Monthly Archives: February 2008

Michael Cho

cho.jpg

The homie Tad sent me this article about the recent shooting of 25 year-old Michael Cho at the hands of the Orange County, CA police department.

The whole thing just sounds really vague and shady. The guy was an artist who was accused of vandalism, spray painting buildings or something. Does that warrant officers killing him, filling him with 10 bullets? He was waving a “tire iron” at them apparently “ready to attack.” Why not use non-lethal means like pepper spray?

My boy Greg’s been doing a great job of covering some recent shootings at the hands of cops in the Bay Area recently. It just makes me think that the non-lethal means that cops have at their disposal are saved for White folks, while people of color get bullets.

Check out Justice for Mike Cho to see what folks are doing to demand police accountability.

Advertisements

Fox News: “A Festival of Ignorance”

Ahahah. Props to this guy, some comedian named Lee Camps.

SF Stays Healthy

Although threatened with legal technicalities and opposition from restaurant owners, it looks like the Supreme Court is allowing San Francisco to continue its ambitious universal health care program.

The court even went so far as to say, “Uninsured people’s hardships from not having health care are far greater than the hardships that businesses would suffer by making payments that could be refunded if they won their suit.” Nice to see local courts doing what federal ones never do. Under Bush’s watch, all you ever would hear about over the last seven years is how the federal courts always sided with business interests. Seeing as how this is the first ordinance in the nation to provide health care for all uninsured residents in a city, its nice to see the Bay Area living up to its reputation as the most progressive region in the country. I hope other cities in the Bay follow SF’s lead. 

Go ‘head Sucka Free. Living in Republican ass Georgia, news like this sure makes me miss home.

Gotham Knight

Allow me to nerd out.

Crap CNN Report on Asian American Voters

This is a post for the first ever Youth Media Blog-A-Thon sponsored by Youth Outlook and Wiretap.

I first became aware of this over at AngryAsianMan.com. Basically, CNN recently ran a crap report stating that Asian American voters support Hilary Clinton across the nation due to their “fear of a Black president and/or fear of change.”

Are you kidding me? How then does CNN explain the fact that Obama decisively won Hawaii by over 70%, a state with an overwhelmingly majority Asian Pacific Islander population? This is opinion-based reporting that is being disguised as factual, and points to the continued race politics being played out in this election.

It isn’t news that the powers that be continuously use tactics to divide people of color, especially the Asian American and Black communities. As an Asian American myself, I have always felt the ‘model minority’ myth placed upon the API community carries a subtle “they can be successful, why can’t you” message to Blacks. Direct your frustration from decades of systematic institutionalized racism not at the White oppressors but at these Asians and Latinos, they are your real enemy. Manipulation at its most divisive.

Thankfully, a petition criticizing CNN’s reporting was circulated on the web, received over 800 signatures, and was submitted to the network. I’m glad that today, the Asian American community is not willing to let this type of racial division from the corporate interests at CNN go unchallenged.

Election Day Holiday

This is a post for the first ever Youth Media Blog-A-Thon sponsored by Youth Outlook and Wiretap.

Yesterday, the “Making Voting Easier and Mandatory” post sparked an interesting and lively discussion. The folks at Oh Dang!, Boston Progress Radio and Youth Outlook all responded with their own thoughts on the proposed election reforms that I threw out there.

The three ideas proposed to increase voter turnout were:

1) Same Day Voter Registration;

2) Ending Felony Disenfranchisement; and

3) Making voting mandatory.

Everyone who responded agreed with the first two proposals, but none agreed with making voting mandatory. I thought this was really interesting. Now everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I totally respect that, but given that all of the responses were in agreement, I feel the need to elaborate more on the concept of mandatory voting.

All responses seemed uncomfortable with forcing people to do something. Youth Outlook’s Eming Piansay said:

“As much as I would love to force everyone to show up at City Hall and cast their ballot – I’m afraid making something like this mandatory would make people want to vote even less. You can’t force someone to do something because you think its right.”

