Student Loan Interest Hike Heads to Senate

Spring recess is over for Congress this week, and the Senate’s first order of business is dealing with possible federal student loan interest hikes. The Senate is set to take up Democrats’ version of a bill that would stop federal loan interest rates from doubling come July 1. Republicans happen to agree with Democrats that stopping the interest rate hike, yet both parties have differing plans about who should pay for the costs.

Senate Democrats have proposed increasing taxes on high earners who own a private corportation. Republicans, who meanwhile, have suggested slashing a preventative health program in President Obama’s healthcare reform plan to finance their plan. The House approved a version of the Republicans’ plan on April 27.

Both plans would freeze interest rate hikes on Stafford student loans, which are meant for students from middle and low-income families, for just one more year. As Republicans and Democrats work to present themselves as the voice of that shrinking middle class in the race toward the November elections, student loan issue has become a galvanizing issue for both parties.

If a plan is not approved, students with subsidized Stafford student loans could see an extra $1,000 added to their debt loads. According to the Department of Education, 7.4 million students depend on Stafford loans to pay for school.

TAGS: student debt

Lena Dunham Responds to Why HBO’s ‘Girls’ Is So White

Lena Dunham Responds to Why HBO's 'Girls' Is So White

HBO’s new series “Girls” has received a lot of criticism for the show’s lack of diversity. Lena Dunham, the show’s creator has for the most part stayed away from the controversy until today when she addressed the issue head on with NPR’s Terry Gross.

Below is a snippet from NPR’s “Fresh Air” interview with Dunham: > “I take that criticism very seriously. … This show isn’t supposed to feel exclusionary. It’s supposed to feel honest, and it’s supposed to feel true to many aspects of my experience. But for me to ignore that criticism and not to take it in would really go against my beliefs and my education in so many things. And I think the liberal-arts student in me really wants to engage in a dialogue about it, but as I learn about engaging with the media, I realize it’s not the same as sitting in a seminar talking things through at Oberlin. Every quote is sort of used and misused and placed and misplaced, and I really wanted to make sure I spoke sensitively to this issue.

“I wrote the first season primarily by myself, and I co-wrote a few episodes. But I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs. Something I wanted to avoid was tokenism in casting. If I had one of the four girls, if, for example, she was African-American, I feel like — not that the experience of an African-American girl and a white girl are drastically different, but there has to be specificity to that experience [that] I wasn’t able to speak to. I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me. And only later did I realize that it was four white girls. As much as I can say it was an accident, it was only later as the criticism came out, I thought, ‘I hear this and I want to respond to it.’ And this is a hard issue to speak to because all I want to do is sound sensitive and not say anything that will horrify anyone or make them feel more isolated, but I did write something that was super-specific to my experience, and I always want to avoid rendering an experience I can’t speak to accurately.”

Dunham went on to say that she takes the criticism seriously and plans to make the second season of the show more diverse.

You can listen to the entire 37-minute interview on


Asian-American Population Grew Faster than any Other Race Group in Last Decade

Asian-American Population Grew Faster than any Other Race Group in Last Decade

The Asian population grew faster than any other race group in the United States between 2000 and 2010, according to new Census data released last week. This was observed for the population who reported Asian alone (increased 43 percent), as well as for the population who reported Asian alone or in combination with another race (increased 46 percent).

The top five states that experienced the fastest growth were Nevada with 116 percent, Arizona with 95 percent, North Carolina with 85 percent, North Dakota with 85 percent, and Georgia with 83 percent.

“The Asian American community is very, very heterogeneous,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves at a presentation last week. “Thinking of this as one group—you do at your own peril. Because you end up making mistakes of judgment and I think these data show that very, very, clearly. And, the more we tell that message of heterogeneity the better off we are and the better off the country will be,”

ABC and Univision Partner to Launch English News for U.S. Latinos

ABC and Univision Partner to Launch English News for U.S. Latinos

ABC News and Univision News on Monday announced they’re launching a joint news venture targeting Latinos in the U.S. with English-language news. A daily news site is expected to launch this summer with a 24-hour cable news channel coming in 2013.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood said: “Our mission is clear: To offer culturally relevant news, information and lifestyle programming to the large and thriving Latino audience in the United States. In these times of rapid change, we are very excited about this opportunity.”

“This is a historic development for the Latino community in the United States,” Fernando Vila, English News Editor at Univision News wrote in a statement Monday morning.

