Mississippi Lawmaker Introduces a Bill to Change the “Gulf of Mexico” to the “Gulf of America”

Yes, we have now seen everything.

Mississippi Rep. Steve Holland (D) introduced a house bill that wants to change geography, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of America. Is that how you change maps? If so, we would like to introduce a bill to change Mississippi (which we can never spell) to "US State With Way Too Many S's, P's, and Pendejos."


Some of the Rebeldes Respond to the Obama Catholic Controversy

The Catholic Church is back. Has it ever left?

After suffering through one of the worse sexual abuses scandals in the history of the world, the Church as an institution (note, institution and not as a body of spiritual believers) has lost some of its moral authority and luster. To the vast majority of its US members, the Church's dogma seems stuck in the 19th century, yet at the same time the Church continues to do good, particularly in the areas of fighting poverty and speaking out against immigration hate.

Patricia McDonough / Getty Images Patricia McDonough / Getty Images

This week, Catholicism in the United States is back on trial, with the news that the Obama administration is requiring that Catholic institutions such as hospitals and colleges provide contraceptive coverage to its employees. Granted, this policy, which is now the center of the "culture war," is already being implemented in states such as California and New York. In addition, the overwhelming majority of Cafeteria Catholics of the US (those who are part of the Church yet don't follow EVERYTHING the Church's leaders say) use birth control. But today, Republican leaders claimed that the White House was attacking religious freedom while prominent women's groups fought back.

Our band of Rebeldes has been debating internally about what we should be posting about. We wouldn't say that we are divided on the issue, but we all offer some different perspectives about it and what it means to this country. Here is what we are thinking:

Rick Rios, Rebelde: Both sides look at the separation of church and state from different view points. The church wants to conduct its religious and business practices separate from government control but religious ideology is not a legal basis to deny basic benefits. Ideology doesn't prevent Catholics from demanding basic benefits from their employers and that's how Obama is viewing this. Every employee is entitled to basic benefits, regardless of who they work for unless there's a legal reason to deny benefits, and religious ideology isn't it.

Belly Vida Letty, Rebelde: The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The separation of church and state should be upheld. No religious group has any right to make health decisions which impact women's physical well being. More than ever in this economy it is necessary for women to have access to preventative healthcare including breast exams, counseling, HIV screening and contraception. It's a misguided attack on women of lower income who cannot afford these services in the first place. If women can't afford $50 a month for contraceptives how can they possibly afford having a child?

Efrain Nieves, Rebelde: I agree with Letty. I don't understand why the Catholic church is getting involved given that 80% of Catholic women use contraceptives. Also, there are alternate uses for contraceptives. For example, it can be used to treat Endometriosis, which is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. Endometriosis leads to irregular bleeding, pain and a woman can have difficulty getting pregnant. I don't see why health insurers shouldn't offer birth control coverage.

Rodrigo Sánchez Chavarría, Rebelde: It's the utilitarian view of things. The greatest good for the masses. In this case contraception for everybody is the greater good. Religion is a personal thing. You can always deny not to get contraceptives. But deny everybody access to contraceptive because of religion does not benefit the greater good. Btw I am a catholic. I hope that answers the question…. Also when are they going to make a male contraceptive? Cuz I'll get some.

Odilia Rivera Santos, Rebelde: It seems to be a diversionary tactic. Romney's main compliant, posing as a message, was the dire state of the economy and unemployment rate. Now that the economy is improving, Romney is out to 'save American souls.' All conservative followers of religions are coming out of the woodwork with an attempt to legislate 'morality.' In their eyes, ejaculation without procreation is immoral. In Italy, there is a program that pays couples to stop using birth control and have children — they even provide free housing. The separation of church and state exists so that we may function as a cohesive society despite religious differences and follow codes of ethics not based on one group's religious beliefs. Birth control and gay marriage.. . are these matters that should still be argued about? Look at the number of adults who have no business having kids — that bastard who just killed his two boys and himself by blowing up his house. Gay marriage is good for the economy and hurts no one. The real issue is there is no one to oppose Obama in the election. #creatingdiversions101

