Esther J. Cepeda writes a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times and three columns weekly for national newspaper syndication for the Washington Post Writers Group.
Recently on NBC's "Meet the Press," President Obama said fixing our broken immigration system is one of the top priorities of his second term. No doubt the president felt the need to reiterate this pledge after two weeks of news coverage detailing the impact his administration's unprecedented deportations have had on immigrant communities across the country. Those news features were kicked off by the Department of Homeland Security's announcement that a record 409,849 individuals were deported in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
CHICAGO -- You have to applaud the White House for its pragmatism in managing expectations the day after President Obama attended a memorial service in honor of the victims of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Press secretary Jay Carney defended not having a full agenda for what the president described as "whatever power this office holds" to prevent more tragedies such as what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School: "It's a complex problem that will require a complex solution," Carney noted. "No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem."
Eight years after the National Endowment for the Arts declared a national reading crisis, there's a sliver of good news.
For the better part of a year, I've been pulling my hair out about my kids' deep desire to guzzle sugary, high-caffeine "energy" drinks. Red Bull, Monster, MiO, Rockstar, NOS, 5-hour ENERGY — you name it, they want it.
With Election Day drawing closer, now is as good a time as any to review some recent headlines about the Latino vote. In early September, Emmy Award-winning actress America Ferrera gave attendees at a Democratic National Convention forum a hard-core reality check. "It is incredibly dangerous to take for granted that because Latinos are growing in number in this country, this is going to equal political engagement and political resolve," said Ferrera. "One doesn't automatically lead to the other."
I love Big Bird.
The last week of September was an alarming week of obesity-related news. First, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the results of its "F as in Fat" report, projecting that half of U.S. adults will be obese by 2030 unless Americans make drastic dietary changes. Then, The New York Times reported that, according to data published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, white people lacking a high school diploma are experiencing sharp drops in life expectancy, reversing generations of progress to extend life spans. There are many possible reasons, including higher rates of smoking and a spike in prescription overdoses, but the skyrocketing rate of obesity is a known suspect.
As America moves toward closing the digital divide by helping equip even the most impoverished schools with laptops, PCs, tablet computers and iPods, let us ponder the dawning of a new kind of gulf that's not based on lack of technology but the inability to use it meaningfully.
Two recent blockbuster Supreme Court decisions were seen as a loss for those who recoil at the thought of racial profiling and for those who see no difference between a penalty, a tax and a fundamental infringement on individual rights. But wherever you stand on the issues of state-based immigration enforcement or mandatory health care, the decisions are a victory for independent thinkers.
As observers outside Wisconsin attempt to divine what the failed attempt to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker means for November's presidential election, let us instead focus on what the so-called union-buster's triumph says about Big Labor. My favorite comment on the matter came via Twitter: "Please explain: why so many people I know who are in unions (trades or schoolteachers) are so excited for Walker's win?"