POLITICAL ADVANCE MEN: CROWD CONTROL WITHOUT TOUCHING THE CROWD

Political candidates are attracted to person-to-person campaigning among the voters.  They want to be seen in neighborhoods where voters live or work; advance teams frequently spend time looking for opportunities for appearances at outdoor events such as ball games, amusement parks, resorts, parades or major public events for their candidate to attend, be seen and develop personal relationships.  An in-person visit to a community center, where questions are taken and answered by a candidate can, and often does, provide an edge for the candidate who takes the time to show up, especially over an opponent who has appeared elsewhere but doesn’t make it to your street.

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“Wall Street” Protests: Protecting Rights While Protecting Lives

I recently attended the protest being held across the street from the world trade center site in Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan. I spent a couple of hours walking through the small park where several hundred protesters were gathered to express their concerns about economic conditions in America and the rest of the world. The protesters believe “Wall Street” to be the principal offender if not the exclusive cause of the massive and prolonged unemployment afflicting so many of us. The demonstrators have a number of other issues they believe to be associated with the economic crisis and they are voicing their views about inequities in our immigration policies, as well as concerns about affordable housing, health care, college costs and our prolonged involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were for the most part orderly and self restrained as they make their arguments while searching for wider support from a curious public. The protesters held up their signs and banners and spoke without the bitterness and rancor I had seen in other street protests decades ago, some not far from Zucotti Park. But those protest too started off in atmosphere of optimism and good fellowship.

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Responding to Katrina’s Lessons

Witnessing the horror of hurricane Katrina’s visit to New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile has left me shaken. This is not the first hurricane-imposed devastation I have seen. Hurricanes and earthquakes have visited America before — as have floods, blizzards, ice storms, and tornadoes — but never before have I seen so much devastation brought to bear on the United States mainland as has been witnessed in the heart of Dixie this week. We have become accustomed to watching the news media over-play the potential for disaster days before a storm is due to strike, and we take it in stride. However, sometimes they deserve the benefit of the doubt, and this time was one of them.

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A New Form of Homegrown Terrorism

The plan to subject air travelers to the indignity of having their uncovered bodies peered at by airport screeners in the quest to find explosives hidden away under clothing is nothing short of insanity. The ACLU’s concern that this intrusion into the privacy of air travelers — the use of “backscatter” x-ray machines that can see through clothing — will spread to other institutions such as public schools misses the point: There are better ways to search for bombs and weapons.

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