Nearly 47k Sign Petition to Fire XXL Mag. Editor Vanessa Satten

Nearly 47k Sign Petition to Fire XXL Mag. Editor Vanessa Satten

Close to 47,000 members of, the nation’s largest online black civil rights organization, have signed a petition calling on Harris Publications to fire XXL Magazine editor Vanessa Satten.

ColorOfChange is calling on Harris Publication to dismiss Satten because a staff member under her supervision published the now infamous Too $hort video that encouraged young boys to “turn girls out” by pushing “her up against the wall.”

“I’d like to address the ongoing controversy surrounding the Too $hort video and try to set the record straight,” XXL Magazine’s Satten wrote in a statement published on last week. “As soon as I learned about the video, I had it taken down,” Satten went on to say.

But ColorOfChange says that’s not enough.

“Satten has tried to excuse herself by saying that she didn’t see the video before it posted. But she presides over a workplace culture that allowed such a grave misstep, and she has failed to respond appropriately as a chorus of voices calls her on it,” read an e-mail sent to members.

“Please join us in calling on Harris Publications President and CEO Stanley R. Harris to fire Vanessa Satten, XXL’s Editor-in-Chief. We also demand that he explain what he’ll do to make sure his company’s publications stop promoting sexual violence directed at girls and women,” the e-mail asked members.

An earlier petition started by “People against media violence” on has over 2,000 signatures. For more information on the ColorOfChange petition visit

More Violence But Fewer Prosecutions on American Indian Reservations

More Violence But Fewer Prosecutions on American Indian Reservations

The country’s 310 Indian reservations have violent crime rates that are more than two and a half times higher than the national average. But the Justice Department, which is responsible for prosecuting the most serious crimes on reservations, files charges in only about half of Indian Country murder investigations and turns down nearly two-thirds of sexual assault cases, the New York Times reports.

The cases that are turned down by the Department of Justice range from murder to rape and child abuse. United States attorneys say they turn down most reservation cases because of a lack of admissible evidence.

According to the Times, American Indian women are 10 times as likely to be murdered than other Americans and more than one in three have either been raped or experienced an attempted rape but more often than not little is done to prosecute suspects. More details from the NY Times:

The Justice Department said it has made headway in resolving conflicts with tribes, pointing to a directive to United States attorneys to work more closely with tribal leaders and to the Tribal Law and Order Act, approved by Congress in 2010, which sought to strengthen tribal law enforcement systems.

But Tao Etpison, former chief judge of the Tonto Apaches in Arizona, said federal prosecutors typically live, work and try cases hundreds of miles from Indian Country. And at times, according to federal data, the Justice Department declines to prosecute violent reservation crime because local United States attorneys have said they lack sufficient resources. “These crimes are very serious for the reservation, but the prosecutors really don’t see it from a reservation perspective,” Mr. Etpison said.

Federal prosecutors in 2011 declined to file charges in 52 percent of cases involving the most serious crimes committed on Indian reservations, according to figures compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which uses the Freedom of Information Act to recover and examine federal data.

The government did not pursue rape charges on reservations 65 percent of the time last year and rejected 61 percent of cases involving charges of sexual abuse of children, the federal data showed. In contrast, the Justice Department declined 20 percent of drug trafficking cases nationwide, according to the federal figures.

To read the complete story visit the

Ariz. Sheriff Accused of Threatening to Deport Ex Has Long History of Hate

Ariz. Sheriff Accused of Threatening to Deport Ex Has Long History of Hate

Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has made national headlines in the past week for allegedly threatning to deport his former Mexican boyfriend. But for those who follow immigration issues closely, Babeu was already on their radar for a history of having a tough stance on immigration issues.

Babeu stepped down on Saturday from his position as Arizona co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to focus on the controversy and his election campaign for Congress.

“Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship,” the former boyfriend and his lawyer told the Phoenix New Times.

“The thing is is that Babeu was not just Mitt Romney’s Arizona Co-Chair, he was also an immigration restrictionist hardliner in the mold of disgraced Arizona sheriffs like Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio. He was a big time supporter of SB 1070 and appeared in the now-notorious John McCain election ad calling for “the danged fence” to get built already,” said Julianne Hing,’s immigration reporter. 

“Babeu matters because he’s been meticulously grooming himself for the national stage by following the blueprint left by other right-wing Arizona politicians who’ve made a name for themselves by vilifying Latinos and calling for more policing of immigrant communities and further militarization of the border,” Hing went on to say. 

