Rep. Barney Frank to marry partner
Democratic Rep. Barney Frank plans to marry his partner, Jim Ready, in Massachusetts.
January 26th, 2012
11:08 PM ET

Rep. Barney Frank to marry partner

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

January 26th, 2012
09:23 PM ET

Hundreds of tacos sent to Connecticut mayor

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.

Read the full story

Opinion: GOP, don't blow it with Florida's Latinos
People listen as Newt Gingrich outlines his Cuban and Latin American policies at Florida International University on January 25.
January 26th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Opinion: GOP, don't blow it with Florida's Latinos

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

Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Yuma County Court.
January 26th, 2012
12:16 PM ET

Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office

(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

Filed under: How we live • Language • Latino in America • Politics
Opinion: 'Food stamp president' - Gingrich's words of hate
GOP candidate Newt Gingrich appears at a campaign event on January 25 in Cocoa, Florida.
January 26th, 2012
11:29 AM ET

Opinion: 'Food stamp president' - Gingrich's words of hate

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

Posted by
Filed under: Economy • Politics • Race • What we think
Engage: Focus on Marco Rubio, immigration as Florida primary nears
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has called for presidential candidates to soften rhetoric as primary draws near.
January 26th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Engage: Focus on Marco Rubio, immigration as Florida primary nears

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

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

Posted by
Filed under: Engage
Connecticut mayor apologizes for 'taco' comment
"My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community," Joseph Maturo Jr. said.
January 26th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Connecticut mayor apologizes for 'taco' comment

By David Ariosto, CNN

(CNN) - The mayor of East Haven, Connecticut, apologized Wednesday for saying he would help Latinos in his town by eating tacos, a remark that sparked anger from state officials and immigrant advocates already fuming over allegations of police mistreatment of Latinos in his city.

"My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-color comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz yesterday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department," Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said in a statement. "Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation."

He was referring to the arrests of four East Haven police officers by FBI agents Tuesday for their alleged roles in abusing Latino residents and business owners, performing illegal searches, making false arrests and harassing immigrant rights advocates.

The arrests are the first to stem from a federal investigation into racial profiling in the city and follow a scathing December report from the U.S. Justice Department that accused the town's police of engaging in "discriminatory policing against Latinos."

Read the full story

Opinion: What you really need to know about black women
Sophia Nelson writes that black women in the “Age of Michelle Obama” want what everyone wants.
January 26th, 2012
10:12 AM ET

Opinion: What you really need to know about black women

Editor's note: Sophia A. Nelson, Esq., is the author of "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama" She is a blogger and contributor to media outlets such as Essence, Heart & Soul, USATODAY, Fox News and NPR.

By Sophia A. Nelson, Special to CNN

Finally!  The American media is beginning to take a sober and candid look at the real lives of 21st century black women, beyond the stereotypical and often angry images portrayed of us on TV reality shows or in the media. Shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, “The Game” and “Basketball Wives” portray us as morally loose, angry and even physically violent. Rap video vixens show our young sisters’ bodies writhing and shaking their rumps wildly.  And movies like “The Help," Oscar-nominated or not, and Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” portray us either through a historical lens as the saintly and weary mammy who saves the day for everyone but herself or as broken, battered, confused, too independent or too driven.

The truth is we are none of those things. Not really.  Sure we have bad days.  Sure we make bad choices.  Sure we get angry.  Doesn’t everyone? We are human after all. So why, then, are we the only group of women on the planet to have been so deftly defined and labeled as "angry" all the time? I suggest it is because we have never really defined ourselves and that needs to change.

Black women living in the “Age of Michelle Obama” are normal, everyday women, who want what everyone wants: love, connection, great relationships, a great mate, a strong and personal relationship with their creator (GOD), success in our careers, marriage (if it comes), babies (if they come), good health, happiness and fulfillment.

A recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey on black women affirms many of my book’s findings relative to black women, but we also have some divergent points because the focus of my Accomplished Black Women Sample Survey was more specifically on college-educated, professional black women. This is a critical difference because black women who are educated have taken the brunt of criticism around not living balanced and fulfilled lives (i.e. not being able to find and keep a man, marry and have children.)  Now thanks to Michelle Obama, we can be seen as a norm, and no longer the "exception.”


Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • Gender • Race • Relationships • What we think • Women