Hispanics looking for November gains in US House

June 27, 2012

The Associated Press, 06/26/2012

Jose Hernandez worked in farm fields with his Mexican-immigrant parents before becoming an astronaut. Iraq War veteran Julius Melendez is the third generation of his Puerto Rican family to serve in the military. And Tony Cardenas, the youngest of 11 children of immigrant farmers from Jalisco, Mexico, has served in the California Assembly and on the Los Angeles City Council.

Next year, all of them could be coming to Congress.

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Op-ed: Mexican Food North of the Border

April 30, 2012

The New York Times, Julia Moskin, 4/30/12

ADMIT it, tortilla-chip fans: you are curious about Taco Bell Doritos Locos tacos, introduced in March. These salt bombs take the usual fast-food taco filling and stuff them inside a giant orange-dusted nacho-cheese chip. They have been so successful that the company has just introduced a Cool Ranch flavor.

But to truly grasp the significance of these creations, the taco must be eaten in the company of Gustavo Arellano, a journalist and Orange County, Calif., native who is perhaps the greatest (and only) living scholar of Mexican-American fast food.

And preferably, you will eat it here, in the birthplace of American fast food, while he explains to you precisely how the Frito, America’s first corn chip, was copied from the Mexican tostado, then evolved into the Dorito and eventually the Tostito.

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Mexico’s 1930 census revealed, a mine of data for 32 million Americans

September 24, 2011

CNN, 9/24/11

Actor Edward James Olmos wishes he could trace his family’s Mexican history back 100,000 years, but he’ll have to settle for 1930 for now. In what one online genealogy firm say is an extraordinary trove of data for American families of Latino descent, the complete 1930 Mexican census is being distributed publicly for the first time. It’s considered a rich mine of information because that year’s census is Mexico’s earliest, most accurate accounting of its population, with 90% of its people counted, according to the firm Ancestry.com.

That sort of family lore — compiled just after Mexico recovered from its tumultuous, bloody Revolution of 1910-20 — not only piques the interest of prominent Latinos such as Olmos but also stands to sate the curiosity of 31.9 million U.S. Hispanics of Mexican descent. America’s own 2010 census just elevated Latinos to the No. 2 group for the first time. The 1930 Mexican census is so antique that it consists of nearly 13 million hard-copy pages, with rows and columns filled out by hand in florid penmanship.

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Obama’s choice of Xavier Becerra revives 2001 clemency case

December 5, 2008

Los Angeles Times, 12/5/2008

USTR Nominee Xavier Becerra

USTR Nominee Xavier Becerra

President-elect Barack Obama’s offer to make Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) the next U.S. trade representative makes him the second Cabinet-level candidate to have been involved in President Clinton’s controversial 2001 commutation of a Los Angeles cocaine dealer’s prison sentence. The other is Eric H. Holder Jr., whom Obama has nominated to be attorney general.

The dealer, Carlos Vignali, was convicted in 1994 for his role in a drug ring that delivered more than 800 pounds of cocaine — worth about $5 million at the time — from Los Angeles to Minneapolis. He was released after serving less than half of his 14 1/2 -year sentence.

Becerra was one of a number of Southern California political leaders who urged Clinton to consider commuting Vignali’s prison term in response to a campaign by Vignali’s father, Horacio, a Los Angeles businessman and developer who contributed to Becerra’s political campaigns. The senior Vignali also paid Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, $204,000 to lobby for his son’s release.

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