Suspended ESPN ‘Chink in the Armor’ Anchor is Married to Asian Woman

Suspended ESPN 'Chink in the Armor' Anchor is Married to Asian Woman

We’re learning more about the suspended ESPN anchor who used an ethnic slur on air during a story about Jeremy Lin. Max Bretos tweeted his apology over the weekend and added that his wife is Asian.

“My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” Bretos tweeted on Saturday.

The Twittersphere wasn’t having any of it though.

“‘My wife is Asian’ or ‘Ï have black friends’ Did you read the ‘how a racist apologizes’ handbook?” read one reply to Bretos update.

“wow. Shocking…and that makes ur error so much more inexcusable. Still disgusted by u,” read the following tweet.

Love for the First Black Oscar Winner Sidney Poitier on His Birthday

Love for the First  Black Oscar Winner Sidney Poitier on His Birthday

This morning I started out the day by writing about the dismal number of Oscar academy members of color. Only about 2% of an estimated 5,000 academy voters are black—that’s about 100 black academy voters.

And it just so happens that one of the first black academy members turns 85 today!

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to be nominated for an Oscar in 1958 for his role in “The Defiant Ones.” He went on to win the best actor Oscar award five years later in 1963 for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”

(While I have not confirmed it’s likely he’s the first black academy member.)

In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the academy to receive an Honorary Award, designated “To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”

And in August 12, 2009 it all came full circle when the first black Oscar winner was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by the country’s first black president.

Happy Birthday Sidney Poitier!


President Barack Obama hugs Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient actor Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony in the East Room of the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009. 
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

MSNBC Looks at How Deportation Shatters Families [Video]

MSNBC Looks at How Deportation Shatters Families [Video] Editorial Director Kai Wright was a guest on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes” on Saturday and discussed how children end up foster care due to their parents being deportated.

He referenced ARC’s “Shattered Families” investigation, which found an estimated 5,000 U.S citizen children are lingering in foster care due to the detainment or deportation of their parents.

Melissa Harris Perry’s Inaugural Guest on MSNBC: Colorlines Family

Melissa Harris Perry's Inaugural Guest on MSNBC: Colorlines Family board member Dorian Warren was a guest on the premiere episode of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry” show that premiered Saturday. Warren, who’s also an Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, discussed the direction of the GOP and whether campaigning on social issues is a deliberate strategy to win white, Southern votes.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ru Paul as Mr. and Mrs. Obama in Honor of Presidents Day [Photo]

Ru Paul as Mr. and Mrs. Obama in Honor of Presidents Day [Photo] Photo


Ru Paul wishes you a very happy Presidents Day.

This is probably a public service announcement so people stop confusing Ru Paul for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. The ‘fierce’ image was first released in 2008 as a holiday card promoting “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

Unreleased Nicki Minaj Music Video From Her Days Before Stylists and Pink Hair [Video]

Unreleased Nicki Minaj Music Video From Her Days Before Stylists and Pink Hair [Video]

It’s unclear when this music video was shot but it stars a pre-YMCMB/Cash Money Nicki Minaj… before the stylists, crazy facial expressions and the rapid blinking of the eye she’s got in all her music videos these days.

(h/t hypetrak)

Jeremy Lin Calls ESPN’s ‘Chink’ Slur an ‘Honest Mistake’

Jeremy Lin Calls ESPN's 'Chink' Slur an 'Honest Mistake'

On Saturday ESPN apologized for comments made by two employees who referred to Jeremy Lin as a “chink in armor.” The following day Lin said he doesn’t think the offensive comments made about him on the sports network were intentional.

“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said in a televised interview after leading the Knicks to a 104- 97 win over Dallas yesterday. “Have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”

On Saturday ESPN published a short apology online that referred to the statements as offensive:

“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.”

“Although ESPN issued a statement apologizing for its lapse in editorial judgment, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) asks that this apology be aired prominently on ESPN’s television programs, so that it is clear to all viewers that this racist language is unacceptable,” read a statement sent Saturday by AALDEF.

lin_fortune_cookie_110216_620x350.jpgThe ESPN headline followed one day after Madison Square Garden, owner of the Knicks, aired a controversial fan sign of Jeremy Lin popping out of a fortune cookie, and after Fox Sports Columnist Jason Whitlock apologized for his offensive tweet about Jeremy Lin. It appeared three days after an ESPN anchor used the exact same phrase “Chink in the Armor” on air in an interview about Jeremy Lin.

