the problems of predatory lending industry a few weeks ago and now, problems
are coming to light with the student loan industry. In one of the more
egregious examples, Student Loan Express, a student loan company that is a
unit of CIT Group, Inc, is alleged to
more than $21,000 for Johns Hopkins University's director of student
financial services to attend graduate school. Coincidentally (or not),
Student Loan Express happens to be on the preferred lender list at Johns
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men,
women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless
women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the
Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic
African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over
into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such
horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.
Even with the good news that came last Tuesday, all too much evidence exists that the basic machinery of democracy in America is broken. Election Day is like Groundhog Day and the first stories of problems with voting machines, long lines, or voter intimidation hit the wires in the early A.M. Fortunately, with progressives in control in more states than ever before, we have an opportunity to get the machinery working, so that the engine of democracy starts humming again.
Someday soon, we will all be experts in Ohio election law. The
state's rules are under fire yet again. This time, a labor union and an
advocacy organization for the homeless have teamed up to file suit regarding the state's new ID rules, which the plaintiffs say are being enforced differently county by county.
A new report commissioned by Cuyahoga County in Ohio has found problems to be so widespread with voting technology and election training that there are fears that the problems will not be solved 2008, much less by this November election.
After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by
Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the
lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They
are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage
fight stands in a number of states:
With the 2006 elections quickly approaching, a small group of highly energized right-wing activists are working hard to export a failed policy from Colorado to other states around the nation. The idea is known variously as the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR), the Stop OverSpending Amendment (SOS), or as Tax and Spending Control (TASC). Fundamentally, though, all of the amendments boil down to a single policy idea: arbitrarily capping increases in state spending based on only two factors -- population growth and the consumer price index.
What political observer is not interested in changes in Ohio's
political landscape? The state has a tendency to be decisive in
Presidential elections and is gripped by high-profile races for
Governor and Senator this year. So it is very interesting that
conservatives appear to be edging away from a radical Constitutional
spending cap modeled on Colorado's failed TABOR law.
The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for
over three decades. For many workers -- especially those without a
college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this
generation is the first one in American history which is not doing
signficantly better than the previous one. Part of the reason for
these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal
minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.