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    Newspaper Vet Malcolm Finds Blog Religion with ‘Top of the Ticket’

    by Mark Glaser
    May 29, 2008

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    If you have preconceived notions about political blogging, Andrew Malcolm is here to shatter them. Malcolm, 64, has decades of experience as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief at the New York Times, and later as an editorial board member and feature writer for the Los Angeles Times. He has ink in his blood, but when he was tapped by the L.A. Times to help write the new political blog, Top of the Ticket, Malcolm became a quick convert to the online religion.

    So what are the notions he’s shattered? Let’s count them:

    1. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

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    Malcolm laughs at the idea that he’s too old to learn about blogs, Technorati, writing search-engine-optimized headlines and such. “To me…journalism was a place where people who wanted to learn the rest of their lives went to work,” Malcolm told me.

    2. Newspaper bloggers keep newspaper hours.

    While some blogs stop posting overnight to take a rest, Top of the Ticket is run as a 24-hour news operation. Malcolm works from 11 am Pacific Time to 4 am (give or take a couple hours) and co-writer Don Frederick, in the Times’ Washington Bureau, works from mid-morning Eastern Time to late at night. Malcolm’s late-night hours helped him get an early jump on a quote by Barack Obama saying he wouldn’t be a vice presidential candidate.

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    3. Print reporters hate interacting with the public.

    Malcolm loves the idea of hearing from readers instantly on the blog. He doesn’t understand why reporters hated having their email addresses at the end of stories. “I think it’s great if someone 1) takes the time to read [the story]; 2) figures out who wrote it; 3) writes you up a message,” he said. “That’s great, I’ll go in and read it and send them a message back.”

    4. Political bloggers must be openly partisan to get traffic.

    Malcolm has also worked in politics, as communications director for Republican Governor Marc Racicot in Montana in the ’90s, and for a year as Laura Bush’s press secretary from 1999-2000. But he doesn’t openly support candidates and has taken heat from liberals and conservatives for his criticism of candidates on both sides of the aisle.

    5. The L.A. Times will never catch up to the other newspapers’ leading political blogs.

    Though Top of the Ticket had a late entry into covering the presidential race, launching last June, it has quickly passed Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp (a blog it shares content with) and the Washington Post’s The Fix in Technorati rankings, and is nipping at the heels of the New York Times’ The Caucus.

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    Andrew Malcolm

    Top of the Ticket is now ranked No. 217 on Technorati, and had 1.47 million visitors last month, with 1.94 million page views, according to Malcolm, who says page views are already above 2.5 million for May. The L.A. Times staff that works on the blog actually had a champagne celebration when it passed No. 1,000 on Technorati. So just how excited is Malcolm about being a political blogger? When I called him up for this Q&A, he talked to me for nearly two hours, with the fervor of someone who has been reborn in his career. The following is an edited transcript from that conversation.

    Tell me how you ended up working in politics after covering it as a journalist?

    Andrew Malcolm: In the fall of 1992, a man I had interviewed and was impressed with, the Montana attorney general Marc Racicot, won the election and became the Montana governor. He called and said, “You’ve been writing about politics from the outside all these years and have been sometimes critical. Why don’t you put your ass on the line and see if you can make it any better yourself as my communications director?” So I went out to take that job in Montana, and wrote the speeches, oversaw the press secretary, traveled with the governor, helped design policy and communications strategy.

    It was not a blatantly partisan operation; he’s a different kind of politician. We did a lot of things bi-partisan and innovative and that’s why he got re-elected with 80% of the vote in ’96. It was very satisfying to help shape things and make it work. Then George W. Bush, who was governor of Texas, asked to talk to me, and in July of ’99 I went to work for Governor Bush and ended up as Laura Bush’s press secretary. It was also fascinating to see how a national election worked, and I was a part-time assistant to Karl Rove. But I had no interest in working in Washington in any way, shape or form.

    Once you came back to journalism at the L.A. Times, how did the blog come about?

    Malcolm: Doug Frantz, who was one of the managing editors, called me in and asked me what I wanted to do next. This was November 2006, and the next week I came back with a list of things I wanted to do, most of them having to do with online. I’ve got three grown children, and one is a teenager still, and none of them read newspapers — but all of them were raised and fed and clothed based on income from newspapers. That was clear evidence to me that there was some necessary change.

