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California Kicks For-Profit Colleges Out of State Student Grant Program

Exactly 154 California colleges, 137 of which are for-profit schools, will no longer be able to offer students state aid for the 2012-2013 school year because those schools failed to meet new state regulations. The change comes after California became the first state in the nation to set more stringent standards than the federal government for student aid eligibility.

Under Gov. Jerry Browns’ new state budget, institutions of higher education which want to offer their students state tuition support have to have a student loan default rate of 15.5 percent or lower and a graduation rate of 30 percent or higher. “The Commission has argued for years that the best way to protect students, parents and taxpayers is to make sure Cal Grants help students get into solid programs that deliver proven educational and career value. Eliminating schools with high loan default rates and low graduation rates is a sensible way to do that,” Barry Keene, chair of the California Student Aid Commission, told the Sacramento Bee.

The new rules meant a new crop of schools got bumped; the 154 new ineligible schools is a marked increase from the 67 which were deemed ineligible for the 2011-2012 year. Of the 170 for-profit schools which participate in the program, 80 percent, including for-profit heavy hitters like University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institute, Kaplan College, Heald College, will now no longer be able to offer their students state aid.

30 Days in Jail for Soldier Charged With Driving Danny Chen to Suicide

30 Days in Jail for Soldier Charged With Driving Danny Chen to Suicide

The U.S. soldier who was acquitted of the most serious charges he faced for driving an Asian-American soldier to kill himself will serve 30 days in jail and have his rank reduced one ring, and will be allowed to stay in the service. Sgt. Adam Holcomb was dealt his sentence today, just a day after he was found guilty of assaulting and intimidating Chen by a jury of soldiers and officers.

Holcomb was acquitted of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and hazing for his part in the racial taunts that Chen endured while he was deployed in Afghanistan last year. He faced up to two years behind bars for his conviction. Holcomb is one of eight soldiers to be charged and was the first to be tried.

At issue during the trial was what exactly drove Chen to kill himself. A New York Magazine profile detailed the hazing and racial taunts Chen was subjected to in the weeks before he killed himself.

Since Danny Chen’s death, details of his story have slowly emerged, relayed by Army officials to his family. A group of his superiors allegedly tormented Chen on an almost daily basis over the course of about six weeks in Afghanistan last fall. They singled him out, their only Chinese-American soldier, and spit racial slurs at him: “gook,” “chink,” “dragon lady.” They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese.

TAGS: Danny Chen

The Oscar Grant Movie Filming in a Bay Area Neighborhood Near You?

Filming for “Fruitvale,” the feature film about Oscar Grant’s shooting death, is filming in the Bay Area right now. And both Grant’s family and BART, the transit system Grant was riding before he was pulled off a train and killed by a BART police officer, say they’ve been able to approve the content of the film.

San Francisco’s KQED reports that Cephus Johnson, Grant’s uncle, said the Grant family has seen a final copy of the script and feels comfortable with the film’s portrayal of his nephew’s last hours. “I think the community as well as the world should know who [Oscar Grant] was and what happened to him,” Johnson told KQED. “It will humanize Oscar as being a young black man that was tragically murdered on a platform for no apparent reason.”

Most surprisingly, BART has been participating as well. Filming has taken place on BART facilities, and transit system’s spokesman Jim Allison told KGO, “BART oversees the content so BART is not portrayed in a way that BART does not want to be portrayed.” Still, BART and the city have kept largely mum on the details of the filming.

Ryan Coogler is directing the film for Forrest Whitaker’s production company. The film stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan, best known for his role on the television show “Friday Night Lights.”

Anaheim Police Shooting Survivor: Cops ‘Shot Again and Again’

Anaheim Police Shooting Survivor: Cops 'Shot Again and Again'

Geraldo Pineda was waiting for friends back in February when plain clothes Anaheim police officers approached, ready to make arrests. Pineda, 19, told his story to Fox News:

Then, a group of plain-clothes officers from the Anaheim Police Department’s anti-gang unit emerged from an unmarked van behind him, ready to arrest him, he says.

Pineda, 19, the only police shooting victim of Anaheim, Calif., who survived this year, then took off running. He ran almost a mile until he turned a corner, then police began shooting, firing at least three rounds, Pineda says.

