This is what's happened with John McCain with the Paris Hilton ads. They're trying to say that Barack Obama's the most popular person in the world. Now, liberals are making fun of those ads, but the ads are very sophisticated and very dangerous. Obama has a very short period of time in which to understand what's happened, because they're doing two different things. It comes in two steps.Obama is so popular. Obama receives all this adulation. All of us would like that somewhat. So they build up our envy. But, then, in the next step, they say it's unfair that he has it. He's not qualified. He doesn't care about us. We're suffering. He just goes about collecting his adoration and adulation. Now, that is a powerful, powerful message. It taps people's envy, and it is going to make them hate Obama.
-- Dr. Bryant Welch, author of State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind
I mean, what they’re talking about has nothing to do with issues or governing, but it’s just like another bit of noise that goes on. And this campaign has been 23 months long. It is literally a sign of social insanity to take 23 months to elect your leaders. I mean, the Brits can do it in six weeks, and we’re – so we’ve replaced everything with this bizarre sort of horse race.
-- Dick Meyer, Author of "Why We Hate Us"
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I think that what we're seeing now -- no-bid contracts -- is disgusting. ... That's the closest thing that you're ever going to get to government-backed business. At the end of the day, that's really what it's about. It's not about free market utopianism. It's about government by business.
-- Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
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One election cycle back, Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? helped Democrats understand the problem they had holding on to their erstwhile base of working middle America. Now in his latest book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, Frank nails the conservatives who have outsourced, privatized, shrunk, and absolved government of any impulse it might have to hold itself accountable to citizens.
Let me just give you one statistic gleaned from the recent special issue of The Nation on inequality, and that is that the richest 1% of Americans has more wealth collectively than the poorest 90% of Americans. That's a wild maldistribution of wealth.
-- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of This Land Is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation
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Barbara Ehrenreich is one of our great progressive journalists who looks into the issue and that word the Democratic Party is afraid to say: "class."
You know -- as in the wealthy class are leaving the rest of us in the dust, particularly the working class, the middle class and the poor.
She is under-appreciated in the U.S. as far as we are concerned, probably because she speaks about how our two-party system has made the wealthier even more obscenely rich while the rest of us are left behind.
It takes 17 million barrels of oil to make the bottles used in this country for one year's worth of bottled water. And it takes even more oil to transport the water around, to keep the water chilled in the refrigerators, and to send trucks around to collect the empty bottles for disposal or recycling.
-- Elizabeth Royte, Author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
Elizabeth Royte has written before on environmental topics. For The Tapir's Morning Bath she joined rainforest scientists at their research outposts, and in Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash she followed the path of the mountains of trash generated daily by Americans. Now she tackles bottled water. Who needs it? Why do we buy it? What happens to the bottles? What about tap water? She shares her insights with BuzzFlash here. She just may change the way you choose to drink.
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HOW WATER WENT ON SALE AND WHY WE BOUGHT IT
JULY __, 2008
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW THAT TURNED INTO A BOOK REVIEW
An Interview with the author of "Muhajababes: Meet the New Middle East -- Young, Sexy, and Devout" that turned into a BuzzFlash commentary.
What a novel idea!
Allegra Stratton, a young British journalist with precociously impressive credentials (the BBC and various UK print publications), set out to interview and profile residents of major cities in the Islamic world with one pre-condition: they all had to be around her age, 24 (Stratton’s age at the time).
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
Well, I think that he learned over time to be a better speaker than he was when he started out -- to focus more on his delivery. I think -- and it's been said by others, probably better than me -- that he learned a lesson in the Congressional [primary] race that he lost in 2000 -- not just lost, but got beaten pretty badly. ... I think he learned over time to focus more on, as I said, delivery and presence, and to be a good speaker. I wouldn't say that's the way he started out.
This is our time. We've had eight years of failed policy from Bush. Now McCain wants to continue it. But this is our time to make the case for progressive ideology in America, to get our economy back going strong, to get good-paying jobs in America, to relieve our dependency on foreign oil. This is the time for liberals and progressives to stand up. Lay out a case. And I believe we'll win with a significant number of Americans supporting us.
When we pander to our machines rather than look each other fully in the eye, when doctors interrupt, on average, after 18 seconds of listening to the patient, when two-thirds of the children 18 and under grow up in homes where the TV is on most of the time, which is an environment linked to attention difficulties -- when we can't think -- when, in a knowledge economy, we can't find the time to think deeply, to wrestle with an idea or a problem -- well, we're really facing a dark age on many scores.
-- Maggie Jackson, Journalist and Author, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age