Green, Libertarian VP candidates to visit Bay Area

The veeps are coming, the veeps are coming!

No, not Biden and Ryan – Honkala and Gray. Just as the Green and Libertarian presidential candidates barnstormed the Bay Area a few weeks ago, their running mates will be in town next week to meet the masses.

Green vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, an advocate for the homeless from Philadelphia, from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday will be at Silicon Valley De-Bug, 701 Lenzen Ave. in San Jose, joined by hip-hop artists and community educators DLabrie, Rahman Jamaal of RonDavoux Records, and Metafizix.

On Monday, Honkala will be at a voter awareness month rally at De Anza College in Cupertino from noon to 2 p.m., and then from 4 to 5 p.m. she’ll attend a screening of “Brooklyn Castle” at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland, co-hosted by the Hip Hop Chess Federation. After that she’ll take part in a radio panel discussion hosted by Davey D, and she’ll finish the day with a rally and fundraiser at the headquarters of Berkeley Green mayoral candidate Kahlil Jacobs Fantauzzi from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at 1551 University Ave. in Berkeley.

Libertarian vice presidential candidate Jim Gray, a drug reform activist and former Orange County Superior Court judge, will speak at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Oberndorf Event Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 641 Knight Way on the Stanford campus.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green presidential candidate Jill Stein will take part, along with other third-party candidates, in a debate at 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday in Chicago. Most TV networks are ignoring the event, moderated by Larry King, but it will be streamed live on the Internet at Ora TV, Russia Today, and the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.


3 things to remember about Romney’s binders

All joking aside, there are three points about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment at Wednesday’s debate that shouldn’t get lost in all the fuss over the Internet meme.

1.) He didn’t actually answer the question.
Audience member Katherine Fenton asked, “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” In response, Romney talked about going the extra mile to find women to serve in his Massachusetts gubernatorial cabinet; about providing flexible work schedules so women can meet their family obligations (as if men don’t have those too?); and about strengthening the economy to create more jobs. He said nothing about pay inequity.

2.) The binders thing isn’t entirely true.
The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project was compiling this information and reached out to the gubernatorial candidates before Romney was even elected – they went to him, not vice versa. The Globe also reports:

Midway through his four-year term, 42 percent of his 33 new appointments were women, according to a study done by the UMass Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy using some of the data collected by MassGAP.

But over the next two years, women made up only 25 percent of the 64 new appointments Romney made. By the end of his term, the number of women in high-ranking positions was slightly lower than it was before Romney took office.

3.) Regardless of who went to whom, he made an amazing admission.
Romney said:

“An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.”

“And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.’ They said, ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?’”

It sounds as if Romney set a policy in which he took gender into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group in employment, as a means of countering the effects of a history of discrimination.

There’s a name for that: affirmative action. But he was panned for his affirmative action record as Massachusetts’s governor, and it’s not a concept that’s popular with a lot of conservatives.


‘Mood meter’ says Obama won debate on Twitter

President Barack Obama kept Twitter users happier than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney through most of last night’s debate, according to a Silicon Valley company’s analysis.

NetBase, a Mountain View-based firm that “delivers the enterprise social intelligence platform that global enterprises use to monitor, understand, and engage with customers in real time,” has created a Mood Meter: a dial updated every 10 minutes that captures and measures sentiment expressed by Twitter users about the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Here’s a screen-grab from a short while ago:

NetBase Mood Meter screen grab

NetBase’s natural language processing engine analyzes each tweet about the candidates using its technology that understands how humans speak, including profanity and slang, according to the company’s news release. So the dials represent a moment in time, a cumulative group of tweet sentiment over the past 10 minutes – a real-time look into Tweeters’ opinions.

Here’s how it stacked up during last night’s debate:

NetBase mood meter

Keep in mind that this only surveys those who are actively Tweeting – a younger-skewed demographic – and not the entire debate audience.


Delving into race issues for Election 2012

A Berkeley-based public policy advocacy group working for communities of color is urging the presidential candidates to “play the race card” and answer tough questions at tomorrow’s debate, even as a major documentary on race in U.S. politics is set to air at tomorrow as well.

“People of color are well on the way to becoming America’s new majority, but neither the major-party candidates nor the media have done much to address the real needs of our communities,” Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar said in a news release. “We hope debate moderator Candy Crowley and town hall participants will borrow some of our questions and press both candidates for real answers about poverty, the racial wealth gap and growing divisions in our country.”

A column by Aguilar titled “Obama, Romney: Please play the race card” appeared in select newspapers across the nation this past weekend. Now he and the institute want the candidates to answer questions like these:

    Racial Divisions: During this campaign, we have seen what many believe to be racially coded appeals and campaign advertising. Meanwhile, surveys have found that whites, blacks and Latinos have starkly different beliefs about the level of racial discrimination and racial inequality in our nation. As president, what will you do to heal these divisions?
    Unemployment: Over the past forty years, black and Latino unemployment rates have consistently been higher than that of whites. What long-term strategies do you propose to reduce the racial disparity in unemployment rates?
    Homeownership: While foreclosures are down since 2010, 1,887,777 foreclosure filings, auctions and bank repossessions occurred in 2011. The foreclosure crisis has hit communities of color hard. While blacks and Latinos represented 7.8 percent and 11.2 percent of people who received a home loan from 2007-2009, they represented 11.6 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively, of all foreclosures. What will you do to reduce foreclosures, both overall and specifically within communities of color?

Meanwhile, the Public Broadcasting System is teasing its “Race 2012” documentary, set to air at 8 p.m. Tuesday – right after the second presidential debate – and again at 9 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 19. Directed and produced by Phillip Rodriguez, it aims to document the changing face of America and how that face may affect the nation’s political future, according to a news release.

PBS today offered “a sneak peek of five surprising facts” from the documentary, presented here verbatim:

    1.) As recently as 1980, 80 percent of the United States was white. The 2010 census showed that the country’s overall population is now slightly less than 64 percent white.
    2.) In contrast to the 19th and 20th century move to change the names and cultural identities of U.S. immigrants to appear more “Americanized” or “white,” white Americans and African Americans increasingly are adopting Latino names and cultural touchstones to fit the diversifying communities in which they live. A growing number of African Americans in San Francisco’s Bay Area hold quinceañeras for their children, and have piñatas at their parties. And El Paso politician Robert O’Rourke, who is white and speaks fluent Spanish, goes by the traditional Latino nickname “Beto” and unseated a Latino incumbent in the Congressional primary.
    3.) Conservatives tend to assume Asian-Americans vote conservatively because as a group they’re considered hard-working, industrious and entrepreneurial – characteristics stereotypically associated with white Americans. Yet the Asian-American community consistently votes 2 to 1 for liberal candidates.
    4.) For the first time in 70 years, the majority of white parents believe their children will not be financially better off than themselves, while African Americans and Hispanics are now considerably more optimistic about the next generation.
    5.) Although conservative policies are perceived as harder on immigration, in the past few years the U.S. has had a record deportation level. In each year of the Obama administration, deportations outnumbered any year of the Bush administration.

The film already is making waves. John Ziegler, a documentary filmmaker who was interviewed for “Race 2012,” issued a statement today saying it’s “fundamentally biased against both whites and conservatives, and also makes unsubstantiated charges of racism against the Romney campaign.”

Ziegler, a conservative former radio talk show host who created www.HowObamaGotElected.com and the documentary “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected,” has written a scathing critique of “Race 2012” for the Media Research Center, a conservative organization dedicated to “exposing and combating liberal media bias.” In that piece, he calls it “nothing more than a PBS-sponsored liberal hatchet job on conservatives which doesn’t even pretend to be fair.”