“I’m running over a fence and they shot again and again…and it hit me in the stomach,” says Pineda, who is currently out on bail. “I told them, ‘Hey, I got shot. You hit me. I’m dying.’”

Pineda is the only person to survive an Anaheim police officer-involved shooting this year. Five people have been killed by Anaheim police. The two latest incidents, which left Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo dead, happened just a day apart from each other. Police shot and killed Acevedo a day after protesters took to the streets demanding answers for Diaz’s killing.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to Keynote Democratic Convention

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to Keynote Democratic Convention

In another sign of how aggressively President Obama’s re-election team is trying to appeal to Latino voters in crucial swing states, the Democratic Convention Committee announced this morning that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will keynote the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4.

Castro, and First Lady Michelle Obama, will speak on the convention’s opening night.

“Having both the First Lady and Mayor Castro speak on the opening night of our convention will bring together two incredible leaders whose life stories both embody the promise of America, that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention, told the Washington Post.

More from the Post:

Democrats’ selection of Castro suggests the party is going to be making a full-court press to turn out Latino voters in November. Western swing states with substantial Hispanic populations like Nevada and Colorado could be crucial for the president in the fall.

In 2008, Obama took 67 percent of the Hispanic vote to just 31 percent for Arizona Sen. John McCain. 

Castro is something of a rising star in Democratic politics. He’s young, telegenic and comes from humble roots (he was raised by a single mother and, like Obama, went on to receive a degree from Harvard Law School).

Castro’s family is no stranger to politics. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a state legislator running for Congress (and heavily favored to win) in Texas’s 20th District.

As recently as May, President Obama held a 34-point lead over Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters.

In a keynote speech at the Texas Democratic Party convention earlier this summer, Castro ripped into former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry’s administration for budget cuts to government and education.

“Every Texan knows that, except (Governor) Rick Perry,” Castro said. “His Republican administration cut $4 billion out of our public schools. That’s 12,000 Texas teachers without a job.”

That number was contested by Politifact.com, which did that math and estimated that the real number of unemployed teachers was somewhere closer to 11,000.



Michelle Obama Hugs Entire USA Olympic Men’s Basketball Team

Michelle Obama Hugs Entire USA Olympic Men's Basketball Team

It’s adorable. Watch the whole thing here.

TAGS: Olympics

60 Percent of Louisiana Prison Doctors Disciplined by State Med Board

60 Percent of Louisiana Prison Doctors Disciplined by State Med Board

Earlier this year the New Orleans Times-Picayune published an explosive series on Louisiana’s status as the world’s prison capital. Now there’s more damning information on the injustices that happen inside of those prison walls. The paper reported late Sunday that 60 percent of the state’s prison doctors have been disciplined by Louisiana’s medical board for issues ranging from pedophilia to substance abuse.

Here’s more from the Times-Picayune:

Louisiana state prisons appear to be dumping grounds for doctors who are unable to find employment elsewhere because of their checkered pasts, raising troubling moral questions as well as the specter of an accident waiting to happen. At stake is the health of nearly 19,000 prisoners who are among the most vulnerable of patients because they have no health care options.

About 60 percent of the state’s prison doctors have disciplinary records, compared with 2 percent of the state’s 16,000 or so licensed medical doctors, according to data from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. The medical board is aware of the prison pipeline — in fact, a board-employed headhunter has sometimes helped problem doctors get prison gigs.

“Aside from being unethical, it is dangerous,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a physician and director of health research at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen told the Times-Picayune. “You’re winding up having people who don’t have any choice being where they are, getting taken care of by people with demonstrable previous records and problems with the way they practice medicine.”

Romney: Israeli ‘Culture’ Makes It More Wealthy Than Palestine

Romney: Israeli 'Culture' Makes It More Wealthy Than Palestine

Mitt Romney’s global tour of offensive remarks has moved on to the Middle East. Fresh off of telling Londoners their Olympic preparations stunk, Romney offered his analysis of the economic disparity between Israel and Palestine at a $1 million fundraiser in Jerusalem today. Occupation didn’t make the list. But “culture” and the “hand of providence” did. The Guardian recounts his speech:

“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things,” the presumptive Republican candidate told his audience. He cited a climate of innovation, the Jewish history of thriving in adversity and the “hand of providence”.

