My good friend Adam embarks on his journey to Ghana with the Peace Corps on Monday, September 29th. He'll be blogging the experience at:
We love and miss you, Adam!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The New York Times Reports Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has pulled out of the run-off election.
It was over two and a half month's ago that Tsavangirai received more votes than the incumbent Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's presidential election. However, Tsavangirai did not secure the 50% threshold needed and the election was forced into a run-off. In the days following the April 1st election and the announcement of a run-off at a future date that the international press sounded the alarm, warning against the terror and corruption that would surely plague the opposition in a run-off.
The NYT on April 3, 2008:
A Zimbabwean businessman with close links to the ruling party, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the nation’s military and intelligence chiefs discussed several options with the president after the vote appeared to go badly. These included the outright rigging of the election, going to a runoff and even the “elimination” of Mr. Tsvangirai.
As reports of Mugabe resorting to terror in an effort to drive off the opposition (including the out right assassination of 85 of Tsvangirai's party activists and supporters) became more frequent, Tsvangiari was forced to withdraw his bid:
At a news conference, Mr. Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or M.D.C., said he was unwilling to ask the party’s supporters to go to the polls on Friday “when that vote will cost them their lives.”
Mr. Tsvangirai’s decision came on a day when governing party youth militia armed with iron bars, sticks and other weapons beat his supporters as they sought to attend a rally for him in Harare.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
According to the AP tally, Sen. Obama has clinched the necessary 2,118 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.
Sen. Obama has rolled out nearly 20 superdelegates in the 24 hours leading up to the South Dakota and Montana primaries. The Obama campaign hopes to announce after tonight's results that they have officially clinched the nomination.
Earlier in the day, reports surfaces that Sen. Clinton would be conceding the nomination tonight, but campaign chairman Terry McAulliffe quickly debunked the reports. McAulliffe did not go as far as to assert Sen. Clinton would not drop out on Wednesday.
This blogger's prediction: Sen. Clinton stages a massive rally in upstate New York on Wednesday declaring a glorious campaign in which the Democrats went through all 50 states, multiple territories, had much greater turnout than the Republicans, are stronger than ever and ready for November.
Perhaps it is naive of me to assume she could be so realistic/gracious/selfless.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
If are thinking about West Virgina, think again.
Last night, Democrat Travis Childers won the special election for Mississippi's 1st congressional district. Childers winning one congressional seat is relatively insignificant on the surface, but there is a larger trend.
Childers is the third Democrat to win a special congressional election in the last three months. This has the Republicans very nervous for their already dim prospects in the fall.
Historically, Mississippi's first congressional district is considered one of the safest Republican districts with Bush winning 62% of the vote out of Missippi's 1st in 2004. Childers' Republican challenger Greg Davis tried to nationalize the battle by repeatedly invoking Sen. Obama and Rep. Pelosi in ads and speeches, but no one took the bait.
On a day when the pundits raise concerns over the Democrats prospects in November given Obama's troubling performance in West Virginia moot primary, perhaps they are missing the much more telling signs coming from the Mississippi bayou.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The Seattle Times highlights a new trend among evangelical youth voters:
According to a September 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 15 percent of white evangelicals between 18 and 29, a group traditionally a shoo-in for the GOP, say they no longer identify with the Republican Party. Older evangelicals are also questioning their traditional allegiance, but not at the same rate.
What is driving the young evangelicals away from the GOP?
"I just keep thinking, if Jesus were alive now, he wouldn't necessarily be voting Republican."
Saturday, May 10, 2008
-- Tours PV Powered and holds press availability, Bend, OR
-- 2:30 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Bend, OR
-- Travels back to Chicago, IL
-- 2:00 pm ET: Attends Mother's Day Celebration with Chelsea Clinton, New York, NY
--5:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Rapid City, SD
-- 11:00 pm ET: Addresses Yellowstone County Democratic Central Committee 22nd Annual Harry S. Truman Dinner, Billings, MT
-- No public events scheduled
At the White House. . .
-- No public events scheduled, Crawford, TX
Friday, May 9, 2008
-- 12:45 pm ET: Attends economic discussion with voters, Portland, OR
-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Albany, OR
-- 10:45 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Eugene, OR
-- 1:00 pm ET: Attends event with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Chicago, IL
-- 12:30 pm ET: Attends roundtable discussion on health care, Portland, OR
-- 8:30 pm ET: Delivers remarks to Kentucky Democratic Party Dinner, Louisville, KY
-- 10:00 am ET: Attends event with voters, Madison, WV
-- 12:15 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Williamson, WV
-- 3:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Wayne, WV
-- 5:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, St. Albans, WV
-- 7:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Ripley, WV
-- 11:00 am ET: Holds press conference, Jersey City, NJ
-- 5:00 pm ET: Attends fundraiser with supporters, Columbia, SC
At the White House and Beyond. . .
-- Crawford, TX
-- 8:30 am ET: Releases the March report on trade balance, Washington, DC
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The New York Times' Editorial Board outlines the future of student loans as they ought to be, the political forces working against the reform, and the realistic middle ground that can be achieved.
President Bush showed good sense on Wednesday when he signed legislation to ensure an uninterrupted flow of federal student loans during the credit crunch. Now comes the test of leadership.
The new law will help lenders who have found themselves unable to raise money for new loans on acceptable terms — if at all. The difficulty has nothing to do with the quality of the loans. The government guarantees all federal student loans against default and guarantees lenders an interest rate set in law. But as capital has become costly and scarce, student lending has become less profitable, leading several dozen lenders to stop lending.
There was no real danger of students being left high and dry because plenty of lenders remain in the market and the government also offers loans directly. To keep the situation from deteriorating, the new law allows the Education Department to buy some outstanding loans, thus providing money to make new loans.
At the same time, however, the student loan crunch has shown that the private lending program is costlier and less reliable than it should be. Fixing it will mean standing up to lenders that have long reaped immense profits from the status quo and would no doubt prefer to revert to the old ways as soon as credit conditions permit. It is up to lawmakers and Mr. Bush to prevent that.
The major reform is to push for more direct government lending. Currently, direct lending accounts for about 22 percent of student loan volume, down from 33 percent in the mid-1990s. It has suffered as free market enthusiasts insisted that it is better for the government to subsidize lenders rather than make loans directly.
Various government reports, including President Bush’s own budget estimates, have shown that direct lending is a much better deal for taxpayers, and just as good for students. But ideology, reinforced by huge campaign donations from lenders, has created deep support for subsidized lending. Lenders have burrowed into the financial aid system, providing software and other support to colleges and universities and — as we learned last year — kickbacks to aid officers.
Then, when trouble loomed, some of the lenders who profited so well for so long headed for the exit. Direct lending won’t dry up when credit gets tighter.
Ideally, all student lending could be handled directly. But politically, that may be a long way off. In the meantime, subsidized lenders should be made to adhere to new rules. The ability to profit from government subsidies during good times should come with a reciprocal obligation, currently lacking, to hang tough in bad times.
And rather than simply provide generous subsides for lenders to make federally guaranteed student loans, lenders should have to bid for that profitable opportunity. Auctions would potentially raise tens of billion of dollars in revenue that could be used to improve grants and loan terms for college students. Free marketeers should cheer the development, because auctions would bring market forces to bear on a system that is currently nothing more than an expensive government giveaway.
Student lending always has been a government program designed to make college more attainable. The new law could be a first step toward that core goal — if political leaders will take the next necessary steps.