Alvaro Bedoya Nominated to Serve on Federal Trade Commission

Alvaro Bedoya could be trading up…

The Peruvian-American privacy advocate and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University, has been nominated as one of five commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission.

Alvaro Bedoya

The White House announced Joe Biden’s nomination of Bedoya on Monday.

If confirmed, Bedoya likely will be another staunch advocate of taking robust action to rein in the power of big tech platforms.

He’s the founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. The White House noted that his Bedoya’s research and report on facial recognition technology that paved the way for new restrictions on the use of the practice.

Bedoya would succeed Rohit Chopra, who Biden has selected to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Biden nominated another advocate of strong enforcement, Lina Kahn, who has been critical of the growth of large tech platforms, and appointed her to chair the commission after her confirmation. Among other things, the FTC is reviewing Google’s proposed acquisition of MGM.

Bedoya previously served as the first chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

He is a naturalized citizen born in Peru, and co-founded the college scholarship Esperanza Education Fund. He’s a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Willy Chirino Recruits Fellow Cuban Artists to Release New Version of Cuban Protest Single “Que Se Vayan Ya”

Willy Chirino is expressing his solidarity with the people of Cuba through music…

The 74-year-old Cuban musician has released a new version of his single “Que Se Vayan Ya,” 13 years after its original release.

Willy Chirino, Que Se Vayan Ya

The award-winning salsa artist recruited Cuban artists Lenier, El MichaChacalOsmani Garcia, and Srta. Dayana to show solidarity with the Cuban community through the powerful protest anthem and its continuous chant for “Viva Cuba, libre!”

“Que Se Vayan Ya,” which appeared on Chirino’s 2008 album Pa’ Lante, was co-produced by Chirino, Nelson Albareda, Nelson Martínez, Lenier, and Mauro Bertrán, giving this extended version a Cubaton twist while keeping its tropical essence.

“It is our duty as citizens of the world to support the movement that arose on the island to achieve Cuba’s freedom,” Albareda, producer and CEO of Loud and Live, said in a statement. “What better way to do it than with a new anthem that inspires those brave people on the island to continue with this fight? With that objective in mind, I turned to Willy, with whom I’ve been friends with and shared projects for many years, to make this musical production with other notable artists in a cry for freedom.”

“Que Se Vayan Ya” comes almost two months after the social unrest in the island due to the power outages, and food and medicine shortages as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

The July rallies, which ended with several arrests, were in part set off by Cuba’s deteriorating economic situation that was intensified by the pandemic that’s cut off tourism dollars and has left people unable to work because of the COVID-imposed lockdown.

“The events of July 11 have given us hope that the end of this totalitarian regime is coming,” Chirino added. “It’s important that this flame is not extinguished and that the whole world becomes aware of the crimes that are committed daily on ‘Prison Island.’ United for this purpose, we are raising our voices to demand once and for all that they [the government] leave!”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Comments on Rape Victims “Disgusting”

U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is slamming the controversial comments Texas Governor Greg Abbott made Tuesday about the state’s newly enacted restrictive abortion laws.

Senate Bill 8, which became law on September 1, bans abortion procedures after six weeks of pregnancy — including in cases of rape and incest.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It’s considered the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. and both Abbott and the Texas legislature have faced fierce criticism for its passage.

On Tuesday, Abbott re-ignited the fire when asked whether the new law would force a rape or incest victim to carry their baby to term.

Abbott responded that the law doesn’t do that because victims can get abortions within the six-week period. While SB 8 allows for abortion up to six weeks, this time period is usually before most people even realize they’re pregnant.

‘I find Governor Abbott’s comments disgusting,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night. “I don’t know if he is familiar with a menstruating person’s body. In fact, I do know that he’s not familiar with a menstruating person’s body because if he did he would that you don’t have six weeks.”

“In case no one has informed him [Abbott] in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period. Two weeks late on your period, for any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So you don’t have six weeks.”

