Archives for: February 2008

The First Asian American President?

Posted by andrew on February 28th, 2008

Barack Obama in traditional Somalian costumeWe're starting to see some of the first glimpses of the GOP strategy against Obama for the November election, and it isn't pretty. As Talking Points Memo summarizes (Youtube video -- relevant section starts at about 2:30 in), the real attack is going to focus on four falsehoods:

-- Obama is a Black nationalist
-- Obama is a crypto-Muslim
-- Obama has ties to terrorists
-- Obama is anti-American

Socially conscious Asian Americans should find this litany very familiar. For "Black nationalist," read "clannish and cliquish." For "crypto-Muslim" read "dog-eating, foot-binding male chauvinists." For "ties to terrorists" read "spies for communist China." For "anti-American" read "perpetual foreigners who can never be real Americans."

Obama may have succeeded in downplaying racial issues thus far in the campaign, but this summer and fall, he will be up against nothing less than the full arsenal of racial animus and oppression that constrains the Asian American experience. Our experience should warn us about just how durable and insidious these attacks can be. Let's hope he overcomes, and in doing so, shows us all the way forward.

Addendum (10/1): Jeff Yang has similar thoughts.

Redefinition Accomplished

Posted by andrew on February 21st, 2008

What a difference a day makes.

2/20: Democratic thinkers ponder how to redefine McCain (McClatchy Newspapers)

2/21: McCain and the Lobbyist (Guardian)

P.S. Obligatory cyberlaw content: Is Lessig really running for Congress?

Microsoft's Bid for Yahoo!

Posted by andrew on February 1st, 2008

The timing of Microsoft's $45 billion bid for Yahoo! may have as much to do with the impending departure of the Microsoft-friendly Bush administration as it does with the software giant's strategic plans.

Given the antitrust agencies' easy approval of Google's Doubleclick acquisition, it appears that "flat Web" thinking has taken hold in Washington. This is the notion that there are no barriers to entry or growth of Web-based companies, simply because of the Web's open architecture and massive scale. But if that is so, why hasn't Microsoft been able simply to grow its own Web presence to the size it desires? It's certainly not for lack of trying.

It's hard to see any merger-specific synergies resulting from this transaction. This is plainly a grab for Internet traffic so that Microsoft can continue to defend its Windows/Office monopoly against nascent Web-based alternatives. Technologically speaking, there are no new products or services Microsoft can offer to the 27% of Web users visiting every day that it couldn't already have delivered to the 18% who visit

Even so, Yahoo's stock price indicates that Wall Street is pretty sure this deal is going to go through, and I have to agree. Our current breed of antitrust enforcers, who have already decided that the Web is flat and that media concentration is no longer possible, will define a broad market and assign tiny market shares to MSN and Yahoo. Meanwhile, the Microsoft-free world just got a whole lot smaller today.

An examination of the legal and technological structures that keep almost all of us voiceless, by Prof. Andrew Chin (who?) at the University of North Carolina School of Law and Prof. Jay Kesan at the University of Illinois College of Law

voiceless is a new blog. If you like what you've seen so far, please consider making voiceless a little less voiceless by adding a link to it from your blogroll!

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