Northeast Tribal Lands Hit Hard by Hurricane Sandy

The latest report from United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) tribes says tribal lands in the northeast are still assessing their damage but it’s clear they’ll need both federal and non-governmental agencies to help in response and recovery efforts.

The following update comes from the United South and Eastern Tribes : 

Narragansett Indian Tribe in Rhode Island: Tribal Police Department Chief Jonathan Montey says the Rhode Island Tribe has been hit with rain and high winds that have toppled trees. Chief Montey says the power in the area will take some time to restore. “I’ve been told that it’s going to be weeks before we get power. So our greatest need is to get generators so we can continue our government functions,” Montey reports. The Narragansett health clinic has been closed because there is no power, but Narragansett officials are reporting that Indian Health Service is sending generators.

Shinnecock Indian Nation near Southampton, NY: Shinnecock Tribal Chairman Trustee Randy King reported a 100% power outage in his Tribe on Long Island. The Tribal offices have been working to coordinate emergency relief efforts without power, mobile phones, or Internet. King says the Shinnecock Emergency Management facility has been working using residential type generators and will need more power to work effectively. “Our buffer areas are going to need some attention to it. We have a Tribal building that has a portion of its roof ripped back. We have residential homes with ripped off roofs. We are still assessing the situation, but for the most part, power need is what we need. We are going to be placing orders with local food banks for food, if we need it, and water,” King reported.

Connecticut Tribes: Reports from The Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation have shown minimal damage. Reports say some trees are down and roads are blocked. The Mohegan Sun casino says it will be fully operational and has had some damage to its golf course. Foxwoods Resort Casino has been closed because employees are unable to get to work. However operations are expected to resume today (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) according to the Pequot Tribe.

A FEMA representative has promised the agency’s help.

“Our Tribal liaisons are not just there to refer you (Tribes) to someone else. They are there to help you (Tribes) coordinate that information. So if you need to go to the Red Cross, we do not want the Regional Tribal Liaisons, or anybody else in the agency to say here is a number call them,” said FEMA Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “We (FEMA) will coordinate that contact until we can build that relationship.”

Sergio Romo, SF World Series Champ, Declares: ‘I Just Look Illegal’

Sergio Romo, SF World Series Champ, Declares: 'I Just Look Illegal'

San Francisco Giants’ Sergio Romo, who threw the series-winning last strike out in the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, strode through the city during the team’s celebratory victory parade today wearing a t-shirt with the words: “I just look illegal.”

Romo comes from Brawley, Calif. a small, remote farming town about 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Romo was raised in a baseball-loving family, and is the grandson of migrant workers.

LA Times has more details about how the small-town kid ended up in the big leagues:

Many of these players would cross the Mexican border on weekends to compete in adult leagues in the city of Mexicali. Promising young players would be invited to play shortly after they entered high school. In this way, a devotion to the game was passed from one generation to the next.

So when pitcher Sid Monge broke in with the Angels in 1975, many of the players in town felt he took part of them to the major leagues with him. They felt the same way about Rudy Seanez, who played 17 big league seasons with nine teams, including the Dodgers. And now they feel like that about Romo.

“Everybody has a little story about Rudy, Sergio and Sid,” said Rusty Garcia, who was Seanez’s pitching coach at Brawley Union High.

Romo is remembered as the child who used to tag along with his father on weekends to Mexicali. Memories of those days were shared over lunch recently at Las Chabelas, where six men gathered at a back table to trade stories.

“Remember how much of a pain he was?” Reyes asked the others. “Sergio was so hyper when he was a little kid.”

“Romo used his platform to show how ridiculous the notion is for anyone to be considered ‘illegal,’ said Monica Novoa, who leads the Drop the I-Word campaign. “He also is pointing to how this dehumanizing, inaccurate language goes hand in hand with racial profiling.”

This story includes reporting by Julianne Hing.