Abbott also continued his explanation on Tuesday by saying victims of rape and incest wouldn’t have to give birth because the state of Texas would work to “eliminate rape.”

“Let’s be clear: rape is a crime,” Abbott said. “And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”

The concept of “eliminating rape” was widely criticized as being nonsensical and also impossible. Ocasio-Cortez said the comments also don’t reflect reality of who the perpetrators of sexual assault typically are.

“When he [Abbott] talks about going after rapists and this language that he uses about ‘getting rapists off the streets’ — the majority of people who are raped and who are sexually assaulted are assaulted by someone they know,” continued the 31-year-old Puerto Rican politician, a New York Democrat. “These aren’t just predators that are walking around the streets at night. They are people’s uncles, they are teachers, they are family friends.”

The New York Democrat Ocasio-Cortez also explained that the legal process of prosecuting a rapist can be long, unsuccessful and retraumatizing to victims. She said that while some victims do choose to pursue charges, many don’t want to perpetuate the trauma through litigation.

AOC, as she’s known, concluded by saying: “It’s awful. And he [Abbott] speaks from such a place of deep ignorance and it’s not just ignorance. It’s ignorance that is hurting people across this country.”

In addition to the post-six-week procedure ban, SB 8 enables private citizens to sue for $10,000 or more against anyone who helps someone get an abortion after the specified time period. Opponents of the bill say this will lead to widespread harassment, deputizing of citizens against one another, and a backlog of frivolous lawsuits.

Julian Castro to Serve as Political Analyst on NBC News & MSNBC

Julian Castro is ready to examine our political landscape…

The 46-year-old Mexican American lawyer and politician, who was the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s cabinet when he served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a political analyst.

Julian Castro

Castro ran for president in the 2020 cycle. Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski announced his new role in an appearance on the show on Monday, as Castro joined to talk about voting rights and the debate over amending the filibuster.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) has called on President Joe Biden to support changes to the U.S. Senate rule.

“The problem is that we really haven’t seen any activity. We haven’t seen any push from the Oval Office on this issue, and you can see that, you know, that the impatience is growing among Democrats,” Castro said on Morning Joe.

Castro served as HUD secretary from 2014 to 2017, after serving as mayor of San Antonio. He launched his presidential campaign in January, 2019, one of the first candidates to get in the race, but dropped out almost a year later. He went on to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Castro is one of the few 2020 presidential contenders to go on to cable news gigs, given the sheer number of candidates who still hold elective office. After he dropped out of the presidential race, Andrew Yang joined CNN as a political commentator, but he then went on to run for mayor of New York.

Colman Domingo to Appear at the Democratic National Committee’s Upcoming Pride Celebration Fundraiser

Colman Domingo is celebrating Pride with the DNC

The 51-year-old Guatemalan American actor will take part in a special Pride Celebration fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee next week.

Colman Domingo

Vice President Kamala Harris will headline the event, which will include a number of performances and an introduction by Barbra Streisand.

The DNC traditionally hosts a Pride month event, but the fundraiser also speaks to the desire among party activists to have a large war chest heading into next year’s midterms.

The performers on the bill for the virtual event on June 30 include Andra Day, Billy Porter, Kristin Chenoweth and Melissa Etheridge.

In addition to Domingo, other stars making appearances include Andy Cohen, George Takei, Matt Bomer and Whoopi Goldberg.

Tickets to the event start at $50, and rise to $20,000 for a co-host designation and access to a VIP “clutch.” Those who write or raise $40,000 will get a host designation and access to the clutch. The New York Times first reported on the event.

The DNC raised $12.1 million in May, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission, while the Republican National Committee raised about $11.1 million. Those are hefty sums for an off-year period and, according to Bloomberg News, a record amount.

Last year, as the pandemic prevented in-person fundraising, Democrats capitalized on the ease of holding virtual events, both in drawing talent and in bringing in greater numbers of small-dollar donors.

