TIME 2014 Election

2014 Midterm Elections Projected to Bring 25% Fewer Latino Voters to Polls

A key group projects 7.8 million Latino voters will cast ballots in 2014, a number that is about 25% lower than the 2012 Presidential election.

About 25 percent fewer Latino voters will turn out to vote in the 2014 midterm elections than did in the 2012 presidential race, according to new projections released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

The projections reflect the nation’s general disinterest in midterm elections, which is typically more dramatic among young, minority, and single-women voters. But the total Latino vote is still projected to be higher than it was in the last midterm election in 2010, not because a greater share of Latino voters will be voting, but rather because the total Latino population has grown in the last four years.

About 7.8 million Latino voters are projected to cast ballots in 2014, according to NALEO, representing about 8% of the nation’s total electorate. That would be 18.8% higher than the turnout during the 2010 midterm election, when about 6.64 million Latinos voted. But the numbers are a far cry from the 11.2 million Latino American adults who cast ballots in 2012. In both 2010 and 2014, the association predicts that about 30% of eligible voters will show up at the polls, down from 48% of eligible Latino voters who turned out in the 2012 presidential contest.

Arturo Vargas, the executive director of NALEO says he hopes the stalling on immigration reform incites the Latino community into action. “It’s my hope that there would be a sense of anger among Latinos that leads them to take action and to vote,” said Vargas during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday.

NALEO estimates about 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month and by November there will be 28.8 million eligible Latino voters in the U.S. on Election Day in 2014. Yet many, Vargas said, don’t feel engaged with the democratic process, and lack faith in the system. Many others simply don’t know where or how to register to vote. “There’s a crisis in American democracy when you have 25 million U.S. citizens not voting,” Vargas said at an event Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

But Vargas said the problem is only made worse by protections for existing voters being in jeopardy, with the bill to amend the Voting Rights Act stalled in Congress. On Tuesday, NALEO issued a report on the importance of the Voting Rights Act Amendment to Latino voters.

Vargas and NALEO are calling on Congress to restore the voting protections offered under the Voting Rights Act, given that about 7 million Latinos that are eligible to vote live in places that were previously covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. “We lost the most powerful voter protection tool,” Vargas said Tuesday.


TIME Environment

Obama to Arkansas Tornado Survivors: Your Country Is Here For You

Barack Obama Vilonia, Arkansas Tornado
President Barack Obama tours tornado-damaged areas and talks with Daniel Smith and his sons Garrison Dority and Gabriel Dority in Vilonia, Ark. on May 7, 2014. Susan Walsh—AP

President Barack Obama toured areas in Arkansas on Wednesday that were destroyed by forceful tornadoes in late April, promising support to residents: "Your country is going to be here for you"

President Obama told residents of an Arkansas town blasted by tornadoes in late April that the federal government will have their backs throughout the rebuilding process.

“Your country is going to be here for you,” Obama said during a press conference Wednesday. The President spent Wednesday touring areas destroyed by severe weather including Vilonia, Ark. just outside of Little Rock. The April 27 storms killed 15 and left hundreds of homes ruined.

On Wednesday, Obama praised the people of Arkansas for their strength in his promises to provide support. “Folks here are tough,” Obama said. “They look out for one another … that’s been especially true this past week.”


Same-Sex Couple Sues Alabama to Have Marriage Recognized

The two plaintiffs claim the state's ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the U.S. Constitution

A same-sex couple in Alabama has filed a federal lawsuit seeking state recognition of their six-year marriage.

Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand married in 2008 in California, but have lived in Mobile, Ala. for over a decade, the Associated Press reports. They are also seeking for Searcy to have legal parental rights for their 8-year-old son, Khaya, who was born biologically to McKeand in 2005 but is being raised by both women.

Searcy has previously sought to adopt Khaya, but was denied because the state doesn’t recognize their marriage.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange are named as defendants in the suit. The state is one of 30 to have amended its constitution to recognize marriage as only between a man and a woman. Searcy and McKeand’s lawsuit claims the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

This suit is one of many that challenge state laws against same-sex marriage.



Fast Food Workers Will Go on Strike Next Week

Protesters lobby for higher wages for fast food workers and urge fast food workers from around the globe to join their campaign outside a McDonalds on May 7, 2014 in New York City.
Protesters lobby for higher wages for fast food workers and urge fast food workers from around the globe to join their campaign outside a McDonalds on May 7, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

American employees at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC are due to join their counterparts in dozens of cities around the world on May 15 to walk off the job and demand a raise to $15-an-hour

Fast food workers frustrated by low wages will participate in an organized, global walk-out in protest next week in as many as 150 cities, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC employees in the United States will demand a raise to $15-an-hour next Thursday, joined internationally by fast food employees also seeking higher pay, in as many as 33 countries.

The strike’s announcement, at a New York City McDonald’s on Wednesday, came days after fast-food workers and union leaders from across the globe came together for the first time at a meeting organized by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tobacco Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF). The Manhattan-based group leading the protests, Fast Food Forward, has led a “Fight for 15″ campaign since 2012. The efforts have reportedly attracted fast food workers in Argentina, Morocco, Japan, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic, among others.

