Friday, November 20, 2009

OaklandSeen- Aimee Allison & Zennie Abraham on KPFA

OaklandSeen is KPFA 94.1 KPFA Morning Show radio personality and twice candidate to represent Oakland City Council District Two (now-Councilmember Pat Kernighan won the race), Aimee Allison's new show where she talks about what's happening in Oakland. This was an interesting show in that it was produced at a makeshift studio within Revolution Cafe at 1612 7th Street in West Oakland, and across from the Oakland Main Post Office.

(As an aside, the cafe's real cool and has a nice collection of couches and overstuffed chairs. My only issue with Revolution Cafe is, at an 8 PM time, it closes too early. 10 PM would be great.)

Aimee Allison's 85-minute plus show featured Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners' member and 2nd Vice-President Margaret Gordon, Ronnie Stewart of the Bay Area Blues Society, Erica Torrence of People's Grocery, Aimee Allison, and me, Zennie Abraham. (The meat of the video starts about 20 minutes in; you can see and hear us set up before the actual show starts.)

The idea of this segment was to focus on problems and issues in West Oakland and Margaret Gordon , Ronnie Stewart, and Erica Torrence, who are activists in the area, were perfect. I learned a lot from them, but first and foremost I realized that the same problems we were working to solve in West Oakland during the 90s are still with us today: poor grocery stores with substandard food offerings and gentrification.

But it's also clear that in small ways West Oakland's becoming a better place to live and to be. As a result of Margaret Gordon's work, trucks must have special emissions-reduction retrofits before they can move through West Oakland. And more people like the owners of Revolution Cafe are discovering that they can do good business there. West Oakland is not, as some have said, a dumping ground any more.

We also talked about Oakland's World Cup Soccer bid and I learned that while 50,000 signatures are needed by December 4th, only about 2,500 have been collected. Margaret Gordon said that more people have to get involved in Oakland if Oakland is to improve.

While most of the time was used to talk about West Oakland, we also talked about the Oakland Parking problem and I explained that just yesterday a woman who drove down to Grand Avenue with her child watched in horror as her car was towed away for too many parking tickets; she was left to figure out how she was going to get her kid back home. (Remember, the "tow trigger" is five or more tickets and the City of Oakland's giving out more and more of them.)

I also talked about the Oakland Parking Initiative and what we were trying to do, but I didn't get enough time to talk about that more in depth.

(As a note, you should turn your speakers way up for the video.)

Miley Cyrus Tour Bus Crash leaves one dead

For some reason Miley Cyrus name is coming up in a tragic way of late. The first time was a not funny Internet trick, "Miley Cyrus Dead" which scared the heck out of me when I saw it but for a second. This time and just days later, "Miley Cyrus Tour Bus Crash" is real, but thankfully she was not involved in it at all.

According to and People Magazine, one of four concert tour buses carrying the lighting crew for Miley Cyrus show crashed this Friday morning outside Richmond, Va. There was one death - believed to be the bus driver as of this writing - and nine reported injuries.

"It was one of our tour buses, but not Miley's,” Miley Curus manager said to "It was one of our buses that transported our lighting crew."

Miley Cyrus website reports that she's is set to perform Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. Officials for the concert told TMZ that the show would go on.

Sarah Palin Newsweek Cover: Runner's World pans photo use

Newsweek's in hot water with the editors of Runner's World Magazine, which did not approve of or like the use of their 'Sarah Palin' photo on Newsweek's cover. A photo that sparked a lot of complaints, including mine:

Runner's World wrote:

On the cover of this week's issue of Newsweek is a photo that was shot exclusively for the August 2009 issue of Runner's World, in which Sarah Palin was featured on the monthly "I'm a Runner" back page. The photos from that shoot are still under a one-year embargo, and Runner's World did not provide Newsweek with its cover image. It was provided to Newsweek by the photographer's stock agency, without Runner;s World's knowledge or permission.

And now that photo's all over the place and Newsweek, not Runner's World, is benefiting from it. OK, and so are a lot of publications and bloggers and vloggers. But, as I told my good friend Lars, Newsweek started it. That written, and regardless of the benefit to bloggers and vloggers, Newsweek was wrong and its not out of bounds for me to use their work to make a point against their actions.

Let's face it: it helped get my message out.

What will Runner's World do? Well, I think they've already done it. The question is what will Governor Palin do?

Stay tuned.

The Awl blog post not racist because it mentions black and white

The Awl is a blog started by ex-Gawker folks Choire Sicha and Alex Balk. I've got to admit I'd never read the thing until I happened on a testy take by Robert Quigley at, the blog by Dan Abrams that I do read regularly.

Robert Quigley accused The Awl of playing "the race card" or the "Twitter race card" in a rather amusing post called “What Were Black People Talking About On Twitter Last Night?

My immediate thought was that I'm glad someone's interested. What Quigley and others don't understand or try to do is realize that there are differences in what people do based on race at times. In other words there are blacks like me who are not racially-trapped and have multicultural habits; whites who are more interested in a certain part of black culture, and so on.

Big deal. Sharing perceptions of differences is how we learn; it's when the perceptions are racially insulting that problems start. I did not see that in the Awl post, even though it did seem borderline. But I took at as tongue-and-cheek and no further.

You know, there's one thing I'm sick of and its this over-used child-of-the-Regan-era term called "The Race Card" and is habitually used mostly by someone who doesn't want the topic of race mentioned, even if the person doing so is pointing out racism.

That term and the use of it must be destroyed. It's political correctness run-amok and used by Couch Potato Conservatives all too often. Robert Quigley is not that, but by using the term he has something in common with the Sarah Palin's of the world.

Sorry Robert Quigley.

Anyway, as a black blogger, I take no issue with the Awl's blog post. In fact, it was rather cool.