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Old 07-14-2009, 11:17 PM   #676
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What Obama wants to do for entry-level higher ed

by Christopher Beam
Slate, July 14


...Community colleges don't get a lot of respect. Except, as of this week, from President Obama. In a speech Tuesday in Warren, Mich., he proposed sinking nearly $12 billion into revamping the country's community-college system. The plan would provide $9 billion in grant money to boost academic programs and raise graduation rates, plus another $2.5 billion to upgrade school facilities. It would also fund open-source online courses so that schools don't have to build more classrooms to admit more students.

The point isn't to turn Harvard on the Highway into actual Harvard. Even if the government gave all $12 billion to one community college, it wouldn't be as rich as the World's Greatest University. Nor is the purpose merely to improve the image of community colleges. And it's not to encourage enrollment: With the economy tanking and tuitions at four-year colleges and universities exploding, community colleges are in the rare position of having to turn people away. "We're bursting at the seams," says Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College in New York City, which saw a 25 percent increase in students over last year.

Rather, the plan is designed to correct decades of federal neglect. "Too often, community colleges are treated like an afterthought—if they're thought of at all," Obama said in his speech. Right now, somewhere between one-third and one-half of American undergrads are at community colleges, depending how you count. Yet community colleges receive only 20% of federal funding. "We've been so focused on the quality and reputation of our lead institutions" at the expense of community colleges, says Thomas Bailey of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University. (That's right: Not even the community college research center is based at a community college.) "The biggest issue in higher education has been affirmative action." Racial preference isn't a problem when you don't turn anyone away.

That model is outdated, says Mellow: "We live in a knowledge economy, and we've set up education as if we're an agrarian culture." It used to be that you could educate the top 10%, he said, and the rest of the population would get unskilled jobs. But in a global economy, where even professions like cashier or truck driver require constant upgrades in technology and information, a high-school diploma is not always enough. That said, a pricey Ivy League degree may not be necessary, either. Community colleges fill that hole.

If the goal is to raise college graduation rates—Obama wants 5 million more grads by 2020—community colleges make an obvious target. They're packed with people who want to be in college—they enrolled, after all—but often drop out. (Only 30% of students entering community college graduate in six years, compared with 58% of students at four-year schools.) Plus, they require little funding compared with other universities: Community college tuitions are typically in the $2,000-to-$5,000 range.

Another reason to spend on community colleges: They're agile. If the university system is an ocean liner, community colleges are the speedboats of higher education. If they get more money and use it wisely, the thinking goes, they can produce results in a matter of years. After all, they're designed to respond to the needs of the local community. For example, LaGuardia Community College recently introduced a program to train designers in New York City. When the fishing industry started struggling in Massachusetts, Cape Cod Community College turned its focus to nursing and other health-care-related jobs. When Connecticut introduced its first casino, one nearby community college started training croupiers. For an administration looking for shovel-ready projects, community colleges can provide a lot of shovels.

Will $12 billion really make a difference? "We'd hope so," says Elizabeth Homan, a spokeswoman for Montgomery College. The school currently has $78 million in deferred maintenance and hasn't hired any new faculty in two years. Obama's plan might not cover the needs of all 1100 community colleges in the country. But the national attention will probably help the schools raise more money on their own. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year announced up to $500 million in grants to community colleges.

Educators also hope Obama's new focus will change the way people think about post-secondary education. Giant research universities increase the amount of knowledge in the world. But community colleges increase the number of people who know it. And with jobs going overseas at ever-faster rates, America needs an educated, flexible work force ready to change jobs on short notice. That work force is more likely to emerge from community colleges than from, say, the Dartmouth English department.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:42 PM   #677
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Excellent move.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:56 AM   #678
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throws like a girl.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:29 PM   #679
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I loved when he said that Michelle thinks he looks cute in the White Sox jacket (he does) But he should lose the Dad Levis jeans. It's excruciating enough listening to McCarver and Buck..but to listen to them interview the President was even worse. Luckily he was pretty charming. Wakefield should have gotten in (Joe Mauer the Superman can't catch a knuckleball?) and Papelbon sucked you-know-what just as he has the last few weeks. I liked the locker room video- Ichiro meeting Obama was priceless.



