Sunday, August 31, 2008

Forgot to put story in the last email Oh Boy Obama is an exciting new website that allows grassroots supporters all across the country to submit ideas on what the campaign should do and to vote on ideas added by other Obama supporters.

It's like Digg for Obama campaign strategy - the best ideas come out on top. Just go to, register, and start voting or submit your idea as a "scoop."

Be sure to bookmark the website so you can vote on each day's new ideas. We can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

You can become a Facebook supporter of OhBoyObama! at

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Oh Boy Obama   is an exciting new website that allows grassroots supporters all across the country to submit ideas on what the campaign should do and to vote on ideas added by other Obama supporters.

It's like Digg for Obama campaign strategy - the best ideas come out on top. Just go to , register, and start voting or submit your idea as a "scoop."

Be sure to bookmark the website so you can vote on each day's new ideas. We can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

You can become a Facebook supporter of OhBoyObama! at

Ron Mills's Facebook profile

Saturday, August 30, 2008

, "Palin brings a bit of the "Legally Blonde" aspect to the race -- you underestimate her at your peril."

An Ex-Beauty Queen for VP: Political Risk or Political Genius?

By Heather Gehlert, AlterNet
With no foreign policy experience and a political resume that could fit on my pinky fingernail, Sarah Palin is an absurd choice for vice president. Yet it should come as no surprise to the public -- especially to Democrats -- that John McCain chose her anyway.
That's because the very issues that Democrats say make her a political risk -- her newness to the political world stage, her anti-choice stance, her opposition to gay marriage, her support of capital punishment, her disregard for the environment -- matter very little in determining the outcome of elections. Voters -- some of whom dissect policy issues daily, but most of whom don't -- ultimately cast their ballots based on emotion. Not logic. Not knowledge of "the issues."
This was supposed to have been the big take-away lesson of 2004. That debate, perhaps more so than any other since the first televised presidential showdown between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, showed that appearance, charisma, personality and likeability matter. Smarts are mostly a bonus and a distant second.
In 2004, John Kerry was the champion debater. He was sharp, focused, intelligent. He could call B.S. on George W. Bush and poke holes in nearly any of his arguments. But he was also stiff. He seemed cool and disconnected, not just because of his body language but also because of his words. His policy prescriptions, detailed as they were, didn't connect with his audience. Four years after hearing him speak, I can only recall that, on an intellectual level, I agreed with his points. But I don't remember what he said. His words didn't resonate with me. They didn't stick with me in my gut.
Bush, on the other hand, was the dunce. He wore a goofy smile and dodged questions in each debate. But he was the man people could imagine having a beer with. He drew crowds in with his drawl, spoke in a simple, unintimidating way, and so could get away with covering up four years of abysmal domestic and foreign policy. I probably disagreed with 99 percent of what Bush said, but I can at least remember some of his talking points. He said he worked hard and promised to work hard for American families. He said he understood American families. He said he would protect American families.
Was that a load of bull? Of course. But it sure was delivered in pretty packaging. And, most importantly, it made a large number of voters feel good.
Drew Westen, a clinical, personality and political psychologist who teaches at Emory University, explains this phenomenon in his recent book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. "(T)he vision of mind that has captured the imagination of philosophers, cognitive scientists, economists, and political scientists since the eighteenth century -- a dispassionate mind that makes decisions by weighing the evidence and reasoning to the most valid conclusions -- bears no relation to how the mind and brain actually work," Westen writes. "When campaign strategists start from this vision of mind, their candidates typically lose."
Simply put, people don't always vote for the candidate or the policy that serves their own best interests. That concept should be no more surprising in politics than in other parts of people's lives. If individuals always did what was best for them, they would consistently choose broccoli over cake; they would enter into relationships with the good guy (or gal) instead of the charming jerk who never calls; they would stick to purchasing necessities and use credit cards as a last resort -- only when there's not enough money at the end of the month to pay for groceries or utility bills.
But we all know people who eat more sweets than they should, date charismatic yet inconsiderate cretins, and shop on impulse. Those behaviors might be unhealthy, but they sure can feel good at the time. That's the campaign strategy Republicans have perfected: manipulating our senses and emotions to make us act in ways that we'll later regret.
In the short while since the news about McCain's choice for VP broke, we've learned a lot about Sarah Palin. We know that she played point guard on her high school's state champion basketball team. She's worked as a sports reporter. Her favorite food is moose stew. She's outdoorsy and comes from a family of hunters. She rides snowmobiles. She's a mother of five and a member of the PTA. She's a self-described "hockey mom."
Sarah Palin is also young. At 44, she's three years younger than Barack Obama. And she's beautiful. In 1984, she was runner-up for Miss Alaska.
But as New York Times reporter Timothy Egan writes, "Palin brings a bit of the "Legally Blonde" aspect to the race -- you underestimate her at your peril."
It's been barely a day since the media introduced us to Palin, and those are the details that are easily overshadowing -- or at least obscuring -- the more serious news about her regressive politics or the ethics investigation she's under.
These basketball-playing, snowmobile-riding details are what could easily give Palin broad appeal. She appeals to men because she doesn't threaten their way of life. She's a former beauty queen who also, according to the media's narrative, knows how to be one of the guys.
But what about the questions that female voters, the media and no small number of female bloggers have been asking? McCain almost certainly picked Palin to try to rope in the female vote, a plan that Democrats are arguing won't work. Hillary Clinton may have gotten 18 million votes, but Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton.
Trouble is, she doesn't have to be. Clinton supporters do not have to cross over and vote for Palin for her to be effective on the Republican ticket. With such a close race between McCain and Obama, Palin may need only to motivate conservative women or independents who weren't sold on McCain or persuade those who hadn't planned on voting to show up at the polls.
And Palin is likely to use every emotional ploy possible to bring in more female voters. She's already co-opting Hillary Clinton's remarks on having 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling -- a ceiling that Palin says women can still shatter "once and for all."
Already a flurry of conservative and independent women have been rallying behind Palin. Policy aside, on a personal level, she represents work-life balance -- something that resonates with women of all political affiliations. She's also popular among blue-collar voters, the Republican party base and Evangelicals, particularly because of her staunch position against abortion. She, like McCain, favors overturning Roe v. Wade.
And if Democrats aren't careful, that could easily become their Achilles heel this year. Elections are about emotion, and if there's any topic that's sure to stir emotion, it's abortion.
Despite the majority of the public supporting family planning and comprehensive sex education -- both effective ways to reduce unplanned pregnancies -- and despite the fact that Democrats champion federal funding for these programs, the Dems still haven't figured out how to defend a woman's right to choose in a way that voters can identify with on a gut level. If Democrats have historically had trouble defending their abortion position against male candidates, they will have triple the problem doing so against a woman. And Palin is a slick one.
Palin vehemently apposes abortion, even in the case of rape or incest, a fact that the public may miss while she's busy touting membership in Feminists for Life, a group that focuses on alternatives to abortion, particularly for college-age women. The organization works under the guise of providing women choices, as long as abortion isn't one of them.
Besides her Feminists for Life affiliation, Palin is herself a mother. In fact, she decided to keep her fifth child even after knowing it would be born with developmental disabilities. Imagine it: debating a female candidate -- a mother -- who can say, "I had a choice, and I chose life." That's the challenge Biden will face. He must defend a woman's right to choose while avoiding coming across as callous or attacking the mother of a disabled child. Simply explaining that Palin is an "anti-woman woman" isn't enough. That kind of message assumes voters will respond with logic and reason. But for those who aren't steeped in gender issues, it risks either sounding loony or being dismissed.
Democrats are only too eager to argue that this election will be different from the last two, that people have finally had enough of the Bush brand of conservatism. I hope they're right. But Democrats need to be realistic about the challenges they face with a Palin VP, because abortion is just one of them.
Having a woman on the GOP side will make it easy, perhaps tempting, for the media to resort to sexist attacks. Then feminists will be forced to walk a line, defending Palin against sexism without looking as though they're supporting an anti-choice candidate. Even women who didn't like Hillary Clinton recoiled at watching her become the target of media-driven sexism. Clinton polled the best when women perceived that she was being treated unfairly. Palin will likely be no different. Worse yet, if Palin gets bullied, McCain will swoop down and protect her, pretending to be women's biggest advocate when he is anything but. The public will see Palin being attacked and will watch as the Republican Party comes to her rescue.
And having a young, inexperienced woman on the Republican ticket could do more to underscore people's existing concerns about Obama than it does to undercut their confidence in Palin. How can Democrats, without appearing hypocritical, level serious charges against Palin for being "untested," when that's the word that's still hovering over their own candidate? Palin may not have foreign policy expertise, but she has a son who is a soldier. That's no small detail in a country obsessed with patriotism. And it's one that voters can connect with emotionally.
Unlike Obama, Palin is not a change agent. But perception matters in politics, and Palin looks the part. She represents a first for the Republican Party, and her relative youth could dilute Obama's change message -- the very message that, for the first time in many years, has allowed voters to identify in an emotional way with a Democratic presidential candidate.
Will Obama be able to keep that emotional connection with voters? His campaign has only two precious months to figure it out.
Heather Gehlert is a managing editor at AlterNet.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Some Facts about Sarah Palin