“Now, with an aggressive expansion into English language news, Univision will be able to expand its reach and solidify its appeal with English-dominant Latinos, which represent a rapidly growing market,” Villa went on to say.

The Associated Press’ David Bauder points out the ABC-Univision venture stakes new ground with programming in English. Univision and NBC Universal-owned Telemundo already provides news content in Spanish just like CNN in Español does on it’s 24-hour news network but no one else is reaching english-dominant Latinos in the U.S. with a 24-hour news and lifestyle channel.

Isaac Lee, president of Univision News, called the venture “groundbreaking.” “It will also provide all audiences with a multiplatform current events perspective on the issues that matter most to Latinos,” he said. “This is an important moment for journalism in the U.S. and for the U.S. Hispanic community.”

Big Freedia and Light Asylum’s Shannon Funchess on Importance of ‘Paris is Burning’

Big Freedia and Light Asylum's Shannon Funchess on Importance of 'Paris is Burning'

The 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” chronicles Harlem’s disenfranchised black, Latino, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities who come together to “battle” on runways. It also changed the lives of some of today’s most innovative musicians.

NPR’s Julianne Escobedo says the balls featured in “Paris is Burning” were a “safe space for disenfranchised, often poor, gay and transgendered Blacks and Latinos in a time when it could be deadly just to walk down the street as such, the vogue ball of the late ’80s and ’90s was a site of transformative glamour, beauty, and empowerment — a tradition that continues to this day.”

While the film didn’t quite hit mainstream success it did rack up film prizes everywhere it played including the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Best Documentary awards from the Los Angeles, New York, and National Film Critics’ Circles. It also was named as one of the 1991’s best films by the LA Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Time Magazine and the list goes on.

NY Food Book Fair Brings Activists, Academics and Chefs Together This Weekend

New Yorkers into food politics are in for a treat this weekend. Food lovers in other parts of the country can take a look at some of the participants that are doing progressive work in food systems until the Food Book Fair goes on tour.

The New York Food Book Fair is taking place Friday, May 4th - Sunday, May 6th with celebrated authors, activists, chefs and artists coming together for panel discussions and a few other events. (Full disclosure: Founder Elizabeth Thacker Jones is a big fan of and a friend of mine.)

Included in panels is Colorlines,com favorite Bryant Terry who’s ‘Inspired Vegan’ cookbook shows healthy food isn’t just for white folks and food scholar Krishnendu Ray who focuses on questions of ethnicity and its relation to consumption, food culture and food politics.

Ray’s latest book “Curried Cultures” is a wide-ranging collection of essays that explores the relationship between globalization and South Asia through food, “covering the cuisine of the colonial period to the contemporary era, investigating its material and symbolic meanings.”

Adam Yauch in 1998: America Really Needs to Think About Our Racism

Adam Yauch in 1998: America Really Needs to Think About Our Racism

Adam Yauch, a member of the seminal hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, has passed away. He was 47 years old.

When the Beastie Boys accepted their Video Vanguard award at the 1998 MTV Music Video Awards Yauch introduced millions of young viewers to Islamophobia.

“That’s another thing that America really needs to think about is our racism, racism that comes from the United States towards the Muslim people and towards Arabic people and that’s something that has to stop and the United States has to start respecting people from the Middle East in order to find a solution to the problems that have been building up over many years, so I thank everyone for your patience, and letting me speak my mind.” 

  - Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys, MTV Music Video Awards 1998

TAGS: Beastie Boys

NY Post to Jay-Z: Why Not Call New Brooklyn Team the New York N*****

NY Post to Jay-Z: Why Not Call New Brooklyn Team the New York N*****

New York Post sports media columnist Phil Mushnick is unhappy Jay-Z’s new Brooklyn basketball team colors are black and white. So unhappy that he’s suggesting Jay-Z change the name of the team to the “New York N———s.”

In his column published Friday morning the veteran NY Post columnist goes on a rant:

As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?

Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N———s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B——hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!

Mushnick joined the NY Post in 1973 and has been the TV/Radio columnist since 1982.

Junior Seau’s Family to Donate Brain to NFL Concussion Research

Junior Seau's Family to Donate Brain to NFL Concussion Research

The family of deceased NFL star Junior Seau will allow researchers to study his brain for evidence of damage as the result of concussions, the LA Times reported Thursday.

San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell told The Times the family decided to allow access to researchers investigating the long-term effects of head hits “to help other individuals down the road.”

