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MondayDecember 20, 2010

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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1st Annual Virtual Book Drive for Latino Children

Grupo Nelson joins efforts with LATISM to announce the first annual Virtual Book Drive as a way for members and supporters to unite nationally and work toward a common goal to give US Latinos, and Latino children in particular,  access to books.

From December 20 to December 31st, 2010, Grupo Nelson and Latinos in Social Media ask you to nominate your favorite library via Twtpoll. The national goal is for at least 500 books for a library members choose.

Why does Latino literacy matter?  Illiteracy is linked to nearly every major socioeconomic crisis today.  Children who cannot read are statistically more likely as adults to suffer poor health, struggle in the job market, rely on government assistance, and find themselves in the criminal justice system.

With 1 out of 5 children in the country being Latinos and Latino educational levels reaching the point of a national crisis, it is imperative that something to promote reading and support the faltering library system. Our future as a culture and as a nation depends on it.

Education, and reading as an integral part of it, is the biggest challenge the community faces right now.

Please nominate your favorite library here and tell us why it should win. The library with the most votes will get ALL books collected during our drive, courtesy of our partnering sponsors, publishers and authors, including Grupo Nelson, Raul Ramos y Sanchez, and many more.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Develop Visual Impairments Like Blindness at a Higher Rate than General Population

Latinos have higher rates of developing visual impairment, blindness, diabetic eye disease, and cataracts than non-Hispanic whites, researchers found. These are the first estimates of visual impairment and eye disease development in Latinos, the largest and fastest growing minority population in the United States.

The research was part of the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES), which was supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. LALES began in 2000 as the nation’s largest and most comprehensive study of vision in Latinos.

In the current phase of LALES, researchers examined more than 4,600 Latinos four years after they initially enrolled in the study to determine the development of new eye disease and the progression of existing conditions, including visual impairment, blindness, diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.

LALES researchers found that over the four-year interval, Latinos developed visual impairment and blindness at the highest rate of any ethnic group in the country, when compared with estimates from other U.S. population-based studies. Overall, nearly 3 percent of Latinos developed visual impairment and 0.3 percent developed blindness in both eyes, with older adults impacted more frequently. Of Latinos age 80 and older, 19.4 percent became visually impaired, and 3.8 percent became blind in both eyes.

U.S. Latinos were also more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than non-Hispanic whites. Over the four-year period, 34 percent of Latinos who had diabetes developed diabetic retinopathy, with Latinos aged 40 to 59 having the highest rate. Though increasing age did not play a role, Latinos with a longer duration of diabetes were more likely to develop the disease. In fact, 42 percent of Latinos with diabetes for more than 15 years developed diabetic retinopathy. Also, among participants who had diabetic retinopathy at the beginning of the study, 39 percent showed worsening of the disease four years later.

Researchers found that Latinos who already had visual impairment, blindness, or diabetic retinopathy in one eye when they began the study had very high rates of developing the condition in the other eye during the study. More than half of participants who already had diabetic retinopathy in one eye developed it in the other eye.

In addition, LALES showed that Latinos were more likely to develop cataracts in the center of the lens (10.2 percent) than the edge of the lens (7.5 percent). Many of these lens changes were age-related, as 50 percent of Latinos age 70 and older developed cataracts in the center of the lens.

Read more at National Eye Institute →

Faces of the Dream Act:  Bernard Pastor

Faces of the Dream Act:  Bernard Pastor

Photo: Bernard Pastor at a high school football game with friends.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Bernard Pastor of Ohio was detained over a month ago when, after a minor traffic accident, police officers discovered he was an undocumented immigrant and he was sent to immigration detention. Friday, he was finally released just in time for a last minute DREAM Act push.

The 18-year-old Guatemalan has lived in the U.S. since he was three years old, and like many, has never called anywhere else home. Pastor graduated high school with honors, was a star soccer player, and says he’s always considered himself American.

Once detained Pastor faced removal to Guatemala, but thanks to a request for deferred status filed by his attorney, Pastor’s deportation has been put off indefinitely, and is out of jail.

