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Stateside With Rosalea: A State Of Electioncy

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

A State Of Electioncy

::Tie a lime green ribbon round...::

...the Oakland trees, it's been two long years and teachers still don't have a contract with the Oakland Unified School District. So they went out on strike one day last week. Many parents support the teachers' action, and have been tying lime green ribbons around trees and lamp posts, and posting "I support Oakland teachers" signs in shop windows.

The OUSD called a state of emergency “for safety and liability reasons” for the day of the strike so that parents kept their kids away from the school grounds. A couple of weeks earlier, Oakland made the national headlines because a city councillor proposed that the city should call a state of emergency so that more police could be deployed after midnight to deal with the rise in gun violence.

What's the bet it's election season? Yup, the June 6 ballot includes elections for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and directors of the Oakland Unified School District, as well as for council members, auditor and mayor of the City of Oakland.

::Green, green, I swear I'm green::

Declaring a state of emergency is "part of the theatrics of collective bargaining," according to outgoing Oakland mayor Jerry Brown in a recent speech to a group of law students as part of his campaign to become Attorney General of California.

Brown is competing for his party's nomination against fellow Democrat, LA's City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo on June 6. (At the state level of politics in the US, there is first a primary election to decide which candidate for a particular party will progress to the November showdown with other parties' candidates.)

Brown's opponent has wasted no time in bragging about how heavily he himself is endorsed by Oakland firefighters, teachers, labour and community leaders. According to Delgadillo's website, "Brown has been blistered by local residents for his failure to deal with crime and fix the schools in the city."

However, it seems that "Moonbeam" Brown (as he was known when he was California's governor back in the 70s), has greener fish to fry. One of the four goals he hopes to achieve as Attorney General is to resist preemption of California laws by the federal government. An example is that the current AG has a case re California's greenhouse gas laws under attack by the Bush administration.

::Me, too! Me, too! I'm green too!::

Speaking of which, this weekend the Prez himself was in Northern California visiting a company that is doing research into using hydrogen fuel cell technology as the way of the future. Golly, he was even pictured standing next to one of my local transit operator's fuel cell buses!

California's "hydrogen highway" is, of course, one of Governor Schwarzenegger's pet projects and the pair of them had made an unusual appearance together down in Silicon Valley the day before. I say "unusual" because being seen with President Bush has never been helpful to Arnie's image considering the particularly liberal brand of Republicans we supposedly have out West.

Perhaps this sudden palsy-walsyness is because the polling around the two Democratic contenders for governor competing on the June 6 primary ballot has indicated that the candidate who has been stressing environmental concerns as a top priority is pulling way ahead of his rival. Suddenly, it seems, fuel efficiency is a hot issue, hence Bush's sudden interest in it while he's in California supporting Republican candidates.

Nationwide, however, the price of fuel thing is more likely to be turned into a reason to invade Iran rather than seen an impetus to use alternative fuels. One has to hope, therefore, that Bush has a real commitment to cleaner energy sources and has the backbone to stand up to pressure being put on him within his own administration to go the same old, same old route.

::Not green behind the ears::

GWB has made the history books in a totally unexpected way. The first ever single to make it to the number one position in the British charts on sales of Internet downloads alone has a verse sharply aimed at the president. Well, okay, that's just what I think. But as soon as I heard the lyrics, they brought to mind Bush's January interview on CBS in which he said being president is "a fantastic experience."

Here are the words of that verse of "Crazy":

I heard that you are having the time of your life/Well, think twice. That's my only advice/C'mon now. Who do you, who do you, who do you think you are?/Ha, ha, ha! Bless your soul/Do you really think you're in control?/Well, I think you're crazy...

The official Gnarls Barkley website is, but if you're able to find the Top of the Pops video, where they're all dressed in airline crew uniforms, you too might think the next verse about "My heroes had the heart to put their lives out on the limb" is a dig at the presidency as well, especially as the movie United 93 ("a story of courage and sacrifice on 9/11") has its world premiere this Tuesday in the Tribeca Film Festival.

::Vote for me!::

On that topic, I went to the San Francisco International Film Festival's website and did a search for Australian or New Zealand films, but found none. I'm kinda surprised by that, as there is usually at least one. In my own small way I've tried to rectify this by using their on-line Remix lab to create a 1 minute movie. (Search for remixer = Rosalea)

I'm rather hoping that the International Remix site works for you too, no matter where you are, in which case you should create one too. It's fun! Here's where to go:

If you get invited to the Edinburgh Castle tomorrow night as one of the top picks, I'll gladly go and claim your award for you!!



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