Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Faith and Politics

Plus-size woman seeks stocky man to share long walks on the beach, straight-ticket voting

Politics in existing families is pretty predictable, as are the stale disagreements around the dinner table.

But a new research study finds that before they form a family, American couples are surprisingly wary of revealing their politics to dates or potential mates online.

So wary, in fact, that members of both genders are more likely to describe themselves as overweight before they are to reveal their political persuasion. Obviously fearing to disclose their ignorance if they lean to the liberal side and being reluctant to appear boastful if they're more conservative.

The researchers -- Rose McDermott, Casey Klofstad and Peter Hatemi -- studied 2,944 random profiles from 313 Zip Codes on an unidentified Internet dating site. They found that only 14% indicated "political interests," and 57% of those safely described themselves as "middle of the road." Sixteen percent bragged of being conservative, while only 9% confessed to liberal leanings.Obama DisappointMINTS on sale in Tennessee

Political interests were so unpopular to list overall that they ranked fourth from the bottom of 27 categories, below even video games.

Compared to the 14% political, 17% were willing to publicly describe themselves as "heavyset" or another favorite euphemism, "stocky."

The older and better-educated, the would-be daters, the more comfortable they seemed listing political preferences.

The study, published in "Evolution and Human Behavior," noted the apparent disparity with previous studies that found spouses sharing political preferences more than any other interest, except religion.

Researchers theorize that at the getting-to-know-you stage, most members of both genders are reluctant to exclude anyone by possibly professing contrary political views. But that during the dating/courting process, both men and women tend to exclude partners of divergent politics, dumping the dummies who disagree with them.

"In the short run," said Klofstad, "most people want to cast as wide a net as possible when dating. However, in the long run, shared political preferences become a critical foundation of lasting relationships, despite the fact that many Americans are not even interested in politics."

The similarity in parental politics, however, contributes to another typical characteristic in American homes, political preferences being inherited by the children. Especially if they pursue extensive schooling to become thoughtful, well-informed, educated and, well, you know.


CAUTION: Falling satellite ahead

How Earth looks to incoming aliens

Jay Leno methodically interrogates Michele Bachmann on-air

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Saul Young / Associated Press (Obama DisappointMINTS on sale in Tennessee).

Pope Benedict XVI urges world markets to have a heart

Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, traveled to Spain on Thursday for World Youth Day, a Roman Catholic festival for young people celebrated internationally every three years in various locations around the world.

This year, it's in Madrid, and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims -- organizers expected up to 1 million attendees, from more than 190 nations -- crowded the normally empty....

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Rep. Thaddeus McCotter joins the GOP race on July 4th weekend -- patriotic, yes, media-savvy, maybe not


Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination today.

Who knew?

It may have been carried on local media, but CSPAN was running coverage of the progressive Netroots Nation conference, which took place in mid-June; CSPAN2 was in the middle of a tribute to historian Manning Marable; Fox News Channel had "Huckabee"; CNN had "Nepal's Stolen Children," with Demi Moore; and MSNBC had its prison documentary series "Lockup."

However, you can now scroll down for a video of McCotter's understated announcement.

Perhaps announcing a presidential candidacy at a music festival in a park in Whitmore Lake, Mich., on a holiday weekend was not the best timing to garner national media coverage for the 45-year-old father of three..

The event was neither live-streamed on McCotter's Facebook page nor his official campaign website, and fans were casting about unsuccessfully Saturday evening on Twitter for.... 

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Father's Day proclamation by President Obama


FATHER'S DAY, 2011, Father's Day Proclamation by the President of the United States

Parenthood is the ultimate gift and an incredible responsibility. Every day, fathers across our country give everything they have to build a better future for their family, asking nothing in return but their children's love and success.

On Father's Day, we honor the men in our lives who have helped shape us for the good, and we recommit to supporting fatherhood in our families, in our communities, and across our Nation.
Fathers, along with our mothers, are our first teachers, coaches, and advisors.

They help us grow into adults, consoling us in times of need and celebrating with us in times of triumph. Strong male role models come in all forms, but they have one thing in common: they show up and give it their best. A father figure may be a biological father, or he may be a surrogate father who raises, mentors, or cares for another's child.