she's a creationist:
The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms.
Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, 'Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.'
Washington, D.C. - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that Sen. John McCain's selection today of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate is further evidence that a McCain presidency will be just another four years of the same old Bush-style anti-choice policies. Just like McCain, Palin opposes a woman's right to choose. Palin has also stated her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
"John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate proves just how rigid and extreme his administration would be when it comes to a woman's right to choose," Keenan said. "For 25 years, McCain has opposed a woman's right to choose, and we know that he will continue to push anti-choice policies in the White House. McCain's pick of anti-choice Sarah Palin is further evidence that his White House will be just another four years of Bush-style policies. Any remaining doubts about McCain's extreme anti-choice position should be put to rest when voters learn about the combined anti-choice records of Sarah Palin and John McCain."
Palin, a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life, said during her campaign for governor that she is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. [Juneau Empire, "Abortion Draws Clear Divide in State Races," accessed 8/29/08 and Anchorage Daily News, "Governor's Race: Top contenders meet one last time to debate," 11/03/06.]

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Message From Michale Moore

A Note I Sent to You -- Three Years Ago
I'm am speechless after listening to Barack Obama's speech last night. So I'm sending you something I wrote to you two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. It remains every bit as relevant today, on Katrina's 3rd anniversary, as when I wrote it on September 11, 2005. Please give it another look. Here it is in full:
A Letter to All Who Voted for George W. Bush... from Michael Moore

Dear Friends,

On this, the fourth anniversary of 9/11, I'm just curious, how does it feel?

