Obama Administration Urges Rejection Of Jan Brewer’s Appeal

PHOENIX (AP) — The Obama administration has urged a court to reject Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s appeal of a ruling that blocks the state from denying driver’s licenses to young immigrants who have avoided deportation under a change ordered by the president.

Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department told the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a filing Tuesday that the state policy is trumped by federal law. They argued the state won’t accept documents issued to the immigrants in question as proof of their legal presence in the country, yet it continues to accept such records from other immigrants. “The state has failed to identify any reason why the same documents should not similarly suffice for plaintiffs,” the Justice Department said in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a lawsuit by young immigrants who challenged the policy.

The federal government didn’t challenge the driver’s license policy, but it was asked by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to offer input on the case. In July, a three-judge panel of the court blocked the driver’s license policy and suggested the rules were intended to express hostility toward the young immigrants.

The governor is now asking for a 15-judge panel to reconsider the ruling. The Obama administration said no such review is warranted.

Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said in a statement that the filing demonstrates how lawless the Obama administration has become.

“Rather than secure U.S. borders or enforce existing federal immigration laws, the Obama administration continues to afford preference and privileges to people who enter our country illegally and whose presence is unauthorized,” Wilder said. “States, not the Obama administration, have the right to determine who is issued a driver’s license.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The Obama administration also chimed in on Tuesday on another Arizona immigration policy by urging a judge to throw out the state’s 2005 immigrant smuggling ban. The federal government argues the state smuggling law is trumped by a similar federal law, while Brewer’s attorneys contend there is no such conflict with federal law.

Brewer and the Obama administration have clashed over illegal immigration before, most notably in a federal challenge seeking to throw out Arizona’s 2010 immigration law, SB1070.

In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law’s most contentious section, requiring police to question, while enforcing other laws, the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally. Other parts, such as a requirement that immigrants carry registration, were struck down.

The state driver’s license policy was a reaction to steps the Obama administration took in June 2012 to shield thousands of immigrants from deportation and expand their legal rights. About 580,000 people have been approved to take part in the program, including about 20,000 in Arizona.

Brewer issued an executive order in August 2012 directing state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young immigrants who get work authorization under the program.

Immigrant-rights advocates argued that the state let some immigrants with work permits get driver’s licenses, but it wouldn’t let immigrants protected under Obama’s program have the same benefit.

The state revised the policy last year by saying it would stop issuing driver’s licenses to all people who receive deportation deferrals from the federal government, not just young immigrants given protection under Obama’s policy. The governor’s attorneys argued the revision makes the young immigrants’ equal-protection arguments moot.

Brewer’s attorneys have contended the decision to deny driver’s licenses grew out of liability concerns and the desire to reduce the risk of the licenses being used to improperly access public benefits.

Lawyers who sought to overturn the policy said the rule change made it difficult or impossible for such young immigrants to do essential things in their everyday lives, such as going to school, going to the grocery store and finding and holding a job.

Diversity Leads to Success in Higher Education

When the White House proclaimed the third week in September “National Hispanic Serving Institutions Week,” it articulated why we are working so hard at the University of California, Davis to secure that designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Our nation can strengthen our economy and have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020,” President Obama’s proclamation said, “but achieving this goal will require us to unlock the full talents and potential of every student.”

In California, where growth in the Latino population recently made it the state’s largest ethnic group, we are acutely aware of this imperative.

That’s why several years ago, working with our admissions staff and educational partners throughout the region, UC Davis committed itself to becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, by the 2018-19 academic year.

To be eligible, our undergraduate student body must be at least 25 percent Latino. That would make UC Davis eligible for federal funds we could then invest in a variety of programs aimed at student success.

Exact numbers won’t be available for a few more weeks, but our 2014-15 incoming freshman class — our most diverse ever — is expected to be 23.5 percent Hispanic, up from 20 percent last year. We still have work to do, just as we do in recruitment and retention of other underrepresented groups on our campus. But the overall trend lines are clear. For all UC Davis undergraduates last year, Hispanics were 18.5 percent, up from 14 percent in 2009, my first year as chancellor, and 11 percent in 2005.

We aren’t working to becoming an HSI simply to secure additional funding. We’re aggressively pursuing this goal because it’s right for the state and our kids and because our shifting demographics make it clear that if California and the U.S. are to remain competitive, we can’t afford to leave behind this growing population.

