Obama Drama And Uptown Jazz

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[What's Going On]

OBAMA DRAMA: The last week has been traumatizing and instructive for Obama and his supporters. It is time for regrouping, retooling and changing course both strategic and philosophical.

Unlike the mainstream media, once Obama lovers who have jumped ship, I will cast my lot with Obamaians, like my friend Black Star News publisher Milton Allimadi, who keeps bellowing, "Numbers, like committed delegates, don't lie!" It was interesting to note the sea change in attitudes among journalists at WAPO, NY Times, Time Magazine, who are buying the Clinton spin on Obama - that he cannot win big, in states with huge electoral votes, since his Pennsylvania defeat and that he is an elitist.

Last week, as you know, Senator Clinton won the Pennsylvania by a 10% margin, which is not great, considering that she enjoyed a 20 - 30% lead there a few months ago. So the Obama camp is to be credited for cutting into her large lead. It is well documented how the Obama group outspent Clinton's group 3 to 1 with media buys, which closed the gap. Yes, numbers matter. One NY friend who went to Philadelphia last week reports that Obama didn't visit Black Philly and that Black voter turnout was embarrassingly low. The Pennsylvania primary was a mild sinus headache compared to the migraine that was aborning, for Candidate Obama last weekend.

At last, we met Reverend Wright, last weekend, with Bill Moyers, who emerged as a learned man well versed in his patriotism, Christian philosophy, and the Black experience. With Moyers, Wright was articulate and intelligent. One could easily understand the positive role that he played in Obama's life. Wright's subsequent appearances before an NAACP group and the National Press Club were recipes for disaster for him and Obama. One asks. Why Wright's appearance now and who in such negative mode? Well, the person responsible Wright's post Moyers' meet-the-press weekend was Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds, a former member of the USA Today editorial board, and an ardent Clintonista!

Obama had to denounce Rev, Jeremiah Wright, the man whom he likened to a surrogate father figure, hopefully, to bring closure to that chapter of his life and his candidacy. The divorce has created a national media frenzy.

I recommend two essays to bolster the flagging spirits of Obamaians. Read April 27 NYT op-ed piece by Frank Rich "How McCain Lost In Pennsylvania," equal parts food for thought and numbers don't lie rule meditations for any student of politics. Rich says that "the Democrats obituaries are premature." He wrote that a Pennsylvania Republican primary, exclusively for Republicans, was held on the same day of the Democrats, and that of the 807,000 Republican turnout, 220,000 voted for Huckabee, which is larger than the difference between the Hillary votes and Obama votes.

He finds Clinton's boast about being so fully vetted that no more unpleasant surprises can surface, specious because there's lot of info to emerge, especially like the content of the WSJ 4/25 editorial, "The Clinton Foundation Secrets," and many of its untoward donors. Rich covers lots of political ground in the piece, like Bush's 69% negative disapproval rating, something with which McCain will have to wrestle. … and last but not least age discrimination, a major issue, as hot as gender and race. John Heilemann's "The Power Grid; Changing the Changeling" in the 5/5 NY Magazine issue, raises some salient points and tips for Obama. He says that candidate's association with Wright "has helped turn Obama from a candidate who is black to a black candidate." He adds that Obama's campaign "needs serious midcourse retooling, a sharper economic message, delivered from a brawler's stance, in order to give those blue collar voters who've sided with Clinton a bedrock reason to stay in the Democratic column and not flee to McCain." He concludes saying that "Obama must channel the very partisan furies – the anger at Bush, the ire towards the Republicans, the palpable yearning for a fight- that he eventually hopes to tame."

From what I hear, there needs to be some Black people in the Obama campaign war room!

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL: NYS Governor David Paterson understands politics 101 and the judicial power levers. Governor Paterson has named Justice Leland DeGrasse, the outstanding jurist who ruled favorably on NYC schools financing from NYS, to the Apellate Division and Justice Dianne Renwick, Bronx, DA Robert Johnson's wife to the Apellate Division, which is NYS's highest court. Governor Paterson also name civil rights attorney O. Peter Sherwood to the NYS Court Of Claims and Brooklyn attorney Paul Wooten to Justice in Brooklyn's Supreme Court. All of above justices are African American.

WLIB TALKS BLACK: The good news at WLIB is more than its gospel programming. Black talk radio is bank at the Black-owned Inner City Broadcasting station, WLIB-am and not a moment too soon. As we look at a Black man's run for the U.S. presidency and an African-American, who is deftly at the NYS helm. I applaud and welcome the WLIB re-introduction of Black Talk, albeit a portion of the day. The WLIB talk calendar includes the following. Sunday, Imhotep Gary Byrd, 7 to midnight; Mark Riley With Politics Plus, on weeknights 7-9; and Saturday mornings with Mayor David Dinkins, 8-9 and Reverend Al Sharpton, 9-11. WLIB has also posted a want ad for a legal eagle and a health professional to round out its Black Talk programming.

CULTURE STUFF: Jazz buffs take note. The place to be this weekend is Bill's Place at 148 West 133 Street, Harlem USA. The Harlem Jazz All Stars – Theo Hill, piano; Lakecia Benjamin, saxophone; Jeremy "Bean" Clemmons, drum and Zaid Shukri, bass- Perform on Friday, May 2. Pianist extraordinaire Randy Weston and His African Rhythms combo will perform on Saturday, May 3. The BYOBB venue is owned by saxophonist Bill Saxton. Call 212.281-0777 for more info and reservations.

For the fine arts cognoscenti: The Contemporary African Art Gallery hosts opening reception on Thursday, May 1, 6-9 pm, for Wosene Worke Kosrof exhibition WORDPLAY, at 330 West 108 Street #6, on Riverside Drive, Manhattan. Mr. Kosrof is Ethiopian. An open house exhibition will be held on Saturday, 5/3 from 11- 5.

On Saturday, May 3, Tafa's Exhibition, part of the HOAST (Harlem Open Artist Studio Tour) series, on May 3, from 2-8, at his atelier at 176 East 106 Street, between Lexington and Third in East Harlem. Ghana-born painter, Tafa is a household name in worldwide fine arts circles. RSVP at 917.518.9970.




To comment, to subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com

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