THE BLOG
01/25/2013 12:22 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2013

Diversity News & Notes: Tina Turner Moving On, Two Politicians in Complicated Trouble, Republican Dance With Latino Voters Hard to Follow

It seems that women's full integration into the military is following a well worn path. First women have proven their utility, despite obstacles. Then, they convince a few proximate naysayers. That circle grows and finally, a policy change. "Since 1994, women have technically been barred from serving in those front-line units. But throughout the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, women -- working as medics, intelligence officers, photographers, military police officers and in a host of other jobs -- have been routinely "attached" to all-male ground combat units, where they have come under fire, returned fire, been wounded and been killed. To supporters of Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta's decision to rescind the prohibition on women in combat, the experiences of those women proved that the distinction between being "attached" to a combat unit and actually serving in one was outdated, and pointless," The New York Times reports. Wonder what it's like to walk in a room or a battle and have no one assume you can't handle the business at hand?

New York's legislature has been through it's share of scandals, arrests and ethical investigations. But this week, "Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez has declined to testify in an investigation being conducted by the state ethics commission into claims that he sexually harassed four former aides and the Legislature's response to those allegations," The New York Times reports. In this case Lopez, the legislature's leadership and the investigators are under scrutiny.

Continuing with the troubled politician theme, Kwame Kilpatrick is headed to jail -- for the weekend. "Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will spend the weekend in prison as a penalty for 14 parole violations, a state corrections spokesman said Friday.When given the opportunity to waive the formal parole violation process and instead serve three days at a Detroit lockup as punishment, Kilpatrick agreed, said Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan.Kilpatrick is to report to the Detroit Reentry Center Friday afternoon and will be released from custody early Monday," The Associated Press reports.

Central Falls, Rhode Island has a new, 27-year-old Latino mayor. He can remember getting his high school diploma on the same stage where he was sworn into office this week, Univision ABC reports. "On the first day of 2013, James Diossa was sworn is as mayor of Central Falls, Rhode Island on the same podium where 10 years earlier, he stood in his cap and gown to receive his high school diploma. Now, he was delivering his inaugural address in both English and Spanish.
The 27-year-old Diossa reflects the shifting demographic of this old textile-mill city of 19,000, where currently 60% of its residents are Latino, mostly Colombian."

From Charlotte, there's news that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) delivered a rousing speech yesterday explaining that Republicans don't have to change a thing, except, well, everything, The Associated Press reports. Jindal, who is Indian-American, is sometimes talked about as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate. But while Jindal was talking, one of the party's other diversity all starts, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), was busy renewing her push to repeal the driver's liscenses of undocumented immigrants. Maybe the Party's strategic planners should look into what the polling firm, Latino Decisions calls, "the calculus of immigration reform."

Politics 365 brings us news of yet another challenge that's been thrown down in front of our new second term President. "Minister Louis Farrakhan, who resides on the south side of Chicago in the same neighborhood where President Obama's home is, appealed to the President to visit people in inner city Chicago the same way he did the families in Newtown, Connecticut after the Sandy Hook School massacre. Twenty six people lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School after a mass shooting.

What resulted from that tragedy was a comprehensive plan on gun control that included a ban on assault weapons. Murder has become routine in the city of Chicago. Over 500 people were murdered in 2012,." Politis365 reports. I have begun to wonder if the White House/ Senate Democrat's focus on high-capacity magazines specific weapons will ultimately leave people living in gun-violence riddled neighborhoods -- most of whom are black or Latino -- any better off.

Proud Mary truly kept on rolling. Tina Turner is on the verge of becoming a Swiss citizen, The Associated Press reports. The U.S.-born Turner (given name Anna Mae Bullock) hails from Tennessee but has lived abroad for several years. No word on whether she will renounce her U.S. citizenship. http://thegrio.com/2013/01/25/tina-turner-on-her-way-to-swiss-citizenship/

Finally, in my continued obsession with meaningful lives and interesting biographies, I came across this story about Larry Selman, a 70-yer-old intellectually-disabled New York man who died Sunday after connecting his neighbors and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for various causes. His story is worth a read. It will make you smile, maybe shed a few of those feel-good tears. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/nyregion/larry-selman-a-shepherd-of-greenwich-village-dies-at-70.html?