By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Inside a trailer in Honaker, Virginia, is a 5-year-old girl who loves lemon-lime slush. She sleeps in a room with a quilted bedspread and matching purple curtains. She adores her cat Tiger, dogs Smoky and Rusty and a black, pop-eyed goldfish.
Her family is poor, and she is eating potted meat, blowing away cracker crumbs that fall into her lap.
"Daddy," she whispers when her father, a welder, comes home. He does not respond. His eyes are wild. He collapses into a rocking chair, his hands trembling, his breathing labored.
She doesn't understand her father's strange behavior. It's as though he's in the grip of the devil.
She hides behind the couch, her knees press against the shag carpeting.
Later, she will remember this moment as the first time she was afraid of her father.
A hole in her soul
Christal Presley, 34, held her breath for two seemingly endless days in mid-October. In Honaker, more than 300 miles away from her home in Atlanta, her father had just received a package in the mail. It contained an early copy of Christal's new book. On the cover: a sepia-tone snapshot of Delmer Presley holding his rifle in Vietnam.
Christal had staked her whole life on words crafted from love and pain. But what would they mean to her father?
Would they offer comfort like the conversations that resulted in the book? Or would they act as another trigger point for a man who never left war behind?
"Thirty Days With My Father" is a gritty memoir written by a woman haunted by what some psychologists describe as second-generation post-traumatic stress disorder.
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By Gustavo Valdes, CNN en Espanol
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - t is already a historic political year for Latinos, who are expected to have a big impact on the election in key states.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made extraordinary efforts to court the Latino vote, which included their participation at a forum organized by a Spanish-speaking television network that allowed the two to speak directly to the fastest-growing voting bloc.
Even as polls show Latinos care about the same issues as the rest of the nation and say the economy, jobs, education and health care are their top concerns, immigration has been the topic that grabs headlines and one the candidates have focused on to reach Hispanics.
Obama tried to redeem himself for failing to deliver on his 2008 promise to enact comprehensive immigration reform within a year of his election by granting administrative relief to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the United States illegally. Romney tried to look tough on immigration during the primary season but since has said he would not suspend the relief action and would work on an immigration reform, if elected.
Here are five things about the Latino vote to watch on Election Day:
1. Voter turnout
By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - One wants to strengthen the nation's existing safety net. The other wants to overhaul it.
President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have vastly different views on how to help the 46.2 million Americans in poverty and the more than 30 million people who are near poor. The president leans toward expanding the programs that exist, while the Republicans say they will set up a system that fosters economic opportunity instead of government dependency.
The ranks of the poor and the government programs that assist them swelled during the Obama administration, largely because of the Great Recession. The number of people in poverty jumped 16% between 2008 and 2011, while the Medicaid rolls jumped 23.5% over that time. Food stamp enrollment soared 46% during his term.
Just who is elected president matters a great deal for the poor. In the weeks following Election Day, the president and lawmakers will have to deal with large, across-the-board cuts in domestic spending scheduled to take effect in January. While certain programs for the poor, such as food stamps and Medicaid, would be protected, other initiatives, including Head Start and housing assistance, could be slashed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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