How does it feel to know that, the man you re-elected to lead us AFTER we were attacked, went ahead and put a guy in charge of FEMA whose main qualification was that he ran horse shows?

That's right. Horse shows.

I really want to know -- and I ask you this in all sincerity and with all due respect -- how do you feel about the utter contempt Mr. Bush has shown for your safety? C'mon, give me just a moment of honesty. Don't start ranting on about how this disaster in New Orleans was the fault of one of the poorest cities in America. Put aside your hatred of Democrats and liberals and anyone with the last name of Clinton. Just look me in the eye and tell me our President did the right thing after 9/11 by naming a horse show runner as the top man to protect us in case of an emergency or catastrophe.

I want you to put aside your self-affixed label of Republican/conservative/born-again/capitalist/ditto-head/right-winger and just talk to me as an American, on the common ground we both call America.

Are we safer now than before 9/11? When you learn that, after the horse show runner, the #2 and #3 men in charge of emergency preparedness have... zero experience in emergency preparedness (!), do you think we are safer?

When you look at Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, a man with little experience in national security, do you feel secure?

When men who never served in the military, and have never seen young men die in battle, send our young people off to war, do you think they know how to conduct a war? Do they know what it means to have your legs blown off for a threat that was never there?

Do you really believe that turning over important government services to private corporations has resulted in better services for the people?

Why do you hate our federal government so much? You have voted for politicians for the past 25 years whose main goal has been to de-fund the federal government. Do you think that cutting federal programs like FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers has been good or bad for America? GOOD OR BAD?!

With the nation's debt at an all-time high, do you think tax cuts for the rich are still a good idea? Will you give yours back so hundreds of thousands of homeless in New Orleans can have a home?

Do you believe in Jesus? Really? Didn't he say that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us? Hurricane Katrina came in and blew off the facade that we were a nation with liberty and justice for all. The wind howled and the water rose and what was revealed was that the poor in America shall be left to suffer and die while the President of the United States fiddles and tells them to eat cake.

That's not a joke. The day the hurricane hit and the levees broke, Mr. Bush, John McCain and their rich pals were stuffing themselves with cake. A full day after the levees broke (the same levees whose repair funding he had cut), Mr. Bush was playing a guitar some country singer gave him at some fundraiser with John McCain. All this while New Orleans sank under water.

It would take ANOTHER day before the President would do a "flyover" in his jumbo jet, peeking out the widow at the misery 2,500 feet below him as he flew back to his second home in DC. It would then be TWO MORE DAYS before a trickle of federal aid and troops would arrive. This was no seven minutes in a sitting trance while children read "My Pet Goat" to him. This was FOUR DAYS of doing nothing other than saying "Brownie (FEMA director Michael Brown), you're doing a heck of a job!"

My Republican friends, does it bother you that we are the laughing stock of the world?

And on this sacred day of remembrance, do you think we honor or shame those who died on 9/11/01? If we learned nothing and find ourselves today every bit as vulnerable and unprepared as we were on that bright sunny morning, then did the 3,000 die in vain?

Our vulnerability is not just about dealing with terrorists or natural disasters. We are vulnerable and unsafe because we allow one in eight Americans to live in horrible poverty. We accept an education system where one in six children never graduate and most of those who do can't string a coherent sentence together. The middle class can't pay the mortgage or the hospital bills and 45 million have no health coverage whatsoever.

Are we safe? Do you really feel safe? You can only move so far out and build so many gated communities before the fruit of what you've sown will be crashing through your walls and demanding retribution. Do you really want to wait until that happens? Or is it your hope that if they are left alone long enough to soil themselves and shoot themselves and drown in the filth that fills the street that maybe the problem will somehow go away?

I know you know better. You gave the country and the world a man who wasn't up for the job and all he does is hire people who aren't up for the job. You did this to us, to the world, to the people of New Orleans. Please fix it. Bush is yours. And you know, for our peace and safety and security, this has to be fixed. What do you propose?

I have an idea, and it isn't a horse show.


Michael Moore
(And my idea now, some three years later, is that they seek forgiveness and redemption by voting for Barack Obama -- or just stay home on November 4.)
P.S. An excellent film on Katrina, "Trouble the Water," is currently playing around the country. Go see it!

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Headlines.... Obama's Speech


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate

Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate early Saturday, balancing his ticket with a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.

Obama announced the pick on his Web site with a photo of the two men and an appeal for donations. A text message went out shortly afterward that said, "Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee."

Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.

Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.

Monday, August 18, 2008

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers calling his committee back from summer recess

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers has taken the highly unusual step of calling his committee back from summer recess in order to investigate allegations by Ron Suskind that the Bush administration forged a letter to buttress the links made between Saddam and 9/11, and Saddam and WMD. The congressional Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq, the ""War Resolution" which, as far short as it fell of a congressional declaration of war, gave the invasion its constitutional legal cover, and gave Bush the authorization to invade only after he had certified to congress the existence of these two critical links. If Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and if he did not possess WMD, the war was off.

Read More...........

