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, 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 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.

Despite Decrease in Violent Crime, Incarceration Rates Have Soared [Infographic]

Despite a 41% decrease in violent crime since 1990 incarceration rates have soared, according to the infographic below from

‘Shy English Learning’ Kindergarteners Perform Madonna’s ‘Vogue’

'Shy English Learning' Kindergarteners Perform Madonna's 'Vogue'

The children seen in the video above performing Madonna’s “Vogue” at their kindergarten graduation from the Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles. Their teacher Mr. Avina posted the video to YouTube but several commenters have shared moving details that provide more context on the students and teacher.

“The boys and girls started the school year as shy English learners and have bloomed into confident kindergarten graduates who exude stage presence as they sang and performed their unique choreography to “Vogue,” wrote one commenter familiar with the class. “Mr. Avina is a gifted teacher who has helped each and every student succeed academically as well as develop a love for the arts. Bravo, Mr. Avina!!”

Another commenter reveals Mr. Avina ended up teaching kindergarten after budget cuts forced him to leave his last school:

Mr. Avina, I was reading about how you lost your sixth grade teaching position due to budget cuts and were reassigned to kindergarten. I’m guessing the kindergartners and their parents were glad to have you :)

Mr. Avina then chimes in and explains he was forced to leave Mayberry Elementary in Silverlake due to budget cuts. 

Yes, that is correct. It was difficult to leave my school last year (Mayberry Elementary), but I ended up at a great little school and had amazing school year with these kids! It worked out very well! I’m curious, how did you hear about that?

And one last bit from Mr. Avina: 

 You know, these kids come into school singing songs like “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” so you know they are very capable of learning pop songs. By the end of the year, the nursery rhyme kiddie songs become a bit mind-numbing, so I wanted to teach them a pop song that I loved (and this was the result). When your expectations are high, your kids meet them.

According to public records, 97.5% of the student body at the Primary Center is Latino and close to 98% of them are on a free or reduced-price lunch program.

Tyler Perry is an Action Hero Now [Trailer]

Tyler Perry is an Action Hero Now [Trailer]

Is there anything Tyler Perry can’t do?

The highest paid man in Hollywood is now starring as action hero in “Alex Cross,” the James Patterson adaptation in which Perry assumes the titular detective role made famous by Morgan Freeman.

That’s it. Just wanted to alert readers there’s a new black action hero in town that isn’t Will Smith, Vin Diesel or Denzel Washington.

New Web Series Points Out That Black Folks Do Swim

New Web Series Points Out That Black Folks Do Swim

“Black Folk Don’t,” the documentary web series that challenges common stereotypes is back with a new episode. The second season premiere episode takes place in New Orleans and interviewees include MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry, noted cultural critic Touré, and numerous local residents of ages ranging 14-80.

“Black Folk Don’t” is the brainchild of director-producer Angela Tucker, whose past credits include feature length films, documentary and fiction shorts, web series, advocacy videos, and PSAs.

“I’ve always done things that is said black people typically don’t do. I wanted to turn the stereotypes on their heads, and it was important to me to get a wide range of perspectives from everyday folks,” Tucker said in a stamement. “‘Black Folk Don’t’ will make you laugh, make you pause, and I expect it will enrich the general perspective of how everyday people live their lives.”

“Black Folk Don’t” Season 1 is available online, and Season 2 will air online every Tuesday in six minute episodes beginning on June 26 on and

There will be seven episodes this season. The series is shown on, Vimeo, BlipTV, as well as at

President Obama Still Concerned About ‘Practical Impact’ of Remaining SB 1070 Provision

President Obama Still Concerned About 'Practical Impact' of Remaining SB 1070 Provision

President Barack Obama has responded to the Arizona v. the United States Supreme Court ruling and says he remains “concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.”

Attorney General Eric Holder also issued his own statement with similar sentiments.

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States published in its entirety below:

I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system - it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education - which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values - but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country - and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

Pa. House Majority Leader Says State Voter ID Law Will Allow Romney to Win State

Pa. House Majority Leader Says State Voter ID Law Will Allow Romney to Win State

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told the Republican State Committee on Saturday what voting rights advocates have been saying for months: voter ID laws will help will help presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney win the state.

Turzai kicked it up a notch and said Pennsylvania’s voter ID law will (not help, but) “allow” Romeny to win the state.

“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Turzai’s statement drew a round of applause, reports.

“We know that marginalized people are less likely to have identification cards,” said Aura Bogado,’s Voting Rights Watch 2012 blogger. “While Republicans have long held that this is a non-partisan issue, Turzai’s comment illustrates that Voter ID laws don’t prevent fraud; instead, they prevent voters from participating in what should be a democratic process.”

A study published in October 2011 by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU found that voter ID laws fall most heavily on young, low-income, and voters of color, as well as on voters with disabilities—voters who traditionally are registered Democratic.

According to same Brennan Center for Justice report, as many as five million eligible voters across the country could meet difficulties voting this Election Day due to voter ID laws.

