Allan Lichtman, Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate from Maryland

Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Allan Lichtman grew up in the inner city of Brooklyn, NY, but has lived in Maryland for 30 years. He and his wife, Karyn Strickler, have a child, whom they reared in Maryland. A professor of history at American University, Allan has testified as an expert witness in more than 70 voting rights and redistricting cases. He has lectured across the world, and his work has appeared in such publications as the American Historical Review, The New Republic, the Washington Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. Allan has consulted for Vice President Al Gore and Senator Edward Kennedy. His six published books include The Keys to the White House, describing his “keys” system that has predicted the popular vote result in every presidential election since 1984. He has provided commentary on national politics for all major networks and was the regular political analyst for CNN Headline News. He has written a column on Maryland politics for 15 years.


ePluribus Media: Professor Lichtman, thank you for taking the time to answer questions for ePluribus Media. Though it is still a year until the November 2006 elections and months before any primaries, we have already conducted five interviews with contestants for Senate and House seats, and we hope to do many more in the coming year.

Allan Lichtman - Page 2

Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

AL: There is no more urgent task in a democratic country than assuring that every voter has an opportunity to vote and that all votes are fully and fairly counted in the election. Sadly, the American people still lack confidence that we have achieved these goals in the world’s oldest ongoing democracy. I propose the following 10-point plan for federal initiatives to assist the states in ensuring fair elections and advancing voter turnout:

  1. 1. We must reauthorize and fully enforce the Voting Rights Act (up for renewal in 2007), which protects the rights of many millions of minority Americans, including two million in Maryland.

  2. 2. All electronic voting systems must be fully accessible to people with disabilities and have a verifiable paper trail.

  3. 3. Independent audits, fully accessible to all political parties on the ballot, must establish the security of all voting systems.

  4. 4. There should be uniform standards for provisional ballots to assure that everyone on the registration rolls has an opportunity to vote.

  5. 5. Partisan officials, such as the secretary of state in Ohio, should be barred from running elections.

  6. 6. We should avoid systems like national ID cards that would depress voting among minority groups and less affluent Americans. The real potential for fraud exists among those who control voting technology, not ineligible voters trying to sneak into the polls.

  7. 7. The Help America Vote Act should be fully implemented and funded.

  8. 8. To assure the rights of people moving and to prevent voting in more than one state, voter lists should be comparable between states. Such lists, however, must not unfairly purge minorities and the poor.

  9. 9. States should restore voting rights to convicted felons who have fulfilled all their obligations to society.

  10. 10. Polling places should be user-friendly and fairly allocated geographically, so that voters do not have to endure interminable waiting time.

ePMedia: You have made Maryland your home for three decades. What does the state mean to you personally, and what in your background as a resident of the state makes you feel you can represent it well in the Senate?

Chuck Pennacchio, Pennsylvania Senate Candidate

Original Publication Date: 
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
During the next 18 months, until the 2006 congressional elections, ePluribus Media intends to conduct interviews with candidates for the House and the Senate across the country. These interviews will allow outsiders as well as frontrunners to deliver their views to an "Internet" news audience. We hope this process will encourage candidates to address issues important to "grassroots" organizations, not simply to those on the national media's front pages.

Our initial interview in this series is with Dr. Chuck Pennacchio, Democratic candidate for the Senate seat from Pennsylvania now occupied by Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Dr. Pennacchio will face Bob Casey, Jr. in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial primary to be held next year. The interview was conducted by email in early May, 2005.

Dr. Pennacchio is the History Program Director at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He also serves as a board member at The Tabor Children's House Child Care Center and is a member of the Plumsteadville Grange, an organization that promotes rural living and agriculture. Dr. Pennacchio earned his Ph.D. in the field of diplomatic history from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was named Professor of the Year in 2003 at the Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture, where he taught for six years.

Link to Pennacchio 2006 for US Senate

Pennacchio speaking during the recent
Princeton University "Frist Filibuster"


ePMedia: Thank you, Chuck Pennacchio, for taking the time to answer questions from ePluribus Media. As a candidate in the primary in Pennsylvania to become the Democratic challenger to Sen. Santorum, your opinions interest many more Americans than simply those in Pennsylvania. Should you win, your actions will impact us all.

Pennacchio: I couldn't agree more.

Sheldon Whitehouse - Page 2

Original Publication Date: 
Friday, August 12, 2005

ePluribus Media: But what distinguishes you from him? He's still viewed as leaning left.

