Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter and the Daily Caller's Mickey Kaus held a one-sided debate on Saturday that mostly served as a 50-minute screed from Coulter on the "browning of America" due to immigration.
Among other reasons to oppose reform, Coulter said: It would help Democrats.
"You want the Democrats who want more immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, because they need brand new voters, just warm bodies, more votes," she said. "Amnesty goes through, and the Democrats have 30 million new voters. I just don't think Republicans have an obligation to forgive law-breaking just because the Democrats need another 30 million voters."
The debate was ostensibly between a conservative and a liberal -- Kaus said he voted twice for President Barack Obama -- but the two speakers shared the same view on immigration. Although they discussed a variety of topics, immigration became the principal focus -- and not exactly in the softer tone many Republicans have been attempting on the issue to avoid alienating Latino voters.
On that front, Kaus wasn't much different from Coulter.
"Democrats have a perfectly good reason to be for amnesty, which is craven ethnic pandering that's going to ensure our power for the next two generations, but what is the Republican excuse?" Kaus asked while talking about Republicans who support reform.
Coulter praised 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's comments on immigration, which were widely considered to hurt his efforts to win over Latinos. She said she supported Romney because he was the "most aggressive" on immigration.
Coulter said only MSNBC seems to have noticed -- and celebrated -- the "browning of America." "But if you don't celebrate it, you're a racist," she said sarcastically.
She mocked those who are more sympathetic to undocumented immigrants, saying most undocumented people are young men who crossed the border without authorization. She also said it's wrong to claim concern about children when discussing deportations.
"It's not as if people crossing the border illegally in the back of trucks marked pico de gallo, hiding in barrels, running from the border guards -- it's not like they did not know what they were doing was wrong," she said. "Everyone acts like they stumbled into the country."
In 2012, Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett introduced an asset test for residents applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The controversial measure blocked families with more than $5,500 in assets—$9,000 for households with at least one member over 60—from signing up for the federal food stamp program, regardless of their income. It was estimated that more than 4,000 predominately elderly households would be impacted.
Just two years later, following last November’s cut to benefits and the passage of the new farm bill, which seeks to reduce food stamps by $8 billion over the next decade, Gov. Corbett has once again made an unexpected SNAP announcement: He’s joining fellow northeastern Governors Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy in heading off the drop in funding their state were set to be disproportionately hit with. Like his Democrat counterparts in New York and Connecticut, Corbett is able to maintain the SNAP benefits for some 400,000 households, which were otherwise set to lose between $60 and $65 per person every month, by boosting the heating subsidies that help qualify certain families for more food stamps. The glaring difference, however, is that Corbett is a Republican.
In “heat and eat” states like Pennsylvania, it used to be that just $1 in federal heating oil subsidies could qualify a family for additional benefits. The majority of the “savings” Congress baked into the new farm bill resulted from raising that minimum payment to $20. The new plan will allocate $8 million in federal money granted to Pennsylvania for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to bump those payments up to $20.
All in all, 17 states across the country have similar programs. Which means that if 14 other governors follow Cuomo, Malloy, and Corbett, who together are avoiding $824 million of lost benefits this years, the SNAP cuts Congress passed last month could essentially be nullified—and with federal money at that.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – A Mexican state's decision to cancel a two-day heavy metal concert with top bands like Kiss, Twisted Sister and Guns 'N Roses is drawing fire from fans and organizers, who say they suspect that political motives, corruption or discrimination are behind the move.
The Mexico state government says the March 15-16 "Hell and Heaven Metal Fest" concert planned for a fairground just east of Mexico City did not have adequate safety plans, posing a risk to concert-goers. The web pages of all three of the metal bands still showed the concert on their tour schedules.
The state sent about 300 riot police to surround the fairgrounds Friday in the township of Texcoco. The state civil defense office, and its federal counterpart, said in a statement that it had cancelled the organizers' plans "for 70,000 to 80,000 people and 50 musical groups, because safety conditions for potential concert-goers were not ensured." It cited a lack of fire safety and evacuation plans, and inadequate planning for fireworks.
But concert organizers noted that the same fairgrounds are used each year for the Texcoco International Horse Fair, which is essentially a big concert drawing crowds nearly as large, with groups that perform songs directly related to violence, like narco corridos, which celebrate the exploits of drug cartel leaders.
For decades in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, the Mexican government effectively blocked most outdoor rock concerts, apparently fearful of gatherings of rebellious youth. But in Mexico, it is drug cartel violence that has cost tens of thousands of lives in recent years.
The town of Texcoco is governed by the leftist Citizens' Movement party and still supports the Metal Fest. Town spokesman Francisco Vazquez said he believes the state government, which is in the hands of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, may have cancelled the concert for political reasons.
"I can't rule that out," said Vazquez. "This is discrimination against Texcoco."
But lingering suspicion of heavy metal in socially conservative Mexico may have played a role.
Texcoco market vendor Juan Portugues told the Milenio television network that local residents were leery of the festival. "We think that this event, this metal event, will be attended by a certain type of people, gangs will come."
