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It’s In Our Hands: Census Kicks Off 2010 Portrait of America Road Tour

posted by: Audiegrl

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary Gary Locke~~Yesterday, I started my new year in Rockefeller Center on the Today Show to kick off our huge push to get people to take part in the 2010 Census.

One of my resolutions is to help make this the best, most accurate Census count ever.

The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau spends 10 years planning how to best count everyone living in America and then New Years comes – and the rubber hits the road! Which is literally what’s happening this year.

Today, we’re sending out a small fleet of 13 vehicles – which we’re calling the Portrait of America Road Tour – that will drive across the United States and Puerto Rico to get the word out about the 2010 Census.

We’re doing this for the oldest of reasons – because our Constitution tells us to. Every 10 years, since 1790, we’ve counted ourselves – every single person living in America. This count determines how we divvy up about $400 billion in federal aid to states to help pay for things like schools, roads, hospitals and police and firemen.

For the 2010 Census, we’ve added some high tech twists to the traditional Census process. Everyone is still going to receive a Census questionnaire in the mailbox, so please – FILL IT OUT, and mail it back. The form is very simple, and has only 10 questions that should take about 10 minutes to complete, and the questionnaire comes in numerous languages.

I’m counting on the Road Tour to get the word out and encourage people to participate. Our little armada of vehicles will drive more than 150,000 miles, be seen by an estimated 18 million people and stop at more than 800 community gatherings, celebrations and sporting events.

Anybody who wants to can learn about the Census and how to fill out a Census form. If you want, you can explain why you’re taking part in the Census, and then you can upload your story onto an interactive website. And you can follow the tour and see other people’s stories by tracking the Road Tour on Twitter, Facebook or through the Road Tour blog. Happy New Years and make sure to follow the Portrait of America Road Tour on the web at:

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Filed under Agencies, Cabinet, Census Bureau, Gary F. Locke (Sec of Commerce), Government, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Technology, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube

Her Honor: A Portrait of Justice Soñia Sotomayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Justice Sonia SotomayerLatina Magazine/Shani Saxon-Parrish—America has never before met a wise Latina like Soñia Sotomayor. Latina contributor and former Editor-in-Chief Sandra Guzmán offers the first glimpse of the woman behind the robe in this exclusive profile of the newly minted Supreme Court justice.

Here is an excerpt from this fascinating story:

I first met Soñia in 1998, after she had been sworn in as a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. I was the Editor-in-Chief of Latina, and a mutual friend, New York attorney Lee Llambelis, suggested that Sotomayor was someone I should meet since I’d probably want to write an article on her (which appeared in our March 1999 issue). Sotomayor’s life story not only inspired readers, but also captivated me.

Since then, we’ve been to each other’s homes for dinner and shared many sweet, honest and confidential conversations. A doting hostess, she puts together cheese platters, makes tasty salads and hooks up a mean churrasco with a tangy lemon marinade. This past spring, she promised to share some of her culinary secrets, so we set a date to fire up the grill in her small yet superb two-bedroom condo in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village. Soñia thought things would finally slow down for her by the summer—but that’s when things really started heating up.

During those grueling confirmation hearings in July, Republican senators Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl dissected her now-famous “wise Latina” phrase, uttered during an inspirational lecture to Latino law students at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 2001.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Soñia Sotomayor in the Justices’ Conference Room on Aug 8, 2009. Mrs. Celina Sotomayor, the mother of the new Associate Justice, holds the family Bible during the ceremony.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Soñia Sotomayor in the Justices’ Conference Room on Aug 8, 2009. Mrs. Celina Sotomayor, the mother of the new Associate Justice, holds the family Bible during the ceremony

The senators aggressively argued that her remarks proved she would bring bias and a liberal agenda to the bench. But Sotomayor repeatedly explained that her comments were part of a regrettable “rhetorical flourish that fell flat.” “I want to state up front, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging,” she said. She added that she was simply trying “to inspire young Hispanics, Latino students and lawyers to believe that their life experiences added value to the process.’’

As the new personification of an intellectual rock star, Sotomayor has been inundated with interview requests—from Vogue to Newsweek, El País to Le Monde. But the new justice has yet to agree to a sit-down, aside from one she granted C-Span for a documentary on the Supreme Court. When I asked about a formal interview for this magazine, she told me, “I am not doing interviews and have said no to everyone. I do not want to be seen as having favorites.”

She did, however, agree to have her portrait taken for the cover and inside pages. And she went as far as granting me her blessing: “You will have to write based on our history together.”

And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

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