Today, more than 50 percent of California’s K-12 students are Hispanic, as are one of two youths under 18. Various projections forecast the state’s Hispanic population to move past 50 percent sometime around 2050. Among California high school graduates, Hispanics are the only ethnic group projected to show meaningful growth through the end of the decade. And according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, by 2019-20, Hispanics will make up 49 percent of California’s high school graduating class, up from 40 percent in 2008-09.

“The math is clear,” concludes a 2013 report by the Campaign for College Opportunity. “If the California economy is to have the college-educated workforce it needs, we must find ways to significantly improve college completion rates among Latinos. There is no other reasonable solution given the population dynamics of California today.”

At UC Davis, we’re approaching this challenge with multiple strategies. Proposition 209, passed by California voters in 1996, effectively banned affirmative action in college admissions. We are required to be race-neutral in admissions reviews, but we can be aggressive and strategic in recruitment and outreach.

We’ve stepped up recruitment efforts at community colleges, which already have the HSI designation. We are also signing more transfer admissions guarantees with students from those schools who want to transfer to UC Davis. Those are formal agreements that guarantee admission to UC Davis for transfer students meeting several important criteria, including specific courses completed and grades maintained.

We meet regularly with Latino middle and high school students and their families in a number of California communities to start them thinking about college and the kinds of careers a degree can help secure. Our outreach staff starts this process as early as kindergarten, working with youngsters from low-income families or families where no one has gone to college to get them excited about higher education.

As a public university, we see this as imperative for the reasons cited above. It must also be an imperative for California and our nation. We need to combine our best efforts to bring all our kids into the 21st Century global economy with the knowledge and skills they’ll require to be successful.

We also know it’s not enough to simply get more Latino students in the door. We have to make sure our students have the resources and support to do well on our campus and to graduate on time.

That’s why we have strengthened student advising, English and writing programs, tutoring, mentoring and mental health services for students who need them.

When I was an electrical engineering major in my native Greece, I was one of two women in a class of 186. I never felt welcome or had any role models or mentors. Until I got my bearings and resolved to not give up, I gave serious consideration to dropping out.

We know students and faculty do better when they have teachers to identify with and who can serve as mentors. That’s why we sought and were gratified to receive a three-year, $3.7 million National Science Foundation grant that allows us to hire additional Latina faculty in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The grant is also helping us examine institutional and cultural barriers for Latino and other underrepresented faculty, and to come up with strategies to overcome them. We are committed to transforming the university’s culture and practices around recruitment, retention and promotion of Latina women and other underrepresented STEM faculty so we become a sought-after destination for a world-class and diverse faculty.

When it comes to diversity of our faculty and students, the university has an obligation to reflect the demographics of California, while staying true to our standards of excellence in scholarship and research. We are proud of the work we’re doing to get there and confident it will pay dividends for California and its future.

Note: Chancellor Linda Katehi will speak on diversity in education in Washington D.C. Wednesday at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) Hispanic Heritage Month 2014 Public Policy Conference.

Good2Go Is An App For Consenting To Sex

Want to have safe and consensual sex? There’s an app for that.

Good2Go is a new smartphone application that encourages users to give consent before engaging in any sexual acts. The app targets college-aged adults and its creators from Sandton Technologies hope it will prevent unwanted sexual conduct by facilitating a step-by-step process to ensure both parties are on the same page.

Lee Ann Allman, president of Sandton Technologies, created Good2Go along with seven other mothers and fathers of college-aged children. The idea emerged from conversations with their children and their children’s friends about the overwhelming number of sexual assaults that happen on college campuses all over the country.


So, once a user decides she or he wants to have to sex with someone, the app works as follows:

  1. Launch and log in to Good2Go and hand the phone to your potential partner.
  2. Good2Go then asks your potential partner if she/he is ready to give consent by asking “Are we Good2Go?”
  3. The three answer options are: 1. “No, thanks”; 2. “Yes, but… we need to talk”; and 3. “I’m Good2Go.”
  4. If the potential partner decides “No, thanks” a screen pops up that says “Remember! No means No! Only Yes means Yes BUT can be changed to NO at anytime!”
  5. If the potential partner decides “No, thanks” a screen pops up that says “Remember! No means No! Only Yes means Yes BUT can be changed to NO at anytime!”
  6. If she/he decides “Yes… but we need to talk,” a small bar at the bottom reads “Let’s talk!”
  7. If the potential partner says they’re Good2Go the app asks if she/he is “Sober,” “Mildly Intoxicated,” “Intoxicated but Good2Go” or “Pretty Wasted.” If the potential partner chooses “Sober,” “Mildly Intoxicated,” “Intoxicated but Good2Go” the user can give consent, however, if she/he is “Pretty Wasted” the app says the partner cannot consent and to give the phone back to its owner.