Check out some responses from Twitter and Instagram below:

Border Towns Honor Fallen Migrants on Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) begins Thursday, November 1, 2012, and ends Friday, November 2, 2012.

Since Dia de los Muertos in 1994, the year that Operation Gatekeeper tightened border security and diverted migrants to remote and dangerous areas, artists and activists have been hanging art on the border fence as a way of honoring the men, women and children who lost their lives on their way to the U.S.

These two images were taken at the U.S.-Mexico Border in Mexicali B.C. Mexico and Calexico, CA. The pictures were taken on November 10, 2009 and uploaded to Flickr by Sergio Apolinar.

US-Mexico Border day of the dead 2 "Dia del muerto"

Ariz. Official That Banned Ethnic Studies Cited in Hit-run Crash, Caught in Affair Scandal

Ariz. Official That Banned Ethnic Studies Cited in Hit-run Crash, Caught in Affair Scandal

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was cited last Wednesday for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident earlier this year. Two FBI agents who had Horne under surveillance earlier this year saw him hit a parked SUV and then leave the scene of the collision.

In January 2011, Horne declared the Tucson Unified School District MAS (Mexican American Studies) program illegal.

The local Arizona ABC affiliate ABC15 has more details on Horne’s most recent scandal:

On March 27, 2012 at 12:45 p.m., two FBI agents had Horne under surveillance.

The federal investigators were tailing Horne in the course of their investigation into allegations of campaign finance violations .

The agents watched Horne and his employee, Carmen Chenal, drive to 202 West Roosevelt, where Chenal has an apartment. They then saw Horne back into a vehicle, a white Range Rover, then drive off without leaving a note.

Horne claimed he didn’t know he hit another car.

Sources tell ABC15 the woman in question is his mistress.

Confused About Whether Your Costume is Racist or Not?

Confused About Whether Your Costume is Racist or Not?

Not sure if your costume is racist or not? Consider the links below a public service announcement.

1) Seven Racist Costumes to Avoid This Halloween 

This is one is from the archives. Check out the illustrated list.

2) Ohio Students Warn Against Being a Racist Fool This Halloween

Controversy surrounding racially offensive Halloween costumes and theme parties have become a routine part of costume parties on college campuses. Check out Ohio University’s “Students Teaching About Racism in Society” (STARS) new ad campaign.

3) Need Halloween Ideas? Take Fashion Tips From This Adorable 5-Year-Old

Conservative Christian Leader Compares Non-Romney Vote to Vote for Hitler

Yesterday in Tampa, conservative preachers had their own souls to the polls, kinda. During the WTBN Ninth Annual Pastors Appreciation Lunch yesterday, keynote speaker Robert Jeffress, in a quasi-endorsement of Mitt Romney, told a crowd of 600 Christian activists that if they didn’t get political that it would be the same as allowing the Jewish Holocaust to happen. As reported by Michelle Bearden in The Tampa Tribune:

“I believe the preservation of America depends on pastors,” said Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas. “This is no time for God’s men to be passive. It’s time to stand up and push back against all the evil in our country.

“Tell your people that they have a choice: to cast a vote for righteousness or vote for unrighteousness.”

Jeffress urged the capacity crowd at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa to use their pulpit time this Sunday to stress the importance of voting for the candidate who supports the “biblical values” of the sanctity of marriage, sanctity of life and religious freedom.

Stay silent, he warned them, and you’re no different than German Lutheran pastors who didn’t speak out against Hitler’s growing influence in the late 1930s. That lack of action led to the Holocaust, he said.

Jeffress is no stranger to incendiary, extremist, if not partisan views, particularly as they pertain to President Barack Obama. Jeffress said last month that Obama was “openly involved in high-handed sins” that are like “a clenched fist in the face of God,” in reference to the President’s positions on marriage equality and pro-choice policies. Jeffress has called same-sex love a “miserable lifestyle” that leads to pedophilia.

