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The Bradley effect background

With only days to go until the U.S. Presidential Election, many have been asking the question as to whether the Bradley effect will play a part in who will eventually become president.

Obama has insisted that it does not cause concern for him and that the American people want nothing more than hope that someone will change the policies that the current administration under George Bush has introduced.

This issue of social desirability bias is one that many scholars are adamant could actually cause for McCain to win the election, with many voters unwilling to admit that they will not vote for an African-American president.

History of the Bradley effect

There is no doubt that many have been affected by this including Tom Bradley, in which the theory is named after.  Others include Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson, a man who has backed Obama and also been very critical of throughout the campaign.

Tom Bradley

According to the Washington Post,The man who owes his name to the theory was once mayor of Los Angeles, California and in 1982 had decided to run for the position as democratic candidate to become governor against Republican George Deukmejian, who was white.

Days prior to the election, polls revealed that Bradley was in the lead and would most likely win the campaign.  Some even announced that he had won prior to the election as he was in such a lead. This was not the case.

When election day came, he lost.  Charles Henry, an African American studies professor proposed that race would have been the main factor in this election and the reason for Bradley losing.

Since then, many have argued that this idea that some are afraid of admitting that they are voting for a white person in fear of being accused of racism, could in fact be very true.

Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is very familiar with the effect that this theory can have upon an African American hoping to be in power.

When he ran for Democratic presidential primary in 1988, the polls, similar to this year’s with Obama, suggested that he had a fair chance of winning.  In the end, he did not recieve near enough votes and many were quick to question whether the theory could have contributed to the voting.

Obama and the Bradley effect

It will be interesting to see whether in 2008, the Bradley effect is still existent.  The polls are in favour of Obama and with the popularity that he has very quickly gained, he has a very fair chance of winning. 

A gallup poll in 1958 revealed that 58 percent of Americans would not vote for an African-American. By 2007, only 5percent felt this way. 

Many are hoping that history will not repeat itself with the polls wrongly suggesting who is lined up for winning the 2008 U.S. Election.

By Ffion Rees

For more information see


November 6, 2008 Posted by | Ffion-Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s family celebrate in Kenya

The Evening Standard reported that Obama‘s family in Kenya have said that his historic electoral victory is a “victory for the world”.

Obama’s relatives partied through the night. Kiran Randhawa from The Evening Standard has reported that Obama’s half-brother Abongo, 51, “wept tears of joy and relief as the win was was announced and heard Barack thank his family for their help.”

Abongo viewed the live election coverage on a portable television with his relatives in their native village.

The Evening Standard reports Abongo’s brotherly pride: “I never had any doubt my brother would do this. This is a historic moment…for the entire world.”

Please see the video below for coverage of Obama’s family celebrating in Africa:


Sarah Obama is thrilled for her grandson

Barack Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, is a woman of simple means, and has always maintained that the fame and glory of her grandson would not affect her lifestyle.

The Guardian report on her uncomplicated way of living. Sarah wakes at dawn, tends her vegetables, goes to the market and then to bed.

Even on Wednesday night – election night – Sarah continued as normal with her daily routine, turning in for bed early. Other members of the family camped at her house but could not sleep for excitement.

CNN announced Obama’s victory over John McCain at 7am the following morning. This time, Sarah Obama joined in all the commotion and allowed herself to be caught in the emotion of her surrounding family.

A few hours later, she expressed her emotional sentiments to The Guardian, “I don’t know if I will die of happiness.”

When asked if she had any advice for the new president, she said: “He should work very well globally, especially for world peace.”

Joy in Kenya

Elsewhere in Kenya where people think of Obama as one of their own, The Guardian report the euphoria to have spread.

Spontaneous parties were thrown in the eastern port city of Mombasa. In Nairobi young men were marching through a slum singing: “Obama don’t sleep. The struggle is still on.”

President Mwai Kibaki declared today as a bank holiday in celebration of Obama’s victory much to the delight of the people of Kenya.

In the village near Sarah Obama’s house in Kogelo, hundreds of locals had stayed up throug the night and were danicing whilst watching the election procedures on screen. Barak Obama’s father had been raised in this village.

 Kenya is not expecting to receive help from Obama. The Guardian reported Auma Obama, the half-sister who Obama thanked in his speech, as saying: “As a family we support Barack, but have not got expectations [of him helping us in Africa].”

He is an American … if there any changes to they will be in America and the world.”

