"College for Everyone," a pilot program launched by John Edwards, former U.S. senator (D-NC) and vice presidential candidate, will make 140 seniors at Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, NC eligible for free tuition and free books at seven institutions of higher learning if they decide to work at least 10 hours a week. "This was an idea that I thought could have a real impact in lifting families out of poverty," Edwards told reporters
"Edwards Offers Tuition for College: Students Would Work While Taking Classes," by Natalie Gott, Associated Press via Charlotte Observer.
"Seniors Get College Promise: Edwards tests out campaign idea," by Rob Christensen, News and Observer.
"We're all socialists now," British social critic George Bernard Shaw once declared, with his usual provocative irony, meaning that there was a consensus that government should take on the role of protecting people from the viscitudes of life, and of the unregulated free market.
Echoing Shaw, Richard Nixon expanded social programs, engaged in deficit spending and instituted wage and price controls, and declared, in 1971, "We're all Keynesians now." He reversed the long-standing Republican position against deficit spending and embraced the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes. FDR had cited Keynes to justify deficit spending during the Great Depression.
Like Nixon, George W. Bush has co-opted fiscal conservatives, calling for compassion and spending billions -- "whatever it takes" -- to ostensibly lift the people of the Gulf Coast, the victims of Hurricane Katrina, out of misery and poverty, and to rebuild the region (which resides on a flood plain) better than it was before. Fiscal conservatives who want a sound accounting of spending, or who think the job of recovery should be left primarily to state and local governments and to private enterprise and charities have apparently been given the heave ho in the Republican Party, even by House GOP Leader Tom DeLay, who says no compensatory cuts can be made and no taxes can be raised to pay for the costs of Katrina clean-up. It appears fiscal conservatives in the GOP are primarily seen as pawns to be taken for granted in a bait-and-switch maneuver.
"Big money is at stake, and money is more powerful than ideology. Money creates its own private, walled off culture," writes Joel Achenbach on Washingtonpost.com.
"If you take Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that a socialist is someone who is very good at spending other people’s money, then President Bush is, er, a socialist," writes Andrew Sullivan in The Times of London. He has created "the biggest expansion of government power, size and responsibility since the 1930s."
Not only that, but the Bush government's FEMA is wasting millions if not billions, paying $16,000 per family for new trailer parks for the poor, instead of dispersing the poor into existing rental housing or helping them purchase homes as assets, according toThe Los Angeles Times.
This crony capitalism is nuts. The way the federal government is tripping over itself to spend money and expand government, no one can credibly argue that the Republican Party under Bush still favors small government, self-reliance, creative entrepreneurship to efficiently replace bureaucracy, a common sense approach to reducing poverty, and pay-as-you-go budgeting. Ironically, Democrats like Virginia governor Mark Warner more proudly wear that mantle. Warner was elected when the Republican Party of Virginia divided and self-destructed over the same sorts of problems the national GOP faces today. Citizens opposed to big government grandiosity, wasteful spending, sweetheart contracts to cronies, and massive deficit spending may gravitate toward Democrats with records like Warner's in the future.
The Washington Post, the BBC, and Virgin Records are among the mainstream media outlets who don't view the emergence of citizen media as a threat but as an opportunity. The Post's latest nod to bloggers was its experiment in promoting a "guest blogger," Andrew Sullivan last week. May other publications follow suit. By promoting the blogosphere, mainstream web sites gain new voices, freshness and immediacy, for no cost. Bloggers and podcasters provide "fertile ground for new talent, and ideas," the BCC reports. The Post is also allowing beat reporters to post multiple blog entries from congressional hearings, which provides a thoroughness in coverage a newspaper just doesn't have space for.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are putting the reporting, mobilizing, volunteering and fundraising capabilities of the Internet to the test, and on display.
NEARLY $500 MILLION RAISED ONLINE: About half of the projected $1 billion raised in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita is coming from online sources, relief organizations say. "About 53% of money that the Red Cross has received for Hurricane Katrina is from online channels, including www.redcross.org and our online partners that are assisting us in handling the large volume of generous donations," said Sue Woodward, Director of Direct Response Fundraising, for the Red Cross.
HELPING LOCATE FAMILY MEMBERS: More than 9,000 families have been re-united so far after 140,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina registered on the Red Cross web site, KatrinaSafe.org. Database matching is also used to locate refugees in international crises.
TURNING ON A DIME:Convio, a web-based service to manage relationships with volunteers and donors, reports how its clients are using the Internet to communicate and respond immediately to the desires of supporters to be more involved in disaster relief.
REPORTS FROM THE EYE: Bloggers offer the perspectives of evacuees and those who chose to stay behind, as well as victims, and volunteers. I found particularly moving the journal of a retired cardiologist who volunteered in the Gulf Coast clean-up.
That's how David Shipler begins his book, "The Working Poor". "Millions live in the shadow of prosperity, in the twilight between poverty and well-being," he writes. These are citizens for whom the American Dream is out of reach despite their willingness to work hard. Prosperity and security are obviously not the inevitable rewards of employment.
"Breaking away and moving a comfortable distance from poverty seems to require a perfect lineup of favorable conditions. A set of skills, a good starting wage, and a job with the likelihood of promotion are prerequisites. But so are clarity of purpose, courageous self-esteem, a lack of substantial debt, the freedom from illness or addiction, a functional family, a network of upstanding friends, and the right help from private or governmental agencies. Any gap in that array is an entry point for trouble, because being poor means being unprotected," he writes.
Powerful speech by former Senator John Edwards (D-NC), on poverty in America post-Katrina. Ed Cone has posted the full text. Excerpt: "For too many Americans -not just in the Gulf but everywhere-the American Dream has become too distant.You can see it in the numbers: millions of parents work full-time but still live in poverty.The typical white family has about $80,000 in assets; the typical Hispanic family, about $8,000; the typical African-American family, about $6,000.
"Income is what you use to get by, but assets are what you use to get ahead."This huge asset gap is one reason so many families are barely getting by.And again, it's not just the poor." Middle-class incomes are stagnant, and more people file for bankruptcy than graduate from college each year," Edwards said.
"In New Orleans, hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and untold numbers lost their lives because the levees we built were too weak and too low. We knew better, but we didn't act because we didn't want to look.That's how it is with the moral foundations of our society."
Conservative columnist David Brooks of The New York Times says of Edwards' policy recommendations: "No conservative would agree with all of them, but nobody could fail to find them interesting." Edwards proposed "a series of policies designed to encourage work, to encourage responsibility, to help the poor build assets."
Internet ad spending jumped 17.6 percent in 2003, and 21.4 percent in 2004. During the last two full years, the net increase has been more than $2.2 billion dollars, reports Steve Fredericks, president of TNS Media Intelligence. "Non-endemic advertisers" are taking advantage of the net's ability to target and to account for sale leads by measuring both exposures and click-throughs. TNS representatives note that Internet ad projections don't include paid search advertising, which comprises nearly one-half of all online ad spending.