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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
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    Susan Rose
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  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

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    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

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  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Marijuana Really Kill Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    Marijuana enthusiasts have been speculating for years that pot can actually combat certain types of cancer, but it wasn’t until recently that…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Class of 2012's Choice: Change the World or Flip Burgers

OTHERWORDS - Millions of college graduates will soon walk across the stage to accept their diplomas. Given the harsh reality of today's economy, here's the commencement speech I'd like to deliver to the class of 2012:

Congratulations on your degrees. And sorry about all those student loans.
Nearly half of you will soon find jobs that will launch you on your careers. The rest will probably spend the coming years as baristas, sommeliers, maitre d's, and famed mixologists. Your offices will be Starbucks, three-star restaurants, or the high-end cocktail bar down the street.

Or perhaps you could be like Winona Ryder's character in the iconic Generation X movie Reality Bites. It was filmed around the time you were born, but recessions come and go. After her job at The Gap didn't pan out, her mom suggested she try fast food.

"Why don't you get a job at the Burgerrama?" asked her mother, played by Swoosie Kurtz. "They'll hire you!"

It's not fair. But the world just isn't ready for you. It either doesn't have enough jobs or it doesn't have the right kind of jobs. So what are you to do?

I think you have to change the world. You must help build an economy that works for all of us to save yourselves from Starbucks.

A successful economy doesn't look like the one we've got today. It's an economy where all Americans have good job and can educate their kids, support their families, and retire with security. It's an economy where college is affordable.

Successful economies aren't built by accident. They require strong public policies and public investments that are accompanied by corporate responsibility. Unfortunately, the road to rebuilding our economy and our shattered middle class is blocked.

The biggest roadblock today was erected by the CEOs of corporations that are too big to fail. Greedy Wall Street speculators and the lobbyists and elected officials who do their bidding are also out there throwing wrenches in the works.

You really can change the world. You belong to the largest and most diverse generation our nation has ever seen. You have the power to take back our democracy and set the terms of the national debate. Although you face profound challenges in today's economy, I wouldn't want to bet against you.

Of course, you can't change the world overnight. One good place to start would be to change something already hitting your wallet hard — those staggering student loans. Student debt has now, for the first time, surpassed $1 trillion in our country. Two out of three of you owe student debt. Or your parents do. A total of 37 million Americans are struggling under the weight of these loans that won't be easy to pay back if half of you can't get decent jobs. On average, you each owe at least $25,000.

Some members of Congress would now like make to make it even harder for students to afford higher education. The House of Representative has approved a budget that would eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million college students. That would cause students to borrow more, not less. And unless Congress acts by July 1, nearly 8 million college students will see the interest rates on their Stafford loans double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. That would cost the average college student $1,000 for each year Congress doesn't act.

College should cost Americans less, not more. Just making our nation's student debt burden more manageable won't be enough to build the type of economy that works for all of us.

But we have to start somewhere. It's time to rein in runaway student debt. You'll have to lead the way.

(David Elliot is communications director for USAction, a progressive federation of 22 state organizations. www.usaction.org OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib. (Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and writes for OtherWords.org. This column was provided to CityWatch by OtherWords.org a project of The Institute for Policy Studies.)
-cw

Tags: Student Loans, economy, graduation, graduates, jobs






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 35
Pub: May 1, 2012




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