Cubans for Obama: Shifts in the South Florida Latino Vote

The Republican Cubans' grip on South Florida politics is lessening with each passing day, and Barack Obama may be a beneficiary of this trend next Tuesday.

The larger reason has to do with the region's changing demographics.

Older Cuban exiles are dying off and for the younger, U.S. born Cubans--as well as later refugees--the 'Cold War' framework of these elders is something of a relic of the past.

Democratic Support Grows Among Cuban-Americans
US Election Cuban voters report - Download (WM)
Jorge Mas Santos Favors Barack Obama
Cubans see hope for change in Obama
Obama Courts Cuban-American Voters
While most Cuban Americans are strongly anti-Castro and anti-communist, a growing number believe that the 50 year old U.S. policy towards Cuban has failed. Additionally, some question wisdom of prohibiting access and direct support to family members in Cuba; while others are perplexed by the prohibitions against direct support to Cuban pro-Democracy groups and dissidents.

Furthermore, younger South Florida Cuban Americans are more concerned about the economic security and safety of their families here in the U.S. They--like other Americans navigating today's shifting economic and political situation--respond with a healthy diversity of views and personal preferences.

Voters are focusing on what the candidates say about domestic economic and political issues... and not on how the candidates could improve relations with their home country. Jorge Pinon, Cuba expert at the Center for Hemispheric Policy
Another factor in the shifting politics of South Florida is the growing number of non-Cuban Latinos. Americans of Cuban heritage are ferwer than 50% of South Florida Latinos--and are likely to drop to just 25% within a decade. Newer arrivals from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and the Dominican Republic are diluting the Cuban conservative political influence. Moreover, these new residents are reframing the political conversation and views of the South Florida Latino community.

Florida Latino Profile
Cubans for Obama
Cuban for Obama


Joaquin Phoenix Quits Hollywood for the Guitar

Joaquin Rafael Phoenix has quit Hollywood.

The 34 year old San Juan, Puerto Rico-born actor announced his retirement from the silver screen this week in order pursue his new love: music.

"This will be my last performance as an actor. I'm not doing films anymore... I've been through that. I've done it... I'm dead serious."
Joaquin Phoenix -- who's reportedly working on an album -- got the music bug while learning to play the guitar for his Academy nominated role as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line.

In the movies, on the radio, or both -- Joaquin's many admirers will continue benefiting from the gifts of a uniquely talented individual.

Two Lovers, Phoenix's 'final' film is scheduled for release on February 13th, 2009.


Joaquin Phoenix in 'Walk the Line'

Obama's 30 Minute Ad: American Stories, American Solutions

With this groundbreaking half hour commercial, Barack Obama has proven again why he is the leader America needs. Beautifully produced. Honest about America's challenges. Hopeful about what a movement for change can produced for regular Americans. True political leadership.


Jorge Mas Santos Favors Barack Obama

Jorge Mas Santos of the Cuban American National Foundation, the leading Cuban exile organization with a distinctly conservative Republican hue, spelled out the five policy changes the presidential candidates must pursue to win the Cuban American vote (How to Win the Cuban American Vote, WashPo 10.25.08).

1) Allow direct aid to dissidents.
2) Lift restrictions on travel and remittances.
3) Maintain sanctions on hard currency.
4) Engage democratic forces in Cuba.
5) Rebuild U.S. intelligence capabilities in Cuba.
Furthermore, Mas Santos cited George W. Bush's failed policies towards Cuba, and then concludes his letter with an endorsement of Barack Obama as the candidate whose US-Cuba approach best matches his proposal.


Controversial. Upsetting to some (as expressed here and here). And potentially a game-changer for the evolving politics of South Florida. Stay tuned!


S.O.B.’s Presents: Spanish Guitar Virtuoso Javier Ruibal - Nov. 12th

A highly regarded singer-songwriter from Cádiz, Spain, Javier Ruibal has created a new type of modern music that blends North African sounds with flamenco and other diverse influences. His music gathers in its compositions echoes and sonorous formulas of today and the cultures of past times.

With the richest rhythms and harmony of Flamenco forming the basis of his sound, Ruibal draws his inspiration from his love of life and beautiful women, resulting in lyrics dripping with fantastic tales and evocative Spanish poems of love.

