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February 29, 2008
It's time once again to take a look at some of the comments you've been sending to us at the journal. You've been writing and we've been reading.

When Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul were excluded from participating in their parties' presidential debates, we brought them on our show to give them a chance to speak their mind.Ron Paul, photo by Robin Holland



RON PAUL: There's indeed a lot of people would like to exclude me from the Republican Party. But the party is awful small. Why would they want to exclude is, if we want to work within the Republican Party?

Dennis Kuchinich, photo by Robin Holland DENNIS KUCINICH: This is about the right of the American people to hear a real discussion on the issues that affect their lives and to see if there's anybody out there who relates to their practical aspirations.

Many Of You Chimed In With Your Own Thoughts:

It's so refreshing to listen to candidates who are obviously intelligent and base their policy recommendations on a consistent moral vision...Even though they have opposite views of what role the federal government should play, they are both straight talkers who understand and speak for ordinary Americans...
Jon Ralston

It's disingenuous to discuss candidates that are ignored in our corporate duopoly election system without mentioning or actually interviewing Green Party candidates... For all the indifference shown to the Green Party by the corporate press and derision by the so-called progressive press, the fact is the Greens have 234 elected officials in 28 states...The Greens are growing, whether you know it or not; whether you like it or not.
Carl Lundgren

As long as we allow corporate media to decide our leaders we will have a corporate president. Just follow the money and you will have a president whose only interest is maintaining the status quo of big business and Wall Street enjoying great wealth while the rest of America is facing a deep recession and the middle class is dying...
Varda Burns

Noted scholar and author Shelby Steele gave us a bracing look into how Barack Obama's candidacy is shaking up the rhetoric of race and politics in America.

SHELBY STEELE: And a part of the infatuation with Obama is because he's something of an invisible man. He's a kind of a projection screen. And you sort of see more your - the better side of yourself when you look at Obama than you see actually Barack Obama.

Shelby Steele, photo by Robin Holland Mr. Steele is obviously a brilliant man. While this country's shame is its treatment of African Americans, perhaps the greatest tragedy is this good man's completely jaded view.
Jerry Day

Shelby Steele dares to critically examine the Obama candidacy... The notion of an "Invisible Candidate" resonates, as does the reference to a hollow rhetoric of "Hope" and "Change". This Obama love fest is something more appropriate for a rock star than a serious contender for the presidency. It makes both the electorate and the media look foolish. Now will the Real Obama please stand up?
Tessa Gordon

In my view, Shelby Steele...is unable to trust the fact that Obama has a view of American society that is not crippled by America's segregated past...I do not know whether Obama will be president, but I am grateful to see him and the many others of his age (of all races and genders) compete with such confidence. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is coming to fruition.
Bert Isaacs

And in a recent essay, I explored what the investigation of steroid abuse in major league baseball reveals about America as a whole.

baseball BILL MOYERS: Suppose our national past time has become our national pathology? Ours is a society on steroids, and we're as blind as baseball's owners were a decade ago.

As someone who's never given a hoot about baseball -- or any team sport -- it's always been immaterial to me whether athletes take drugs or not...By contrast, we're all embroiled in the larger political/economic/ethical issues you raise and...I'm not sure it's fair to compare a rigged system that victimizes almost everyone with narrow areas of endeavor that needn't occupy our attention unless by choice.
(The Other) Katharine Harris

Baseball is indeed a barometer for things American, and this essay confirms how dire the deviations of the sport have been. Do we watch the sport or are we watching the juice? The sense that the game must be played fair is a casualty of the struggle to win at all costs, and this ethical erosion rots the roots of America.
L. White

Keep telling us what you think of the broadcast - by mail, e-mail, or on the blog at pbs.org.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Published on February 29, 2008.

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NELL IRVIN PAINTER
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