“The time for apologies is over. The media and the general public must understand that racist language and stereotypes used to describe Jeremy Lin are an insult to all Asian Americans, and no one should tolerate their use,” the AALDEF statement went on to say.

Who Picks the Oscars? White Men.

Who Picks the Oscars? White Men.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that votes for the Oscars, is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male, according to a Los Angeles Times study published Sunday. Blacks are about 2 percent of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2 percent.

In some sub-branches the racial disparities are even higher. The executives and writers groups, for example, are 98 percent white. And all of this year’s five nominated directors are white men, and none of the 21 producers of the nine best picture nominees is a person of color.

The Times spent several months investigating who was part of the closely guarded and secret roster list of academy voters. Times reporters confirmed the identities of more than 5,100 Oscar voters — more than 89 percent of all active voting members — and found that they are mostly white, male and have a median age of 62.

More from the L.A. Times:

To conduct the study, Times reporters spoke with thousands of academy members and their representatives — and reviewed academy publications, resumes and biographies — to confirm the identities of more than 5,100 voters — more than 89% of the voting members. Those interviews revealed varying opinions about the academy’s race, sex and age breakdown: Some members see it simply as a mirror of hiring patterns in Hollywood, while others say it reflects the group’s mission to recognize achievement rather than promote diversity. Many said the academy should be much more representative.

The Times found that some of the academy’s 15 branches are almost exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy’s executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers branch.

Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy’s 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.

There are three ways to become a candidate for membership in the academy: land an Oscar nomination; apply and receive a recommendation from two members of a branch; or earn an endorsement from the branch’s membership committee or the academy staff.

The membership committees then vote on the candidates and those who get a majority are invited to join.

(If the academy wanted to, they could endorse people like “Pariah” director Dee Rees—even though she’s never been nominated for an Oscar and has only directed one film—her work has been honored at dozens of film festivals, awards ceremonies and has been financially successful.)

“I don’t see any reason why the academy should represent the entire American population. That’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for,” Frank Pierson, a former academy president who won an Oscar for original screenplay for “Dog Day Afternoon” in 1976, and who still serves on the board of governors, told the Times.

“We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn’t reflect the general population, so be it,” Pierson said.

“If the country is 12% black, make the academy 12% black,” Denzel Washington told the Times. “If the nation is 15% Hispanic, make the academy 15% Hispanic. Why not?”

Academy member Bill Duke, a black actor and director, told the Times he sees little being done to change things: “The black community sees the academy as an entity that ignores the needs, wants, desires and representation of black directors, producers, actors and writers. Whether it is true or not, that is how it’s perceived — as an elitist group with no concern or regard for the minority community and industry. And there doesn’t seem to be any desire to change that perception.”

The academy blames the industry for their lack of diversity.

“We absolutely recognize that we need to do a better job,” writer-director Phil Alden Robinson, a longtime academy governor, told the Times. But “we start off with one hand tied behind our back…. If the industry as a whole is not doing a great job in opening up its ranks, it’s very hard for us to diversify our membership.”

The academy organizes a program called Streetlights, a job training and placement group that works to promote ethnic diversity in Hollywood. While the program can financially propel those individuals who complete the program it will would take years if not decades for those individuals to be invited or even qualify to apply to be part of the academy.

TAGS: Film Oscars study

New Mexico’s Latina Gov. Fails to Take Away Undocumented Immigrants’ Drivers Licenses Again

New Mexico's Latina Gov. Fails to Take Away Undocumented Immigrants' Drivers Licenses Again

New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s third attempt to repeal a 2003 law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers licenses failed Thursday when the Democratic controlled legislature voted it down. The tea party-backed governor is trying to make good on her campaign promise to not just eliminate access to driver’s licenses but also revoke licenses that have already been given to non-citizens.’s Joan Friedland with more details:

HB103, the bill backed by Martinez, passed the House earlier this month but failed to make it through the Senate. An alternative Senate bill, SB235, which would have tightened residency requirements but not repealed the 2003 law, passed the Senate. Governor Martinez, however, vowed to veto that Senate bill. New Mexico and Washington are the only states that issue driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status (Utah issues a driving certificate that can’t be used for identification).

