- Created on 13 November 2012
Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, floated the idea of running again for the RNC chairman position on Sunday.
Asked directly if he would run again on C-Span, Steele said, "It's not a bad idea. I can go shake up the house a little bit more, what do you think?"
"Are you serious?" asked the host.
Asked when he would announce a decision to run, Steele said, "Oh, I've got time for that."
Steele deflected a question about whether current RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should stay on for another two years. "That's going to be something the members have to decide," he said. Steele then proceeded to tout his tenure from 2009 to 2011. Steele also declined to say whether Priebus deserved another term on a conference call on Monday. In the same call, he defended his record in the 2010 midterms.
The Washington Examiner reported that Priebus is leaning towards running for reelection. Priebus won election to the chairmanship in 2010 after Steele's tenure came under criticism for running large debts.
- Created on 13 November 2012
Some people are really having a difficult time facing the reality of a Black president, so difficult in fact, citizens from 20 states — and counting — have filed petitions at We The People on WhiteHouse.gov to be granted permission to leave the union.
The states include Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey, Montana, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, Arkansas, and Oregon.
According to the terms of participation for "We The People," as of October 3, 2011, petitions that meet the listed criteria become searchable on WhiteHouse.gov once — and if — they reach 150 signatures within 30 days. If that is accomplished, for President Obama to actively consider a petition, it must reach 25,000 signatures within the remainder of the same 30-day period.
The White House reserves the right to change the time limit and number of signatures required.
Texas, in particular, has an outspoken advocate for the state's secession from the union. Writing for a Tea Party newsletter, Hardin County Republican Treasurer Peter Morrison called Obama supporters "maggots" who voted on an "ethnic basis":
"They' re-elected Obama, Morrison wrote. He is their president."
While there are several of the president's policies that one could object too, at heart he is a moderate Democrat — no more, no less. Since Lincoln, no other president since has spawned calls of secession, making it clear that the perceived "otherness" of President Obama [insert code word for Black here] is the reason for this sudden need to leave the United States.
- Created on 09 November 2012
In a new video released by his campaign, President Barack Obama wipes away tears as he thanks members of his campaign staff and volunteers.
Obama's campaign released a five-minute video of the president's address Wednesday to members of his staff at his Chicago headquarters. The short speech came a day after he won re-election.
He began by recalling how he "grew up" during his time as a community organizer in Chicago, saying the work "changed me much more than I changed the communities."
Obama becomes emotional when he says that even before the election results, he felt the work he had done "had come full circle." He tells staff members that he is proud of the work they did, then pauses to wipe away tears.
"I became a man during that process. And so when I come here and when I look at all of you, what comes to mind is not that you guys actually remind me of myself, it's the fact that you are so much better than I was, in so many ways," Obama said.
His voice cracked with emotion as he continued.
"I'm absolutely confident that all of you are going to do just amazing things in your lives," he said. "What Bobby Kennedy called the ripples of hope that come out when you throw a stone in a lake -- that's going to be all of you.
"That's why even before last night's results I felt that the work that I had done in running for office had come full circle, because what you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important. And I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you."
As the gathered campaign team applauded and attempted to buck up the commander in chief, he wiped away tears from his eyes.
"Whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come," he said. "And that's been my source of hope. That's why when people over the last four years when people ask me about how do you put up with this or that and the frustration of Washington, I just think about you."
Throughout his reelection effort, Obama spoke reflectively of how this would be his final campaign. And the video released Thursday evening was the latest example of how the weight of that fact struck seemingly struck the president in the final week.
A widely circulated photograph taken during his final campaign event in Iowa appeared to show evidence of a tear that rolled down his face. And after delivering his victory speech early in the morning Wednesday, he lingered on stage for an extended time, at one point reversing course as he was about to exit to acknowledge longtime supporters in the crowd.
After another day out of the public eye Thursday, though, Obama is set to deliver his first official statement Friday afternoon from the White House since his victory, on the state of the economy.
- Created on 12 November 2012
(AP) — Want to see how quickly the look and business model of American public universities are changing? Visit a place like Indiana University. Five years ago, there were 87 undergraduates from China on its idyllic, All-American campus in Bloomington. This year: 2,224.
New figures out Monday show international enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities grew nearly 6 percent last year, driven by a 23-percent increase from China, even as total enrollment was leveling out. But perhaps more revealing is where much of the growth is concentrated: big, public land-grant colleges, notably in the Midwest.
The numbers offer a snapshot of the transformation of America's famous heartland public universities in an era of diminished state support. Of the 25 campuses with the most international students, a dozen have increased international enrollment more than 40 percent in just five years, according to data collected by the Institute of International Education. All but one are public, and a striking number come from the Big Ten: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois. Indiana's international enrollment now surpasses 6,000, or about 15 percent of the student body, and in Illinois, the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus has nearly 9,000 — second nationally only to the University of Southern California.
To be sure, such ambitious universities value the global vibe and perspectives international students bring to their Midwestern campuses. But there's no doubt what else is driving the trend: International students typically pay full out-of-state tuition and aren't awarded financial aid.
Public universities hit hard by state funding cuts "really are starting to realize the tuition from international students makes it possible for them to continue offering scholarships and financial aid to domestic students," said Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor at IIE, the private nonprofit that publishes the annual "Open Doors" study.