When asked why the app informs a “Pretty Wasted” user that she/he can’t consent (even though they’re sober enough to be using Good2Go), Allman told The Huffington Post in an email: “If someone answers ‘I’m Pretty Wasted’ the app will not allow an affirmative consent answer even though they probably aren’t at the legal threshold of incapacitation. We have set a higher bar concerning sobriety than the law defines.”

Allman also made it very clear that the purpose of the app is to teach young people “the language of affirmative consent.” “If the app becomes a tool that is adopted across campuses, we believe that it will reduce sexual assaults, unwanted or regretted encounters,” she said.

good2go av screenshot

These days, it seems like there’s an app for everything, so why wouldn’t there be one to facilitate consent? But some are skeptical about whether Good2Go could actually prove effective at combatting sexual assault.

As Slate’s Amanda Hess pointed out the app doesn’t clarify what kind of sex people are consenting to: “Good2Go is obviously a euphemism for sexual activity, but it’s not clear what that means exactly — is it making out, oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or anal sex, and with protection or not?”

When asked about this gap, Allman told HuffPost that, “Affirmative consent should be asked for and given for all sexual acts, no matter what they are. This should be part of the conversation that they will have as part of using the app.”

Molly Mirhashem from The New Republic also criticized the app, writing that “situations where consent is often misunderstood or disregarded — one or both parties being intoxicated, ‘implied’ consent within relationships — will not be addressed with this or any app.”

While Good2Go’s structure could be helpful in making sure that there’s no miscommunication between two parties, it doesn’t necessarily allow for any of the gray area that exists in real life sexual situations and conversations. For example, the app doesn’t address exactly what you and your partner are comfortable (or not comfortable) doing in the bedroom.

HuffPost spoke to the managing attorney of the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) Colby Bruno to find out if the 11-year veteran of the field thinks this app could be useful on college campuses. Overall, she seemed hopeful.

“Anything that helps students get to a mutual understanding is important for consent,” Bruno told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “If it helps just one student or one couple with understanding what they’re about to do then terrific.”

If young people are willing to use it, Good2Go could definitely signal a step in the right direction.

Bruno put it perfectly, stating: “There are clearly flaws [with Good2Go], but if it brings some consciousness to the issue [of consent] then fantastic. Why not?”

To download the app for free go to iTunes or Google Play.

H/T Slate

Lessons the U.S. Can Learn From Cuba and the Ebola Crisis

A story I read on Cuba’s sending 300 additional medical personnel to Africa to help with the Ebola epidemic made a great impression on me. Published in Telesur English, the piece read, in pertinent part:

Cuba, which has about 50,000 health workers stationed across the world, received accolades from the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) for its effort against Ebola, last week, when it already had the largest foreign medical team fighting the killer virus in West Africa, consisting of 62 doctors and 103 nurses.

The U.S. has sent 3,000 troops to Liberia as part of its response to Ebola, which it considers a matter of national security. In addition, the U.S. pledged 65 clinicians and support staff, to treat infected health care workers, but not civilians.

The import of these few lines is great. Cuba, a poor country with a population smaller than the metropolitan area of New York City and a country under a 50-year embargo imposed by the U.S., is sending more medical staff to combat the Ebola virus than any other country and a multiple of what the U.S. is sending. And, as is quite typical, the U.S.’s chief contribution is the sending of soldiers. This is a repeat of the situation in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake when the U.S. sent 14,000 soldiers while Cuba and Venezuela, with doctors already on the ground, have been the backbone of the effort to fight the ensuing cholera epidemic.