Point taken. Forcing people to do things sucks and you never want to do something that you’re told to do. The thing is, I’m not saying we force people to vote because I feel it’s right, I’m saying we force people to vote because the entire existence of our political system depends on them voting.

Donna Tam over at Oh Dang! echoes Piansay’s thoughts, and even goes so far as to defend the electoral college, saying:

“O.K. Not sure I can agree with the Cheddar Box here. Yes, we need to encourage better voter turnout. But, I’m not sure making it mandatory would really work. If you force people to do it, then they most likely won’t be passionated enough, or informed enough to make a good decision. They’ll just vote because they have to. When have any of us responded well to things that we have to do? As confusing and seemingly unfair the electoral college crap seems, there’s a reason it’s in place. People are stupid. The masses, myself included, often don’t understand the full context of their actions.”

Okay, so Donna didn’t agree with me, which is perfectly fine. But daaamn, girl, can we have a little faith in the intelligence of the people? The electoral college was never meant to be a safeguard against the “stupidity of the masses.” It was put in place to give small states power because they feared that big states would have all the influence in the political process if there wasn’t some power check against them. The thing is, that was like hundreds of years ago, and I don’t think that small states have that same overwhelming fear today. Thus, the electoral college is largely irrelevant in terms of its original purpose. Instead, today it essentially acts as a way for the elites in our society to overturn the will of the people.

Voting is fundamentally important because our political system cannot survive without it. I think a lot of people don’t vote because there are tons of problems with our system, one of them being the electoral college that can overturn the popular vote and thus makes people feel like their vote really doesn’t matter anyway. Election day in the US could be a national holiday where everyone could get a day off of work/school and would be required to do their civic duty and vote. As voting became more of societal norm, a common sense, accepted act that was in everyone’s general consciousness, there might be more political discussion amongst the everyday common people in this country, much like in other countries. The fact is, the American “democracy” that we love to put forth as the best democratic system in the world is very flawed. A lot of country’s have better democratic political systems than we do, and they make voting mandatory. That’s all I’m saying.

Making Voting Easier and Mandatory. Yeah, I Said It.

Folks,

All posts over the next couple of days will be dedicated to an online discussion about the elections as part of Youth Outlook and Wiretap Magazine’s first Youth Media Blog-a-Thon.

An interesting post by Eming Piansay on the Youth Outlook website today described how confusing this whole primary election process is with the delegates and the super-delegates. “You need to have a BA in political science to be able to explain the process,” she says. Seems like the regular old popular vote really doesn’t make a difference when you’ve got a delegate system like ours. The electoral college does the same thing in the general election, so we have that to look forward to in November.

If we could do away with the damn delegates/super-delegates and electoral college, then the popular vote, the will of the people, would really count for something.

Even before that happens, there are changes that I think could be made immediately that would have an impact on increasing voter turnout and getting more people engaged in politics.

First: Allow for same day voter registration. Why have all these confusing dates and deadlines for registering? Yes, it would mean more work for people working at the polling sites as they would have to process paper work and all that. But that’s a small price to pay for strengthening democracy. All you ever hear about is how terrible our voter turnout rates are and how apathetic and lazy the young people are. People stay away from the polls because the process is so damn confusing. Same day registration would go along way towards increasing voter turnout and making it easier for people to exercise their political will.

Second: Abolish all of the restrictions against ex-prisoners having the right to vote. Some states actually have lifetime bans against anyone who has done some time in prison. These folks are not allowed to vote for the rest of their lives! This is straight up disenfranchisement. Seeing as how most people in prison are Black and Latino, and those two groups have been shown to vote overwhelmingly Democratic in the past, its no wonder that felony disenfranchisement is always supported by Republicans.

Third: Make voting mandatory. Yeah, I said it. A lot of other democratic countries do this. What would be the argument against it? Taking away people’s choice to vote? Seeing as how our whole political system is dependent on people voting, I don’t see how making voting a mandatory part of living in America would be such a bad thing. It wouldn’t be about punishing people for not voting, it would be about making voting a norm in society. Countries that have mandatory voting have around a 90% voter turnout rate, compared to our rates that are usually between 20%-40%.