Campus and Careers

August 27, 2008
Tracts by National Review’s David Freddoso and Human Events columnist Jerome Corsi this August have attracted interest and criticism as they have tried to recreate the torpedoing of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 White House bid. But a new book, “Who is the Real Barack Obama?” seeks to tread new ground; it is the first book written by the Democratic presidential nominee or his GOP counterpart, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) both by and for young voters. “We’re not part of the people in our generation who want to hand over the White House to Obama,” says Francisco Gonzalez. Gonzalez is Director of Development for the James Madison Institute, a free-market think tank in Florida, and co-author of the new book along with Steve Bierfeldt, National Field Program director for the conservative Leadership Institute, and federal and state campaigns director Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks. The new book is a product of conversations between the trio during the Democratic primaries...
August 26, 2008
Denver – At any live event, from politics to sports, one’s vantage point is crucial to one’s experience. That’s doubly true at political conventions. Journalists who come to the conventions to tell people what happens don’t get the same experience as the overwhelming majority of Americans for two reasons. First, if you are in the convention hall, you aren’t seeing it as most people do – on TV. Second, if you are in the hall in the press stands, you are actually behind the podium, watching the crowd and listening to the speeches. Viewers at home watching close-ups of the speakers on TV – which can capture emotion and facial expressions – have a completely different experience. But even those experiences aren’t all the same, as we found from the responses of correspondents scattered in the 11 Patchwork Nation communities across the US. “All in all, I thought [the night’s] events lacked the type of energy inside the convention center that I would have expected to see,” e-mailed James...
August 25, 2008
A poll released Monday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP) found that while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) maintains a healthy 23-point advantage over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) among voters aged 18 to 24, though McCain is seen as more ready to command the military, and is seen as just as likely as Obama to protect the U.S. from terrorism. Obama received a slight uptick in support from young voters since late March, maintaining a 55-32 lead over McCain, with 13 percent of voters undecided. 31 percent of the voters surveyed, however, said McCain was ready to be Commander-in-Chief of the military, while only 28 percent said Obama was ready. "Young voters are not a monolith," said a survey accompanying the poll's release today. "In the eight years that the IOP has conducted this research we have seen significant changes in the attitudes of this generation on a number of issues." The poll, taken July 18 through August 12, found that more than 60 percent of young voters...
August 23, 2008
As I woke up to the news that Obama had chosen Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his running mate, I couldn't help but think back to a conversation I had last fall, back in Ann Arbor. A few of us were sitting around a table at Ashley's, a bar in town known for its vast collection of imported and microbrewed beers, talking about the impending January 15 Michigan primary. Though Ann Arbor tended to be a stronghold for Obama, and to a lesser extent, Hillary Clinton, I asked two friends who were sitting at the table who they were pulling for in the Democratic primary. One friend was very liberal ideologically, but, having worked a bit during the summers in politics in an Ohio city, was also very grounded in the practicality of politics. The other friend was somewhat of an activist on campus, invested in social change and urban issues. Both have been against the war in Iraq and the Bush tax cuts. Both have gone onto prestigious graduate schools. Both were strongly opposed to Hillary Clinton,...
August 22, 2008
As the Democratic and Republican conventions approach, the main story line in the national media is how close the 2008 presidential race looks. Despite an issue palette that would seem to favor Barack Obama – an unpopular GOP president, a stumbling economy, two unresolved wars – many polls show a two- or three-point race. As the Democratic pols and delegates and the press corps prepare to board their planes for Denver, that horse-race story is the topic of conversation. But in conversations with people in our Patchwork Nation communities over the past five-plus months, a few other themes stand out. Here’s how these communities see things – and what it could mean for the next stage of the campaign. Race matters Senator Obama and his party may like to think of the presumed Democratic nominee as the first postracial presidential candidate. But there are some parts of the United States where the idea of “postracial” anything still seems a ways off. In some of our communities, Obama’s...
August 20, 2008
Voters’ preferred way of getting news about the 2008 campaign is not uniform across America. Newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet are locked in a pitched battle for more audience share. What’s more, the content and quality of political information vary considerably across hundreds of US media markets. And many information sources, particularly on the radio and Internet, are oriented toward distinctive audiences. The upshot: Two voters may have similar traits, but because they live in different places, they receive and interpret political information in different ways. After all, news consumers are not isolated misanthropes unaffected by their immediate surroundings. Where people go for news will, in turn, influence the tone and intensity of the campaign coverage they’re taking in. And some of these media outlets will have more political advertising than others. Such factors have a role in voters’ decision about whether to vote – and whom to support. These considerations...
August 19, 2008
Per Forbes.com today, Newscorp CEO Rupert Murdoch is hoping that his stake in college news site Palestra.net will pay off this fall, capitalizing on an underserved niche in the hard media market. Palestra looks to compete with Viacom's MTVU, Forbes says, as well as an effort by ABC News to partner with top journalism schools to create "digital bureaus." MTVU partnered with Politico earlier this year to create "Campus Politico," an attempted clearinghouse for political news for college students. Forbes says Palestra's advantage may be in more diverse coverage--it focuses on sports, arts and entertainment, and less hard news to appeal to college students. Palestra's front page Tuesday night focused more on arts and sports than anything else. While it maintains a section on politics, its only visible political story Tuesday upon a cursory glance touched on arts and entertainment: a story about the band Rage Against the Machine playing a semi-reunion...
August 18, 2008
According to US News and World Report, nuclear engineering is the new hot major as countries search for experts in alternative energy sources: In recent months, nuclear has re-emerged as a much ballyhooed energy source, and the entire community is scrambling to stave off what could be a massive shortage of qualified workers if the demand for nuclear power does take off. With an aging workforce, including many workers who are near retirement, the ANS estimates that 700 nuclear engineers need to graduate per year to support the potential demand. The organization currently expects only 249 new engineers to be available each year. Looks like that history/political science double major might not do me the good I had hoped. 
August 16, 2008
Number of different topics to today's post, since I've been away from WordPress.  The Olympics are a top topic for everyone these days. Regardless of whether you are paying attention to Michael Phelps' run for a record number of gold medals or the Chinese aversion to non-cuteness , or even the Swede who threw away his medal  , there's always something to talk about. For me, an interesting element of the games is the number of college students competing. Obviously, Phelps is the best example (one that the University of Michigan is loving *), but there are dozens of college students competing for the US and other teams. Stanford has the most competing in the Summer Olympics for the US. But what does this mean for those students? For example, Michael Phelps was an "assistant coach" at Michigan because by accepting money from Speedo and Powerbar, he became a professional swimmer. NCAA eligibility versus commercial stardom. Tough choice (however, many athletes compete in the Games AFTER...
August 3, 2008
Recent college graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs as they try to enter the professional workplace for the first time, according to today's Washington Post. That idea is not unexplored on this blog, but as college students make their voting decisions this fall, they, like so many others, may have so-called "pocketbook" issues as much on their mind as other voters. According to a Gallup poll out Friday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) holds a 54-43 advantage over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) when it comes to handing the economy. By a similar margin, Obama holds an advantage over McCain on energy issues--an issue Republicans have been hoping to use to their advantage this fall. Though there are no reliable data detailing young voters' views on the role the economy will play in their voting decision this fall, if they do in fact break down like their elders, a sustained Obama advantage on economic and energy issues may well mean on Obama victory come fall. And...