The U.S.’s decision to send soldiers to fight disease says it all. Every problem to the U.S. — a country which is armed to the teeth and which has become the proverbial hammer of the world — looks like a nail. This state of affairs has become dangerous for the world which fears the U.S. more than any other country, and for the U.S. itself which has been drained of treasure and the blood of its young fighting men and women who have been sent to fight far-flung wars which, let’s face it, have largely caused more problems than they have solved.

Just to recap a few of its latest military adventures, the U.S. mobilized and supported Islamic extremists in Afghanistan to fight the Marxist government there in the late 1970s, and then to combat the Soviets who invaded just as the U.S. had intended they would, only to be attacked by some of those extremists, including Osama bin Laden, in 2001. The U.S. has been involved in a war in Afghanistan since 2001 against the Taliban which naturally grew out of the extremist movement the U.S. helped organize back in the 1970s to ostensibly fight communism. Meanwhile, the U.S. fought two major wars in Iraq to combat (at least allegedly) aggression and terrorism, only to unleash much more terrorism in that country — terrorism which we are now again mobilizing to fight. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. began secretly backing and inciting Islamic extremists in Syria in order to undermine the government there. And now, frightened by these extremists, the U.S. is now planning to attack them. Finally, the U.S. watches as Libya collapses and is overrun by extremists as a direct consequence of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Libyan government in 2012.

As a consequence of all of this war-making, the U.S. is trillions of dollars poorer and the world is more insecure than ever. We have truly reaped a whirlwind from our own violence, and shall continue to until it is stopped by the only force that can make it stop — the American people.

Meanwhile, little Cuba, with the help of Venezuela, sends doctors throughout the world to combat disease, and is winning the world’s praise as a result. Maybe the U.S., instead of vilifying Cuba and Venezuela, should learn a lesson from them. Instead of trying to combat every problem, real and imagined, with military might, the U.S. may wish to solve problems more constructively — by engaging with other countries and peoples peacefully and helping to alleviate their poverty and their illness. Is it possible that such a course of action, prescribed by the Judeo-Christian values we claim to espouse, might lead the world to hate us less and dry up the recruitment of young men and women by extremist groups? Certainly, this could be no less effective than the violent means we have chosen to use for these too many decades.

The Latino Agenda: Building a Strong Middle Class

When lawmakers, policy experts and advocates gather this week in Washington for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual policy summit, they will be discussing passing common sense immigration reform, accessing affordable health care, earning a living wage, and living in a clean environment. These are the issues that Latinos care about most.

• Time and again, immigration is shown to be the top issue for Latinos. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that when Latinos go to the voting booth this year, they will be considering the candidates’ position on immigration.

• Defending Obamacare from those who threaten to weaken it is imperative. Because of Obamacare, 10.2 million uninsured Latinos have new opportunities for affordable health insurance coverage. This increased access to affordable healthcare is essential to ensuring that Latino families never have to choose between economic hardship and lifesaving medicine.

• Earning a living wage is the foundation for strong families and a strong middle class. According to an AFL-CIO study, nearly 6.8 million Latino workers would benefit if Congress raises the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. While Latinos comprise 16 percent of the country’s workforce, they make up nearly one-quarter of the workers who would be positively affected by raising the minimum wage.

• Overwhelmingly, Latinos believe that our leaders must address climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels. According to a recent poll conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council by Latino Decisions, nine in 10 Latinos want the government to take action and address the dangers of global warming and climate change. And 92 percent of Latinos favor the use of clean renewable energy such as solar or wind as a step for reducing or fighting climate change.

While finding solutions to each of these diverse issues is critical to the Latino community, they are not merely “Latino issues.” Instead, they are American issues that must be part of the national dialogue and effectively addressed by policy makers so that our country moves forward, stronger and more reflective of its people. Simply put, we must work beyond partisan gridlock and do what is best for our nation as a whole. Through the enormous power of the collective Latino voice we can affect change for our entire country. Together, we can lift the voices of Latinos at the ballot box and beyond to the policy debates currently facing our country.

The vision of the Latino Victory Project is to realize the full political power of our community by closing the voting gap and engaging more Latino donors and electing Latino leaders to every level of government in order to advance policies that reflect our values. Through this lens, the United States is a land of opportunity where immigrants come out of the shadows, our air and water are cleaner and safer, and we are healthier and better off with access to healthcare. This is the American dream and it has never been more within our reach. Now is the time.