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

John McCain's Boys

That is a picture of a bunch of criminals and a

John McCain fundraiser on a boondoggle golfing trip to Scotland.
On the left is infamous con-man Jack Abramoff who plead guilty to a variety of charges including conspiracy to bribe public officials. He is now serving a five-year sentence related to those charges.
Who are the public officials Abramoff was bribing? Well, one willing bribe-taker is pictured on the right, former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). Ney is lucky enough to walk out of jail this morning after serving 17 months of his 30 month sentence.
To the left of Ney is David Safavian, who has similar charges pending in an appeal.
And besides the unlucky "golf organizer" standing in the back, Jason Murdoch, the last person surrounded by these nefarious golfers is Ralph Reed, who is raising money for John McCain. Reed escaped the law but his name is more than tainted. He lost the Republican primary for Georgia Lt. Governor in 2006 and has been exposed as a hypocrite for taking money from casinos after previously referring to gambling as "a cancer."
Representative Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had this to say this morning:
John McCain's decision to raise money from one of the key figures in the Jack Abramoff scandal - one of Abramoff's conspirators in a money laundering scheme -- is a very disappointing example of John McCain abandoning his principles on the campaign trail. He claimed to be a reformer? Well, reformer no more.
With Bob Ney being released from prison, how long before Senator McCain asks him to host a fundraiser also?

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How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America


