Thursday, December 29, 2011

CHP crackdown includes drivers who eat behind the wheel - latimes.com

CHP crackdown includes drivers who eat behind the wheel - latimes.com

As part of a crackdown on distracted drivers, the California Highway Patrol is not just looking for people illegally talking or texting on their cellphones.

Officials also will be on the lookout for those who are eating while driving. And if you're reading magazines or applying makeup, they'll also be looking for you.

From 6 a.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, the CHP is having a “zero tolerance” cellphone enforcement day.

http://www.latimes.com/videogallery/67036380/News/CHP-Crack-Down-on-Distracted-Drivers

Blue Shield to pay $2 million over dropping of policyholders - latimes.com

Blue Shield to pay $2 million over dropping of policyholders - latimes.com

More than a year after the healthcare reform law sought to prevent sick patients from losing medical coverage, insurers are still paying for their alleged abuses.

Blue Shield has agreed to pay $2 million to resolve accusations that the company improperly dropped policyholders after they got sick and needed expensive treatment.

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees - CNN.com

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees - CNN.com

In the latest volley between the federal government and states pushing anti-illegal-immigration laws, the Obama administration announced Thursday it was establishing a new hotline for immigration detainees who feel they "may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime."

The 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week hotline is part of a "broader effort to improve our immigration enforcement process and prioritize resources to focus on threats to public safety, (on) repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives while continuing to strengthen oversight of the nation's immigration detention system and facilitate legal immigration," a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said.

The hotline number is 855-448-6903.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Iran Threatens to Block Oil in Reply to Sanctions - NYTimes.com

Iran Threatens to Block Oil in Reply to Sanctions - NYTimes.com

A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

Statement from Save Ethnic Studies attorney Richard Martinez on ruling today - Three Sonorans

Statement from Save Ethnic Studies attorney Richard Martinez on ruling today - Three Sonorans

No one should be surprised by the ALJ decision released today affirming John Huppenthal’s Finding against the TUSD Mexican American Studies program.

Latinos in Arizona are well aware that their role has been marginalized and future under the present regime nonexistent. That compartmentalization is not only discriminatory, but based upon a hollow foundation. The future Latinos enjoy in Arizona will be that which they create irrespective of what other non-Latinos think, desire or arguably permit.

The Acosta plaintiffs are in federal district court because they knew long ago the ALJ process was a dead end processes; no Latino in Arizona can expect the state of Arizona to protect their rights or treat them as full and equal citizens. To the likes of Huppenthal, Brewer and Arpaio, Mexicans are just a disposable commodity to be tolerated as a source of cheap labor when needed. To others we are just the source of a vote when needed to win an election when needed. (And most of the time they figure they can win without our votes.)

Tucson ethnic-studies program violates Arizona law, judge says - latimes.com

Tucson ethnic-studies program violates Arizona law, judge says - latimes.com

The Tucson school district's Mexican American studies program violates state law, an Arizona administrative law judge ruled Tuesday, paving the way for the possible demise of the program.

The judge affirmed a prior decision by the state's schools chief that the Tucson Unified School District's program violates a law that aims to outlaw divisive ethnic studies classes.

In June, John Huppenthal, the state superintendent of public instruction, had deemed the program to be in violation of the law. That law, among other things, bans classes primarily designed for a particular ethnic group or that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people."

The colors of a family - latimes.com

The colors of a family - latimes.com

"He's so cute," the woman said. "Whose baby is he?"

The question shocked me.

I was holding my 1-year-old, ambling about downtown with some friends. White friends. She must have thought my boy belonged to one of them.

There's a simple explanation: I'm black but my son, Ashe, is white. At least he looks it.

This surprised us. When Ashe was born, one of the first things I said to Vanashree was, "Honey, he's so light!" We chuckled, poking fun at our assumptions.

We had thought our newborn would have skin more like mine. We also figured I would teach him the lessons my parents taught me as I grew up in the 1960s and '70s: Be proud of being black; but be ready, because you will always have to find a way around barriers large and small.

My son won't need those lessons.

