Textual analysis
During our research, we applied textual analysis method to all sources that we found. This involved asking the correct questions such as is this source primary or secondary, what article is talking about, what is the author’s personal position, is this a reliable source or not, and etc. As a result, this guided us to limit our research material and to focus only on what can be used to support the team’s argument. In some cases, textual analysis helped us to see that some sources do not provide objective and reliable information. In other cases, the method revealed that authors focus on meaningless and trivial information. So, our research will be based on the reliable and unbiased material.

Data mining and analysis
As we know, candidates make a lot of statements and promises in their speeches during their presidential campaign. While doing our research, we came across an archive that contains all speeches that Obama and Bush made during their presidential run. It is a long list of speeches and it would be difficult for us to analyze it in short time period. So, we used data mining application to analyze the large amount of text and identify a pattern. Specifically, we used Voyant (http://voyant-tools.org/) word cloud software in order to generate word cloud of these speeches. It is a great tool to analyze a speech because it immediately shows the key words that are frequently used in the text. Word cloud helps to effectively prove our argument by visually showing the pattern in the speeches of both candidates.

Visual and Aural artifacts
Artifacts such as photo images, videos and audio are very effective in supporting our argument. Just like transcripts of speeches, video recordings of candidates’ public addresses are considered to be primary sources. Videos that our group found on YouTube and C-SPAN will be instrumental to bring attention to the specific statements and promises the candidates made. It’s one of the most effective and reliable proves that later cannot be denied by either candidates or media.

Spatial history
Finally, we came across the detail information about what states candidates visited during their campaigns and how often. We are going to plot this data using Fusion Table and create a map that will visually present all US states visited by candidates using color gradation and label them with the number of times visited. This information emphasises the important role these states play in the final results of the presidential race.


Primary Sources:

Presidential Rhetoric, Speeches From 2012 Presidential Campaign. Barack Obama Campaign Speeches. Created June-November 2012.

Presidential Rhetoric, Speeches From 2012 Presidential Campaign. George Bush Campaign Speeches, created July-November 2004.

President Obama in Springfield, OH – Full Speech 11/2/2012. Nov 2, 2012. YouTube.

Bush Campaign Rally on Oct 29, 2004. Oct 29, 2004. C-SPAN.

Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Tax Policy Center. Tax Proposals in the 2012 Budget. March 28, 2011.

The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Fact Sheet on the Framework Agreement on Middle Class Tax Cuts and Unemployment Insurance. December 7, 2010.

“George W. Bush for President Official Site: Issues.” George W. Bush for President Official Site: Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Barack Obama” Barack Obama, accessed October 30, 2012, (2011-2012, All Rights reserved) http://www.barackobama.com

“Barack Obama” Barack Obama, accessed November 29, 2012

“White House” The White House, accessed November 29, 2012

“George W. Bush” George W. Bush, accessed November 29, 2012

“George W. Bush.com :: The Re-Election Site for President George W. Bush” George W. Bush, accessed November 29, 2012 (November, 2004)

“Foreign Policy | The White House” The White House, accessed November 29, 2012

“Iraq Home Page” The White House, accessed November 30, 2012 (September 11, 2004)

The President’s Plan for An Economy Built To Last. Barack Obama Official Website. Year 2012.

Secondary Sources:

Dan Primack. Obama’s second-term economic promises. CNN Money. September 6, 2008.

Democratic Convention: Obama Promises Economic Problems Can be Fixed. Fox News Latino. September 6, 2012.

Walter Hickey. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Obama’s Economic Plan. Business Insider. October 19, 2012.

The Broken Promises of George W. Bush. Rhetoric vs. Reality. Center for American Progress Action Fund. August 9, 2004.

Bush Economics. PBS NewsHour. Paul Solman speaks with Glenn Hubbard about President Bush’s economic policy. August 30, 2004.

Overview of the 2004 Election and Electorial College Vote. President Elect. The Unofficial Home of the Electoral College. Year 2004.

