Household income in America
May 31st, 2012
06:56 PM ET

Household income in America

By , CNNMoney

Who makes the big bucks in America?

Middle-aged white couples.

We all know that income is concentrated in the United States, but Sentier Research has crunched the data to show just who has the money.

Read more on CNNMoney's Economy blog

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Filed under: Economy • How we live
Opinion: Yale grad's inspiring life over too soon
Marina Keegan died in a car crash Saturday. Her life, Josh Levs says, is a lesson in the importance of reaching for dreams.
May 31st, 2012
04:38 PM ET

Opinion: Yale grad's inspiring life over too soon

By Joshua Levs, CNN

Editor's note: Josh Levs reports across all platforms for CNN. He lays out keys to achieving dreams in his TEDx Talk, "Breaking the system to achieve the impossible." Find him on Facebook or Twitter.

(CNN) - It's astounding how fast the words of a 22-year-old woman, her life suddenly cut short, have spread across the Internet and into the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

Marina Keegan, a budding writer, was once published by the New York Times and had a job lined up at the New Yorker. Also a playwright, she had a musical slated for a staging in August at the New York International Fringe Festival.

She wrote a moving essay in the Yale Daily News to inspire her fellow seniors as they graduated last week. She died in a car crash a few days later.

That column, in which she strives to remind her peers that "we have so much time," has taken on a tragic, powerful resonance.

Discussing the "immense and indefinable potential energy" many felt as freshmen, she wrote that it's important to remember "we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. ... We're so young. We can't, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it's all we have."

The loss of Keegan is heartbreaking for many reasons. One of them is that she surely would have been among the too few people in the world who chase their dreams and bring them to fruition.

Read Josh Levs' full commentary

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Federal court strikes down key part of federal law banning same-sex marriage
The Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional Thursday.
May 31st, 2012
12:09 PM ET

Federal court strikes down key part of federal law banning same-sex marriage

By Bill Mears, CNN

(CNN) - A key part of the law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage was struck down as unconstitutional by a U.S. appeals court Thursday.

The Defense of Marriage Act - known as DOMA - defines marriage for federal purposes as unions exclusively between a man and woman.

At issue is whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry.

"If we are right in thinking that disparate impact on minority interests and federalism concerns both require somewhat more in this case than almost automatic deference to Congress' will, this statute fails that test," said the three judge panel.

Read the full story

May 31st, 2012
07:45 AM ET

Former attorney general: Economic policies will discourage Hispanics, not voter ID laws

Editor's note:  Alberto R. Gonzales is the former U.S. attorney general and counsel to President George W. Bush. He is currently the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at Belmont University, and counsel at the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden.

By Alberto R. Gonzales, Special to CNN

The right to vote is a precious privilege.

It provides the opportunity for every citizen to equally affect the future of our government no matter their last name, ZIP code or skin color.

It was my job as attorney general to protect the sanctity of every vote.

Based on my experience, voter identification laws serve as an effective deterrent to fraudulent voting.

I know there are concerns that such laws discourage voting and hurt minorities.

NAACP president: Voter ID requirements are like Jim Crow voter oppression laws

However, we should not abandon our efforts against voter fraud.

Instead, those concerns are best addressed by vigorous enforcement of existing federal regulations and laws, such as the Voting Rights Act, which provide protections against government actions that adversely affect the voting rights of minorities.

I condemn laws that discriminate based on race, and I support reasonable voter identification laws.

At the end of the day, I want to see more Americans voting, and states able to easily facilitate the right to vote.

The Hispanic vote is important in this election and future elections, and from my view, it is not voter ID laws that will prevent them from voting for President Barack Obama but his economic policies.


May 30th, 2012
09:05 PM ET

California Senate moves to ban gay-to-straight therapy for kids

By Nicole File and Tom Watkins, CNN

(CNN) - The California Senate passed Wednesday a bill that would regulate therapies that purport to be able to change a child's sexual orientation - from gay to straight.

"The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies," Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, said after passage of Senate Bill 1172, which he introduced.

SB 1172 would prohibit children younger than 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts.

"Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder," Lieu said in a news release. "The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition."

The bill is expected to go to the Assembly for an initial policy review next month.

Read the full story

May 30th, 2012
03:18 PM ET

'Sleeping giant' Latino vote yet to awaken

By Dave Schechter, CNN Senior National Editor

Editor's note: As President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney court the Latino vote, CNN takes an in-depth look at this complex and diverse community, what matters most to Latino voters, and how their vote will influence the November elections.

Washington (CNN) - The first Latino president of the United States already has been born.

Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor who was secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, made the suggestion three years ago in an interview with the Spanish-language news service EFE.

"I don't know if he or she's in elementary school or in law school or is already elected ... to public office, but I believe that that person is already alive, and we're 20 years or less away from having a Latino or Latina president," said Cisneros, whose own path to higher office may have been derailed by personal scandal and who today is executive chairman of CityView, an urban development investment firm.

When the day comes that Cisneros predicted, the man or woman behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office will represent an ever-increasing segment of the population. Latinos (or Hispanics, the official government term) made up 15.5% of the U.S. population in 2010, but by 2050 they're projected to approach 25% of the population.

The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, calls the Hispanic electorate a "sleeping giant" yet to wake.

Whether or not Latinos' percentage in the electorate has kept pace with their growth in the population - and the data indicates that at present it has not - it may one day be enough to sway elections from the statehouse to the White House and stops in between.

Read the full story

Opinion: Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't a case of racial profiling
George Zimmerman walks into court for a recent appearance.
May 30th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

Opinion: Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't a case of racial profiling

Editor's note: Mark NeJame is a CNN legal analyst and contributor and has practiced law, mainly as a criminal defense attorney, for more than 30 years. He is the founder and senior partner of NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker and Joshi, P.A., in Orlando. Follow him on Twitter: @marknejame

By Mark NeJame, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Ever since the Trayvon Martin case came to national attention, George Zimmerman has been described by some as having racially profiled the 17-year-old before he was shot and killed.

There's a difference of opinion about whether racial profiling was actually involved, but a key question that is often overlooked is the distinction between profiling by a citizen and profiling by a member of law enforcement. That distinction is likely to be crucial in determining the direction the case may go.

As a criminal defense attorney for more than 30 years, I can't even begin to recall how many cases my firm has handled that involved challenging law enforcement officers for the practice of stopping or searching an individual based on what is typically referred to as racial profiling.

Essentially, racial profiling occurs when race, national origin or ethnicity is the primary or sole consideration used by an officer of the law when intervening in a law enforcement capacity. Racial profiling is a form of discrimination that is not only despicable, but also is an illegal and improper basis for any police officer to stop, search, arrest or investigate another person.

The issue of racial profiling has been bandied about often in discussions of Martin's shooting. As with many things concerning the case, much misinformation has circulated.

Zimmerman was not a law enforcement agent. He was a civilian, operating under different legal standards than those applied to the police. Merely because he was a neighborhood watch captain does not attach law enforcement status to him.

Read Mark NeJame's full commentary

May 30th, 2012
09:20 AM ET

Tennessee mosque's fate again up in the air

By Lateef Mungin and Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) –The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.

"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.

"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."

The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."

He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.

Read the full story

Rubio on voter ID laws and Latinos: 'What's the big deal?'
Latinos backed Barack Obama in big numbers in 2008. Critics of new voter ID laws say the laws could discourage turnout in 2012.
May 29th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Rubio on voter ID laws and Latinos: 'What's the big deal?'

Editor's note: As President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney court the Latino vote, CNN takes an in-depth look at this complex and diverse community, what matters most to Latino voters, and how their vote will influence the November elections.

Washington (CNN) - Mariam "Mimi" Bell, a Latina Republican from Colorado, resents the implication that Hispanic voters are somehow negatively affected by the state's new voter identification law.

"It's insulting when they say we're going to disenfranchise the Hispanics," Bell said of the law that requires voters to present an ID such as a driver's license, passport, utility bill or birth certificate to vote. The suggestion, Bell said, is "because we're Hispanics we're inept to get an ID."

The debate over the wave of voter identification laws cropping up in more than 30 states is playing out against the backdrop of the 2012 general election's high-profile fight for Latino voters.

The two presidential candidates hold widely divergent views on the matter.

Read the full story

May 29th, 2012
03:48 PM ET

Women sue for right to fight in combat

Two Army reservists have sued the Defense Department for excluding women from combat jobs.

"It stigmatizes women's service as not as important as male service," said Col. Ellen Haring, a plaintiff in the case."We're excluded from branches that allow career progression to the highest ranks."

Haring spoke to CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence for The Situation Room.

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Filed under: Gender • History • Veterans • Who we are • Women
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