NDN Blog

Student Loans - Another Conservative Failure

Amit Paley at the WAPO is reporting that in 2001 the Bush Administration passed on a Clinton-era Department of Education proposal to clean up the crooked student loan industry.  They did of course find time to cut funding for financial aid at a time when less high school students are going to college.  Yet another example of conservative failures in governing.

The Bush administration killed a proposal to clamp down on the student loan industry six years ago following allegations that companies sought to shower universities with financial favors to help generate business, according to documents and interviews with government officials.

The proposed policy, which Education Department officials drafted near the end of the Clinton presidency and circulated at the start of the Bush administration, represented an early, significant but ultimately abortive government response to a problem that this year has grown into a major controversy.

Now, as the $85 billion-a-year student loan industry faces an array of investigations into questionable business practices that some officials believe could have been curtailed by the 2001 proposal, the Education Department has embarked on a new effort to set rules for the industry to prevent conflicts of interest and other abuses. If approved, the rules would be implemented in summer 2008, a few months before Bush leaves the White House.

The abandonment of the 2001 proposal underscores what some consumer advocates and Democratic lawmakers believe is lax federal oversight of the financial aid system by a department they say is too cozy with the industry. More than a dozen senior department officials either previously worked in the student loan business or found high-paying jobs in the sector after they left the agency.

"The Department of Education has been run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the loan industry under this administration," said Barmak Nassirian, a longtime advocate for industry reform at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. "They are running the federal loan program for the profit of their friends and not for the benefit of students and taxpayers."

NDN in the News: Peter Leyden in the NYT Sunday Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle

New Politics Institute Director Peter Leyden was featured in two major articles in the last few days.  The first was a San Francisco Chronicle preview of the role of bloggers at the 2007 California Democratic Party Convetion and the second, Matt Bai's piece in the NYT Sunday Magazine entitled "The Post-Money Era."  Excerpts from the articles and links are below.

Bloggers Descend On Dems' Gathering

(04-28) 04:00 PDT San Diego -- When Democrats gathered at their candidate-rich California state convention five years ago, a lone blogger from Berkeley was the first, and only, one of his kind to apply for media credentials to cover the events.

Today, an army has arrived in the wake of Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the Daily Kos -- one of the nation's most highly trafficked Web logs, which boasts about 600,000 daily readers.

This year, a record 50 Internet-publication bloggers will join the estimated 400 credentialed "mainstream" media in the press room to track the goings-on of seven Democratic presidential candidates and 2,100 California party delegates this weekend.

And those numbers don't count the estimated dozens of mainstream media journalists who will be blogging for major newspapers or the unknown numbers of delegates who will be producing their own running commentary of the convention.

"What this is doing is blowing apart the old calculus for who gets to come to the party and who doesn't," says Peter Leyden, director of the San Francisco-based New Politics Institute, a think tank that tracks the intersection of the Internet and politics.

With the 2008 presidential election just 556 days away, political parties and candidates understand that bloggers have become a critical part of the commentary on political developments "on a scale that is absolutely astounding," he said.

"Many of them have passionate followers, people who are crazy about politics," Leyden said. "And if you legitimize them, and bring them into inner circles ... they will get a huge new segment of folks energized that aren't necessarily reading newspapers and aren't involved in politics..."

Read the entire article here... 

The Post-Money Era

By Matt Bai 

“...The need for money is probably going to reach some diminishing return, and it’s probably going to be a pretty low ceiling, compared to past campaigns,” predicts Peter Leyden, president of the left-leaning New Politics Institute. In other words, the emerging high-tech marketplace may yet bring us closer to what decades of federal campaign regulations have failed to achieve: a day when candidates can afford to spend less time obsessing over the constant need for cash and more time concerned with the currency of their ideas.

Read the entire article here...

Gary Hart adds his view of Rudy

Over the weekend, former Senator Gary Hart responded to Rudy Giuliani's criticism of Democrats, saying that a Democratic President would mean going on defense in the war, as well as inviting more casualties.

George Tenet and Condi Rice

Watch this video from former CIA Director George Tenet's appearence on 60 Minutes last night. 

His book is out today and one section that stands out immediately is his criticism of then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her failure to take anywhere near appropriate action after being warned about the threat posed by al-Qaeda.  Find out more in our Campaign to Get Condi to Come Clean.  And find out more about Tenet's book int the NYT review of George Tenet's "At the Center of the Storm."

NDN in the News: Simon in Bloomberg

Simon commented on political donations strategy by the tech sector in this major article from Bloomberg.com.  See the excerpt below.

The Democrats' recent legislative effort could give them an even greater share of campaign donations from the technology sector in the future, said Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the New Democrat Network, which supports centrist party candidates. "The tech community is very non-partisan and very pragmatic in its giving," Rosenberg said.

NDN is Hiring

Current Available positions at NDN:

Globalization Initiative Policy Director

Location: Washington, DC

The Globalization Initiative Policy Director will work with Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, Director of NDN's Globalization Initiative, in the policy analysis, communications and event strategies of the Initiative. Specific duties will include establishing and meeting project deadlines and goals; international economic policy analysis; writing and editing policy papers, press releases, opinion pieces, and other written materials, and maintaining relationships with the Globalization Initiative advisors.
Candidates should have a degree in economics or international economics, 4 years minimum job experience in related policy work, possess exceptional writing, organizational, and oral communications skills. Salary commensurate with experience. Please send resumes and cover letters to jobs@ndn.org
Deputy Development Director

Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Deputy Development Director will assist the Development Director in raising NDN’s $4 million annual budget.  Specific responsibilities may include oversight of small donor individual membership program and scheduled institutional member renewals.  Applicants should have experience in direct solicitation of prospective contributors, competency in data management systems and internet research, and strong organizational skills.  1-2 years of experience required.  The position reports to the Development Director.  Salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.  Please address resume and references, as well as any questions, to jobs@ndn.org.

