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brother bill January 22, 2008

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Obama provided one of the debate’s most light-hearted moments when asked about Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s comment that Bill Clinton — Sen. Clinton’s husband who, as president, was hugely popular with black voters — was America’s “first black president.”

“I would have to investigate more of Bill’s dancing ability and some of this other stuff before I accurately judged whether he was, in fact, a brother,” Obama said to laughter from the audience and other candidates.


bbc editor calls it for hillary December 30, 2007

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john simpson, in his predictions for 2008:

So who will be elected to succeed US President George W Bush in November?

A single word, a single revelation could trip up any of the front-runners, but I assume Hillary Clinton will just make it.

It’ll be an ugly, unedifying election, though.

America’s divisions will be fiercer than ever.

something to look forward to, then.

media coverage of 2008 presidential election October 30, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, health, media, news, politics.
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study by the project for excellence in journalism and the joan shorenstein center on the press, politics, and public policy via paul krugman’s blog:

In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found.

The press’ focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if one looks at how stories were framed rather than the topic of the story. Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates.

this should be pretty self-evident to anyone who reads or watches the msm’s coverage of elections. there’s this pretense of a public dialogue about the issues, but it’s not even reasonable to expect the average voter to understand anything, much less anything substantive, about social security or healthcare or global warming even if they pay attention to the news. can anyone tell me even the most basic of differences between clinton, obama, and edwards’ healthcare proposals? this is supposedly the number one domestic issue in this election but i never hear any kind of pundit discussion along the lines of – “well hillary’s health care plan wants to ____ while obama’s plan would ____, which stands in contrast to edwards plan which would _____.” what i hear is “hillary unveiled her healthcare proposal today. the republican frontrunners attacked her plan as more ‘socialized medicine,'” which is then followed by discussion about guliani’s attack of hillary’s plan as opposed to the plan itself.

meet bobby jindal…louisiana’s new governor October 21, 2007

Posted by KG in news, politics, race.
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In a widely expected victory Saturday night, Bobby Jindal, a 36-year old Republican congressman, won the Louisiana gubernatorial election, becoming the nation’s first governor of Indian-American descent and the youngest chief executive of any state.

Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, is generally acknowledged to be an ambitious policy whiz kid. An Ivy League-educated Rhodes Scholar, he was appointed head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the state’s largest agency, at the tender age of 24. At 28, he was tapped to head one of Louisiana’s university systems. Two years later, he served in the Bush Administration as an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services. He first ran for governor in 2003 at the age of 32, losing by a mere four percentage points to current Democratic governor Kathleen Blanco.

Following his defeat in 2003, Jindal ran for and won the congressional seat in Louisiana’s first district. Since then, the staunch conservative — who converted from Hinduism to Catholicism as a teenager — has traveled often to northern Louisiana, hitting up churches and pressing the flesh. The strategy appears to have worked, as Jindal handily won the areas he lost to Blanco four years ago and that heavily supported white supremacist David Duke’s bid for the governorship in 1991.


“All the relatives are gathering at our ancestral home, and it’ll be a big party for all our friends and family,” the U.S. politician’s cousin, Subhash Jindal, said by telephone from the family’s hometown in Maler Kotla, a town in northern India’s Punjab state.

Bobby Jindal, 36, has not visited his ancestral home for more than three decades — but that has not hampered the joy in Maler Kotla.

The family planned to celebrate with a traditional Punjabi bhangra folk dance to the beat of drums called dhols, setting off firecrackers and enjoying sweets, said another cousin, Harinder Jindal.

When the governor-elect, born Piyush Jindal, was 4 years old, he asked his parents to call him Bobby, after the youngest son on a then-popular U.S. family television show called “The Brady Bunch.”


The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state.

A born-again Roman Catholic, Mr. Jindal made a particular campaign target of these areas, visiting them frequently and bringing his brand of devout Christianity to their rural churches. His social-conservative message — teaching “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution in public schools, a total ban on abortion, repealing hate-crimes laws — would have been welcome in these areas.

perspective from sepia mutiny here and here

not to be a downer: while it’s definitely good news that jindal is the first nonwhite to become governor of louisiana since the 1870’s, i find it interesting that most articles seem to fetishize his ethnicity. i suppose it’s bound to happen, but it’s ironic coming from indian-americans who ordinarily would never support his politics. i guess rooting for one’s own team, so to speak, is a powerful force and also a phenomenon i find unendingly stupid. let’s judge him on his merits and not get carried away with his success just because his photoshop shade swatch matches yours.