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So God Made a (Latino) Farmer


One of the most popular ads during the Super Bowl was for the Dodge Ram. The spot took a 1978 speech by the late Paul Harvey and played it against images of American farmers.

Something was missing though. We let Latino Rebels take it away:

Do you notice anything about the farmers being featured in the commercial?

Yeah, 100% Americana. An America that seems to be stuck in another time. Last time we checked, the commercial overlooked a few other farmers, the over 3 million workers who contribute to the country’s $28+ billion fruit and vegetable industry. Or what about the fact that “the majority (72%) of all farmworkers were foreign-born, with 68 percent of all farmworkers were born in Mexico?” We are guessing that displaying the REAL FACE of farming in the United States would that have been way too uncomfortable to show? By the way, we know you showed only two Latino faces for a second, but that didn’t cut it, Chrysler. 

So, a remake is in order. Doing so above is the award winning investigative reporter Issac Cubillos

Power to more accurate ethno-cultural representations in mass media advertising. 

Why does this matter for California? 

According to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog:

"The statement from Gene Sperling is significant because Gov. Jerry Brown has recently claimed that California could face $4 billion in higher annual costs from Medi-Cal if federal leaders target Medicaid in deficit negotiations.

Brown has described that as a risk to California’s budget, but he also is committed to expanding Medi-Cal coverage to low-income adults without children and parents just above poverty level. Under Obama’s health care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of coverage costs for those individuals from 2014 to 2016.

At his January budget release, the governor implied that the full-funding commitment remains vulnerable in federal deficit talks.

But Sperling told advocates at the Health Action 2013 conference that cuts to Medicaid - the federal program known as Medi-Cal in California - are not on the table…”



Cardinal Roger Mahony, who served as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, is embroiled in a furious scandal over his handling of reports of child sexual offenders amongst the ranks of his priesthood. The scandal broke open widely when a Los Angeles court ordered a trove of 12,000 pages of files, detailing the records of greater than 100 priest sexual predators, to be made public by the Archdiocese, following an exhaustive five-year legal struggle over the documents. The archdiocese complied, releasing the documents to their website, revealing shocking instances of Mahony prioritizing canonical infractions and violations above reports of abused children, both in tone and in practice. Of Father Jose Ugarte, for example, Mahony was pressured to take action not by reports that Ugarte was molesting children (as he’d been accused of, to no avail, twenty years earlier), but by the idea that he was improperly administering the sacrament of confession onto his victim. As a memo directed to Mahony from a cleric stated: “Given the seriousness of this abuse of the sacrament of penance… it is your responsibility to formally declare the existence of the excommunication and then refer the matter to Rome.” You can check out the files for yourself here(Photo by maveric2003) source  


Despite realignment efforts, numbers are still high in California’s women’s prisons

The state of California is nearing a court-imposed deadline to reduce overcrowding in its prisons, which the US Supreme Court said amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment.” Nearly 133,000 adults are currently incarcerated in 33 state prisons – down from 160,000 seven years ago. But some women’s prisons remain overcrowded, and some experts say that it will take changes at the sentencing level and dedicated funding for alternatives to incarceration to break the state’s longstanding imprisonment habit. From Oakland, FSRN’s Puck Lo reports.


It’s been more than a year and a half since the US Supreme Court mandated that California shrink its prison population by a fifth and improve its prison health care system in order to end “needless suffering and death.” The state responded to the ruling by implementing what’s called “realignment,” or sending low level offenders to prosecution at the county jail level instead.

Harris: So now if somebody is sentenced to a non-serious, nonviolent crime at the county level they aren’t going to be sent to state prison. So they will be either sent to county jail or put onto some type of community supervision at the county level.

That’s Emily Harris from Californians United for a Responsible Budget – or CURB. She says the effects of realignment are mixed. On one hand, there are about 30,000 fewer people in the state prisons. But the prisons are still over capacity and need to reduce the population by 20,000 people to meet court orders. Health care is improving inside the prison system. But it’s still not up to constitutional standards, Harris said.

Harris: Yes, things have changed in California – but we still have a long way to go.

The state also authorized more than $350 million to be shared over a one year period amongst local judges, district attorneys, sheriffs, probation officers and rehabilitation service providers. But there are 58 counties in California… and with no rules for how to use realignment funds, Harris says the money isn’t making it to community-based services.

Harris: Really what realignment has resulted in is a money grab at the county level for sheriffs. So sheriffs are padding their pocket books so they can keep the resources, they can hire more deputies, they can build more jail beds. 

UC Berkeley law professor, Barry Krisberg, says it’s the first time in 40 years that he’s seen a criminal justice program implemented without any oversight.

Krisberg: The governor and legislature by design created no accountability. So there is a body that meets and, I guess, talks. But has no authority either to monitor and assess the spending of the money, or in fact evaluate how the counties are – what kind of programs they’re using.

Under realignment, counties have flexibility to create alternatives to incarceration. That could range from home detention using GPS bracelets, to addiction treatment programs and community service. But the ACLU’S Allen Hopper found at least 32 counties plan to use realignment funds or other tax dollars to expand jail capacity.

Hopper: Realignment is certainly a step in the right direction. But it didn’t address at all this underlying question of the length of people’s sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenses. And until we tackle that problem and approach it with an open mind and until our political leaders are willing to stand up to law enforcement who lobby against these changes, we’re not going to solve the overcrowding problem, and in fact we’re simply going to replicate it at the county level.

