Things That Matter

The Honduran Supreme Court Lifted A Constitutional Ban On Presidential Terms And Hondurans Are Protesting The Decision

The electoral commission gave the Honduran presidency to incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández.

The electoral commission of Honduras ruled that Juan Orlando Hernández will serve as president for a second term. Critics say that this decision is against the country’s constitution that limits presidents to only one term. The Honduran Supreme Court lifted a constitutional ban that limited presidential terms, which allowed for U.S.-backed Hernández to run for re-election. Officials with the Organization of American States (OAS), and organization that brings leaders from the Americas to address issues and opportunities in the region, are pressuring Honduras for a new vote because of irregularities they found in the voting process. The irregularities are too suspicious to have just happened by coincidence, according to critics.

Honduras has been rocked by violence since the election took place on Nov. 26. The discrepancies in the vote counting led to weeks of protests, strict nationwide curfews, and the deaths of activists at the hands of police. Reports claim that dozens of people have been killed in clashes during protests. The new announcement by the electoral commission has sparked new protests around the country.

“There were multiple opportunities for fraud in this election, and only a determination by impartial international observers that the vote tally was fair and transparent will provide the necessary credibility to the process,” Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, told The New York Times.

Protesters have taken to the streets demanding that Hernández step down as president.

“Fuera JOH” has become a rallying cry for Hondurans in the country and around the world. Officials for OAS are calling the election results too inconsistent. According to an analysis by Georgetown University professor Irfan Nooruddin, there was a sharp shift in votes favoring Hernández after 68 percent of the votes were counted. While this could be a sign of early v. late-reporting, Nooruddin claims that the amount of change across all departments is too great for it to be by chance.

Protesters have shut down major roads to bring awareness to the contested election results.

Protesters are using starting fires and using objects to create road blocks that impact major roadways in the country.

Honduras has not seen this level of political turmoil since 2009 when a coup was mounted to oust the leader at the time.

Pressure continues mounting for a new election, with more regulation to make sure votes are properly counted. Only time will tell if the Honduran government will allow for new elections.


READ: After Claims Of Electoral Fraud, Hondurans Are Fighting Their Government For A More Transparent Vote Recount

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Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

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Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Ben Wassenhatch / Flickr

Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed four anti-LGBTQ bills hours before the deadline for the upcoming legislative session this week. The bills undo many of the protections that exist for LGBTQ Florida residents. The four bills would repeal county and municipal ordinances for LGBTQ workers, legalize gay conversion therapy, and ban transgender healthcare for children, according to NBC News. 

The homophobic and transphobic legislation was introduced by representatives Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant, and Byron Donalds, along with Senators Joe Gruters and Keith Perry. Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and other advocates are now fighting against the bills’ passing. 

Advocates respond to the bill calling it “discrimination and hate.”

“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones said in a statement. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”

Jones also accused Florida Republicans of, “wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.” 

Equality Florida released a statement highlighting many of the consequences such a bill would have. 

“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”

Senator Gruters defends the bill, claiming it “includes protections.”

“The bill certainly does not authorize an employer to discriminate against employees who are members of protected classes, whether protected by federal or state law or local ordinance,” Gruters told NBC News via email.  “While I do not believe the bill has any impact on local anti-discrimination ordinances, in an abundance of caution, I included language in the bill’s preamble to make clear that the preemption would not affect local anti-discrimination laws, and any court would interpret the preemption consistent with that preamble.” 

While Gruters claims it would include protections, Joe Saunders, senior political director at Equality Florida, claims that these so-called protections are merely a part of the bill’s preamble and would carry no weight should the bills become law. 

“We appreciate that Sen. Gruters put that in,” Saunders said. “It’s not policy; it’s not considered part of the bill.”

Democratic senator Lori Berman suggested the bill was nothing more than a political stunt to garner votes from homophobic and transphobic constituents. 

“I’m disappointed to see some of my colleagues proposing this regressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT agenda,” Berman wrote on Twitter. “What benefit to the public does this legislation actually serve, apart from tossing red meat to a political base in an election season?” 

Trans children are particularly vulnerable to the policies. 

“Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community,” Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told NBC News. “It is outrageous that conservative legislators would threaten their health and safety. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Forcing a doctor to deny best practice medical care and deny support to transgender youth can be life-threatening.”

Making it illegal for doctors to provide necessary care to trans children certainly goes against the Hippocratic oath, but if you think something so dystopian can’t happen just look at how Republicans have slowly chipped away at abortion rights – another form of necessary care that can be life-saving. 

Just yesterday South Dakora Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would also ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries or treatments on children. Similar bills have been filed in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

According to the Associated Press, “The Endocrine Society, which is the leading professional organization for doctors who specialize in hormones, does not recommend gender-transition medical treatment before puberty for children who do not identify with their biological gender. For youths experiencing puberty and older adolescents, the Endocrine Society recommends that a team composed of expert medical professionals and mental health professionals manages treatment.”