Collins, Sara R., Jennifer L. Nicholson, Sheila D. Rustgi, and Karen Davis. “The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals: Choices for America – The Commonwealth Fund.” The Commonwealth Fund, 2 Oct. 2008. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

“Barack Obama makes few promises in 2012 campaign” BBC-News, accessed October 30 2012 (published October 20, 2012)

“PolitiFact | The Obameter: Campaign Promises that are about Foreign Policy” Tampa Bay Times Politifact.com, accessed October 2012 (2012)

“Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia” Wikimedia Foundation, accessed November 29, 2012 (October 26, 2012)

“Campaigning on foreign policy: World looks different from Oval Office – CNN.com” CNN.com, accessed October 2012 (October 20, 2012)


You've been Chipmunked'
Image Source: DS106 website

Which audio assignment will you be doing.
I decided to pick a song by popular artist Jay Z and “Chipmunk it” like Alvin and Chipmunks would do it. Song name is “99 Problems” and Jay Z performed it during Obama presidential election rally.

What hardware and software will you be using.
For mixing I used Virtual DJ Home 7 and my laptop.

A statement about how this approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument.
Chipmunked audio can be used as an interesting and unusual approach to make a historical argument. While working on this project I came to realization that chipmunking has a potential to have two different effects on the final outcome – positive or negative. By this, I mean if the original product is presented by respectable person and in the serious manner, the chipmunked version will turn it to funny and unimportant. In a case of any US president speeches no matter how important or urgent is the message, urgency and importance will disappear in the chipmunked version.

On the other hand, there are cases when performer uses inappropriate expressions such as explicit lyrics, unethical views or even incite hatred and violence. Products of this nature cannot be presented to certain audiences such as young adults. Using chipmunk effect will put a positive spin on this inappropriate product and, at the same time, will be able to historically preserve this artifact without destroying it. Perfect example is Jay Z and most of his songs that are filled with bad language and messages. After applying chipmunk effect the song became much “friendlier”. I would not even be surprised if one day Hollywood would use it in one of their funny kids cartoons.

To summarize, chipmunking effect on the audio product provides an interesting and unique opportunity where we can twist the message and at the same time make a historical arguments. Similar methods are used in politics and other areas of life where people want to emphasize certain messages that are convenient to them, and make extra effort to veil others that are undesirable.


1. Statement of the historical question we seek to answer
“What are the similarities and differences of the promises related to economic, foreign policy and domestic social issues made by George W. Bush and Barack Obama during their presidential campaigning?”

2. Our group’s division of labor
We decided to divide our research work based on how they relate to 3 major topics. These topics are economic, social and war. Tatsiana is researching economic issues such as deficit spending and taxes. Philip is gathering information related to national security – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Guantanamo base closure. Estevan is focused on researching domestic social issues that may include healthcare and environment.

3. Overview of the sources that we plan to use at this stage
These are some of the sources that we potentially plan to use for our project. These sources point to various issues discussed by both presidential candidates during their presidential campaigns. We looked at Bush’s election campaign in 2000 and 2004, and Obama’s election campaign in 2008 and 2012. Here we included video material, textual and data mining analysis.
George W. Bush acceptance speech
2000 Presidential Debate
Presidential Debate 2004
The Broken Promises of George W. Bush
Bush-Cheney 2000 website
Bush-Cheney 2000 – Energy website
Obama Declares Plan to Cut Deficit in Half
Obama’s record of broken promises
Barack Obama on Lobbyists and His Campaign
CNN Discusses Obama’s Hypocrisy on Lobbyists
Obama and the Bush Legacy: A Scorecard
Historical Military Pay Rates

4. Is the data will be broad enough to address our question, but also manageable within our timeframe for producing these projects?
During initial stage of our research we came to realization that our topic can be too broad and, as a result, decided to focus only on economic, foreign policy and domestic social issues discussed during presidential campaigns. Also, we narrowed on just two presidential candidates Bush and Obama. This still leaves us with large amount of material for our analysis since these two presidential hopefuls made extensive list of promises during their run for the top US political office.


