Monthly Archives: August 2004

some things a candidate could say …

1. “The Bush Administration is planning to spend $53.1 billion over the next six years to defend the United States from a missile fired from another continent. No hostile country has such a missile, and if they did, they wouldn’t … Continue reading

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reading polls

I don’t pay too much attention to “point-estimates” in surveys (for example, Kerry is at 46% or Bush is at 47%). These results involve the usual margin of error, as in any random sample. To make matters worse, telephone surveys … Continue reading

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the Internet & civil society

Way back in 2001 (“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”), I wrote an article about the Internet and civil society. That piece has been reprinted in five versions, each updated and edited for a new occasion. The … Continue reading

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taking stock of blogs (2004)

Blogs are clearly the hot medium. They have scale: Technorati is tracking 3.6 million of them, and there may be many more. No one knows the size of the audience, but the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that … Continue reading

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why the “swift boat” controversy is sad

Jay Rosen has a thoughtful but almost anguished mini-essay entitled “Swift Boat Story a Sad Chord.” He finds many aspects of the whole controversy “sad”: the behavior of the anti-Kerry veterans, the boomers’ inability to move past Vietnam, the poor … Continue reading

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how to get out the vote (what the research says)

When people try to mobilize voters (whether for partisan or ideological reasons, or simply to increase participation), they usually rely on at least an implicit theory about what makes people decide to vote. On one hand, there are so many … Continue reading

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sentimental populism

I recently came across a critique of Ralph Nader that Harry Boyte wrote several years ago. This is the best paragraph: Ultimately, the problem with Nader-style populism is that it asks very little of citizens. It is based on a … Continue reading

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another thought on charters

I commented earlier on the recent finding that students in charter schools perform somewhat worse than other students on standardized test. This finding was reported in a New York Times lead article that has prompted much criticism. A certain theme … Continue reading

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the possibility of historical fiction

In the book that I’m writing about Dante, I observe that most forms of serious historical fiction are no longer tenable today. A century ago, dramatists like Stephen Phillips in England and Gabrielle D’Annunzio in Italy could still write critically-acclaimed … Continue reading

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a milestone for civic education

I chair the Steering Committee of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. Today the Campaign announced that we are making “six $150,000 grants to promote civic learning in the public schools of Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina … Continue reading

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