context on one of the stakes: the number of people who don’t have access to health insurance.

As of the 2010 Census, 49.9* million people were living in the United States without health coverage. People of color have long been grossly overrepresented among those millions, particularly Latinos.

Percentage of race/ethnic group uninsured in 2010

Hispanic origin — 30.7 percent
Black — 20.8 percent
Asian — 18.1 percent
White, not Hispanic — 11.7 percent

[Note: Colorlines.com reports official data on “Asians” when available, but it’s important to recognize the significant concerns about the accuracy of that data, because it clumps widely disparate Asian immigrant communities.]

The Affordable Care Act is based on the premise that system-wide health care costs are driven up by the fact that uninsured people inevitably enter the health system at some point, and their care is significantly more expensive as a consequence of having been locked out of it until crisis. Put differently, the idea is that a system that ignores the needs of 50 million residents will collapse upon itself.

*This post initially cited an incorrect overall number for people without health coverage in the U.S.

Federal Judge Denies US Request to Stop Florida Voter Purge

A federal judge today refused the Department of Justice’s attempt to block a Florida voter purging initiative that has already proved to strip hundreds of eligible citizens of their right to vote.

Last month, the Justice Department sued the state of Florida to stop a voter purge program which aims to systematically takes “non-citizens” off of voter rolls weeks before the August 14 federal primary election. Using a highly dubious methodology, the state appeared to find 2,600 people they suspected were not citizens, but might potentially vote.

The grand majority of the people on that list were people of color and Democrats, while over half were Latino-Americans. DOJ claimed that Florida’s program runs afoul of the National Voter Registration Act, which says voters can’t be removed in a massive program within 90 days of a federal election — a law put in place mostly in response to Florida’s history of removing eligible voters in massive programs right before elections.

Judge Hinkle did not see it that way, though and has allowed Florida’s program to continue. His ruling states that federal laws say nothing about removing ineligible voters within 90 days of an election, even though the purge program has already produced hundreds of names of people who are eligible to vote.

“We’re disappointed with the judge’s decision,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair, whom Colorlines just interviewed last week about a lawsuit they also filed against Florida over the voter purge program.

“This threatens the voting rights of thousands of U.S. citizens. The right to vote is the fundamental pillar of our democracy and targeting a particular group of voters is simply wrong.”

“Florida is is imposing a two-tiered system of voting, one for citizens who were born here and one for those who have been naturalized, with thousands of U.S.-born citizens being unfairly caught up in this anti-democratic purge,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis. “Voting illegally already carries with it a threat of substantial fines, jail sentences, and—in the case of non-citizens—deportation. What Florida is actually doing is trying to disenfranchise American citizen for partisan gain. It is against the basic values of fairness and American democracy, which is why we have filed suit to stop it.”

Speaking with Advancement Project’s director of voter protection, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, she said this ruling against DOJ should not affect their lawsuit, which was filed in a different court, and has a different focus. While DOJ’s case targets National Voter Registration Act violations, for starting voter list maintenance within the 90-day “quiet period,” Advancement’s case focuses on the discriminatory impact of the purge program, as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Of 562 people in Miami-Dade county who were accused by the state of being non-citizens, 98% are U.S. citizens, said Culliton-Gonzalez. Two of their clients, a Nicaraguan American and a Haitian American, are naturalized citizens whose voting rights have been infringed upon by Florida’s voter purge program, according to the lawsuit.

“We don’t agree with today’s ruling because it seems to be about purging people — not people who are ineligible to vote, but thousands of people who are elgible, many people who are naturalized citizens, and the great majority of whom are people of color,” said Culliton-Gonzalez.

There are also other lawsuits pending against Florida over the purge program.

This is the same judge, Robert Hinkle, who just blocked Florida’s onerous voter registration laws, because they made it harder for citizens to vote.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner had this to say:

“We are pleased with today’s decision because it is further confirmation that we are doing the right thing and following the law. The court agreed that identifying ineligible voters who have never had a right to vote will help prevent the votes of eligible citizens from being neutralized.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “The court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I’ve been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote. … We know from just a small sample that an alarming number of non-citizens are on the voter rolls and many of them have illegally voted in past elections.”

