Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Year of Passion

Here's an interesting New York Times article analyzing the election year rhetoric. Purdum notes that many people have debated about the political atmosphere during this year's elction, with some people complaining about the negativity and polarization associated with the Swiftboat ads and with Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Others point to the large increase in first-time voters and see more positive trends. This ambivalence is nicely framed by Harry C. Boyte's comments:
"If you think of democracy as elections and voting, then this is a great moment. If you think of democracy as more a way of life, it's very uncertain what the result is going to be, and the polarization is very troubling."
So what's your take on how this election reflects democratic process?

Update: Here's another story about election-year issues that I came across while procrastinating this morning. This AP article analyzes the ways in whih voters get their information about the campaign and discusses the extent to which people may go to blogs or websites that present arguments that challenge their point of view.

Friday, October 29, 2004


Students in my 9:30 class can plan on shoing up at 10 AM on Tuesday. I'm starting class late to give people a few extra minutes to vote. Be sure to bring two copies of your rough draft with you to class.

Oh, and if you like time travel, check out Primer. It's playing, probably for one week only, at the Midtown Art Theater on Monroe.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Advance Voting

This is kind of last minute, but if you're voting in Georgia and can't vote on Tuesday, here's a way to vote in person on Friday or Monday at your county voter registration office. I'll update this entry later with more information. Off to teach!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

More Links

Note: the assignment for Thursday is posted below. Keep scrolling down. But for those of you who are interested, here are a couple of articles, both from the LA Times (though one is linked via Yahoo News). For those of you writing on teh electoral college, you might be interetsed in this editorial arguing that it should be retained. Here's another article on voter registration/voter fraud issues.

Update: If you're looking to procrastinate, here's a humorous Onion article satirizing voter fraud issues. Oh, and a possible total lunar eclipse and a possible Red Sox World Series victory in the same night. Who would have predicted that?

Update 2: BBC journalist Greg Palast has more on plans in Florida to stop voters from being able to vote.

Post/Comment About Voting

I've been thinking a lot this morning about the election process, as my list of assigned articles suggests, and because I know that many of you will be voting/have voted for the first time, I'd really like to know more about your experiences, and I came across a blog assignment by Alex Halavais that sounded really interesting (my assignment is pretty much an exact paraphrase of his). I know the first time that I voted, I found it to be a pretty powerful experience. I might tell you more about that later, but for now, I'd like to hear your stories. You have a couple of choices here:

1. Simply post (or comment) about your experience voting. For most, if not all, of you, this will be your first time voting. Describe the experience. What is the polling place? How did it feel when you were voting? Like Alex, I'd imagine that many first-time voters are either nervous or cautious, simply because they have no frame of reference for what it's like to vote. What were you thinking about? As always, you're welcome to tell us who you voted for, but you don't have to.

2. For those of you who didn't vote (due to age, citizenship requirements), feel free to explain why. Do you wish you had voted? Again, you can tell us who you would have voted for, but you don't have to.

3. In both cases, I'd also be interested in knowing how the media coverage or how class discussion might have informed your experiences as voters. Again, you don't have to say how this might have influenced whether or not you voted for a specific candidate, but did your participation in an election-themed class change your frame of reference on voting?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Voter Registration Articles

Here are the assigned readings for Thursday:If anyone happens to find another article on this topic, please provide a URL either in the comments or by email. Also if anyone is interested, you cn create permanent, free links to New York Times artciles using the New York Times Link Generator. Just copy and paste the URL into the box and, presto! Free links!

Update: Here's anothr article from Wednesday's New York Times that focuses on voter registration issues.

Update 2: Here's a link to Election Protection, an organiation that works to protect voters' rights.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Homework Over Fall Break

I forgot to remind students in my 9:30 class that you need to submit your thesis statements for the thesis exercise in class on Thursday. You will be expected to submit your thesis statement by 10 PM on the Wednesday night after fall break.

Submit thesis statements to me via email at charles[dot]tryon[at]lcc[dot]gatech[dot]edu

Group Blog Reminder

Be sure to send me your group's URL as soon as possible. When you send me the URL, also remind me which section (9:30, 1:30 or 3) you attend.