Upon his release, along with his supporters and fellow DREAMers, Pastor rushed to Washington D.C. to promote the DREAM Act, though sadly, DREAMers and their supporters saw the bill fail in the Senate Friday.

Though the bill failed to advance, DREAMers are still excited to know Pastor is free.

An excerpt from a letter Bernard Pastor wrote while detained by ICE:

A day of sorrow is better than a day of joy because through pain the heart is mended; it is through my difficulties that I learn. I have always known that each of us is here to be a history maker. This is true regardless of one’s station in life. All I can hope is that I serve as an example for others to understand the great injustices carved into the fabric of our broken immigration system. I pray that my example helps…others who find themselves in my shoes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Winning the Diversity Lottery: Not Always the American Dream

When many think of someone getting the opportunity to come to the U.S. legally, they think of all the great advantages that await them in such a prosperous country, but for the winners of The Diversity Lottery, “winning” doesn’t always feel that way. Paying almost $700 each just to enter the lottery, thousands more to get here if they do win, and entering the U.S. with little or no money, and just praying for employment, many find winning the lottery a lot more difficult than expected.

Each year, the U.S. State Department offers “Green Cards” to 50,000 people by ways of a lottery. It is designed to give those from countries with low rates of immigration to U.S. the chance to come to the America.

Help for lottery winners is virtually non-existent. Unlike immigrants who are “sponsored” by companies or family members, lottery winners tend to arrive in the U.S. with nothing, know no one, and have most likely spent every dime just getting to the country. Without any help, family or friends to inform them of what to expect, many immigrants find themselves “thrown into the deep end” like the Nepalese family, the Regmis, who have been torn apart physically and emotionally having never expected “winning the lottery” to be a bad thing.

Having spent their last $14,000 (US) to obtain lottery entries and arrive in the U.S. after winning, the Regmis have been through the ringer. Leaving Nepal to give their 21-year-old son an opportunity to study computer engineering in the U.S., they left behind everything they knew.

Today, after moving numerous times, struggling to pay for a place to live, and health problems, the Regmis are just one of many families whose lives have changed, and not necessarily for the better.

The family often feel unsafe where they live, but have no where else to go. One night, as their son was walking home from work, he was mugged at gunpoint.

So while the lottery was intended to give immigrants a great opportunity, without help on the other side here in the U.S., it can often have disastrous outcomes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Who’s Been Naughty or Nice:  Latin Entertainment Journalists Will Tell You

The Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (ALPE) presented former talk show host Cristina Saralegui with the Trajectory award, and bestowed Cuban raper Pitbull with the “Friend of the press award.” Luis Miguel also received a mention, but not a glamorous one as he got voted “Least amiable” with the press.

Saralegui was honored for her 21 years of service to the entertainment television industry, her 12 emmy awards and the more than 4,000 episodes of her show.

The Friend of the Press Award was given to Pitbull for his kindness and cooperation with the press. The artist wasn’t able to attend the ceremony in Miami, as he had previous commitments, but sent a video thanking members of the Association.

Luis Miguel. Ay, Luis Miguel. His diva attitude and the way he treated and bossed around press staff during the release party for his latest album in Las Vegas earned him the Least Friendly Celebrity Award. 

For those of you who thought that last month’s beef with Shakira was the Colombian hottie’s fault, think again.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS: Kidnappers Free Politician Diego Fernández de Cevallos in Mexico, After 7 Months

Former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos was freed this Monday after 7 months of captivity. He is healthy though a little weak after surviving the longest kidnapping in the history of México.

The politician said upon returning to his home that “As far as the kidnappers are concerned, as a man of faith I have forgiven (them),” he said, looking fit as he stood in a gray sweatshirt and pants outside his luxurious Mexico City home. “As a citizen, I think that the authorities have a task to do, but without abuses.” He declined further comments, and refused to answer reporter’s questions, limiting his statements to “I feel okay, thank God, I’m strong and my life will continue the same. I have so many reasons to thank so many close people and strangers, that I feel I should write a novel for you”

In his brief comments to reporters, however, the politician did not identify his captors or their motives. Nor did he comment on whether any ransom had been paid.

