Commonwealth hosts talk on political spin

I know, I know, it’s short notice but if you have a free evening tonight, come to the Commonwealth Club’s lecture series tonight at the Bentley School in Lafayette titled “The Psychology of Political Communication:Are We Buying What Spindoctors are selling?”

Panelists include SF State professor of political and legal communication Joe Tuman, California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and Kiron Skinner, a Hoover Institution research fellow and Stanford professor of history and political science.

I am the moderator.

Registration begins at 6 p.m., followed by the speakers at 6:30 p.m. at the Bently School, 1000 Upper Happy Valley Road in Lafayette. The cost is $15 for members, $30 for nonmembers and $7 for students.

Tuman and Skinner will also be selling and signing their books. Tuman authored “Political Communication in American Campaigns,” while Skinner is the co-author of “Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin.”


Dem convention: Biden nominated for vice president

Democrats minutes ago nominated Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as the party’s vice

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware

presidential running mate for nominee Barack Obama.

He’s about to take the stage and deliver his acceptance speech.

Will he be the attack dog that many predict he will be for Obama?


Is America Ready to Elect a Black President?

By Martin G. Reynolds
DENVER _ Those who rose early Monday morning to catch the “Convention Conversations” forum at the Denver Athletic Club were treated to some serious eloquence, passion and good old fashion humor.
On the panel to discuss this very heavy question were such a formidable bunch, I almost had to do a double-take when Denver Post Editor Greg Moore and I sat down with our yogurt and coffee. On the stage were House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., television host and journalist Tavis Smiley, and last but not least, Dr. Cornel West, the Princeton professor and best selling author. Continue Reading


Rockridge Institute to close April 30

The Rockridge Institute, a Berekely based progressive think-tank formed to combat its better funded conservative counterparts, is closing its doors due to lack of money.

The institute was founded by UC Berkeley linguist professor and author George Lakoff, who gained fame after Democrats tapped into his “framing” concept in the book, “Don’t Think of An Elephant.” Framing is the study of how individual worldview affects thought.

Here’s what the institute sent out this morning in an e-mail announcement:
Continue Reading


It’s the brain, stupid

Results of a new study in the Nature Neuroscience journal suggest that the minds of liberals and conservatives work differently. (Click here to read the Los Angeles Times story.)

Gee, I could have told you that.

Just read the “Letters to the Editor” on any given day or the responses in my e-mail account. Normal, rational people hear or read the same set of facts and repeatedly come to entirely opposite conclusions. When confronted with each other’s facts, they will either mutter to themselves or come right out and say it, “How could you be so stupid? The truth is so obvious!”

We probably all belong to or know families where siblings raised in similar environments have very different political perspectives. Among my own children, I have daughter who is conservative and religious and the other is liberal and spiritual. I also have in-laws and siblings who possess viewpoints that constantly astound and annoy each other.

This study confirms what I have long observed as a newspaper reporter: Facts are debatable but the truth is personal.