Mariah Carey Urges Fans to #CallOutYourSenator” in Campaign to Save Anti-Voter Supression ‘For the People Act’

Mariah Carey is encouraging you to help stop voter suppression efforts…

The 52-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer has joined several stars, including John Legend and Common, to urge their fans to #calloutyoursenator in a viral campaign to save the anti-voter suppression For the People Act.

Mariah Carey

Carey and the other stars have joined the Twitter campaign urging a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators to vote in favor of the bill that has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending, but imperiled, in the U.S. Senate.

“No matter our color, party, or zip code, our voices and our votes count. @senatorsinema @joemanchinWV @senatortimscott @senrobportman can make that happen,” tweeted Common referring to a group of, respectively, two democrat and two republican senators who could serve as the pivotal votes in favor of the bill. “If you live in AZ, WV, SC or OH #CallOutYourSenators. Tell them VOTE YES on the #ForThePeopleAct.”

Carey, Legend, Evanescence‘s Amy Lee and actors Kerry WashingtonLeonardo DiCaprio and comedians Sarah Silverman and Billy Eichner have also joined the campaign to salvage a bill that enjoys support from nearly all the Democrats in the Senate, but is in danger of falling short due to democratic holdouts Machin and Sinema.

As former president Donald Trump and a number of his Republican allies continue to spread the unfounded “Big Lie” alleging massive voter suppression in the 2020 election — which election integrity experts said was actually the most secure vote in the nation’s history — the Senate is stalled on passing the bill that would, among other things, outlaw partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, overhaul campaign finance laws, make federal campaign spending more transparent and protect early voting while requiring states to adopt Automatic Voter Registration.

According to a recent survey, 67 percent of Americans are in favor of the bill, which has effectively been put on ice due to West Virginia democrat Sen. Manchin’s stated refusal to vote for it, which means it will fall short of the 50 votes necessary to break a filibuster; fellow democrat Arizona Sen. Sinema has also said she would not support the bill known as “S 1.”

Experts say passage in the Senate is vital to combat the hundreds of bills introduced (and passed) in Republican-led states so far this year that aim to gut early, vote-by-mail and no-excuse voting, repealing automatic voter registration and limit the powers of local officials to oversee elections, among other actions that critics say would heavily impact, young and Black voters.

George P. Bush Announces Bid for Texas Attorney General

George P. Bush is lookin’ to move up in Texas politics….

The 45-year-old half-Mexican American politician, currently serving as Texas Land Commissioner, has announced that he’s running for attorney general in the Lone Star State, setting up a GOP showdown with one of the most high-profile Republican attorneys general in the country, Ken Paxton.

George P. Bush

“I am proud to announce I am a Republican candidate to be the next Texas attorney general,” he said before supporters in Austin.

Bush came out swinging in his campaign announcement, taking shots at Paxton, who is currently under indictment for securities fraud and, separately, facing an FBI investigation for abuse of office.

“Enough is enough, Ken. You’ve brought way too much scandal and too little integrity to this office,” Bush said. “It’s time to go.”

Bush — the son of former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush — is running as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, despite the at-times blistering feud between Trump and the Bush family.

At a campaign kickoff event in downtown Austin, supporters praised Bush as the future of the Republican Party in Texas and highlighted his support of Trump as a key credential.

“I think we can all agree that President Trump was one of the best things to happen to this country,” Karen Newton, immediate past president of Texas Federation of Republican Women, said onstage as one of the introductory speakers before Bush.

Joacim Hernandez, vice chair of the Texas Young Republican Federation, argued Bush is uniquely positioned to unite the GOP. “He has a track record of support for President Trump and his America First policies, but he also has a track record of character and integrity.”

