New Yorkers held a rally yesterday to honor the those killed in the Oak Creek shooting massacre. The day marked a national day of remembrance and solidarity for people across the country. Here’s a video of scenes from Manhattan.
Two websites have responded to Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance with a novel approach. Instead of forcing millions of Americans to chose between their fried chicken sandwiches and support for LBGT civil rights, Chicken Offset and Chick-fil-A Confessional allow people to perhaps do both.
Though glib and slightly campy, these sites represent a growing movement by economists to grapple with the fact that our individual choices have broader consequences. To our detriment, the way that both our economy and the broader society is organized often passes the costs of those choices on to others, while we solely enjoy the benefits.
These sites want to change our approach. At Chicken Offset, progressive minded Chick-fil-A addicts can purchase a $1 credit for each meal eaten at the Mayberry-esque establishment. The site pledges that $0.90 of the dollar credit will end up at It Gets Better Project or the Williams Institute. But their essential thrust of the websites is correct.
Chick-fil-A Confessional takes a slightly different approach. Instead of a flat rate, this site calculates donations based upon the amount spent at the poultry-pushing restaurants. The more you spend the more you have to give.
In addition to It Gets Better, the site lists the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD as potential beneficiaries. Recognizing the impact that the recession has had on many, “hugging a gay” is also a compensatory option offered by the site.
It would be great if these portals also listed LGBT grassroots organizations on the front lines of local communities, as well as those dealing with the crisis of queer youth of color. As our publisher, the Applied Research Center, has explored, these groups are horribly underfunded and the LGBT movement suffers as consequence.
The Romney campaign is ratcheting up it’s charges that President Obama “gutted” welfare reform by ending work requirement’s for program participants. Following the release yesterday of a campaign ad titled “Right Choice” that claims the Obama administration now “just send(s) you your welfare check,” the Romney camp today enlisted Newt Gingrich to throw down in the ring.
On a conference call with reporters today, Gingrich launched a forceful attack saying, “On the hard left there is unending desire to create a dependent America. There is a deep repudiation of middle-class work ethic,” the Hill reported.
“It’s not just Obama’s a radical, but the people he appoints are even more radical,” Gingrich said.
The former primary rivals have joined forced to attack an administrative policy shift last month that will grant states more power over the administration of their cash assistance programs. The attacks are based on lies, but the assaults are likely to help the Romney campaign sure up the GOP’s white, working class base.
On Tuesday, Mexican-born American runner Leo Manzano won a silver medal in the men’s 1,500-meter final, running the fastest time ever by a U.S. athlete at the Games. Manzano, 27, entered the U.S. at the age of 4 without papers, according to LetsRun. He didn’t gain legal residency until 10 years later.
“Silver medal, still felt like I won! Representing two countries USA and Mexico!”, Manzano tweeted shortly after his win. Most of his tweets throughout the Olympics have been in both Spanish and English.
“I am honored and excited to represent both the United States and Mexico by earning this silver,” Manzano told the Associated Press. “Standing on the podium has been a dream of mine and I share it proudly with my family, friends, coaches and all my supporters from Austin, Marble Falls, and Granite Shoals, Texas as well as Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.”
On the track Manzano celebrated with the U.S. flag and the Mexican flag.
The more authorities find out about Wade Michael Page, the man who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Sunday, the worse it gets.
Christopher Robillard, who told CNN Page was his “closest friend” when the two were in the military, said that Page talked often about a “racial holy war.”
“He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come,” Robillard said. “But to me, he didn’t seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people.”
Page was trained as a psychological warfare specialist and rose to the rank of sergeant before he was discharged for showing up to formation drunk. Robillard nonetheless said Page as a “very kind, very smart individual.”
Authorities also know that Page fronted a white supremacist band. They know that Page was once in the military, before he was discharged. They know that the he was tattooed with the logo of Stormfront, an online community of white supremacists.
For many, those pieces of information are enough to settle the whys of Page’s brutal last act. But authorities insist they are continuing to look into Page’s motives for an act they’re investigating as domestic terrorism.
