.
Opinion: Latino should have played lead in 'Argo'
Ben Affleck plays the lead role of Tony Mendez in "Argo," which he also directed.
January 9th, 2013
06:33 PM ET

Opinion: Latino should have played lead in 'Argo'

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego, California (CNN) - The upcoming Oscars are no stranger to causes or controversy. And this year, there is a strong dose of both surrounding the film "Argo" - and its star and director, Ben Affleck.

This controversy bubbled up when the buzz started that Affleck could get an Academy Award nomination for best director when the announcements are made Thursday.

"Argo" tells how an ingenious and daring CIA agent helped orchestrate the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980. In November 1979, about 300 Islamic students stormed the U.S. Embassy and 66 Americans were taken hostage. But six U.S. diplomats escaped and were hidden at the Canadian Embassy by the Canadian ambassador and his wife.

The CIA agent - Antonio "Tony" Mendez, played by Affleck - successfully led the mission to evacuate the Americans, which involved Mendez and his associates posing as a Canadian film crew that was eager to make a movie in Iran.

The real Tony Mendez was awarded the Intelligence Star for Valor, and other honors, for leading the rescue. He later wrote a memoir, detailing the events in Tehran

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr's full column
Richard Blanco becomes America's first Latino, openly gay inaugural poet
Richard Blanco will become the first Latino and openly gay poet to read an inaugural poem this month.
January 9th, 2013
12:44 PM ET

Richard Blanco becomes America's first Latino, openly gay inaugural poet

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Richard Blanco, the poet who likes to describe himself as being made in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States, will serve as the inaugural poet when President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for a second term this month.

Blanco will be the first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest poet chosen for the coveted role.

A statement from the inaugural committee said Blanco was chosen because the power of his poetry is rooted in American identity.

"Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity," Obama said in a statement Wednesday that announced his selection.

With that announcement, Blanco will surely be catapulted to fame in the vein of Natasha Trethewey, 46, who this year was chosen to become the nation's poet laureate.

"I’m beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe, and gratitude,” Blanco, 44, said in a statement. FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: Culture • Diversity • Ethnicity • Latino in America • Who we are
January 9th, 2013
09:18 AM ET

Gay Scout's request for Eagle rank rejected

By Michael Martinez, Amanda Watts and Deanna Hackney, CNN

(CNN) - A gay California Boy Scout's application for Eagle rank was rejected by a Scout council, an official with the organization said Tuesday.

In response, the Scout's parents pledged to press their son's national campaign for gay Scouts to be eligible for Eagle status.

John Fenoglio, Scout executive for the Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council, said the Eagle rank application from Ryan Andresen of Moraga, California, wasn't approved because of "membership standards," specifically "duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age."

Contrary to some media accounts, Andresen's application wasn't approved by the local council in Contra Costa County, nor was it submitted to the Boy Scouts' national office, Fenoglio told CNN.

The teen's father, Eric Andresen, said his son, a high school senior, wasn't available for comment Tuesday because he's studying for exams and preparing college applications.

"It's pretty upsetting, and it's wrong," the father said of the council's decision. "The whole thing has been wrong since day one.

Scouting goes through a rough patch

"It's politics now, and it's just ridiculous," he continued.

The Boy Scouts of America policy does "not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA," the group's website says.

FULL STORY