He'll have what I can only imagine: white privilege.

That means in most of America, most of the world, when he walks into a room filled with strangers, he'll have nothing to prove. He will be assumed to be smart, trustworthy and reasonable.

It's different for me. Take a look at recent studies of our subconscious attitudes about race. (The University of Chicago's Shooter Test or Harvard's Implicit Association Test are two examples.)

We've obviously come a long, long way when it comes to this, but when I meet strangers, most of the time I have to prove myself. Am I smart, trustworthy, reasonable? That's not necessarily assumed. It's the same, I dare say, for all black people.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas =D

THE DIGITAL STORY OF THE NATIVITY - YouTube

Arpaio's goons doing what they do best

MCSO Video of Ernest "Marty" Atencio in Custody (Raw) - YouTube

Department of Justice objects to South Carolina's voter law - CNN.com

Department of Justice objects to South Carolina's voter law - CNN.com

The Department of Justice on Friday deemed South Carolina's new law requiring voters to present a state or federal photo ID "legally unenforceable," arguing that it could be discriminatory against minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The proposed law, signed by Gov. Nikki Haley in May, would require voters wishing to vote in person to present one of five forms of photo identification. The current law, in effect since 1988, does not require a photo ID. The stated intention in changing the law was to reduce voter fraud caused by someone impersonating another voter.

Existe un documental inédito de Fidel Castro - CNNMéxico.com

Existe un documental inédito de Fidel Castro - CNNMéxico.com

Click on link to view video

TwitWipe Gives You a Fresh Start by Deleting All Your Tweets

TwitWipe Gives You a Fresh Start by Deleting All Your Tweets

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wal-Mart pulls formula after baby death - CNN.com

Wal-Mart pulls formula after baby death - CNN.com

Wal-Mart says it has recalled a quantity of infant formula this week after a baby died in Missouri.

"We extend our deepest condolences to this baby boy's family as they try to come to grips with their loss," said Dianna Gee, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. " As soon as we heard what happened, we immediately reached out to the manufacturer of the formula and to the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide any information we may have to help with the investigation."

Wal-Mart said it is pulled a batch of Enfamil from its stores nationwide that matched the size and lot number of the formula that may have sickened the baby in Missouri, Gee said.

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts - The Washington Post

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts - The Washington Post

If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas.

In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Obama’s health-care law. And that’s just the small stuff.

Brownback, 55, declined to be interviewed for this article but has said he wants to turn his small farming state into a national showcase for the virtues of limited government.

His administration has acquired a reputation for engaging even the smallest critics. The governor’s aides grabbed national attention after they went after a teenager who tweeted derogatory comments about Brownback during a visit to the statehouse. The governor later apologized for their behavior.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bank Of America Countrywide Settlement: Bank To Pay $335 Million To Settle Discriminatory Lending Claims

Bank Of America Countrywide Settlement: Bank To Pay $335 Million To Settle Discriminatory Lending Claims

Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to resolve allegations that its Countrywide unit engaged in a widespread pattern of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers on home loans.

The settlement with the U.S. Justice Department was filed Wednesday with the Central District court of California and is subject to court approval. The DOJ says it's the largest settlement in history over residential fair lending practices.

According to the DOJ's complaint, Countrywide charged over 200,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers with a similar credit profile. The complaint says that these borrowers were charged higher fees and rates because of their race or national origin rather than any other objective criteria.

The God Song

The God Song

It may be one of the most touching holiday “songs” you’ll hear. It’s called The God Song. And no one knows who recorded it or where it came from.

The background of the song is back in 1984, one week before Christmas, an audio tape labeled “From God” was left at the door of a radio station. After listening to it, the station’s staff at the time decided to play it on the air and got a huge reaction from it.

House Republicans Reject Payroll Tax Cut Deal - NYTimes.com

House Republicans Reject Payroll Tax Cut Deal - NYTimes.com

After defiantly rejecting a Senate compromise to extend a payroll tax break and jobless pay, Speaker John A. Boehner stood before the television cameras on Tuesday enveloped by scores of House Republicans. Even as a group, they seemed very much alone.