Hispanic Strategy Center Associate
Location: Washington, DC

The Hispanic Strategy Center Associate is responsible for implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's programs.  Specific job duties include monitoring relevant legislation, following Hispanic media trends, implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's policy and communications objectives, and overall support of the Hispanic Strategy Center Director.  Candidates must be fluent in English and Spanish, and have 2-3 years experience working in advocacy, politics, or government.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org

Communications Director
Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Communications Director will oversee the strategic communications operation for NDN.  Primary responsibilities include traditional media relations and the development, production and editing of the public content of the organization.  This position will work closely with the NDN President, executive director and heads of NDN’s major affiliates, the New Politics Institute and Hispanic Strategy Center.  Candidates must have 5 or more years of experience in political communications, press or media, and possess exceptional writing skills.  Video production experience and competency in Spanish a plus, but not required.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org.

NPI Event: 5/2/07 The Exploding World of Political Web Video

From the Macaca moment in the Virgina Senate race to a series of Presidential candidate announcements, web video has caught the attention of the established political world because it is now seriously impacting politics. This new tool is creating a wave of innovation that promises even more impact in the coming cycle. I invite you to join the New Politics Institute for a special event on this exploding world of political web video, including:

Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, and now working for John Edward’s presidential campaign, on how the presidential campaigns can expect to use web video.

Karina Newton, Director of New Media, Office of Speaker Pelosi, on how web video is being used for governing.

Dan Manatt, founder and executive producer for PoliticsTV.com, on how any organization can immediately start using web video.

Phil de Vellis, aka ParkRidge47, an important political web video innovator, on how progressives can use the new tools to make powerful, political content.

NPI recently released an innovative “video report” that laid out a dozen categories of web video already affecting politics – from gotcha videos to video chat to flash animation to longer web features.  The event will build off that overview and bring together some of the political pioneers in this web video space to talk about what they are learning about the most effective strategies and the most promising opportunities.  You should also make sure to read Julie Bergman-Sender's NPI paper Viral Video in Politics: Case Studies on Creating Compelling Video.

As always, the event is free and lunch will be provided. Video of the event will be posted on our site for those who cannot make it or are out of town. Please RSVP if you can come, and in the spirit of the new medium, feel free to spread the word.

The Exploding World of Political Web Video
Wednesday, May 2nd
12:00PM - lunch will be served
Phoenix Park Hotel
520 North Capital Street NW, Washington DC

For more information or to RSVP you can contact: Tracy Leaman, 202-842-7213, or tleaman@ndn.org


Peter Leyden 

Director of the New Politics Institute

This event is part of the Re-imagining Video series presented by the New Politics Institute, a think tank helping progressives master today’s transformation of politics due to the rapid changes in technology, media and the demographic makeup of America. NPI is building a working network of top technology, media, and demographic professionals who want to help move best practices and new innovations into progressive politics. We are developing a body of useful reports that can be found at: http://www.newpolitics.net.

President asks college grads to help lobby for immigration reform

In his commencement speech to Miami Dade College, President Bush encouraged the graduating students to contact their Representatives and have them push for immigration legislation. More in the AP article here.

Once again, the President is preaching to the choir: more than half of the students at Miami Dade College were raised speaking a language other than English.

I'm not going to go into the details of his speech, because we've all heard the speeches. We've read the statements. We need more than words. We need comprehensive immigration reform legislation - now.

For more on NDN's work on comprehensive immigration reform, click here.

Social Networking Makes the Move to Mobile Tech

At NDN and NPI we've been making the arguement for a while that the next big thing is mobile technology.  If you haven't seen it, Tim Chambers' report Mobile Media in 21st Century Politics is an excellent way to get up-to-speed on how ever more powerful mobile phones and other mobile devices are changing our world.

The facts on the ground are backing us up.  Today's NYT profiles the proliferation of applications for mobile devices:

The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the personal computer. Powerful new mobile devices are allowing people to send round-the-clock updates about their vacations, their moods or their latest haircut.

New online services, with names like Twitter, Radar and Jaiku, hope people will use their ever-present gadget to share (or, inevitably, to overshare) the details of their lives in the same way they have become accustomed to doing on Web sites like MySpace.

Unlike the older networking sites, which are still largely used on PCs, these new phone-oriented services are bringing the burgeoning culture of exhibitionism to more exotic and more personal locations. They are also contributing to the general barrage of white noise and information overload — something that even some participants say they feel ambivalent about.

But such services have the same addictive appeal for young people as BlackBerrys do for busy professionals, said Howard Hartenbaum, a partner at the venture capital firm Draper Richards, which is an investor in Kyte.

“Kids want to be connected to their friends at all times,” Mr. Hartenbaum said. “They can’t do that when you turn off the computer.”

Central to the technology of Kyte and similar services is the marriage of mobile phones and the Web. Users download Kyte software for their phones at www.kyte.tv and can send their photos and videos — however grainy — from the phone to their online Kyte “channel.”

Be a patriot

Buy George Tenet's book.  You can find it here on amazon.

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