Javier Ruibal is much loved and revered by musicians and fans alike in his native Spain. The singer and guitarist from Cadiz is best known for his vocal talents and songwriting, whilst his arrangements mix flamenco music with the rhythms and harmonies of world and contemporary sounds.

Although firmly rooted in flamenco, the arrangements encompass a wider musical world, from classical to jazz, bittersweet Portuguese to upbeat calypso. African and Arabic percussion give most of the numbers a North African tinge.

Where: S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014

When: Wednesday, November 12th at 8pm

Ticket info: $12 in advance, $15 Day of show; Available on Ticketmaster and the S.O.B.’s Box Office 212-243-4940.


Palin on Univision: Pro Amnesty? Birth Control?

Sarah Palin sat down for an interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos for her first and only nationally televised interview with a Spanish-language network.

While staying mostly on script, Palin did offer views on a few issues which have not been heard on English-language press. Needless to say, Freepers are not happy.

(Link to the 7 minute interview)

1) Palin supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants "because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here."

2) Palin believes parents should talk to their teenage children about birth control, and invites them to use her as an example as to why they should.

3) Palin shared this cryptic message from her Iraq War deployed solider son: 'Mom I can't tell you over the phone some of the things that we see over here.'

The following are a few excerpts:

Ramos: Governor, let me ask you about immigration. How many undocumented immigrants are there in Alaska?

Palin: I don't know, I don't know. That's a good question.

Ramos: As governor, how do you deal with them? Do you think they all should be deported?

Palin: There is no way that in the US we would roundup every illegal immigrant -there are about 12 million of the illegal immigrants- not only economically is that just an impossibility but that's not a humane way anyway to deal with the issue that we face with illegal immigration.

Ramos: Do you then favor an amnesty for the 12 or 13 million undocumented immigrants?

Palin: No, I do not. I do not. Not total amnesty. You know, people have got to follow the rules. They've got to follow the bar, and we have got to make sure that there is equal opportunity and those who are here legally should be first in line for services being provided and those opportunities that this great country provides.

Ramos: To clarify, so you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?

Palin: I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.

Iraq War

Ramos: Your son has been deployed to Iraq. What has he told you over the phone about the war?

Palin: He's good. You know what he has told me? He said 'Mom I can't tell you over the phone some of the things that we see over here' but you learn really quickly not just about your self when you are over here and I look forward, of course, to getting to speak with him in person after his year of deployment it's up.

Teenage Pregnancy

Ramos: Do you think that we should talk about birth control with our teenage sons and daughters?

Palin: Yes. Use me as the example of why you should, even more admittedly. My daughter, of course she is 18 years old, but has really been forced to grow up very quickly now and starting her own family and you know, life has changed so quickly for her. And she is a good and responsible and a very kind-hearted young strong woman, and she is going to be just fine. But if we can use this, and if my daughter Bristol can use her story as a kind of teaching tool for others, then so be it. Let us do that.

Naomi Wolf: The Rise of U.S. Fascism

In The End of America (75 mins), writer Naomi Wolf warns that American democracy is under threat as a result of sweeping policy changes during the Bush years.

Investigating parallels between our current situation and the rise of dictators and fascism in once-free societies, Wolf uncovers a number of deeply unsettling similarities-from the use of paramilitary groups and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law.
Ten Steps Towards Fascism
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
What Ms. Wolf doesn't mention is how the fear of immigrants is used to justify the erosion of civil liberties and the implementation of police state tactics.

With this galvanizing call to arms, Ms. Wolf urges Americans to take back our legacy of freedom and justice.


US Turning Pro-Obama Blue

This cartogram by Stochastic Democracy, where states are sized proportionally to their electoral votes, shows Obama's chances of winning. States with current polls favoring Obama are in Blue, McCain-leaning states in Red and states tied are in purple.

Stochastic Democracy -- a site that boasts applying mathematics to politics--also shows the probability of Obama winning these Republican states: Missouri(76%), North Carolina(74%), Florida(68%), Indiana(53%), and North Dakota(53%).


GOP - Titanic


Waaaasup! The Pro-Obama Version

The Waaaaasup! Bud guys reprieve their classic act but this time in support of political change and Barack Obama. The friends are still talking by telephone but the good times have been replaced by war, economic crisis and violent weather.