By turning down a bill that was overwhelmingly supported by both parties in the Senate as well as the White House, the conservative House majority that has spent the year inciting combative legislative showdowns is now staring over the brink, standing fast against legislation with significant financial consequences for nearly every American household.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

On Monday afternoon, a black-clad newscaster in Pyongyang, sitting in front of a bucolic backdrop of pine trees and snow-capped mountains, was barely able to get out the news. North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, she managed to say between sobs, had died on Dec. 17 of a sudden illness. "We make this announcement with great sorrow," she said, weeping.

The abrupt absence of a leader in one of the world's most unpredictable nations — though it wasn't entirely unexpected, given Kim's visibly declining health in recent years — sent a chill through Northeast Asia's corridors of power. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security meeting and put the nation's military on highest alert.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arpaio's too-Wild-West ways - latimes.com

Arpaio's too-Wild-West ways - latimes.com
Joe Arpaio likes to call himself America's toughest sheriff. But the Department of Justice reached a different conclusion last week about the lawman from Arizona's Maricopa County: He helped nurture a "culture of bias" in his department, it reported after a three-year investigation, that led to discriminatory behavior and "unconstitutional policing" that routinely violated the rights of Latinos.

The findings are hardly news to Latinos in that state, who were up to nine times more likely to be pulled over by deputies while driving than non-Latinos. The federal probe, first launched under President George W. Bush, concluded that Arpaio and his deputies illegally arrested and jailed Latinos and initiated immigration sweeps in response to complaints that simply referred to people with "dark skin" but made no mention of an actual crime. The report also said that in its zeal to prosecute immigrants, the sheriff's office may have failed to properly investigate 432 cases of sexual assault and child molestation.

But Arpaio is hardly the victim of a conspiracy. The Justice Department's scathing report makes that clear. An expert hired by the department said this case involves "the most egregious racial profiling in the United States" that he has ever seen in the course of his work, according to the report. On Arpaio's watch, deputies went unchecked. One officer used his patrol car to intentionally hit and drag a Latino man and then instructed other deputies to "leave him there," investigators said. A Latino motorist was incarcerated for 13 days for failing to use his turn signal.

We understand that Americans are frustrated by an immigration system that fails everyone. But Arpaio's supporters should think hard about what his true legacy will be. He can't be America's sheriff if he can't play by the rules.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GOP Moves to Require Pee Tests and GEDs for Unemployed | Mother Jones

GOP Moves to Require Pee Tests and GEDs for Unemployed | Mother Jones

It's a difficult time to be unemployed in America. But congressional Republicans seem determined to make it even more difficult.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed HR 3630, a bill extending President Barack Obama's 2 percent payroll tax cut. But the tax cut, which was set to expire on January 1 and will save the average American family an estimated $1,000 next year, is just about the only candy cane in this holiday stocking. The rest of HR 3630 is bursting at the seams with conservative goodies, including—get this—drastic changes to the unemployment insurance system that could force unemployed Americans to undergo drug tests, require them to get GEDs, and greatly reduce the time they're able to receive benefits.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SNL Spoofs Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump Debate (VIDEO)

SNL Spoofs Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump Debate (VIDEO)

Florida law results in more denials of unemployment benefits - latimes.com

Florida law results in more denials of unemployment benefits - latimes.com

The denials in those three months will save the state $10.85 million, the agency said.

Florida's tougher unemployment law requires those claiming benefits to report online each week five jobs they've applied for or to meet with a state jobs counselor. The law also aims to keep workers with job performance issues from claiming benefits.

Claims and job-search information must be submitted online; there's no telephone option.

"They discourage you from collecting," said Dominick DeLuccia, a West Palm Beach resident who recently lost his job as a driver and says he doesn't have the computer skills to file online. "It's very frustrating," he said.

