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In Senator Obama’s opinion it appears the arts have become essential to reengage our standing in the world. According to an article in Bloomberg, he is the first White House contender to include a far- reaching arts-plank in his platform. Quoting Robert Lynch, president and chief executive officer of “Americans for the Arts” a highly respected Washington based arts advocacy group, “no presidential candidate in recent times has addressed cultural issues in such detail.” As early as the spring of 2007 Obama brought together a committee of arts and arts professionals including such luminaries as Hollywood producer George Stevens, novelist Michael Chabon, Broadway director Hal Prince, Museum of Modern Art president emerita Agnes Gund, to focus on this issue.

By contrast the article advises that John McCain has consistently voted for cuts in the National Endowment for the Arts (the NEA) budget, saying that funding for the arts is a local matter.

Art from zeushadesposeidon), with thanks to Full Body Transplant, Article HP

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With nine days left before the presidential election, actor Matt Damon is trying to keep Americans fired up and eager to vote.

Damon is participating in the Florida VoteFest ’08 Sunday and Monday, a statewide initiative to encourage people to vote early.

“I took time off from acting until the end of the year to be with my family and enjoy our new daughter,” Damon told PEOPLE at a jam-packed Barack Obama rally Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla. “But it is very important for me to do what I can to help the Obama campaign so people will go out and vote. We need change in this country and now is the time to be sure that happens.”

HP

Angelina Jolie won’t officially endorse a candidate, despite one being actively sought from both campaigns, but she had nice words for the Democratic nominee in the the German edition of Vanity Fair:

“Obama Would Be Great For My Family”

“Obama is fighting for international justice, he wants to intervene militarily in genocides abroad, and he wants to close down Guantanamo Bay. They are things which could move me to vote for him, not his roots. Of course, an American president like Barack Obama would be great for my family.”

But that isn’t “reason enough to vote for him.”

On being American:
“I am very proud of being American, and all my children have got American passports.

“For me, our family is just what America is – a melting pot, a mixture of many different races and nations,” she says. “My children should be proud of their Asian and African roots, but that in no way means [is] a lack of respect for the fact that they and their parents are Americans.”

Source: HP