My ‘Aha’ Education Moment

I was a poor student throughout primary and secondary school, and even in college. There was always something about the formal structure of the process of learning that never appealed to me. Perhaps it was just contrary to my nature, or maybe it was that I never quite managed to fully “catch up” after falling so far behind in my early school years due to my poor command of the English language.

Not long after my parents and I first moved to the United States from Honduras, I was placed in a kindergarten class, and I distinctly recall images of the teacher and children in the room speaking but me not able to comprehend what they were saying. They were obviously speaking in English, but I spoke only Spanish. It wasn’t traumatic exactly, but it was surreal and unnerving at the time. I quickly learned English, but it wasn’t until second grade that I recall being able to truly understand what the teacher was trying to communicate.

I cannot recall anything particularly inspirational or transformative about my formal education. I never failed a grade, and I graduated from college in four years, but I never developed a love of reading, writing, and “book learning.” I simply got by — often solely on the weight of my cleverness or natural creative abilities.

Amazingly, it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s when I went to work as a legislative correspondent on Capitol Hill for Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico that I began to hone my writing skills and develop genuine interest in the world around me. It took me that long. But fortunately I was a quick study. I read tens of thousands of constituent letters on a wide range of issues, and I learned how to efficiently research and speedily analyze and craft thoughtful responses to them.

If I had to pick out a transformative moment in my education, it would be the day I was tasked to write a brief memo for Senator Domenici. The issue was about providing military assistance to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. I was told by the legislative director that I had one day to write the memo and provide a recommendation on how the senator should vote and why. In other words, I had to become an expert on the subject in one day.

I spent hours researching, and all night writing the memo. The next morning, I walked into the legislative director’s office with my four-page memo. I was proud of what I had managed to accomplish in such a short time. As my boss flipped through the pages, I could see her head slowly shaking. She barely looked up at me. “Too long,” she said. “The senator will never read through all of this. Cut it down.”

“Cut it down”? Was she kidding me? Four pages already seemed like very little to me, given the immense scope of the issue. Off I went for a second a draft.

I returned a couple of hours later with my two-page memo. Again, she scanned the work. “Still too long,” she said.

My jaw must have dropped. Keep in mind that throughout my high school and college years, I had been led to believe that the more I wrote, the better. All those 10- and 20-page term papers were suppose to have been a good thing. If I didn’t have a thorough understanding of the topic, I could at least count on getting credit for bulk.

Not anymore. In the real world, I was dealing with a new paradigm of less being better — which meant that the quality of the limited content had to be outstanding.

Two hours later, I was back with my one-pager. But it was a very full one page.

“Still too much,” she said. “The senator will be leaving his office to vote on this issue in an hour. He’ll need to be able to read the memo, digest it, and make up his mind between the time he walks out the door, down the hallway, and gets on the elevator.”

“Half a page,” she said.

Half a page on the military and political situation in Nicaragua, the geopolitical significance of it to the U.S., the communist threat posed by the ruling Sandinista party, the identity of the Contras and their chances for overthrowing the Sandinistas, and a recommendation on the wisdom of aiding or not aiding the Contras.

I had one hour.

I finished my half-page memo, and it was approved. The director and I caught up with the senator as he was walking out the door. The senator read the memo as he was walking. He asked me a couple of questions. “OK,” he said, as he got onto the elevator and rushed off to the Capitol.

That’s when I started to become a good writer and to develop a love for the art. All that high-priced formal education up to that point? Mostly details.

‘Selfie,’ ‘Manhattan Love Story’ And The New Fall Comedies To Embrace And Avoid

Recently, I posted a roundup of reviews of the new dramas on the broadcast networks, and that list of capsule reviews was preceded by some thoughts on the State of the Network Drama.

This roundup doesn’t require much of an introduction, because all you really need to know is that most of the new fall comedies are not that great. (And far too many of them have burly, bearded, often red-haired friends wandering around for no particular reason. Why this crime against gingers, television? Why?)

There are a few bright-ish spots (including “Black-ish,” which I’ve already reviewed), but generally, the comedies I’ll watch on the broadcast networks this fall will be the returning gems. The new stuff is constrained by something critic Alan Sepinwall has repeatedly (and rightly) complained about: Networks want high-concept premises for their comedies, but those premises often hobble attempts to make the shows good in the long term.