By Terrence McNally, AlterNet

"It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama finally said it.
Though a successful political and electoral strategy, the Right's stand against intelligence has steered them far off course, leaving them -- and us -- unable to deal successfully with the complex and dynamic circumstances we face as a nation and a society.
American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy, and their parents are as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution; roughly 30 to 40 percent believe in each. Their president believes "the jury is still out" on evolution.
Steve Colbert interviewed Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland on "The Colbert Report." Westmoreland co-sponsored a bill that would require the display of the Ten Commandments in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but, when asked, couldn't actually list the commandments.
This stuff would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.
In the 2004 election, nearly 70 percent of Bush supporters believed the United States had "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with al Qaeda; a third believed weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq; and more than a third that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion, according to the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The political right and allied culture warriors actively ignore evidence and encourage misinformation. To motivate their followers, they label intelligent and informed as "elite," implying that ignorance is somehow both valuable and under attack. Susan Jacoby confronts our "know-nothingism" -- current and historical -- in her new book, The Age of American Unreason.
A former reporter for the Washington Post and program director of the Center for Inquiry-New York City, Jacoby is the author of five books, including Wild Justice, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. Her political blog, The Secularist's Corner, is on the Web site of the Washington Post.
Terrence McNally: Have things gotten worse? How were things different as you were growing up?
Susan Jacoby: Well, I have just been told that all of my memories of growing up are wrong, because memory is absolutely inaccurate. It's only a "narrative."
I'll give you an example of how stupid this country has become. I'm one of the village atheists on Faith, a panel sponsored by the Washington Post and Newsweek. In a recent post I wrote that when I was 7 years old, I was taken by my mom to visit a friend who had been stricken by polio and was in an iron lung. Polio has basically been eradicated, but I grew up when polio was still a real threat to children, before the Salk vaccine.
This childhood friend had been playing and running only three weeks before, and now he was in an iron lung. And I asked my mom, "Why would God let something like that happen?" And to her credit, instead of giving me some moronic answer, my mother said, "I don't know."
After posting this on Faith, I received an e-mail saying, "All childhood memories are unreliable. We construct narratives to justify what we now think."
Of course it would be stupid if I'd said I became an atheist at the age of 7. But I hadn't said that, only that I remembered this childhood experience as making me begin to question what I'd been taught. The whole tone of the e-mail was that nobody's memory about anything could possibly be accurate -- no fact could possibly be true.
TM: That doesn't sound like a typical evolution doubter. It sounds like an attack on rationality from a rational person.
SJ: That's right. One of the points I make in my book is that unreason pervades our culture. It's not just a matter of right-wing religious fundamentalism. There are all kinds of unreason and suspicion of evidence on both the Right and the Left.
TM: Misinformation may well have been the deciding factor in a close election in 2004. I worry not just about the lack of information and knowledge, but also the active disparagement of those who would even care about such things.
SJ: Contempt for fact is very important.
I'll give you a great example that's already obsolete. At the end of the primaries, both Hillary Clinton and John McCain endorsed a gas tax holiday for Americans this summer. Every economist, both liberal and conservative, said this would do nothing to help matters. And when Hillary Clinton was asked by the late Tim Russert, "Can you produce one economist to support the gas tax holiday?" she said, "Oh that's elite thinking."
Now to say that economists have nothing intelligent to say about whether a gas tax will give people economic relief is like saying that you don't ask musicians about music; you don't ask scientists about science. It's not just an attack on a political idea; it's an attack on knowledge itself.
TM: And this from a woman who was in the top of her class at Yale Law School.
SJ: Of course, she doesn't believe it for a minute. It shows that a lot of politicians think they have to play to ignorance and label anything that goes against received opinion as elitism.
I was quite encouraged that the actual majority of Americans -- both Republicans and Democrats -- said the gas tax was just a stupid gimmick.
TM: They were already getting a tax rebate check. At a certain point we see through this.
SJ: Elite simply means "the best," not the political meaning that's been ascribed to it. If you're having an operation, you don't want an ordinary surgeon. You want an elite surgeon. You want the best.
TM: I suspect the connotation is better known now than the actual definition. "Elite" now implies stuffy, superior, arrogant -- and, most importantly, not one of us.
SJ: These basic knowledge deficits -- the fact that American 15-year-olds are near the bottom in mathematical knowledge compared with other countries, for example -- actually affect our ability to understand larger public issues. To understand what it means that the top 1 percent of income earners are getting tax breaks, you have to know what 1 percent means.
TM: Richard Hofstadter's 1963 classic, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, described our anti-intellectualism as "older than our national identity." Yet our founders developed a form of government that demanded an informed citizenry. How do these two things fit together?
SJ: That's really the American paradox. For example, there is no country that has had more faith in education as an instrument of social mobility. No country in the West democratized education earlier, but no country has been more suspicious of too much education. We've always thought of education as good if it gets you a better job, but bad if it makes you think too much.
Hofstadter was writing at the dawn of video culture, so he could not talk about one of the key things in my book. The domination of culture by mass media, video and 24/7 infotainment has been added to the American mix in the last 40 years. Video culture is the worst possible means for understanding anything more complicated than a sound bite.
TM: I recall the book The Sound Bite Society (by Jeffrey Scheuer, 2000) said that television inherently prefers simplistic arguments, simple solutions, simple answers.
SJ: As we're talking, I happen to have my computer on. News stories are flashing and off the screen. If they're on for two seconds, you're going to miss a lot, and that's the problem with video culture as translated through computers.
TM: Having all that information at our fingertips is a plus. What's the negative?
SJ: I love that I don't have to go through half a dozen books to find a date that I've forgotten. The ability to get quick information is great, but if you don't have a framework of knowledge in which to fit that information, it means nothing.
I'll give you an example. In my talks to people, I often mention a statistic from the National Constitution Center that almost half of Americans can't name even one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. A student stood up at a university in California and said, "That doesn't matter because you can just look it up on the Internet." But if you don't know what the First Amendment is in the first place, you don't know what question to ask the Web.
Garbage in, garbage out. The Web's only as good as our ability to ask questions of it. The ability to access information means nothing if you don't have an educated framework of knowledge to fit it into.
TM: Why America? Other countries have television and the Internet.
SJ: The network of infotainment has no national boundaries, it's all over the world. But there are a couple of things that make America particularly susceptible.
A fundamentalist is one who believes in a literal interpretation of sacred books, and a third of Americans believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. That's about 10 times more than any other developed country in the world. It's entirely possible to be a religious believer and to accept science, but not if you're a literal religious believer. You can't believe that the world was literally created in six days, and be open to modern knowledge.
There's also something else: We've always had more faith in technology than other countries. One of our problems with computers is that we believe in technological solutions to what are essentially non-technological problems. Not knowing is a non-technological problem. The idea that the Web is an answer to knowing nothing is wrong, but it's something that Americans -- with our history of believing in technology as the solution to everything -- are particularly susceptible to.
TM: I'm beginning to feel like the child who keeps asking "Why?" You say that a much larger percentage of Americans believe in the literal word of holy books. In your investigations, have you come up with some sense of why that is?
SJ: That's in my previous book, Freethinkers. One reason, oddly enough, is our absolute separation of church and state. In secular Europe -- as it's often called sneeringly by people like Justice Antonin Scalia -- religious belief and belief in political systems were united. So if you opposed the government, you also had to oppose religion. That wasn't true in America because we had separation of church and state. Many forms of religious belief survived in America, because you could believe anything you wanted and still not be opposed to your government.
TM: So because religion wasn't tied to government we had more freedom ...
SJ: And more religion.
TM: But what is it in our culture? Is our geographical isolation part of it?
SJ: You anticipated what I was going to say. There's also the idea of American exceptionalism -- that America is different from every other country.
I say in my book that Americans are unwilling to look at how really bad our educational system is because we've all been propagandized with the idea that we're number one. That may have been true after World War II, but not anymore. The idea that we're number one and special and better than everybody else is a very powerful factor in American life, and it prevents us from examining certain respects in which we're not number one.
TM: Politicians in particular tend to preface any comment by saying, "Well, of course we have the best education system," "We have the best health care," the best this and that. And people accept that even though we have clear evidence that it is no longer true.
SJ: Evidence involving infant mortality and life expectancy. Though the very rich in this country get the best health care in the world, by all of the normal indices of health, we are worse off than Europe and Canada.
TM: Our universities and particularly our graduate schools are still the envy of the world, but with the education available to everyone, that's no longer so.
SJ: Right, and to call arguments like mine elitist is wrong. I think that the basis of a society is what people with normal levels of education understand. That means we need to be concerned about elementary schools, secondary schools and community colleges -- not what people at Harvard and Yale might be learning.
TM: What are the possible solutions?
SJ: There are solutions at a social level, but they have to begin at an individual level.
After the Wisconsin primary, Barack Obama was asked a question about education, and I was very encouraged when he said, "There's a lot we can do about education, but first of all, in our homes we have to turn off the TV more ..." Not altogether, but turn it off more, put the video games on the shelf more and spend more time talking and reading to our kids.
With my book, more than making a prescription, I wanted to start a conversation about how we spend our time. I'm not one of these people who think that you should raise your kids without ever watching TV. We all have to live in the world of our time. I'm saying people ought to look about how much time we spend on this. There is nothing wrong with a parent coming home and putting a kid in front of a video for an hour so they can have a drink and an intelligent conversation with their partner. It's wrong when the hour turns into two hours or three hours or four hours or five hours, as in too many American homes.
TM: When it becomes just a habit.
SJ: Moderation. I know it's very unfashionable and it seems like a small idea, but I think more than what people watch on video, what matters is how much they watch it.
TM: I believe we're finding that as kids become more addicted to television and other screens, they become less familiar with nature, with their own bodies, with what we would call the real world.
It strikes me that intelligence has been defined by so many as just cognitive intelligence. Is part of the solution that we begin to shift our way of thinking, so that intelligence includes emotional intelligence and other forms of intelligence?
SJ: No. I don't actually recognize these different forms of intelligence. Emotional intelligence depends largely on whether we are brought up to empathize with other people. But it doesn't matter if you're kind to others and you understand them if you don't know anything about your society and history.
These are actually different things, and my point is, one doesn't substitute for the other. They're all important. In terms of society, having emotional intelligence without knowledge is useless. And, of course, having knowledge without emotional intelligence is also useless. But they're not the same thing.
I think spending eight hours a day in front of television -- the amount of time the average American family has a television on in its home -- is probably bad for both emotional intelligence and knowledge. I don't think these things are in opposition, they're both necessary. Neither of them is adequate without the other.
Interviewer Terrence McNally hosts Free Forum on KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles (streaming at Visit for podcasts of all interviews and more.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