The remarks are among the most revealing thus far of Romney’s view on economic inequity. It’s a striking analysis to conclude that the dramatic poverty in Palestine, laid next to the wealth of Israel, is driven primarily by culture and God, rather than generations of occupation.

Undocumented Arizonans Head Across America on ‘No Papers No Fear’ Tour

Undocumented immigrants are hitting the road, openly declaring their immigration status and calling for an end to anti-immigrant attacks—and they’re starting in the Arizona, home to anti-immigrant state law SB 1070.

This weekend Miguel Guerra, Natally Cruz, Leticia Ramirez and Isela Meraz begin their trip across the U.S. and end in Charlotte, North Carolina, just in time for the Democratic National Convention in September. All four activists are members of Puente, a Phoenix, Arizona-based human rights organization, and will be joined by dozens of others on the tour. They’re calling it the No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice.

“I’m getting on the bus because I’m tired of living in fear and knew I had to be part of making a change,” Ramirez said in a statement. “We’ll share with everyone what we’ve learned in Phoenix and get the immigrant community together across the country. If you see what happened to us knowing our rights, going in, and getting out of jail you can see that we’re safer when we’re organized. We hope that it will be a good impact and to educate people who don’t know our real lives.”

Oprah Responds to Critics Who Say She Played Up Stereotypes in India Show

Oprah Responds to Critics Who Say She Played Up Stereotypes in India Show

Oprah Winfrey’s visit to India has been in the news from the moment she landed in the country and her security ruffed up Indian paparazzis trying to take a picture of her. Now months later the “Oprah’s Next Chapter” TV special that resulted from her visit to India is also in news because some say it was a show full of “sterotypes and cliches.”

“It’s all the stereotypes and all the clichés the West has, between the elephants and the palaces and the snake charmers and cows,” Aseem Chhabra, a freelance journalist and columnist for the Mumbai Mirror, told ABC News. “That exists in India, but it’s this imagery of India that some people seem to have, and I think I expected a lot more from somebody like Oprah Winfrey.”

TAGS: India Oprah TV

Lupe Fiasco Breaks Down Watching 2006 MTV Interview Near Home

Lupe Fiasco Breaks Down Watching 2006 MTV Interview Near Home

“Some of the kids aren’t going to make it out of there,” Lupe Fiasco says, getting emotional after seeing a 2006 MTV News interview from his childhood block.

“You feel so helpless, that’s me talking to me six years ago and everything is the same. You feel hopeless. It’s a terrible thing and I see it everywhere, I see it in New Orleans.”

Lupe Ontiveros— ‘Selena’ & ‘El Norte’—Actress Passes Away at 69

Lupe Ontiveros-- 'Selena' & 'El Norte'--Actress Passes Away at 69

Mexican-American actress Lupe Ontiveros passed away on Thursday. She was 69.

Actor Jacob Vargas who was by her side Thursday night confirmed Ontiveros passed away on Twitter around midnight Friday. “My friend Lupe Ontiveros just passed away. May you rest in peace. Thank you for your great contribution to film and TV. You will be missed,” wrote Vargas.

Onitveros was reportedly suffering from liver cancer, according to TMZ.

One of Ontiveros’ first roles was playing a maid on the television series “Charlie’s Angels.” And since that role she estimated she played a maid at least 150 times on screen, or 300 if you count her stage performances too.

For many young Latinos who were sons and daughters of domestic workers Ontiveros was a familiar name long before she became a household name for playing Selena Quintanilla’s murderer Yolanda Saldivar in “Selena.”

For me, seeing Ontiveros on screen was meaningful because it was a sign that our parents’ work was recognized by Hollywood. Even when Ontiveros played roles in which her character was talked down to or humiliated it was still meaningful because she played the human part—those were real stories many of us had heard before from our moms, aunts and neighbors.

“At first my only lines were ‘Si, señor, no, señor,’ you know, that kind of shit,” Ontiveros told the LA Weekly.

In 2009, Ontiveros talked to NPR about her mixed feelings playing a maid on screen:

“You’ve got maids and you’ve got maids,” she says. “You got maids that have longevity beyond what you ever conceived of in your wildest dreams. I’ll give you an example — The Goonies. Those that got hooked — I have a whole following of 30-year-olds who got hooked. Oh my gosh, I’m a heroine to them.”

