Monday, June 16, 2008

Oakland journalist will "Rock the Vote"

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a sampling of political writer Josh Richman's blog, The Political Blotter. Read more and post comments at

June 9

Oakland journalist Raldon "Donny" Lumpkins, 20, is among five selected from among hundreds of applicants from across the nation to be one of Rock the Vote's campaign reporters this year.

From the Web site: "Raldon Lumpkins is a content producer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, a youth media organization based in San Francisco. He is the host of YO!Radio, a weekly radio segment that airs on KMEL 106.1's Street Soldiers and around the Bay Area, including YO!TV on the local CW network. His favorite thing to do is sit at home and drink all of the orange juice."

I couldn't immediately track Lumpkins down for his comment this afternoon, but here's an interesting look at who he is posted less than two weeks ago.

Rock the Vote's 2008 campaign aims to register 2 million young people through online and offline efforts, and will include an interactive mobile program, a national public service announcement campaign, a youth journalism program, volunteer street teams, and a platform outlining youth demands of the next President.

UPDATE: Lumpkins says he's "elated, I'm very excited" at being chosen for the program. The gig will start with a trip to Washington later this month Advertisementfor training, and then he'll see where the trail leads him.

"What I'm hoping to find is this kind of excitement and optimism that I'm seeing with myself and my friends about politics," he told me a few minutes ago, adding he and many others his age have found it hard to engage in the political process. "This year, I do care, and my friends care, and that's exciting and I want to see if that carries over into other young people across the country."

June 10

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Rep. Barbara Lee is co-chairwoman, and the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran held a news conference on Capitol Hill today urging dialogue between ordinary Americans and ordinary Iranians as a means of heading off what they say is the Bush administration's drumbeat for war with Iran. Lee, D-Oakland, and others used a row of 60's-era red "hot line" telephones to talk directly to average Iranians in Tehran.

"We have been down this road before, and Americans have learned a simple truth from five hard and bitter years in Iraq: No unjust war ever produced a just and lasting peace! It has not worked in Iraq. It will not work in Iran," she said. "What we need is not another rush to unwarranted, unnecessary and misguided military action but rather a diplomatic surge for peace and reconciliation. One of the important first steps we should take is to have direct, comprehensive, and unconditional bilateral talks with Iran."

Lee's HR5056, introduced in January and now backed by 14 cosponsors, would do exactly that.

June 11

Ralph Nader's independent presidential campaign just issued a news release underscoring the candidate's willingness to "call it as he sees it, without fear or favor" by outlining how he foresaw the NBA referee scandal.

The release claims Nader watched a 2002 playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, and just knew the Kings were getting the short end of the stick from the refs. He even called NBA Commissioner David Stern about it, to no avail. Now court papers filed this week by a disgraced former NBA referee (trying to shave some time off his prison term as he's about to be sentenced for taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games himself) says refs really did help throw that game.

"The lesson we learned from the 2002 NBA Playoffs — Ralph was right," today's release says. "The Nader/Gonzalez platform of truth, justice and challenging the abuse of power deserves a hearing in this crucial election year. From the NBA to the Congress to the White House to K Street. Time to give America a choice for an independent voice."

No mention in today's release of that whole "Gore-is-the-same-as-Bush" memo from 2000, though.

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