The Real Dr. NO = McCain

Senator McCain has voted 'NO' to all of these issues when they came up for vote before the senate. Senator Obama voted "YES'.  Information is from the US Senate website. ( Most of these are amendments, which means there is no "pork/earmarks" attached. 
1.         A bill to provide collective bargaining rights for public safety officers employed by States or their political subdivisions.
2. To protect service members and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy, to disallow certain claims by lenders charging usurious interest rates to service members, and to allow service members to exempt property based on the law of the State of their premilitary residence.
3. To provide a homestead floor for the elderly.
4. To require enhanced disclosure to consumers regarding the consequences of making only minimum required payments in the repayment of credit card debt, and for other purposes.
5. To exempt debtors whose financial problems were caused by serious medical problems from means testing.
6. To provide protection for medical debt homeowners.
7. To preserve existing bankruptcy protections for individuals experiencing economic distress as caregivers to ill or disabled family members.
8. To exempt debtors from means testing if their financial problems were caused by identity theft
9. To discourage predatory lending practices.
10. To protect employees and retirees from corporate practices that deprive them of their earnings and retirement savings when a business files for bankruptcy.
11. To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage
12. To clarify that the means test does not apply to debtors below median income.
13. To exempt debtors whose financial problems were caused by failure to receive alimony or child support, or both, from means testing.
14. To limit claims in bankruptcy by certain unsecured creditors.
15. To restore funding for education programs that are cut and reduce debt by closing corporate tax loopholes.
16. To ensure that 75-year solvency has been restored to Social Security before Congress considers new deficit-financed legislation that would increase mandatory spending or cut taxes.
17. To express the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt.
18. To protect the American people from terrorist attacks by providing the necessary resources to our firefighters, police, EMS workers and other first-responders by restoring $1,626 billion in cuts to first-responder programs.
19. To increase veterans medical care by $2.8 billion in 2006.
20. To create a reserve fund for the establishment of a Bipartisan Medicaid Commission to consider and recommend appropriate reforms to the Medicaid program, and to strike Medicaid cuts to protect states and vulnerable populations
21. To repeal the tax subsidy for certain domestic companies which move manufacturing operations and American jobs offshore.
22. To protect the American people from terrorist attacks by restoring $565 million in cuts to vital first-responder programs in the Department of Homeland Security, including the State Homeland Security Grant program, by providing $150 million for port security grants and by providing $140 million for 1,000 new border patrol agents
23. To expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care.
24. To promote innovation and U.S. competitiveness by expressing the sense of the Senate urging the Senate Committee on Appropriations to make efforts to fund the Advanced Technology Program, which supports industry-led research and development of cutting-edge technologies with broad commercial potential and societal benefits.
25. To increase funding for border security
26. To eliminate methyl tertiary butyl ether from the United States fuel supply, to increase production and use of renewable fuel, and to increase the Nation's energy independence
27. To improve the energy security of the United States and reduce United States dependence on foreign oil imports by 40 percent by 2025.
28. To provide additional funding for medical services provided by the Veterans Health Administration
29. To fund urgent priorities for our Nation's firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, and all Americans by reducing the tax breaks for individuals with annual incomes in excess of $1 million.
30. To provide an additional $500,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2010, to be used for readjustment counseling, related mental health services, and treatment and rehabilitative services for veterans with mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, or substance use disorder.
31. To improve the Federal Trade Commission's ability to protect consumers from price-gouging during energy emergencies, and for other purposes.
32. To provide additional funding for the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 and to provide activities for latchkey children.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Unfit for Publication

One of the most vile smear peddlers of the 2004 election has found a new target.
Jerome Corsi just published a new book full of rehashed distortions and the same old lies about Barack Obama, and the right-wing noise machine is in full gear promoting it.
In 2004, Corsi helped launch the Swift Boat smear campaign with a book of distortions and lies he wrote about John Kerry.
It's up to you to spread the truth, so here it is. We've posted some of the facts about Corsi and his desperate fabrications on this page, but there's even more in our (PDF)PDF: Unfit for Publication.