Fernández de Cevallos had been missing since May, when his vehicle was found near his ranch in the central state of Queretaro

The politician’s car was found near his ranch on May 15, and blood was found at the scene.

Five days later, photos of a blindfolded, grim-faced, bare-chested man resembling Fernández de Cevallos appeared on Twitter. Two days after that, his family released a statement to the news media asking authorities to “stay out of this process in order to help the negotiation.”

HS-News wishes to welcome Fernández back to freedom.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oprah Celebrates the end of her Aussie Tour With a Mexican Party… In Australia?

Oprah Winfrey spent all of last week helping to sell Australia to the world as the ginormous island is looking for new ways to recover from a sharp fall in tourism.

ImageTo illustrate the current situation of tourism, Hugh Jackman performed a sharp fall onto the stage at the Sydney Opera House where the show was taped. Rusell Crowe, Jay Z, Nicole Kidman and husband Nick Urban made appearances in the show, and last weekend, after all the hullabaloo of taping a show in the other side of the globe,  a good friend of Oprah’s—Megan Castran threw a party in her honor.

That’s when things started going a bit twilight zone, When in Rome, do as the Romans. But in Australia, do as the Mexicans; what’s the best way to celebrate a VIP in Australia?

A Mexican party.  More precisely, a ‘Taco Party.’ Complete with piñatas, guacamole, tacos, sombreros and the two bottles of Partida tequila that Oprah showed up with.

Ever since this whole Australia tour deal, we’ve been dying to photoshop Oprah inside the pouch of a kangaroo, or a kangaroo inside Oprah’s mouth since she said “I have named myself the unofficial ambassador for Australia and I have the biggest mouth on earth,” last Tuesday to a crowd gathered in Sydney.

But fortunately for us, we didn’t have to photoshop absolutely anything.

Below, the delightfully bizarre dessert at the taco party:


Yes, that is a Oprah-riding-a-kangaroo-riding-a-pumpkin cake. Ornamented with three jalapeños, three olives, some garlic cloves and a miniature boomerang.

Que güey, mate.





Read more by HS News Staff →

School Closings by North Carolina School Board Bring Up Racial Questions

The Charlotte, North Carolina school board, in response to a grim financial outlook, has voted to close a number of schools. However, all the schools up for closure are predominantly filled with Latino and black students.

The Southern city’s board voted to close 10 schools last month, but with the board being predominantly white, in a district that is 33 percent white, but 95 percent of the students in the closing schools…are not white, which has parents and students rather perturbed.

The area already has a long history of racial discourse, and the school closings seem to have reignited that fire.

School board chairman, Eric C. Davis believes that all 10 schools voted to close have two issues. The first being low academic performance, and the second, empty classroom space. Davis adds that families in the suburbs were paying a price for the added attention at the inner-city schools, and says, given the predicted budget shortfall—estimated to reach $100 million next year – it makes more sense to save money for better, more successful teachers and to close down the underused campuses.

The school board claims the suburban schools were hurting due to the best teachers and principals being sent to help the struggling inner-city schools. More money was also being sent to the lower performing schools while the suburban schools were overcrowded.

Parents had taken issue with the board’s decision from day one, especially since they presented what they believed to be viable alternatives. It has been suggested to the board that they redraw the attendance boundaries in the area so that the unused classrooms in the inner-city could be filled with kids from the admittedly overcrowded suburban schools. What has also been hard for the parents to swallow is the fact that the majority of “white schools” originally on the closure list were taken off by the board.

Parent DeAndre Alex, the mother of high school freshman Deon—who would have to attend a school nine miles away next year, instead of the closing one just one mile away – said, “What this is doing is awakening a beast in hibernation. The civil rights movement.”

