Obama’s winning support for a song
Presidential elections in the US have been called various things over the last few decades — acrimonious, jingoistic, hate-driven, even surreal. Never, however, have they been called the Internet Elections. Nor for that matter, the YouTube Elections. The 2008 race is different, though. It’s been largely dignified (despite the occasional barbs between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), and has been driven mostly by news and views presented on the Internet.
Obama’s popularity, in particular, owes a lot to his following on the Web. And so, the events of last week was no different. Will.i.am, frontman for the popular hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas (best known for ‘Where is the Love?’, ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Don’t Funk With My Heart’), and an ardent supporter of Obama put up a music video (based on one his speeches) dedicated to America’s fastest rising political star. With 10 million collective views on YouTube and dipdive.com, the video is already the No 1 for this week.
Will.i.am is not alone in his support. The three-time Grammy winner is accompanied by other American celebrities, including Lost In Translation actor Scarlett Johansson, former basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez, in addition to almost 30 other singers, musicians and actors ranging from Tatyana Ali, Herbie Hancock and John Legend to Amber Valletta, Eric Balfour and Kate Walsh. Oh yes, it’s directed by music legend Bob Dylan’s son, Jesse.
Needless to add, Obama’s campaign has been quick to take advantage of this independent video (although Obama says he played no role in its making). It’s already all over his campaign’s community blog, and strategists have been trumpeting his popularity with the younger generation.
Says Will.i.am, "The outcome of the last 2 elections has saddened me... on how unfair, backwards, upside down, unbalanced, untruthful, corrupt, and just simply, how wrong the world and "politics" are... So this year I wanted to get involved and do all I could early.” The video, he says, is the outcome of his despair.
It is not certain yet who the Democratic Party will choose to be its presidential nominee at the national convention in Denver later this August with both Clinton and Obama in a dead heat as of now. What is certain, though, is that Obama is well on his way to becoming the Internet’s first political icon.
These days, Gul Agha Jalali is studying English and has enrolled in a computer science course in the capital, Kabul. (Also Read Inside Afghanistan's secret schools, where girls defy the Taliban) "When our country was occupied by infidels, we needed bombs, mortars and guns," says an employee at the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Jalali. Now there is a greater need for education, he told AFP.
World leaders expressed their shock and grief at the attack on Midnight's Children author Salman Rushdie who was brutally stabbed by a man at an event in New York on Friday. The 75-year-old Booker Prize laureate is currently on a ventilator battling for his life. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the incident, calling it an attack on his freedom of expression.
The attacker of Salman Rushdie has been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar who is from New Jersey. Shortly after Salman Rushdie arrived at the stage to deliver his speech, Hadi Matar attacked him at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen, police said. Hadi Matar had a pass to attend the lecture. Some reports claimed that Hadi Matar had sympathies towards the Iranian government that had called for Rushdie's death.
US lawmakers on Friday adopted President Joe Biden's sprawling climate, tax and health care plan -- a major win for the veteran Democrat that includes the biggest ever American investment in the battle against global warming. Passage in the House of Representatives along strict party lines came after approval of the bill in the Senate by a razor-thin margin, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.
Author Salman Rushdie will likely lose an eye and suffered severed nerves in an arm and damage to his liver after he was stabbed on Friday, his agent said, adding that Rushdie was on a ventilator. "The news is not good. Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged," Andrew Wylie said in a written statement.