Here's the original ad.


Obama McCain Dance Off (w/a Surprise from Palin)

This is a really funny video of a dance off between Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama and his posse go first showing some incredible moves. McCain's team responds with equally wild dancing. Obama and McCain go head-to-head with an over-the-top face-off. But then Palin does a surprise walk on and steals the show.

Jose Conde: Respondele a Obama - Respond to Obama

This is a great latin music video for Obama, written and performed by Jose Conde, with video by Nicole Betancourt. I love it when he sings that even his Republican Mama is going to cast a vote for Obama. Cuban cool.


Launch of www.librerialectorum.com with Mirta Ojita, Esmeralda Santiago & Victor Villaseñor Nov 19 in NYC

New York City's oldest Spanish bookstore, Librería Lectorum, closed last year. Many were saddened by the shuttering of the specialty bookstore -- a long time fixture on 14th Street and symbol of New York City's century plus Latino influence.

However, the good news though is that Librería Lectorum has been reincarnated as the nation's premier Spanish-language online bookstore. Continuing its decades-long commitment to the Latino community, this Fall Lectorum will launch a new Spanish-language website for consumers, offering tens of thousands of adult and children’s Spanish-language titles.


The founders and distinguished Latino authors are celebrating the launch of http://www.liberialectorum.com/ November 19th.

While the launch is an invitation-only, private event, members of the public are encouraged to log on to http://www.librerialectorum.com/ starting November 17th to see all that the site has to offer, including a recording of the Café Literario event.

Related: New York City's Oldest Spanish Bookstore to Close


John McCain Dissing His Black Cousins

I bet you didn't know that John McCain has Black cousins, right? Few do because McCain has failed to publicly acknowledge that part of his family's past. Actually, in his 2000 run for president he lied when he said that his family never owned salves.

Well, it turns out that the McCains were Southern plantation owners:

Sen. John McCain’s great, great grandfather, William Alexander McCain (1812-1863), fought for the Confederacy and owned a 2,000-acre plantation named Waverly in Teoc. The family dealt in the slave trade, and, according to official records, held at least 52 slaves on the family’s plantation. The enslaved Africans were likely used as servants, for labor, and for breeding more slaves.William McCain’s son, and Sen. John McCain’s great grandfather, John Sidney McCain (1851-1934), eventually assumed the duty of running the family’s plantation.W.A. “Bill” McCain IV, a white McCain cousin, and his wife Edwina, are the current owners of the land. Both told the South Florida Times that they attend the reunions.

Some of McCain's black relatives support Obama


Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama on Meet The Press

Rafael Angel Acosta Diaz: An emerging Puerto Rican sculptor

Before he was even ten years old, Rafael Angel Acosta Díaz knew that someday he would be an artist. Now, Acosta Díaz, 22, is in his third year of college, at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico or the Fine Arts School of Puerto Rico, majoring in Sculpture, and creating innovative pieces that have impressed his teachers and peers.

Acosta Díaz' influences? His grandfather...

“I’ve always enjoyed creating with my hands, my grandfather has a mechanic garage and I always felt a sort of influence towards creating with my hands.”
...and renowned Puerto Rican sculptor Adelino González.

“I create mixed mediums, and I believe I got that influence from Adelino, the influence to work with different materials and mediums to create an elegant piece with an experimental concept.”
Mutants of Hiroshima

During his second year at the university, Acosta Díaz exhibited a series of 20 miniature soldiers, highlighting the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The soldiers were made with plastic pieces, which the artist burnt with fire to be able to achieve the deformed faces poisonous radiation.
The Spiders

Acosta Díaz is currently working on an installation consisting of 50 pieces. The pieces showcase spiders made with different kinds of wood and steel. Each spider is different, they vary in their size and style, and some are 2 inches while others are up to two feet.

“The purpose is to create a tense environment because spiders are the number one phobia, most people are afraid of them. But I’m also adapting to what spiders symbolize as they undergo continued sacrifices to be able to survive, because you can destroy the spider’s web ten times, and the spider will create it again ten more times.”

Acosta Diaz is not sure where he will be in ten years, but he is sure of where he wants to be.

