Couldn’t get enough of our five-page election special? Boy, did you click on the right link…

[TESTIMONIALS]

We asked a few of our favorite band members:
WHAT ISSUE IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU THIS ELECTION AND WHY?

 

What kind of cigarettes does Obama smoke? The brand says a lot about the man.
NEIL FALLON
Clutch
It has been really difficult for me to feel comfortable with this election. It might be some lingering animosity from the last two debacles that led to the Bush regime, but mostly it’s the way that presidential elections are approached and covered in this country. We are attempting to elect the leader of our nation, someone who will be in charge for four years, and it’s treated in the media as if we are picking contestants on American Idol.
Maybe all I need to do is just change the channel and avoid the cable news networks whenever the pundits are on flapping their jaws and spewing forth misinformation about the upcoming election. They have turned CNN into TMZ. They will spend more time analyzing the size of the American flag lapel pin on Barack Obama’s suit then the candidates’ stance on health care or border security. It is a sad state of affairs when most young voters get more practical information about the election from a news parody show on Comedy Central than from the major news networks! They make no attempts to inform their viewers. All they do is drive home their points through repetitive badgering and discredit anyone who disagrees.
This year’s campaigns have really opened my eyes to the destructive nature of bipartisan politics. The party lines have become so deeply drawn in that sand that the chance of cooperation in the best interest of the nation has all but disappeared. How can you hope to have a government that is supposed to reflect the various attitudes and beliefs of our diverse nation when the people in charge are on extreme opposite sides of every issue? Individual politicians that attempt to bridge these gaps are often pressured by party members to fall back in line or road-blocked at every turn. Even the Roger Clemens trial broke-down based on party lines-that was only about baseball and steroids and they couldn’t even get it together. What about things that truly matter like trillion-dollar wars and the current recession?
Every election, it is up to you to really find out what is going on. Don’t just vote based on the lesser of two evils. Seek out a candidate that reflects your ideals and that you think best represents this country.
BRIAN FAIR
Shadows Fall
There are two crucial issues this year. First and foremost, I’m very concerned about the economy. Obviously, Bush’s tax cuts and economic stimulus packages didn’t do anything for the average American. The $600 I received in June just went to paying off the credit card debt I’ve accumulated during the Bush presidency. Come to think of it, wasn’t the last American recession during Bush Sr.’s term? Didn’t we have a healthy economy and balanced budget during the Clinton presidency? Seems like the Republicans, for all their talk about responsible budgets and protecting the middle class, do a really great job at financially screwing working-class folk.
Secondly, we need a renewed focus on international diplomacy. The world hates Bush, and he continues to behave as if the U.S. has the right to impose our worldview on the rest of the globe despite our lack of political allies. We desperately need a leader who can work with other countries. We need a leader who is articulate and persuasive. Cynics label Obama as a “smooth-talker.” What a shame that eight years of dumbed-down Texan-speak has left people believing that our leaders should talk like common people. I want a leader who is smarter than me. I want a leader who can move people with his words. I want a leader who brings people together instead of accusing people with different opinions of lacking patriotism. I want a leader who bridges gaps and understands different cultures’ values. I want a leader who understands history and realizes that imposing our will on other nations through military action only intensifies hatred towards our country.I want Obama in the White House.
BRIAN COOK
These Arms Are Snakes
Well, this is a hard one to answer in a paragraph or two. I mean, where do we start? [Our] system is not a democracy. And even if it were, there is so much scandalous activity surrounding the processes of politics, be it Democrat or Republican. Both parties are crooks, as far as I can tell. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell happened to Kennedy. And better yet, what’s the deal with 9/11 and Bin Laden. I’d vote for truth. Is that an option? Doubt it. All I’ve seen is garbage. Sorry, but I’d opt for a real revolution before [I vote for] someone who is feeding the masses what they want to hear. “The dollar dances on our asses,” as the great Sam McPheeters once said. Looks like there is a big butt on the horizon. Democratic or Republican, I smell a stinker.
JUSTIN PEARSON
The Locust

The issue most important to me is health care. In my eyes, it is unacceptable that any American is denied health care. I believe that the next president of the United States must work to enact a fiscally sound method of offering our citizens a universal health care option. I believe working Americans should pay a fair and reasonable sum into it and that the poorer, unemployed and disabled citizens of our nation should be covered. It is unconceivable to me that people are not given medical attention because of a lack of insurance. In a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath there is no mention of treating insured and not treating uninsured people! They are to treat sick people who require medical attention. Our medical care system sadly has turned into more of a bureaucratic business and less of a humane care giving system that should care for “all” people.
MIKE McCOLGAN
Street Dogs