Julio Ricardo Varela, Rebelde: Puerto Rican. Bronx Italian. My wife's family is Irish Boston. 12 years of a Catholic education, but thankfully the last 4 years were with the Jesuits, the original Catholic Rebels. This is about two issues: no one in the United States is denying the Catholic Church to stop worshipping. No one is attacking the Church and calling for their removal (although, personally, the Church as institution is so out of touch with its flock, the people who are the real Church). This is all about how the government is trying to provide basic health services to women. There are also employment laws in this country that require employers to provide health coverage to its employers. The Catholic Church as an institution is dying as a religious organization, for reasons I don't want to get into here, but I will say that if the Church is running multi-million dollar hospitals and is in the health care business, then it is a health institution too. Besides, several states already have these laws and birth control is readily available at Catholic colleges right now. This is an attack on hyperbole and the hypocrisy of it all proves why a small bunch of unmarried men shouldn't be dictating morality. Especially after what the Catholic Church in the US has suffered.

VIDEO: Abuelito Getting Down to Lady Gaga

We saw this video on the very cool (and very large, over 475,000 followers) Facebook page of So Mexican and we giggled.

Abuelito. Dancing. Lady Gaga. Awesome.

Bill O’Reilly Defends Ellen and JC Penney: Calls One Million Moms’ Anti-Gay Crusade a “Witch Hunt”

Maybe there is actual hope in this country when people from both sides of the political spectrum speak out against discrimination. In the case of the One Million Moms campaign to have JC Penney fire Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson because the company was jumping onto the "pro-gay bandwagon," JC Penney and Ellen got an ally in Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

As the One Million Moms' website says (in really bad bold type):

By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, JC Penney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over all these years.

Ask JC Penney to replace Ellen Degeneres as their new spokesperson immediately and remain neutral in the culture war.

(SIDENOTE: If you are going to crap on someone, One Million Moms, at least spell Ellen's last name right?)

Last night, O'Reilly called the One Million Moms' campaign a "witch hunt." Here is video of the segment with "pro-family" Fox contributor Sandy Rios  (are you kidding us, Latina?):

Meanwhile, Ellen took a moment from her show to address her haters, because "her haters" are her "motivators."

After a Strange and Public David Beckham Tweet During the Super Bowl, CNN’s @rolandsmartin Gets Suspended

When we posted the strange public tweet that CNN's Roland S. Martin had sent out during the airing of the David Beckham Super Bowl commercial, we were kind of giving him the benefit of the doubt. We didn't choose the implied path that his tweet suggested (dude, I can't watch grown men in underwear commercials), but instead went after Martin's excuse that he was just crapping on the great sport of soccer.

Looks like others in the online world felt that Martin was being homophobic in his 140 character observation, since today Martin was suspended indefinitely when CNN issued this statement:

“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being."

Martin was facing the heat from gay and lesbian groups for his tweet. So maybe it wasn't about soccer in the first place? The public Internet can be tough, but the fact remains is that Martin should have kept the tweet to himself. Especially on a night where a TON of people were watching the same ad. Hey, people, let's be careful out there.

Decision 2012: Latinos Missing in Action on Sunday Morning Network News Shows

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Last March 2011, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) launched the Art of Politics Impact Project to address the lack of Latino commentators and guests on the four network Sunday news shows: ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, and NBC's Meet The Press. The Art of Politics Impact Project is being implemented in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Being Latino (BL), The Libre Initiative (TLI) and 16 other national Latino organizations.

After reviewing 149 broadcasts over 9 months, NHFA found that only 10 Latino men were invited as guests and commentators. Most of them appeared more than once and some were invited both as guest and commentator. The individual breakdown by show is as follows: ABC's This Week included 5 Latinos; CBS's Face the Nation (1) had 2; FOX News Sunday had 4; and NBC's Meet The Press had 7.

Latinos accounted for 5 percent of the combined number of appearances in these four shows. However, if Juan Williams, a regular FOX commentator, is subtracted from this equation, Latino appearances on Sunday morning shows drop to 2 percent.

NHFA and its key partner organizations met individually with the executive producers of each Sunday show and in three instances with the staff of the broader news divisions. "While all networks expressed a desire to include more Latino guests and commentators," said Felix Sanchez, NHFA Chairman and Co-founder "the networks have not kept pace with the demographic reality of the Nation. For example, in 2010 the Latino vote had a greater impact on Congressional and Senate races than the Tea Party, but that analysis came after the mid-term elections, not before," said Sanchez.

