In his latest op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “disaster.” He compares it to the rollout of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or “the stimulus,” which had far fewer technical problems and glitches.
“To be fair, ACA is a bigger, more complex and permanent law than ARRA,” Schaller writes. “But the uncomfortable fact is that this administration had more than three years to prepare for the implementation of ACA’s key policy innovation: the state health care exchanges and their attendant websites.”
Schaller notes the president charged Vice President Joe Biden and other top officials to oversee the ARRA implementation, which had a strong, functioning website that recorded every dollar spent. He also observes that it’s surprising the Affordable Care Act has experienced so many technical problems after past success with other programs, including the president’s two election campaigns.
“Why such technical expertise and rigorous detail was absent from Obamacare’s implementation will remain one of the enduring — and embarrassing — mysteries of this presidency,” Schaller writes.
You can read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun here.
Bmoreart blog’s Cara Ober interviews Steven H Silberg (Lecturer, Visual Arts) about ‘Mining the Crowd: Artifacts of Crowdfunding,’ A New Exhibition to Explore the Process of Funding with Kickstarter.
Silberg and his research partners have launched a Kickstarter project to fund an exhibition, which will be made up entirely of rewards offered by other crowdfunding artists to their campaign contributors. Their research aims to inquire about the sustainability of a dependence upon the social network for an artists continuing practice in the visual and performing arts. By making their first hand experience public, they hope to offer transparency, informing those who may chose to engage in crowdfunding while highlighting those who have been successful with it.
With less than a year to go before Election Day 2014, three Southern Democrats in the U.S. Senate are up for re-election and Republicans are trying to capture all three seats, which would strengthen the party’s firm hold on the Senate in South.
Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina are the three Democrats up for election next year.
Political science professor Thomas Schaller was interviewed by The New York Times about the Democrats’ future prospects in the South.
“Democrats are fighting against history in most of the South,” Schaller said. “You can still elect a Democrat to a statewide office in the South,” he added, “if you have the right candidate, with the right biography, in the right cycle. And then hopefully you get some help from the Republicans’ nominating a bad candidate. But that’s a lot of ifs.”
The article also discusses how Democrats are hopeful in states such as Georgia in winning against conservative candidates who they deem too far to the right to be elected, but others point to Texas as an example that such candidates can win.
“My three-word answer to that is: Senator Ted Cruz,” Schaller said.
You can read the full article in The New York Times here.
Thomas Schaller is author of “Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without The South.”
The Marc Steiner Show held a special two-hour tribute to Nelson Mandela on Monday, who passed away last week at the age of 95. The program featured guests from all over the world who discussed the life and legacy of Mandela, including some who fought with him to end Apartheid.
Honors College Director Simon Stacey was a guest during the show’s second hour, which discussed Mandela’s legacy and contemporary politics in South Africa.
“It’s difficult to imagine South Africa having weathered the transition without Mandela at the helm, especially after he was made the face of the armed struggle,” Stacey said.
“If Mandela had died on the operating table in the early 80s when he was having his prostate surgery, if the long bout with tuberculosis in the late 80s had killed him, I don’t think South Africa would have made it,” he added.
Other panelists in the discussion included Patrick Bond, professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and Zane Ibrahim, who grew up in Mandela’s era and was in exile at the time of the resistance.
You can listen to the full segment on The Marc Steiner Show here.
Rebecca Pearce, Maryland’s health insurance exchange director, resigned on Friday after ongoing technical issues and criticism surrounding a recent Caribbean vacation she took while the state health secretary was being questioned by lawmakers about ongoing problems with the system.
Pearce was hired two years ago to create the exchange and her resignation comes as officials are trying to fix the system which has had low enrollment numbers since it was launched on October 1.
Public policy professor and chair Donald Norris was interviewed by The Baltimore Sun about Pearce’s resignation and decision to take the vacation amid the ongoing problems.
“That’s pretty bad timing,” Norris said. ”If you are responsible for something that is failing, you don’t bail out on it until you fix it.”
You can read the full article in The Baltimore Sun here.
Mathematics professor Manil Suri was mentioned on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” (Dec. 7) for winning the Bad Sex in Fiction award for his most recent novel, The City of Devi. Some of the world’s most acclaimed writers have won the award, including John Updike, Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe.
Media across the globe have covered news of the prize, awarded last Tuesday. Suri spoke about the honor with Washington Post book editor Ron Charles (read the full story here). Suri was also mentioned in The Baltimore Sun.