I thought Obama's was pretty good (he did practice with Pujols). Here's a bad one

YouTube - Mark Wahlberg Throws The First Pitch

Much worse. Gotta love the outfit too

YouTube - Mariah Carey Throws First Pitch In Baseball Game
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:52 PM   #680
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I just love that Ichiro moment, so damn cute


YouTube - MLB 2009 All Star Game - The Stars meet Obama
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:52 PM   #681
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Ichiro!
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:19 PM   #682
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Don't forget, he owned a small percentage of a baseball team

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Old 07-15-2009, 03:42 PM   #683
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Who cares what Mariah's throw looked liked?
It's all about the booty.

Objectification FTW!
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:58 PM   #684
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Who cares what Mariah's throw looked liked?
It's all about the booty.

Objectification FTW!
I miss you when I'm not around.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:17 AM   #685
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NSW! Good to see you back, dude.
I assume that you 'delivered' in your trousers when TUF was played.
I still haven't heard it, I am saving my virgin ass for the live experience.
And by "live experience" I mean in a restroom, George Michael style.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:53 AM   #686
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Quote:
Shining a harsh light on hedge funds

by Andrew Leonard
Salon.com, July 16


On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury sent proposed legislation to Congress outlining new rules for hedge fund regulation. From Bloomberg:
The legislation would require firms for the first time to report their assets, leverage, off-balance sheet holdings and investments to regulators on a confidential basis, the department said today in a statement. The law would apply to hedge funds, private-equity firms and venture capital managers with more than $30 million in assets.
Simply requiring large hedge funds to report what they're doing, confidentially, might seem like weak beer to those looking for Obama to smack Wall Street around with a heavier stick. But, coincidentally, on that same day, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on hedge fund regulation, and one of the panel discussants called to testify, Richard Bookstaber, explained clearly exactly why such rules could make a big difference in protecting the U.S. economy from the risk of another financial meltdown. One excerpt:
"To control the systemic risk posed by hedge funds we must be able to measure crowding, the unintentional concentration of separate funds in the same trade. This means knowing the positions of the individual hedge funds and then being able to aggregate those positions. Whatever their own risk management capabilities, the individual funds--and regulators that might be providing oversight on an institution-by-institution basis--cannot keep systemic risk in check because they do not have this aggregate information. It is as if each fund is sitting in a darkened theater unaware of how many others might run for the exit. To regulate and monitor the systemic risk arising from manipulation, the first task again is for the regulator to know the positions of the hedge funds that are capable of such manipulation, and know those positions on a frequently updated basis...This is missing in the current regulatory structure, and is at the core of systemic risk."
Maybe it's not Glass-Steagal, or equivalent to the creation of the FDIC or SEC, but it would definitely be an incremental improvement from the situation as it now stands. It's also encouraging to see the White House submit legislation in actual draft form, rather than just articulate priorities and then wait for Congress to act. Accumulate enough incremental improvements like this, and eventually you might actually have something that resembles real reform.

But on the other hand,


Quote:
Goldman and JP Morgan win while America loses

by Robert Reich
Salon.com, July 16


Besides Goldman Sachs, the Street's other surviving behemoth is JPMorgan. On Thursday, it posted second-quarter earnings up a stunning 36% from the first quarter, to $2.7 billion. The resurgence of JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs gives both banks more financial clout than any other players on the Street--allowing both firms to lure talent from everywhere else on the Street with multimillion pay packages, giving both firms enough economic power to charge clients whopping fees, and bestowing on both firms even more political heft in Washington.