“I want what every artist wants, to be recognized, for people to know my work and appreciate my work. I want to make a living from my passion, my art, my sculptures.”
For more information or to contact Rafael Angel Acosta Diaz you can send him an email at rafaelngl@yahoo.com.



New Hues for the Electoral Map: The 10 States of American Politics 2008

Dividing the U.S. into Red and Blue states or, more traditionally, into geographic regions (South, Northeast, Midwest and West) capture the country's true political differences?

Robert David Sullivan of Beyond Red & Blue doesn't think so.

In Beyond Red and Blue: The 10 States of American Politics 2008, Sullivan presents an alternative model in which the nation's counties are assigned to 10 distinct states based on their history and presidential voting patterns since 1948.

The 10 States include: Upper Coasts, Chippewa, Northeast Corridor, South Coast, Cumberland, Southern Inland, Comanche, Mega-Chicago, El Norte and Frontier.

According to Sullivan's research, no one has been elected president without carrying at least five of these "states". So how do today's candidates fare in their quest to capture a majority?

As per recent polls, Sullivan sees Obama's situation quite favorably:

This year Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, seems to be focused on three goals: increase John Kerry’s narrow 2004 margin in the Latino-heavy region of El Norte (with the goal of winning Colorado and New Mexico and becoming competitive in Florida); erase the Republican Party’s customary solid lead in South Coast (winning Virginia and possibly North Carolina, plus going over the top in Florida); and reduce the Democrats’ often-huge deficit in Cumberland (allowing Obama to take Ohio and possibly Indiana).
In contrast, John McCain's path appears more daunting, which is why he and Palin are spending so much time in Ohio and Pennsylvania:

John McCain, has only one viable strategy to counteract any Electoral College gains by Obama. He must capture Chippewa, which narrowly went for Kerry last time, to have a chance of winning the electoral votes of Michigan, Pennsylvania and possibly Minnesota and Wisconsin.
New Hues for the Electoral Map
The 10 Regions of Democratic primary politics
America's 10 political regions redefined

SNL's Jesse Jackson on "The Bradley Effect"

Very funny.


El Diario La Prensa Endorses Barack Obama for President

En Español

Our country is perched on the edge of a cliff. We are staring down a growing economic crisis. Our soldiers are fighting two separate wars—in Iraq and Afghanistan—with no end in sight. Over the last eight years, families have been hit hard by stagnant wages, and the rising costs of everything from gasoline to food to health care. Today, there are more children living in poverty in this country than there were a decade ago. And on principles of fairness and humanity, we have gone backwards.

The arrogance and lies of the George W. Bush Administration drove us to war. The anti-government hysteria of the Republican-controlled Congress paved the way for the financial bust. The economy and the credibility of this nation have been deeply damaged.

Our next president must have the capacity, judgment and vision to restore confidence, both here and abroad. El Diario/La Prensa endorses Senator Barack Obama as the leader ready to redirect the United States of America towards its promise.
Senator Obama wisely opposed Bush’s misguided and immoral charge into Iraq. From Corona to Washington Heights, Latinos have suffered the devastating effects of this war. Senator Obama has pledged to bring the sons and daughters who are serving in Iraq back home by 2010.

Senator Obama has correctly identified that trickle-down economics are not addressing the inequities Americans face. As our economy continues to unravel, Latinos and African Americans are disproportionately affected by foreclosures. Senator Obama has proposed a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures so that some lenders and homeowners can renegotiate terms.

Other problems demand attention. Graduation rates in the United States lag behind that of most other wealthy nations. Senator Obama has committed to investing in schools and to making higher education more accessible.

The nation also needs a humane and sensible immigration policy. While Senator John McCain once appeared as a reasonable interlocutor on immigration reform, he gradually pandered to Republican ultra conservatives by promoting a two-step process emphasizing border enforcement. Senator Obama clearly outlines a far superior plan that will take a smarter approach to immigration, including bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.

Two defining moments of this election cycle have been Senator Obama’s declaration that health care is a right and his speech in Philadelphia on race relations. With both, we saw a leader willing to respond to real-life problems and a visionary who can see beyond who we are now, to who we can become.

We were also impressed by Senator Obama’s advocacy for women. He defended a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and he challenged McCain for blocking pay equity for women.