Pulpit rock

9 Biggest Banks’ Derivative Exposure – $228.72 Trillion

These days we hear about billions spent here and trillions in debt there. But few people can actually visualize the magnitude of these figures and how do they fit in the big picture. I found that infographics, when done right, can present complex and boring info in simple and interesting way.

With this particular infographic you don’t need to have finance diploma in order to understand how extremely serious the world derivative situation has become. There is no government in the world that has this kind of money. This is roughly 3 times the entire world economy. The unregulated market presents a massive financial risk. The corruption and immorality of the banks pushes the world economy ever closer to the financial cliff.

Click here to see the entire eye-opening infographic from Demonocracy.info


Maps and fusion tables are quite powerful visual tools that can be used to reflect variety of data from results of the US presidential elections by state to the number of nuclear weapons by country around the world. In this example I used data to generate a gradient map of energy consumption data by state in 2009 [in trillion Btu]. Source: Official Nebraska Government Website

As part of my group’s project, we can present different types of statistic based on geographical comparison for different historical presidential elections. We can look at median income levels by state, unemployment rate, percent of income paid in taxes, republican vs democratic voting states. This will assist us in visually supporting the findings of our team’s research.


1. JSTOR – Political Reputations and Campaign Promises

2. JSTOR – Predicting Presidential Performance through Political Campaigns

3. PolitiFact – Tracking politicians’ promises

4. PolitiFact – A scorecard on President Obama’s campaign promises


One of the potential questions our group is considering to research is “How common is it for a president to break his promises made during the presidential campaign?” In order to answer this question and draw the parallels between current and historian elections, we would have to process quite large amount of text and find just the information that we need to prove our historian question. Text mining will be the essential tool in our analyses.

We will use lexical analyses that are based on searching of the key words in candidates’ speeches to find out the major promises that they made during their presidential campaign. Also, we will look for frequency of their promises – that is how often in their debates, interviews, speeches and other public appearances do they repeat these promises. Sometimes we may identify a certain patterns in their speeches that are related to their promises.

Then, we are going to compare the information that we gathered about campaign promises with the real actions these candidates made once they are elected to the presidential office. By doing this, our goal is to find out if it is common in politics for presidential candidates to make false promises to the voters, and if the voters can trust these candidates.


Vietnam War with Walter Cronkite – Part 1

Vietnam War with Walter Cronkite – Part 2

CBS documentary

Who created the artifact?
This CBS documentary was created by Walter Cronkite and Ernest Leiser.

When was the artifact created?
In mid-February 1968, Cronkite and Leiser journeyed to Vietnam to cover the aftermath of the Tet Offensive.

Where was it created?
In Vietnam

Why was the document created?
The purpose of this artifact is to bring to American people the drama and horror of the most divisive war in American history.

Why is the document a primary source?
While traveling to Vietnam, Walter Cronkite personally witnessed and documented the events and conditions in aftermath of the Tet Offensive in early 1968.

How trustworthy is the source?
According to an opinion poll, during the 1960s and 1970s Walter Cronkite was often cited as “the most trusted man in America”.

What other questions might you ask of the source in order to better understand what it reveals about the events of 1968?
What was personal interest of Cronkite in producing this work? How powerful was the role of this documentary on the minds of the American people as well as the politics of the US compared to other TV news channels? Have Walter Cronkite received any negative reaction from administration for exposing hopeless situation in Vietnam? Would it be possible for Lyndon Johnson to win reelection in 1968 if Cronkite had not produced his epic film?

If you were going to be constructing an argument about the relationship between the cultural conflict embodied by the artifact you’re presenting and the 1968 election, what other artifacts would you look for?
CBS documentary with Walter Cronkite resulted in explosion of the anti-war movement. American public lost trust in current administration and this movement strongly affected 1968 presidential elections. Besides Cronkite documentary, I would look for prime source pictures of anti-war protests. Also, I would search for original interviews and speeches such as Cronkite’s interview with General Creighton Abrams and presidential address admitting failure in Vietnam. Also, I would use newspaper articles for that time period.

How might you go about finding them?
During my previous assignment, I learned that in order to find primary source documents I would need to search historic archives and databases.