“I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” Douglas told the Huffington Post. “I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair.”
“I don’t think people should be worried about that,” she said of all the fuss about her hair. “We’re all champions and we’re all winners. I just say that it’s kind of, a stupid and crazy thought to think about my hair.”
The Voting Rights Act, it seems, is not going to be allowed to ease into middle age quietly. There ought to be festivities greeting the Act today, on the 47th anniversary of the day President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the bill which outlawed voter discrimination that disenfranchised African-American voters. Yet, this year in particular it’s come under aggressive attack by states intent on dismantling the Act. Forget the birthday cake. It may be time to light a candle for the civil rights law.
Colorlines.com’s Voting Rights Reporting Fellow Brentin Mock says the VRA’s been under attack for a while now, but this year’s been different. “Certain counties and states have been sling-shotting at the Voting Rights Act for years, but this year they’ve pulled out bazookas and hope to blow a hole right in its heart: Section 5, which protects voters in certain states and counties that have histories of racial discrimination.”
As the court case dealing with Section 5 of the VRA winds its way toward the Supreme Court, so much is at stake.
The division between the 99 percent and the 1 percent extends to the U.S. Olympic team.
The United States sent 529 athletes to compete in 25 sports. The gaping income inequality seen in the wider society is stark even amongst this group carrying the nation’s pride in London.
Sure, Gabby Douglas just garnered a multi-million dollar endorsement deal from Kellogg’s with her two gold medals. Millionaires populate the US Olympic Basketball Team. The seven-figure Williams sisters dominate Olympic tennis. And high-performing runners in track and field events might break six-figures.
But for every Gabby, Lebron, and Serena, there are medal-winning Olympians in less well-known sports, like shot put and archery, who must work two and three jobs to represent the world’s richest country. Even Gabby’s mom had to sell her jewelry and do without to keep her daughter in the running until fortunes could turn.
NBC paid almost $2 billion to carry the games and the U.S. Olympic Committee budget is $170 million, but little of it flows to the actual competitors. Even top athletes in key events struggle.
According to CNN’s Money, “only 50% of American track and field athletes who are ranked in the top ten … earn more than $15,000 a year in income from the sport.” Many struggle to pay their bills.
Lethal weapons are not so difficult to come by, even legally. Wade Michael Page, the identified shooter who gunned down six Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this weekend, bought the firearm he used in the attack legally, law enforcement authorities said today, Reuters reported.
According to FBI special agent in charge Teresa Carlson, Page had no criminal record before the attack, though the Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking Page’s white supremacist ties for years.
Page wasn’t the only shooter who acquired his weapons legally. James Holmes, the man charged with killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater just weeks ago, bought all four of his guns legally as well.
The Wisconsin attack is being investigated as an act of domestic terror, authorities said. Those who belonged to the Wisconsin gurdwara have called it a hate crime, though.
When Arizona rocketed to national notoriety when it passed SB 1070, it kicked off an anti-immigrant craze in state lawmaking. But state lawmakers found other things to occupy their time this year. Fewer states passed immigration bills this year, according to an analysis released by the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Immigrant Policy Project today.
In the first six months of the year 41 states enacted 114 immigration bills and passed 92 immigration-related resolutions, down 20 percent from the more than 250 laws and resolutions state legislatures passed in the first half of just last year, when lawmakers introduced a record number of immigration bills. States still tackling immigration are doing so namely to restrict the lives of undocumented immigrants by empowering law enforcement officers to engage in immigration investigations.
But the costly, protracted Supreme Court battle over SB 1070 gave state lawmakers pause. “States took a bit of a pause on the issue of immigration as they waited for the Supreme Court to rule,” Senator John Watkins of Virginia, co-chair of the NCSL Immigration and the States Task Force said in a statement.
In the meantime, state lawmakers went back to other, more pressing issues, like tackling budget deficits, and restricting voter access to the polls.
Read the NCSL report for more.
