By Breeanna Hare, CNN
(CNN) - With Jimmy Fallon's takeover of "The Tonight Show" destined for 2014, there's the tiniest glimmer of hope that NBC will do something different with the vacated seat on "Late Night."
For once, maybe we'll see something fresh, something other than the established white-guy-in-a-suit-sitting-behind-the-desk tradition that's held on since the show debuted in 1982.
Longtime TV critic Ken Tucker indulged in the wishful thinking, asking on Grantland if he "may really spit in the wind and suggest that maybe, finally, for the love of God and Totie Fields, maybe it's time (once again) to give a woman a chance behind the desk?" Rather than traditional stand-up comics, Tucker hoped to see Paget Brewster, Julie Klausner, or, hope against hope, Amy Poehler, even.
But none of those women was among those named in the gossip surrounding the proceedings - and the one woman who was, ever so tentatively, mentioned by the New York Post's Page Six, Tina Fey, was said to be "too busy" for the nightly grind.
That left Seth Meyers - Fey, Poehler and Fallon's "Saturday Night Live" co-star - carrying the bulk of the speculation that he'd move to "Late Night," along with rumors that Alec Baldwin might be in talks to join the post-prime-time lineup. It's thereby signaled another round of the now time-honored question, "Where the (bleep) are the ladies in late night?"FULL STORY
Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs.
By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - In 2009, Brad Paisley released the song "Welcome to the Future" from his album "American Saturday Night."
In it, he sings about all the cultural changes he's witnessed in his life, including the evolving demographics of the country. He includes glowing references to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The election of Barack Obama inspired him to write it.
It's important to keep all of that in mind because for some, Paisley's latest song, "Accidental Racist," is making him look like an intentional one. I am reminded of an adage (but with a twist): No good ditty goes unpunished.
"Accidental" attempts to address a subject matter so few artists in country music are willing to do, which makes Paisley a brave man in so many ways.
Country music fans are notorious for excommunicating those whom they perceive as undesirable (see Wright, Chely). Despite Paisley's immense popularity, if he makes one misstep, everything could be snatched away. And attempting to bring a blue state conversation to red state radio could be one of those missteps.
"I'm not proud that people's ancestors were beaten and held in bondage," Paisley told USA Today. "But I am sure as heck proud of the farm I live on and the Confederate soldier buried there."
Infusing such a dichotomy into a song can be powerful. Unfortunately, "Accidental" sucks as a song. The chorus reeks like a '90s boy band ballad.
But its greatest sin is that in Paisley's effort to push for racial harmony, it miscasts the country's racial tension - with emphasis on the Confederate flag and Abraham Lincoln - as a distant thing of the past. A relic.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Brad Paisley and LL Cool J broach sensitive topics in their new collaboration, "Accidental Racist," and it's left some critics hoping the entire song was an accident.
The track is part of Paisley's new album, "Wheelhouse," and was sparked by the reaction the country star said he received after he wore a shirt with the Confederate flag on it to showcase his adoration for the band Alabama.
“I was called a racist on Twitter for that,” Paisley told The Tennessean. “That was the beginning of this song: Me thinking, ‘Am I a racist? Is that all it takes?’"FULL STORY
By Sudip Bhattacharya, CNN
Washington (CNN) - It should have been a happy day for Raymond Jose: He had been accepted to college, with scholarships to help pay for it.
But when he told his parents, his mother started to cry.
"I was puzzled why she was crying after hearing such great news," said Jose, who was to attend Montgomery College in Maryland. "That was when she started to explain to me we were undocumented, that we had overstayed our tourist visas."
Jose's family had come to the United States from the Philippines in 2000, when Jose was 9. They first lived in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area but moved four years later to Maryland.
Jose had been assimilated into American life and culture and didn't know that he was undocumented until that day. When he found out, he was heartbroken. His undocumented status prevented him from using scholarship money to help pay for school.
Every day after that, it was really hard to get out of bed," Jose said.
The debate over immigration reform has been focused on border security and immigrants from Latin America.
But the Asian population in the U.S. grew by more than 40% between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of those identifying themselves as Asians, either alone or in combination with another racial group, grew from 11.9 million to 17.3 million.