President Obama: The full "60 Minutes" interview - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News

President Obama: The full "60 Minutes" interview - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News

Click on link to view interview

High court may look at Ariz. immigration law - CBS News

High court may look at Ariz. immigration law - CBS News

The Obama administration is waging a furious legal fight against a patchwork of state laws targeting illegal immigrants, and on Monday the Supreme Court has its first chance to jump into the fray.

Arizona is asking the justices to allow the state to begin enforcing measures that have been blocked by lower courts at the administration's request. Among those provisions is one that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally.

Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are facing Obama administration lawsuits. Private groups are suing over immigration measures adopted in Georgia and Indiana.

Occupy movement to block West Coast ports | abc7.com

Occupy movement to block West Coast ports | abc7.com

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lemon Juice: 20 Unusual Household Uses (PHOTOS)

Lemon Juice: 20 Unusual Household Uses (PHOTOS)

Juicy, aromatic and highly acidic, lemons bring out the flavor in sweet and savory foods but they nearly always play a supporting role in the kitchen. Stop relegating them to the rim of your glass and give these winter citrus fruits their due -- because they're serious cleaning and freshening powerhouses.

These 20 unusual uses for lemon juice will make your home look and smell fresh, brighten your laundry, and improve your hair, nails and skin.

Hangover Help: The next time you're groaning in pain the morning after enjoying just a tad too much alcohol, try drinking a little lemon juice squeezed into warm water or tea. Not only does it help you re-hydrate, but the lemon juice can reportedly help balance the pH levels in your body and replace the vitamin C lost in the binge.

Insect Deterrent: Many insects are highly sensitive to smell, including spiders, ants, fleas and typically so-hardy-they're-almost-alien cockroaches. Squirt lemon juice in windowsills, the thresholds of doors, along baseboards and into any cracks where insects might get into the house. Add lemon juice to your floor wash for even more insect-repelling action.

Click on link to view complete slide show

Ford Recalls 129,000 Fusions and Mercury Milans After Studs Fracture on Steel Wheels - NYTimes.com

Ford Recalls 129,000 Fusions and Mercury Milans After Studs Fracture on Steel Wheels - NYTimes.com

Ford is recalling almost 129,000 of its 2010-11 Ford Fusions and Mercury Milans because the wheel studs on vehicles equipped with 17-inch steel wheels could break, potentially leading to a wheel coming loose and falling off.

Ford told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall in a report (PDF) filed Friday on the agency’s Web site.

Vehicles with alloy wheels are not affected.

Friday, December 9, 2011

California ethics agency loosens rules on gifts to lawmakers - latimes.com

California ethics agency loosens rules on gifts to lawmakers - latimes.com

Reporting from Sacramento— State lawmakers and city council members can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists' homes without telling the public, under rules approved Thursday by the state ethics agency.

AFP: Alabama farmers look to replace migrants with prisoners

AFP: Alabama farmers look to replace migrants with prisoners

Alabama farmers have proposed using prisoners to work their fields to replace migrants who fled the state after it passed the country's harshest anti-immigration law, officials said Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry officials met Tuesday in Mobile with farmers to discuss their proposal, a spokeswoman for the department told AFP.

"The suggestion to use prisoners who are eligible for work release programs was made as a way to help farmers fill the gap and find sufficient labor," said Amy Belcher.

A statement by the department said the meeting with the farmers was convened "to help solve the chronic labor shortages created by Alabama's new immigration law."

N.J. Indonesian immigrants facing deportation for overstaying tourism visas | NJ.com

N.J. Indonesian immigrants facing deportation for overstaying tourism visas | NJ.com

Tuwo and Pauned are Indonesian immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than a decade — working, paying taxes and raising their two American-born daughters.

But according to the U.S. government, their home is 10,000 miles away in Indonesia, and they must leave this country.

Tuwo and Pauned are among roughly 60 Indonesians in New Jersey who are facing deportation in the next few months for overstaying their tourism visas years ago.

"We love this country," Tuwo said. "I know I made a mistake. I overstayed. But not everyone is the same."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sheriff Arpaio Showdown: Resignation Demands Grow Amid Child Sex Crimes Debacle

Jeff Biggers: Sheriff Arpaio Showdown: Resignation Demands Grow Amid Child Sex Crimes Debacle

A self-proclaimed hardliner who relishes the media attention for his anti-immigrant sweeps, his pink-underwear-wearing Tent City inmates and reality TV exploits, Arpaio is no stranger to controversy.