Where are the antitrusters when we need them? Alternatively, why isn't the government charging Goldman and JPMorgan a large insurance fee for classifying both firms as "too big to fail" and therefore automatically bailed out if the risks they take turn sour? Instead, we've ended up with two giants that now have most of the casino to themselves, are playing with poker chips backed by taxpayers, and have a big say in what the rules of the game are to be.

When JP Morgan repaid its federal bailout of $25 billion last month it was, like Goldman, freed from stricter government oversight. The freedom has also allowed JP, like Goldman, to take tougher and more vocal stands in Washington against proposed financial regulations they dislike. JP is mounting a furious lobbying campaign against regulations that would funnel derivatives trading through exchanges where regulators can monitor them, and thereby crimp JP's profits. Now the Street's biggest derivatives player, JP has generated billions helping clients navigate these contracts and assuming counter-party risk in such transactions. Its derivatives contracts were valued at roughly $81 trillion at the end of the first quarter, representing 40% of the derivatives held by all banks, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. JP has played down its potential risk exposure from these derivatives contracts, of course, but anyone who's been paying attention over the last 10 months knows that unregulated derivatives have been at the center of the storm.

The tumult on the Street has also given both firms extraordinary market power. That's where much of the current profits are coming from. JP used the crisis to snap up Bear Stearns in March and Washington Mutual last fall, with the amiable assistance of the Treasury. The deals have boosted JP's dominance in retail banking and prime brokerage, enabling it to charge its corporate clients heftier fees for lending and other financial services, and to corner more of the market in fixed-income and equities. JP also bolstered its earnings by helping other financial companies raise capital following the stress test results in May.

Antitrust law was designed to prevent just this sort of market power and political heft. The Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission should investigate the newfound dominance of Goldman and JP--and, if warranted, break them up. Alternatively, Congress should impose a surtax on the newly exclusive group of Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman and JPMorgan, which are now backed by implicit government bailout insurance guaranteeing that, should they get into trouble, taxpayers will keep them afloat. The surtax would approximate the economic benefit to these firms of such government largesse, which I'd estimate to be at least 50% of their profits from here on.
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:24 AM   #687
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:19 AM   #688
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Israel rejects US call to stop East Jerusalem settlement expansion

Financial Times (UK), July 20


Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, yesterday rejected a US call to halt construction on a controversial project in mostly Arab east Jerusalem in a move likely to heighten tensions with the country's staunchest ally over the expansion of Jewish settlements. The premier's statements came after a senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Israeli press reports that the US State Department had over the weekend summoned Michael Oren, the country's ambassador to Washington, to demand the plan be suspended.

Mr Netanyahu, speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting, reiterated his stance that Israeli sovereignty over the entire city of Jerusalem is "indisputable" and said: "We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and purchase [homes] in all parts of Jerusalem."

The statements are likely to provoke further friction with the US, which has demanded Israel freeze all Jewish construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Palestinians want the city's eastern part, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed as part of its capital city in a move not recognised internationally, as the capital of their future state. Mr Netanyahu's stance may also hamper recent efforts by George Mitchell, the US Middle East envoy, and Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister and the leader of the only centrist party in Mr Netanyahu's coalition, to reach a compromise on the settlements dispute. Mr Mitchell is expected to meet with the Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem later this month.

Yossi Alpher, an Israeli political analyst, said Mr Netanyahu's comments aimed at clarifying to the US and the Palestinians that he plans to make no concessions on Jerusalem. Furthermore, he added, the statements were a bid to appease the premier's ultra-nationalist and religious coalition allies, who support settlement construction and oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. He said: "Netanyahu is staking out a negotiating position on Jerusalem and is trying to hold his coalition together. This will only exacerbate the existing disagreements between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration over this issue."
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:29 AM   #689
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^ That is bad news for Israel.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:56 AM   #690
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New Rasmussen 2012 poll out a few hours ago.

Obama 45%, Romney 45%
Obama 48%, Palin 42%
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