“The highly-profitable fast-food industry needs to know we won’t stop fighting until our voices are heard,” Ashley Cathey said in a statement. Cathey is a McDonald’s worker from Memphis, Tenn., who makes $7.75 after six years on the job.

Throughout 2013, dozens of U.S. cities saw similar demonstrations.

TIME Education

High School Seniors Lagging in Math and Reading, Report Card Shows

New federal education data shows record high school graduation rates haven't translated into higher achievement in math and reading. The Nation's Report Card revealed that between 2009 and 2013, students made no significant progress in math or reading

High school seniors haven’t made progress in math and reading achievement levels in recent years, according to a new report, a sobering counter to recent data that showed U.S. graduation rates reaching the highest levels in decades in 2013.

The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, shows that 12th graders in public schools stagnated in reading and in math in 2013. Between 2009 and 2013, students made no significant progress in math or reading, according to the report—in fact, 12th graders in 2013 performed a bit worse in reading when compared to students taking the first assessment in 1992. About 26% of high school seniors perform at or above “proficient” levels in math, meaning they grasp challenging concepts. In reading, about 38% perform at or above proficient, two percentage points less than students in 1992.

“Despite the highest high school graduation rate in our history, and despite growth in student achievement over time in elementary school and middle school, student achievement at the high school level has been flat in recent years,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

Between 2005 and 2013, African-American students’ math scores jumped by five points and white students saw their scores go up by four points. Asian/Pacific Islander students and Hispanic students experienced the highest gains, with math scores increasing by 10 and seven points, respectively. Yet achievement gaps persist between racial groups and genders. Boys scored an average of three points higher than girls in math, and girls scored about 10 points higher in reading than boys. Whites scored 30 points higher than blacks in math and 21 points than Hispanic students. In reading, whites scored 30 points higher than blacks and 22 points higher than Hispanics.

“We project that our nation’s public schools will become majority-minority this fall—making it even more urgent to put renewed attention into the academic rigor and equity of course offerings and into efforts to redesign high schools,” Duncan said.

Students who reported discussing reading material every day or once or twice a week in class scored higher than those who reported discussing reading material only sporadically. In math, 50% of the highest performers had taken a calculus course and 58% of those who scored the lowest had only taken up to Algebra 2.


Morning Must Reads: May 7

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: TIME correspondent recalls clash with separatists in Ukraine; GOP establishment candidate wins in North Carolina; U.S. sending team to Nigeria; Keystone pipeline deal looking more unlikely; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence

  • Obama’s shades of gray: His critics call him weak and whiny. But he’s doing what most President’s do: muddling through [TIME]
  • Ukraine’s battleground blurs the lines between civilian and fighter [TIME]
  • Senate Republicans vented their frustration over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine on Tuesday, as a panel of Obama Administration witnesses struggled to lay out how the U.S. could block Russian President Vladimir Putin from enforcing his will in the embattled country.” [TIME]
  • Establishment candidate wins North Carolina GOP primary [USA Today]
  • North Carolina was the opening battleground in the fight between the Republican Party’s two main factions, and it’s a sign the establishment’s no-holds-barred strategy is paying off. American Crossroads spent $1.6 million on behalf of Tillis, significantly more than the resources of Republican challengers Greg Brannon and Mark Harris. They aired three ads, which each touted Tillis’s conservative record and rebutted Democratic attacks against him.” [National Journal]
  • Behind the Benghazi select committee [Politico]
  • Ronald Reagan’s Benghazi [The New Yorker]
  • Monica Lewinsky: “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.” [Vanity Fair]
  • If and when a Clinton presidential announcement comes, Lewinsky will be old news. “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky writes. That would be good news for both women.” [Washington Post]
  • Pipeline deal on the verge of collapsing [The Hill]
  • Syrian rebels started withdrawing from the heart of Homs city on Wednesday, leaving an early centre of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad and handing him a symbolic victory less than a month before his likely re-election.” [Reuters]
  • The unlikely ascent of Alibaba’s Jack Ma [NYT]
  • Thai court ousts Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra [BBC]
  • The Buffett Rule won’t pay the tab for the liberal agenda [Vox]
  • U.S. to send team to Nigeria to find kidnapped girls [TIME]
  • Nigerian schoolgirl: Boko Haram militants said ‘nothing is going to happen to you’ [TIME]





TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: May 6

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: GOP establishment's first 2014 primary tests; Supreme Court upholds prayer in government meetings; White House to issue new report on climate change