Asked by the Bearden if Jeffress was making an endorsement of Romney, he said, “people can connect the dots. It’s clear which candidate shares our views.” Church leaders can not endorse political candidates as it would be a violation of their 501(c)3 status.

Black preachers involved in the Souls to the Polls campaign this past weekend have toed the line of presidential endorsements. The campaign itself was a GOTV effort, built to get people to the polls without telling them who to vote for. At the St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, African American pastor Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Banks spoke Sunday from his pulpit about the importance of voting, especially given those who fought and died for that right during the Civil Rights Movement.

Said Banks, “If we do nothing we will suffer. If we go back to the Bush years, we will suffer. We can’t lose hope. We are standing at a crossroads in our country but we can’t lose hope, we are too close to stop now.”

Watch Romney Refuse to Answer Questions About Defunding FEMA 11 Times

Watch Romney Refuse to Answer Questions About Defunding FEMA 11 Times

Pool reporters covering GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “storm relief event” in Ohio asked the candidate at least 11 times where he stands on FEMA, but were met with either silence or a smirk.

In the video above, Rachel Maddow offers some context to the story and at the 2:30 minute mark shows a sequence of clips with Romney ignoring reporters.

Romney’s New Ad Gets Obama’s Welfare and Food Stamps Policy All Wrong

Romney's New Ad Gets Obama's Welfare and Food Stamps Policy All Wrong

The Romney campaign has released a TV ad titled “Can’t Afford Another Term,” that makes misleading claims about President Barack Obama’s welfare policy and slanders food stamps.

“If you want to know President Obama’s second term agenda, look at his first: gutting the work requirement for welfare, record unemployment, and more women in poverty than ever before,” says the male voiceover in the ad. “Doubled the number of able-bodied adults without children on food stamps. Record unemployment. More women in poverty than ever before,” the commercial goes on to claim.’s investigative reporter says the Romney campaign has made welfare and food stamp bashing a central part of it’s strategy to win the White House, convinced as ever that it can appeal to the GOP base by attacking programs for the poor.

Wessler emailed the following statement about the ad:

In the lastest ad, Romney resurrects the thoroughly discredited idea that Obama gutted welfare’s work requirements. (In fact, the waiver the administration offered to states would make it easier for welfare systems to move recipients into jobs.) The ad lumps welfare and food stamps together, again lambasting the President for large food stamp roles. The narration is careful not to slander all food stamp recipients, focusing instead on “able-bodied adults without children on food stamps.” The message is clear: Obama’s in the business of giving handouts to the underserving.

The Huffington Post reports the ad is running in markets that include Cincinnati, Dayton, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Zanesville, in Ohio. It’s also running in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado; Gainesville, Jacksonville, Panama City and Tampa in Florida; Davenport, Omaha, Ottumwa and Sioux City in Iowa; Rochester, N.Y.; Las Vegas; and Charlottesville and Roanoke in Virginia.

Bush’s Heckuva-Job FEMA Director Criticizes Obama For Responding to Sandy ‘So Quickly’

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who faced a great deal of backlash for the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is back in the headlines. This time he’s offering advice and criticism for Obama on how he should’ve dealt with Hurricane Sandy.

On Monday, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City, Brown told the Denver Westword that Obama holding a press conference at FEMA yesterday might have been a bit premature.

An excerpt from the Denver Westword’s story titled “Michael Brown, ex-FEMA head, has advice, criticism for Obama about Hurricane Sandy:”

“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown said. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”

Brown resigned from his position as director less than two weeks after Katrina hit.

(h/t Think Progress)

Texas Trooper Kills Guatemalan Immigrants in Aerial Shooting

Texas Trooper Kills Guatemalan Immigrants in Aerial Shooting

A Guatemalan diplomat says she doesn’t understand how a Texas Department of Public Safety airborne sharpshooter could just shoot at truck carrying nine Guatemalan immigrants. Texas officials say the sharpshooter that was on a helicopter was only trying to disable the vehicle and was unaware that the truck was carrying any passengers.