Every family is different, but what matters is the unconditional support, guidance, and love fathers and mentors give us throughout life.America's family of an earlier generation Ozzie and Harrie Nelson with sons David and Ricky

Today, too many children in our country grow up without such support and guidance. A father's absence is felt by children, families and communities in countless ways, leaving a hole that can have lasting effects.

Their absence is also felt by mothers, who work overtime and double shifts, put food on the table, and care for children alone while trying to make ends meet. And it is felt in our communities, when boys grow up without male leaders to inspire them.

My Administration has made supporting fathers and their communities a priority. Last year on Father's Day, I announced the President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, a nationwide effort to support organizations that foster responsible fatherhood and help re-engage fathers in the lives of their children.

We have bolstered community and faith-based programs that provide valuable support networks for fathers. We are also promoting work-life balances that benefit families, and partnering with businesses across America to create opportunities for fathers and their children to spend time together.

And military leaders are joining in our efforts to help families keep in touch when a dad is deployed overseas, so the fathers who serve to protect all our children can stay connected to their own.

On Father's Day, we celebrate the men who make a difference in the life of a child, and we pay tribute to all the fathers who have been our guiding lights. In the days ahead, we recommit ourselves to making fatherhood, and the support men need to be fathers, a priority in our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, as amended (36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 19, 2011, as Father's Day.

I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on this day, and I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.



President Obama talks about his own missing father

Roe vs. Wade: 38 years after the legal decision, the social argument rages

the Row vs Wade controversy Duckboy Cards Hamilton Montana

There may be no legal appeal beyond the Supreme Court's historic decision in Roe vs. Wade, but 38 years later the country is still divided, still arguing and still emotional over the abortion issue.

The arguments are encapsulated today in two brief public anniversary statements issued by their respective offices. One is from a Democrat, Barack Obama, who already is president. The other is from Ohio's Republican John Boehner, who is the new House speaker, who could become president after the vice president.

House Speaker John Boehner's statement to participants in Monday's annual March for Life
Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision that tore asunder a right to life our Founding Fathers described so indelibly in our Declaration of Independence. The decision denigrated the respect we must have for life at all stages, especially the innocent unborn.

The new House majority has listened to the people and pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion. A ban is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land. 

This week, Congressman Chris Smith introduced bipartisan legislation that....

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A tiny tale about Ronald Reagan one holiday season long ago

Governor Ronald Reagan Befriends a Donkey at a California fair

Here's a sappy little holiday politician story that has nothing to do with large headlines and tax cut conflict in Congress. So it can't be very important.

However, it might fool some people into believing that famous public figures who become icons in our country's unfolding life can also be human at the same time.

The story concerns Ronald Reagan, the notoriously cold-hearted conservative from California. One day in the middle of his eight years as governor (1967-75), Reagan received a letter from two sisters -- Bertha and Samueline Sisco. According to their story, they had promised their dying mother they would always care for their brother, Buzzy who was, as they phrased it in those days, retarded.Ronald Reagan family Rocking Chair

The sisters were seeking guidance to some kind of state help in caring for their 43-year-old sibling and the governor's office steered them toward it.

But Gov. Reagan heard a about the family's situation and made some inquiries. He discovered that Buzzy had always wanted a rocking chair to sit in with his teddy bear.

For some inexplicable reason, this touched the ruthless Republican who was clearly already plotting to become the 40th president, bankrupt the Soviet Union and end the Cold War. 

Shortly before Christmas that year California Highway Patrolman Dale Role delivered a rocking chair to the Sisco home, along with a note explaining that it came from the governor's personal family furnishings and he wanted Buzzy and his teddy bear to be rocking in time for Christmas.

Reagan apparently kept in touch with the family for many years before his incapacitation from Alzheimer's in 1994 and his death 10 years later at age 93.

On Thursday at the RR Auction house in Amherst, N.H. an anonymous buyer purchased the old Reagan family chair and a related handwritten letter for about $14,000, according to the firm's Bobby Livingston.

And now we know that even 40 years ago the former movie actor was clearly conniving for some positive blog publicity during the holiday season of 2010.

We now return to our normally scheduled tales of modern-day political conflict and duplicity.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press (Republican Gov. Reagan tries to goad a Democratic donkey); RR Auction.

