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Edwards' College Opportunity Agenda

John Edwards released his College Opportunity Agenda. His "College for Everyone" initiative "would pay for one year of public-college tuition, fees, and books for any student who is willing to work hard and stay out of trouble." According to the release, the initiative is based on the College for Everyone pilot program in Greene County, North Carolina, that helps pay for the first year of college for young people who agree to work at least 10 hours a week.

Edwards also discussed a few other initiatives as part of his Agenda. Those include:

  • Help simplify the application process for student aid and would help every low-income high school eligible for Title I hire a new college counselor, helping students choose college-track courses and navigate the admissions and financial aid process.
  • Require all students to borrow directly from the Department of Education, which would eliminate bank subsidies on student loans and free up almost $6 billion a year to make college more affordable.

UPDATE: Barack Obama released his plan to change student loans. In short, he "wants to eliminate federal subsidies for banks that provide student loans."

For those students (or anyone interested in higher education reform) who read our blog, I'd be interested in your comments. 

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Safety of the Green Zone Called Into Question

U.S. Embassy employees in Iraq are growing increasingly angry over what they say are inadequate security precautions in the heavily fortified Green Zone, where recent mortar and rocket attacks have claimed the lives of six people, including two U.S. citizens.

In spite of the attacks, embassy employees complain, most staff members still sleep in trailers that one described as "tin cans" that offer virtually no protection from rocket and mortar fire. The government has refused to harden the roofs because of the cost, one employee said.

A second official called it "criminally negligent" not to reduce the size of the embassy staff, which a year ago was estimated at 1,000, in the face of the increasing attacks and blamed the administration's failure to respond on concerns that doing so might undermine support for President Bush's Iraq policy.

"What responsible person and responsible government would ask you to put yourself at risk like that? We don't belong here," the employee said, adding, "They're not going to send us home because it's going to be another admission of failure."

More from McClatchy...

More bad news for Wolfowitz

The special committee set-up to look into allegations against Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank has issued its report to the Board of Directors and it's not good for Wolfowitz, who appears pretty disconnected from the rules and reality in his tenure as World Bank President:

The report charged that Mr. Wolfowitz broke bank rules and the ethical obligations in his contract, and that he tried to hide the salary and promotion package awarded to Shaha Ali Riza, his companion and a bank employee, from top legal and ethics officials in the months after he became bank president in 2005.

Citing what it said was the “central theme” of the matter, the report said Mr. Wolfowitz’s assertions that what he did was in response to the requests of others showed that “from the outset” of his tenure he “cast himself in opposition to the established rules of the institution.”

“He did not accept the bank’s policy on conflict of interest, so he sought to negotiate for himself a resolution different from that which would be applied to the staff he was selected to head,” the committee said, adding that this was “a manifestation of an attitude in which Mr. Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply.”

“It evidences questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest over institutional best interest,” it said.

Redstate.com goes after corrupt GOP Congressmen

Leading conservative blog www.redstate.com has announced a major campaign to block Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) from taking Rep. John Doolittle's (R-CA) seat on the House Appropriations Committee.  Doolittle is being investigated by the FBI and Calvert's been accused of similar corruption problems, and Red State has had enough of the House GOP Steering Committee that is filling Doolittle's spot: "The House GOP Steering Committee will either embrace reform or reject it,” he wrote. “And we will encourage them to embrace it."

Fox News: Black Voters = Voter Fraud

Way to shoot a segment about voter fraud and only feature black people. H/T to Greg Sargent over at TPM Election Central...

2/3 of Americans oppose military action against Iran...

From CNN.com

Monday, May 14, 2007 Majority of Americans do not favor military action against Iran

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Monday shows a majority of Americans oppose any military action against Iran and a large portion of Americans believe Iran is an enemy.

U.S. Military Action Against Iran

Favor 33%
Oppose 63%

Another DOJ Appointee Resigns

This time it is Paul McNulty, who claims he's quitting "because of the "financial realities" brought on by "college-age children and two decades of public service."" Of course he's also at the center of the scandal that has claimed just about every high-level DOJ official besides Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. A refresher on why McNulty is in hot water from the WAPO:

McNulty began work as Gonzales's deputy in November 2005. McNulty became a central figure in the furor after he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in February that the White House played only a marginal role in the dismissals -- a characterization that conflicted with documents later released by Justice and with subsequent testimony.

He also said most of the prosecutors were fired for "performance-related" reasons. That statement angered many of the former U.S. attorneys, most of whom had sterling evaluations and had remained largely silent about their departures.

GOP candidates alter tone on immigration

The Washington Post has a great piece today on how a cadre of GOP candidates is handling the immigration issue. The article chronicles the past stances of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Sam Brownback and how they relate to their current views. Hats off to Frank Sharry, head of the National Immigration Forum, who most accurately and concisely pointed out the changes/silence of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani:

"The fact that he's not in the room helping to build a bipartisan consensus . . . it's going to be far more difficult to get a bipartisan bill," said Frank Sharry, a pro-immigrant lobbyist. "This guy is my hero on this issue. I am heartbroken that he's not in the room. Heartbroken."

Giuliani "was a god in the mid-1990s on this issue," Sharry said this week.

Thankfully, Senators Reid and Kennedy are keeping the pressure on...

Pentagon blocks MySpace, YouTube access for troops

According to the AP, Soldiers can no longer use the military's computer system to access MySpace, YouTube, and 9 other websites. From the article:

Internet use has become a troublesome issue for the military as it struggles to balance security concerns with privacy rights. As blogs and video-sharing become more common, the military has voiced increasing concern about service members revealing details about military operations or other information about equipment or procedures that will aid the enemy.

At the same time, service members have used the Web sites to chronicle their time in battle, posting videos and writing journals that provide a powerful, personal glimpse into their days at war.

Dingell questions Obama's logic in Detroit

Rep. John Dingell questioned the logic of Senator Barack Obama's energy plan, specifically on his stance that federal fuel economy regulations have an effect on America's dependance on foreign oil. Dingell said:

“I will observe I admire Sen. Obama and his desire to focus on solutions,” Mr. Dingell said. “But — with all due respect, as the Sopranos would say — I would not travel to Chicago for the purposes of teaching people how to butcher hogs.”

Mr. Dingell said he supported Mr. Obama’s suggestion that the federal government help domestic car makers with soaring health-care costs. But in a news conference following his speech, the congressman said Mr. Obama’s suggestion that such aid be tied to improved fuel efficiency is “erroneous” and “wrong.”

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