By Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN en Español Senior Correspondent
Miami (CNN) - Will he or won't he? And would it matter?
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, considered a powerful Hispanic political player and rising star in his party, has consistently said no to having vice presidential aspirations. But still, the question keeps coming up.
Rubio, the popular Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants, has been seen by some inside Republican circles as a great "get" as a possible No. 2 on a hypothetical presidential ticket, and is already showing his power to influence the process.
Just this week he pushed back on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after the Republican presidential candidate ran a Spanish language radio ad labeling former Gov. Mitt Romney as "the most anti-immigration candidate." Rubio called the commercial "inaccurate" and "inflammatory" and the Gingrich campaign pulled the ad.
Read the full story
New York (CNN) - Two prominent Muslim civil liberties groups called for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to resign on Thursday because of his participation in a film that they say paints all Muslims as terrorists.
"Involvement with 'Third Jihad' sends a clear message that the NYPD's dealings with New York's diverse Muslim communities are based on bigotry and blanket suspicion," the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) stated in a press release.
Muslim activists say "The Third Jihad," a documentary about radical Islam, vilifies the American Muslim community and teaches police officers to suspect Muslims as terrorists.
Muslim activists are also calling for Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne to resign, saying that he first denied and only later admitted that Kelly was interviewed for the film.
"They were not telling the truth about their involvement in the propaganda film against Muslims," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), adding that New York "deserves people they trust who do not discriminate against people."
Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.
CNN Debate hones in on approaches, thoughts on immigration - The Florida Times-Union
Pew Report: Majority of Latinos believe they are hit harder by economy, remain optimistic about future – The Wall Street Journal
Muslims calls for resignation of New York Police commissioner for training video depicting Muslims as extremists - Voice of America
African American Museum of History and Culture features exhibit on Thomas Jefferson and slavery – The New York Times
Families with adopted children from China add their traditions to Chinese new year celebrations - National Public Radio
Editor's note: Rose Arce is a senior producer working for CNN's "Starting Point" during the Florida Republican presidential primary and a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.
By Rose Arce, CNN
Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - When it comes to courting the Latino demographic, there's a demo within that demo that might be worth listening to.
Let's call it the Soccer mamis - the Latina mothers who represent 55% of the overall U.S. population growth, according to 2010 Census figures. Their babies account for nearly a quarter of the children being born in the U.S.
Rene Alegria started a blog called Mamiverse targeting this group after doing marketing research that showed Latina moms have enormous influence over how their community makes decisions on things like buying and core beliefs.
"We're taught from a very early age to respect and honor our parents, our moms in particular," he said. "As more and more Latina moms attend college and enter the workforce, her opinions hold a tremendous amount of sway in areas way beyond the home. Politics is one of those areas."
By Deirdre Walsh, CNN Senior Congressional Producer
(CNN) – Democratic Rep. Barney Frank's spokesman Harry Gural said the longtime congressman plans to marry his partner, Jim Ready, in Massachusetts.
Gural declined to provide any more details on the timing of the wedding, adding that Frank has no plans to say anything more about the event.
The 16-term congressman is openly gay and has already announced he will not seek re-election this year. Frank's spokesperson declined to give any more details and said Frank does not plan any further comment noting the congressman is at the Democrats' yearly retreat on the Eastern shore.
Read the full post on CNN's Political Ticker blog
By Maria Santana, CNN
East Haven, Connecticut (CNN) - Two days after a Connecticut mayor delivered an errant comment about eating tacos to support East Haven Latinos, some of whom are the alleged victims of police mistreatment, Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. apparently got his wish.
Some 500 tacos were delivered to his office Thursday after a Latino activist group called Junta for Progressive Action launched a text-for-tacos campaign to draw attention to the comment, which Maturo later apologized for.
In the interview Tuesday, a local reporter pointed out that there were no Latino officers on East Haven's police force.
"And your point being?" Maturo responded.
Asked what he planned to do for the Latino community in light of the discrimination allegations, the mayor said, "I might have tacos when I go home, I'm not quite sure yet."
That set off the activist group, a local branch of the Reform Immigration for America organization, which said that anytime someone texts the word "taco" to 69866, it will deliver a taco to the mayor on their behalf.
They've received more than 2,600 texts, the group said in a statement Thursday.
Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.