Senator McCain has sacrificed for this nation as a captured Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. But he remains far too close to Bush’s economic policies to lead a nation out of this economic hole. As the current financial crisis emerged, he argued that the fundamentals of the economy were strong, that we needed a commission to study the issue and pointed to a few greedy executives—not an unregulated market—as the problem. On Iraq and Afghanistan, he is far too wedded to a single tactic – the surge – to present a coherent vision of these damaging wars. He can’t see the forest for the trees. And sadly, McCain has run an angry and divisive campaign.

Our nation needs leadership that is strong, steady and focused on the common good. On November 4, cast your ballot for Senator Barack Obama.

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

In this video lecture, distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren contrasts today's families to their counterparts of the '70, and finds that changes in the economy are undermining, constricting and bankrupting America's political, social and economic foundation: the Middle Class.

"I fear we're moving from a three class society to a two class society...threaten[ing] the fabric of our country. We have a middle class that's weakened. And...it's time to realign our academic and political alliances to talk more about what's happening with these families."
Dr. Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America's credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class.


David Crosby & Graham Nash @ Obama Rally - Eisenhower Park

Relentless of 100 Years is Enough sent me this video he took from last night's David Crosby and Graham Nash set at the Obama Rally at Eisenhower Park (Hempstead, New York) -- a production of Yes We Can Long Island.

Crosby and Nash performed This Is My Country, a powerful call to take our country back, and the classic, Teach Your Children Well. These guys bring back all sorts of memories from my college days at Albany State. Very nicely done.

BTW: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will carry Long Island, a region of New York that was--and still is in parts--subjected to Republican/Conservative domination. Think of pols Al D'Amato and Peter King, and FOX propagandists Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. It's a legacy from which America's first suburbs are slowly recovering.

Children of immigrants reshaping America: Booming ‘second generation’ becoming the mainstream

By as early as 2023, more than half of all children will be members of what are now minority groups, an evolution fueled significantly by a baby boom among recent immigrants. By 2050, they will make up more than 60 percent of all American children.

By 2050, the number of Americans of [Latino heritage] will double to comprise a third of the American population. The Asian population is projected to nearly triple, to 9.2 percent of the population. And as those populations mingle, the number of people who identify themselves as being of two or more races will more than triple.

The result will be a United States in which the so-called white majority will, for the first time, be in the minority.



Who Won the 3rd Obama McCain Debate? Obama

The third and final Obama-McCain Debate from Hofstra University is over and the world wants to know who won. Focus groups on CBS, CNN and FOX gave a big win to Obama. Additionally, snap polls at CBS and CNN found Obama the clear victor by a two-to-one margin.

My take is that Obama was steady, unflustered, and gave detailed responses to questions about his plans. McCain was more aggressive, emotional and presented a Republican program of more corporate tax cuts, free trade agreements and against a woman's right to choose. Obama was a bit cautious but relaxed; while McCain was overly anxious and a bit angry.

The big news--if that's what it can be called--is that McCain denied that he's George W. Bush (duhhh!!!!) and that he didn't care about an "old washed up terrorist"; and Obama dismissed the Ayers question as a McCain obsession and distraction.

Additionally, the intimate setting of the two men sitting at a table in front of a televised audience was not the forum forum for harsh partisan red meat. Obama was focused on calmly presenting his plans to undecided independents; while McCain came off as the prickly ideologue of the past appealing to his base.

The winner? Obama


Eugene Robinson: The GOP Is a Mess and a Fraud

Time to Be Outward Bound is the title of Eugene Robinson's withering assessment of Conservative Republican governance under of Bush/Cheney. His conclusion? Today's GOP Is a Mess and a Fraud.

Since George W. Bush became president, the Republican Party has presided over massive, out-of-control government spending, converted a federal budget surplus into a half-trillion-dollar deficit, and looked the other way while Wall Street's greed and stupidity turned the hallowed free market into scorched earth. Now the party has to watch as a Republican president orchestrates the biggest government intervention into the workings of the private sector since the New Deal.
Robinson rightly points out that it's laughable for Republicans to claim that they are for small government; and he skewers "right wing radio blowhards" -- Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Cunningham, Laura Ingraham, et al. -- for trying to paint Obama and the Democrats as big government Socialists.