For more information on Obama’s family, you can see my background article.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Charlotte Hanger - Quirky News | , , , | Leave a comment

Background: The Obama family

John McCain used Obama‘s background as a negative arguement towards his opponent during the campaigns, and the question ‘who is Obama?’ became topical.

In response, Obama sportingly joked that he comes from Krypton, the planet where Superman was born.

But where is Obama from? Who are his family? Obama seems to have a new step-grandmother or unknown uncle popping up all over Kenya and America.

Family is incredibly important to Obama and it is a known fact that whilst he was senate, he tried to be back at home with his wife and children from Thursday to Sunday every week.

Obama referred to his family in his election victory speech, and said that he loved his children ‘more than they could ever know’. He also made a loving dedication to his wife during the same speech:

 “And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years … the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation’s next first lady … Michelle Obama.”

The family behind Barack Obama

Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961. Obama and his wife have two children between them, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7. You can see a video of the Obamas below:

The President was born in Hawaii to Barack Hussein Obama from Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white American from Kansas. His parents met while studying together at the University of Hawaii, and married in 1961 and divorced in 1964, when Obama was two years old.

Obama’s father only saw his son once more on a return to Kenya before dying in a motorbike accident in 1982.

Obama was mostly brought up by his maternal grandparents. His grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died on the eve of the Presidential election.

Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, died of ovarian cancer in 1995.

The extended family

In an interview in 2006, Obama talked about his numerous relatives, “Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it’s like a little mini-United Nations… I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I’ve got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.”

In Obama’s outer-immediate family, he has seven half-siblings from Kenya, all from his father’s side. Six of them are living. He also has a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. Maya is his mother’s daughter.

Obama’s paternal step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, lives in a Kenyan Nyang’oma Kogelo village near his other relatives. The village is 30 miles away from Kenya’s main town, Kisumu, which is next to Lake Victoria.

Sarah Obama is a member of the Luo, the third largest ethnic group in Kenya. Many of Obama’s other paternal relations are also members of this group.

Obama’s grandmother Sarah was the third wife of Obama’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama (1895-1979). Barack Obama has been known to call his grandmother ‘Granny Sarah’, although she is not a blood relation.

Sarah Obama speaks mostly Luo and communicates with her step-grandson with the help of an interpreter.

After Obama’s electoral victory over John McCain, Sarah Obama finally let go of her strict but simple routines and celebrated her step-grandson’s Presidency. To see my article on Sarah Obama and her relations celebrating, please see here.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Charlotte Hanger - Quirky News | , , , | Leave a comment

Will the Bradley effect lose it for Obama?

Some analysts have warned that the ‘Bradley effect’ could possibly take place in this years U.S. Presidential Election.

Bradley effect in this day and age

What triggered this suggestion was the results of New Hampshirewhere, according to the polls, Obama was meant to win.  When the results came in, he lost by three points to his democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Some right-wing Republicans have been clear in their opinion of Obama and that his policies in no way coincide with their beliefs. 

The Internet has been a successful source for uploading videos showing peoples’ opinions on the two candidates and there have been plenty of them interviewing ‘rednecks’ who are afraid of Obama and his policies.

Others have been less vocal and has sparked the question as to whether the Bradley effect has been playing it’s part.

The Bradley effect is a theory that suggests that some voters tell pollsters that they have not decided who they will vote for or that they will be voting for the black candidate but on election day, they vote for the white person.

Evidence from the past

This name derives from Tom Bradley who was a black man running for governor in California in 1982.  He lost even though the polls suggested that he was ahead.

There has been a fear that Obama might suffer the same fate as many believe that some people will not be ready for such a change.  Even though his slogans have been ‘Change’ and ‘Yes We Can’, he is certainly aware that there is a huge challenge ahead of him.

There has been over the last decades what is known as a social desirability bias in which white voters are afraid of admitting who they are voting for in case they are accused of being racist.

Some have criticized the Bradley effect, agreeing that this might have been true immediately after integration of blacks and whites but not so in the last two decades.

Charles Henry, an African American studies professor at the University of California has spoken publicly that he believes Obama will need “a double-digit lead in polls to feel confident about victory on election day.”

Not a believer

Obama himself has spoken in interviews about the Bradley effect and whether he believes that it is a matter for him to be prepared for.  He strongly argues that this will not be an issue for him in winning the election when interviewed by Katie Couric.