There is no one issue that is most important. There are too many issues that are of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, we live in a society controlled by some very greedy rich people with a total lack of vision for equality and no thoughts of social justice because they’re blinded by their own–you guessed it–greed. I feel as long as the big money lobbyists (especially the Israel lobby, Aipac) and big corporations are pulling on the puppet-strings of presidential candidates, and all people that try to obtain office for that matter, this country will not see true change. It’s homeless families, working poor and middle class that will still be scraping the bottom of the barrel, waiting for the leftover scraps from higher-ups’ dinner plates.
If you want true equality, access to health care, justice in the workplace (in this country, and others, as US corporations play a huge role in how workers are treated through-out the entire world), environmental responsibility, a fair and honest approach to foreign policy, recognition that no human being is illegal, and that all borders and fences need to be torn down, no more NAFTA, Immediate repeal of the Patriot Act, reparations for all indigenous people of the world who have felt the effects of U.S. imperialism, real justice in the court systems, and less of a police state, really, the basic rights deserved to every human being walking the planet: then there is no right presidential candidate. I could keep going on forever. These are some of the issues that matter to me, and these are the issues that are swept under the rug time and time again.
SEAN MURPHY
Verse
Though the individual issues that matter the most to me in this election are getting out of Iraq, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and controlling the hawks who want to engage in further wars, the general issue that matters the most to me is believing (or not) that the candidate in question understands the gravity of the office that he is seeking. I know that I’m indulging in some naivete here because our current president and vice president may indeed think that they are doing a fine job and are worthy of the offices they hold. But we deserve so much more, we deserve the oppportunity to choose between candidates who understand the civic, national, fiscal, intellectual, diplomatic and moral responsibilies he would be assuming. This last kind may be the most important because it is the binding element of responsibility. I don’t mean morality in the “family values” sense, I mean morality in the sense of wanting to do right by those around you, by your community.
As president, the entire country is your community. By extension, as a world leader, the whole world is. It is a sad state of affairs we are in that we should have to hope for something that should be a given: that the president of a country would act as responsibly and as intelligently on behalf of its people as he or she would on behalf of his or her own family. If our current president hadn’t had air conditioning all these long summers, if he wasn’t a wealthy man who probably believes that he will always be able to purchase safety, he surely would have been at least curious about humanity’s role in global warming. To refuse to even watch a documentary about what an enormous percentage of his constituency believe is a imminent and catastrophic danger simply because he holds a personal grudge against its author seemed to me alarmingly irresponsible. So much time has been lost, and so much needs to be repaired. We are in a war we shouldn’t have started, our economy is hollow and we have lost all respect around the world. Patriotism should not mean not caring what other people think; it should mean wanting your country to be great. I want a president who will put the “right thing for everyone” above corporate and personal interest automatically, who is curious about and has respect for the rest of the world, [and] who is a lifetime student of history and philosophy. Sadly, we live in an age when being a student of media is probably more useful to a candidate. To quote Douglas Adams, “anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” We can only hope that this doesn’t always apply, but it surely does most of the time.
MATTHEW CAWS
Nada Surf

 

[ADD THIS PRESIDENT TO YOUR TOP FRIENDS?]

Admit it. You go on MySpace everyday. Twice a day. 10 times a day. Okay, maybe it’s Facebook or YouTube. Either way, the current presidential candidates have caught on to this trend. They want to be cool like you. They’ve got MySpace accounts, too, and they’re definitely putting them to use. Is it to garner your attention, or would they have had one anyway, despite that whole Presidency thing? Check out the information below and you be the judge.

JOHN McCAIN MYSPACE BREAKDOWN
FRIENDS: 63,935 and counting
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT: McCain’s page greets you with a promise: “I will fight every moment of every day for what I believe is right for this country, and I will not yield.”
COMMERCIALIZED? He’s got a rotation of his campaign ads right under a request to become his friend.
DIG IT? McCain also has links to his other online efforts, including his Facebook page, YouTube account and Digg profile.
ABOUT THE ISSUES: McCain has a bold table of links to volunteer and find out more about the issues he cares about, right next to a photo slideshow of his speeches.
SHOP McCAIN: A trusty link to the McCain store is readily available for all your pin and T-shirt needs.

BARACK OBAMA MYSPACE BREAKDOWN:
FRIENDS: 454,630 and counting
BARACK OBLOGA: Does Obama have blogs? Plenty of ’em, complete with videos about his efforts.
LINK IT UP: He’s got links to his other membership sites, including YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn. There are also links to his personal website and ways you can get involved with the campaign, not to mention a shop chock-full of merchandise.
DEMAND IS HIGH: Who says Eventful is just for music concerts? You can demand Obama to come to your town for a speech, or just to kick back and chill.
OKAY, WHAT ELSE? How about texting Obama? You can get up-to-date information on his campaign by signing up for his mobile mob. Plaster his name across your MySpace with the graphics embed codes on the left of the page. He’s also got a brief summary of his life; what he’s accomplished and what he hopes to in the future. —Laila Hansen

 

[FILMS & BOOKS]


Still not enough politics for you? Yeesh. Luckily a ton of people way smarter than us have made a few movies and written a few books on the matter.
As election season rapidly approaches (okay, so technically we’ve been in it since 2004), it’s getting increasingly difficult to avoid speeches, debates and ad campaigns. With this influx of information and claims, it’s also becoming a challenge to really know what politics are all about. Check out these books and films, both humorous and serious, to get a slightly more relatable dish on some of the issues the candidates are facing today.