Read more at Los Angeles Times →

Colombian Shakira, now an Author With Dora the Explorer Story “World School Day Adventure” (VIDEO)

Colombian Shakira, now an Author With Dora the Explorer Story “World School Day Adventure” (VIDEO)

Photo: Shakira Dora

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Colombian singer and philanthropist Shakira Mebarak has written a children’s book called “World School Day Adventure.”

In the book, Dora goes on multiple adventures with her partner, Boots, and Shakira in an effort to collect school supplies and other needed materials that are not available to children in places like Ethiopia.

In addition, the pop star recorded a song featuring the animated explorer

“It was an honor to work with Nickelodeon to write this story since education is a cause dear to my heart,” Shakira said at a press release from publishing firm Grupo Editorial Norma, which published the book.

Revenue from the book, a hard cover edition, with gorgeous illustrations by Kellee Riley and Kuni Tomita, will be donated to the “Pies Descalzos” foundation, Shakira’s non-profit organization whose mission is to make sure children receive an education since they’re toddlers. Image

“The children from all over the world need to know that through knowledge and education, one can embark on great adventures.” Said Shakira of her book, labeled as “An Inspiration” by Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

“World School Day Adventure” is available on Amazon for $11.50.

Read more by HS News Staff →

El Salvador Most Water-Stressed Country in Latin America

According to recent studies like the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), El Salvador will be the most water-stressed country in Central America in the future.

Population growth and climate change in the Central America region are driving this dire prediction.  Water demand is expected to grow by 300 percent by 2050 in the region.  To compound the problem the availability of renewable water could fall from current levels by 63 percent.

The study “The Economics of Climate Change in Central America: 2010” shows that El Salvador will be most negatively effected followed by Honduras and Nicaragua.  El Salvador is also the most deforested country in Latin America. 

The Central America region contributes a small part of the world’s green house gases emission, the leading cause of climate change, but is the most vulnerable to its negative effects. 

Read more at IPS →

Annoying Orange’s Mexican Friend: Jalapeño (VIDEO)

Remember the annoying orange video from our Top 10 YouTube videos of 2010 post? Well it’s back, and now spicier than ever!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Trending On Twitter Ranked by Number of Followers


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Read more at Listorious →

Secretary Napolitano Makes Second Statement on Border Patrol Agent’s Death

In response to the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made another statement Friday.

In her statement, she explained that Terry and his squad of elite Border Patrol agents were pursuing what is called a “rip crew” when Agent Terry was shot and killed last week.

A “rip crew” is the name given to gangs/groups that seek to rip off people being used as drug mules or those crossing the border illegally.

Napolitano’s statement was the first confirming that Terry and his fellow BP agents were chasing these bandits when the 40-year-old was killed near Rio Rico, Arizona on the night of December 14th.

While four suspects were apprehended, the search still continues for a fifth.

Citing that the investigation was ongoing, the former Arizona Gov. declined to comment further on Terry’s death, but she did acknowledge the work of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Here’s the message that I gave to our Border Patrol agents down there, which is that the work they are doing is producing very, very strong results,” said Napolitano. “And you can see that in every metric…There is no doubt that that border, which I know very well, having dealt with it since ‘93, when I became U.S. attorney here, is a very different place than it was five years ago, six years ago.”

She added that Agent Terry’s death, and that of rancher Robert Krentz, should not lead anyone to assume that drug violence is on the rise.

Read more at USA Today →

Horoscope For Monday December 20, 2010

Horoscope For Monday December 20, 2010

Photo: Horoscope

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CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Jonah Hill, 27; David Cook, 28; Nicole de Boer, 40; Joel Gretsch, 47

Happy Birthday: You can make some remarkable headway if you prepare well and make strategic moves. Action is required if you want to change your world. Sound plans will bring you the success you are looking for, but impulsive, extravagant desires will be your downfall. Consider what you really need and want and eliminate everything else. Your numbers are 3, 9, 14, 26, 31, 44, 46

