news, politics

A great day for the newspaper, too

Because of yesterday’s historic results, print newspapers are having a SOLD-OUT day. Literally.

When I was walking down the street in downtown LA on my way to the Times building, I saw people walking with stacks of newspapers. That’s something you don’t see everyday around here. Or anywhere.

A friend of mine said he’s having trouble finding a San Francisco Chronicle, and in LA there are signs on every empty box saying where you can find a paper. Luckily, being in the LA Times building, I was able to grab one or two.

Everyone wants to remember this day. And they don’t want to just print out the article from their computer. They want to hold that newspaper in their hands. They want to hold history in their hands.

I guess that’s how you know this is really a moment that will last forever.

See article here.

news, politics

Yes we did.

When I saw him speak in person, I was shocked by his genuine optimism and love for this country and its people. He spoke with a power and a purpose I have never seen in a human being. But what I noticed more than anything was the way people reacted to him. I knew then that there was a light for our country. And our future.


This was more than a battle of two men.
This was a race about more than
or upbringing
or status.
It was about more than
or power.
This was about America
and Americans
and the fact that
underneath it all
we’re all optimists
who believe we can be better than we are.
This was about believing
in our future
and ourselves.
This was about HOPE.
And hope never dies.
No matter how poor,
how alone,
or how desolate things become.
Hope triumphs.


To the future….

news, politics

“We’re all Californians, We’re all equal”

Voting day is just around the corner, and while our votes for President in California may not be paramount for our non-swinging state, there are several props on the ballot which will have significant effects on our lives. Prop 8 has gotten the most attention, and rightfully so because of the huge impact it will have on the state.

No on prop 8:


Please get educated about these props, so you can make informed decisions.

Prop 4, which has been on the ballot before in similar forms, is at risk for passing. Masking as a
parental notification law, it’s another attempt to ban, one demographic at a time. Prop. 4 would amend the state Constitution to require doctors – with limited exceptions – to alert a pregnant minor’s parent or legal guardian at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on the girl.

But this prop could cause serious dangers to teens who feel trapped. Rather than tell their parents, young people will buy Internet drugs to end the pregnancy, they will go to Mexico for an abortion, they will throw themselves down the stairs.

news, politics

Obama at La Raza

I took some video of Obama’s speech at the La Raza Convention in San Diego (see my story with nearly 10,000 hits here). It’s a tad shaky, but when all I’ve got to work with is a little hand-held camera, well, that’s all I got.

He speaks about the American Dream and the Latino vote, so take a look. And if you haven’t seen him speak in person yet, I suggest you find a way.

news, politics

Vying for Native American Votes

ALBUQUERQUE — Native American voters, often treated as an afterthought in presidential elections, are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention from both presidential candidates this year in the battleground state of New Mexico.

It’s a development nearly two decades in the making in which a handful of Albuquerque–based activists have been working to create a well-organized and powerful Native American voice.

Today, with 63,000 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, Native Americans may well be the swing constituency in one of the most politically volatile states in the country.

The Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality (SAGE) Council, founded in 1996 by brother and sister Sonny and Laurie Weahkee, was formed to protest the construction of a road through the Petroglyph National Monument on Albuquerque’s fast-growing westside….

For the rest of the article, see The New Mexico Independent.
Or cross-posted at The Huffington Post


Film review- Recount

“Recount” creates a time and place that seems both far, far away and too close for comfort.

The film makes the year 2000 seem light years away in just one line:

“Anybody ever heard of a hanging chad?”

But at the same time, HBO’s made-for-TV-movie about the weeks surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election magnifies how screwed up our system may really be. And with another historical election just around the bend, this quirky film couldn’t be more timely.

The film begins when the votes were rolling in, and through a nice montage of actual news footage, we are brought through the rollercoaster as Al Gore is declared the winner. Then the news media takes it back. Then George W. Bush is declared the winner. Then the news media takes that back, too.

And then all eyes turn to Florida. Kevin Spacey plays Ron Klain, who heads up the fight for the Democrats. Klain has the underdog story in his corner, as he was taken for granted by Gore’s group in previous years, but still decides to fight for his leader because he truly believes that Gore won. For the Republicans, James Baker (Tom Wilkinson) takes the reins.

The rest, as they say, is history, so there’s no need to really go into the plot. The story goes through all the ups and downs, protests, the recounts and the fights in state and federal supreme court.