“I think the advantage of being an Asian basketball player in America is that no one expects anything from you, and no one thinks you are going to be good.” So says Jeremy Lin, the former Knick whose fantastic winning streak sparked the short-lived but high-flying sports craze known as Linsanity.
“The reason why I said it was an advantage is because everyone takes you lightly, and the minute you step out on the court, you give it to them and you immediately earn their respect, but no one is going to give it to you right away, not in America at least,” Lin said in Taipei this weekend, USA Today reported.
It’s a generous way of making lemonade out of the lemons that are the subtle bigotry which has stalked Lin the entirety of his NBA career. As one of the precious few Asian Americans who’ve made it to the NBA and the only Asian American in the league today, Lin has often been asked to make sense of the role his race played in his career, and his star-making turn this year. Sometimes he’s soft-pedaled the reality of race in America, and other times he’s been straightforward. After all, it was Lin who told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that basketball’s seen as “a sport for white and black people. You don’t get respect for being an Asian-American basketball player in the U.S.”
Yet before being sidelined with a knee injury this season, Lin demanded just that. Since signing a deal with the Houston Rockets, Lin’s been gearing up for the next season, and on a tour of Asia. On his agenda? Hosting basketball camps for young players there.
The details coming out in the aftermath of the Sunday’s tragic shooting at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin are just as grim and terrifying as folks expected. Wade Michael Page, the identified shooter, was not just a 40-year-old military veteran before he shot and killed six people gathered at a Wisconsin temple. He was also being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who’d long ago identified him as a member of white supremacist circles, including as a band leader of a group called End Apathy.
Page gave an interview to a white supremacist website in 2010, and told them he’d been part of the white power music scene since 2000, until he formed his band in 2005 with the goal of ending his own and others’ apathy. Prior to his white supremacist ties, Page was an enlisted Army man who joined the military in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
But on Sunday, Page turned his gun on American Sikhs who were gathering for Sunday services. He killed six people before a police officer shot and killed Page.
After several delays, the federal government has finally released guidelines about how DREAMers can begin to apply for deferred action starting August 15. The federal government is beginning the public rollout of information after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on June 15 that the Obama administration would halt, immediately, the deportations of those who would be eligible for the federal DREAM Act, a narrow legalization bill aimed at young undocumented immigrants who immigrated to the U.S. as children and were raised in the country. Along with the deportation halt the federal government has made an allowance for those who are eligible to receive two-year work permits, with an opportunity to renew work permits for another two years.
As of August 15, those eligible for deferred action, and a two-year work permit are those who:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Before Gabby Douglas, there was Dominique Dawes. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist spoke with Fox Sports about Douglas’ history-making moment on Thursday, and spoke through proud tears through most of the interview.
Dawes, who is in London and was in the arena cheering Douglas on said, “I am so thrilled for Gabby, her mother, her sisters, her dad, and all the little young girls looking at her being impacted by what she did. I’m so thrilled now to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal. It couldn’t go to a better kid, to a better mom, who wants to see her daughter excel.”
Dawes had more to say on Twitter:
Chick-fil-A’s present and future have collided. The result is not pretty.
The problem is that the region from where it gets most of its profits and the areas where it’s looking to grow have two totally different sets of values.
Smarter enterprises would avoid the resulting cultural IEDs of social issues and, instead, would concentrate on pushing chicken and waffle fries. But Chick-fil-A became a must-stop for hungry Southerners, in part, because they constantly highlighted the beliefs that their below the Mason-Dixon line customers held dear. Check out this Wall Street Journal graphic to see the sales divide:
When Gabby Douglas won her gold medal in all-around gymnastics on Thursday, she was also making history. Not only was Douglas the first woman of color to win an all-around gold medal, the most coveted title in her sport, she is also the first American to win both an individual and team medal at the same Olympics.
But that’s not where Douglas’ mind was yesterday. “I kind of forgot about that,” Douglas told the AP, when asked how it felt to be the first black gymnast to win an all-around gold. “Man, that’s awesome, that’s definitely an amazing feeling. I forgot about that.”