Republican Governor Susana Martinez has repeatedly tried (and failed) to repeal the state’s nearly decade old driver’s license law. Last year, a state district judge halted on constitutional grounds Gov. Martinez’s costly campaign to “certify” the driver’s licenses of foreign nationals. A spokesman for Gov. Martinez claims the current law “leads to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime and significant security concerns.” Supporters of the law, however, say the current policy aids cooperation between immigrant communities and local police as well as reduces the number of unlicensed drivers.

In fact, an immigrant rights group, Somos un Pueblo Unido, recently reported that in a recent survey, 64% of New Mexicans support improving, not repealing, the current law—which is what the alternative Senate bill (SB235) sought to do. Senate bill (SB235) would have strengthened identity and residency requirements, required re-verification of documents, annual renewals, imposed fingerprint requirements and increased penalties for fraud. HB103 would have repealed the current law by requiring applicants to provide a Social Security number in order to receive a license.

Utah, Washington and New Mexico are the only states that allow residents to access driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.

Oprah Meets Viola Davis’ 19-Month-Old Daughter, Genesis [Video]

Oprah Meets Viola Davis' 19-Month-Old Daughter, Genesis [Video]

On Wednesday Oprah Winfrey aired her Oscar primetime special with three of this year’s nominees: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Jonah Hill. This marks the first time the Oscar special airs on Winfrey’s OWN network she’s also distancing away from her annual post-Oscar show.

Winfrey spent a large chunk of the two-hour show interviewing Viola Davis. Some of the highlights are below… but really, if you want to see a side of Davis and Winfrey that you’ve never seen before then start with the video above.

History of Bigotry for Radio Hosts Who Called Whitney Houston ‘Crack Hoe’

History of Bigotry for Radio Hosts Who Called Whitney Houston 'Crack Hoe'

On Friday, KFI radio hosts John & Ken apologized for referring to Whitney Houston as a “crack hoe.” John Chester Kobylt and Kenneth Robertson Chiampou host “The John and Ken Show,” on KFI AM 640 in Southern California. Their show is the nation’s most listened to local talk radio program.

“It’s like, ‘Ah Jesus … here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do?” the radio DJs said on Saturday’s show. They went on to say Houston was “cracked out for 20 years.”

“We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston,” John Kobylt said in a statement published on their website.

KFI AM 640, a Clear Channel Communications radio station, has suspended the hosts until February 27, 2012.

John & Ken, as the duo are recognized professionally, have a long history of controversial comments.

“They blame us [immigrants] for all that is wrong in education, all that is wrong in the economy, all that is wrong with security in this country,” Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition told Univision last year after John & Ken broadcasted the cell phone number of a communications associate working with CHIRLA, an immigrants rights coalition.

In 2006, John & Ken started a campaign that resulted in hundreds of toilet brushes in Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office after the mayor said immigrants “come here to work: We clean your toilets. We clean your hotels. We build your houses.”

Most recently, on a show broadcasted on January 5th, John & Ken discussed unethical business practices which included statements about Korean American painters as “scam guys” who seek to “rip people off.”

CHIRLA and the communications associate who’s contact information was shared by John & Ken issued a statement this morning. It’s published in it’s entirety below:

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles applauds KFI’s decision to temporarily suspend John & Ken for, once again, spreading insults and hate. Their distasteful, inappropriate and offensive diatribes know no bounds. We call on KFI to consider suspending these two traffickers of hate indefinitely. We also call on KTLA TV 5 to remove this objectionable pair from the station’s daily programming. Multicultural Los Angeles deserves better than John and Ken.

New Snapple Commercial: ‘Blatant Racism’ Say Commenters Online

New Snapple Commercial: 'Blatant Racism' Say Commenters Online

A Snapple commercial advertising a new “half & half” lemonade and tea drink is sparking controversy online. On both YouTube and Snapple’s Facebook page, commenters say the commercial has racial overtones and is politically incorrect.

An Asian actor dressed in yellow throughout the commercial says the best part of the “half & half” drink is the lemonade. He ends up fighting with a black actor who says he prefers the tea half of the drink. At the end of the commercial two white guys standing on an elevated platform say they don’t care what half of the drink is better as they watch the Asian and black actors fighting below them.