Realignment also hasn’t helped reduce overcrowding at all state prisons. At Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, the prison’s capacity was 187 percent last week. But Dana Simas, spokesperson for California’s Department of Corrections, said that facility is not overcrowded.

Simas: The population reduction order was meant for us to get to a level where the court felt we could provide adequate health care to inmates. Well, with the improvements that we’ve made, and the hiring that we’ve done in our medical, mental health and dental units, we feel that with those improvements, along with the population reduction that we’ve had, we can meet that constitutional level of health care at the capacity that we’re operating now.

ambient from rally

At a recent rally in Chowchilla, hundreds of former prisoners, family members and activists gathered to demand the state improve conditions and fund alternatives to incarceration. They said that medical care inside the prisons was still far from adequate.

Krys: The people who had medical problems there – a lot of them are just neglected. They have cancer, or something serious and they don’t get their meds…

Krys, who only goes by one name, spoke to a cheering crowd outside the women’s prison.

Krys: You have those doctors or those nurses who look out for you, but then you have the ones who come on the next shift and then you don’t receive what you need.

After serving 12 years for stealing a car and illegally carrying a gun, Krys was released in May.

Krys: They take youth out of the streets and put them in these walls to do nothing. Yes, you can get an education if you take this class, if you stay write-up free, if you do this, if you do that… but in the meantime, they’re not dealing with the problem. The problem is that most of the people who are in there are in some type of pain. Their family has been hurt in some type of way. They have been hurt in some type of way. They felt like they had to hurt because somebody hurt them in some type of way. It’s a lot of pain that just ventures around this place. And that’s what people fail to realize.

Advocates want the state to release some 4,500 women the department had initially said would qualify for an early release program back in September 2011. Although the corrections department says they can’t move any faster and still maintain public safety, policy analyst Krisberg disagrees.

Krisberg: The Department of Corrections have created all kinds of innovative barriers to actually moving women into these programs. For example, they were excluding women who had restraining orders out – which seems to me makes no sense. We’re penalizing someone who’s a victim. They were excluding women who had health problems. There’s again a series of rules they’re made up that bear no relationship to good correctional policy.

In early January California governor Jerry Brown asked federal judges to lift the population ban on state prisons. On Tuesday, federal judges granted a six-month extension, giving the state until December 31 to bring its prison population down. But Governor Brown and California’s Department of Corrections want the state to lift the cap permanently – a request experts say is unlikely to be granted.

Puck Lo, FSRN, Oakland.

Medi-Cal Expansion in California: What’s at stake for communities of color?
Obama’s Affordable Care Act will be making a huge impact on California’s marginalized ethnic communities.
A new report from the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network talks about just how much:

"In California, communities of color represent 60% of the population but account for 75% of the uninsured. As a result, communities of color make up a large majority of Californians who will be newly eligible for coverage under the Medi-Cal expansion. Of the approximately 1,420,000 non-elderly adults who will be newly eligible to receive Medi-Cal, 2 out of 3 (67% or 950,000) are from communities of color."

Medi-Cal Expansion in California: What’s at stake for communities of color?

Obama’s Affordable Care Act will be making a huge impact on California’s marginalized ethnic communities.

A new report from the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network talks about just how much:

"In California, communities of color represent 60% of the population but account for 75% of the uninsured. As a result, communities of color make up a large majority of Californians who will be newly eligible for coverage under the Medi-Cal expansion. Of the approximately 1,420,000 non-elderly adults who will be newly eligible to receive Medi-Cal, 2 out of 3 (67% or 950,000) are from communities of color."

Could California’s universal gun background-checks be used as national blueprint?

California has a rigorous background-check system for everyone buying a firearm— whether from a gun show, from licensed stores, or from private dealers. Considering recent debates at the federal level, could California’s strict laws be applied nationally? And what’s more— do they work?  

Bay Area News Group: 

"When prospective gun buyers stride into California gun stores such as Ron Kennedy’s Canyon Sports in Martinez, they must swipe their driver’s licenses or state IDs. That sets off a review process that runs their names not only through the same FBI criminal database other states use but also almost 20 other sources, from mental health records to DMV data. It’s a check more rigorous than any other state’s.

California is also one of only two states — Rhode Island is the other — requiring such checks not only for purchases from licensed gun dealers, but also for all purchases at gun shows, or even if you’re just buying a gun from a neighbor.”

Four California Republican legislators joined fellow Democrats this Thursday in supporting a resolution urging the federal government to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

According to state senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres): 

"For me this is about policy, not about politics… It’s about doing the right thing, and I think this is about righting a wrong."

I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can’t be…in the locker room man. Nah.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver • Fanning the flames of controversy by saying gay players would not be welcome on the team. Culliver made the comments to comic and radio host Artie Lange. The 49ers released a statement denouncing the player’s comments: ”The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made [Tuesday], and have addressed the matter with Chris,” they said. “There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.” (via shortformblog)

(via shortformblog)

I think success would be when we can take down that sign that says our schools are a gun-free zone, or maybe change the sign — cross off gun-free and put victim-free.

California state lawmaker Tim Donnelly, who recently proposed Assembly Bill 202, which would let schools guard against shootings by arming their staff.

This coming from the man who was once detained at an Ontario airport for having a loaded gun in his carry-on bag