    One of the reasons I got into journalism was that I loved the tough stories. And in journalism, I thought I could learn something new every day. American newspapers have routine-ized everything, and you start doing things because you do them that way. And you don’t even start thinking, “Is there one person who wants to read this?” This becomes your job and you’re missing the customer aspect of it. Looking back on it, newspapers became like a pharmacy, people came and got their printed medicine and took it away. But over time there were other counters opening up and people didn’t want to take your medicine. To me, that’s exciting, but to a lot of my colleagues it’s very terrifying because you have to learn a lot of new things.

    I was prepared to do something new, and I’d seen my son, Chris Malcolm, do some creative things online. He headed the team that invented ChicagoSports.com, was managing editor at FoxSports.com, sports editor of RedEye, online editor there, and now running and building BigTenNetwork.com. I fully admit I didn’t understand it, but I liked it.

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    Don Frederick

    Doug Frantz said he wanted me and Don Frederick in the Washington bureau, who I did not know, to write a two-person team political blog that’s different, and we could figure out what it should be. Don Frederick had been covering politics since 1984. He’s in his 50s and I’m 64. My first political convention was 1968 as an assistant to the national editor, running around helping to cover the riots in Chicago.

    How did you react to the idea of doing the blog?

    Malcolm: When Doug proposed this, my first thought was, “Good lord, what do I write about? Every hour?” It turned out that it wasn’t too hard once you get into the groove. I’ve had hundreds more ideas than I could ever get to. The thought of doing that, up to the minute, “Holy Toledo!” I called my son and said it’s excited but very intimidating. I spent at least two months doing nothing all day but being online and reading stuff — blogs, political sites — and learning the lay of the land. Just like you’re assigned to Tokyo, get out and see what’s going on.

    This was spring of last year, and they asked how I saw the blog developing. Well we had to be different. I asked myself: What do I enjoy about being online? If you distill it down, what I liked about being online was it was like beachcombing. You never know what you’ll find. And that’s the opposite of what newspapers have tried to do over the years. You’ve got the most important story in the upper right, and you’ll have a picture here above the fold and it’s less important as you go down the page. [The newspaper] is directly contradictory of what the new experience is where I’m in control and I’ll go where I want. There are no lane markers, you can jump to wherever you want and do what you want.

    Unpredictability was at the top of my list. And we had to be pretty well informed and well written, and Don and I had done a lot of that. And I liked the idea of having it run around the clock because a lot of blogs shut down at night. The first thing I wrote, I said we wanted this to be a dialogue, and sometimes I’ll go in and put comments on other people’s comments. Then we’ll have a discussion with others commenting, and I find that to be exciting. It’s like a conversation, imagine that.

    And are you being edited, either in your posts or comments?

    Malcolm: The comments on the comments are not being edited. A regular day for me is 16 hours, so there’s no time for somebody else to read my comments before posting. The blog items are being edited first, but the team of editors were told that these [blog posts] are not supposed to read like something in the newspaper so let the style go. After all these years, Don and I won’t go half-cocked writing about something. The editor does say that I push the envelope. If you read one item, you think we are in the tank for somebody or we hate somebody; but if you read them all, you’ll see that we are equal opportunity offenders.

    I try to write about things from the inside. I wrote a piece about Hillary’s victory speech in Indiana, and there was a picture of her speaking, and you could see Bill standing behind her, and his head was about to explode, he was so angry and disappointed as he saw their White House dreams go up in smoke. I have seen the staging of these events, and we compared the staging of her speeches after Iowa, New Hampshire and Indiana.

    So I took people through [the staging] and showed them what to look for. You had banners saying “Ready for Change” and what do you see all around her? Faces from the ’90s, Madeline Albright and Terry McAuliffe and Bill Clinton. They’re running against a guy who says we need a change? There’s no change there.

    Do you write about your own political views?

    Malcolm: It’s not me lecturing people about what I believe. If you read one item, you’d say, “Boy you’re a liberal Democrat!” and then I get comments saying I’m a neo-con. What can I say? It’s all part of doing a blog. Early on, some of my colleagues were distressed that some of the items in the blog would never have appeared in a newspaper. My point was: “You bet,” and “What’s the circulation now?” It’s going down. When we started, [our blog] was brand new and unknown. We started June 11. The third item was about an L.A. Times poll, and we broke that story before the paper. Our posts are more conversational.

    Our audience really started to grow exponentially in November, and the website people were very happy. They hired Tony Pierce in December from LAist, to oversee blogs and teach us savvy tricks, like better headline writing and so on. It’s hard for newsroom editors, who are used to a certain style of headlines, to come down to the “keen grasp of the obvious” headlines on the web. You can get some wit into them. When Hillary Clinton started talking about her hunting experience, I wrote a headline titled, “Hillary Clinton shot a duck once.” To my mind, that’s what we want this blog to do. Get people to say, “What?!?!”

