Total student debt in America has hit the $1 trillion mark, exceeding, for the first time, national credit card debt. Yet at this very moment, the airways and media outlets are alive with stories and opinion pieces regarding the imminent doubling of the interest rate on new Stafford Subsidized Loans to undergraduates. While in college at least half-time, students holding such need-based, federally guaranteed loans pay no interest; rather, the government pays the interest which accrues during that time. These loans, currently at a 3.4% interest rate, represent a critical element in the to
For as long as I can recall the Port Authority has been a mystical institution with enormous responsibility and with an overhang of patronage and soft money allegations. In a recent audit the Port Authority was described as dysfunctional and running up billons in cost overruns. Most significantly, the audit spoke to “insufficient cost controls” and “a lack of transparent and effective oversight.”
The AP recently revealed a spying operation by the New York City police on Muslims and Muslim institutions. What should we think about that?
Several years ago I arranged to teach a course on Privacy Law because I wanted to figure that out. I read, studied, corresponded with experts in the field and chaired a committee to come up with solutions. Here is some of what I’ve come up with.
For those public broadcasters who always ask the question: “Is classical music dead or doomed?” in interviews before every concert they air, this commentator has a simple coherent answer: “Only if you will it!” Most Public Broadcasting execs seem privately convinced but too chicken to say, what they already believe. So they ask the question, praying someone else will intone the answer they seek. Theirs’ is a suspicion fallaciously raised, ever since ‘Classical Music’ was born. In truth, as the inimitable ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong used to put it: “There’s only two kinds of music… Good and Bad
We love to complain about the lack of a coherent national energy policy. It’s a perennial complaint no matter who is in the White House or which party controls Congress. We blame the oil and gas companies and their hold on our politicians. If Congress had the people’s interests at heart, the story goes, we’d have a rational energy policy in this country that would emphasize efficiency, wean us off the dirty stuff and shift us to clean renewable energy.
In the beginning, the country’s public radio stations decided they needed an organization to provide them with world and national news. Probably based on As It Happen from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio (NPR)’s All Things Considered was started. If the member stations all kicked in, it was theorized, together they could afford a formidable news-gathering operation. Today, WAMC alone pays the network more than $800,000 a year. That’s a lot of money. It’s worth it, but it’s a tremendous burden considering all the other things we do here.
Despite the ever-shrinking number of smokers, cigarette use is still a top public health priority. And despite the incredible gains that have been made, the carnage caused by smoking still takes an enormous physical and financial toll.
Into this debate comes a product that advertises itself as a way for smokers to reduce the harm caused by cigarette use and a way for smokers to comply with smoking bans in work and public places.
That product is the “electronic cigarette” or e-cigarette.
Lately, I’ve been seeing and savoring quite a few foreign language films: titles that have not enjoyed across-the-board theatrical releases in the U.S. This lack of theatrical exposure is not because these films are lacking in quality. They are in fact engrossing and provocative.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1980s, at a time when HIV/AIDS was decimating the gay community. AIDS has since been rendered a chronic but manageable illness with the development of effective antiviral drugs (at least for those who can afford them), but at that time a diagnosis of AIDS was considered to be a death sentence.
Writing in the New York Times (4/8/12) Ross Douthat argues “that religious common ground has all but disappeared.” The existence of a Judeo Christian center that helped bind the teeming nation together is in retreat, he claims. In a nation as divided as ours, religious polarization is inescapable as the race to the presidency has already suggested.