  • GOP establishment faces first 2014 primary tests: “Seven months after the government shutdown deepened divisions within the Republican Party, GOP voters head to the polls Tuesday for the first major 2014 contests between the party’s feuding factions.” [TIME]
  • “The Republican Senate primary in North Carolina is today’s key race and pits the establishment against the Tea Party. Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, is the establishment candidate backed by Jeb Bush and, just yesterday, Mitt Romney. Greg Brannon, a physician, is the Tea Party and libertarian favorite and Rand Paul joined him on the campaign trail Monday calling him a ‘dragon slayer.'” [ABC News]
  • The one House race where immigration matters [Politico]
  • Tea party in Ohio aims lower on ballot [WSJ]
  • White House mum on cooperating with new Benghazi probe [TIME]
  • Get ready for a lot more Jesus in your life [Slate]
  • “The White House has pressured the chief executives of some of America’s largest energy, financial and industrial corporations into canceling plans to attend an international economic forum in Russia to be hosted by President Vladimir V. Putin this month, the latest effort to isolate Moscow in retaliation for its intervention in Ukraine.” [NYT]
  • Ukrainians call for volunteers to quell separatist uprising [Washington Post]
  • How Democrats running for governor will talk about Obamacare [National Journal]
  • White House to unveil dire climate warning in new report [Reuters]
  • Hillary’s first political activity of 2014: fundraising for her daughter’s mother-in-law [Politico]

TIME Pregnancy

Teen Pregnancies Plunge

U.S. rates fell more than 50% across all ethnicities from 1990 to 2010, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute

Nationwide, teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates have plunged, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research and education organization. From 1990 to 2010, the U.S. pregnancy rate for 15-to-19-year-olds fell by 51%, with approximately 614,000 occurring in 2010.

A drop in pregnancies was seen across racial and ethnic groups, though Hispanic and black teens got pregnant at nearly three times the rate of their white peers. In 1990 the white-teen pregnancy rate was 86.6 per 1,000 vs. 223.8 per 1,000 for black teens. In 2010 the rates had fallen to 37.8 per 1,000 for whites and 99.5 per 1,000 for blacks. Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate fell from a high of 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to 83.5 per 1,000 in 2010.

Similarly, there was a 66% decline in abortions from 1998 to 2010, when there were a reported 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. Teen birthrates fell by 44% from 1991 to 2010, with about 34.4 births per 1,000 women.

Guttmacher Institute

“The decline in the teen pregnancy rate is great news,” lead author Kathryn Kost said in a statement. “Other reports had already demonstrated sustained declines in births among teens in the past few years; but now we know that this is due to the fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant in the first place. It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off.”

In response to the decline, the vice president of education for Planned Parenthood Leslie Kantor said in a statement, “Planned Parenthood is thrilled to see a record low in teen pregnancy rates in this country.”

TIME Television

HBO’s The Comeback Is Coming (Back) Soon

The cult favorite starring Lisa Kudrow as a former TV sitcom star named Valerie Cherish will return this fall, airing a six-episode Season 2. As co-producer Kudrow put it, "I look forward to revisiting this resilient and ironically self-unaware character" So do the series' fans

Cult favorite The Comeback is returning to HBO this fall, the network announced Monday.

The series, which stars Kudrow as former TV sitcom star Valerie Cherish, originally aired in 2005, but will return to HBO to make a six-episode run in 2014. According to CBS News, production will be underway in Los Angeles later in May. Kudrow and Sex and The City creator Michael Patrick King will serve as the show’s executive producer, along with Scandal star Dan Bucatinsky.

Kudrow said in a statement about The Comeback, “It was almost too fun play Valerie Cherish the first time around,” Kudrow said. “I look forward to revisiting this resilient and ironically self-unaware character.”


TIME Congress

Illinois House Member Investigated by Ethics Committee

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) may have violated House rules by paying his former Chief of Staff as a contractor

The House Ethics committee is continuing an investigation into Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) to determine whether he improperly used funds to pay a former staffer, according to a statement released Monday. Gutierrez is under review for allegedly paying his former chief of staff Douglas Scofield thousands of dollars a month to provide training, which may not be permissible under House rules.

Gutierrez paid Scofield $595,000 for providing services that included staff development and training between 2003 and 2013, according to a report released by the committee. Because the funds were reportedly derived from the Congressman’s Members’ Representational Allowance — his office’s annual budget — Gutierrez may have violated congressional rules. While funds from the Allowance may be used to hire a contractor, the services Scofield provided “more closely resembled those performed by an employee or consultant – someone who provides professional advice or services—than those performed by a contractor – someone who performs a discrete task or job, such as maintenance, data entry, custodial services, or staff training,” the report says.

The investigation was reportedly sparked after USA Today published an article in June noting Scofield had been paid over $500,000 after he left Gutierrez’s staff. The Office of Congressional Ethics referred their report to the House committee, which decided Monday to review the matter further. Scofield, who is currently a lobbyist, worked as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff, until 2002 before leaving and eventually launching his own Chicago-based firm.

The committee released the following statement on the review: “The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

Rep. Gutierrez’s spokesman Douglas G. Rivlin, also released a statement on the investigation: “As the Committee reviews this matter, Congressman Gutiérrez and his office will continue to cooperate fully. As the Committee points out, its review does not indicate that any violation has occurred or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

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