Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.
A contestant awaits the word prompt at last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. This year's national competition -- held at Washington, D.C.'s Grand Hyatt hotel -- was met with protesters demanding English orthography be phonetic. Our current system, they say, costs "billions in productivity" and makes it more difficult for children to learn to read. ( Flickr / wumpiewoo )
Cancelled flights from New York's JFK Airport. Today, the Obama administration announced new consumer-protection rules for air travelers. Travelers whose flights are bumped will be eligible for up to $1,300 in compensation (up from $800). Airlines must also allow travelers to make changes to their reservation without penalty up to 24 hours before a flight. ( Flickr / Joe Shlabotnik )
Experts are using a technique known as “top kill” to plug a BP well that has been gushing between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels of oil daily into the Gulf of Mexico, according to government estimates. Late this afternoon, BP had to stall the procedure because the fluid engineers were injecting into the well was oozing into the ocean -- along with more crude oil. The oil spill is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. It will take several days to know if top kill will succeed. (Flickr/ Deepwater Horizon Response. )
It seems like the Obama administration got the wrong message when it came to the Arizona immigration bill. Instead of pushing back against the state's enforcement-only approach to dealing with illegal immigration, the administration has sent 1,200 National Guard troops to help "secure the border." Maybe this shouldn't be surprising given that progressives at major think tanks like the Center for American Progress have lately joined Republicans in calling for the border to be militarized, but looking at the numbers, you wonder how anyone could think we need more border enforcement. According to a recent Migration Policy Institute report , border-enforcement spending and personnel have surged in the past decade: We've basically doubled our enforcement capabilities on the border in the last five years -- even as the economic recession has eased the draw of illegal immigrants seeking U.S. jobs. But the problem isn't just that another 1,200 National Guardsmen is overkill: The huge step-up...
One year ago today, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in the state – though the marriage licenses of 18,000 couples remained valid. Closing arguments for the federal challenge, Perry v. Schwarzeneggar , are slated for June 16. (Flickr/ albany_tim )