That’s because at the end of The Goonies, Rosalita discovers jewels that enable the family she works for to keep their home. Ontiveros says she gets so many immigrant parts because of her indigenous looks. But she has mixed feelings about playing characters that reinforce the Latina stereotype.

She says that when she goes to auditions, she knows what they want.

“‘You want an accent?’ And they’d say, ‘Yes, we prefer for you to have an accent.’ And the thicker and more waddly it is, the more they like it. This is what I’m against, really, truly,” she says.

“I long to play a judge. I long to play a lesbian woman. I long to play a councilman, someone with some chutzpah,” Ontiveros went on to tell NPR.

“There is so much to fight for, you know, just to stay alive in these times that we’re living in. i think it’s exciting,” Ontiveros said in an interview with Maria Hinojosa on “One-on-One.”

“I think I would have died sooner if I was very calm.”

Ontiveros is survived by her husband and three adult children.

General Motors and Walgreens Leave ALEC, 30 Firms Have Left

General Motors and Walgreens are the 29th and 30th major American corporations to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The news comes as the group begins it’s 39th annual meeting in Salt Lake City this week.

“Walgreens’ and GM’s recent announcements that they have cut ties with ALEC is further proof that everyday people working together to hold corporations accountable can achieve tremendous change,” said ColorOfChange.org Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “The ColorOfChange community applauds these companies’ willingness to end their relationships with this right-wing policy group that has worked to suppress the Black vote.”

“ColorOfChange commends those corporations that have done the right thing and withdrawn their funding from ALEC, which continues to defend its push to enact discriminatory voter ID laws across the nation,” Robinson said. “More and more companies are getting the message that they cannot in good conscience market products to our communities while handing over customers’ dollars to an organization that suppresses the rights and endangers the safety of people of color.”

More than 100 House Democrats Introduce Bill to Increase the Minimum Wage

More than 100 House Democrats Introduce Bill to Increase the Minimum Wage

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, led more than 100 other House Democrats in introducing legislation today to raise the minimum wage to $9.80. This would be the first increase in the minimum wage since 2009 and the first increase in the minimum wage for tipped-workers in 21 years.

Currently the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour.

Rep. Miller’s Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 (H.R. 6211) will increase the minimum wage in three 85-cent steps, over three years, from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour. The rate will then be indexed to inflation each year thereafter. In addition, the legislation will increase the required cash wage for tipped workers in annual 85 cent increases, from today’s $2.13 per hour until the tip credit reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director of ROC United, commended Representative Miller, saying, “Miller’s bill represents the first initiative by House leadership that would include a much-needed increase for tipped workers in more than 15 years, and we cannot thank him enough. ROC United has been fighting to raise $2.13 for many years and an increase is long overdue for the people who work hard every day to nourish our families at restaurants across America. While the restaurant industry projects record profit in 2012 of $625 billion, our nation’s tipped workers - the servers, bussers, and bartenders at your favorite restaurants - have been earning $2.13 since 1991. The majority of these tipped workers are women, many living in poverty and supporting children, and they can no longer afford to be left behind.”

A number of organizations in addition to ROC United, such as the National Employment Law Project, MomsRising, National Women’s Law Center, 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, and others have been leading the fight to raise the tipped minimum wage and the minimum wage.

Caster Semenya To Carry South Africa’s Flag In Olympic Ceremony

Caster Semenya To Carry South Africa's Flag In Olympic Ceremony

South African runner Caster Semenya will carry South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

“It’s such a privilege for me to do such a big thing like that,” Semenya said in a recorded statement, according to The Guardian. “To carry the flag for the team, it’s such a big thing.”

In 2010 Semenya became a household name not because of her athletic abilities but because the 21-year old faced a year of dehumanizing public speculation about her sex.

“I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being,” Semenya said in late March 2010 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) declared her to be “female-enough” to compete as a woman.

Congratulations to Semenya for the incredible honor.

Sundance Winner ‘Middle of Nowhere’ Gets Release Date and Trailer

Middle-of-Nowhere-Movie-Poster.jpgRemember Ava DuVernay who earlier this year became the first black woman to win the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival for her film “Middle of Nowhere” ? Her film finally has a trailer and a release date.