Alba Caceres, Guatemala’s consul in McAllen, Texas says she interviewed seven of surviving passengers that were on the truck and that all of them were in “agreement that the helicopter was 450 to 600 feet away” when the trooper fired. She told the Associated Press Monday she couldn’t understand how the troopers could fire on a vehicle without seeing people stuffed into the cabin and bed. “Neither you nor I believe it,” she said.

The Rio Grande Valley’s has more details:

The Guatemalan consul here says two countrymen who were killed by an airborne DPS sharpshooter last week have been identified as family men who were seeking a better life for their children back home. […] Both men — who hail from San Martin Jolitepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala — were with a group of seven others riding a red Ford pickup that was being chased Thursday afternoon by Texas game wardens, state troopers and other law enforcement officers. A Department of Public Safety helicopter joined the chase as the truck traveled near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 2221 and Mile 7, north of La Joya.

Caceres identified the two men killed as Jose Leonardo Coj and Marco Antonio Castro.

Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor of criminology and an expert on police chases, told the Associated Press the trooper’s decision to fire on the truck was “a reckless act” that served “no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

“In 25 years following police pursuits,” Alpert said, “I hadn’t seen a situation where an officer shot a speeding vehicle from a helicopter.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety has placed the trooper on leave following the shooting. The Monitor reports the agency said the sharpshooter opened fire thinking that the chased pickup truck was carrying drugs — not people.

Rapper Jasiri X’s New Video Calls Out This Election’s Silence on Poverty

Rapper Jasiri X's New Video Calls Out This Election's Silence on Poverty

Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X new music video for the song “Don’t Forget About The Hood” looks at how issues about the poor and those living in poverty have been “forgotten” this election season.

“See cause we broke they forget about the hood, So when you vote don’t forget about the hood,” Jasiri X raps in the video directed by Emmai Alaquiva. “I ain’t telling folks don’t get up out the hood, just when you living good don’t forget about the hood.”

Jasiri X goes on look at other issues that are making headlines this election season, including the rate of deportations and new voter ID laws. He also wonders what happened to all of the energy and organizing that took place in the wake of the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin.

“Do we remember Trayvon or is the pain gone, Do we remain strong or did we move way on, Remember when we all had pictures in our hoods, Did we forget about the hood,” Jasiri X raps.

Jasiri X’s comments about the role of poverty this election are not only the honest truth, he also utters the words that both President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney have avoided.

After the first presidential debate last month,’s Seth Freed Wessler wrote a story titled “Near Silence on Poverty in the Presidential Debate,” that looked at how the words poor people, low income people, and poverty weren’t used at the debate.

“In a presidential debate about the economy in this time of prolonged economic downturn and high poverty, the near eclipse of explicit talk of poverty and low-income Americans takes work,” Wessler wrote on October 4th.

“Both described the struggling middle-income Americans they’ve run into the on the campaign trail, but not poor folks. Obama offered that he’d like to build ‘ladders of opportunity into the middle class,’ but still, no talk of the people at the botton of those ladders,” Wessler went on to say. called “Don’t Forget About The Hood” the “most important song you’ll hear all year”, and “a remarkable music video.” Hip-Hop journalist Davey D called it, “an incredible song and video.”

Earlier this year, Jasiri X flipped Biggie Smalls’ “10 Crack Commandments” to the “10 Frisk Commandments,” a song that offered 10 recommendations for those “who get harassed just walking down the street.”

Who’s Going to Fix NYC Subways After Hurricane Sandy? Public Workers

Who's Going to Fix NYC Subways After Hurricane Sandy? Public Workers

Editors note: Some of our Facebook community members pointed out our original headline was unnecessarily raced. And you know, they were correct. The point here is that many politicians have attacked public workers over the past two years using racist dog whistles, and have succeeded because the jobs are so crucial to workers of color in general. Today, we celebrate them—all of them. Their crucial work amid Hurricane Sandy is a reminder why race-based attacks hurt us all. 