Among the 432 ignored reports of rape, child molestations and sex crimes, as Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts noted, was "a 2-year-old taken to the hospital with vaginal pain and bruising after a stint with a babysitter."

Earlier today at the Arizona State Capitol, Hobbs was joined by state Rep. Ruben Gallego, a ranking member of the Military Affairs & Public Safety committee, who declared Arpaio had dedicated his time to "investigating his own political enemies, avoiding internal investigations on the officers who botched the cases, misspending $100 million, and ignoring 40,000 outstanding felony arrest warrants for violent criminals," among other diversions.

Is GOP race turning into a circus? - CNN.com

Is GOP race turning into a circus? - CNN.com

But the very fact that the nation's pre-eminent carnival barker, political charlatan and bona fide "birther" has somehow re-injected himself into the GOP race tells us something about the contest itself: It's descended into complete chaos.

Not that a little chaos isn't a good thing in presidential races. After all, no one is supposed to be appointed nominee. We like a good race, and we love it when voters engage. But this is starting to look more like a bad game show than a good argument about who is best qualified to become the leader of the free world.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Racism in the NYPD Seeped onto Facebook - National - The Atlantic Wire

Racism in the NYPD Seeped onto Facebook - National - The Atlantic Wire

Some New York police officier really didn't like being assigned to Brooklyn's West Indian American Day Parade, so much so that they vehemently vented their frustrations on Facebook.

The racism in some of the Facebook posts seems pretty blatant, but we'll let you judge for yourself:

"I say have the parade one more year, and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out."

"Welcome to the Liberal NYC Gale,” said another, “where if the cops sneeze too loud they get investigated for excessive force but the ‘civilians’ can run around like savages and there are no repercussions."

"Why is everyone calling this a parade. It’s a scheduled riot."
"Bloodbath!!! The worst detail to work."

They can keep the forced overtime," adding that the safety of officers comes “before the animals.”

"Hearing New York police officers speak publicly but candidly about one another and the people they police is rare indeed, especially with their names attached."

"We were widely outnumbered. It was an eerie feeling knowing we could be overrun at any moment."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Martin Bashir: Herman Cain Should Resign From His Church Over Affair Allegations (VIDEO)

Martin Bashir: Herman Cain Should Resign From His Church Over Affair Allegations (VIDEO)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Three Alleged Mortgage Scammers Arrested In California

Three Alleged Mortgage Scammers Arrested In California

Unsavory mortgage practices have become widespread since the onset of the housing crash, which has left countless homeowners trying to stay one step ahead of foreclosure -- presenting a prime opportunity for scammers who claim they can lower homeowners' payments.

And such practices are exactly what a new government task force, announced earlier this week, is aiming to stamp out.

The task force, a collaboration between SIGTARP, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department, will investigate people and companies suspected of trying to take advantage of homeowners seeking mortgage modifications.

A consumer fraud alert issued by SIGTARP this week notes that such guarantees are almost always a red flag for a scam, since third-party companies can't actually promise that a loan will be modified. Those decisions are only made by mortgage servicers.

Why some Democrats oppose Obama’s jobs bill - The Washington Post

Why some Democrats oppose Obama’s jobs bill - The Washington Post

After some public wavering by several of those Democrats, only two bucked the president and voted against the measure — Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.).

The defections allowed Republicans to label opposition to the president “bipartisan,” but the small number let Democrats claim that their caucus stood behind the president.

One of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, Nelson has worked especially hard to show his independence from the party.

In a statement, he rejected the jobs package’s underlying premise, indicating that he could not support the bill because it includes billions in higher spending and tax increases.

“I simply can’t support raising taxes so Washington can spend more,” he said.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Honda recalling cars to fix airbags that can kill drivers - latimes.com

Honda recalling cars to fix airbags that can kill drivers - latimes.com

Honda Motor Co. plans to recall 273,000 Honda and Acura vehicles because of an airbag problem that can kill drivers.