“The reason I’m sitting here two days before election as the democratic candidate is because the American people ultimately care about whether or not you can do the job.”

Obama’s view on this matter is refreshing as his views are on any other topic.  Unfortunately with history as evidence that the Bradley effect can play a part in an electoral process, let’s hope that things really have changed.

By Ffion Rees

For more information see

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Ffion-Politics | , , , , | 3 Comments

Bold Statements in Fashion

Each year, fashion week comes and goes, with little distinction from past years. Streaks of bright lights fill the runway, as the world looks towards top designers in an attempt to define their own fashion sense.

However, this year as the US presidential election heats up, political banter has made it onto the runway, catching the attention of both the fashion world and the real world.

The New Function of Fashion

Notable designers such as Sonia Rykiel, Versace, Stella McCartney and Jean Charles de Castelbajac are making waves both on the runway and also in the political world. Putting their designs where their mouth is, European designers are not afraid to express their support for their favourite candidate.

According to MSNBC, Donatella Versace described Barack Obama as “the man of the moment,” dedicating her spring/summer 2009 line to political front runner. Versace describes the style of here newest line for “a relaxed man who doesn’t need to flex muscles to show he has power.”

Meanwhile, Jean Charles de Castelbajac’s models are gracing the runway with Obama inspired garments. The Andy Warhol-like designer has placed an image of Barack Obama on the front of a dress, with the back featuring the words “I have a dream today”.

Courtesy of The Telegraph Newspaper

Courtesy of The Telegraph Newspaper

Castelbajac told the Telegraph, “I made it because for me, Barack Obama is the most charismatic leader in politics today,” he went on to explain, “He is incarnate of hope, changes and youth. The ovation the dress received amazed me – as did the amount of insulting letters I have received from the United States. But I’m pleased to see that fashion has become such a powerful medium.”

Other Statements in Fashion

Prior to the start of this year’s election, fashion has long contributed to societal commentary.  In the year 2005, Dior launched a “Dior not war” and “Dior for peace” campaign, sending models down the runway with John Lennon’s song “Imagine” playing in the background.

Courtesy of Google Images

Additionally, music icons such as P-diddy have created affordable clothing lines with the Vote or Die slogan. Marie Claire has teamed up with Armani Exchange to create a political t-shirt saying “Think fashion makes a statement… Try Voting.” Although in the end it is up to the voter to decide, these bold and moving iconic statements are ingenious in creating buzz.

Chai C


November 6, 2008 Posted by | Chai- Int'l Current Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton Wins F1 World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton has become the youngest Formula 1 Champion, at 23years old. His 5th place on Sunday’s final race in Brazil gave him just enough points to beat his title rival Felipe Massa.

Hamilton wins F1 championship

Hamilton wins F1 championship. Image courtesy granted by http://www.F1

Going into the race, Hamilton was at the top of the leader board and needed to come in at least 5th place to win the championship.

A sudden downpour just minutes before the start of the race caused a delay and gave the teams a difficult decision about which tyres to start the race on. The track was wet in places, giving the drivers a challenging start to the final race.

Hamilton stayed in a comfortable position throughout most of the race, reaching his much needed 5th place and holding off any competitors. With only a few laps to go, Hamilton was in 4th place, and then the rain came in.

The majority of teams took a final pit stop to change onto wet tyres, but the Toyota team took a chance and left Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli out on the track. As Hamilton went into the pits he was in 4th position and looked set to win the championship.

As Hamilton left the pits, he went back onto the track in 5th place, but with only 3 laps to go Vettel slid past him into 5th. It looked like it was all over for the young F1 star, as the final lap began with Hamilton in 6th place.

As Felipe Massa crossed the line to win the race, the Ferrari team looked set to celebrate a championship win. On the final corner, Hamilton shocked everyone by overtaking Timo Glock and clinching the much needed 5th place to win the championship.

For many Felipe Massa was the real champion, staying in first place throughout a difficult race, and only losing the title by one point. The nail biting final race was a fitting end to the F1 season.

Many race reports have commended Massa on his grace in handing over the title to young Hamilton.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the F1 champion on Monday, saying that he was “thrilled” at Hamiltons championship win.

He said “ I think that the whole of Britain are proud of the inspirational Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren team”.

In an interview with, the new champion commented on the final race, “the last two laps were the toughest two laps of my entire career because the stakes were just so high”.

