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Researchers say voters swayed by candidates who share their looks October 24, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Education, News, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy Stanford News Service.

Made up your mind who to vote for?

Maybe it’s because you like the looks of the candidate. Or maybe it’s because the candidate looks a little like you, even if you don’t realize it.

In a paper slated to be published in the December issue of Public Opinion Quarterly, Jeremy Bailenson, an assistant professor of communication, and Shanto Iyengar, the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor in Communication, say that people are subconsciously swayed by candidates who share their facial features.

“The field of political science has been dominated by the main ideal that voters are rational and that voters base their decisions on substance and issues and policy,” Bailenson said. “We wanted to say, ‘Well, how much of our decisions are actually based on superficial qualities?'”

The answer: More than they expected.

In three experiments, the researchers and their graduate students worked with cheap, easy-to-use computer software to morph pictures of about 600 test subjects with photos of politicians. And they kept coming up with the same results: For the would-be voters who weren’t very familiar with the candidates or in perfect lockstep with their positions or political parties, the facial similarity was enough to clinch their votes.

Social scientists have long known that people are more inclined to be friendly and helpful to those who obviously look like them. But what surprised Bailenson and Iyengar was that nobody swayed by one of the morphed photos could tell they were looking at a blended image.

“The big finding No. 1 is that when we do this, no one has any conscious, explicit idea that it’s going on,” Bailenson said. “The second big finding is that despite the fact they don’t consciously detect these processes, it affects their behavior. When the candidate looks more like you, you are more likely to vote for that candidate.”

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“Need Education” Ad September 18, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Economy, Education, Labor, News, Video.
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Obama touts school reform September 9, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Education, News, Obama, Politics, Video.
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Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor September 9, 2008 06:13 PM

Barack Obama, after hammering Republican rival John McCain on the economy for weeks, turns today to another core Democratic issue: education.

In what’s being billed as a major speech at a high school in Dayton, Ohio, and a new TV ad, Obama calls for school reform, including more charter schools and merit pay for teachers.

His proposals would cost $1 billion more a year, which his campaign says he would get from cutting unnecessary federal spending.

He also says for all his maverick talk of bringing change to Washington, McCain has marched in lockstep with Republican “ideologues” on education. Source Article

Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Apart July 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Education, News, Obama.
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NY Times

Published: July 30, 2008

CHICAGO — The young law professor stood apart in too many ways to count. At a school where economic analysis was all the rage, he taught rights, race and gender. Other faculty members dreamed of tenured positions; he turned them down. While most colleagues published by the pound, he never completed a single work of legal scholarship.

At a formal institution, Barack Obama was a loose presence, joking with students about their romantic prospects, using first names, referring to case law one moment and “The Godfather” the next. He was also an enigmatic one, often leaving fellow faculty members guessing about his precise views.

Mr. Obama, now the junior senator from Illinois and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, spent 12 years at the University of Chicago Law School. Most aspiring politicians do not dwell in the halls of academia, and few promising young legal thinkers toil in state legislatures. Mr. Obama planted a foot in each, splitting his weeks between an elite law school and the far less rarefied atmosphere of the Illinois Senate. Source Article

Obama proposes billions for infrastructure, education June 16, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Economy, Education, News, Obama, Politics.
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June 16, 2008

FLINT, Michigan (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama Monday proposed spending billions to revitalize the nation’s economy, a plan the campaign of his likely Republican opponent said would slow economic growth with higher taxes.

During an economic speech in Flint, Michigan, Obama promised to spend billions to improve America’s education, infrastructure, energy and health care systems.

To improve America’s competitiveness, the senator from Illinois said he wants to spend $10 billion on childhood education, $150 billion over 10 years on developing alternative energy and $60 billion over 10 years to build “21st century infrastructure.”

Obama said he would pay for these programs by ending the war in Iraq, reducing government waste, charging polluters for greenhouse gas emissions and ending the Bush tax cuts for wealthy individuals.

During his speech in Michigan, a state hard hit by the decline of the American automobile industry, Obama also rejected protectionist trade polices that many unions say would help protect American jobs, saying “it is impossible to turn back the tide of globalization.” MORE