Thursday, December 20, 2007
The New Storm In New Orleans
By now you may have heard news of what are being called riots by residents and supporters of public housing in New Orleans against police and the NOLA City Council. In fact, peaceful demonstrators were met with Tasers and pepper spray.

This is a storm that has quickly gathered in the past few weeks. The issue at hand is the vote to destroy 5000 units of public housing in the city, a move that many believe is tantamount to permanently clearing poor Black residents from their home.

Today, the City Council was scheduled to vote on whether or not to approve that drastic, unconscionable step.

In the past few weeks, even NY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ourrossoff has decried this move as "ruthless indifference to local realities."

At the same time, The Gulf Coast Recovery Act is up in the U.S. Senate. It will ensure that for every unit of housing demolished, another one will be replaced. This bill has been blocked by Republican Senator David Vitter who has said of the housing shortage, "I can't imagine the need is as much as the need pre-Katrina."

Here's the latest from on-the-ground, via the Katrina Information Network, a broad network of residents and supporters that has been working on post-Katrina issues. More information is at the Defend New Orleans Housing website.

12/20/07 13:30p.m. -New Orleans Public Housing residents, and affordable housing advocates are being locked out of the New Orleans City Council (public meeting) proceedings and being harassed by multiple 'law enforcement' agencies as they attempt to conduct a peaceful show of support for a halt to the immoral and untimely demolition of the 4 largest housing developments during an unprecedented housing crisis in this city.

Approximately 500 participants who attended an opening press conference preceding City Council's regularly scheduled session this morning were met with a show of force from several law enforcement agencies. Since 10:00a.m. this morning people have been peppered sprayed, locked out of the proceedings and 24 have been arrested.

Organizers on the ground in New Orleans are asking for supporters in the struggle for affordable decent housing and the right for all those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the policies which hold blatant disregard for low-income and poor people to send out a call to:

1.Get on the Phone- Call your congressional and senate representatives urging them to support the passage of SB 1668- the New Orleans Housing Recovery Act, currently awaiting a vote in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. There is a list of phone numbers here.

2.Send out Mail and Make Calls - Send word to New Orleans elected officials that their way of working with recovery issues is inhumane and until the broad constituency they were elected to represent are treated with the respect they deserve and represented in the process of redeveloping their city their plans are hinged on the backs of the very people that make this city the unique and special place that it is.

Council Members
Arnie Fielkow (President)
City Hall, Room 2W40
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1060
Fax: (504) 658-1068

Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson (Vice President)
City Hall, Room 2W50
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1070
Fax: (504) 658-1077

Shelley Midura District A
City Hall, Room 2W80
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1010
Fax: (504) 658-1016

Stacy S. Head District B
City Hall, Room 2W10
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658 -1020
Fax: (504) 658-1025

James Carter District C
City Hall, Room 2W70
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1030
Fax: (504) 658-1037

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell District D
City Hall, Room 2W20
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1040
Fax: (504) 658-1048

Cynthia Willard-Lewis District E
City Hall, Room 2W60
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 658-1050
Fax: (504) 658-1058

Mayor Ray Nagin
New Orleans City Hall
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

City Hall Operator: (504) 658-4000

3. Spread the Word - Get the word out to your network of family, friends and co-workers. The attack on low-income and poor families is not limited to New Orleans, If we allow affordable housing to disappear during a critical time in it's recovery, there will be less chance for it's survival throughout the US.

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has helped to procure lucrative contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars for friends and associates who went to work at HUD-controlled housing authorities in New Orleans and the Virgin Islands, he is now holding the end to funds for all redevelopment in his sector over the head of this city, if demolitions do not go forward. There is valid reason to be suspicious of the type of contract work that will be done for millions of dollars that destroy sound structures rather than redeveloping communities with the input of it's residents. Act now to support a full and just recovery for all of those so devastated in the gulf south.


posted by Zentronix @ 12:45 PM   4 comments links to this post

F the CC :: Part 3,765
Belatedly, John Nichols on the FCC's latest Monopoly move. I was listening to the lobbyist for newspaper owners the other day and rolled on the floor for a few minutes laughing at the way dude invoked localism as a reason they needed to be able to buy up TV and radio stations. That was a new one.

In any case, Congress has the last word. That means you can still make a difference. Sign a letter here.

posted by Zentronix @ 11:30 AM   0 comments links to this post

Roboprof :: 20 Seconds To Comply
Follow up :: Roboprof explains himself in the The Washington Post!

posted by Zentronix @ 11:08 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tonight In The Bay!

posted by Zentronix @ 10:00 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Hillary To Attack Obama On Mandatory Minimums?
Thanks to all yall who posted or emailed or txted me on yesterday's Huffpo piece.

BTW it's always interesting to me to see how the comments section on pieces like this always move quickly away from the topic to something else entirely. One person actually suggested college basketball teams be investigated for reverse racism. Riiiiiiiight.

Sigh. is what it is and that's why we do what we do.

Getting back to the actual article I wrote--as opposed to the one some people thought they read--my man Ethan Brown called my attention to this Atlantic blogpost from Marc Ambinder that suggests a Clinton aide's recent attack on Obama over his admitted cocaine use is hardly the end of the story.

Ethan comments here and will be tracking the story on his blog. One last thing...his incredible new book Snitch: Informants, Cooperators, and the Corruption of Justice has just been released.

