Archive for September, 2010


Made my second contribution to the The Hill‘s front page article for Sept 21, 2010. Fellow intern Hayleigh Colombo also worked on this story and props to her for doing a great job. Sure it was lengthy process of pointing out records but it paid off in the end. Find out why some panicked Democrats want to protect their stake in the House for upcoming elections in November. The full story by Russell Berman:

Vulnerable Democrats in both chambers have signed on to Republican-sponsored bills as they seek to boost their bipartisan credentials before the election.

With the midterms less than six weeks away, several Democrats returned to Washington last week and added their names to Republican proposals, many of which were introduced more than a year ago and have little chance of passing in the current Congress

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) co-sponsored to a measure tweaking the Democratic healthcare law, as well as a controversial proposal to change immigration laws that grant “birthright citizenship” to anyone born on U.S. soil.

Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.) is backing a full repeal of the healthcare law, becoming the first Democratic House member to do so.

And, in the upper chamber, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) decided last week to co-sponsor gun-rights proposals that had been sitting on the shelf since the middle of 2009.

Lawmakers add their names to proposed legislation throughout the year, and Democratic aides point out that each of the representatives has a long record of supporting GOP proposals. Yet the brief legislative session before the November election offers members a final chance to document their support for bills before voters head to the polls.

Republicans see a political tint to the campaign-season endorsements.

“The fact that these Democrats are seeking last-minute political cover proves that they’re seeing the writing on the wall about how disappointed voters are with the job-killing agenda of their party,” said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Democrats said the September sponsorships were consistent with a bipartisan voting record. “These aren’t ‘new’ positions as they head in to the election; they’re conservative Democrats doing conservative Democrat things,” a Democratic strategist said. Boucher is running in a competitive race in southwest Virginia. He voted against the healthcare law in March, but on Sept. 14 he signed on to legislation sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) that would remove a provision in the law that requires businesses to report to the IRS any purchase valued at more than $600. The legislation was introduced in April. Democratic Reps. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Mark Critz (D-Pa.), who was elected to Congress after the healthcare law was passed, also signed on to the bill last week. Several other Democrats added their names shortly before the House left for recess at the end of July.

Boucher also last week became the second Democrat to endorse former Rep. Nathan Deal’s (R-Ga.) Birthright Citizenship Act, which would change immigration laws to require that a child born in the U.S. have at least one parent who is a citizen, a legal resident or serving in the military in order to gain birthright citizenship. The other Democratic co-sponsor, Taylor, signed on to the legislation when it was introduced in April 2009.

A spokeswoman for Boucher did not respond to a request for comment. Lincoln, whom polls show running behind GOP nominee Rep. John Boozman in her reelection bid, touted her support for the Senate version of the GOP proposal to modify the small-business reporting requirement in the healthcare law, which she supported. “I supported the Johanns amendment because I recognize that the healthcare law is not perfect and I am committed to making improvements to the bill where we can,” Lincoln said in a statement last week.

She also signed on to a bill last week that would relax gun-control regulations. That bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), was introduced in April 2009. All but five of its 37 co-sponsors are Republicans. “Sen. Lincoln regularly works across party lines, and her voting record proves that she has been an independent leader for Arkansas,” Lincoln spokeswoman Marni Goldberg said. Lincoln added her name to several other Democrat-backed bills as well last week.

Bennet, a Democrat appointed to his seat in 2009 and seeking a full term this fall, became a co-sponsor last week of a bill introduced by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to expand opportunities for hunting on federal land. He is one of three Democrats backing the legislation, which was proposed in June 2009. A Bennet spokesman, Adam Bozzi, said the senator “has co-sponsored countless Republican-supported bills dating back to his first days in office. Michael heard from Colorado sportsmen who discussed the merits of this bill and how it would benefit Colorado.”

“After listening to his constituents and researching the bill, he decided to sign on,” Bozzi said.

Democrats weren’t the only lawmakers crossing the aisle in September.

Rep. Charles Djou (Hawaii), a Republican in a tight race this fall, signed on to a bill sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) to enhance assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence. A spokesman noted, however, that Djou won a special election just a few months ago in May and plans to endorse legislation right up until Election Day.

Cross-posted from The Hill

The Hill’s Big Question Editor Sydelle Moore takes on some of the nation’s top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals’ insight into the biggest questions burning up the blogosphere today. I also got the honor of making a small contribution to the story.

Today’s question:

If Rep. Michael Castle (R) loses in Delaware, what does that mean for the Republican Party?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said:

“If Rep. Mike Castle loses in Delaware, it would be too bad, I’m a great admirer of him but you have to respect the voice of the people

Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at U.C. Irvine, said:

This is Political Science 101. Tea Party candidates tend to be further Right of Center so while they have a better chance of winning primaries, it will be easier for Dems to defeat them in general elections. So Reps pick up fewer seats. What’s disturbing about all this is how severe economic discontent in the U.S. is providing electoral gateways for Tea Party candidates with extreme social issue agendas — Christine O’Donnell is a poster child for this. Memo to the Tea Party: The first Tea Party was about taxes, not abortion or gay rights.

Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University, said:

1.       The Delaware seat stays in the D column

2.       GOP chances of getting to 51 Senate seats in this cycle decrease substantially

3.       Tea Party candidates and their supporters will continue to threaten the viability of the   GOP for the foreseeable future


John Feehery,
Pundits Blog contributor, said:

It means Republicans don’t take the Senate.

Cheri Jacobus, Pundits Blog contributor, said:

The Tea Party movement is marginalizing itself with its actions in Delaware. The movement has been enormously influential and effective because it has been clearly defined by fiscal and small government issues that cut a wide swath through the electorate. In Delaware, the Tea Party is making a significant departure from the very set of core issues that have drawn in a broad spectrum of voters and new voters, and instead seem to be defining themselves by issues such as abortion and gun rights. This is why many Tea Party supporters will likely start to move away from association with the movement. (That, and those pesky personal issues and strange positions of O’Donnell’s that should disqualify her as an endorsed candidate of any party or movement, regardless of her stated positions on primary issues.)

The Tea Party is still, undoubtedly, a net gain for the Republican Party, but there has been a price to pay. Christine O’Donnell’s support by the Tea Party movement does not even remotely reflect the Tea Party support for candidates such as Scott Brown in Massachusetts. But like many effective movements, the Tea Party may be enjoying a brief but bright shelf life, meant to burn hot for a short time before flickering out — or at least settling into a lesser long-term role.

If the Tea Party tanks Mike Castle in Delaware and costs the Republicans the Senate, it will lose supporters in droves.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:

It means the GOP establishment’s goose is cooked. It means all bets are off — and it means that the Democrats, too, are in big big trouble. Because all these voters who are sick unto death of professional politicians who go along to get along are coming to the polls, this November, to get revenge. And they mean to have it….

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said:

Should Congressman Castle lose his primary to a relative unknown without previous office or political leadership experience it will not be a case of tea party regicide, but rather political suicide.

Only Congressman Castle is on the ballot. The alternative for most voters is “none of the above.”

Castle would be a great improvement over any Democrat in Delaware.  He has however irritated voters by supporting Cap and Trade legislation that would punish Delaware citizens by deliberately raising their energy costs.  Castle has continued to worship at the shrine of global warming long after the models have been exposed as jimmied, the data faked and the consensus created the way Mussolini created consensus—through intimidation and rewards for proper ideological stances.

One could argue for “sending a message” by voting against Castle for his votes against the First Amendment and for “protect the incumbents” campaign finance laws.

But how stupid does one believe Senators to be?  Were not Bennett, Murkowski and Specter messages enough?  At some point there just may be overkill.  Or perhaps some politicians are quite hard of hearing.

Cross-posted from the Hill’s Congress Blog.

In the life of today’s college students, it is often recommended that they expose or place themselves in a real live work setting where they can gain valuable experience- an internship.

Internships are all about entering the real world. It’s when students get unplugged from the already struggling lifestyle of residential campus and face tougher challenges of budgeting and long commutes to 9 to 5 jobs.

So what is it about the sudden need for internships? Why is trying to  get a job that you don’t get paid for most of time with some organization so damn important?

In a burrito wrap, internships provide you with insider status in the workplace. You might get to assist an ad agency with a commercial, or write for a web site or a broadcasting station or even interview Congress members for an op-ed in Capitol Hill. They also help establish potential networking relationships on the side and eventually filling you up with all the valuable knowledge you need in the workplace.

If you need more incentive to get into an internship, some organizations such as the one I work at  hire up to 70 percent of their interns. That’s because employers get to know you better, have more time to evaluate your work ethic and save more money re-hiring interns for staff positions instead of spending resources to train new people

And  if you are like me, a college student who has virtually no experience and has struggled to find work with every job application, an internship is the very thing you need to thrive in this job-ridden economy.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2010 Student Survey, individuals who finished U.S. undergraduate programs are most likely to receive job offers if they have completed internships.

“About 42 percent of seniors who had done internships received at least one job offer, compared to about 30 percent of seniors who had not. The ex-interns were also offered higher salaries and were more likely to accept the jobs they were offered.”

In addition, the percent of interns converted to full-time employees increased from 35.6% in 2001 to 50.5% in 2008 and the trend keeps increasing according to Gardner, Chao, & Hurst.

These are some of the main benefits of interning. However, the real challenge with internships is getting one and the only thing that stands between you and the internship you’re pursuing, is yourself.

My college was offering an internship program known as the Washington Semester through its Career Center. They provided uppergraduate students with potential intern opportunities from various organizations in relation to their majors.  Also, the students would spend an entire semester working as interns. However, the beginning process for the internship was the furthest thing from easy. Like most internships, the Washington Semester required a substantial amount of demanding requirements and unforgiving deadlines. It seemed barely impossible. But I didn’t give up.

Remember, the internship is what you make it. You have to be motivated and determined. There are too many students who become discouraged by some of application processes. Like it or not,  you will have to battle through the gauntlet of creating the resume, attaining a decent GPA, racking up reference letters, attending workshops, maintaining portfolios, meeting with your advisor and preparing for the dreaded interviews (Not to mention some of the fees you have to pay as well).

With that said, once you know you want to get an internship, you have to commit to these requirements. It may not be the easiest thing in the world but in my case, I saw it as my best bet as an up and coming post-grad.