Nationally, there were 765,000 foreign students on U.S. campuses last year, with China (158,000) the top source, followed by India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia (the fastest growing thanks to an ambitious scholarship program by the Saudi government). Altogether, the Department of Commerce calculates they contribute $22.7 billion to the economy, and many stay after graduation. For the first time in a dozen years, according to IIE, there were more foreign undergraduates than graduate students.
Indiana charges in-state students $10,034 for tuition and non-residents $31,484, so the economic appeal is straightforward. Still, out-of-state recruiting — international or domestic — is always sensitive for public universities, fueling charges that kids of in-state taxpayers are denied available slots.
At one level, that's true: About one-third of Indiana students come from outside the state, and for this year it rejected 4,164 in-state applicants. But while conceivably it could enroll more Indiana residents, without the out-of-staters' tuition dollars they would likely have to pay more. Indiana and others figure more of their out-of-staters may as well be international, arguing you can't prepare students for a global economy without exposing them to students from abroad.
David Zaret, Indiana's vice president for international affairs, says the school's interest in international students is educational, not "nakedly financial." He says IU could fill its out-of-state slots domestically, and points out that unlike some schools IU doesn't charge international students more than domestic non-residents, so there's no extra financial incentive. He also says there's been no particular effort to recruit Chinese students; he credits the extraordinary growth to hundreds of IU alumni now in China spreading the word. In fact, he said in a brief phone conversation from Argentina, "I'd like to see more balance," with more students from places such as South America and Turkey.
While international students bring revenue, there are also costs, obliging universities to expand services like international advising, English instruction, and even targeted mental health services. There is growing concern about the isolation of international students on campus. Expanding numbers may not help, just making it easier to find a bubble. One recent study found 40 percent of international students reported no close American friends.
Kedao Wang, a Shanghai native and one of about 6,400 overseas students at the University of Michigan, said his experience has been excellent but agrees growing numbers don't solve the isolation problem. Virtually all Chinese students struggle at least somewhat to fit in, due to language and cultural barriers. Wang, who goes by Keven, bought football season tickets all four years and loves the games, but rarely sees fellow Chinese students at Michigan Stadium. When he first arrived he tried not to hang out only with Chinese students, but his social life has since moved in that direction.
Still, he says, the shy students who once studied in the United States on Chinese government scholarships have been replaced by better-off Chinese who pay their own way and arrive more familiar and comfortable with Western culture.
Wang says Chinese students are under no illusions why they're recruited: "It's a market economy. There are people who want this who are willing to pay." Still, he'd like to see schools award more financial aid to internationals. Michigan non-resident tuition and fees ($41,870 for upperclassmen) are hugely expensive even for prosperous Chinese families, but are high enough that the international students who come here aren't socio-economically diverse (only a handful of U.S. colleges offer international students the same aid as domestic students).
"There are so many bright students in China," he said. "If you can give just a few of them a scholarship, they would come and succeed."
A U.S. education is still highly desired by Chinese students, but Wang says "10 years ago people only knew the top schools." Now they're looking beyond the Ivy League and learning more about the range of options (including, he said, the fact that some U.S. colleges are terrible).
"I think that's important," Blumenthal said of the trend of international students moving beyond the most famous schools and into state schools, community colleges and liberal arts colleges. "They need to know that America's as diverse as we know it is."
- Created on 08 November 2012
Churches claiming to provide a safety net of social services to needy Chicagoans pleaded with the City Council Wednesday to restore their free water perk.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned on a promise to turn off the free water spigot to hospitals, churches, universities and other nonprofits to usher in an era of shared sacrifice needed to confront the city's structural deficit.
To address aldermanic concerns about struggling parish churches, the mayor subsequently agreed to soften the blow — by offering a 60 percent water discount in 2012, 40 percent in 2013 and 20 percent in 2014 and beyond.
Apparently, the phased out discount was not enough.
On Wednesday, Archdiocese of Chicago Chancellor Jimmy Lago appeared before the Budget Committee to plead for relief.
He argued that the phase-out of the water waiver would cost Catholic churches $2.5 million a year, forcing them to reduce the safety net of overnights shelters, after school programs and other social services they provide to needy Chicagoans.
"If we're starting to add $60,000 or $70,000 to those budgets, which already run a deficit, that is something that may impact the ability of a [Catholic] school to remain open," Lago said.
He added, "If we have to make some cutbacks...in terms of beat patrol having an outreach for free in one of our churches — if we can't keep the gym open at night to keep kids off the street — that's a quantifiable impact to the city."
Elder Kevin Anthony Ford, director of the St. Paul Church of God in Christ, said churches don't consider themselves a "charity case." They "provide a service," he said.
"No one in Chicago does what we do with fallen humanity. We stand in the gap before persons lose it all. And that needs to be recognized," Ford said.
"We're asking for reasonable accommodations to help us help brothers and sisters who have fallen on hard times who might not have a home, cannot eat, might not have shelter."
Aldermen from across the city sympathized with the churches' plea, as they did last year when they ended the lucrative perk to save the city $18 million-a-year.
But they're not sure how to replace the money or how to carve out a hardship exemption for struggling churches without restoring free water to Catholic universities like DePaul and Loyola that charge students more than $40,000 and can afford to pay their water bills.
Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council's Finance Committee, asked Budget Director Alex Holt to explore the possibility of re-financing bonds issued to rebuild Chicago's crumbling water and sewer system and using the savings to give grants to struggling churches.
But that approach is also problematic.
"What's to prevent a larger non-profit with a better balance sheet than the city from saying, 'Where's mine?' " said downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).