“LOL Snapple, i usually tend to think look too much into things, but yea the racial overtones of this commercial is pretty apparent,” writes one commenter on the commercial uploaded to YouTube a week ago.

“Is it just me or is this commerical slightly politicaly incorrect???” asked another user on Snapple’s Facebook page when they shared the commercial. The comment has gone unanswered.

“How strange!! what a way for the Man to get us to talk about the damn product. game on. The white man driketh [sic] and consume us! EAT THE OTHER as bell hooks so lovingly pointed out as White Man’s perogative [sic]”, another user commented.

What do you think? Do you see something?

Take the poll below and maybe a Snapple executive will find our results when he googles “is Snapple’s “half & half” commercial racist?”

Pat Buchanan: Days as Analyst at MSNBC Have ‘Come to an End’

Pat Buchanan: Days as Analyst at MSNBC Have 'Come to an End'

Pat Buchanan, the conservative political commentator, announced Thursday his “days as a political analyst at MSNBC have come to an end.” In an essay, he cited “an incessant clamor from the left” as the reason for his departure.

It’s unclear if Buchanan was fired or if the final decision to leave was his own but MSNBC suspended him last October and he has not appeared on the network since. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said last month that he didn’t think Buchanan’s latest book “Suicide of a Superpower” that contains chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” “should be part of the national dialogue, much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.”

A spokesman for MSNBC told the NY Times, “After 10 years, we’ve parted ways with Pat Buchanan. We wish him well.”

“A group called Color of Change, whose mission statement says that it “exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice,” claimed that my book espouses a ‘white supremacist ideology.’ Color of Change took particular umbrage at the title of Chapter 4, “The End of White America,” Buchanan wrote on his syndicated column. launched their campaign calling on MSNBC to fire Buchanan after his appearance on a show they say has a history of being a white nationalist radio program. More from launched their campaign calling on MSNBC to fire Buchanan after his appearance on white nationalist radio program The Political Cesspool, where he promoted his latest book. The Political Cesspool describes itself as representing “a philosophy that is pro-White … We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races.” The show has a reputation for being racist, sexist, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic. In calling for his firing, the group also cited a long history of bigoted rhetoric from Buchanan. was joined in their campaign by CREDO Action.The two groups collected over 275,000 petition signatures calling on Buchanan’s firing. In addition, members made calls to MSNBC demanding that the network cut ties with Buchanan.

Latinos Most Likely Ethnic Group to ‘Marry-Out’ of Race

Latinos Most Likely Ethnic Group to 'Marry-Out' of Race

The number of new marriages between spouses of a different race or ethnicity increased to 15.1 percent in 2010, and the share of all current marriages that are either interracial or interethnic has reached an all-time high of 8.4 percent, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project.

Of the 275,500 new interracial or interethnic marriages in 2010, 43 percent are white/Latino couples, the most common type of intermarriage couple.

According to the report, intermarriage rates are highest among Latinos and Asians. In 2010, more than a quarter (26 percent) of Latino newlyweds, and 28 percent of Asian newlyweds, married someone of a different race or ethnicity, or “married out.” By contrast, about one-in-six (17 percent) newlywed black non-Latinos married non-blacks, and less than one-in-ten white non-Latinos (9 percent) married someone who is not white, the lowest among all groups.

Whites are by far the largest racial group in the United States, meaning that marriages between whites and people of color are the most common types of intermarriage.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Of the 275,500 new interracial or interethnic marriages in 2010, 43 percent are white/Latino couples, the most common type of intermarriage couple.
  • Native-born Latino newlyweds are more than twice as likely as foreign-born Latino newlyweds to marry out——36 percent versus 14 percent.
  • About one-in-five (19 percent) of all newlyweds in New Mexico between 2008 and 2010 were white/Latino couples, a share higher than any other state. States with the next highest shares of newlywed white/Latino couples were Arizona (12 percent) and Nevada (11 percent).
  • Between 2008-2010 white male newlyweds who married Asian, Latino or black spouses had higher combined earnings than did white male newlyweds who married a white spouse.
  • Just as intermarriage has become more common, public attitudes have become more accepting. Nearly half (48 percent) of Latino, and 43 percent of Americans overall, say that more people of different races marrying each other has been a change for the better in our society, while only about one-in-ten of both groups think it is a change for the worse.

Several studies using government data have found that overall divorce rates are higher for couples who married out than for those who married in, according to the report.