    You’re not open about your own politics?

    Malcolm: No, not at all. I’ve worked very hard at this. When I was a newspaper correspondent, I would change my party registration throughout my career, from one to the other, and even changed to a Libertarian at one point, just so that if anyone checked, they wouldn’t be able to tell what my political feelings are. I’ve never missed a vote, though. I don’t make up my mind, I try to keep it suspended. My vote is informed by what I learn in my journalistic work.

    How does your blog writing differ from your past newspaper writing?

    Malcolm: There are thousands of times where I’ve written a paragraph and thought, “This will never make it into the paper.” And sure enough, when I check the paper the next day, it’s not in. That’s totally different now. Basically, what I write is what goes up, and it’s very satisfying. I once wrote a run-of-the-mill [blog post], my editor looked it over, and we published it. Within 20 minutes you could see the numbers coming in, and late that night, I went into the system and pulled the numbers out.

    I’ve spent 26 years at the New York Times and another 7 here [at the L.A. Times]. Outside of my family, I’ve never witnessed seeing someone reading my story in print. So I’m looking at the numbers for my blog post, and for nearly seven hours, we had seven new readers arriving on our blog every second. We’ve had days since then that have been several times that. You tell that to print people who wait six months to look at circulation figures, they’re usually down, and who can tell which stories added to the circulation figures?

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    I did an item, traffic exploded, and there were seven new people every second. When you tell that to a newspaper crowd, it’s like “Whoa!” it gets a reaction. We’ve had millions of readers since we started and more than 43,000 comments. I didn’t know about Technorati until January, and the first week of January I met Tony [Pierce] and he introduced me to Technorati. There’s so much to learn. We started two weeks ago doing Twitter, and now we have a couple hundred people following us there. [Malcolm recently Twittered the birth of his first grandson (see image).]

    How has blogging changed your outlook on doing journalism?

    Malcolm: It’s like being reborn. You get to write in creative ways. The sky’s the limit, especially on a website like the L.A. Times, which most people would admit is coming later to the game for big league news sites, but our traffic is growing every month. The blog traffic is exploding and becoming a growing percentage of traffic. There are 20 or 30 blogs and that’s growing. There’s so many balls to juggle and it’s so exciting. It has brought the fun back into it, just like my son predicted. I can’t wait to get to work in the morning, and I hate for it to end.

    Do you think the print newsroom’s attitude about the web and blogs is starting to change?

    Malcolm: There are problems in the transition of a newsroom from the predictable routine of a morning newspaper which is done by 2 in the morning to the 24-hour life online. It’s more demanding, it’s more direct — in a sense that your customers are right there. Online, you’re going to get an email in about two minutes from someone saying, “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. You’re an idiot.” That’s disturbing for some people who are accustomed to the distance that newspapers had in the past.

    If you want to get the newsroom’s attention, start talking numbers, and then they get it. They start getting the message. When I worked on the print side, there was a subtle way you had to lobby to get something on Page 1 because the gods over there in the bullpen had their own ideas of what should go on Page 1, and 99.99% of the time it wasn’t my idea. Now you can make your pitch [about getting blog post on the home page], and they say, “Yeah, that sounds good,” and they’ll get a snappy head to go with it and a picture and you’re only limited by your imagination. On the print side, there’s a whole bureaucracy, and you don’t have that online.

    Do you think there’s a misperception about being older and not wanting to get online and learn technology?

    Malcolm: I gather there is because of the way people have commented on me. To me…journalism was a place where people who wanted to learn the rest of their lives went to work. My assumption was that I would have to fight people off to do this blog. The editor never asked me, “Do you think you can handle all these new terms?” We’ve learned the coding for doing pictures, and headline writing, and all those things were interesting to me. For a lot of people in the newsroom, it was probably scary. We’re approaching a tipping point, but we’re not there yet.

    You can draw a superficial conclusion that younger people are into Twitter and more gadgets, but I’m excited to have a cell phone that takes pictures and text messages…Everyone comments that we’re the oldest rookies of the year.

