Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

The SF Chronicle today reports that Huffington is seriously considering leaving the race and urging her voters to support Bustamante. If the CNN Poll is to be believed–which the article notes is based on some ridiculous assumptions–Huffington may have no good options. She’s doing the right thing. Whatever anyone wants to say about her, she’s gone into the campaign to play a role, and she has the strength of character to stay with the bottom-line–to empower progressives. That’s something real.

posted by @ 7:14 am | 0 Comments

Monday, September 29th, 2003

The CNN/Gallup Poll showing a 65-35 pro-recall sentiment is deconstructed in this LA Times article, which also shows Huffington and Camejo reconsidering what they are planning to do now that Bustamante seems to be losing a lot of ground to Schwarzenegger. Again the poll highlights “likely” voters, which is at best a dubious proposition in this historic race. At the same time, there is no doubt that Arnold did better than anyone expected in last week’s debates. What all that says about likely voters in California is not gratifying.

If Camejo and Huffington drop out of the race, it’s not likely to help Bustamante unless there is some sort of endorsement going on. It’s something that Huffington appears to be giving signals over, if not Camejo. At the same time, the margin may not be enough to help Bustamante. If Dems want to win the no vote and Bustamante as their second choice, they will need to focused right now on turning out progressives and people of color.

A sidenote: last night’s debate was an historic Asian American-hosted debate in Sacramento, but none of the mainstream venues I saw carried anything regarding how the candidates would speak to Asian American issues. Should I be surprised? No. Am I angry about it? Hell yeah. Free James Yee.

posted by @ 4:18 am | 0 Comments

Sunday, September 28th, 2003

Today, Matier and Ross reported that Bustamante seems to have stalled with voters and the race is coming down to a referendum between Davis and Arnie. They also say that numbers haven’t shifted fast enough for Davis to feel good about surviving the recall.

Of course, these surveys are based largely on “likely” voters, and the interesting thing about the recall so far has been how much interest it has generated, evidenced by what everyone agrees is a higher than normal voter registration.

To me, the Prop 54 ads have been pretty wack as well–naked ads for Bustamante that don’t shed much light on how bad Prop 54 actually is. At the time, it was announced it seemed like a good idea. Now I worry that the growing negative s for Bustamante may also affect voter’s perceptions of 54.

posted by @ 10:48 am | 0 Comments

Friday, September 26th, 2003

Pour out a little for Edward Said, the brilliant Palestinian intellectual , who has been a profound influence on me as a young Asian Americanist and a hip-hop generation writer. Especially in these confusing times, Said was always a voice of clarity and truth. Respect. Rest in peace.

posted by @ 9:08 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, September 25th, 2003

ARNIE VS. ARIANNA

The first, and likely, only debate of the top 5 candidates in the race turned into a demolition derby between The Hummer and The Hybrid.

Arianna played anti-heroine–getting all up in the candidates faces. Arnie showed his inner macho airhead by taking Arianna’s bait, and brutalized her all night with consultant-tested one-liners and one apparently off-the-cuff retort that could cost him all the Democratic soccer moms Maria has been diligently trying to assemble for him.

From the start, Arianna baited Arnie and Cruz with zingers regarding their parties’ priorities. As the candidates sparred over worker’s compensation, Huffington said, “This is the two parties that brought us the broken worker’s comp system.” The difference was in how the two took the bait. Cruz agreed with Arianna that the Dems were complicit and laid out specific faults with previous proposals. Arnie called Democratic maneuvering “pre-election bogus” and “trickery”. The split defined the evening–Arnie was vague and vituperative, Cruz was collected, even deferential.

When Arianna laid out her proposal to close the budget gap by closing corporate tax loopholes, Arnie responded with a canned one-liner: “Your personal tax income tax has the biggest loophole–I can drive my Hummers through it.” Arianna pointed out that Arnie’s lines had been rehearsed, and reported in a debate preview by the New York Times.

The debate reached its tit-for-tat high (or low) in an exchange over

tax policy:

HUFFINGTON:…But I want to return to something very important because the people of California need somebody who is going to fight the Bush administration for that, because you know what? Let me just tell you the facts, let me tell you the facts. The repeal of the estate tax alone is costing us over $3 billion.

MODERATOR: We’re starting the clock. Two more minutes left on this. Two more minutes on the budget.

HUFFINGTON: Right, well there’s a huge connection between our budgetary problems here and the decisions made in Washington. And we need somebody who’s going to fight for properly funded mandates — whether it’s on education or in health care — and who’s going to fight the administration when it’s completely costing us jobs? It’s completely hypocritical of Arnold to come here…

SCHWARZENEGGER: Arianna, we’re talking about the car tax right now and not about education.

HUFFINGTON: Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. You know, this is completely impolite and we know this is how you treat women and we know that, but not right now.

MODERATOR: On that point, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Candidates please, let me take control of this for a moment. I’m going to decide it is my privilege as moderator that that was a direct and personal attack on Mr. Schwarzenegger, so would you respond?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I would like to say that I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in ‘Terminator 4.’ That’s it.

Today’s LA Times reports that Huffington believes the scene Arnie was referring to is one in which he stuffs a female robot’s face down a toilet. Whoa. Where’s C. Delores Tucker when you really need her?

