June 10, 2015
arneduncan3

Arne Duncan Transcript: Some For-Profit Colleges have “the ethics of payday lending”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell had a conference call for reporters to announce the Department’s plans to offer debt relief for students from the now-collapsed, predatory Corinthian Colleges. I offered some analysis that day about the announcement, but here’s the whole transcript. It contains some of the most emphatic statements ever from Duncan on the abuses of for-profit colleges — and the complicity of many Members of Congress. 

TRANSCRIPT

Press Call on Student Borrower Protections, Assistance

June 8, 2015

2 p.m. ET

Coordinator:          Welcome and thank you for standing by.

At this time, all participants will be on …

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May 27, 2015
Big Brown Power Plant operated by Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings.

Electric Utility Industry Created Their Own Air Pollution Permits, Held Private Meetings With Texas Regulators

Emails obtained and released today by the Environmental Integrity Project show that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) worked behind closed doors with the state’s electric power trade association and utility companies to weaken standards for air pollution control permits.

The emails and documents reveal that Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT) and utility employees held private meetings with state regulators to discuss revisions to the permits and provided language that was incorporated verbatim by the regulations into the final text of the revised permits. The language ended up nullifying the federal Clean Air Act hourly limits on particulate pollution during the …

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April 14, 2015
hrckirkwood

VIDEO: In Iowa, Clinton Stresses Harms to Students From Predatory For-Profit Colleges

In keeping with the strong populist economics theme of her campaign rollout, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today took aim at the predatory for-profit colleges whose overpriced, low-quality programs are ruining students’ lives. The former Secretary of State, participating in her first campaign event, an education roundtable discussion at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, said:

Some of the for-profit schools, some of the scandals that have arisen in these places where they take all this money and put all these young people and their families into debt. Even if they graduate they don’t have credentials that are going to get …

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April 5, 2015
Benjaminflo

Student Debt Strike? Read This Texas Mom’s Powerful Words

The 100-plus former students of for-profit Corinthian Colleges who have boldly asserted that they won’t pay back their student loans have garnered widespread attention and provided a powerful jolt to the debates about predatory colleges and our nation’s mounting student debt. A measure of the students’ impact is the meeting they were able to obtain last week to make their case to top officials of the U.S. Department of Education.

I hope these officials will listen — and act boldly themselves. The clock is running out on the Obama Administration’s efforts to curb the abuses of for-profit colleges, and while …

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November 10, 2014
whitehouse1

Obama Can Reform Dark Money with a Stroke of a Pen

There’s a powerful solution for disclosing the secret money sloshing around in our political system. It does not require an act of Congress or action from any of the effectively toothless campaign finance watchdogs, like the Federal Elections Commission. In fact, this solution could be passed in an instant and the only requirement for action is political will.

President Barack Obama can issue an executive order today that requires government contractors to disclose their dark money campaign contributions.

Why doesn’t he? And why don’t campaign finance reform organizations push for such a fix?

In 2011, following the first wave of undisclosed …

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February 12, 2013

Is Rubio’s Denial of Climate Change Tied to His Dependence on Koch Oil Money?

Tonight, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will offer the rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address.  This isn’t a casual designation: Top Republicans and outside commentators are hailing the young Senator as the very future of the GOP.

One issue where Rubio sharply contrasts with Obama is climate change. With record-high temperatures and devastating weather events inflicting hardship on millions of Americans, Obama made the need for urgent action on global warming a key component of his inaugural address last month:

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children …

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August 31, 2012

On HuffPost: To Get Better Policies, Expose Corrupt Politics

Huffington Post published this piece by me yesterday, as part of its Shadow Conventions series:

To grasp the harms caused when money dominates politics, start with for-profit colleges. This industry tripled in size during the last decade, spurred by deceptive recruiting practices, after its lobbyists loosened federal rules aimed at protecting students and taxpayers from fraud. It has become a monster, a league of Wall Street corporations and private equity-owned firms that get 86 percent of their revenues — $32 billion a year — from taxpayers.

While some for-profit colleges are honest and work to educate their students, many charge sky-high …

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August 3, 2012
A portrait of Gore Vidal

What Gore Vidal Said About The Corrupting Influence Of Money In Our Politics

Earlier this week, celebrated author, playwright, and activist Gore Vidal passed away. “Mr Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right,” editorialized the New York Times upon his death.

In 2000, Vidal authored the foreword to Money and Politics, a Boston Review New Democracy Forum published in book form by Beacon Press. This is what the legendary author noted about the cost of elections at that time:

Some nuts and bolts. Of the billions now spent each election cycle, most is donated …

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