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In Brief 

by Cara Gardner


Hip-Hop Professor -- PULLMAN, Wash. -- Todd Boyd, a renowned professor from the School of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California, will be in Pullman on Monday to discuss contemporary social issues as a part of the Washington State University Comparative Ethnic Studies' Spring Speaker Series.


"Boyd will bring significant insight into not only the nature of today's NBA, but use basketball as a space of understanding larger social issues surrounding race, hip-hop and black males," says WSU faculty member David Leonard. "His scholarship challenges America to examine its relationship with black cultural icons, questioning the way in which blackness is conceived within the white imagination."


Hailed as the "hip-hop professor," Boyd is an internationally recognized expert on film, popular culture and sports, and is considered a "public intellectual" on matters of race, class and gender.


"A controversial speaker, Boyd is bound to bring the heat beyond WSU... to challenge traditional academic norms," Leonard says.


Boyd's most recent book, Young Black Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture, was published in 2003. Boyd's presentation will be held in the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, room 202. The event is free and open to the public.





Caucus Ruckus -- SPOKANE -- Presidential hopeful Howard Dean stopped in Spokane on Tuesday to rally support for Washington's caucus this Saturday. Dean toured Sacred Heart Medical Center before speaking at the medical center's auditorium to an eager crowd.


"Washington state will be the turning point if we win for this campaign," Dean said, hopeful a sweep in Washington, Wisconsin and Michigan will change his current 0-7 caucus standing. Competing for delegates, John Kerry also stopped in Spokane on Tuesday to meet with press and supporters in Spokane International Airport before lifting off again. Washington state cancelled its primary election, but it will still allocate its delegates using the caucus system as seen recently in Iowa.


"Our phones have been ringing off the hook for the past two weeks," says Mary Pat Laushot, central chair for the Spokane County Democratic Central Committee. "I think the [caucus] process is very interesting... there are a lot of people who don't know who they're going to vote for until they get to the polls." Anyone who is a registered party member (in this caucus, Democrats) can participate.


"On Saturday, you'll show up at your precinct caucus, you'll break into [groups] of which candidate you're supporting. That candidate needs to meet 15 percent of the number of people in your precinct in order to win."


Caucuses are particularly interesting, Laushot says, because proponents of one candidate can try persuading others to vote with them. One of the biggest complaints is that members from other political parties join the other party just so they can pick a candidate that isn't as strong against the opposing party's leader.


"There are a lot of Republicans calling in saying they want to vote for a Democrat this year," Laushot says.


With two rows filled with doctors, nurses and hospital staff, the former Vermont governor, who is also a doctor, touched on his key points. Dean spoke ardently about universal healthcare.


"Both parties have taken so much special interest money they find their loyalty is with campaign contributers," Dean said, referring to Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which gives pharmaceutical companies millions and doesn't allow for price negotiations on drugs. Dean complained that the Medicare plan, which was once about $400 billion, is now estimated to cost more than $540 billion.


"Borrow and spend, borrow and spend... we can't afford four more years of George W. Bush," he declared.


"I'm still the only [Democrat] who stood up against the Iraq war. With the same amount of money to finance the war in Iraq, we could have [provided] health insurance for every man, woman and child in America."


"Bush has a lot of weaknesses," Dean concluded. "Balancing the budget is one, playing well with others is another, but the environment is by far his worst. He's promising $2 trillion in tax cuts and a trip to Mars. The trip to Mars we should give him."





To learn more about Washington state's caucus on Saturday, visit www.spokanedemocrats.org or call 324-8525.





Publication date: 02/05/04
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