Political websites

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Political websites

Post by Big Squirrel » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:10 pm

I recently conducted a Google search to find some interactive websites where I could converse with people who would be able to teach me something about the political and social situation in the US. The ones I came up with were not very enlightening: they were full of vituperation, mostly directed against liberal and centre-left individuals, and quite unnecessary foul language. What I want is reasoned debate and the frank and fair exchange of honestly-held views in a cordial atmosphere. Too much to ask? Does anybody know of such sites?
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:36 pm

What were your search keywords?
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Political websites

Post by Big Squirrel » Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:31 pm

I typed in the phrase "political discussion".
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:17 pm

Having typed in the phrase "cordial political discussion" I find this.
It looks like a start.
In a day when men will gather round them those who say what their itching ears want to hear, we must type in exactly what it is we are looking for!
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Political websites

Post by Big Squirrel » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:53 pm

I'm sorry, gdwdwrkr, but that is exactly what I am not looking for. Just look at the list of "facts" about Hilary Clinton, for example. I haven't completely made up my mind about Mrs Clinton yet but I am sure that whatever her defects she has done nothing to merit this kind of character assassination. This is nothing but a pot of poison.
We get quite a bit of coverage of US affairs in the "quality" press here in the UK but I want something a bit more detailed. I would also like the opportunity to ask questions and post my own opinons. With the Internet in its present state of relatively advanced development, is that so much to expect?
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Political websites

Post by JANE DOErell » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:31 pm

On my screen Google has a links across the top e.g Web Images Video News Maps Gmail more. Clicking on 'more' gives a drop down menu which includes, among other things, 'blog search'. I would expect that something like the sort of thing you might be searching for might more likely be there, if indeed it exists. I have only lived in the US for 70 years but I am not aware of any political discussions that are not, as you say, "vituperation".

ed-[Also, down under 'more' there is a link to 'labs' and in labs there is a link to 'Google Suggests'. Typing "political dis.." suggests "political discourse", for example.]
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:08 am

The ears itch on.
The "facts" about Hillary Clinton will all be a pot of poison.
Do share those which are not!
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Political websites

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:54 am

Mark, I doubt that in the USA's currently highly-polarised political climate you will be able to find many political discussion boards where the contributors are not either heavily disposed to favour a particular perspective or to indulge in vituperative exchanges. I only foresee this situation getting worse as the 2008 presidential election approaches.

My suggestion for an alternative would be to make regular visits to the websites of some of the larger mainstream US newspapers like the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, LA Times or Dallas Morning News. Their articles have to meet editorial standards of balance and accuracy, and many of these papers also have areas where readers can contribute their responses to the articles (these are generally moderated by the paper in question). It's not quite the same as an open question-and-answer format, but it's not a bad substitute. With many of these papers, you can also sign up (free of charge in all the cases I am aware of) to receive daily emails containing links to their main news stories and opinion pieces that correspond to the areas you are most interested in.

Plenty of other intelligent online forums for news, discussion and opinion from a mainly American perspective also exist, such as those of Salon.com, Slate.com, Commondreams.org, the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

You could also follow the news and commentary carried by National Public Radio (NPR), which you can find archived indefinitely on its website, http://www.npr.org . As well as being available as streaming audio, much of this is also downloadable in the form of podcasts. In my opinion NPR's output is more thorough and more balanced than the BBC's equivalent (despite the fact that the latter still has some excellent programming on its radio networks), and, being US-based, it naturally provides much broader coverage of US-related events and current affairs. (I speak as someone who once regarded the BBC as representing the yardstick by which all other broadcasters' output should be judged, but I no longer hold this view.)
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Political websites

Post by Phil White » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:24 am

Wordwizard.com under the "Addict's Corner" forum, of course.
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:43 pm

BS,
Erik is correct about the polarized state of the political climate, though he continues by listing the most left-leaning "mainstream" dispensers of socialism-think out there. Any list that hopes for balance needs, on the other end of the see-waw, such contributors as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Thomas Sowell, Glenn Beck, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times.
I know, you're not looking for what these have to say, but if you think the US mainstream is represented intelligently by Erik's list, you are wrong.
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Political websites

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:56 pm

'Dispensers of socialism-think'? That is a pathetic and inaccurate smear, I must say. Still, each to his own -- I am sure Mark is quite capable of drawing his own conclusions if and when he compares your suggestions with mine.
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:39 pm

I, too, am sure that not only Mark, but anyone who cares to actually "do their own homework", is so capable.
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Political websites

Post by Big Squirrel » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:15 pm

Doing your own homework is overrated. If someone in your village has invented the wheel, will you persist in trying to fashion round things yourself when you want to make a cart? Drawing on the knowledge and experience of others instead of trying to work things out from first principles is surely eminently sensible. In any case, if we all sat at home just doing our own homework, where would be the dialogue that sites such as this are supposed to promote?
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Political websites

Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:11 pm

Homework consists of shopping for the best wheel for the money.
Or, just stand on your roof with a "I need a wheel!!" sign and wait for Hillary to bring you one. Pack a lunch.
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Political websites

Post by Big Squirrel » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:39 pm

I carry no particular brief for Hilary Clinton (or anyone else in US politics) but I am prepared to give her a fair hearing, as I would anyone else, even the likes of Rush Limbaugh. What I will not accept is the sort of personal abuse that she attracts. I've read contributors to political websites who said that she ate babies, drank blood, ripped out people's eyeballs and much, much more. Then there are the gratuitous comments about her appearance. Do you really want to be associated with that sort of thing, gdwdwrkr?
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