You can send the URL to me at charles[dot]tryon[at]lcc[dot]gatech[dot]edu

Rogue States vs. Failed States

This blog entry by Kevin Drum might shed some light on Mark's question about the Osama bin Laden discussion during the third debate. Long story very short: conservatives tend to worry more about rogue states while liberals tend to be more concerned about failed states.

Transcript Update

Here's a link to a full transcript. The CNN transcript linked below appears to be incomplete. The Post transcript includes pop-up links that offer fact-checking on some of the candidates' claims.

Bush's Osama Comment

In the 9:30 class, we discussed Kerry's comment that Bush had said that he "wasn't worried" about Osama bin Laden. Bush countered by saying that Kerry was engaging in "one of those exaggerations." Immediately after Bush's comment, a thousand Google monkeys launched into action and found the Bush quotation.

Here's teh full scoop from Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo.

Bush, Kerry, and Your Wallet

A student in the 9:30 class emailed me a link to a CNN article about Bush and Kerry's economic policies.

Here's another somewhat dated CNN article prviewing Wednesday night's debate with some discussion of the economy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Third Presidential Debate

Here's a debate transcript available from

Best line of the night:
Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country.

Last Minute Reminder

The final debate takes place at 9 PM and will be focusing exclusively on domestic issues.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

"Mommy Wants a New President"

I found these kids' t-shirts while blog surfing this morning. Thought you might be interested.

For Tuesday

Find one article you'd like to discuss and link to it by Saturday night (feel free to write a short blurb or a full blog entry). Then by Monday night, read each of the articles that members of your group posted and write a short 25-50 word comment responding to each article.

We'll talk about the articles in class on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

First Debate Disucssion

Hi everyone, after deleting something like 189 pieces of Spyware and five viruses this afternoon, I finally figured out why my computer has been running so slowly, so please forgive the slow responses to email (note: I think the email server ws down again, too).

I've been planning to link to George Williams' collection of artciles reviewing the first presidential debate, but with the computer troubles haven't had a real opportunity. Dr. Williams' is a professor at UMKC who is teaching a course with a theme similar to mine, so check out his class blog while you're in the neighborhood.Note: I don't expect you to read all of these reviews, but if you want a refresher before Thursday's class discussion, some of these links might help.

Readings for Thursday: Swing Voters?

Here are a few articles that might inform our discussion of the first two debates.

Don't forget that the next presidential debate will be Friday night and will be conducted in a "town hall" format, in which "undecided" voters will submit questions for the two candidates.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Edwards or Cheney

Did anyone watch tonight's VP debate? If so, leave your reactions in the comments section. How did your experience of this debate compare to the first Presidential debate? How does the VP debate affect your decision, if at all? What comparisons can be drawn about the kinds of questions, the argumentative approaches, the responses to the questions, etc? As with other debates/discussions, you might want to take a look at to see how truthful the two candidates were during the debate (Dick Cheney tried to recommend during the debate, but accidentally recommended instead--oops!).

I'll have a short reading assignment here shortly, but as always, I'd encourage you to look for articles that you'd like to dicuss. For students who missed Vince Keenan's Wednesday night lecture, teh make-up assignment is the same as for those students who missed the first debate: watch an extra debate and write a response.

Update: Not required but here's a transcript of the VP debate with responses from Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, and Fred Kaplan.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate Transcript, Alternate Assignments, and Documentary Films

For those of you who are interested, here is a transcript of last night's debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush. Obviously, reading the deabet doesn't compare to watching it person (you don't get to see the candidates' body language, for example), but it's a useful reference for writing blog entries, etc.

For those of you who missed the debates, your alternate assignment will be to watch one of the other debates independently and to write a blog entry about your perceptions of the debate (which means that you won't be able to do the assignment over the weekend--I'll provide a full debate schedule later this week).

I appreciate your participation in this week's activities, including the very productive discussion after the debates--wish we'd had more time to talk about them at that point, but we'll take some more time to discuss the debates on Thursday. If you find articles about the debates you'd like to discuss, by all means link to or blog about those articles.

Finally, I just wanted to mention a couple of documentary films playing at the Midtown Art Theater (both pro-Kerry, but potentially informative for anyone). The first is Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry (IMDB), a documentary by George Butler (who also directed Pumping Iron). It's about John Kerry's Vietnam experience, both as a soldier and a protestor.

The second is Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the War in Iraq, a documentary by Robert Greenwald arguing that the Bush administration misled America into war in Iraq.