Opponents of these anti-trans bills believe the laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and contradict the widely accepted practices of the medical community. 

“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”

Lori Loughlin Gets Into More Trouble With Prosecutors After Withholding Evidence

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Lori Loughlin Gets Into More Trouble With Prosecutors After Withholding Evidence

loriloughlin.n / Instagram

If only she’d just been honest, Lori Loughlin could have had a better start to the new decade. Instead, the former actress of “Full House” and its spinoff “Fuller House” is jumping into 2020 with an uncertain future and a trove of legal issues. For her involvement in the nationwide college admission scandal, Laughlin has plead not guilty and now faces up to 50 years in prison. Meanwhile, actress Felicity Huffman, who pled guilty to federal charges in May served her 14-day seance in prison and paid a $40,000 fine. In fact, the actress was released two days early when she served her time.

Now federal prosecutors seem to be making an example out of Loughlin for her part in the scandal and unwillingness to plead guilty. 

Today it was announced that federal prosecutor have accused the actress of withholding evidence in the college admissions scam case. This is despite previous requests by to turn it in.

CNN reports “the new charge accuses Loughlin and Giannulli of bribing University of Southern California employees to get their daughters admitted. USC coaches and athletics officials allegedly designated the daughters as recruited athletes, easing their admission regardless of their athletic ability, prosecutors said.”

According to reports Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli,  paid $500,000 to have their daughters pose as University of Southern California athletes so that they could get into USC. They have also been accused of bribing employees at the university to gain entrance for their daughters. Despite the severity of the charges, the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and bribery.

In a court filing Friday, federal prosecutors say a majority of parents haven’t submitted their discovery materials.

According to a joint status report filed Friday, Loughlin and her husband have not provided any discovery material to the government. The term discovery material refers to information and evidence that both sides of the case share with each other prior to trial.

“The government disagrees with the defendants’ assertion that it is premature to provide their own discovery,” the filing states according to CNN. “The government contends that it has complied with its discovery obligations and continues to comply with them.”

The latest arrest of Academy Award nominee Felicity Huffman and actress Lori Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on “Full House” are proof of the fact that POC have a right to affirmative action. Loughlin was revealed to be part of a college cheating scam back in January. The scandal gave  kids an unfair advantage that garnered them access to some of the country’s top universities, including Yale and Stanford. This is all despite the fact that the children of these two women, as well as those of over 30 other celebrities and CEOs, were already riding on an enormous wave of white privilege that gives so many white students a leg up in the college application process each year.

Never fear fellow Latinos and POC. While most of our parents might not currently be able to fork over a load of cash to pay and have someone else beef up our SAT exam scores, there are ways to beat the system. And that’s purely on smarts and know-how. Just how abuela would want you to do.

If you’ve already completed your college applications and you met all the deadlines, know that there are several things that you can do to improve your application post-submission. There are also cosas que puede hacer that are just for you because this is a time when you also need to practice some self-care and to remember that you are worthy.

1. Get back to taking care of yourself

Now that your applications are in and you’re not multi-tasking ad nauseam, you should take care of your mental health. Get back to sleeping seven to eight hours a night and cut back on junk food. Get back to making and eating actual meals when hungry rather than snacking on empty calories. Get back to your exercise routine, quit staying up too late, and research some mindful techniques to help you through the stressful waiting period.

2. Start researching scholarships

There are scholarships for everything and everyone. Scholarships for first-generation college students, Dreamers, musicians, people who wear glasses, and on, and on. This McDonald’s Scholarship is seeking to give money to Latino students. The due date is February 4! Looking for other kinds of scholarships? Check out this directory.

3. Double-check letters of recommendation

Most colleges are using online tools to collect your application and recommendation letters, and most colleges will not turn you away for a late letter. Go to all sites and confirm that all your letters of recommendation have been turned in. Contact any teachers who haven’t turn in letters by sending a cheerful e-mail letting them know that their letter is not showing in the portal, say something like, “Dear Ms. Lopez, I went to the UC Davis portal and did not see your letter of recommendation. Please let me know if there’s something else you need from me.”

 4. Check your FAFSA

If you haven’t filled out the FASFA, you need to do it now. If you have filled it out be sure to make sure all information is filled out correctly to minimize annoying delays. You CAN fill out the FAFSA and provide tax information even if your parents are undocumented. Simply enter 000-00-0000 for their Social Security number. Do no enter their TIN or tax identification numbers that they use to file their taxes!

5. Do more research on each college you hope to attend

In order to make the best decision when you start getting those acceptances that we know you’ll get, you should start researching each college, and the program in the college you intend to major. You should also research student body demographics. It might be very difficult to go to a school that has very few Latinx students.

 6. If you’re concerned about funding, consider community college for the first two years.

You should know that students who go to community college have better persistent rates and get better grades than students who go straight to a four-year. Most California community colleges have Puente programs that provide extra support for Latinx students.