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Travistan will keep kids asking questions about music, politics and life.

The art of political speechmaking is now so lost to the dark machinations of the spin doctors, pollsters and pundits that most Americans have never heard a live campaign speech of any particular consequence. Perhaps that is why the crowd of 80,000 people who rallied for John Kerry on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin, fell so completely silent a few minutes into what turned out to be the most poignant and powerful election address of 2004.

The speaker was not a candidate. Rather, the words that cut through the rhetorical fog were those of a guitar player from New Jersey.

"As a songwriter, I've written about America for 30 years," explained Bruce Springsteen, after he finished playing the appropriately chosen song, "Promised Land."

In the players' handbooks that once circulated among commedia dell'arte troupes, the wandering actors of early modern Italy used to set down inventories of the lazzi, or comic turns

The remarkably gifted artist Francesca Woodman abruptly ended her brief life and career on January 19, 1981, leaping to her death from a window in her New York studio.

"Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith--and I don't care what it is." Thus spoke the noted theologian Dwight Eisenhower on Flag Day in 1954.

Dr. Deborah Richter has advocated state-sponsored health insurance for every Vermonter, at nearly fifty Rotary Clubs plus chambers of commerce and boardrooms.

Less than twenty-four hours after The Nation disclosed that former Secretary of State James Baker and the Carlyle Group were involved in a secret deal to profit from Iraq's debt to Kuwait,

Even though we've lived with it for more than thirty years now, it's hard not to marvel at the effectiveness of the right's campaign to intimidate, cajole and complain their way into favorable tr

Six more days till the election. As of this writing (October 27), nothing is certain. The election polls are bouncing around like yo-yos.

As the final week of the campaign season expires (this column goes to press on October 27), George W.

The party knows he has some faults,
But what he has they need: That's schmaltz.
And what he doesn't look is French.
So Bubba's coming off the bench.

The Nation Institute is pleased to announce the first Alfred A. Knobler Journalism Fellow.

From the start of his independent campaign for the presidency early this year, Ralph Nader constantly argued that he would draw as many or more votes from Republican George W.

As I write, several days before the election, Congress's last-minute effort to enact the 9/11 Commission's recommendations appears to have stalled, largely because of disagreement over the scope

As the right wing's antifeminist front, the sisters of the Independent Women's Forum have been such a hit in this country that they're now getting taxpayer money to take their act on the road.

The civilians of Falluja are negotiating to stave off a threatened US-led military incursion.

Before most votes were cast in the November 2 presidential election, and before any of them were counted, tens of millions of Americans worried about whether the nation's patchwork of systems for

How a crucial voting bloc was all but ignored.


JEWS WHO JUST SAY NO--TO AIPAC

Warsaw, Ind.

If you live in the non-swing state of New York, I urge you to vote for John Kerry on the Working Families Party line (Row E). This is the most powerful way for New Yorkers to cast a progressive vote in this national election.

For those unfamiliar with New York's voting rules, here's a brief reminder: Kerry is on the ballot twice, as the nominee of both the Democratic and Working Families Parties. A vote on the WFP line for Kerry counts just as much as a vote on the Democratic line, but it sends a message about what you believe in. It's a vote for equality and democracy, and for living wage jobs, affordable housing, universal healthcare and an end to preemptive wars.

The Nation was an early supporter of the WFP when it was established in 1998. It's fair to say our early hopes have been redeemed, and we have faith that the WFP can become even more potent and effective (including expanding to some new states) if it continues to prosper. Help it do so by casting your vote for Kerry under the banner of the Working Families Party, Row E. (Click here for more info on the WFP.)

******

And In Our State, Support Barbaro and Soares on the WFP Line

Frank Barbaro, who's running for Congress from Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island, deserves your support. As I wrote in this space last July, Barbaro is a genuine working class folk hero and a lifelong fighter for social and economic justice.

In normal times, the 13th district is a safe Republican seat but the demographics are shifting and the four-term Republican incumbent Vito Fossella has amassed a shameful record while ignoring his constituents. As a result, even papers like Crain's New York Business report that Fossella is "facing the most serious challenge since he was elected in 1997."

Barbaro has wrapped up endorsements from all the unions (except for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association), and just the other day Sarah Brady held a press conference on Staten Island to hail Barbaro as a "leader for common sense laws that prevent gun violence and make our communities safer."

Barbaro is running not just on the Democratic ticket but also on the Working Families Party Line, which sees in him an exemplary messenger for its core mission "to inject the concerns of working class, middle class and poor people into the public debate."

As Dan Cantor at WFP explains Barbaro's appeal: "If Paul Wellstone was a 78-year old Italian from Brooklyn, his name would be Frank Barbaro." To win on November 2nd, Barbaro needs support from smart and strategic progressives. Click here for more info on his campaign.

Meanwhile, in Albany, young activist attorney David Soares rocked the county in mid-September with his stunning landslide victory in the Democratic Primary for District Attorney.

A WFP nominee, Soares' race served as a referendum on the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws and his victory was a terrific accomplishment for the urban-suburban, black-white, gay-straight, grassroots community-labor campaign led by the WFP's Albany chair. The defeated Democratic Party incumbent, Paul Clyne, landed a spot on the Independence Party line and since then has been waging an ugly and negative campaign (along with the Republican in the race) to smear Soares for his activist past.

But, so far, not only is Soares leading in a three-way fight (according to the latest figures from an independent Albany Times Union/News Channel 13 poll) but reform of the Rockefeller drug laws--a key campaign issue for Soares--appears to be popular. A whopping sixty-six percent of respondents said Soares' reform stance was a plus. (This crosses party lines, with some 22 percent of Republicans polled saying they will vote for him because of his upport for drug law reform).

In the next few days, here's what you can do to assist Soares and the fight to repeal the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws:

1/ Support Soares by clicking here.

2/ Support the Working Families Party by clicking here.

3/ Vote for Soares if you live in Albany County and/or tell friends who live there to vote for him.