Of course, many of the good network comedies airing currently were once were struggling newbies, so there’s a chance these shows could turn things around. Except for “Manhattan Love Story,” that is, which needs to fall into a subway grate and not come out again.

“Selfie,” 8:00 p.m. ET Tuesday, ABC: Karen Gillan is a treasure, and it’s only by dint of her presence that this comedy works some of the time. Yet in a larger sense, “Selfie” does not really work, because there are a lot of unpleasant and judgmental elements lurking in its premise. Gillan plays Eliza, a social-media loving career gal who is continually shamed regarding every aspect of her existence, and John Cho plays Henry, an executive who takes on the allegedly arduous task of making her over. It’s fine that Eliza’s self-absorption is called out, but the big problem with “Selfie” is that it doesn’t make it clear that Henry is just as much in need of a personality intervention, and thus all the “comedy” leans on jibes at the expense of Gillan’s character. Ultimately, the whole enterprise comes off as shrill and mean-spirited, though given the talent of the cast and given that Emily Kapnek (“Suburgatory”) is at the helm, I’m hoping this show is able to course correct. #TryAgain

“Manhattan Love Story,” 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, ABC: This annoying show is not quite as drenched in dumb and/or sexist assumptions as “Mixology,” but that is the lowest possible bar to clear. Much of my podcast rant about this show centered on its highly questionable casting: Jake McDorman is a bland dudebro with little presence; Analeigh Tipton is equally charisma-free. Together they both fail to enliven this generally lunkheaded material, which tries for rom-com lightness but falls conspicuously flat at every turn. Did you know that women like purses and men like breasts? Would you like to watch a comedy in which these observations are treated as amusing revelations? Didn’t think so. This show is part of a rom-com trendlet on the broadcast networks, a mini-trend that is wobbly at best and has made me recommend a much better option in this arena: FX’s “You’re the Worst,” which has all the specificity and intelligence many of these shows lack.

“Bad Judge,” 9:00 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC: Nope. The likable and skilled Kate Walsh tries hard to make this strained comedy work, but it keeps resorting to broad gags and dopey jokes, and, just to mix things up, every so often it lunges at sincerity. None of it lands, unfortunately. The show can’t really make up its mind about whether Walsh’s irresponsible-judge character is someone to emulate or dislike, and in any event, there just aren’t many laughs here. Motion denied.

“A to Z,” 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC: Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti are good actors and undeniably adorable together in this competent pilot, so I’m hoping this high-concept comedy will turn out to be one of the new season’s few comedy keepers. The voiceover narration, supplied by Katey Sagal, states that the show will chronicle the entire duration of the couple’s relationship (though I’m sure the producers will find ways to extend the show if it does well). There’s a bit of “How I Met Your Mother” DNA here (let’s hope it’s the good strands of that DNA), but this is basically a much tamer, constricted version of “You’re the Worst.” Still, the charm of its cast and, ideally, sharp writing from the NBC show could keep it afloat.

“Mulaney,” 9:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Fox: Who thought this particular format — a multi-camera comedy loaded with unamusing stock characters — would work for John Mulaney? I have been scratching my head over that question for a couple weeks, and I’m no closer to an answer. Mulaney’s standup work and his “Saturday Night Live” resume reveal that he’s a very funny guy, but this contrived, airless comedy is not a good vehicle for him, nor is there much enjoyment to be found in the show’s musty supporting characters (a bitchy female friend, a gay neighbor whose characterization is so full of stereotypes as to be offensive, a Black Friend, a burly, bearded friend, etc.). John Mulaney should be part of comedy ventures that many people see — as long as they’re not this show.

“Cristela,” 8:30 p.m. ET Oct. 10, ABC: I am glad this solid and confident show exists and I hope it succeeds. That said, it’s made for people who like multi-camera sitcoms and family-oriented sitcoms, and I have never gravitated toward either of those things. The good news is, comic Cristela Alonzo created the show based on her own experiences, and it rings with the kind of authenticity you don’t often find on family sitcoms. Alonzo is smart, knows what works for her, and she and co-creator Kevin Hench have crafted a vehicle that serves her very well. I won’t often be checking in, because this kind of thing just isn’t my cup of tea, but this is well done and I hope “Cristela” runs for a long time.

