May 1, 2016 |
What if a tree fell during a televised presidential debate and Twitter and Facebook weren't there to record it/share it/mock it for its inability to remain upright? Would viewers have a better sense of the forest? Those aren't exactly the questions researchers set out to answer in a recently published study by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, but they might as well have been. In an article published online in the journal Political Communication, the Penn researchers concluded that people who used social media knew more about the 2012 election than nonusers, but that those who multitasked while watching the debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney didn't learn as much.
October 19, 2013 |
It's election season, and along with that come dueling news conferences in Delaware County from the Democrats and Republicans. The cause at stake is the survival of the heavily traveled Media/Elwyn SEPTA line that is threatened with extinction in 2015. SEPTA announced it plans to cut nine of its 13 rail lines, close a subway line and convert all trolley routes to bus lines unless it gets more state funding. In Harrisburg, the Senate has passed the bill that would provide the money.
October 17, 2012 |
I was thinking of Arlen Specter while watching this year's first presidential debate, reflecting on how rarely these gaffe-avoidance exercises actually change anyone's preconceptions. The most one-sided political debate I've ever seen was during Pennsylvania's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 2010. Specter, the longtime incumbent, simply demolished his challenger, that seasoned old salt Joe Sestak. Specter was by turns the folksy Arlen, recalling his reverence during his modest Kansas upbringing for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the inspiration for his public life - well, that and symbolically getting his father the bonus promised for his service in the First World War - and the "snarlin' Arlen" who would reach for the jugular of any opponent, whatever his or her age or gender.
October 6, 2012 |
It was only two hours until Wednesday night's presidential-race debate, and another political debate was just beginning on the stage at Plays & Players Theatre, where the six cast members of This Is the Week That Is had declared themselves undecided voters, and set out to explore the issues. And what an exploration it is! I've seen many versions of 1812 Productions' annual This Is the Week That Is , a satire on news and life in general, and this year's "Election Special" is the funniest and meatiest I can recall.
April 24, 2012 |
PROTESTERS who had filled the auditorium seats at an anti-Muslim event on Temple University's campus Monday night left the room quite empty when they marched out in opposition after the discussion began. The organization hosting the "Islamic Apartheid Conference," Temple University Students for Intellectual Freedom, says its mission is to introduce controversial issues often left out of mainstream debates and defends its right to political incorrectness. Panelists at the conference included Robert Spencer, contributor to the blog Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, famous for her hostility to the proposed construction of an Islamic community center near the site of the World Trade Center.
January 31, 2012
By Steve Frank President Obama's State of the Union address was widely regarded as the opening salvo of his reelection bid and an attempt to frame the general election debate, which, channeling public anger at Washington and Wall Street, promises to be the most populist in decades. Ever since December, when Obama delivered another much-discussed address in Osawatomie, Kan., I've been brushing up on Progressive Era rhetoric to prepare for the election campaign. Because, as the president's choice of location highlighted, we've been here before.
August 2, 2011 |
Fox News commentator and former NPR news analyst Juan Williams calls himself the worst kind of bigot on the very first page of his new book, Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate (Crown, $24). "I am a bigot," he writes. "I hate Muslims. I am a fomenter of hate and intolerance. I am a black guy who makes fun of Muslims for the entertainment of white racists. " Williams, who will discuss the book Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Central Library, is, of course, being sarcastic.
January 12, 2011
Pushed into forest of social anxiety Tuesday's comments on the Arizona shooting by E.J. Dionne ("Rhetoric has consequences") and Annette John-Hall ("Sheriff in Ariz. speaks truth") were excellent and long-overdue. Be the words spoken or written, there needs to be a clear line of demarcation to inform us where the humane, respectful, and civilized ends and the criminal, demonic, and punishable begins. The strategy of the extreme right has pushed civilization into the "Urwald," or untamed, ancient forest of political and social anxiety.
May 28, 2009 |
First of 2 candidate profiles Even when Christopher J. Christie seems angry, there's that spark in his eyes, the slight turn of a lip, and the raised eyebrow that say he's still in control and enjoying the battle. He'd better like it. If the Republican candidate for governor wins Tuesday's primary, he'll likely go up against multimillionaire Democratic Gov. Corzine in the general election. The governor has shown no hesitation to fillet his opponents with expensive television campaigns.
September 25, 2008 |
Bill Maher had to face down protests when he showed up at the premiere of Religulous at the Toronto International Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. The heckling clutch of Christian conservatives hadn't seen the comic's documentary denouncing humankind's systems of belief - Catholicism, Judaism, the Mormons, Islam, Scientology even. But that didn't stop them from circling the entrance to the big hall, holding candles, and asking God to forgive the wise-guy contrarian of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher for his blasphemy.