On being the F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton said, “it doesn’t really sink in straight away – but then it hits you again and again: ‘Wow, you are world champion!’ It’s a cool feeling”.

For background on Lewis Hamilton visit the link.

Carrian Jones

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Carrian - Entertainment | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lewis Hamilton Background

Born in Hertfordshire in 1985, 23 year old Lewis Hamilton has just become the youngest F1 World Champion to date.

After losing last years F1 championship by just one point, Hamilton had a lot to make up for this year. In 2007 he was set to become the champion, with a 17 point lead and only two races to go, it shocked the nation when he finished in 7th place in Brazil, losing the championship to Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen.

Lewis Hamilton began his racing career in 1993 when he was just 8 years old. By the age of 10, Hamilton had won the British Karting championship, and more wins were to come. He was spotted by McLaren chairman and CEO, Ron Dennis and was signed to the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programme. At the age of 15, Hamilton was crowned the Karting world number 1.

Hamilton in his Go Kart. Picture courtesy of

Hamilton in his Go Kart. Picture courtesy granted by

After winning the British Formula Renault, European Formula Three and GP2 championship, he became a McLaren F1 driver for the 2007 championship. During the 2007 season, Hamilton broke numerous records, including most wins in a debut season and youngest driver to lead the World Championship.

His success in his rookie year of F1 did not go unnoticed by members of the public, as he was voted runner up in the 2007 Sports personality of the year.

On 18 December 2007, Hamilton was banned from driving in France for a month after being caught speeding at 122 mph on a French motorway. His Mercedes-Benz that he was driving at the time was impounded.

Banking giant Santander, one of the world’s biggest banks, sponsors Lewis Hamilton, as well as McLaren’s other commercial partners Vodafone, Hugo Boss and TAG Heuer. Hamilton appears on a television advert for Santander, where he drives away in his McLaren F1 racing car.

Hamilton is currently dating Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the American girl band Pussycat Dolls, who witnessed his championship win on Sunday’s race in Brazil.

Carrian Jones

For a recent report on Sunday’s F1 Championship visit this link.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Carrian - Entertainment | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m going off the rails on a crazy train


Ok, I’ve said enough about volunteering and exchanges. There are some of us who like to travel in the good old-fashioned way: without any plans at all in advance. jacklondon

Lucky for us, we live in Europe, where there is so much to see in such a short distance. And how to do that? Well, ever since Jack London and his days of ‘The Road’, die-hard travellers know that the ultimate way of travelling is the train.

Green Steam Train by Simon Hart

Green Steam Train by Simon Hart

Why train rules? Because you actually get to see the beautiful scenery of Europe, it’s more environmentally-friendly than planes and unlike them, it will leave you in the middle of the city. There’s more! You always meet interesting people, you don’t have to plan ahead or book and the best part, you are free to say any time, “hey, this place looks cool! Let’s get off here!”. I wanna see you saying that on a plane!

In our modern times, following Jack London’s hobo example would be pointless, since there are now schemes that cater for the wanderers and their wanderlust.

The Interrail pass was introduced in 1973 and is run jointly by all the rail services in Europe. It is a train pass that allows unlimited travel in Europe, except for some high-speed trains. Imagine a monthly travel card, from zones 1 to …the limits of Europe! If you are not a European citizen, you can take the Eurail instead.


You can either purchase a one-country pass from £25, or my favourite, the global pass from £129. This means that you can take trains towards any European destination. You also get a good discount on ferries everywhere, in case you’re a sea-wolf too. Jump from the train on the ferry from Spain to Italy to Greece, or around the Scandinavian countries. See all the places that you can go on this map. You will also have discounts on some hotels, museums, excursions, local buses, as well as other benefits.


If you buy the 22-days or the 1-month continuous pass, it means total freedom. You can literally go to the train station with your backpack and choose randomly the next destination. With all the people that you will meet on the train or the hostels, with the last minute decisions and the unpredictable timetables and more importantly, with all the trains that you will miss because of what you did the previous night, you never know where you might end up! However, if you are a control freak, you can try to plan everything in advance with the timetables, but, be warned, sticking to the plan will probably spoil all the fun!

If it’s your first time, take the advice of the veterans: the less you will pack the better. lonelypolanetBackpacks tend to get heavier by the minute. All you will really need is a good guide, like the Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring, and of course the little bible with all the timetables that some train stations offer.