Obama: Happy Hanukkah, and you can Photoshop my lip for the picture

Barack and Michelle Obama witness candle lighting at Hanukkah reception 12-2-10

President Obama's Hanukkah reception remarks, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, this is a good looking group right here. (Laughter.) Good evening, everybody.

AUDIENCE: Good evening.

THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House. I want to thank all of you for joining us in celebrating the second night of Hanukkah. Happy Hanukkah, everybody. (Applause.)

We are joined tonight by Ambassador Michael Oren, of Israel. Where’s Michael? (Applause.) He’s way back there. And so I want to begin by offering our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all of those who’ve died as a result of the terrible forest fire in northern Israel.

As rescuers and firefighters continue in their work, the United States is acting to help our Israeli friends respond to the disaster.  A short while ago, our ambassador in....

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President Obama honors Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Guru Nanak Dev Ji walking

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji 

On Sunday, many around the world will observe the anniversary of birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism.  I send my best wishes to all those observing this extraordinary occasion. 

This is also an opportunity to recognize the many contributions that Sikh Americans have made to our nation, and to reflect on the pluralism that is a hallmark of America.  

Sikhism’s principles of equality, service, interfaith cooperation and respect are principles shared by all Americans. As Sikhs celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak, people of good will everywhere can identify with his teachings on the equality of all humankind and the need for compassion in our service to others.     ####

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Photo: (Guru Nanak Dev Ji -- 1469-1539 -- walking)

Obama's special message to Muslims on the Hajj

Hajj Pilgrims at Namirah Mosque


Statement by President Obama on Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, as provided by the White House

Michelle and I extend our greetings for a happy Eid-ul-Adha to Muslims worldwide and wish safe travels to those Barack and Michelle Obama visit Indonesia's Istiqlal Mosque 11-10-10performing Hajj. 

This year, nearly three million pilgrims from more than 160 countries -- including the United States -- have gathered in Mecca and neighboring sites to perform the Hajj rituals and stand together in prayer.

On Eid, Muslims around the world will commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, and distribute food to those less fortunate -- a reminder of the shared values and the common roots of three of the world's major religions.

On behalf of the American people, we extend our best wishes during this Hajj season – Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.   ####

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Photos: Yahya Arhab / EPA (Hajj pilgrims at Namirah Mosque); Achmad Ibrahim / AFP / Getty Images (the Obamas visit Indonesia's Istiqlal Mosque 11-10-10).

Tell President Obama how you really feel with new iPhone app

Note-to-obama-iphone-appWant to tell President Obama how you really feel? How about using your iPhone?  

As in all things social media, it’s not everything it seems: Instead of placing a call to the White House switchboard or your local political representative’s office, you can send a message to Obama via a new smartphone application. 

Called Note to Obama, the application -- or computer program for mobile devices --  builds on the popularity of a similar app called Note to God, also released by Medl Mobile Inc., that allows users to post their innermost feelings on religion to a public noticeboard in cyberspace. Anonymously, of course.

And though the notes aren’t directly delivered to the president’s desk, they’ll remain for a long time in cyberspace should the president ever swap his beloved BlackBerry for an iPhone or iPad and download the program. They even make a version for left-handed folks (just kidding). 

The forum is moderated by the public, and comments deemed offensive are flagged and removed. Comments also are voted on by other users with the best moving to the top of the display board. It also features a word "cloud" display with the most commonly mentioned words in users' posts. "Economy" featured prominently, as did "job," "citizens" and "guns." 

The app is only available for iPhones with the latest 4.1 software installed and requires a valid e-mail address. Recent comments include:

"I think you are pretty cool for someone who is so important. important people are usually quite boring but your cool."

"Mr President with two wars and the economy in shambles, I believed that you had an opportunity to become a truly great president. I am sad to say that your obsession for building a legacy for yourself via the 'Obamacare' package while totally neglecting the dire situation concerning employment has assured only that you will be another one-termer who has helped Jimmy Carter breathe a huge sigh of relief."

"Hey there just a little note from the country up north. I think you're doing a fantastic job and you were exactly what the states needed ... We Canadians love you!"

The Note to God app was developed after a 17-year-old California student won a nationwide competition to get his personal idea for an application developed by Medl Mobile.  

Note to Obama’s blurb points out that the application’s developers are not responsible for the contents of any of the comments posted on the site.  

-- Craig Howie

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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