FILMS
OUTFOXED: RUPERT MURDOCH’S WAR ON JOURNALISM [Bravenewfilms, 2004]
Director/producer Robert Greenwald turns the camera around in this documentary about news channels. The film delves into media channels (with a focus on Fox News) while exploring the real truth behind the information that the public receives on a daily basis. It includes interviews with media experts as well as former Fox News employees to try to understand what it means to work for a global company run by a single entity–in Fox’s case, Rupert Murdoch.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? [Non-linear Films, 2008]
From the guy who brought you Supersize Me, this humorous documentary with a serious twist explores the opinions Middle Easterners have regarding the war on terror. Director Morgan Spurlock tours the Middle East, interviewing locals and sparking discussions infused with their view on our intercultural mess. The poster art for the film features a humorous, Carmen San Diego-esque depiction of Spurlock on a camel-a hint that this guy is determined to find the world’s most wanted terrorist, even if it takes talking to the U.S.’s most feared nationality.

BODY OF WAR [Mobilus Media, 2007] Featuring original music from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Body Of War is a look at the homecoming of an American soldier who was permanently paralyzed by a bullet in Iraq. Tomas Young, 25, was only in the country for a week before being shot in the spine. The movie focuses on Young’s life as he comes home from the war and learns to cope with the disability he will have for the rest of his life. Though his struggle, Young develops a passionate stance against the war that he once supported.

FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER [The Group Entertainment, 2008]
Hitting theaters this September, Flow addresses an issue that generations of humans never thought they would have to face: A lack of fresh water. Filmmaker Irena Salina examines the increasing privatization of the world’s remaining fresh-water supply. There are times when the film takes a much-needed accusatory stance, especially when it comes to pollution, but Salina also provides viewers with solutions to combat the growing problem.

NO END IN SIGHT [Magnolia Pictures, 2007]
Focusing on the infant days of the Iraq war, this film takes meticulous care to point out the mistakes the Bush administration made when setting out to defeat Saddam Hussein. Some of the main problems software entrepreneur-turned-director Charles H. Ferguson points out are the rise of insurgency, a lack of suitable living conditions for Iraqis after the U.S. invasion and the risk of civil war between religious groups or rebels.

BOOKS
I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!) [By Stephen Colbert, 2007]
Satire king Stephen Colbert extends his popular TV show, The Colbert Report into the land of the literary with this hilarious look at the most pressing issues in America. The personalized work features stickers with expressions such as “Hell Yeah!” and “Nailed It!” for readers to mark places of exceptional “truthiness” within the book. I Am America is sectioned into chapters of Colbert’s life, with titles such as, “My American Childhood” and “My American Maturity,” that focus on anecdotal incidences to depict current political issues.

THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD: AND 202 STRONG CONTENDERS [By Keith Olbermann, 2006]
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann brings forth his wit and controversy examining twisted profiles of public figures who are not too careful with what they say. In his book, Olbermann calls out Tom Cruise, the Coca-Cola Company, various members of the Bush Administration and more, including Ann Coulter for referring to Muslims as “ragheads.” As he builds up different characters from all walks of public life, Olbermann reveals his personal “Worst In Show” award.

MILLENNIAL MAKEOVER: MYSPACE, YOUTUBE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN POLITICS [By Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, 2008]
This is the book for the young reader hoping to find out what his or her impact is on the voting world. The book analyzes how the “Millennials,” or those born from the ’80s until today, may shape politics. New cultural attitudes and technology are impacting the way politicians reach their youngest voters. With the use of sites like MySpace, candidates are more in-tune with what they want, and this idea is explored in Millennial Makeover.

THE ALL-AMERICAN SPORT OF BIPARTISAN BASHING: COMMON SENSE RANTINGS FROM A RAGING MODERATE [By Will Durst, 2008]
Will Durst is an equal-opportunity hater. In Bipartisan Bashing, he has no trouble pointing out faults in both liberal and conservative viewpoints. He makes it fun by targeting particular scapegoats-i.e. Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton and more. Instead of a work that leans strictly to the right or left, this book basically puts the blame on everyone, making it a hit for all audiences. Durst is indeed a raging moderate.

WHO HATES WHOM: WELL-ARMED FANATICS, INTRACTABLE CONFLICTS, AND VARIOUS THINGS BLOWING UP-A WOEFULLY INCOMPLETE GUIDE [By Bob Harris, 2007]
Finally, a textbook that makes sense. In Who Hates Whom, Bob Harris works to break down the news in a way that is actually interesting. Sure, we all know there’s a war going on, but what’s the deal with Al-Qaeda, anyway? What countries are fighting over a glacier that is not inhabitable or obviously valuable? Harris tackles all these weird, true facts not many are aware of in his mostly serious but sometimes humorous book. —Laila Hansen