aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, July 20, 2007
Student loan overhaul passes Senate
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging overhaul of student loan programs early today that would pay for more than $17 billion in grants and other student aid by slashing subsidies to lending companies.
Democrats and student advocates said the legislation, which passed in a 78 to 18 vote, would help millions of Americans pay for college in a time of steady and often steep tuition increases. But lenders and some Republicans said the measure would hurt students by making it unprofitable for many companies to issue such loans.
I haven’t paid near enough attention to the investigations uncovering all kinds of chicanery in the $85 billion-a-year student loan industry but I agree with Kennedy:
“The question is: Are you going to support the students or are you going to support the banks?” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the education committee, said during debate.
Lending companies said the legislation was a backdoor effort to drive some companies out of business and force borrowers to use a federal program, strongly supported by Democrats, in which the government lends directly to students.
The measure would cut subsidies to lenders by about $18 billion over five years and boost student aid by $17.4 billion during that period, with the rest of the savings used to reduce the federal budget deficit. The biggest aid increase would raise the maximum annual Pell grant, the nation’s main aid program for low-income students, from $4,300 to $5,400 a year by 2012.
So please answer me this: we read hear Republicans claim Democrats are going to force private lenders out of business by loaning directly to students and cutting $18 billion in subsidies. Uh, so the only way they’re in business is with subsidies??? I guess that’s the Republican version of private enterprise.
The way the math reads they cut $18 billion in subsidies, give $17.4 billion to students and use the rest to reduce the debt. That sounds about right to me (and is not contradicted in the story or anywhere else I can find). Of course George Bush promises a veto.
Georgia High Court Wilson hearing ends
No word on when they’ll have a decision. 11Alive:
The courtroom was packed with supporters and cameras Friday as Georgia’s top justices heard an hour’s worth of arguments over whether a young man serving a 10-year prison term for consensual oral sex with a fellow teenager should be freed. [...]
Wilson’s lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, argued that the law’s changes in 2006 marked a “tectonic shift” in how Georgia views voluntary consensual teen sex. She also noted the rarity of legislation that softens punishment.
“The new reality is that teen sexual experimentation is commonplace in an era where the media bombards teens with sexual imagery,” she wrote.
Bernstein’s media savvy is profiled in today’s AJC. It looks to me like her critics are as effective, if not more so, in turning that savvy against her:
“There does appear to be more of an attempt for publicity and future book and movie deals and limousines and Web sites and publicists, that you begin to wonder whether or not Genarlow is the highest priority,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), who has been outspoken in his criticism of Wilson. “When you have a case, you try it in court. When you don’t have a case, you try it in the media.
“That is what is going on.”
I’d like the world outside of Georgia to look into why Senator Johnson - a pandering media hog who has filled the senate floor, the radio and the papers with misstatements - has been so obsessed with keeping Genarlow in jail.
From my perspective, this case desperately needs the whole wide world to look in here and see just exactly what’s going on.
LATER: The AJC report on the hearing.
Some gay Hairspray fans think so:
“Travolta, a prominent Scientologist, has no business reprising an iconic gay role, given his [religion’s] stance on gay issues,” notes Kevin Naff, managing editor of the gay-oriented Washington Blade. “It’s well known that Scientology rejects gays and lesbians as members and even operates reparative therapy clinics to ‘cure’ homosexuality.”
Defending Travolta, director Adam Shankman backed up by Hairspray creator John Waters. Says the 43-year-old filmaker:
I am stunned this has gotten that far. [Naff] has made the dumbest claims on the entire planet. Everybody involved in Hairspray - all the creators - are gay. So John has no problem with people being gay - me, the writers, composer, John Waters - all gay. John’s personal beliefs never walked onto my set. I never heard the word Scientology.
I don’t know bupkes about Scientology but I have loaded my iPod with Mark Oppenheimer’s Scientology Exclusive:
I sat down with John Carmichael, a thoughtful, middle-aged Cornell alumnus who heads the Church of Scientology’s branch in Times Square, and he did his best - what Scientology’s opponents would call his biased, self-serving best - to help me separate fact from fiction. I found the discussion illuminating, a focused look at a Scientologist who is not a celebrity and clearly not a cultist either.
The podcast is a companion piece for his The Actualizer piece in last week’s NYTimes Magazine.