It will also inspect an additional 603,000 vehicles to see if the same defective parts that cause the problem were sold to repair autos that have been in accidents. Honda said it doesn’t know how many of those vehicles might have been repaired with the defective parts.

In the recalled vehicles, the driver’s side airbag can deploy with too much force in an accident, causing a metal inflator casing -- the part that holds and channels explosive propellant -- to rupture

Honda has had four previous recalls dealing the same issue, which with this latest expansion includes more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. The problem does not affect any vehicles newer than the 2003 model year

The latest recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.

Honda will begin sending recall notices to owners of these vehicles later this month.

It also said the Honda owners can go to www.recalls.honda.com or call (800) 999-1009 and select option 4; Acura owners can go to www.recalls.acura.com or call (800) 382-2238 and select option 4 to get more information.

Newt GIngrich Slams Poor Kids - YouTube

Newt GIngrich Slams Poor Kids - YouTube

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Rejected In Senate Vote

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Rejected In Senate Vote

The Senate failed Thursday to pass an extension of a payroll tax cut, leaving in limbo a break that saved working class households about $1,000 a piece this year.

Democrats sought to extend and expand the break, while paying for it with a 3.25 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million. Just one Senate Republican, Maine's Susan Collins, voted for the middle class break, which died 51 to 49 in a filibuster. Three Democrats opposed the bill.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church Bans Interracial Couples

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church Bans Interracial Couples

The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted not to accept interracial couples as members or allow them to take part in some worship activities.

Melvin Thompson, a minister at the church, explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader that the resolution “is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.”

Thompson issued the ban in August after Stella Harville played the piano and her fiancé Ticha Chikuni (both pictured) sang. Harville grew up in the church and was baptized there, but she is not a member. Chikuni is a native of Zimbabwe.

The decision has caused sharp reaction and disapproval.

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Last week, I traveled with several of my House of Representatives colleagues to Birmingham, Ala., to speak out against HB56, a deeply regressive and dangerous law that threatens the livelihood and civil rights of citizens, visitors, and especially immigrants, whether documented or undocumented.

The law doesn’t just require police who “reasonably suspect” someone of being an undocumented immigrant to check their status. It also directs school districts to check the immigration status of every student at every level of education. It even prohibits landlords from renting to someone who may be an undocumented immigrant. It creates an intentional climate of fear well beyond any attempt to make the community safer or more prosperous. It’s already tearing the state apart.

At a field hearing in Birmingham, my colleagues and I heard testimony from Mayor William Bell, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, as well as a local civil rights advocate, a teacher from a local high school, a concerned parent, an undocumented immigrant from Tuscaloosa, a 17-year-old student with undocumented parents, and a local business owner. They told us one thing, loud and clear: Alabama won’t survive if it goes much further down this path.

'Austerity' policy: Low-paid foot the bill - CNN.com

'Austerity' policy: Low-paid foot the bill - CNN.com

The United Kingdom was the first country laid across the lap of fiscal austerity. Conservatives in Britain argued that government deficits could be solved by slashing public spending quickly and severely. They got what they wanted, including a particularly drastic set of cuts affecting the country's poor and unemployed. But despite the cuts, Britain's economy has not recovered.

This week, Britain announced it was lowering its economic growth estimates yet again and the multinational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects Britain will enter a recession next year. In other words, England was the pilot test for austerity measures, and the pilot test has failed.

140 mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California - CNN.com

140 mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California - CNN.com

As of 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), Southern California Edison was reporting more than 210,000 households without power. The hardest hit areas in the utility's service area include San Gabriel, San Bernardino, Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, El Monte, La Canada Flintridge, Monrovia and Sierra Madre.

The Los Angeles Department of Water of Power reported that, as of that same time, about 129,000 of its 1 million customers did not have electricity. The department added, in a press release, that it has more than 100 crews responding to more than 1,000 incidents thought to be responsible for the outages