The calls come to Project Vote Smart in a steady stream, from New York and New Mexico, from California and Connecticut, from the confused in every corner of the land. \nWho is my congressman, they ask. How can I reach him? How do I register to vote? Who is running for office? Where do they stand on the issues? \nSome know exactly what to ask. But others, says 21-year-old volunteer Kelly Flanagan, "have a very vague idea of what they want" -- they are stumbling through the labyrinth of American democracy without a map. There are many of those people, and come November, they will help choose the next leader of the most powerful country on the planet. \nThey are ignorant though they are awash with information -- on television and radio, in print and on the Internet. They are ill-informed because they do not have the time or inclination to learn, or misinformed because they are at the mercy of spinmeisters. \n"We're not well informed, and a lot of that is our fault," says Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York. It would be an overstatement to paint America as a confederacy of dunces; there are those who say we may not be a nation of civic superstars, but we know enough to get by. And in a crisis -- in wartime or economic hard times -- voters pay more attention, and are better informed, experts say. \nPreconceived notions can derail a citizen's judgment. Cass Sunstein, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, says the Internet can keep minds closed instead of opening them; people who previously had to wade through newspapers that offered opposing points of view now turn to Web sites or television channels that conform with their own beliefs. \nFourteen years ago, Richard Kimball -- a failed candidate for US Senate from Arizona -- established Project Vote Smart. The goal was to dispense nonpartisan voter information. \nToday, 30 staffers and 40 interns work at the project's headquarters at the Great Divide Ranch in Montana. But gigabytes of voting records, campaign speeches and finance records are no match for the millions of dollars spent by candidates to burnish their image, attack their opponents and spin their stands on the issues.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete