May 9th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Voters in America: Vets Wanted? Educator and Parent Guide

Editors Note: This Educator and Parent Guide is provided for teachers and parents to use as a catalyst for discussion and learning if they choose to watch “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” with their students.  This is the first part of CNN In America's documentary series on American voters.  J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(CNN) - Teachers and Parents: Watch with your students or record "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" when it airs on CNN on Sunday, May 13 at 8 p.m. ET and PT, or Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and PT. By recording the documentaries, you agree that you will use the documentaries for educational viewing purposes for a one-year period only. No other rights of any kind or nature whatsoever are granted, including, without limitation, any rights to sell, publish, distribute, post online or distribute in any other medium or forum, or use for any commercial or promotional purpose.

Documentary Description: Multiple deployments interrupt lives and careers and can lead to health and financial challenges. Narrated by former U.S. Army infantryman and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez, "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" looks at the unique burdens for families of men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it follows the reintegration of members of the Georgia National Guard's 877th Engineer Company into civilian life. Deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010, half of these veterans faced unemployment when they returned to the U.S. The documentary also examines whether the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Bill passed in November 2011 is of any help as our nation's heroes make full transitions back to the lives they left to defend America, and it offers insights into how veterans' unemployment may impact their decisions as they head to the polls this November.

Read the full guide

Posted by
Filed under: Documentaries • Veterans • Who we are
May 9th, 2012
03:50 PM ET

Obama says he supports same-sex marriage

By CNN Wire staff

(CNN) - President Barack Obama, who previously said his views on the issue were "evolving," said Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage.

"At a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said in an interview with ABC News.

The president once opposed same-sex marriage.

Obama was "disappointed" by Tuesday's vote on the issue in North Carolina, which he described as discriminatory against gays and lesbians, a spokesman said earlier Wednesday.

North Carolina voted to implement a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which was already prohibited in the state. Supporters of the measure pushed for the constitutional amendment, arguing that it was needed to ward off future legal challenges.

Read the full story

Posted by
Filed under: How we live • Politics • Sexual orientation
Engage: Education blogger fired after questioning Black Studies legitimacy
A Chronicle of Higher Education blogger received backlash for calling Black Studies a 'claptrap' in a recent post.
May 9th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

Engage: Education blogger fired after questioning Black Studies legitimacy

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

Education blogger fired after response to post that called black studies a "claptrap"– The Huffington Post

Opinion: How Mitt Romney could reach Latino voters - Politico

Against Me! singer Tom Gabel to transition to woman - Rolling Stone

President Obama connects with Asian-American voters - Chicago Tribune

United Nations fact finder suggests returning Mount Rushmore to Sioux Indians - Time Magazine

Posted by
Filed under: Engage
On the rise: Immigrant entrepreneurs
Immigrants like Maribel Lieberman, who launched a company, are twice as likely to create firms than those born in the U.S.
May 9th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

On the rise: Immigrant entrepreneurs

By Jose Pagliery, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) –– Working for a new company? There's a more than one-in-four chance your new boss wasn't born here.

Immigrants created 28% of all new firms last year. They were also twice as likely to start a new business when compared to those born in the United States.

It's a notable shift. Nearly all new firms are small, and many are hiring new workers, seeking small business loans and shaking up established industries.

What's behind the rise of immigrant entrepreneurs?

El Pichy Films: A joke turned into a company

For one, immigrants are over-represented in lower wage sectors like construction, which was hard hit during the economic crisis, according to Rob Fairlie, a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

Posted by
Filed under: Economy • Immigration • Latino in America
Opinion: Vice President Biden is out of step with voters’ will on marriage
Vice President Joe Biden recently made comments that he is comfortable with same-sex marriage.
May 9th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Opinion: Vice President Biden is out of step with voters’ will on marriage

Editor's note: Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.

By Tony Perkins, Special to CNN

(CNN) - “Establishment” figures in both political parties insist that this year’s presidential election is all about economic issues, but if the Republican primary surge of Rick Santorum did not make clear that social issues matter, then recent events should.

First, Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet the Press” that Republicans “need a better social policy than taking the social policy back to the ‘50s.”

Taking the bait, Gregory asked if Biden’s views on same-sex marriage have “evolved,” the term President Obama has used for his position on the issue.

Biden responded that, “What this is all about is a simple proposition: Who do you love?”

Pressed to clarify if that means he is “comfortable with same-sex marriage now,” Biden said that “men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”

When news reports declared that Biden apparently had endorsed same-sex marriage, the White House moved quickly to backtrack, declaring that he only meant same-sex couples should have the same legal rights, possibly through “civil unions,” the position staked out by President Obama.

Obama’s ostensible opposition to same-sex marriage is so thin as to be invisible, because he opposes all methods of preventing it.

However, the immediate move to clarify after Biden’s remarks showed that the president understands what many of his supporters still do not: that open support for same-sex marriage remains a losing position in mainstream American politics.


Posted by
Filed under: Family • Politics • What we think
Uncertainty for North Carolina same-sex couples after gay marriage vote
Voters in North Carolina approved an amendment that bans same-sex unions.
May 9th, 2012
08:01 AM ET

Uncertainty for North Carolina same-sex couples after gay marriage vote

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – Heather McIver and her partner, Suzanne Lowe, have a new item at the top of their to-do list, now that North Carolina voters have approved an amendment making marriage between a man and a woman the only legally recognized relationship in the state. They need to meet with their lawyer to see what they can do to ensure their rights as a same-sex couple and mothers of two children.

"I'm really disappointed in North Carolina, because I had this idea that we were the progressive Southern state, that of all the Southern states we wouldn’t let this happen," said McIver. "As overwhelming as the loss was, it really was a reality check for me. I feel like we’ve lived up to the Southern reputation of being ignorant bigots."

With all 100 counties reporting, 61.05% of 2.1 million voters approved Amendment One, and 38.95% voted against it, according to the State Board of Elections. About 34% of registered voters went to the polls. North Carolina is now the 31st state to enact an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

McIver and her family were featured in a photo project that highlighted the commitments between same-sex partners living in North Carolina. When In America interviewed her in April, the situations she feared most, if the amendment passed, involved what rights Lowe would have if McIver were to pass away or become incapacitated.

Those are the matters they want to consult with their lawyer about on Wednesday. McIver said she's also concerned about the message the amendment sends to their children.

"I think that it sucks that both my kids have to grow up feeling like their family isn't legitimate," McIver said.


Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • How we live • Politics • Race • Relationships • Sexual orientation
Opinion: Coming out now is nothing like coming out then
Writer Jeffrey Sharlach remembers when the gay community felt like an "elite group" at venues like Studio 54.
May 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Opinion: Coming out now is nothing like coming out then

Editor’s note: Jeffrey Sharlach is an author, businessman and faculty member at NYU Stern School of Business. His novel, “Running in Bed,” about a gay man who finds love in the 1970s, was published this month by Two Harbors Press.

By Jeffrey Sharlach, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I often listen in awe to the stories from young gay people about their experiences being out in high school or junior high, how they went with a same-sex partner to the prom and celebrated after graduation with their gay and straight friends together. When I graduated high school in 1971, I didn’t know even one openly gay person, including myself.

Certainly, even today, many queer youth still struggle with accepting their sexual identity and one doesn’t need to search the news very diligently to come across heartbreaking stories of bullying and family rejection. But more and more, we’re seeing scenes of out and proud young people at earlier ages.

Just this weekend, the U.S. vice president says he's OK with gay marriage.

It’s probably difficult for people born in the last two or three decades to imagine the shame and revulsion once foisted upon gay people by society, government policies and especially the media. I came out in the 1970s, at age 24, and that was the most exciting experience in my nearly 60 years. The exhilaration of finally accepting myself for who I was has never been equaled.