At long last, Friday’s here, and the good people at Gozamos thought we’d send you off into Super Bowl weekend with a review of the need-to-know news of the past week.
The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Proposal
Last week, Pres. Obama said he was planning to present his plan for immigration reform in Las Vegas on Jan. 29. The news set off a bit of commotion in the Senate, where a Gang of Eight — four Democrats and four Republicans — came together and preempted the President’s move by settling on a reform proposal of their own, which they discussed in a press conference on Monday.
This forced President Obama to do one of two things: either he could continue with his plan to present a reform proposal of his own — albeit more progressive than the one offered by the Gang of Eight, a risk politicizing the debate even further — or he could change his game plan and simply throw his support for the senators’ proposal.
Guess which one he picked?
The Shooting Death of Hadiya Pendleton
On Tuesday, Hadiya, a sophomore at King Prep High School in Chicago’s North Kenwood neighborhood, had just finished taking her final exams and was walking home with friends in the rain when an unknown gunman approached the group and opened fire, killing young Hadiya.
In a city as plagued with gun violence as Chicago, Hadiya’s tragic death might not have caught much attention north of the Eisenhower. But what made Hadiya’s case special — and what made her murder even sadder — was that Hadiya had just returned from the nation’s capital where she marched in the presidential inaugural parade.
News of the shooting reached the national spotlight as the Senate tackled the debate over gun control.
Now Chicago has been flung front and center in the debate over guns in the United States.
Just this morning, police responded to an accident on Lake Shore Drive. When they arrived, they found a van riddled with bullet holes and the female driver shot dead. State police suspect the incident was gang- and drug-related.
The Chuck Hagel Confirmation Hearing
For anyone wonkish enough to be paying attention, there were more than a few intense moments at yesterday’s Senate confirmation hearing for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, who President Obama has nominated to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. At one point, Sen. John McCain — who was endorsed for president by Sen. Hagel back in 2000, and who at the time had suggested Hagel would make a fine Defense secretary — grilled his former ally over Hagel’s opposition to the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, when he called it “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”While he received a few lumps from his former colleagues over his positions on Israel, Iran and the war on terrorism, Sen. Hagel’s still expected to win confirmation as early as next Tuesday.
The Sen. Bob Menendez Drama
The nation witnessed an historic moment when Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey succeeded soon-to-be Secretary of State John Kerry chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, becoming the first Latino to hold the influential position.
Meanwhile, the new chairman is currently under investigation by the FBI for allegedly helping a Dominican Republic business owned by his close friend and donor.
It’s also alleged that the two men hired underaged Dominican prostitutes during visits to the donor’s home.
The Latino Race Question
Finally, on a somewhat lighter note, Feb. 1 is the start of Black History Month.
Seeing as Latinos and the government are debating whether to assign Latinos to a specific racial group, is Black History Month also a Latino thing? Should we be celebrating the lives of people like Roberto Clemente, Pedro Albizu Campos, Celia Cruz and Piri Thomas along with Langston Hughes, Dr. King and Frederick Douglass?
Let us know what you think.