Juan Carlos Guerrero, the spokesman for the concert organizers, said "I don't know if this is discrimination against the metal community, I couldn't prove that's the case, but there are some things that make you wonder, and one is that massive 'grupero' (another northern Mexico genre) concerts have been held in Texcoco, with as many as 200,000 people."
Another of the concert's organizers, Javier Castaneda, vowed the show would go on. "This is not a question of discrimination against heavy metal, it is more about political and financial interests," said Castaneda.
Much has been said trying to answer the question of why many Latinos aren't signing up for health insurance benefits under the "Obamacare" Affordable Care Act -- whether its unfamiliarity, a lack of community involvement, or fear. Or Spanish language websites that aren't actually in Spanish.
But Hispanic market research firm Santiago Solutions Group told the Washington Post on Thursday that it was a series of marketing mistakes that really failed the Obamacare push. The Latino marketing group, which has previously consulted for big healthcare clients like Cigna, Blue Cross, and HealthNet, criticizes the messages and marketing implementation by California's "Covered California" initiative for failing to reach that state's large Latino population. By Dec. 20 of last year, for example, only 13 percent of enrollees in California's healthcare exchange were Hispanic, though 38 percent of California's population is Latino.
Simple mistakes, according to Santiago Solutions Group's Bessie Ramirez, led to the lack of registrations. For example, all of the early television ads for Covered California ended by giving a web address to visit for more information, but no phone number or physical location was mentioned. Ramirez says that's an example of not understanding how the vast majority of Latinos would want to shop for such a complicated choice like health insurance.
"Hispanics are heavily on the internet, and they are growing very fast on the Internet," granted Ramirez, which, as we've previously reported, is absolutely true. "However, they're not transacting on the Internet," said Ramirez. "They transact on a personal basis. Hispanics will wait to go to a 7-11 until 11 o'clock, [if] at 11 o'clock, they know that [their friend] Juan is on duty," said Ramirez to the Washington Post.
Another big mistake was simply translating the ad messages for Obamacare into Spanish, without considering the differences in emphasis and meanings that might appeal to a Latino audience. Covered California, for example, played up the fact that Obamacare didn't allow anyone to be denied coverage on the basis of pre-existing health conditions. But as many of the Latinos Obamacare was trying to target never had health insurance, that point didn't resonate: that problem wasn't particularly important.
Another Covered California ad -- the organization's first Spanish language ad -- was a direct translation of the English ad, with healthy-looking people saying to the camera, "Welcome to a new state of health. Welcome to Covered California." The "state of health" translates correctly into Spanish-language grammar, but the double meaning in English that's meant to grab the audience's attention falls completely flat in Spanish, according to Ramirez -- leading to a dull commercial.
According to the Washington Post, California spent almost $5 million on its Spanish language ad campaign in 2013, and plans to spend more than $8 million before March 31, the final deadline to sign up for coverage.
The Mexican government wants 100,000 Mexican students to study in U.S. colleges and universities by 2018, a move that officials said would help both countries, officials said Thursday.
Currently, there are only 14,000 studying in the U.S.
"We would like to have more Mexican students in the United States and the other way around," said Sergio M. Alcocer, Undersecretary for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of México.
He spoke during a press conference at the University of Texas at El Paso.
"We think that this is a very powerful tool, not only in educational opportunities, but also to learn from each other and improve our relations," he said.
Alcocer was in El Paso to participate in a special "Potential of the Border" working group at UTEP.
The working group is part of the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research launched by U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto last year.
The goal of the bilateral forum is to expand economic opportunities for U.S. and Mexican citizens, develop a shared vision on educational cooperation, and boost student mobility and academic exchanges between the two countries.
During the working group meeting in El Paso, government representatives, academicians and business leaders discussed ways to develop a workforce that will bring more prosperity to the border region.
"They all brought a degree of commitment, goodwill and creativity," said the Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Kevin O'Reilly, who participated in the working group.
Among the ways to expand educational opportunities include student mobility, which is key for competitiveness, they said.
Alcocer said that México is working to increase its number of students in U.S. colleges and universities. The details on how to make it happen are being worked out, officials said.
The plan, called "Proyecta 100,000," aims to have 100,000 Mexican students in the United States by 2018. The plan also includes increasing the number of U.S. students going to México to 50,000 from the current number of 4,100.
UTEP has the largest number of Mexican students in the United States.
UTEP President Diana Natalicio said there are about 1,100 Mexican students enrolled, down from 1,800 in 2009 because of the "instability of the region."
Mexican students represent almost 5 percent of the enrollment at UTEP.
Natalicio said the university expects to surpass the number of students enrolled five years ago by creating opportunities for them.
The meeting at UTEP follows the bilateral forum's first working group meeting on promoting student exchange held in Mexico City in January and a second meeting addressing workforce development needs through greater higher education collaboration in February at the Northern Virginia Community College.
Subsequent working groups will focus on research and innovation, English and Spanish language acquisition, and student and scholar exchange.