“Marry Me,” 9:00 p.m. ET Oct. 14, NBC: I am going to stick with this show and I have reasonably high hopes for it, even though the pilot is on the manic side (especially the first few minutes, which are frankly grating). Executive producer David Caspe and one of the show’s stars, Casey Wilson, are veterans of the late “Happy Endings,” which I still miss a lot, and flashes of that show’s skewed/sweet vibe come through here and there in the first episode of “Marry Me.” More good news: Ken Marino co-stars as Jake, the would-be fiancé of Annie (Wilson), and he’s been in too many wonderful comedy project to count, and he (like Wilson) is very good here. The pilot is high-strung but basically acceptable, and I’ll keep watching in the well-founded hopes that it will find consistently entertaining groove and use its fine cast (which includes Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinsky as Annie’s dads) as well as “Happy Endings” used its fab ensemble.

“The McCarthys,” 9:30 p.m. ET Oct. 30, CBS: As previously noted, CBS is in the habit of snatching up fantastic actors of a certain age and putting them in unthreatening, formulaic shows. The latest in that nest-egg crowd is Laurie Metcalf, who, in this tame comedy, plays the matriarch of a Boston family that is obsessed with sports. One son comes out as gay, a development that occupies much of the pilot, but it’ll likely be a typical CBS sitcom going forward: full of broad characters and predictable moments but reasonably amusing and decently made. The main thing I appreciated about this pilot was Joey McIntyre’s epic Bah-ston accent.

Ryan McGee and I discussed “Selfie,” “Mulaney” and “Manhattan Love Story” in a recent Talking TV podcast, which is here, on iTunes and below.

Tom Perez Dodges Questions About Succeeding Eric Holder

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, regarded as a possible contender to fill the shoes of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, remained quiet as to whether he would consider the position in a Tuesday interview with HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill.

“Eric set a tone. That we were going to put the ‘J’ back in DOJ,” Perez said on Tuesday, praising Holder.

“Holder will go down as one of the best attorneys general in the history of the department,” Perez said.

When asked about rumors that Perez could fill Holder’s position, he said, “I don’t follow the word on the street.” He went on to say, “I don’t think about hypotheticals … I love my job and I love the work I’m doing.”

Perez was confirmed as labor secretary in 2013 on a party-line vote after he served as the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

Watch Perez’s full interview above.

Delayed Executive Action Threatens to Shatter an Ohio Family



The recent announcement by the Obama administration to delay the promised executive action on immigration will affect millions of hardworking individuals and their families. Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants will be deported while we wait for the president to bring some sanity to a broken immigration system.

One family in Ohio deeply understands the dire consequences of delay. Seleste Wisniewski, an American citizen, is desperately worried that her husband, Pedro Hernandez Ramirez, may be deported in the coming days. Pedro, who has lived and worked in the U.S. for more than a decade, was just notified that his yearlong stay of deportation had been canceled and he would be sent back to Mexico soon. Pedro is ineligible to be sponsored by his U.S. citizen wife because he has been in this country out of status for too long.

The biggest impact of Pedro’s deportation would be felt by their four U.S. citizen children–particularly Juan, 24, who has severe cerebral palsy. Pedro is the only one in their home who can lift Juan in and out of his wheelchair, bed, and bath. The family also depends on Pedro’s income from working in a landscape nursery.

In a recent story in The New York Times, Seleste asked an urgent question of Obama and the politicians who convinced him to delay action: “Why are we going to wait until later to fix a problem we have today?”

Seleste has been advocating on behalf of her husband publicly for the last year, when Pedro was detained in a county jail and days away from deportation before he received a stay. He returned to his family, and ever since they have been hoping that Washington would act in time to spare him. When Congress failed to move forward this spring, Seleste and Pedro were relieved to hear President Obama promise to provide some relief “by summer’s end.” Now that broken promise could have a shattering impact on their family.

The recent delay has been devastating for the entire family. Their 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, said that Pedro is the “glue” keeping the family together and the one who teaches her “right from wrong.” Their five-year-old son loves to play basketball with his dad but lives in fear that he will be taken away again–this time forever.

Seleste knows they are “in a race against time.” She doesn’t understand why she has to “choose between her husband and her country.” She is pleading with President Obama to act as quickly as possible to ensure that her family stays together.

This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.