What other background reading would you need to do?
History calls 1968 “The Year That Rocked The World” because it was filled with important events and processes leading to the presidential elections. So, in order to better understand what was happening, I would read books with memoirs and autobiographies of the people who witnessed the events.

What other questions would you ask?
Social conflicts of 1968 have broken the trust of the American public in politics and government administration. After American public has learned that government is unable and, sometimes, unwilling to address social conflicts during 1968, what were the chances that new administrations can win this trust back and not to continue that agenda and policies of the old administration? Were there any realistic ways for the administration to address and possibly solve the social conflicts of 1968?


Source: CBS documentary
By 1968, television became the most important source of news for the American public, and, possibly, the most powerful influence on public opinion itself. TV brought the war from the frontlines and jungles of Vietnam into the living rooms of the American people. The intensely negative coverage of the war such bombings, brutality and civil casualties by US military influenced both politicians and the American public. This resulted in growing outrage and anti-war movement, which strongly affected 1968 presidential elections. American public lost trust in current administration, while new coming candidates were able to use this hot issue for their advantage.

Vietnam War with Walter Cronkite, CBS documentary

Source: Brown University
In this interview Governor Lincoln Almond tells us that by 1968 Vietnam war became very divisive for the nation and he personally was taking part in many anti-war demonstrations. The war was taking its toll on Lyndon Johnson and, as a result, he was forced to withdraw from 1968 presidential race and give up his chances for his second term in the presidential office.

Interview with Governor Lincoln Almond
Spring, 1998

Source: AP Images database
This picture illustrates the police brutality against peace movement demonstrators in Chicago just few months before presidential election of 1968. This shows inhumane methods politicians used to suppress anti-war movement, which was unpopular topic during the political campaign. Picture speaks a thousand words!

Original caption: 8/28/1968-The “Black” Year (Tenth of Fourteen) – Police and demonstrators are in a melee near the Conrad Hilton Hotel on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue August 28th during the Democratic National Convention.
Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images


After exploring DS106 website, I think it’s a great platform that allows people to be creative and inventive while freely sharing their new type of art with internet community.

Intellectual property. With the emergence of the Internet people start to rethink and change the ways intellectual property should be used in a modern inter-connected society. Members of the DS106 community do their best to recognize the rights of the owners of intellectual property such as images, video, music and other digital content. However, they feel that they have the right to create new media by using elements of intellectual property and this makes important additions to original contributions.

Fair use. Allows to maintain a balance between the free flow of information over the Internet while still protecting intellectual property rights. It is a shared opinion among the members of the ds106 community that the role of fair use is to prevent copyright from limiting the creativity, and from imposing other challenges that would prevent the creation and spread of knowledge and learning. Since DS106 is online teaching and learning site, it permits limited use of copyrighted material.

Network ethics. Everyday technologies like the Internet, and digital media affects how we work, play and communicate, and challenges us to think about ethical problems in new ways. Few users of DS106 site would argue that legal downloading and distributing copies of copyright-protected material is stealing, and thus ethically wrong. However, using pieces of others’ digital work like mash-up and remix allows for the emergence of new forms of creativity.

Commons. After browsing through DS106 site, I came to realize that site users understand Commons as being able to collaborate, explore, share, mix and re-use digital content in new creative ways.


After reading the article written by Cohen and Rosenzweig, I decided to expand on the definition of the durability of the digital media. In particular, I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to the real problem that is developing in our modern society. At the same time as we are celebrating our technological achievements and the shift towards digital media across all specters of life, we as civilized society moving ever deeper into dangerous territory. And this danger lies in the fact that potentially some or all digital content including digital history could be lost instantaneously if measures are not taken to preserve it!

 I am really glad that for this class we have such a useful tool as this blog where many users can contribute their ideas to the same project. I think, it is great that we can collaborate with each other. It will help us to get inspirations and allow us to expand our horizons on this subject. And, at the same time, our blog can create debates and express new ideas and opinions. There are famous words that come to mind: ’’The society is shaped by the ideas that are generated by the individual members of this society’’.