Another tip: after covering the must-see capitals that you want to take off your check list, it’s time to go off the beaten track. Find summer fiestas in small villages, deserted beaches and countries that you are not quite sure where they are. You can find a lot of preparation tips on-line. Take a look at the facebook page, or the travellers’ weblog too.

So if you made up your mind, get your ticket, pack a few clothes, take a buddy with you (but choose wisely-you will spend a looot of time together!) and go to conquer Europe!

Author: Dimitra Rizou

Extra Information here.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Dimitra - Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Background: Interrail Europe

Some extra information on the Interrail pass.


The Interrail Pass is a scheme that started in 1972. It was available to travellers under 21 years old and covered 21 countries.

The age limit was raised to 23 in 1976 and to 26 in 1979. In 1998 all ages are welcome.

In 2007 the Eurail gropu takes over the management and the scheme changes. So far the tickets were purchased according to zones of countries. Now it gets simpler, without zones involved.


The Interrail is available to people who have been citizens of the participating or neighbour countries for at least 6 months.


A supplamentary fee is required for some Eurostar, Intercity and night trains.

Countries that participate:

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey.

The pass is not valid inside the participant’s country of residence, but it provides a discount from the city of residence to the border.

Discounted passes are available for chldren and youths.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Dimitra - Travel | | 2 Comments

Bold Statements in Fashion, Background

The Changing Face of Fashion

Fashion shows in Paris, London, Milan and New York each year are graced with glittering lights. Industry icons, alongside the rich and famous gather together in hopes of celebrating a renewed sense of style and glamour often absent of diversity.

Aside from Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, few top models of ethnic origin have the privilege to grace international catwalks during fashion week. The process of elimination often begins well before a model walks through a fashion house’s front door.

Breaking the Trend

Famous photographer Steven Meisel, and Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani have crossed race barriers in order to create the first Vogue Italia All Black Issue. Debuting in July 2008, the All Black Issue was available in four collectors covers featuring Liya Kebede, Naomi Campbell, Jorden Dunn, and Sessilee Lopez.

Vogue All Black Issue Covers, Courtesy of Google Images

Vogue All Black Issue Covers, Courtesy of Google Images

The issue sold out nearly instantly, causing the publisher Condé Nast to reprint and distribute 40,000 additional copies. Those possessing a coveted issue of the July 2008 Vogue Italia could turn over a 60dollar plus profit on Ebay.

Edward Enninful, a black Notting Hill-born Vogue editor told the Guardian newspaper, “for years, the excuse proffered by advertising agencies for not signing black models to lucrative contracts, and by magazine editors who failed to feature women of colour on their covers, was a supposedly factual, ‘they don’t sell’.”

A New Era in Modeling

Tyra Banks told “when I look at young black models today, I hope they can just walk through the doors like everyone else”. According to Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2 fashion, the type of models often wanted for a show is usually predetermined prior to castings. Some of Dsquared2’s shows have broken the mould by featuring Rhianna and Channel Iman.

In previous years, established designers often create a standard definition of beauty. Gucci, Chanel, Prada, etc. have long chosen models identical in shape, height and colour, with very little consideration for diversity.

However, with the influx of new faces such as Jordan Dunn and Chanel Iman, it seems the old ways of fashion forgetting diversity have started to change.

Naomi Campbell, a high fashion runway veteran has decided to personally combat racism in fashion. Campbell is vowing to set up her own modeling agency in her home country of Kenya. According to the Telegraph Newspaper, Naomi has “attacked the fashion industry and glossy magazines for sidelining black beauty in favour of fair-skinned models”. The opening of her new agency will be an attempt to redress the balance”.

In an interview with the New York Times, Vogue Italia visionary Meisel conceded, “I thought, it’s ridiculous, this discrimination. It’s so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, race – every kind of prejudice.” As a decade in this new century has nearly ended, there is renewed hope that barriers in the fashion industry will also soon pass.

Photographer Steven Meisel, Couresy of International Center of Photography

Photographer Steven Meisel, Couresy of International Center of Photography

Chai C

Sources: Issue_W0QQ_nkwZItalianQ20BlackQ20IssueQQLHQ5fBINZ1QQ_dmptZUKQ5fMagazinesQQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em301?_trksid=p3286.c0.m301,-Iman-and-Jourdan-Dunn-grace-Vogue-Italia%27s-all-black-issue.html

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Chai- Int'l Current Affairs | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment