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Monday, February 04, 2008


Where in the world is Left I on the News?

You may have noticed a certain sparseness of posting in the last few days. That's because I was on a quick trip to Los Angeles with my friend and Presidential candidate Gloria La Riva. There were two events going on. Thursday night, as you may recall, there was a Democratic Presidential debate (I hope to have more to say about that later). Outside the Kodak Theater, where the debate was held, there were hundreds of antiwar activists protesting the war. I'm told that a bit of that spirited 2 1/2-hour-long protest was actually aired on CNN, but in a really gross example of media news distortion, the Los Angeles Times wrote this about what was going on outside:
Outside the theater, thousands of supporters vied for bragging rights, chanting back and forth and revving each other up along Hollywood Boulevard.
Arrgggghhh! There weren't "thousands" of people on Hollywood Boulevard, there were, by my estimation, hundreds (when has the media ever over estimated an antiwar demonstration, by the way?). Of those, 95% were antiwar activists. There were a couple tables selling Obama and Clinton paraphernalia, and certainly a couple dozen people who would qualify as "supporters" of the two, but the overwhelming majority of people were there to protest the war. Alongside pictures of the candidates and the crowd inside the event, the Times actually did include two pictures of people outside. You guessed it...one showed a Clinton supporter, the other an Obama supporter! Not an antiwar demonstrator in sight.

At the end of the evening, after two straight hours of chanting, came some speeches, including this fiery one from La Riva (incidentally, this is all shot handheld on a regular digital camera, not a videocamera, at night, and I'm pretty proud of the result):

The Thursday antiwar demonstration wasn't actually the point of the trip, however, it was just a bonus. The real purpose of the trip came on Friday, when the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five unveiled a magnificent billboard, also on Hollywood Boulevard, just blocks from the Kodak Theater, demanding the freedom of the five Cuban political prisoners unjustly held in U.S. prisons, now in their tenth year, for the "crime" of infiltrating right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami and attempting to (and succeeding) put a stop to acts of terrorism. There are hundreds of similar billboards honoring the Five in Cuba, but this is the first in the United States, and the first political "issue" billboard of any kind in Los Angeles as far as we know.

Here's the video I put together of that event (and if you're moved to donate, click here).

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