    *****

    What do you think about the Top of the Ticket blog? Do you think newspaper sites’ political blogs play an important role in political news coverage? Are they a model for how newspapers will cover politics in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Tagged: journalism new media newspapers politics weblog
    • Dr. Michael Banks

      Great article about my favorite political blog, Top of the Ticket, and blogmaster, Andy Malcom. I live in NYC but write regularly to his blog. I’m Andy’s age and the catharsis Top of the Ticket provides is remarkable. After decades of NY living I’m finally content with the fact I will never share the seemingly unidimensional political views of New Yorkers. Being a political outsider who is unafraid to speak his mind to colleagues and associates means one needs a place to hone and sharpen arguments. I’m amazed that for me that place is the LA Times. Thanks to Andy Malcolm and his excellent co-bloggers many Americans of all stripes are able to engage in focused, intelligent discourse. It is a class act!

    • Tony Angel

      Thanks, nice article on Top of the Ticket and Andrew Malcolm. I’m very interested in new media and TotT has been one of my look ats in relation to achieving a successful transition from paper to web.

      I have enjoyed Top of the Ticket so far and even though I would accuse them of milking the Ron Paul mania the blog has opened up many new avenues for my perusal.

      Political (and any) blogs from newspapers are very important for the future of democracies everywhere, only with the comments and other opinions do we get a sense of the depths and angles outside our own perceptions.

      Blogs will be the base model for all stories in the future I am sure, politics seems specially suited to the banter that prevails.

    • edward

      Good piece. I live in Washington, D.C. and read the LAT all of the time, so I have known Top of the Ticket for some time now. I wish there were some similar blogs with seasoned attitudes like this on the east coast.

    • Wonderful post. It is all about passion and dedication and adapting to new ways..

      Thanks for sharing this…truly inspirational.

      Kamla Bhatt

    • Gael

      Nice story on TOTT. A friend turned me on to that blog some months back and I find it consistently offers a good balance of fun and facts. Don Frederick frequently provides a much-needed historical perspective of the election and national politics — something lacking on most blogs. I always come away feeling well prepared for either a Washington cocktail party or a serious debate with my friends.

    • Personally, I think Mark Glaser is one of the two best online writers in the world. He has to be to make this Andrew Malcolm guy sound intelligent.

    • Pam Cytrynbaum

      Andy Malcolm has been doing exactly what he’s doing in the blog for more decades than he probably cares to remember. He wrote his way off the page and, forgive me, but into our hearts — from the outskirts of New York City, from the ex-urbs of Chicago, from the middle of Asia, from the kitchen table and muddy fields of his childhood.
      He’s the best storyteller there is, and his absurd levels of energy and adaptability are only slightly more obnoxious than his extraordinary and tireless optimism.
      (Full disclosure: Andy was my editor a few thousand years ago and has remained my friend but I’d think the same about his work if I couldn’t stand him or had never met him.)

    • McGrubber

      All of these Government billion dollar bail-out plans, may prove to be too little, too late. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that that doesn’t turn out to be the case. These Governments around the world are obviously panicking because they can see the whole system come crashing down before their very own eyes. Like everybody else, they too don’t want tomorrow to be the dawn of a new stone-age. Couldn’t these so-called experts have seen this coming before this tidal wave seemed to be right on top of us? Couldn’t they have prevented these times of drastic measures for drastic times long before they started heading in the direction of the current circumstance? They were obviously pre-occupied with issues which may prove to have been totally unimportant, if we continue in the direction we are going.

      What has caused this economic crisis?

      I have a few theories which I would like to put forward.

      Why did the world’s industrial production base suddenly shift to China? There are cheaper countries in the world you know! Let us not forget that the Government of China is Communist. Communism is even more unpopular in America than Socialism, isn’t it? The ‘C’ word! That didn’t prevent the USA from investing in people enslaved under Communism. In other words, Communism may be evil, but investing in it and making a quick profit from it, isn’t, apparently.

      Looking back in retrospect, all of that cheap labour under the control of a totalitarian Government, suddenly on sale to the world, was too much of an irresistible bargain to the profit seeking capitalists. Who would have ever imagined at the time that this very act would result in becoming the very cause of the collapse of the world economy?

      So all of these greedy rich people, with visions of things like, ‘just imagine if we can sell each Chinese person a tooth brush’, were free to go and pursue their own desires in China. Soon enough for sure, factory after factory was being built there with foreign investment.

      Even countries like Japan, who don’t historically like China so much, saw the China gold-rush as a situation giving no alternative but to participate in, if not to go under. The implications of not jumping onto the China band-wagon, were sure to spell certain doom. In other words, it was too late. There was already no choice. If your competitors were producing western products using modern production techniques and cheap Chinese labour, how on earth could even Japan compete with that?