Of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., 1.3 million are from Asia, according to the Department of Homeland Security.FULL STORY
By Alan Silverleib, CNN Congressional Producer
Washington (CNN) - Last November, Hispanic voters planted the seeds for serious immigration reform when they backed President Barack Obama by a record margin.
This April, we'll see if those seeds can grow in Capitol Hill's toxic partisan soil.
Congress returns from spring break Monday, and immigration reform tops the agenda. The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" is preparing to release its long-awaited plan for resolving the status of 11 million undocumented men, women, and children now living in America's shadows.
Can a unique confluence of factors - a Democratic president trying to build his legacy, a Republican Party grappling with new demographic realities - overcome the usual strong bias for inaction in a sharply divided Congress? The answer remains unclear.FULL STORY
(CNN) - In 2011, Meryl Streep gives her thoughts on Margaret Thatcher's legacy after portraying her in "The Iron Lady."
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) – As Quanesha Wallace remembers, it was around this time last year when the idea first came up at Wilcox County High School. It was nothing big, just chatter about prom, school, what comes next, what they'd change.
If things were different, someone said, we'd all go to the same prom.
For as long as anyone could remember, students in their South Georgia community went to separate proms, and homecoming dances, too. White students from Wilcox County attend one. Black students, another. They’re private events organized by parents and students, not the school district. Schools have long been desegregated, but in Wilcox County, the dances never changed.FULL STORY
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Suzan Shown Harjo remembers when she walked into a store with her grandfather in El Reno, Oklahoma. She wanted to get something cool to drink on a summer day. It was the early 1950s and the storekeepers told the 6-year-old she had to leave.
“No black redskins in here,” they said.
At that moment, Harjo felt small, unsafe, afraid. Because she was a dark-skinned Native American - Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee - she was being identified by just her coloring. She wasn’t even a whole human being. Not even her grandpa, whom she saw as all-powerful, could do anything to protect her.
Later in her life, that incident made her angry. Angry enough for Harjo to launch a lifelong mission to protect her people.
Part of her work took aim at sporting teams that use Native Americans as mascots. With the start of the baseball season this week, some of those teams have been front and center. The Cleveland Indians, for instance, feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized by Native Americans as a racist caricature.
The most offensive example of a mascot, says Harjo, is the one used by Washington’s football team. She has been fighting for years to get the Redskins to change their name.
The R-word - she can’t even bring herself to say it - is the same as the N-word, says Harjo, president of Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization.
She finds it unbelievable that more than half a century after she was told to get out of that El Reno store, after decades of civil rights struggles and progress on race relations, Americans have no problem with rooting for a team called the Redskins.
Fans say the name is an honorific. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says this: “The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.” And to many Native Americans, nothing could be more derogatory than the use of that word.
“The Washington team - it’s the king of the mountain,” Harjo says. “When this one goes, others will.” FULL POST
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Each month, about 300,000 households across America receive a survey in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau. Until recently, they had to be completed the old-fashioned way: pen on paper. But no more.
The Census Bureau has put its monthly American Community Survey online. Just answer the questions and hit the submit button. It's a secure site that requires a password and pin.
"It’s a convenient option for the public," said Todd Hughes, assistant division chief of the American Community Survey Office.
The first online American Community Survey was done in December. Since then, Hughes said about half the responses to the monthly survey have come in via the Internet.
The statistical survey generates data on age, sex, race and income. It also asks questions on health, where people live, veteran status and disabilities. It's the largest of the Census Bureau's surveys that's available online - 60 other surveys are also available electronically.
The online questionnaires are designed to lower cost and make the process more efficient, Hughes said. They will also enhance accuracy.
On paper forms, people sometimes check multiple answers to a question. Online, they can't do that.
It's hoped that in large part, the next decennial census in 2020 will be conducted online. The Census Bureau is certainly planning on that, Hughes said,
That could be huge considering that in 2010, the government printed 360 million questionnaires. Stacked one on top of another, a pile of the census forms would stand about 29 miles high, more than five times higher than Mount Everest.
Yes, the trees are smiling.