BREAKING: La. Sheriff Ordered 'Illegal Alien' Probe of Oil Spill Workers

By Brentin Mock St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens acknowledged today that his office requested federal immigration officials search for undocumented workers among those cleaning up BP’s oil spill. After a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department initially denied involvement*–and federal officials insisted they had conducted a “training,” not a raid–Stephens released a statement in response to ColorLines’ questions about who ordered the probe.

Lincoln Vows to Finally Pay Black Farmers for Bias

By Jessica Strong Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln stepped into a 10-year-old debacle last week to help Black farmers finally get restitution for years of discrimination by the federal government. Lincoln, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, called on Friday for a long-delayed settlement of the $1.25 billion “Pigford II” case, an historic lawsuit in which thousands of Black farmers charged the U.S. Department of Agriculture with lending bias.

Will the FDA Stub Out Big Tobacco's Menthol Ploy?

By Jessica Strong Last June, President Obama signed a law authorizing the FDA to regulate tobacco and creating a panel for that task. Now the panel’s taking up the question of whether to ban menthol-flavoring in cigarettes, which critics say is used to cover up the taste of cigarettes and recruit young smokers. Smoking critics have long argued the “menthol marketing ploy” is particularly aimed at Black smokers, who coincidentally suffer from the highest rates of smoking-related diseases.

It's Back! Abstinence-Only Funding Revived in Health Bill

By Jessica Strong The Obama administration can add this one to its ever-growing list of progressive criticisms: The health insurance reforms the president finalized this morning include a revival of the controversial abstinence-only education initiative known as Title V. Title V, created by Congress in 1996 under the Welfare Reform Act, offered a funding stream for narrowly tailored programs that teach students exclusively about avoiding sex until marriage, without discussing safer sex tools like condoms.