      As a result of all of this, China has been growing at an incredible and unstoppable rate, until very recently.

      So why is the world economy in its throws of death right now?

      Isn’t it obvious? If you take away the jobs of the middle and working classes in developed countries, only to give similar jobs to Chinese ‘slaves’ at a fraction of the cost (which is what you are in effect doing if you invest in China), who exactly are the people who will remain being able to afford buying these products from China? The forever increasing unemployed American or Japanese might no longer have a choice on being able to buy anything but made in China products. Wal-Mart is a good example of this. If the general public aren’t saved by their Governments very soon however, they won’t be able to buy anything from anywhere.

      If you look at the rhetoric of USA Republicans, UK Conservatives, or Japanese Liberal Democrats, they are more or less saying the same thing. Reducing taxes for businesses and industries will result in more jobs for the people (they say). They don’t mention that these people are in fact Chinese though.

      Let’s take Toyota or Panasonic as an example. They have been benefitting from low tax rates for many years. They are also world leaders in their fields even though times are not good at all right now. Have they been increasing pays of their employees or creating jobs in their home economies to any significant extent lately? The answer is most probably not. In fact it is more likely that they have been cutting pays and jobs. The point I am making is, if the leaders in business are not doing so, how can we expect any business to be doing so!

      The trickle down theory of the centre right is a lie. The truth lies closer to trickle down into their Swiss bank accounts.

      The Toyotas and Panasonics protest profusely that if they don’t do what they do, they can’t stay competitive or profitable. This may be true in the short term, but in the long run, they must be made to understand that the incomes of their employees represent the buying power of their very own customers, the life blood of their business. Has anybody checked lately how much capital these companies have been accumalating and salting away? How much have they been investing in China lately?

      The centre right Governments of the world don’t make industry responsible for giving jobs to the people. At the same time, as unemployment rises, they allow these same companies to give more jobs to the Chinese. At this rate, before long, everything will be produced in China, but no one in the rest of the world (having all been made unemployed) will be able to afford this produce.

      The Chinese have been very pleased until just recently. Their plans on taking over the world have been going just fine. Having said this, even they are now horrified by what the world economy is unveiling to them. They realize now (a little too late) that they may have just about help kill the goose which lays the golden eggs (the world economy itself, that they too feed off).

      Even though, what is being said, doesn’t put the Chinese in a good light, and maybe promotes racism towards them, let us not forget that the greedy unregulated capitalists who invested their (our) money there are more to blame. The average factory worker in China lives a hand to mouth existance with working conditions not far above slavery. Are they now the people who we want to crucify for this economic failure? I would strongly reccomend that we are very careful to even consider going down that path. Let us not forget how much of the world economy is now invested there. We certainly don’t want to now piss off the work-force or the government that is in control of all of this production base. If and when the world economy stabalizes again, there needs to be serious agreements made between all governments and businesses concerned as to how the buying power of the general public in developed countries can be preserved without any further deterioration. There needs to be like no time ever before, government intervention that enforces this. The livelihood of the the middle and working class (the life blood of the world economy) needs to be revived again.

      Over the eight Bush years, apparently, the salary of a CEO in the USA has gone up from 42 times that of the average employees’ to an astounding 400 times!!! This suggests that the salaries of upper management and above are also disproportionately too high. That means they have become ten times richer than they already were whilst your salary (if you are very lucky or even still have a job anymore) has maybe doubled (just keeping up with inflation). The rich have been allowed to get very rich at the expense of the disappearing middle and working class whilst putting the world economy into jeopordy. These come recently super rich are probably as we speak in the process of selling up and running off to Dubai or Qatar to their safe havens where they can continue their tax-free spectacular life-styles under guarenteed security to sit this one through. This is another example of how the true trickle down is only into their own bank accounts. The working and middle class in effect are only just a resource to exploit when the times are good. Could it be this very disproportionately high income of the ruling class that has caused this economic crisis? I would say that it is very much at the root of the cause. The world economy couldn’t sustain or support such a parasite. If the world economy was a cow, I would say the mosquito which it constantly suffers, has now grown to the size of a dog!! Not a very happy or healthy cow!!

      Think of your own salary and multiply that by 400. Isn’t that more than what the President of the USA earns officially today? Do you think that these individuals’ intelligence, skill, or qualification levels are 400 times higher than yours? They certainly weren’t able to prevent the world economy from slipping into crisis. I would go so far as to say, they are just greedy criminals benefitting through corruption, and their self-appraisals of what they think they are worth are just totally unrealistic, unlinked to the profitability of their companies or economies.