You can bet the Dems will be taking up Arianna’s cause in the next two weeks with fervor. If Arianna wants to be around in 2008, she’ll parlay this clout to play ball with the Dems. The possibilities that could result from Arianna joining with a coalition of folks of color and progressives to re-energize the left wing of the Democratic Party are actually pretty mind-boggling.

By contrast, Tom McClintock and Peter Camejo continued to hammer away at their points. They were both sharp and informed, but last night turned out not to be about positions. If the recall is all about entertainment, they wrote themselves out of the storyline. It’s not likely that either will make any more significant gains in their polling. McClintock’s pro-life position, dropped almost surreptitiously in his closing, combined with his bug-eyed seriousness about himself couldn’t have played well anywhere but deep O.C. Camejo is brilliant, earnest, and correct–but as a candidate, he is plagued by a crippling blandness. He has made no myth of himself, and his laser-like policy focus leave nothing to an electorate’s imagination. In this hypermedia bubble, both disappear.

As far as the leaders in the yes-recall race, Arnie stands to lose the most. Those hoping for specifics got platitudes, those hoping for compassion got vagaries, those hoping for intelligence got one-liners. No matter how dumb pundits think the electorate is, the main question most have about Arnie is, wouldn’t we prefer him on-screen than in Sacramento? At some point, the charisma and comedy has to give way to a certain discipline and rigor. It did not happen last night.

Cruz played the background in the Arianna and Arnie thing, which gave him an advantage. It made him look sober, serious, a governor-in-training. But it did not dispel the major doubts that have been raised about his interests. By looking like the responsible one, he failed to distinguish himself as anything other than what he is: a party politician, a nod to the status quo. If he did a few photo opps in which he showed up at backyard BBQs in shorts with a Tecate in hand, now that might be something. Hard to do the man of the people thing when you’re buttoned-down everyday and fighting out your campaign contributions in court.

Which raises the question, of course, why vote for the recall in the first place then? Gray’s ongoing act of contrition may actually work, if for no other reason than the Battle Royale actually looks more devilish than the alternative.

A transcript of the debate is here.

posted by @ 10:17 am | 0 Comments

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

OAKLAND EVENT

Benefit for Tony Coleman of Mindzeye Collective and a Party for Jahi’s New Release…both these brothers are incredible artists and activists so if you’re in town and you can make it, show ya love.

“We One Fam Concert”

Hosted by Davey D with live performances by :

*Zion I

*Jahi and the life

*Ise Lyfe

*The Attik

*Colored Ink

*Nickie Love

*D.J. Sake One (((local 1200′s)))

Friday Sept. 26th 9pm-1am @ the oakland box theater (formerly black box) 1928 telegraph downtown oakland $10@ the door

bring you and your folks and we’ll have a good time

If you are with an orginization we are offering half off if you bring folks out with you, Please rsvp to this e-mail to let us know how many folks you are planning to bring.

If you can’t make it and just want to support Tony’s cause, the address to send contributions to is:

Laura Magnani

1515 Webster st

Oakland california, 94612

posted by @ 7:57 pm | 0 Comments

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

Alright yall, the ruling yesterday just goes to show that journalists know nothing. So once again, it’s on. Check for the 6pm debate tonight and the wrap-up here tomorrow. For now I’m savoring the A’s winning the AL West. Ichiro, I love ya but your team sucks. Boston, it’s over. Even Billy Beane wouldn’t show you no love. Bring on the Yankees, baby.

posted by @ 9:13 am | 0 Comments

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

Today’s hearing, at least as it’s covered here in a AP report, seems to favor the postponement camp. Decisions could come down on Wednesday, the day of the debate, and could sharply affect the tenor of that debate. The debate, by the way, will be held at CSU Sacramento at 6pm PST.

posted by @ 5:28 pm | 0 Comments

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

The first 100,000 Man March For Peace will be held at the Los Angeles Coliseum on October 18. Gang and youth homicides have been skyrocketing the last three years under the Bush administration in cities like Los Angeles and Oakland–a direct result of joblessness and hopelessness. The March is being organized by Daude Sherrills, one of the original organizers of the 1992 Peace Treaty that spread from Watts across Los Angeles and then across the country. If you are in L.A., definitely show your love. For more, info, hit lbjpromotions@aol.com.

posted by @ 9:52 am | 0 Comments

Sunday, September 21st, 2003

PROGRAM NOTE

If you’re in or around Chicago on October 3 through the 5th, come drop by the Hip Hop and Social Change Conference at The Field Museum. Mos Def and Talib Kweli will be keynoting on Saturday night, and I’ll be on a panel talking about “Hip-Hop’s Political Futures” on Friday afternoon. The list of speakers is amazing, including hip-hop activists like David Muhammad, Marinieves Alba and James Bernard, hip-hop intellectuals like Bakari Kitwana, Cristina Veran, Racquel Rivera and Marcyliena Morgan, and artists like Jonzi D, Tone B Nimble, Toni Blackman (cop her new book, Innercourse!) , and DPGz M1. Big shout to the Raymond Codrington and the crew at the Field Museum.

posted by @ 11:12 am | 0 Comments



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