LIE: "The year 1995 was a banner one for Obama. He had just married Michelle and the couple bought a Hyde Park condo, the first home Obama ever owned."[p 145]
10/3/92 Obama And Michelle Robinson Were Married. [Chicago Sun-Times, 10/3/07]
1993 Obama Bought a Condo for $277,550. [Chicago Sun-Times, 1/22/06]


LIE: "Senator Obama could claim to be a citizen of Kenya, as well as of the United States. Obama can trace his heritage back to his mother, who was born in the United States and was an American citizen when he was born, and to his father, who was born in Kenya and was a Kenyan citizen when Obama was born." [p 103]
Kenya Does Not Allow Dual Citizenship Applications for People Over 21 Years of Age. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management writes of Kenya, "DUAL CITIZENSHIP: Not recognized except for persons under 21 years old." The Kenyan Constitution writes, "A person who, but for the proviso to section 87 (1), would be a citizen of Kenya by virtue of that subsection shall be entitled, upon making application before the specified date in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Kenya: Provided that a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years (other than a woman who is or has been married) may not himself make an application under this subsection, but an application may be made on his behalf by his parent or guardian." [U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Kenyan Constitution]
Even if Obama Had Applied for Dual Citizenship Before He Was 21—Which He Did Not—It Would Have Expired. "A person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Kenya and also a citizen of some other country other than Kenya shall, subject to subsection (7), cease to be a citizen of Kenya upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who was born outside Kenya, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament." [Kenyan Constitution]


LIE: "Christopher Hitchens noted on that Michelle announces in her Princeton thesis that she has been influenced by the definition of 'black separatism' given by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1867 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America." [p 232]
The Thesis Used Carmichael And Hamilton's Definition Of Black Separationism In Her Study But Did Not Suggest She Was "Influenced" By It. Michelle Obama wrote in her thesis, "Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton's (1967) developed definitions of separationism in their discussion of Black Power which guided me in the formulation and use of this concept in the study…Thus, Carmichael and Hamilton define separationism as a necessary stage for the development of the Black community before this group integrates into the "open society". The idea of creating separate social structure and cultural structures as suggested by these authors serves to clarify definitions of separationism/pluralism as they function in the dependent variable which tries to measure the 26 respondents' ideologies concerning political and economic relations between the Black and White communities." [Michelle Obama's Thesis]

Online Social Networks Are Going Global

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Now Online

From Jonathan Ned Katz:

I am excited to announce that a test run of is now online at

We are especially interested in feedback from historians and other
historically-oriented researchers. Please use the "Discuss" function on the
Main Page top bar to post your comments.

And we hope that lots of teachers will use OutHistory in their classrooms
and have their students produce content for the site, as Esther Newton and
Sharon Ullman already have.

Jonathan Ned Katz


Attorney general: "Not every violation of the law is a crime." At least not when you're a Republican

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama Leads McCain Among Christians

Daily Poll Summary - August 12, 2008

Alaska, Hays Research Group (D) 8/6-7: Obama 45%, McCain 40%, Nader 2%.
Obama McCain
Latest Poll Per State 301 237
Survey USA 156 256
Rasmussen Reports 282 192
Quinnipiac 158 24
Research 2000 18 95
Zogby 335 131

Monday, August 11, 2008

If John Edwards' political career is done, why isn't John McCain's?

If John Edwards' political career is done, why isn't John McCain's? John McCain had a well-documented affair on his first wife, with his current wife. He has admitted in the books he has written about his life that he ran around with several different women while still married to his first wife. And don't forget that he left her for a younger, richer woman - multi-millionaire Cindy Hensley who is now Cindy McCain - after she had been severely hurt in a car accident.
So, why are McCain's actions any more excusable than Edwards'? Because it was thirty years ago? Does that wash it away? Will we be fine with Edwards running for office again in a couple of years because then it will all be in the past? What is the statute of limitations on an affair?
Remember Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan and Ross Perot were so upset with how John McCain dealt with his first wife that they didn't forgive him for a very, very long time. Perot still hasn't forgiven him. In fact, he said recently about McCain dumping his first wife for Cindy, "McCain is the classic opportunist. He's always reaching for attention and glory."
So, I want every pundit who condemns John Edwards today to tell me what the difference between him and McCain is and why John McCain shouldn't also be run out of politics for his adulterous affairs and what he did to his first wife.

Obama's VP Pic be the first to know

Sign up today to be the first to know:

You will receive an email the moment Barack makes his decision, or you can text VP to 62262 to receive a text message on your mobile phone.

Once you've signed up, please forward this email to your friends, family, and coworkers to let them know about this special opportunity.

No other campaign has done this before. You can be part of this important moment.

Be the first to know who Barack selects as his running mate.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Did America Shift too Far to the Right?

Sidney Blumenthal discusses his new book, "The Strange Death of Republican America: Chronicles of a Collapsing Party" and the fall of the Republican party. Michael Lind offers commentary....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Daily Poll Summary - August 7, 2008

New York, Quinnipiac University 7/31-8/4: Obama 57%, McCain 36%.
New Jersey, Rasmussen Reports 8/4: Obama 48%, McCain 40%.
Wisconsin, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute 8/3-4: Obama 44%, McCain 38%.
Wisconsin, Rasmussen Reports 8/5: Obama 51%, McCain 44%.
Massachusetts, Rasmussen Reports 8/5: Obama 54%, McCain 38%.
Gallup Tracking Poll: Obama 46, McCain 43.
Rasmussen Tracking Poll: Obama 47, McCain 46.