SW: Let me give you a big difference. He has announced in the local
paper that he would support the George Bush plan to index Social Security benefits, reducing Social Security benefits for the middle class. I would not do that. As I said earlier, I think it's just unfair to be cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans while you are cutting Social Security benefits for middle-class Americans. The leadership vote is significant, the Social Security vote is significant, and he continues to support Bush on things like Bolton and on judges and so forth. There are a lot of points of differentiation, but the biggest are the leadership votes and Social Security.

ePluribus Media: He came out late on Bolton, but ultimately he supported Bolton's nomination.

SW: He did. He came out for him on various occasions.

ePluribus Media: What do you think about Bolton's getting the recess appointment?

SW: I think it shows the Republican administration's "my way or the highway" approach. America clearly has serious reservations about John Bolton -- even Republican senators are bolting from their party on Bolton. He's highly controversial. I think that our military members in Iraq deserve a calmer, more helpful and more sensible presence at the United Nations than John Bolton will give. The president's insistence on stuffing this guy through anyway because of his win-at-all-costs philosophy is a shame. I think its wrong.

ePluribus Media: It seems there's something else underlying the appointment, though; there's lots of talk from Republicans about "reforming" the UN. How do you respond to that?

Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic candidate for Senate From Rhode Island

Original Publication Date: 
Friday, August 12, 2005
This interview is third in a series with candidates for the House and Senate. The first, with Chuck Pennacchio, was conducted by Aaron Barlow with contributions from Todd Johnston on May 18th, 2005. The second with Christina Cegelis was conducted by Brian Keeler on 08-01-05. We hope this series encourages candidates to address issues important to grassroots organizations.

Sheldon Whitehouse is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Rhode Island in 2006 who hopes to unseat the Republican incumbent, Lincoln Chafee. Whitehouse's top Democratic opponent is the vibrant 34-year-old Rhode Island Secretary of State, Matt Brown.

Whitehouse, a former attorney-general of Rhode Island, was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island by former President Bill Clinton. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and is a major advocate for health-care reform in Rhode Island. Most recently he has been a member of the law firm Edwards & Angell in Providence.


ePluribus Media: Why did you choose to run for Senate and not governor, as expected?

"The Real News" Junkies Get a Fix

Original Publication Date: 
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Jay Paul Withdrawal symptoms are brutal, especially when they last for decades. And we've been enduring withdrawal from journalism on the evening news for a long, long time.

There's a network bursting onto the scene that promises to present real journalism untainted by corporate or governmental money. It's staffed with "unbought and unbossed" journalists from around the world -- Pakistan, Brazil, Canada, India, as well as the United States. Had it been around it would have reported that Colin Powell was making things up before a war broke out.

Independent World Television Network!

In January, I wrote a five-part interview with Paul Jay, the founder of Independent World Television network and its flagship daily news show, The Real News. After speaking with Paul Jay, I was convinced that this network knew what it was doing. This month, I've finally had the satisfaction of seeing an explosion of people who are suddenly finding out for the first time what The Real News is all about.

And I do mean explosion. I've watched the The Real News group on Facebook grow by literally hundreds of members from one day to the next -- and it's still going. I've seen the number of viewings of their video "The Promise" on YouTube go from 1590 yesterday to 2560 today -

Last week, I interviewed Paul again. He had already given us all so much to chew on in the first interview that I didn't need to ask him about the whys and wherefores of the network. Instead, I wanted to focus on what's going on now and what we can expect for the rest of the year.

Alan: It looks like there's a lot happening at "The Real News" right now. Would you say that you've entered a new stage?

Interview with Al Franken

Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Al FrankenOn February 14th, humorist and Air America radio personality Al Franken made official what political observers have long expected: he will run for the DFL nomination for U.S. Senate in 2008, hoping to face off against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. In the wake of the announcement and, according to reports, several successful events to kick off the campaign, Franken took a few minutes to answer some questions about why he's running, major issues, and standing up to the right-wing smear machine.

MNCR: Straightforward question out of the gate: Why are you running for the United States Senate?

Al Franken: Here's a straightforward answer: I'm not happy with the leadership Senator Coleman has provided on the issues that matter to me and to Minnesota families, and I know I'll be a leader in the Senate. I'm going to lead on universal health care, on renewable energy, on taking care of our veterans, and on restoring America's standing in the world. I think we need more of that kind of leadership. That's the kind of Senators Minnesota has given the country: leaders like Hubert Humphrey and Paul Wellstone and Amy Klobuchar. And that's the kind of Senator I'll be.

MNCR: More so than most recent candidates for statewide office, your name is already known to many Minnesotans. Which particular aspects of your experiences do you think prepare you both to run for and serve in the U.S. Senate?