“We’re encouraging people to tend to their mental health that day without shame,” Ikpi said. Well July 2, and the entire month, are now behind us, but the quest for mental health wellness is an ongoing one. But when it comes to communities of color, the stigma surrounding mental health issues makes the fight to normalize and legitimize mental illness, let alone seek help, that much harder.
It’s easy to feel alone when so few people talk about mental illness. Disgrasian’s Jen Wang wrote a moving post about her experiences:
Even though I witnessed it in various family members, I didn’t even know growing up that depression had its own name. Instead it was called “not trying hard enough,” “not working hard enough,” “not achieving enough,” “being lazy,” “lacking decorum,” “lacking pride,” “losing self-control,” “not caring enough about what other people think,” “embarrassing your family,” “selfish,” “rude,” “failure.” All of the language I heard to describe what I would only later understand to be mental illness made it clear you could always “work” your way out of it-alone, naturally, because you didn’t want to bother other people with your problems-and if you couldn’t, well, you had no one but yourself to blame.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers responded to Iowa Rep. Steve King’s absurd anti-immigrant congressional shenanigans today with a showy statement of his own today. King had convened a House Judiciary Committee hearing to unveil the latest version of his English Language Unity Act, a bill which would mandate English-only government documents and services. The bill would make English the official language of the U.S., something that’s already true in practice but not codified in law.
“The Judiciary Committee hearing … reflects the need to get a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives on this popular issue- 87 percent of Americans say that English should be the official language of the United States,” King said in a press release last week. King’s been trying to get a version of this law passed since 2003.
But today, Conyers stole back some of the spotlight by opening his remarks with a few words in Spanish. Univision’s Jordan Fabian offered a transcription and a translation:
“Hoy en día, los inmigrantes de Asia o América Latina son los objetivos de la demonización y la discriminación,” he said. “Un día, nuestro país mirará hacia atrás a este período con vergüenza y arrepentimiento.” (Translation: Today, immigrants from Asia or Latin America are the targets of demonization and discrimination. One day, our nation will again look back on this period with shame and regret.)
In a highly unusual decision, the federal immigration enforcement agency, ICE, has granted a deported father temporary permission to enter the U.S. so that he can attend a court hearing regarding on his parental rights and the custody of his three young children. Yesterday, Felipe Bautista Montes walked out of the airport in Charlotte, N.C., and made his way to Sparta, the town where he lived for nearly a decade with his wife, Marie Montes, where his kids were born, and where the children now live in foster homes.
Montes was deported from his home nearly two years ago following repeated stops for driving without a license. After his deportation, Marie Montes, fell on hard times, struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and the local child welfare department removed the children from her custody, placing them in foster care.
Montes wants his children to be reunified with him in Mexico, where he’s lived since he was deported. But the Alleghany County child welfare department argues that the U.S. citizen children will be better off in the U.S., in the custody of non-relatives.
Following national and international media attention and the collection of over 20,000 signatures on a petition calling for the family’s reunification, the Mexican Consulate in North Carolina hired a private law firm to apply to ICE for what’s called Humanitarian Parole, or permission to enter the United States. Last week, the Mr. Montes received a call telling him that he’d been granted permission to attend his custody hearing.
Gabby Douglas just won her second gold medal of the 2012 Olympics in the all-around gymnastics competition, making her the first black female to win gold in that competition. But before she became an Olympics hero, her mother Natalie Hawkins had to figure out even how to keep her daughter in the sport.
Hawkins told CNN: “After years of persuading me I finally gave in and took her to a trial class. She just never wanted to come out of the gym. She loved it. She would practice all the time. So I saw then the hard work.”
“I didn’t realize when I got into this sport how expensive it was. Just the commitment over the years, sometimes it felt crushing. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep her in thesport. But then I’d think about it and say: you’ve got to fight. If I had to sell. I sold almost all of my jewelry, if I had to pick up extra shifts at work. Whatever it takes.”
Watch the rest of the video, and bask for a bit in the glow of the Douglas family’s love for their Olympics star. Congratulations Gabby!