The worst of Hurricane Sandy may be over for the residents of New York City, but we’re still a long ways from normal. At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg summarized the damage: the death toll is close to a dozen and rising, more than 60,000 residents are without power, and the city’s massive subway system has been crippled by flooding.

As workers and city officials try tirelessly to get the Big Apple back up and running, it’s worth taking a minute to look at how race keeps the city going. Chances are, if you were stuck inside and had the luxury of ordering a pizza or calling an emergency worker about downed power lines, that worker was likely someone of color. In his presser this morning, Bloomberg noted how dangerous the work is to get the subways back on track. “Subway workers have to walk the thousands of miles of track to inspect the subway tunnels,” the mayor said. Here’s a quick demographic look at New York City’s subway workers:

  • Three out of five urban transit workers are black or Latino.

  • A majority are at least 45 years old.

  • Nearly 80 percent are New York City residents.

  • Almost 35 percent live in Brooklyn.

  • The work is, almost by definition, is a health hazard

It’s almost a rite of passage to complain about a city’s subway system, and no matter what city you’re in, transit workers are almost always represented poorly by the media and criticized for issues that are far beyond their control. But it’s in times like these when we all start to realize just how important their work is to our lives.

Atlantic City Mayor Wants To Meet Chris Christie ‘Mano-A-Mano’

gov-atlantic-city-lorenzo.jpg Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford on Tuesday pushed back at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s criticism of his handling of Hurricane Sandy, saying he would “love nothing better than” to confront Christie “mano-a-mano.”

During a press conference Monday, Republican Governor Christie, called the Democratic mayor, whom he has criticized in the past, “a rogue mayor” who’s “impossible to work with.”

Christie blasted Langford for having opened shelters in Atlantic City just before the Governor announced evacuation plans.

“Despite my admonition to evacuate, he gave them comfort for some reason to stay,” Christie said, adding that he “cannot in good conscience send rescuers in as the storm is about to hit in the next hour, nor can I send them in in the dark given all the various hazards that would occur potentially for them.”

But on Tuesday morning Mayor Langford told NBC’s Matt Lauer that Christie’s comments were not accurate.

“I’m telling you that that is absolutely false and the governor needs to say where the source is, where did he get his information, he’s dead wrong,” Langford told NBC News.

In other Gov. Christie related news, he’s praised President Obama for his assistance before, during and after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey.

“I have to say, the administration, the president, himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie said on Good Morning America Tuesday morning. “We have a great partnership with them.”

In Haiti, Officials Fear Rising Food Prices and Increase in Cholera Cases

In Haiti, Officials Fear Rising Food Prices and Increase in Cholera Cases

Almost three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the country now faces another threat after Hurricane Sandy: rising food prices and an increase in cholera cases in Caribbean nation where storm killed 52 people.

Al Jazeera has more details:

The UN is warning that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a sharp increase in cases of cholera, while aid workers are worried that extensive crop damage will mean that food prices will rise.

Extensive damage to crops throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the high potential for a surge in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean Haiti will see the deadliest effects of Sandy in the coming days and weeks.

Haiti has reported the highest death from Sandy so far, as swollen rivers and landslides claimed at least 52 lives, according to the country’s civil protection office. The Washington Post reports that Hurricane Sandy rendered 18,000 of the estimated 370,000 families living in tent camps homeless. The Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads) team went into one of the camps to see the situation of the people living there.

“We are hungry, things for me are bad, our tarp is torn,” a woman tells the camera in the video below. “It’s misery.”

Since October 2010, a cholera outbreak has hit almost 600,000 people and killed more than 7,400 in Haiti.

Sandy also destroyed banana crops in eastern Jamaica as well as delete the coffee crop in eastern Cuba.

TAGS: Haiti Sandy

Bloomberg: Don’t Worry About Prisoners at Rikers Island

Bloomberg: Don't Worry About Prisoners at Rikers Island

UPDATE 5:51PM EST: Department of Correction spokeswoman Robin Campbell said Rikers Island can withstand a category 4 hurricane. More details below.