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Get into a festive mood. Enjoy the company of peers, friends and family. Don’t limit what you can do because of what someone says or does. Don’t make a rash move that you’ll live to regret. 4 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Talk over plans you have for the new year with business and personal partners. The more you discuss now, the easier it will be to turn your plans into a reality. By helping someone else, you’ll be helping yourself. 3 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Making a rash decision or move due to an emotional whim will turn into a disaster. Watch how you spend your cash. Budget your lifestyle and your responsibilities wisely. Now is not the time to be frivolous. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Keep your thoughts to yourself, especially if you are feeling emotional about the situation you face. A poor decision made at work can cause some uncertainty with regard to your future. Love is in the stars. 3 stars

Read more by HS News Staff →



Photo: Dear Abby

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DEAR ABBY: I have two small grandsons. They asked me why Santa Claus begs for money in front of the shopping mall. I was shocked by the question and didn’t know what to tell them. So I said it was to get toys for all the other boys and girls.
My grandsons also asked me if Santa goes to bingo. I gave them the same answer. My daughter (their mom) was also surprised by their questions. I’m a bingo enthusiast, so I guess that’s why they asked. Did I answer properly? what would you have said?—GRANDMA GLORIA IN OHIO

DEAR GRANDMA GLORIA: You handled the questions masterfully. Had I been asked, my response would have differed only slightly. I might have said Santa was asking for donations so he could buy toys for the little boys and girls whose families couldn’t afford them this Christmas—and then handed Santa something from me and the grandkids.

DEAR ABBY: Please help California’s public hospitals and firefighters by spreading a winter safety message that can help your readers prevent serious injury, disfigurement and death. Every winter we see house fires and burns caused by candles, fireplaces and space heaters, which are often used to heat or light homes during the cold, dark days of winter.
Children are at particular risk. Our hospitals’ burn centers say that at least one-third of their patients are under the age of 4. We all know children are curious and will touch just about anything that catches their eye, but very young children don’t have the reflexes to remove their hand quickly when they touch something hot. That’s why we urge parents of young children to be especially vigilant throughout the winter months.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Friends of Murdered Mexican Mom Kidnapped and Business Torched while They Attend Funeral (VIDEO)

As Marisela Escobedo was being laid to rest and while her boyfriend, Manuel Monge, was at the funeral his business was torched and his brother kidnapped. 

Escobedo had been shot execution style on Friday in front of the State capital building of of Chihuahua, as she continued her quest to find justice for her murdered sixteen-year-old daughter Ruby.  The alleged murderer of Ruby, Sergio Rafael Barraza, had confessed to the crime but was let go of for lack of evidence.  Escobedo had been protesting the inadequate justice system in Mexico and demanding authorities rearrest Barraza; he is currently in hiding. 

Saturday morning a four-alarm fire occurred at a local lumber owned by Monge, in Cuidad Juarez,  after witnesses saw gunmen douse the building minutes before the fire started.  Monge was at the funeral of his girlfriend but his brother stayed behind to operate the lumber yard and he is now missing and presumed kidnapped. 

Though Mexican authorities are not connecting the shooting death of Marisela Escobedo to the fire or kidnapping everyone else is. Chihuahua’s Attorney General has issued a statement blaming extortionist for the crimes and would not comment on the Escobedo murder. 

Related Videos

Read more at CNN Edition →

POLL:  New England Patriots Expected to Win Fourth Super Bowl

The New England Patriots were the first team in the National Football League to punch their ticket to the playoffs, and now one in three football fans expects they will win this year’s Super Bowl.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of NFL fans shows that 34% expect quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots to win their fourth Super Bowl in ten years. Eleven percent (11%) of fans expect the New Orleans Saints to repeat a championship this year, while 10% pick the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nine percent (9%) say the Atlanta Falcons, who currently tie the Patriots for the best record in the league, to win the Super Bowl while another eight percent (8%) think the Philadelphia Eagles will win their first championship in franchise history.

The New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens round out the list with less than five percent (5%) of fans who expect those teams to win a championship this season.