“The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” Mitchell told The Times on Thursday night. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”

Rosario Dawson to Play Dolores Huerta in New Cesar Chavez Biopic

Rosario Dawson to Play Dolores Huerta in New Cesar Chavez Biopic

Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera have signed on to Diego Luna’s indie drama “Chavez,” which stars Michael Peña as labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez. Dawson will play Dolores Huerta while Ferrera will play Chavez’ wife Helen, according to IMDB.

The film which started shooting this week in Sonora, Mexico was written by Keir Pearson who’s best known for writing “Hotel Rwanda.”

Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz will produce through Canana Films along with John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith, according to Variety.

April’s Unemployment Numbers: Youth Pushed Into Low-Wage Service Jobs

April's Unemployment Numbers: Youth Pushed Into Low-Wage Service Jobs

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

That’s less than the 155,000 jobs that were added in March and what analysts predicted for the month of April.

ABC News points out teens have the highest unemployment rate and many of them are being pushed in to low-wage jobs:

Among the major worker groups, teenagers have the highest unemployment rate, but the imminent summer hiring season may make a dent in that figure.

In April, teenagers had a 24.9 percent unemployment rate, compared with a 7.5 percent rate for adult men and 7.4 percent among adult women.

The unemployment rates for adult men (7.5 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Latinos (10.3 percent) showed little or no change in April, while the rate for blacks (13.0 percent) declined over the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in April saw little changed from a year earlier.

Watch Archived Footage of Peace March in Koreatown Two Days After L.A. Riots

Watch Archived Footage of Peace March in Koreatown Two Days After L.A. Riots

On May 1st 1992—just two day after the civil unrest in Los Angeles started—thousands of Angelenos marched for peace around Koreatown. It’s an event that is not often highlighted in “L.A. Riots” coverage.

In’s recent story “Two Decades Later, Children of the L.A. Riots Share Memories,” a young man named Paul, who went to the Peace March when he was just 8-years old recalled the event.

“I do distictly remember the chant that we said, ‘We want peace and we want justice,’ and we just kept on chanting that over and again,” Paul says in the video. 

Watch NBC Los Angeles affiliate KNBC’s archived news coverage above and then watch Paul’s clip below who share his memory of the event twenty-years later.

Watch Paul’s video below and catch up on more “Children of the L.A. Riots” videos by visiting

‘Every Game I Used Drugs’: The Story of Baseball Great Willie Mays Aikens

SB Nation has an incredible story from former Kansas City Royals slugger Willie Mays Aikens, who battled years of drug addiction and spent over a decade in prison.

In 1980, Aikens became the first MLB player to hit multiple homeruns in one game during the World Series, a feat that helped establish him as one of the best hitters in the game. Years later, he admitted to battling severe addiction to cocaine during the early nineties. He also made and sold the drug, and because of strict federal drug sentencing laws, Aikens received a 20-year prison sentence. After doing his time in Georgia, Aikens was released and later hired by his old organization to coach a minor league team in Arizona.

Watch the video that’s above for more, and read the whole story over at SB Nation.

Sundance Favorite, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ Debuts New Trailer

Sundance Favorite, 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' Debuts New Trailer

“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” the highly celebrated Sundance film that took the top awards at the film festival, has a new trailer and a release date.

The film centers around a six-year-old black girl who’s father’s health is fading and her search for her mother. All of this after a hurricane causes environmental changes that result in the release of an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs.

“Nothing else at this year’s festival came close to stirring up the excitement and sense of discovery generated by ‘Beasts,’” New York Times critic Manhola Dargis wrote shortly after Sundance.

She also warned us of the impending race comments that may come if the movie does as well as everyone predicts.

“I heard one industry type wonder aloud if Hushpuppy was ‘retarded or just black and poor,’” Dargis wrote.

So prepare yourselves.

ICE Director John Morton Gets Very Own Satirical Twitter Account

ICE Director John Morton Gets Very Own Satirical Twitter Account

First there was the infamous @BPGlobalPR satirical Twitter feed, then came the “Mexican Mitt Romney,” now someone has created a fake account for Director of ICE John Morton. The Twitter account was launched Wednesday and currently has 51 followers.

” I don’t enjoy deporting your mom, I fucking love the Hell out of it,” reads @JohnMortonICE’s Twitter profile.

“Satire is a great way to get a message across,” the man behind @JohnMortonICE told He identified himself as someone who works closely with immigration reform groups.