There are not “alarming” numbers of non-citizens on voter rolls, and both Gov. Scott and Sec. Detzner have admitted their program is flawed. The purge program is, in fact, suspended not because of the lawsuits, but because the state’s own county election supervisors have refused to comply due to alarming numbers of inaccuracies.

[This post has been updated: A correction was made to incorrect statement that the Department of Justice’s lawsuit centered on the Voting Rights Act; also, additional content was added after an interview with Advancement Project director of voter protection Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez]

U.S. Workers’ Field of Employment Organized by Place of Birth, Illustrated

gr-pm-immigration-462-1.gifLam Thuy Vo, from NPR’s Planet Money, took data from the Census Bureau to create the infographic to the right that illustrates where workers in the United States come from.

The figures include people who are in the U.S. temporarily as students or on special visas; naturalized citizens and other permanent residents; and people who are in the U.S. without legal permission.

There’s one more info graphic below but be sure to visit NPR’s “Planet Money” blog to see more from their Graphing America series. And then go follow Vo on Twiter.

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Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez Gives Congress ‘Pick Out The Immigrant’ Pop Quiz!

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez Gives Congress  'Pick Out The Immigrant' Pop Quiz!

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) discussed the SB 1070 Supreme Court decision on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday and provided a short quiz he called “Pick Out The Immigrant” with celebrity subjects like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Jeremy Lin, Ted Koppel, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez,” Gutierrez said on the House floor while displaying a photo of the two, who he acknowledged are reportedly dating. “I’m sure Justin helped Gomez learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted country,” he said before interrupting himself.

“Actually, Miss Gomez, of Texas, has helped Mr. Bieber of Canada learn about his adopted country,” Gutierrez said before going on to suggest Bieber may have to provide documentation to Arizona law enforcement. “Justin, when you perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers.”

Supreme Court Rules Md. Prisoners Can’t Be Counted as Residents—and It’s a Good Thing

Supreme Court Rules Md. Prisoners Can't Be Counted as Residents--and It's a Good Thing

The Supreme Court SB 1070 ruling earlier this week stole all the headlines but there were two additional rulings that were significant.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Maryland’s “No Representation Without Population Act,” which counts incarcerated people as residents of their legal home addresses for redistricting purposes. According to PrisonersOfTheCensus.org, the “2010 law was a major civil rights victory that ended the distortions in fair representation caused by using incarcerated persons to pad the population counts of districts containing prisons.”

The Prison Policy Initiative and Demos provide more context, excerpted from a press release:

Today’s decision in Fletcher v. Lamone constitutes the most significant court ruling to date on the factual and legal justification for states to reallocate incarcerated persons to their home residences for purposes of redistricting. The ruling upheld today noted that “the Act is intended to ‘correct for the distortional effects of the Census Bureau’s practice of counting prisoners as residents of their place of incarceration.’” It further noted that:

“These distortional effects stem from the fact that while the majority of the state’s prisoners come from African-American areas, the state’s prisons are located primarily in the majority white First and Sixth Districts. As a result, residents of districts with prisons are systematically ‘overrepresented’ compared to other districts.”

In a separate ruling also announced Monday the Supreme Court ruled juveniles can’t be locked up for life without parole.

M.I.A. Teams Up With Missy Elliott and Azealia Banks for ‘Bad Girls’ Remix [Audio]

M.I.A. Teams Up With Missy Elliott and Azealia Banks for 'Bad Girls' Remix [Audio]

M.I.A. has teamed up with hip-hop royalty. For her latest remix of “Bad Girls,” M.I.A. features game-changing femcee Missy Elliott and rising raptress Azealia Banks.

Katy Perry Wants to Skin Japanese People and ‘Wear Them Like Versace’

Katy Perry Wants to Skin Japanese People and 'Wear Them Like Versace'

Katy Perry was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s show Monday night and made some controversial statements.

It started it out pretty innocently.

“I am obsessed with Japanese people,” Perry said. “I love everything about them and they are so wonderful as human beings.”