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:38 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Huffington Post :: Obama, Clinton, and the Spectre of the Culture Wars - Politics on The Huffington Post
My first blog entry is up at HuffPost. Check this preview:

In Iowa last Tuesday, a man--a good friend and a brilliant professor named Kembrew McLeod, actually--dressed up as a robot--yes, a robot--to heckle Bill Clinton on, of all things, the infamous 1992 Sister Souljah incident.

You may remember that one: at a crucial moment in his presidential campaign, Clinton seized on a decontextualized quote by the rapper about the Los Angeles riots to reassure white voters that he was solidly on their team. (Then he went on Arsenio Hall to play a disastrous sax solo.)

So against the round booing of 400 FOBs--none of whom, it may be safely presumed, had ever been forcibly detained like Wen Ho Lee--my-friend-the-robot dropped a club promoter's amount worth of flyers that detailed Clinton's disservices to racial justice while, at the top of his lungs, demanding on behalf of all robots that the Great Triangulator apologize to Souljah.

It's true that a lot has changed since then. A rap group even won an Academy Award. And I'm still not sure why my man needed to be in a robot suit. But he had a point.

The resentments that made it possible for Bill Clinton to summon race, class, and generation divides to scold youths of color into behaving properly towards nice middle-of-the-road voters haven't disappeared. Think of how the Don Imus firing turned into a referendum on rap earlier this year. (And think of how much money Imus received to return to the airwaves.) Think of the 50 noose incidents in the two months since the march on Jena in September.

The culture wars have never really ended...

Click here to read the whole thang.

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:12 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
How For Do Business Like One Local
This one's for all the kotonks, kachinks, haoles, and all my Pilipino cousins who wish they were from Hawai'i. Courtesy, Hawaii Business Magazine and Tanimitsu Mitsuyoshi Yoshimura and Associates.

posted by Zentronix @ 4:55 PM   1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
BREAKING NEWS :: Robot In Iowa Heckles Bill Clinton Over Sister Souljah
During school hours, he's a mild-mannered University of Iowa professor. But during the primary season, when he's not grading papers he's a Robot Seeking Truth and Racial Justice.

He's Kembrew McLeod, and he's in today's Des Moines Register. (Here's his manifesto.)

BTW: absolutely no truth to the rumors that the protest was organized by Cylons For Edwards.

posted by Zentronix @ 11:44 AM   2 comments links to this post

More Wire Geekdom
Perhaps the best fanblog ever about definitely the best TV show ever, Heaven and Here, is back and landing punches. Under discussion right now are the 3 exclusive short 'prequels' at the Amazon page for The
Wire :: The Complete Fourth Season DVDs
that give background on some of the most interesting characters from the show: McNulty & Bunk (inc. Rawls), Prop Joe, and Omar.

Meanwhile I'm planted in front of the tube with my Season 4 DVDs until the Season 5 premiere on January 6. Great way to spend 12 hours. Or maybe 48 or 96...


posted by Zentronix @ 7:56 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Rap Sales And Globalization :: Hip-Hop Verses The World?
When I was doing work on my piece for Foreign Policy--and for those of you in China still hoping to get at this, please hang on, I'm working on it--these past several months, I kept on trying to work one intriguing storyline that I could not quite pull together fully for the piece: the idea that U.S. rap is in decline because it hasn't globalized as fast as other genres.

Now I realize that this is completely counterintuitive to the argument of the piece (nor does it explain country music's continued rise, among other trends) and this is why I left that particular storyline hanging. But some of the buzz I was getting from industry sources was intriguing.

Here are two things that came up...:

+ One top-selling label finds its overseas sales now outstrips its domestic sales but hasn't been able yet to capitalize on it fast enough because of its U.S. focus and its rap-dominated roster.

+ U.S. rappers are now more likely to guest-appear on overseas artists albums than they are to appear on those rappers' albums. It's not because of North American arrogance, but because those rap artists desperately need to build demand overseas.

Trust that there's a lot more where that came from, and I might develop it into a future piece.

In any case, the excellent music industry reporter Jeff Leeds has a great story in today's NY Times on Martin Kierszenbaum, an Interscope music exec who is charged with bringing U.S. music to the world (and to a lesser extent these days, to bring the world's music--forget that antiquated term "world music"--to the U.S.).

It's a good read and perhaps another reason that the music industry is fast becoming the Mike Gravel of the global media/entertainment complex.

OK, that's not fair. Most of what Gravel says and does makes sense.

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:31 AM   3 comments links to this post

Monday, December 03, 2007
David Henry Hwang Goes Post-Multiculti

Fascinating read about David Henry Hwang in yesterday's New York Times. Hwang created the sensational "M. Butterfly", a smash critical and audience hit, a pinnacle work of the multiculturalist movement and, for a long time, the subject of many an Asian Americanist's love and/or hate. It was, of course, a response to the Orientalist standard "Madame Butterfly".

Hwang was also, like many other prominent Asian American artists at the time, an activist on issues of representation, and protested the casting of a white guy as the lead hapa pimp for "Miss Saigon".

His new Off-Broadway piece "Yellow Face" casts a character named DHH who is protesting the casting of a white guy in a role meant for a hapa. Sound familiar? The work deconstructs that period--not to declare racism and representational issues dead, but to examine the fallout and legacy of that charged era.

I won't be in NYC this winter...too much stuff to do...but if anyone is and gets to catch it, holla.

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posted by Zentronix @ 10:50 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Best fan sign all night!

Honestly for me, the crowd shots were just as great as the game the Warriors played. If you want a taste of the vibe, check Stephen Tsai's blog.

Next stop: New Orleans to turn out the Bulldogs on Sashimi Day.

posted by Zentronix @ 1:04 AM   4 comments links to this post


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