Campus and Careers

July 7, 2008
Per The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, the Obama campaign has agreed to stop calling its younger voters of faith "The Joshua Generation." The Home School Legal Defense Association asserted its right to that name. The skirmish, though, casts light on a previously under-covered (at least on this site) demographic group in this fall's election: young voters of faith. To some reporters, young, religious voters may see like an oxymoron on its face. On one hand, young voters are widely assumed to be Obama supporters. On the other, religious voters are assumed to support Republicans. So where will young, religious voters fall? No reliable data exist. One tidbit of news, that young GOPers on Facebook prefer former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.). It may be that younger voters of faith--Obama's 'Joshua Generation'--don't share the orthodoxies of elder faith leaders. Fulminations about AIDS being related only to gays may give way to a more compassionate view about the need to treat disease....
July 7, 2008
I, like many college students, have taken out numerous loans to pay for school. I've worked since my second month of college, but its tough to go to school full-time and make enough to pay for everything. Though financial aid through the University of Michigan has been helpful, the remaining cost (over ten thousand dollars) would be prohibitive to attending. Obviously, I will be paying off those loans, which is highly influential in my choice of future career. But what if the lending market goes down the tubes? Where will that leave thousands of college graduates (including me)? That's the scenario mapped out in a May 8th article from the Wall Street Journal "Student Loan Market: Another Bubble?" Problems have been visible for months, as larger firms such as Sallie Mae face tumbling stock prices. But the student-loan market has been riddled with signs of trouble lately. Default rates are rising. Big-name lenders are pulling out or scaling back. And investors who used to snap up bonds...
July 6, 2008
The youngest generation of voters--those born between the early 1980s and the year 2000--have a political identity as muddled as the label used to define these voters, according to an article in the Washington Post. The article parses whether the "Generation X" label, which the article defines as disaffected economic conservatives born between the early 60s and the early 80s, is a good reference point for the next generation. From the descriptions in the article, the answer would seem to be "no." As the story points out, the new young voters don't always hesitate to label themselves as "liberals," and have even gone so far as to describe themselves as the "Obama generation." The article does offer some clues about the psychological and political dispositions of the youngest generation of voters. It labels them "sheltered" and "risk-averse." It emphasizes the widely accepted assumption that young Americans have put a...
July 3, 2008
A front-page New York Times story is generating a bit of conversation in Ann Arbor today. Its premise is here: Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate. The piece is about professors, but the same could be said for students. Thankfully, it mostly avoids the obnoxious trope often trotted out by victims veterans of the campus battles of the 1960s and 70s that our generation is spoiled, lazy, uninformed and doesn't care about the world because we don't do things like this: His father was a Socialist. Right out of high school, in 1964, Mr. Olneck organized support for the Mississippi Project’s black voter-registration drives. Later, he took a bus to Washington to protest the war in Vietnam, served on the...
July 3, 2008
ABCNews has a report from Ann Arbor about people retiring to college campuses. Check it out here: http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5297567
July 2, 2008
Amidst the radio silence recently was the news that users of Facebook--the fifth most-trafficked website, according to this story--have picked Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) as their favorites to round out the tickets of their respective parties. CNN reports Clinton leads over former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), before a drop-off to back former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.Mex.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.). Candidates whose names are bandied about more in Washington, such as Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) or former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) attract less support, potentially due to diminished visibility in the presidential spotlight this spring. On the Republican side, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) trails Huckabee as the Republican with the second-most support to be his party's vice presidential nominee. Other candidates drawing support are darkhorse GOP favorites Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.). "Three students at an all-girls...
June 30, 2008
College students and young adults want more information about government spending, are willing to vote across party lines, are twice as concerned about schools and job availability than Baby Boomers, and hope that a new president can fix the connection between people and the government. According to a new study intended to show how "Generation Y" (people born between the late nineteen-seventies and the late nineteen-eighties) perceives information, in comparison with Baby Boomers, 82% of those polled said they obtained news via word of mouth. 88% will rely on online news during the next four years, and much of that information will come from "collaborative sources" like YouTube and blogs. The study, conducted by MeriTalk with a sample size of 2,303 respondents, is available as of today.
June 26, 2008
Ann Arbor might be brimming with bobo charm and prosperity, but all is not so well in the rest of southeast Michigan. Despite years of struggles for the domestic auto industry, the Detroit area is still pretty much a one-horse region. And right now, that horse looks worse than ever. Today saw GM's stock price hit some of its lowest levels ever. It brings GM's market capitalization to the un-heard of $6.43 billion. That means the market values GM lower than the University of Michigan endowment. Things are not much better at Ford. That all adds up to yet another sad summer for the region. That's why Barack Obama's meetings with the CEOs of Ford and GM might have gone almost unnoticed outside of Michigan, but were big news here. I think this sort of thing helps a candidate with voters here much more than an awkward Al Gore endorsement rally or lots of talk about taxes, jobs and education. Not that the latter is unimportant. We've just heard it all before.
June 26, 2008
For Sen. Barack Obama, who will be the first African-American nominee for president of a major party, the matter of race poses some unique challenges. Analysts often argue, for instance, that polling data on African-American candidates are inaccurate because respondents don’t like to admit to racial bias to a stranger on the phone – making it harder for his campaign to get a read on Sen. Obama’s standing in the polls. Moreover, Obama faces a set of potential wedge issues having to do with minority preferences and racial “quotas” in hiring and college admissions. In several states, supporters of “anti-racial-preference” initiatives had already been working to put on the November ballot certain measures, such as the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, that in effect would end affirmative-action policies. Some have suggested that the presence of such initiatives on the ballot could drive up turnout among those more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain. To try to assess how big a factor...
June 23, 2008
The rising cost of food prices across the country is a growing problem, and is bound to get worse. The recent floods in Iowa and other major farm states could cause a spike in prices world wide: " Fears that up to 5 million acres of corn and soybeans have been lost in the heart of the world's biggest grain and food exporter have fed growing concerns that world food inflation will worsen even as energy prices set records. Financial giant Goldman Sachs said the floods will trim this year's U.S. corn harvest and affect the size of ethanol production and livestock herds. It boosted its 12-month corn price forecast to $7.70 per bushel. Iowa's weekly state crop report on Monday said more than 10 percent of the state's corn and soybeans would need to be replanted, or at least 2.5 million acres." (NYT) As a college student, making it with enough to eat is difficult as is. I've begun to rely on buying foods in bulk rather than as packaged ingredients. Buying popcorn and flour, things...