But then she took it up a notch.

“I’m so obsessed I want to skin you and wear you like Versace,” the pop star said referring to a Japanese person she said she was obsessed with.

The pop singer was obviously joking when she said she wanted to skin Japanese people but just minutes earlier she was talking about how many of her fans at concerts are so young they have to be escorted by their parents which makes her joke all the more controversial.

Junot Diaz Talks About Why He Writes About Race

Junot Diaz Talks About Why He Writes About Race

Paula M. L. Moya, Associate Professor of the Department of English at Stanford University, says she’s always been struck by how interviewers avoid asking Dominican-American fiction author Junot Diaz about race, even though he writes about race.

In an interview published in the Boston Review Moya sits down Diaz to discuss race, explicitly. An excerpt from her Q&A is below:

National Council of La Raza Board Approves Marriage Equality Resolution

National Council of La Raza Board Approves Marriage Equality Resolution

Earlier this month, on June 9, the board of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) unanimously approved a resolution supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The largest Latino civil rights group in the country is expected to formally announce the endorsement next month at their national conference in Las Vegas,the Washington Blade reports.

The Washington Blade has more details about the expected announcement:

Eric Rodriguez, vice president of public policy for the National Council of La Raza, confirmed to the Blade that the vote took place on June 9 during a previously scheduled board meeting. NCLR did not provide a copy of the resolution, but Rodriguez stressed that there was little opposition to it.

“There was discussion for that period of time, but everyone [felt] really strongly that supporting what we had already put out there in terms of our statement was the right thing to do,” he said.

Former NCLR Board Chair Danny Ortega, a Phoenix lawyer whose term ended after the vote, provided broad details of the conversations that he said took place among the 25 board members before the vote.

“We had a discussion about this and clearly some people had more questions than others, but at the end of the discussion it was unanimous,” he said.

CDC Trying Out Free Rapid HIV/AIDS Test at Rural and Urban Drugstores

A pilot project to train pharmacists and retail store clinic staff at 24 rural and urban sites to deliver confidential rapid HIV testing was announced today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal of the initiative is to extend HIV testing and counseling into the standard everyday services offered by pharmacies and retail clinics.

“We know that getting people tested, diagnosed and linked to care are critical steps in reducing new HIV infections,” Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS said in a statement. “By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and also reduce the stigma associated with HIV.

CDC estimates that 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States, yet nearly 1 in 5 remains unaware of the infection.

“Our goal is to make HIV testing as routine as a blood pressure check,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “This initiative is one example of how we can make testing routine and help identify the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are unaware that they are infected.”

Three Interesting Facts About Communities of Color in Utah Before Republican Primary

Utah holds its state and presidential GOP primary today with Mitt Romney expected to win the state. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee faces Republican challengers Ron Paul and Fred Karger in Tuesday’s election.

The Center for American Progress has a list of 10 important facts about immigrants and people of color in the state of Utah that display their significant economic, cultural, and electoral power.

Below are three facts from the Center for American Progress’ list entitled “The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Utah’s Demographic Changes and Immigration Politics:”

  1. Communities of color are driving Utah’s population growth. The Latino share of Utah’s population grew by 90 percent from 2000 to 2010 and now comprises 3 percent of the overall population. The Asian* share of the population grew from 1.7 percent to 2 percent over the same period.

  2. Latinos are the fastest-growing group within the Mormon Church. In Utah 58 percent of the population currently identifies as Mormon, and in the United States as a whole, Latinos now make up the fastest-growing segment within the Mormon Church. Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, also estimates that 70 percent of Latino converts in the state are undocumented.

  3. Utah is 1 of 12 states that offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

Visit Americanprogress.org for the full list.

Photos of a Second Time Olympic Hopeful Realize He’s Going To London

Photos of a Second Time Olympic Hopeful Realize He's Going To London

Duane Solomon, Jr. missed his trip to the Olympics in Beijing by just half a second in 2008. But on Monday night the 27-year-old finished third in the men’s 800 meter final at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon and secured his way to London this summer.

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