“I want to draw attention to this administration’s hypocritical stance on immigration reform and remind people that our immigration system is hardwired for deportation,” said the man behind @JohnMortonICE.

“As the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton has overseen the Obama administration’s record-breaking deportation spree,” Colorlines’ immigration reporter Julianne Hing points out. “He has touted the so-called smart enforcement of Secure Communities while ignoring the calls from immigrant communities and law enforcement agencies alike who say S-Comm, and other deportation programs like it, are in fact tearing families apart and destabilizing U.S. communities instead of strengthening them.”

“We’re talking over 400,000 deportations a year, the very least we can do is mock ICE for it,” the man behind @JohnMortonICE told Colorlines.

Texas Rapper: Number One Thing A Rapper Shouldn’t Say, ‘Gay is Okay’

Texas Rapper: Number One Thing A Rapper Shouldn't Say, 'Gay is Okay'

Adair Lion is a Texas based rapper who says he “strives to be unlike what’s perceived of Latinos by the main stream media.” So far he’s definitely doing a pretty good job at separating himself from mainstream rappers with lyrics that promote equality for gays.

“It doesn’t just get better, it gets awesome, homie — what I mean is I just wanna see you blossom, homie,” Adair raps in his new single called “Ben” that’ll be part of his album “Michael & Me.”

The rapper who was born and raised in central El Paso, Texas near the border to Juarez, Mexico says the album pays homage to the late Michael Jackson.

The release of “Michael & Me” will be on June 25, 2012 which marks the third anniversary of Jackson’s death.’s Seth Freed Wessler Accepts 2012 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism

Hillman 2012 Winner Seth Freed Wessler On Tuesday,’s investigative reporter Seth Freed Wessler accepted the 2012 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism at the annual Hillman Prizes ceremony at The TimesCenter in New York City. Since 1950, The Hillman Award is a journalism prize awarded annually to “journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good.”

Wessler was honored for his investigation “Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents in U.S Deportation System” that found at least 5,000 U.S. citizen children are in the foster care system today due to the detainment or deportation of their undocumented immigrant parents by the U.S. government.

“After reading the article by Seth Freed Wessler, I knew there was no other place that I had to be than here at this moment to introduce him,” said Danny Glover, who presented Wessler with the Hillman award.

Jennifer Pozener liveblogged the event and included Wessler’s acceptance speech on the Women in Media’s “Voices” blog.

“It’s an extraordinary honor to be here, to have that introduction… I spent a lot of time last year in small dark rooms in states ike TX, AZ, FL in the basements of immigration detention centers, and child welfare offices… in a concrete room in AZ, a soft-spoken Mexican woman told me she had not seen or spoken with her children in four months. It started with being pulled over” for speeding. Had she been a citizen, he said, she would have gotten back to her kids very quickly. Instead, the Fed severed her from her children, and severed her from the court processes that dealt with her children… cultural chauvanism says that children would be better off in foster care with strangers than with immigrants who are not citizens. Seth concludes by noting that this investigative accomplishment “would not have been possible without the remarkable vision of Applied Research Center director Rinku Sen…and without Kai Wright, Colorlines’ editor.”

(Photo: Lindsay Beyerstein)

Hey Ashton Kutcher and PopChips: Brownface is Still Racist [Video]

Hey Ashton Kutcher and PopChips: Brownface is Still Racist [Video]

More on PopChips’ new Youtube campaign here. We’re also not crazy about gay-joke Darl.

Afro Dish Sponges: Funny or Racist?

Afro Dish Sponges: Funny or Racist?

The British company Paladone released a line of dishwashing sponges based on African-Americans with Afro hairstyles. One figure is shaped like Diana Ross with a brillo pad hairstyle and another is a disco-styled sponge. Paladone said that these were designed to be fun and sales have been high. But are these funny or racist?

Report: CeCe McDonald Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Manslaughter

Report: CeCe McDonald Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Manslaughter

Reports out of Minneapolis have it that CeCe McDonald has accepted a plea deal to second degree manslaughter due to negligence in the death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald is a black transgender woman who says she was attached by Schmitz with racist and homophobic slurs. Her supporters have rallied at the court house all week, saying that her case is a stunning example of institutional biases against black and transgender communities.

Luce Guillen-Givins, a member of McDonald’s Support Committee, said that the plea deal stipulates that McDonald will spend 41 months in prison. Stay tuned for more details.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215