Director Jay Roach (of the Austin Powers movies) succeeds because he makes politicians and lawyers into real people through the details. They make mistakes. They take Latin classes. They spill ice cream on the kitchen counter. There are some really subtle funny moments thrown into the drama and the film is stronger for it.

One of the best characters is Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (Laura Dern) who at first seems too exaggerated to be a real person, but then becomes one of the easiest to believe, a striking resemblance to the real thing (garish makeup and horse riding included).

Sometimes, the creators have a little too much fun with editing tricks. The parallels become a tad too obvious. When one camp says one thing and the other says the opposite, it’s funny the first time, but gets old like any hat trick.

Apparently, the real guys behind Gore’s campaign are pretty upset about the film, according to news reports. And they probably should be—they don’t come of as the smartest guys in the room. Warren Christopher (John Hurt), the former secretary of state who led the Gore campaign seems out-of-tune with the real world of politics and a little delusional.

This movie is big enough for the big screen, but will only be shown on HBO. The most striking point made by the film is that the election system of the U.S. is just a big mess. And in 2000, it resembled more of a circus than a system. Instead of being about the people’s vote, it became about how liberal a judge is, or how silly a protester can dress, or if a dimpled chad should be counted.

The tale is more twisted than any fiction writer could ever dream up. And we all know how it ended. We all know who won and who lost that year. We all know how much the world has changed since.

So what does “Recount” tell us, as the dawn of the next election grows near? Politics is screwy. And so are politicians. We can only hope that this year things do go as awry.

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Recount will debut on HBO on May 25, 2008 at 9 pm.


Festival of Books

Today I attended Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books, an annual event where some of the best writers in the country gather to participate in panels and book signing on the UCLA campus. 

The event is free, and apparently about 140,000 people show up every year, according to their website

So I thought it would be a relaxing event, stroll around to a few speakers, buy a few books and get some free stuff. 

I was mistaken.

The attendees of this event are NOT kidding around. We discovered that you could order tickets for the panels ahead of time. We had not done this. THEY had.

There were serious lines for some of the events. Outside of the first panel I saw a line of about four people. That wasn’t so bad for an event about to start in ten minutes. But what I had yet to learn was that there were actually the stragglers. And in emergency-state-like fashion the volunteers almost let us in, then sent us back out, then told us to go in, then told us to wait because people with tickets deserved to get it. People with tickets held them up in the air, waving them around like they just don’t care. The tickets were golden. Golden tickets.

In the end, we got in. But clearly, we were way out of our league with these people.

The first panel was titled “Moments that Shaped America,” with Douglas Brinkley, Michael Eric Dyson, Edward Humes and Bruce Watson. All of these men had very interesting, thoughtful things to say. But Michael Eric Dyson just blew the crowd away. His cadence of speech is mesmerizing, and the thoughts he has to share profound. His words are a mix of part minister, part poet and part rapper. He is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard, if not the best. In one answer, he quoted both Jay-Z and Martin Luther King, Jr. I am buying his book tomorrow.

The next panel we went to was “Campaign ‘08” with David Frum, Garrett M. Graff, Hugh Hewitt and Robert Scheer. Of course, Bob Scheer got a loud round of applause when introduced. The others—not so much. David Frum is a former speechwriter for Pres. George W. Bush, and now a journalist. Graff is editor of Washingtonian Magazine, a professor at Georgetown, and founding editor of Fishbowl D.C. Hugh Hewitt is a radio talk show host, and executive editor of Bob Scheer, fittingly sitting to the left of these other men, is the editor of Truthdig.



The debate brushed on several topics including Obama’s electability, McCain’s age and Hillary’s predicament. I found it very interesting to hear to opinions of Republicans on the current Democratic Party situation. Many said that Obama is a risk. But some also admitted that it will be very difficult for McCain to win this race.

 One main point the more conservative speakers made was that people located in liberal urban areas are stuck in a bubble, believing only their opinions to be the beliefs of the entire country. This was met with severe booing. But when a woman in front of me, thirty years my senior, started heckling the speakers, I was severely disappointed. Here is this woman refusing to even hear the other side out. Why is she even attending this debate?

 She was the perfect example of what these men were talking about: people who refuse to even entertain the thought of other viewpoints. Not whether those points of view are right or wrong, but that they do exist. This country is a mosaic of beliefs and opinions, and we’d all be better off if we could just see that for what it is.

 Hugh Hewitt, David Frum, Garrett M. Graff, and Robert Scheer

Hugh Hewitt, David Frum, Garrett M. Graff, and Robert Scheer.