In accepting the award, Suri’s publisher pointed out that the Times Literary Supplement praised the novel’s sex scenes as “unfettered, quirky, beautiful, tragic and wildly experimental.” In addition, the Wall Street Journal writes that Suri “captures the insecurity, the curiosity and even the comedy of those vulnerable moments without stooping to prurience.”
Suri is also author of The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva.
Simple Stories: The Photography of Robert Houston, a curatorial project of the Museum Practice class (Art 427), was mentioned this week in an interview with the artist in City Paper and in the contemporary art blog, Bmore Art, as “best Baltimore art opening.”
Read the interview, “Images of Struggle,” at City Paper‘s website, or see which other exhibitions top the list of Bmore Art picks.
Simple Stories explores the work of photographer, Robert Houston whose photographic career documents half a century of portraits and everyday life, including his work for LIFE magazine and images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Museum Practice is a course under the Art History/Museum Studies concentration in the Department of Visual Arts taught in the fall by Sandra Abbott, curator of collections & outreach at the CADVC. The course addresses professional museum and gallery practice, includes several visits to area institutions — such as the BMA, Homewood Museum and the Archaeological Museum at Johns Hopkins University — and then culminates in a student-curated exhibit at a Baltimore institution.
Simple Stories opened at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson December 6, and continues through December 14. Starting at 8:30 pm on Thursday, December 12, the Marquee Lounge will host “A Night with the Storyteller,” in which the artist shares accounts from his career of visually chronicling those from all walks of life. The Amalie Rothschild Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Christopher Corbett, professor of the practice of English, recently reviewed a new book for The Wall Street Journal about Red Cloud, a Sioux war chief who defeated the U.S. Army and negotiated unprecedented concessions from the government. In “The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend,” authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin tell the story of the powerful and successful Indian warrior.
“The great Sioux war chief, a military genius of the Indian wars, is a largely forgotten figure in the shape-shifting history of the American West,” Corbett wrote. “In his day, he presided over a vast swath of the continental U.S.—from Canada to Kansas and from what is today Minnesota and Iowa to Idaho and Utah. His name was much-feared.”
“‘The Heart of Everything That Is’ is a vivid if melancholy story that may make readers ponder our relationship with the memory of the American West,” Corbett added.
Corbett is the author of “Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express” and “The Poker Bride: The First Chinese in the Wild West.”
You can read the full book review in The Wall Street Journal here (subscription required).
Puerto Rico currently has a per capita debt load of $19,000 and its 2013 deficit was around $2.2 billion. In the midst of a prolonged recession, there has been widespread debate on how to solve the debt crisis.
Justin Vélez-Hagan, Public Policy Ph.D. student and executive director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, co-authored an article published in Forbes that suggested bankruptcy might be the only solution to reforming the economy.
“Puerto Rico has to restructure. They can’t keep borrowing at 8 and 9%, raising taxes on the only ones paying any, and chasing away its brightest contributors to the relative economic paradise of the mainland,” Vélez-Hagan wrote. ”Bondholders have already taken a big hit and are going to take a long, slow and inevitable bigger one if they don’t restructure now.”
Vélez-Hagan also argued that Puerto Rico must change its economic attitude and way of thinking to rebound, especially with an unemployment rate currently at 13.9%.
“Even if there is a bankruptcy, and even if bondholders get 30 or 40 or 60 cents on the dollar and even if pension obligations are reduced 30 or 40 percent, Puerto Rico must undergo an economic structural reform and create a competitive economy that incentivizes new business and creates an atmosphere that that makes it more profitable to work than to be on the dole,” Vélez-Hagan wrote.
Contributing writer Richard Finger co-wrote the article with Vélez-Hagan. To read the full article “Default: Puerto Rico’s Inevitable Option” in Forbes, click here.
The Baltimore Sun’s special education supplement last month featured William D’Eugenio ’14, theatre, and Nyalls Hartman, theatre, as they discussed the features of the Black Box Theatre and the Performing Arts and Humanities Building Theatre.
D’Eugenio spoke about the influence the new facilities had in his decision to apply to UMBC and become a part of the theatre design and production program, saying that “they are built to the standards of today and offer a real broadway style experience. Working with lighting systems that are being used in professional theaters gives me an advantage when applying for jobs.”
Read more of the article, “More than Just Performing: Music, Theatre Students Learn Diverse Skills”