Like anyone else in my generation, I’m genetically required to have a Facebook addiction. Like most other cynical jerks, I also despise Facebook. If I could count every time I swore off Mark Zuckerberg’s evil creation in favor of Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and the like, I could make a great Facebook status about how many times it has been said. But once and for all, I’m going to Facebook rehab and admitting all the facets of Facebook I find unbearable. Here are some of the reasons why I wish The Social Network had ended in bankruptcy and Justin Timberlake ripping his clothes off, instead of a login screen:
A child’s assurance of not entering poverty relies upon the income stability of his or her parent. According to an article by Banes and Waldfogel, “work-family policies that address conflicts between employment and caregiving and allow parents to work more hours and gain higher earnings will be increasingly important in the prevention of child poverty.” Family stability does not rely on just the father’s income but on the parent having above-poverty income-earning skills. “It is also apparent that the major stumbling block to family economic security for many low-income families is not the absence of the father but rather the father’s low skills, employment, and earnings.” This implies that policies that encourage marriage do not suffice. Policies that address income-earning skills are more salient when addressing poverty rates, especially among children. “This suggests that policies such as tougher CSE and marriage promotion can play only a limited role in reducing child poverty unless they are paired with programs to address the low levels of employment and earnings among low-skilled men.” When one works, how does that person take care of his or her children? When a parent does not have to worry about taking care of the child during the day, then he or she has the opportunity to work.
I was a sophomore in high school the first time I heard of Norah Jones. A friend of mine was a big lover of jazz, soul and R&B, and as such, she always was playing something incredibly soothing and sensual. She liked to talk to me about all the wonderful artists out there who were striving to make music sensible again, less about selling records, more about illuminating talent and hard work. Naturally, I got hooked. Pop music and mainstream hip hop was such a bore to me. I had to search for more musicians who spoke to me in a manner these two genres never do. That is why I was drawn to my friend, and that is how I wound up being a lover of non-mainstream music. [Read more...]
It has been said many times that California is facing a drastic shortage of water in the future. The state, particularly the Southern California region, has few natural water sources to accommodate the almost 40 million people living here. As such, local and county governments have started to come up with a few solutions to eradicate this problem.
One of the solutions proposed is to streamline the flow of water, and the governance of it. Currently, there are well over 450 public water “agencies” in California. Think about that; 450 bureaucratic local, county and state agencies charged with utilizing water in the best way possible for the residents of the state. These agencies are supposed to oversee matters pertaining to infrastructure (which is in shambles), conservation (which is nothing but a dream at this point), renovating deltas (which have been crumbling for the past thirty years), and purity (which they fantastically fail at), among others. [Read more...]
Find me, fine fellow,
send me your warmth
or whatever it is you carry
It is nothing but my arms,
I carry nothing behind me.
Too heavy are the palms that hang
below my waist.
I am numb of the warmth
you ask of me. [Read more...]
Generally, the poor tend to pay higher interest rates than the rich when taking out a loan. In India, a fruit seller who has taken out a loan to support her business must pay 4.69% interest a day. “If you borrowed 100 rupees today and kept it until tomorrow, you would need to repay 104.69 rupees.” Because of these high interest rates, the founders of microfinance institutions “were called to action”. The poor do not receive loans from “a proper lending institution like a commercial bank or a cooperative”. Instead, they borrow from moneylenders, relatives, shopkeepers etc. The interest rates and the lack of oversight of the loan, i.e. extortion, not paying the loan back, etc. has caused the rise of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in “poor” countries.
A famous Microfinance Institution, the Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus, “has reached anywhere between 150 million and 200 million borrowers, mainly women.” The accountability of a loan is communal. The loans are normally given to groups, so each person is “liable to each others’ loans and hence have a reason to try to make sure that the others pay.” The MFI’s also use the “powers of shame”. They use “connections within village social networks to put pressure on recalcitrant borrowers.” This method is effective and does not cause physical harm. However, most other non MFI lenders tend to come after borrowers aggressively.
When one thinks of the MFI and the recent economic crisis that the world has experienced one must question how economic crises effects interest rates, borrower rates, the rates of paying back the loan and the businesses that are being supported by the loans.
As financial markets struggle internationally, some microfinance institutions have begun to see downstream effects in the form of rising lending rates. As financial markets struggle internationally, some microfinance institutions have begun to see downstream effects in the form of rising lending rates.
Interestingly in times of financial crises the MFI’s have been steady and stable. According to Benjamin Kahn “there is little doubt that MFIs will benefit from close ties with their local communities, from knowing their borrowers well, from having an ownership structure that includes shareholders with a strong interest in their well-being, from conforming to local financial regulations and from making good use of local savings.”
Being involved in the community level is advantageous, the Institution is familiar with the community on a personal level and thus it is easier and more profitable and less risky for both the institution and borrower. But one must not ignore unexpected external and internal events that could drastically alter the stability of microfinance and could possibly worsen the situation of the borrowers who strive to improve their lives.
A Conversation with Professor Hazem Kandil Concerning Syria: A story of Statehood, Seclusion and a Pursuit for Freedom
The revolutions of the Arab Spring have liberated millions from political oppression in several nations all over the Middle East. The struggle continues, the dream of a better life and a better world for the younger generations still in sight, and a release from decades-old political bondage is within reach. A number of nations have been undergoing these revolutions over the past year or so, with a handful toppling their respective dictatorships. Recently, Spoiled Minds sat down with Hazem Kandil, a professor and PhD candidate at UCLA, to speak about the latest situation in the Arab world, with a special focus on Syria. Kandil’s initial work presents a look at military-security institutions and revolutionary movements specifically across Egypt, Turkey and Iran. He is also the author of “Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt”.
Professor Kandil, a well-traveled scholar and expert in Middle Eastern affairs, asserts his views of the Arab world in a manner that differs greatly from that of the average observer. As the revolution erupted in Syria over a year ago, along with many of the other revolutions across Northern Africa and the Middle East, people sought to distinguish the divide between the regime or government and the people, wishing to highlight a two-way conflict. However, Kandil stresses that the situation is more complex than that, thus he provides a political model to distinguish the relations within the governing body. In Egypt, for example, the ruling party was comprised of: the President, the military and the security institutions, with all three parties vying for power and domination of the masses.
As mayhem and chaos continue in Syria, many people may not understand the dynamics of the institutions and organizations involved in the conflict. Professor Kandil explains that in Syria factors concerning the government as well as factors concerning the opposition are very complicated, perhaps more so than Egypt, Tunisia or any other nation going through Arab Spring.
At the last Senate meeting, the controversial topic of both Esther Hwang and Albert Yum had come to a temporary close. Both Albert Yum and Esther Hwang have confessed to being negligent in their duties as ASUCR representatives. Esther was the focus of the senate chamber as many students targeted her in their speeches. But, Albert remained silent on the matter, despite being an ASUCR official. The meeting ended with Esther resigning from her position as the organizational leader, but still retaining her seat as a senator; however, there are several issues that remain unresolved.
Firstly, according to the testimonies of students who attended, there seemed to be more absent delegates aside from our ASUCR leaders, which violates a contract signed by the delegates who agreed to represent UCR [Read more...]