It's pathetic to hear right-wing talk radio blowhards try to associate Barack Obama with "radical" or "socialist" views when a Republican administration is tossing aside "Atlas Shrugged" and speed-reading "Das Kapital."
Robinson's prescription?

When a political party reaches the point of lurching incoherence, the most effective cure is a good, long spell in the wilderness. Americans should help Republicans out by sending them home to get their act together.
Robinson is, of course, right -- and even sensible Republicans agree. It is painfully obvious to them that their party needs a time out to rehab, gather itself and figure out what it stands for in a post Ronald Reagan World.

In the meanwhile, Conservative Republican politicians should not be allowed anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and right-wing radio blowhards ought to seek treatment for their rage, hate and racism.


Maria: Viva Carolina's Latino of the Week

Maria es la latina de la semana!

Maria is Latino of Week at Viva Carolina, a publication and website serving Carolina del Norte Latinos.

Love that smile!

Viva Carolina is a publication featuring local news and information of interest to the Latino community, including interviews with local business, political and community leaders; job listings; and information on community events. It's published by The Latin Focus LLC, a marketing and media company headquarted in Charlotte.

10,000 free copies of Viva Carolina's Charlotte Edition is being distributed across Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, York and Lancaster counties. The web version will be organized by major metro areas (Charlotte, Triad, Triangle, East Carolina, Wilmington, Columbia, Greenville SC, etc).

Viva Carolina! Viva La Comunidad Latina de Carolina del Norte!


Who Won the Obama-McCain Debate 2? Advantage Obama

The 2nd Obama-McCain debate is over -- and so is the race for president. Barring a direct meteor hit, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

McCain needed a game changer and he didn't come close. Instead, he looked old, sounded cranky at times, and even looked infirmed. But more importantly, his grasp of the issues and his solutions were at best too general, and at worst, too much of the same.

McCain needed a knockdown but be barely landed a punch. It's no wonder that the Republican pundits on television are unhappy with McCain's performance. For example, Leslie Sanchez and Alex Castellanos were frustrated with McCain, complaining that the senator missed numerous opportunities to score points.

While the debate was as I expected, fairly genteel, and the candidates stayed largely within the talking points, McCain did offer two surprises. One is that he believes that Social Security benefits will have to be curtailed. Ouch!!! This seems like an especially tone-deaf proposal given the poor stewardship of his party and the resulting levels of insecurity.

The other McCain proposal, which would costs 100s of $billions just for teetering subprimers, is to have the government purchase all the bad mortgages and reissue new ones at the diminished value of the homes. And which agency would buy the loans? FannieMae and FreddieMac -- the agencies McCain and the rightwing has been railing about?

This mortgage purchase proposal (which, btw, is along the lines of my own alternative bailout plan) must have conservatives re-evaluating their support for "mavericky" McCain. But it also clashes with his point that it's Obama that's the big spender. His mortgage bailout idea, together with the cost of more wars, and his huge tax cut proposal for corporations and the rich, hugely dwarfs the costs of Obama's proposed investments (in energy innovation, health care and education).

Bottom line, Obama showed well; McCain, not so much. Verdict: Advantage Obama

Related Links:
Obama-McCain Round 2: Wingnuts Need a Knockdown

Buena Vista Social Club's Carnegie Hall CD to be Released 10/14/08

A group of Cuba's aging musical geniuses came together as Buena Vista Social Club in the late '90's and exploded onto the world music scene. Their album Buena Vista Social Club, produced by Ry Cooder, is the biggest selling world music album ever, with over 8 million records sold.

Now ten years after the group's performance at New York's Carnegie Hall, which became the center-piece of the hugely successful film directed by Wim Wenders, the recording of that historic event is about to hit music stores across the globe. BTW: It's only the second album ever by the original Buena Vista Social Club.

Ceiling Fans, Courtly Men And a Whiff Of Old Cuba is Jon Pareles' review (NYTimes, 7.3.1998) of Buena Vista Social Club's historic performance at Carnegie Hall. Here's the intro:

The Buena Vista Social Club basked in the latest wave of Cubaphilia when it performed on Wednesday night. The concert was more than a musical occasion. Musicians from Cuba in their 70's, 80's and 90's, some emerging from retirement, were making their United States debuts at no less than Carnegie Hall.
The fabulous Buena Vista Social Club At Carnegie Hall (2 CD) [LIVE] will be released October 14, 2008. Click here to listen to some of the tracks.