“This is making clear to everyone what Voter ID was all about. This is about one thing: disenfranchising Democratic voters and rigging elections for Republicans,” Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco) told “When they get behind closed doors, they admit it. And that’s exactly what Turzai did.”

Feds End Enforcement Program in Arizona Following Supreme Court Ruling

Just hours after the Supreme Court issued its decision on SB 1070, federal officials said they would immediately rescind a controversial federal-state partnership that uses local cops in Arizona to detain immigrants. A Department of Homeland Security official speaking on the condition of anonymity told that the 287g program would be terminated in all Arizona counties. The official said the program was not useful in states that have adopted immigration enforcement laws like SB1070.

The official also said that the state would not respond to immigration reports from Arizona cops unless the individual fits the federal immigration priorities that the Obama administration has long articulated (ie., people convicted of major crimes, those who have been previously deported and people who recently crossed the border). Advocates have long charged that the 287g program encourages profiling and that the administration deports far more people than accounted for under the priorities it insists it follows.

Former GOOD Staffers Launch Kickstarter for Their Next Project

The former GOOD Magazine editors who were abruptly fired earlier this month have teamed up to launch their own magazine about “creative destruction” called “Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow” co-founders include six editors who were let go after GOOD’s founders announced they were moving to a “community-based publishing system” and two other staffers who quit in June.

Here’s a bit more about the project via Kickstarter:

Tomorrow is a one-shot magazine about creative destruction—a fitting concept for eight recently unemployed journalists and designers. Our next move: Pushing others to jump out of their comfort zones, too, and writing and designing the hell out of the results. For the next month, we will crash on one issue of a magazine. No salaries, no health care, no ergonomic office chairs. No foundation grants, no advisory boards, no independently wealthy vanity investors—for now, at least. That means no filler, no product placement, no luxury gift guides. It means we won’t be afraid to publish things that are complicated or sexy or weird… the kinds of things that might just get you fired. (We’ve been there.) Tomorrow will feature original articles and essays about what’s on the cusp, plus fresh design, illustrations, and photography in a quality print publication.

Don’t click on that last link below until you’ve donated money the Kickstarter campaign, but just FYI the last issue of GOOD Magazine edited by former executive editor Ann Friedman includes a cover story by’s very own Seth Freed Wessler.

ACLU Commits $8.77 Million ‘War Chest’ to Challenge State Anti-Immigrant Laws

ACLU Commits $8.77 Million 'War Chest' to Challenge State Anti-Immigrant Laws

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero believes the court’s decision Monday to uphold SB 1070’s “show me your papers” provision could still lead to widespread civil rights violations. He’s announced the ACLU is prepared to challenge any of the anti-immigrant laws that have popped up across the country since Arizona introduced SB 1070.

“We are not done in Arizona and will continue the battle against discriminatory laws like these that encourage racial profiling and undermine the constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” Romero said in a statement Monday. “Be it in the courts or in state legislatures, we will aggressively take on these laws and blunt the effects of this miscarriage of justice. When local police can stop and detain anyone they perceive as ‘foreign’ because of their skin color, their accent or their surname, it is a watershed moment for civil rights.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “show me your papers” provision for now will lead to widespread civil rights violations until it is reviewed again and possibly struck down,” Romero said. “Today’s decision is an invitation for more litigation, while civil rights are inevitably violated.”

In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.

More details via ACLU press release:

In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.

The high court affirmed the most egregious and hotly disputed part of the Arizona law, S.B. 1070, which requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” a person is not in the U.S. legally. Although the state law is not yet in effect, some Arizona sheriffs have already engaged in widespread racial profiling and discrimination in a state that is 30 percent Latino.

“When law enforcement can say ‘show me your papers,’ Arizona begins to resemble a police state, rather than one of the United States.” Romero said. “At the same time S.B. 1070 and its copycats codify discrimination, polarize communities and undercut legitimate police work.”

TAGS: SB 1070

Priscilla Dang Lays Down Kung Fu Law on Teenagers Who Groped Her

Priscilla Dang Lays Down Kung Fu Law on Teenagers Who Groped Her

Priscilla Dang was going for a run in a Vancouver, Wash., neighborhood when she was groped by two teenagers, ages 16 and 18, on bikes, according to KATU. Turns out the teens messed with the wrong woman. Dang’s family own a martial arts academy and she’s been mastering the skills of Kung Fu for 18 years—just as long as the teens have been alive.

Ala. Attorney General Luther Strange Responds to SCOTUS SB 1070 Ruling

Arizona’s immigration law, known as Senate Bill 1070, passed in 2010. Since then, five other states, including Alabama, have passed similar legislation.

Below is a statement released by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange after Monday’s SB 1070 Supreme Court decision:

“Today the Supreme Court acknowledged that state law enforcement can play an important role in assisting the federal government in fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of this country. The Court, in this landmark decision, provides guidance on the validity of Arizona’s immigration law which will impact Alabama’s immigration law along with those of several other states.

“Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing states across our nation, and it has been addressed by state legislatures in various ways. Hopefully today’s decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena.”

“My office will be reviewing today’s decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama’s law and the pending litigation.”

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