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Political scientists Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady were recently honored in Orlando for their book Voice and Equality. The book and its authors won the 2012 American Association for Public Opinion Research Book Award, recognizing influential scholarly works that inspire critical thinking on the topic of public opinion. Their extensive survey analysis demonstrated that some citizens have a greater voice in political matters than others, and that this disparity arises due to unequal access to education and other crucial resources. The civic imbalance is most lop-sided in situations where participating requires monetary donations as opposed to sacrificing one’s time.

In short, the book concludes:

… [M]eaningful democratic participation requires that the voices of citizens be clear, loud, and equal: clear so that public officials know what citizens want and need, loud so that officials have an incentive to pay attention to what they hear, and equal so that the democratic ideal of equal responsiveness to the preferences and interests of all is not violated. Our analysis of voluntary activity in American politics suggests that the public’s voice is often loud, sometimes clear, but rarely equal.

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Introduction

Thomas Jefferson’s pledge of unending hostility against all restrictions on the freethinking minds of the people is among my favorite historical quotations, but I can never remember it verbatim. (Usually I use Kevin Daneher’s powerful paraphrasing from Hijacking Catastrophe, in which Daneher).

“On the altar of God, I pledge undying hostility to any government restriction on the free minds of the people.”

As it turns out, about the only part of the above that’s word-for-word accurate is “altar of God.” So I did a search for “ ‘altar of God’ AND ‘Jefferson Memorial’ ” and found the original quote:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man.” (more…)

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Via WPRI.com:

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) – An event dedicated to non-violence became the scene of a violent crime in New Bedford Tuesday night.  According to police, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed several times in the chest and legs during the National Night Out Against Crime block party… [Read the full story, Tean stabbed at anti-crime event]. (more…)

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