At a press conference on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bloomberg told reporters to not worry about prisoners at Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail complex getting out. Rikers Island, sits, in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx—all areas that have been labeled with moderate and possible likelihood of being evacuated due to risk of flooding.

Natasha Lennard at has more details and context on Bloomberg’s statement:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tellingly misinterpreted a reporter’s question during a pre-Sandy press conference Sunday. When asked about what would happen on Rikers Island — New York’s main prison complex - during the storm, Bloomberg responded, “Jails are secure … Don’t worry about anyone getting out.”

He did not consider that the journalist was in fact asking about the well-being of the near 17,000-strong inmate population, incarcerated on water-locked landfill.

The official permanent population of the island, as reported by the United States Census Bureau, was 11,355 as of 2009.

“Given its elevation, Rikers Island can withstand any storm up to and including a Category 4 hurricane,” Department of Correction spokeswoman Robin Campbell said in a statement. ” Rikers Island facilities are not in low-lying areas, and therefore like nearby small islands Roosevelt Island and City Island, is not seriously threatened by severe flooding.

The average daily inmate population of New York City Department of Correction (DOC) fluctuates between 12,000 and 17,000.

A Few Apps, Tips, and Websites to Get You Through Hurricane Sandy

A Few Apps, Tips, and Websites to Get You Through Hurricane Sandy

If you’re on the East Coast, chances are you’re hunkered down for Hurricane Sandy. We’ve put together a quick list of tech tips that may help you ride out the worst of the storm.

Power up!  Remember to power up your devices in case of a power outage… Use airplane mode,Turn off wifi and dim screen brightness as much as possible to prolong battery life. Follow this link for instructions for Macbooks.

Hurricane? There’s an app for that. The American Red Cross has launched its official Hurricane App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people. This free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes.

There are a bunch of additional apps for disaster preparedness for both Android and iOS-based phones. Android users can check out Disaster Alert by PDC Scanner Radio Pro which allows you to peruse the databases of police, fire, EMS and coast guard transit radio. Apple users can find a similar service in the Emergency Radio app, and everyone can grab the Pocket First Aid & CPR app, which gives real-time alerts on active hazards around the world.

Another essential site is which will help you make an emergency plan, put together a disaster kit and give you advice on what to do in a variety of situations from earthquakes and flooding to evacuation and contagious diseases.

And if worst comes to worst and you need a primer on CPR techniques, check out these tips from the American Red Cross.

When a good ole’ fashioned radio isn’t available, try these: Listen to live audio from over 2,900 police and fire scanners, weather radios and more via these apps for Android  and the iPhone.

Congress Could See The Largest Number of Latinos Elected to House

Congress Could See The Largest Number of Latinos Elected to House

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), says a total of 49 Latino candidates are seeking House seats this year. The group says at least 27 are likely to win on Nov. 6, including 22 incumbents or Latinos who would replace other Latinos.

According to the Associated Press, the combined group of candidates have the potential to make history as the largest class of Latinos ever to enter Congress, “in the largest increase in seats held by Latinos in a single election.”

An excerpt from NALEO’s “Latino Opportunities in State Legislatures” executive summary is below:

Latinos are running for state legislative offices in 39 of the nation’s states. Of the 373 Latino state legislative candidates identified for this report, 265 (71%) are running in states which are the traditional Latino population centers (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas). More than one-fourth of the candidates (108 or 29%) are running in other states, a sign that Latinos are mobilizing for enhanced electoral opportunities in regions with emerging Latino communities such as the Plains States, the Midwest, and the Deep South.

Latinos in State Senates: After the 2012 general election, the number of Latinos in State Senates could increase by as many as 10, from 67 to 77.

Latinos in state lower houses: After the 2012 general election, the number of Latinos in state lower houses could increase by as many as 27, from 190 to 217.

