In America, we have a right to drink large quantities of soda and defend our corporate benefactors in surprising ways. The New York NAACP and a Latino civil rights organization, The Hispanic Federation, filed a joint document in a city court yesterday arguing that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to limit the quantity of sugary beverages (read that as soda) that can be sold in some New York City stores and restaurants will have a disproportionate, tax-like effect, on the city's black and Latino residents and the small businesses that they own. The city's policy does not apply to sugary beverages sold by major chains such as 7-Eleven (a company in the middle of a major expansion plan in NYC) and Starbucks. The Bloomberg administration says the oversized soda ban will help reduce obesity. The civil rights organizations are taking the soda manufacturer's side in this case even though, "about 70 percent of black New Yorkers and 66 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers are obese or overweight, compared with 52 percent of white non-Hispanic residents," The New York Times reported yesterday. Did I mention that the NAACP of New York relies on Coca-Cola to fund one of it's health programs and the former head of the Hispanic Federation just took a job with the same company? Humm.
And not to overwhelm you all with New York City-based news but courts threw out convictions in two different murder cases in the city yesterday. Not one but two! In the first, prosecutors admit there may be some problems with the eye witness testimony that convicted three men in two murders. The men have been imprisoned for 17 years and say they are innocent. Two gang members have confessed to one of the murders but prosecutors have 90 days to present new evidence in the second murder. In a second and unrelated case, a man walked out of a Brooklyn Courtroom after spending 23 years in jail for a murder he also says he did not commit. The district attorney's office is planning to appeal the court's decision. In both cases, all of the defendants are black or Latino.
From Los Angeles, Voxxi brings us a story that is worth noting about the rise and fall of an up and coming Latina politico. Amid allegations of child endangerment - leaving her 11-year-old daughter at City Hall alone while she hung out with friends at a hotel -- Andrea Alarcon has resigned her post on an important city commission.
This story is sort of everywhere but worth mentioning. "The NRA Used To Support Gun Control," The Root reports. Turns out that in the 1970s's the NRA supported gun control measures in California right around the time that Black Panthers had taken to carrying weapons in public, the NRA encouraged then California Gov. Ronald Regan to sign gun control legislation. A few years later when the same man was President, the group really shifted gears.
A majority of Americans now back immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the undocumented. This puts the two Latino senators the GOP have billed as "leaders" in the immigration reform policy making process - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) - at odds with the majority of voters and may complicate GOP efforts to appeal to Latino voters. In related news, Latino Decisions released an analysis yesterday showing that if Republican Mitt Romney had garnered 43 percent of the Latino vote rather than 23 percent in November, he would likely have been the man delivering an inaugural address Monday.
The New York judge who ruled earlier this month that the city's police department could not continue to stop and frisk people in certain Bronx apartment buildings without actual probable cause has decided to stay or put a temporary hold on that ruling until she decides a broader case challenging the legality of the police department practice. The police are also said to be testing new technology that will allow police to use an x-ray like device to determine if a person is carrying a weapon - possibly without a stop and frisk. The overwhelming majority of those stopped and frisked in the city are young, black and Latino men and teens. Few of these stops have resulted in police making arrests or seizing illegal guns.
Voxxi also brings us new today that, "The Houston Symphony has selected Colombian-born Andres Orozco-Estrada as its new music director, making him the first Latino to lead the orchestra.Orozco-Estrada, 35, was born in Medellin, Colombia. He was 19-years-old and only spoke Spanish when he left Colombia to study music at the distinguished Vienna Music Academy in Austria. He made his debut in 2010 with the Vienna Philharmonic. Since then, he has made other debuts with prominent European orchestras."
Cornel West is blasting Obama for using Martin Luther King's bible during his inauguration ceremony. Watch the video.
Politics 365 is calling the share of black and Latino students who enter but never graduate from college, "a national crisis." From Politics365:
A new report on the college dropout rate featured depressing statistics:
-- 46% of those who enter a U.S. college fail to graduate within six years
-- only 37% of African Americans graduate within 6 years
-- only 42% of Hispanic students graduate within 6 years
The Associated Press brings us news of the political catch-22 conservative governors attempting to rebuff Obamacare may face. Remember that 48 percent of those who are expected to gain access to health care via Obamacare reforms are black or Latino. So this matters. "Governors who reject health insurance for the poor under the federal health care overhaul could wind up in a politically awkward position on immigration: A quirk in the law means some U.S. citizens would be forced to go without coverage, while legal immigrants residing in the same state could still get it. It's an unintended consequence of how last year's Supreme Court decision changed the Medicaid provisions of President Barack Obama's health care law. The overhaul expanded the federal-state program for low-income and disabled people. The Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional for states, which complicated things," The Associated Press reports. Wowser.
Finally, you have heard of the witching hour? How about the ugly woman hour? "According to a new study by St. Tropez, a tanning brand/the patron saint of old biddies, women look their oldest at 3:30 pm every Wednesday," Jezabel reports. Ladies, plan accordingly.