As land commissioner since 2015, Bush has long been viewed by political observers as a rising star in the GOP. He speaks Spanish and was involved in the founding of the political group Hispanic Republicans of Texas. He was also an officer in the Navy Reserves and a former businessman, with a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Paxton, meanwhile, has been state attorney general since 2015 after serving in the Texas Legislature for more than a decade as both a state representative and state senator. He was highly active in filing federal lawsuits during the Barack Obama administration — most notably, he led a 20-state challenge against the Affordable Care Act — and has filed multiple suits against the Joe Biden administration over a range of issues from immigration to Medicaid.

A staunch ally of Trump, Paxton also led the lawsuit contesting election results in four states that Trump lost in November. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit.

Clouding Paxton’s run for reelection will be the FBI investigation and separate indictment. Paxton vehemently denies the charges and allegations.

Bush has made it clear he won’t be shy in going after Paxton’s legal issues.

“We have a web of corruption and lies that affect one of the highest offices in our land and it’s time for a change,” Bush said.

Bush will make South Texas — where Trump made heavy inroads in November — a key part of his strategy, and he plans to make his first official campaign trip to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday.

Given his political connections and Paxton’s legal troubles, Bush is expected to raise significant cash for the race.

Alex Padilla Sworn In by Predecessor Kamala Harris as California’s First Mexican American & Hispanic U.S. Senator

Alex Padilla is officially representing the Great State of California

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015, as Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the 47-year-old Mexican American politician as her appointed successor, as well as Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who won their races against Republican incumbents in Georgia his month.

Alex Padilla

On December 22, 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom appointed Padilla to succeed Harris in the Senate, after Harris was elected as vice president. He’s the first Mexican American and Hispanic senator from California, the first senator from Southern California since 1992, and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993.

“I need to catch my breath, so much is happening,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who now is the new majority leader.

Alex Padilla

The Senate split is 50-50 now, but Democrats will have the edge because Harris has a tie-breaking vote. That might be needed, as Joe Biden tries to usher through a series of legislative priorities, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and immigration reform.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will be the president pro tem of the Senate, which is third in line for the presidency following the vice president and Speaker of the House.

With Democratic control of Congress and the White House, there is some expectation that legislation will face legal challenges, as Donald Trump was able to appoint more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court seats.

Edward James Olmos to Take Part in Biden Inaugural Committee’s “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise” Event

Edward James Olmos is preparing to celebrate the resilience and promise of the Latino community in the United States…

President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has announced a Tuesday night event, featuring the 73-year-old Mexican American actor, director, producer, and activist, that shines a spotlight on the Latino community.

Edward James Olmos

Entitled Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise, the event will be hosted by Eva Longoria.

It will feature appearances by Olmos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Ivy Queen and Becky G.

There also will be performances from Gilberto Santa Rosa and Gaby Moreno, featuring David Garza, Emilio Estefan and All-Star Tejanos UnitedStefani Montiel, Jose Posada, Shelly Lares, DJ Kane and Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma High School.

Emilio Estefan produced a performance of One World, One Prayer by the Wailers, featuring Skip Marley, Farruko, Shaggy and Cedella Marley.

The event will take palace on Tuesday, January 19 at 9:30 pm ET

 

It’s part of a series of events that will highlight the nation’s diversity, including the AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers, celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; and We Are One, celebrating Black Americans.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Swear in U.S. Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

Sonia Sotomayor will make a special appearance at this week’s inauguration…

The 66-year-old Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice will swear in U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday, January 20, a ceremony in which the first woman of color to become vice president will take her oath of office from the first woman of color to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sonia Sotomayor

Harris chose Sotomayor for the task, according to a Harris aide who was confirming a report by ABC News. The vice president-elect and Justice Sotomayor have a shared background as former prosecutors. And Harris has called the justice a figure of national inspiration.

“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has fought for the voices of the people ever since her first case voting against corporations in Citizens United,” Ms. Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019. “As a critical voice on the bench, she’s showing all our children what’s possible.”

Justice Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2009, swore in Joseph R. Biden Jr. for his second term as vice president in January 2013 (first in a private ceremony and again in public the next day because of a quirk of the calendar).

Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the U.St Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.