You Are What You Watch

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Fox News viewers say they are likely to vote for John McCain, while those who watch CNN and MSNBC plan to support Barack Obama in November by more than two to one.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of CNN voters plan to vote for the Democratic candidate versus 26% who intend to go for the Republican. Similarly, MSNBC watchers plan to vote for Obama over McCain 63% to 30%.

Only nine percent of those who watch Fox News say they will vote for Obama

What Has McCain Done For A Energy Plan

Romney with no clue as to what McCain has done on energy. Don't you think he should have been prepared for these types of questions?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Great "For Sale" Sign Shortage

The housing package recently signed into law by President Bush will help struggling neighborhoods around the country by distributing funds to convert foreclosed properties into affordable housing.
Find out how your district will benefit: State-by-state fact sheets on the housing bill

George Bush Harboring A Terrorist

According to Ron Suskind in his book, 'The Way of the World,' Iraq Intelligence Director Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti collected a cool $5 million from the CIA for forging a backdated letter for Bush's henchmen. But, if you turn him in through the US 'Rewards for Justice' program, you can collect up to a million bucks! As of 06 August 2008, Tahir Jalil Habbush resides on the Rewards for Justice 'Wanted Terrorist' list. This means that George W. Bush funded a wanted terrorist.
For News And Commentary:
Broward News And Politics
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Swift Boating Of Obama Begins

How well do we know Obama? What are his political views (values)? Does he love America? Is he just words? Can we trust our future with an Obama presidency in such a critical election?
Citizens United has just put out an Swift Boating-Obama documentary that tries to portray Obama as this risky political leader that is all hype. And answers all of the questions above in the most negative slime of smears there is.
To learn more, go to Here is the movie trailer:

For News And Commentary:
Broward News And Politics
For Florida Election News See:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Win a Trip to the Convention

Win a Trip to the Convention

Win a day in the campaign press pool and a trip to the 2008 political conventions by creating a video answering the question,
"Why are you a Democrat in 2008?"

For more details or to submit your video, go to

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Broward News And Politics
For Florida Election News See:

Change We Can Believe In: An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Senator Obama, 
We write to congratulate you on the tremendous achievements of your campaign for the presidency of the United States.
Your candidacy has inspired a wave of political enthusiasm like nothing seen in this country for decades. In your speeches, you have sketched out a vision of a better future—in which the United States sheds its warlike stance around the globe and focuses on diplomacy abroad and greater equality and freedom for its citizens at home—that has thrilled voters across the political spectrum. Hundreds of thousands of young people have entered the political process for the first time, African--American voters have rallied behind you, and many of those alienated from politics-as-usual have been re-engaged.
You stand today at the head of a movement that believes deeply in the change you have claimed as the mantle of your campaign. The millions who attend your rallies, donate to your campaign and visit your website are a powerful testament to this new movement's energy and passion.
This movement is vital for two reasons: First, it will help assure your victory against John McCain in November. The long night of greed and military adventurism under the Bush Administration, which a McCain administration would continue, cannot be brought to an end a day too soon. An enthusiastic corps of volunteers and organizers will ensure that voters turn out to close the book on the Bush era on election day. Second, having helped bring you the White House, the support of this movement will make possible the changes that have been the platform of your campaign. Only a grassroots base as broad and as energized as the one that is behind you can counteract the forces of money and established power that are a dead weight on those seeking real change in American politics.
We urge you, then, to listen to the voices of the people who can lift you to the presidency and beyond.
Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance—including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters.
We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised.
Here are key positions you have embraced that we believe are essential to sustaining this movement:
§ Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable.
§ A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us through a more progressive financial and welfare system; public investment to create jobs and repair the country's collapsing infrastructure; fair trade policies; restoration of the freedom to organize unions; and meaningful government enforcement of labor laws and regulation of industry.
§ Universal healthcare.
§ An environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, creating millions of green jobs.
§ An end to the regime of torture, abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.
§ A commitment to the rights of women, including the right to choose abortion and improved access to abortion and reproductive health services.
§ A commitment to improving conditions in urban communities and ending racial inequality, including disparities in education through reform of the No Child Left Behind Act and other measures.
§ An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.
§ Reform of the drug laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands who need help, not jail.
§ Reform of the political process that reduces the influence of money and corporate lobbyists and amplifies the voices of ordinary people.
These are the changes we can believe in. In other areas—such as the use of residual forces
and mercenary troops in Iraq, the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan, the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the death penalty—your stated positions have consistently varied from the positions held by many of us, the "friends on the left" you addressed in recent remarks. If you win in November, we will work to support your stands when we agree with you and to challenge them when we don't. We look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue with you when you are elected President.
Stand firm on the principles you have so compellingly articulated, and you may succeed in bringing this country the change you've encouraged us to believe is possible.
to add your name to the letter Click HERE

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Politico 44 President's Calendar Video

Days Since Michael Steele Said He Won't Resign

23 Days, 23 Hours, 32 Minutes, 38 Seconds.

"The Playa" said he wouldn't resign as head of the RNC ("Not me Baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how.")



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