The survey of 3,300 Professional Football Fans was conducted on December 14-15, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

When it comes to which team fans want to win the Super Bowl in February, the Patriots are still on top but by a much smaller margin. Fifteen percent (15%) would like to see New England win the championship, but both the Steelers and Saints each pick up 12% support.

Patriots fans are far more confident than those of any other team, with 80% who expect the Pats to win the Super Bowl. Bears fans are the least confident, with just 25% who believe their favorite team will win the championship

Read more at Rasmussen Reports →

THIS WEEK:  Largest Marijuana Bust in Chicagoland History and It Came via Train

Federal marijuana distribution conspiracy charges were filed late this week against seven defendants arrested during what is believed to be the largest seizure ever of marijuana in the Chicago area - conservatively estimated at about 21,800 pounds, or nearly 11 tons. The drugs were packed into six railroad cars from Mexico that arrived at a warehouse in south suburban Chicago Heights earlier this month. The marijuana is estimated to have a value of about $22 million.

According to a 74-page affidavit border patrol officers in Eagle Pass, Texas, discovered that a Union Pacific train bound for Chicago Heights was carrying about 21,800 pounds of suspected marijuana and a month-long investigation ensued.  The arrests and seizure followed this investigation using court-authorized wiretaps to intercept numerous telephone conversations in which several defendants discussed unloading, transporting and distributing the marijuana.

The marijuana distribution conspiracy carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment and a $4 million fine.

Read more at ICE →

Anti-Dream Act Senate Incumbents - Who are They?

As the 2012 election cycle takes shape, and the issues are defined and debated, it is unlikely that votes on the DREAM Act will be forgotten by Latino voters, 88% of whom supported the bills passage. If any lesson was learned in 2010, it should be to not underestimate the Latino electorate, which is growing in size, and influence in each successive election.

Among the 45 Senators who did not support moving ahead with the DREAM Act were 6 Democrats and 39 Republicans. While Republicans provided the lion’s share of opposition, with 3 Republicans voting yes, the bill could have achieved 61 votes had all Democrats stood together and voted yes.

Overall, Senators from “Latino influence” states were far more likely to vote yes for DREAM, than those from states with very small Latino populations - however notable exceptions are the Senators from Texas and Arizona. Among the 16 states that have a Latino population share of 10% or higher, 69% of Senators voted yes. The 16 states where the Latino population was 5 - 10% of the state total, voted 56% in favor of DREAM.

As the Latino population in a state decreased, so too did votes for DREAM, with only half voting yes in states where Latinos are 3 - 5% of the population, and just 36% voting yes in states where Latinos are less than 3%.  With such a strong relationship here between Latino constituents and support for the DREAM Act, a significant question is why did both Senators from Texas, and both Senators from Arizona oppose the DREAM Act?

In 2010, Latino voters were hailed as an important voting bloc which swung at least three competitive U.S. Senate races to the Democrats. In 2012, twelve Senators who voted no on the DREAM Act are up for election, and seven are from states where Latinos make up at least 8% of the population, or more than enough to sway the outcome in a tight contest. Leading this pack of anti-DREAM incumbents up for election in 2012, when public approval of the Senate is likely to remain low, are Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas (36.9% Latino) and Jon Kyl from Arizona (30.8% Latino). In the Washington Post, Edward Schumacher-Matos noted the day before the vote that Hutchison could be vulnerable in 2012 if she voted no. With strong challengers and voters weary of incumbents, both Hutchison and Kyl could be in significant trouble if they can’t crack 20% of the Latino vote in 2012.

Add to the list John Ensign of Nevada (26.5% Latino) where Latinos single-handedly turned away the anti-immigrant candidate in 2010, and Scott Brown who will almost certainly be in tight contest in left-leaning Massachusetts (8.8% Latino). Across the aisle, there may be little reason for Latinos in Nebraska (8.3% Latino) to continue supporting Ben Nelson who voted no on DREAM.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

MondayDecember 20, 2010