Go Big or Go Home - Part I

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, February 5, 2007

Part I: Go Big or Go Home

On March 22, 2006, I caught an interview with Paul Jay, the chair of IWT, on the Stephanie Miller radio show. That night, I visited the IWT website and asked why they'd been quiet for so long. I received a personal e-mail from Paul, asking me to sign up for their mailing list and telling me to watch for the new business plan they'd be posting in the coming week. Once I saw it, I wrote back with a few questions and offered to do an interview. Paul eventually responded to the questions but somehow neglected to mention the interview offer, though he said rather cryptically "Help on the blogs would be appreciated."

In late August came the announcement that IWT and its flagship news show, "The Real News," was "entering an exciting new phase" and conducting a "world-wide talent search" for hosts. Encouraged, and figuring that perhaps my original offer had gotten lost in the shuffle, I wrote another e-mail offering to interview Paul. I was excited to receive a positive reply from his assistant: "Paul would very much like to set this interview up." Not only was I thrilled to have my offer accepted, I was glad that there was at least one other member of the crew to handle communication with The Public. We set up the interview for mid-September.

The call was very energizing. Paul is persuasive, as you will see, and assuaged many of my fears about IWT/TRN. He did want me to hold off posting the interview, though, until they had a better infrastructure for dealing with mass interest, inquiries, and subscriptions. They had been swamped by our enthusiasm in 2005, when they didn't have enough staff to handle the unexpected flood of communication, so they didn't want to go public prematurely. New infrastructure, including a redesigned web interface, is now in place. So without further ado, I will present you with first few paragraphs of the interview. I'll be bringing the rest to you as a series.

And here we go!

Go Big or Go Home - Part II

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, February 5, 2007

Part II: Oh, You Mean the REAL News

In our last installment "Go big or go home", Part 1, I introduced you to the fearless Paul Jay and his network Independent World Television (IWT), with its flagship show The Real News. I recommend that you read that diary to learn how I became involved with IWT/TRN. In this section of the interview, Paul will tell you exactly how IWT/TRN plans to go big.

AF: How long will it take to get the daily show on the air?

PJ: A lot depends on how much support we get; people signing up, becoming members, contributing money. We want to raise ten or fifteen million dollars over the next six months, so when we launch the full-fledged hour news for television, you'll be able to replace your other television news and video news sources with us.

AF: Or start watching it, if you don't watch TV now at all.

PJ: Watch us on TV or watch us on the web. We're trying to balance coming out with a certain amount of production, so people get a taste of what we're about. Get into the news cycle with a weekly or maybe even twice-a-week format, but still make our main work raising enough money so we can sustain the big daily world news show. The problem is if you come out small and you don't aim at raising the money for "big", you'll never get big. You can see so many examples of that.

AF: Now how much of the funding will be by individuals, and how much by foundations?

Go Big or Go Home - Part III

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, February 5, 2007

Now, are you ready for the interview? I thought so!


AF: If you talk about questions like election integrity, or US government negligence in 9/11, you run the risk of being shunned, but by ignoring them, you fail to address a big gap in knowledge.

PJ: We're going to do good verifiable journalism, and we don't care about being shunned. We're a group of experienced professional journalists at the core. We'll go where facts take us. Will we do 9/11? You bet! But we're going to start the 9/11 investigation with things that are knowable. What I mean by that is, we know that Condoleeza Rice got a memo saying Bin Laden plans to attack the United States. We know that she went before the 9/11 Commission and said that 56 FBI officers already had open files investigating, and we know that wasn't true. The issue of accountability could at the very least start with what's absolutely verifiable - that she didn't tell the truth to the 9/11 Commission. Now whether she deliberately lied, misled... who knows, and it's almost irrelevant. What we know is there's an objective fact. There was a memo saying Bin Laden planned to attack, and we know nothing or next to nothing was done about it. So let's ask, "Why not?". Then, let's let the trail go where the trail goes.

Do I know whether there were bombs in the bottom of the building or not? Do I know whether a plane hit the Pentagon or not? I'm not afraid to ask the questions. I don't know the answers. I have not been persuaded from what I've seen, but only because I haven't investigated yet. There's nothing we're not going to look into.


Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Editors' Note: On the first year anniversary of Katrina, Louisiana resident and writer, Polydactyl reflects on her in-the-moment journals and diaries to remind us of what it was like in the eye of the storm.

about the author: Polydactyl dons her blogger's hat in Central Louisiana between shifts as a wife, mom, cat-herder and computer healer.