The report, “The Rise of Intermarriage: Rates, Characteristics Vary by Race and Gender,” authored by Wendy Wang, Research Associate, Pew Social & Demographic Trends, is available at the Pew Social & Demographic Trend’s website,


TAGS: marriage study

Shootout Between ICE Agents Leaves 1 Dead

A confrontation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Thursday evening in Long Beach has one dead and another seriously injured, according to the LA Times. Several sources tell the Times the shootout began with an agent shot his supervisor several times.

“With the supervisor wounded, a third agent intervened and opened fire on the gunman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to law enforcement authorities. The male agent who killed the gunman was uninjured,” the LA Times reports.

The incident occured in the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach, Calif., according to law enforcement authorities.


Mrs. O Surprises Teen on Tour of White House With a Mother’s Love

Mrs. O Surprises Teen on Tour of White House With a Mother's Love

On Thursday morning First Lady Michelle Obama surprised White House visitors taking a tour with a quick ‘meet and greet.’

The surprise event with the Mrs. O was broadcasted live on and it offered a glimpse of what the First Lady is like when she’s not in front of studio cameras. (For example, who knew Mrs. O knows what Ugg boots are!? And that she’ll compliment you for wearing them!)

There were a dozen or two people who met the First lady and it was mostly quick 30-second small-talk chats. However, the last three visitors included a teen girl who got a special White House lesson from the Mrs. Obama:

“Do well in school, eat your vegetables, listen to your teachers, stay out of trouble, read, listen to your parents.”

Let that be your mantra for 2012. 

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

Deal Reached to Allow Drug Testing for Jobless Benefits

Deal Reached to Allow Drug Testing for Jobless Benefits

House and Senate negotiators yesterday said they’d come to an agreement on a deal to extend the payroll tax cut and extend expanded unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed for the rest of the year. The agreement proposes to avoid a painful repeat of December’s fight over the programs and suggests that Republican obstructionism may be in a moment of retreat. But the plan, which could still be derailed when it comes up for a vote, also includes a set of important attacks on the programs integrity.

The agreement would begin a process of retracting the extended benefit program for the jobless and allow states to test applicants to the program for drug use.

One provision would allow states to refuse unemployment benefits to applicants who fail drug tests when applying for jobs in fields that already require drug tests. The drug testing provision is a scaled back version of a more draconian plan that was included in earlier iterations of the bill that would have required drug testing for all benefit applicants. But, while the provision is weaker and may be primarily a face saving maneuver by Republicans who were unable to get agreement on a number of their most significant cuts, it’s nonetheless a significant victory for conservatives who seek to chop away at the reach of the safety net.

The provision will disproportionately impact low-wage workers who are both more likely to be unemployed and more likely to apply for jobs that require drug testing. It may be vulnerable to constitutional challenges if states actually implement these sorts of policies: many advocates argue that the imposing drug tests on the benefit program violates the 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search ans seizure. As I wrote earlier this week:

In May, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring applicants to the state’s welfare program to urinate in a cup before being approved for the program. Just five months after the bill’s passage, a court blocked the law, finding it a violation of the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. If other states succeed in passing legislation they’re likely to face similar constitutional challenges, though state legislators may craft their bills to avoid the Fourth Amendment pitfalls.

In addition to restricting unemployed folk’s access to the program, the provision also significantly stigmatizes the unemployed. Though there are no signs that benefit applicants are likely to be drug users—indeed there are plenty of indications that that idea is an ideological fallacy—its inclusion will no doubt be followed by a growing number of state-based efforts to pass bills restricting access to the jobless program. It’s not clear if applicants will be responsible paying for their own drug tests. If that is the case, applying for benefits could become prohibitive for many.

The other significant piece of the agreement announced yesterday is that after 10 extensions of the expanded unemployment insurance program, this begins a process of the program’s retraction. If passed, the duration of jobless benefit receipt would fall from a maximum of 99 weeks to a maximum of 73 weeks in the next year. This would hit the long term unemployed as soon at it begins taking effect in the Spring and as time goes on, more and more will fall off the end of benefits.

The implication of the retraction is clear: Congress believes that economic suffering is now on it’s way to an end. Of course, suffering is not over. Unemployment is still high and folks who have been unemployed for long periods are even less likely to find new jobs than the recently jobless. This is especially true for black workers who face disproportionate long term unemployment.

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