DuVernay’s film chronicles a woman’s struggle to adapt to life after her husband’s incarceration. “This epidemic of incarceration really affects black and brown communities disproportionately,” DeVernay said in an earlier this year.

The film’s synopsis:

Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE follows Ruby, a bright medical student who sets aside her dreams and suspends her career when her husband is incarcerated. As the committed couple stares into the hollow end of an eight-year prison sentence, Ruby must learn to live another life, one marked by shame and separation. But through a chance encounter and a stunning betrayal that shakes her to her core, this steadfast wife is soon propelled in new and often shocking directions of self-discovery - caught between two worlds and two men in the search for herself.

The “Middle of Nowhere” stars David Oyelowo (Lincoln, Jack Reacher, Paperboy, The Help, Red Tails), Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, For Colored Girls) and the leading lady, newcomer Emayatzy Corinealdi.

The film will be in theaters October 12, 2012.

Judge OKs Nation’s First Parent Trigger Takeover in Adelanto, Calif. School

A superior court judge has ruled in favor of parents at a small southern California desert town who, with the help of a Los Angeles-based school reform organization, have been organizing to take over their struggling elementary school.

Superior Court Judge Steve Malone’s ruling, made public this week, will allow parents with the Desert Trails Parent Union in Adelanto, California to go ahead with their efforts to overhaul Desert Trails Elementary School. Parents had challenged the local school district after their petition was voided; the district had allowed parents to rescind their signatures. Judge Malone ruled that such a move was illegal, and in fact, the petition would stand, the Los Angeles Times reported.

They are the first group in the nation to be allowed to use the parent trigger to overhaul a neighborhood school. The ruling marks a victory for parent activists and Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles-based organization that has advocated for parent trigger policy and overhauls. A previous effort to take over a Compton public school, led with the help of Parent Revolution as well, also led to lawsuits and legal wrangling.

Four Undocumented Arizonans Arrested for Coming Out at Arpaio’s Trial

Four Undocumented Arizonans Arrested for Coming Out at Arpaio's Trial

On Tuesday, four undocumented Arizona residents came out as ‘undocumented and unafraid’ in front of the Arizona court where Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is being tried in a discrimination lawsuit accusing him of racially profiling Latinos.

Members of Puente Arizona, Leti, Natally, Miguel, and Chela, came out of the shadows to tell Sheriff Arpaio they’re not running any more.

“The very people Arpaio’s targeting came out and told him and the rest of the country that they’re not afraid, and that they want an end to his tactics, SB 1070 and other anti-immigrant attacks,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter, after seeing the videos.

Welcome to Colorlines.com’s New Commenting System

Welcome to Colorlines.com's New Commenting System

Our new commenting system is up and running! It should make the whole experience easier and more rich. It’ll enable you to use your social media handles and share your comments with friends. And it’ll encourage everyone to engage responsibly and respectfully.

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Your old comments will still be here, but your old Disqus login will no longer work; instead, just use your Facebook or Twitter profile to let us know who you are when you comment. You can also share what you post here on Colorlines.com with your Facebook and Twitter friends, and you can easily follow replies to conversations you’re participating in. We’ve also got a few new ideas in the works to roll out in the coming weeks. As community manager, I’m excited to see how our already-excellent conversations get even better with the new system.

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Anaheim Police and Protesters Continue to Clash

Anaheim Police and Protesters Continue to Clash

A fourth day of protests since Anaheim Police officers shot two Latino men to death over the weekend resulted in 20 arrests on Tuesday. Cops once again shot rubber bullets at the crowd of demonstrators who are protesting police conduct in Anaheim’s heavily Latino core.

The clash between Anaheim residents and police escalated as demonstrators gathered in front of City Hall as officials voted to ask federal authorities to investigate the officer involved shooting death of Manuel Angel Diaz.

“They’ve seen everything on TV— the dogs, the shootings and just a history of brutality,” Seferino Garcia, executive director of community group Solevar, told the LA Times. “Right now, the community is not going to stand idle. We have a job to do.”

Anaheim resident Oscar Velazquez, 25, also told the Times that Latinos are harassed by police and recounted recently being patted down while walking to his home, a few blocks from Disneyland.

“I’ve been stopped for no reason,” he said. “You don’t want your neighbors to see you out there like that.”

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