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Topic: barack obama

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July 1, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Congress misses student loan rates deadline sinking college kids deeper in debt

20040912opart-fThe state Legislature narrowly averted a government shut down last week by passing an operating budget. Congress had a fiscally-related deadline too but failed to meet it. The result is that today federal student loan interest rates rose from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.  That’s double the current rate paid by more than 7 million students nationwide. The jump hits Washington state hard. Last year, 45 percent of the freshmen enrolled in our public higher-education system borrowed for college.

Congress’ failure is disappointing. Times editorials here and here argued for action by Congress. Last year, lawmakers extended the current rate when they could not agree on a  more long-term solution. But they  failed to do so this time. A nation hamstrung by more than $1 trillion in student loan debt must tackle interest rates.

Congress recessed for the Fourth of July holiday and several members of the state’s delegation, including Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Suzan DelBene will be at the University of Washington at 10 a.m. this morning to push for the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238) which would extend low rates for a year giving Congress time to work on a long-term solution.

This McClatchy story alludes to a plan Congress may agree on by July 10. That’s a week out and here’s why Congress should meet the new deadline. 

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Comments | Topics: barack obama, congress, Education

June 7, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Obama should discuss Kenneth Bae with China’s Xi Jinping

A South Korean man watches a television news program showing Korean American Kenneth Bae at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

A South Korean man watches a television news program showing Korean American Kenneth Bae at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

President Barack Obama is meeting Friday and Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Cybersecurity and economics aside, the human rights issue should surely come up. The New York Times reports more than 30 organizations are urging Obama to call for the release of at least 16 political prisoners in China, including 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Let’s not forget Kenneth Bae, the American tour operator from Lynnwood. He was living and working in China when he crossed the border into North Korea last November. Bae has languished within North Korea’s notorious prison system for seven months now. In May, he was reportedly transferred to a new site to begin a 15-year hard labor sentence for supposedly plotting to overthrow the government. On May 2, Amnesty International raised serious concerns about his lack of access to a lawyer.

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Comments | Topics: barack obama, China, Dennis Rodman

May 10, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Bill Nye on the need for more at-risk kids in STEM

President Obama’s efforts to regain America’s economic edge by ramping up science, engineering, technology and math businesses has a fan in Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Fresh from attending the White House’s third annual Science Fair, Nye spoke this week with the Huffington Post about the smart intersections of science and technology. Nye emphasized a point…

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Comments | Topics: barack obama, children, Education

April 25, 2013 at 7:07 AM

George W. Bush’s image improves as his presidential library is dedicated

Former presidents salute one of their own on the eve of the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Former presidents salute one of their own on the eve of the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Update: Getting five living U.S. presidents together offers a profound visual of American democracy. To hear them speak of each other with respect and admiration for the complexities of the top job in the world is humbling. Say what you will about former President George W. Bush, and President Obama did on Thursday, the guy deserves some credit.  In his speech Obama credited Bush with ” leading the global fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares and that we’re here to help.” Obama also hailed Bush’s bipartisan approach to education “reaching across the aisle to unlikely allies like Ted Kennedy, because he believed that we had to reform our schools in ways that help every child learn, not just some.” Obama’s salute underscores the ways Bush’s legacy will be a complex mix of good and terrible.

Earlier: Here’s proof that time apparently does heal some wounds. On the eve of Thursday’s dedication of Bush’s presidential library and museum in Dallas, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 47 percent of Americans now approve of the former president. Half of Americans still disapprove.

That’s an improvement over Bush’s 39 percent approval ratings when he left office. And among registered voters, it puts Bush’s approval ratings right around President Obama’s, according to the Post-ABC surveys.

President Obama has some serious work to do. His approval ratings ought to be higher than the former president’s. I’ll get to why in a minute. But this Washington Post story gives a contextual sense of why Bush’s raised approval ratings are such a surprise.

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Comments | Topics: barack obama, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina

April 24, 2013 at 6:05 AM

Video: President Obama honors Jeff Charbonneau as Teacher of the Year

Take a bow, Jeff Charbonneau.

The Zillah High School chemistry, science and engineering teacher stood on the White House grounds Tuesday morning to be honored by President Barack Obama as the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. The Seattle Times salutes Charbonneau’s achievements in this editorial.

Watch the ceremony below. Charbonneau speaks about 11 minutes into the video.

(Source: White House YouTube channel)

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: barack obama, jeff charbonneau, president

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