      So, what do we do now? Barrack Obama becoming the US President is defenitely a step in the right direction. The rich who have become richer than their wildest dreams recently, need to be taxed considerabley more. Government intervension must prevent businesses from going bankrupt. The salaries of CEO down to upper management must be reduced to sustainable levels. The world economy needs to be kick-started with cash injection (again and again) until the engine starts and keeps running. This is what needs to be done now. Also, legislation which will prevent this mass corruption and mismanagement especially in the USA from ever being allowed to happen again, must be implimented and put into effect.

      All of this raises another question. Now that we have seen how unstable the US economy is, and how much it affects all of us when it defaults, should we allow ourselves to be in such a vulnerable position anymore? Does the world economy equal what can or cannot be sold to the USA? Why should the value of the Euro, the British pound and almost all other currencies go down when a financial problem occurs in the USA? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The incompitence, corruption, corporate fraud and malpractices are occuring in the USA. Shouldn’t it be the dollar that is depreciating? Can anybody tell me why this isn’t the case?

      Most of the world was originally in support (or should I say, not so much opposed to) the invasion of Iraq. I assume, since it was true for myself, most of us beleived that it would reduce the price of oil. To the shock of the world though, oil prices did quite the opposite and sky rocketted. Is it therefore strange to assume that the very people who we beleived were the ones who would reduce the price of oil for us, turned out to be the very ones who decided that they could lavishly profiteer off it, now that they had seized control over more of it. Extortion! It would appear that corruption has prevailed over justice or concern for the well being of the world economy under the Bush administration. The colosal gains of a very few have again taken priority over preventing the world economy slipping into oblivion. There is a fact that most people around the world are unaware of or have chosen to conveniently forget about. When Saddam Hussein was still alive and in power, he wanted much cheaper oil prices for the world. All other OPEC members were totally opposed to this plan at that time. It must have been this very unpopular plan of his which inspired and spurred on the eventual invasion of Iraq and his ultimate downfall and execution.

      The McCain camp and therefore the Republicans are arguing that Obam’s policies are socialist. They say that the ‘American Dream’ must be maintained and Socialism must be kept at bay. Having said this, (socialist style) Government bail-outs of banks and financial institutions are ok. In other words, bailing out the rich and corrupt is ok but the same does not apply to the rapidly increasing poor. Socialism for the rich only is perfectly acceptable. At this rate, they will soon be telling you that a vote of a CEO will be worth that of 400 ordinary people’s!

      What is the American dream? My understanding of it is, being extremely rich, being able to flaunt that wealth, and not feeling guilty about it. Do I have the right impression? When that American Dream can only be achieved through organized legal corruption at the expense of others, should everybody be proud of it? In most countries it is just called corruption. When Marcos of the Philippines became extremely rich at the expense of his country, nobody ever refered to that phenomena as the ‘Philippino Dream’! Perhaps Robert Mugabe’s wealth must be attributed to the ‘Zimbawean Dream’!

      Why shouldn’t the working and middle classes be assisted and preserved by socialist practises by Government? Why is that bad socialism, when bailing out banks and finacial institutions isn’t? That is like saying, ‘Let’s use everyone’s tax dollar to keep the rich rich, but of course that doesn’t apply to everyone else because it’s bad.’ (!!)

      Some people find it laughable concerning the plight of Zimbabwe and how Robert Mugabe continues his life-style of a King. What is not so amusing though, is when it dawns on you that the USA and the rest of the world is not so different from Zimbabwe! In fact, that’s exactly the same place where we are all headed! All of these so-called ‘American Dream’ Super Rich are all merely varying versions of the Robert Mugabes of the world. They would all rather surround themselves in luxurious fortresses and military protection rather than provide you with a job or livelihood, now that they have successfully sucked you dry of any of your remaining wealth and destroyed the world economy through their greed and corruption.

    • India-born entrepreneurs empower US voters

      Shukoor Ahmed ran for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1998, after coming to America a decade earlier from Hyderabad, India. Campaigning door-to-door, he was surprised so many voters did not know who represented them!

      After his race ended slightly short of victory, he took advantage of his Master’s degree in Computer Technology and Political Science to build StateDemocracy.org, a website he launched in 2001 to connect citizens and lawmakers. His website’s motto encapsulated its mission:

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