Shakira Hearts Obama

Latina recording artist Shakira endorsed Barack Obama this weekend as the best candidate for president.

The Grammy-winning pop artist and humanitarian believes that Obama is best prepared to lead United States -- a place of "profound importance to me".

"I feel in my heart that he would be able to reconstruct peace and confidence in the United States."
Shakira encourages all U.S. Latinos to vote in November.

Si, Se Puede!

Shakira - wikipedia
Shakira anuncia respaldo a Obama

Shakira Lauds Obama's 'True American Message'
La Fundación Pies Descalzos
(The Barefoot Foundation)


AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka on Racism and Obama


Trumka directly addresses the fallacy of some union workers preferring to vote against their own economic and political interests due to racism. Impressive. Trumka is a true leader. This video should be required viewing in every union hall and union household in the nation.

Bravo for Trumka and the AFL-CIO.


Who Won the Biden- Palin VP Debate? BIden Now, Palin Later

Senator Biden was the clear winner in tonight's VP debate. The gap in readiness to serve as vice president, and president if needed, is wide.

While Governor Palin performed to my expectations, i.e., she was spunky and likable. However, she spoke in generalities, stuck to talking points, over did it with the folksy act, and repeated many of the McCain misstatements about Obama's record. Palin lost points by:
    • Failing to identify a single area where she or John McCain would change George W. Bush's economic or foreign policy positions.
    • Refusing to defend John McCain's record as a deregulation hawk.
    • Pandering to the Jewish vote by promising relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem--a move that would escalate tensions in the Mideast.
    • Seeming unmoved by Biden's emotional moment re: the near death of his son.
    • Talking a great deal about corruption on Wall Street and blunders in the mishandling of the war, but offering no specifics for fixing any of the problems.
    • Supporting Cheney's dangerous idea that the office of the VP is not part of the executive branch and, therefore, not subject to the laws governing it.
    • Believing the VP is entitled to a significant legislative role.
    • Refusing to directly answer many of the questions.
In contrast, Biden was authoritative -- steadily eviscerating John McCain's record, judgement, and his tax and national defense proposals.

We'll see what the consensus is on the winner --- and whether it can game the game. I don't think so.

Bottom line?

Joe Biden won the debate about who's best for '08. He helped his ticket's cause by presenting himself as someone who understands the need to change Washington -- and is ready to lead.

Sarah Palin won the first round of a longer contest for the hearts of the GOP's critical social conservative constituency with her spirited performance. She's reclaimed her political viability -- and her focus should be on the future since the McCain '08 campaign is but a short-term platform of opportunity.

Palin could very well win the GOP nomination for Alaska U.S. Senator and/or President down the road. But it'll be important now for her to do more interviews with conservative and christian media, speaking engagements with social conservative groups, and fund raising.

In order To fly, Palin will first have to escape from the moldy and confused cell McCain has put her in.


LATINOS '08: A PBS Documentary on Latinos & the '08 U.S.Elections

LATINOS '08, a new documentary from Phillip Rodriguez, airs Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 9:00-10:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Latinos are less cohesive than other voting blocs, and they do not fit the black/white racial binary that has long shaped American politics. This documentary examines how today's candidates and advocacy groups are trying to mobilize and attract this unpredictable group of voters.

Will McCain manage to win back Latino defectors, in light of his party's harsh rhetoric on immigration? Will Obama succeed in securing the votes of the many Latinos who supported Hillary Clinton during the primaries?

Another subject of inquiry will be the effectiveness - or lack thereof - of Latino politicians in advancing Latino interests and promoting Latino unity. As these politicians enter the upper echelons of American politics, they face inevitable pressure to abandon their ethnic identity and constituencies. Will the Latino electorate coalesce nonetheless, united around the immigration issue and hemispheric foreign policy considerations? Or will ethnic considerations be trumped by class, education and other factors?

In investigating such questions, Latinos '08 sheds light on an important part of America's future.