The Sunday news shows summarize the week's top political stories and preview the upcoming week's news narrative. These network centerpiece news shows impact and influence the top national political issues of the day.

"Decision 2012 is upon us and every Sunday morning Latino voices are absent from key interviews and from political discussions," said Esai Morales, actor and NHFA Co-founder. "Not only are the networks missing an important part of the story, but they are passing up an opportunity to increase Hispanic viewership across all news shows," concluded Morales.

For nine months, NHFA categorized the guests and commentators on the four network news shows. The extensive findings are included in our report available at www.artofpolitics.us.  

"While Latinos occasionally appear on these shows, the networks are inconsistent in whom they book as Latino guests or commentators," said Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, NHFA's Director of Media Diversity Initiatives, "Although there are minute fluctuations over the 9-month period, the data clearly shows that Latino presence on network Sunday talk shows is flat."

About NHFA: The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by actors Esai Morales, Sonia Braga, Jimmy Smits, Merel Julia and Washington, D.C. attorney Felix Sanchez to promote Latinos both in front of and behind the camera.

(1) Face The Nation's 30-minute format limits the number of guest and commentators that can be invited to the show.

Contact: Gretchen Sierra-Zorita
[email protected] 
202-293-8330 Office

VIDEO: Court Footage of San Luis Candidate Alejandrina Cabrera Case About Her Proficiency in English

Here are two videos of the court footage regarding the original decision to remove Alejandrina Cabrera from the San Luis City Council ballot. Yesterday the decision was upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The first video is a news piece from local Arizona media.

Here is another YouTube video that edited Cabrera's testimony. The video site says the following: "If you wanted to run into a office job as a council…do you think she's got a chance??? ENGLISH is the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA…"

Arizona Supreme Court Rules that Candidate Cannot Run Because of Her Lack of English Fluency

It is a story that has spread globally, from Arizona to Madrid. In December Alejandrina Cabrera, a US citizen from San Luis, Arizona was initially removed from the city's City Council ballot after it was determined that she did not possess an acceptable proficiency in the English language. The city's mayor, Carlos Escamilla, had filed suit against Cabrera's intent to run in next month's primary elections.

Yesterday, after Cabrera and her legal team appealed the case, the Arizona Supreme Country upheld the original December action and determine that Cabrera could not run in the primary because she was not proficient in English. According to the Yuma Sun, the Supreme Court's decision weighed on the expert testimony of a sociolinguistics professional who testified that Cabrera's English skills were poor.

“It is ordered that the trial court's judgment and orders filed January 27, 2012 are affirmed,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Burch. “The City Clerk shall not include appellant's name on the March 13, 2012, City Council election ballot. A written decision of this court shall follow in due course.”

San Luis can now print the primary ballots without Cabrera. The Sun also reports:

Juan Castillo, who was recruited last week by Cabrera's backers to run in place in the event her appeal failed. Castillo must run as a write-in because the deadline has passed for candidates to file nominating petitions to include their names on the ballot.

In the meantime, one of Cabrera's lawyer had some choice words about the court's decision:

“Unbelievable,” said John Minore, one of Cabrera's attorneys. “This is a fine example of judicial activism. Arizona now has a English standard to be on a ballot but doesn't tell you what that standard is. It's amazing that people in government who are in power can spend taxpayer money to keep people off the ballot. This is Hispanics keeping Hispanics off the ballot, compliments of the San Luis City Council.”

The Latino Rebels Are Proud to Support “Citizen Me: The Forgotten Class”

Latino Rebels are proud to support independent documentaries that focus on Latino filmmakers and issues that are important to our networks. Here is one film that we really want to see and support: CITIZEN ME: THE FORGOTTEN CLASS. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Here is an interview about the film and a description from YouTube:

At a time of increasing debate about immigration from Mexico, filmmaker Christian Rodriguez looks at the roots of the issue, its current state, and where it is headed. By interviewing immigrants from Mexico that have lived in the United States for varying amounts of time, the film offers a unique view into the often overlooked reasons for immigration across the border. It explores the reality of being an immigrant in a new land when the act of being an immigrant itself is at the center of a contentious national debate. In essence, this documentary is about the struggle of trying to be an American in the 21st century.