The outcome of the 2012 state legislative elections may also provide some insights into the impact of certain political and policy trends on Latino representation. The election results will help reveal the extent to which Latino candidates were able to prevail in districts created during the 2011-2012 redistrictings to provide the Latino community with enhanced electoral opportunities. In California, as a result of a ballot measure which established the state’s “top two” primary system, candidates of the same political party are facing each other in the general election in some districts, and the outcome may help inform the public dialogue about the impact of this system on Latino candidates - a dialogue which is also occurring in the 2012 election season as Arizona voters decide whether to adopt a similar ballot measure.

Depending on how many Latino candidates win, the percentage of House seats held by Latinos could be nearly on par with their representation in the U.S. population.

Report: Government Abandoned Integration of Housing For Decades

Report: Government Abandoned Integration of Housing For Decades

When President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, a week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he declared that none of the of civil rights bills passed in the preceding decade “is more important than this.”

Johnson’s excitement centered on language requiring federal housing officials “affirmatively further” fair housing, to ban racial discrimination in housing, and end redlining, block busting and forced segregation. Not only did the Fair Housing Act prohibit explicit discrimination. It compelled the government to actively foster integration. The bill created an office of civil rights tasked with withhold Housing and Urban Development grants, a key source of federal dollars, when projects failed to address racial division.

It was a carrot and stick strategy of the highest kind.

But as an investigation released today by ProPublica shows, the enforcement side of the Fair Housing Act has scarcely been utilized in the law’s 44 years in existence. The words “affirmatively further” have never been defined, and efforts to curtail housing segregation have been repeatedly sidelined, undercut and defanged by every administration since Johnson.

“People say integration has failed,” a Clinton administration fair housing official told ProPublica journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. “It hasn’t failed because it’s never been tried.”’s Akiba Solomon on Reproductive Rights and the Election's Akiba Solomon on Reproductive Rights and the Election

Akiba Solomon,’s “Gender Matters” blogger was a guest on earlier this week to discuss reproductive rights and the 2012 Election. She was joined by the president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Andrea Miller. Naral Pro-Choice fights for birth control, sex education, healthy pregnancies, and a woman’s right to choose.

HIV-Positive DREAMer in Urgent Need of Medical Care Stuck in ICE Custody

A petition is urging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately release and end deportation proceedings for a 27-year-old HIV-positive DREAMer that was held in a Florida detention center without medical care. According to the petition, Wasington Coelho Ribero went in to the Krome Detention Center with a “healthy viral load count” but his health deteriorated after he was denied medical care for four months.

“When he entered Krome, his viral load count was good and he was healthy,” the petition explains. “On October 4th, however, Wasington was transferred to a hospital and told that his viral load count had increased to the point that he needed to go on ‘the cocktail,’ a potent regiment of medicines reserved for HIV+ individuals whose health is deteriorating.”

Activists are urging Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano to immediately stop Ribero’s deportation because they claim he is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligible DREAMer, a low-priority for deportation, and because he will continue to suffer if he is not released.

Felipe Matos, a field director with GetEQUAL, offers more details via The Huffington Post:

A few weeks ago, a friend and fellow organizer brought to my attention the case of Wasington Coelho Ribero, a 27-year-old Brazilian immigrant who is a gay man living with HIV in a detention facility in Miami. This young man arrived in the U.S. when he was only 12 years old. He was the victim of an uncle back in Brazil who had molested him from age 10 to age 12. Since he arrived at Krome Detention Center four months ago, his health has declined significantly. He went from a healthy viral load count to what witnesses to his health condition are calling “falling apart due to medical neglect.” […]

Now Wasington is in a detention center without the proper care for his medical condition, and his condition is worsening. According to a petition calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton to release him immediately, he has developed sores on his feet and white spots on his entire body.

Senator Marco Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson are also listed among several other Florida elected officials on the petition.

Visit for more information on the petition.

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