Watch In America's documentary about the race to capture the Latino vote on CNN in October 2012.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN contributor
(CNN) - On behalf of all those Latino voters who have figured out that the Obama administration is the most hostile to Latino immigrants of any administration in the last half century and who are looking for an alternative, let me say this to the Republican presidential candidates: "Bienvenidos to Florida! Now, behave yourselves."
Like the saying goes, for everything there is a season. And as far as the Republican hopefuls are concerned, for every primary state, there is a makeover. After campaigning in three states with infinitesimally small Latino populations - the last of which, South Carolina, had red meat on the menu since it recently passed a tough anti-illegal immigration law - the next state in the queue is Florida, where voters go to the polls on January 31 and where the Hispanic population is substantial.
According to the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in Florida grew by an astonishing 57% in the last 10 years. Hispanics now account for 22.5% of Floridians, compared with 16.3% of the entire U.S. population.
Why candidates want the Cuban vote
But that's only half the story. Florida's Latino population was once made up almost entirely of conservative Cuban-Americans in South Florida, around Miami, who almost always vote Republican. But in a dramatic change, it now also contains a large number of liberal Puerto Ricans in central Florida, around Orlando, who are more likely to vote Democratic. Mix in large numbers of Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Brazilians and you have a spicy Latin stew that won't be easy to pander to with one message.
Read Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s full column
(CNN) - When Alejandra Cabrera speaks English, it doesn't quite roll off of her tongue the way it does when she speaks in her native Spanish.
Instead of the confident, strong way she speaks in Spanish to the residents of San Luis, Arizona, she speaks a bit more slowly, and perhaps with a bit less conviction, when she switches to English. That's something she admits, but she says that she can communicate at the level she needs to in English, given where she lives.
Cabrera is like many of her fellow citizens in the border town of San Luis who are working to perfect their English-language skills. In the town, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their home and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. After all, most of the people there, by all accounts, will speak in English and in Spanish. In the comfort of communal settings, they'll speak the way their most comfortable: Many of the restaurants there will be perfectly happy to take your order in Spanish. It's part of the culture of the town.
“You go to a market, it’s Spanish,” Cabrera told The New York Times. “You go to a doctor, it’s Spanish. When you pay the bills for the lights or water, it’s Spanish.”
So why the focus on Cabrera and her language skills? Because when it comes to politics, it's a whole separate ballgame.
And that's why a major debate about English proficiency has taken the town by storm.
That's because when Cabrera threw her name in the hat to run for city council, Juan Carlos Escamilla, the former mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that she might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December that asked a court to determine if Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.
Read the full post on CNN's This Just In blog
Editor's note: Walter Mosley is the author of more than 34 books, including the mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins and his latest featuring Leonid McGill. He has won an O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America's Lifetime Achievement Award. His newest book is "All I Did Was Shoot My Man" (Riverhead Books).
By Walter Mosley, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Newt Gingrich is a political opportunist. His job is to pack as much powerfully charged meaning into every sentence as he can, which makes him a working poet. So he knows full well that calling someone a "food stamp president" brings up the working person's fear, looming reality, and in some cases the actual experience, of unemployment - while making a shout-out to racism and affixing a stigma to poverty. All the while hiding behind the symbol of a flag.
It is the bane of America and Americans that too often, those who best grasp the language of hatred and fear are those who are most likely to lead. This is simply because tacticians like Gingrich are well-versed in the traditional battle-cry and have no fear of the outcome of political civil war. Why should they be afraid ? They will never be down in the streets suffering with the people.
Gingrich says his words were misinterpreted, that anybody who criticizes his characterization of President Obama is attacking the very fiber of American democracy. He sounds like a lawyer explaining away a crime by influencing the point of view of the jury with doubletalk. "It is not that my client isn't guilty but that you cannot prove that he is."
Woe be it to America when our lawyers become our poets.
Read Walter Mosley's full column
Spotlight on Marco Rubio as GOP presidential candidates eye Florida primary - Feet in Two Worlds
Is Florida a test for Republican party's immigration stance? - USA Today
USDA increases maximum cash recovery for women and Hispanic farmers in discrimination suit - Western Farm Press
Arizona city council candidate's English-speaking ability challenged – The New York Times
Manslaughter charge dropped against one soldier accused in death of Private Danny Chen - New York Daily News
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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