Reviews and Blog Posts: politics

Hild

by Nicola Griffith

Before Hild was born her mother, Breguswith, had a dream that the child she carried would be "the light of the world". Breguswith ensures it, training Hild from a young age to become the official seer of her uncle, King Edwin. Yet it is not through magic Hild sees the future....

Gaddafi's harem : [the story of a young woman and the abuses of power in Libya]

by Annick Cojean

DPL Rating:
4

French journalist Annick Cojean writes an important but difficult-to-read account of the extensive system of sexual violence that existed in Libya under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. She uncovered this very secretive world of abuse while investigating women's role in Libya's revolution, a topic that has not received much attention. 

Hot Fall Nonfiction

Empress Dowager CIXI

Are you the kind of person that likes to settle in to fall with some good nonfiction? History, biography, memoir? Or maybe you're looking for some new recipes or home tips? We've got those too!  Check out these coming soon titles!

Biography, Memoir, and History:

Empress Dowager CIXI: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon

Mozart: A Life by Paul Johnson

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #10 Get out there and VOTE!

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

In the 1948 election, Thomas E. Dewey was projected to trounce President Harry S. Truman by a wide margin. Dewey was then the Governor of New York, and was considered stiff and pompous, "...the only man who could strut sitting down," some said. None the less, the polls were predicting a landslide in his favor.

The Chicago Tribune would be the first to report it in their early edition, with the famous headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Instead Truman won by more than two million popular and 114 electoral votes.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #9 The Electoral College & The Polls

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

It's 6:45 p.m. You're tired from a long day at work, and have just finished throwing something together for a quick dinner when the phone rings. It could be a telemarketer? A scam?

Or it could be Gallup Polls. Meet Ed Dubas. He works at the Gallup call center in Omaha, Nebraska, making polling phone calls for various organizations. A former used car salesman, Ed has been their best interviewer in the world for five years. He loves what he does, despite the hang-ups and four letter words. For him working for Gallup is about 'documenting the will of the people.' Gallup is especially well known for the quality of their political polls.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #8 – Statistical Hot Spots & The Debates

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

In 1776, some of the founding fathers borrowed money from France and the Netherlands to help fund the American Revolution. We owed $43 million by January 1, 1783. Congress voted to raise taxes, as well as to assume some public debt.

In 1790, with a debt estimated at $77.1 million, interest-bearing bonds were issued and the government established its good credit. Alexander Hamilton became our first Secretary of the Treasury. He helped design the strong centralized funding of the United States, including tariffs and taxes. The Louisiana Purchase cost $15 million, at just 4 cents per acre, but it derailed efforts to pay down the debt at that time.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #7 – Statistics & How Can We Know the Truth?

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

"Even such fundamental mathematical verities as … ‘1 and 1 are 2,’ can be misapplied: one cup of...

water plus one cup of popcorn are not equal to two cups of soggy popcorn." John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy, p. 67.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #6 - Money on the Colorado Scene

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

We're looking at important 2012 issues and races in Denver and in Colorado, too. In Denver, we will decide about funding for our public schools, and whether or not to reverse the limits on the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights from previous legislation.

Denver has a database for Campaign Finance Reports, and the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office will be mailing out notices of the election soon, with summaries of the comments received for and against ballot issues.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #5 - Money in Politics, Part 2

Hand placing ballot in box with American flag in the background.

At this phase in the election cycle, political ads are a staple of primetime TV and just about every other sort of commercial communications media. While we're accustomed to hearing the words, "I'm Barack Obama / Mitt Romney and I approve this message," the entities claiming responsibility for ads are often unfamiliar to say the least.

To evaluate claims made in political ads, voters can certainly turn to fact-checking resources but there's a case to be made for recognizing the sources of political advertisements and what biases they bring to the table. In this week's post, we'll consider the mandate for disclosure in political ads and identify ways to determine who put up the money and what they stand for.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #4 - Money in Politics

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

Montana, 1890. Copper magnate William Clark runs for the U.S. Senate. He is not elected. In 1899, however, he wins the Senate seat, but opponents expose the financial corruption and bribery behind his election.

The Senate declares his election null and void. (You can read about the Senate process and the evidence in a digital image of the New York Times from April 24, 1900.

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