Lim: Tea Party’s Rise Echoes Obama’s ’08 Campaign

Writing for Forbes, Trevor Butterworth cites Elvin Lim’s book The AntiIntellectual Presidency as one of the most insightful books on presidential oratory and its role in politics, and Lim’s blog as a font of edifying political commentary. Butterworth is particularly interested in a recent blog entry by Lim which draw parallels between the rise of the Tea Party and the rise of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“His latest post points to the horror that much of the yellow dog Democrat pundit class want to avoid thinking about – and no, it’s not simply the impending electoral drubbing: it’s that the Tea Party is a rhetorical phenomenon not unlike the Obama campaign, with its own brand of hope that people can believe in: change.”

Lim goes on to say that this message saddles the Tea Party with the same risk as the candidate-turned-President: they will now have to deliver on that promise, and quickly given the increasingly short patience of the electorate.

Roth OpEd: This is the Cynical Season in Politics

In an opinion piece for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that this may be one of the most cynical election cycles ever, a mood abetted by the recent Supreme Court ‘Citizen’s United’ case that allows for more special interest group advertising. But while cynics are ‘no fools,’ cynicism in general does not lend itself well to positive change or progress. It also can lead to withdrawal from the political process.

Fowler: Negative Image of N.Y.C. in Poltical Ads Up

In a  The New York Times article, Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, director of The Wesleyan Media Project, discussed the repetitive vilification of Wall Street, ‘New York City Bankers’ and even New York City in campaign ads for both Democrats and Republicans during this election season. The Wesleyan Media Project was also cited as a source for data on these ads.

In separate stories in USA Today and for The Associated Press Fowler comments, respectively, on political advertising trends in Gubernatorial races nationwide, and on Linda McMahon’s extensive, self-financed campaign spending in Connecticut’s governor’s race in particular. The Wesleyan Media Project is also cited in both piece.

Ulysse on Black Feminism and ‘Paying it Forward’

In The Huffington Post, Gina Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African American Studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, associate professor of environmental studies, discusses the powerful influences of Audre Lorde and Paolo Friere on her teaching, her students, and her own self-defining refusal to be categorized by stereotypes.

Dupuy on Haiti’s Endangered Garment Industry

An extensive story in The Sunday Toronto Star on Haiti’s garment industry quotes at length Alex Dupuy, Chair, African American Studies, Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of Sociology. Dupuy comments on how the garment industry was elevated in hopes of replacing the economic infusion that was lost when the rice industry collapsed as a result of policies foisted on Haiti during the Clinton administration, policies former President Clinton himself admits were disastrous. “I did that,” Clinton says in the piece. “I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people.”

Dupuy doesn’t believe the garment industry as currently operating in Haiti can replace the loss of the rice industry. Specifically, he says:

“For Haiti to move to higher industrial production it would need to invest heavily in the education of the Haitian population, invest heavily in the health care of the population, in housing, in infrastructure. . .It would need to vastly increase both domestic and foreign investment in order to capitalize on a skilled labour force. None of which is on the horizon.”

Fowler: In 5 Weeks Candidates Spend $200M on Ads

Wesleyan Media Project Co-Director Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, was cited along with recent data produced by The Wesleyan Media Project on PBS’s News Hour in a story that discusses campaign spending. The Wesleyan Media Project recently reported that, between Sept 1. and Oct 10, 2010, nearly $200 million had been spent on U.S. House and Senate political ads by candidates, political parties and independent groups.

Basinger Featured in ‘Moguls and Movie Stars’

According to a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, will be among the featured panelists on TCM’s new series “Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood.” Basinger and other film historians will be “will be interspersed with screenings of movies covered in the documentary, such as “The Great Train Robbery” (1903), “The Musketeers of Pig Alley” (1912), “The Birth of a Nation” (1915), “The Mark of Zorro” (1920), “Steamboat Bill Jr.” (1928), “Little Caesar” (1930), “Duck Soup” (1933), “Citizen Kane” (1941), “Casablanca” (1942), “Mildred Pierce” (1945), “Sweet Smell of Success” (1957), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” (1967), “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “Easy Rider” (1969).”

Stark Considers NIH Medical Research in the 1960s

In an OpEd for The Los Angeles Times, Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of environmental studies, explains flaws in the current research review system in the United States. On the heels of a US apology for medical research in Guatemala, the US now has on opportunity to overhaul ethics rules. Stark shows how the ethics review process enabled the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use federal prisoners in experiments during the 1960s. Attention to where our present-day ethics came from shows the flaw in our current system.

Fowler Discusses Election Ad Buys on NPR

On NPR’s ‘All Things Considered,‘Erika Fowler,  assistant professor of government, discussed the substantial increases in political advertisement frequency and spending during this election cycle as opposed to 2008. Fowler says the increases are being driven by both candidate spending and buys by special interest groups.

Wesleyan Media Project: Political Ad Buys Up $220 Mil.

The first data analysis released by the Wesleyan Media Project is making national news. The findings, reported by BusinessWeek, among other outlets, indicate that spending on political ads has increased by $220 million over the 2008 campaign cycle. Some of the increases are a result of senate races in more populous states than in 2008, including California, New York, and Florida. However the recent Supreme Court ruling in the ‘Citizens United’ case allowing more special interest and union money to flow into the campaigns has had an effect, with political action groups and unions coming in as top 10 spenders, some in a less than transparent manner.

“We are seeing evidence of changing tactics as groups seek shelter in the rules for nonprofits that allow such organizations to withhold their donor names,” said Erika Fowler, assistant professor of government and director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

The full results and data can be found at the Wesleyan Media Project’s site. The Wesleyan Media Project is a nonpartisan initiative that operates with grant support from The Knight Foundation, The Sunlight Foundation and Wesleyan University.

Swinehart on Dolan’s ‘Fur, Fortune, and Empire’

In a review for The Washington Post, Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, reviews the new book by Eric Jay Dolan, Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. Swinehart says that the fur trade has been rendered a bland footnote by most historians but it was and remains one of the most vibrant and complex industries in the world. In his book, Dolan gives new life to the study of the fur trade in America and around the world, and adds the colors and textures that have long been missing in all but the most esoteric discussions of the fur industry’s history. “The result is easily the finest tale of the trade in recent memory,” Swinehart writes. “A crisply written tale unburdened by excessive detail or homespun provincialism.”