Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We Kiva

This summer the Politics and Government Department set up an account with Kiva. Kiva is a microlending organization that allows individuals to make small loans to businesses in less developed parts of the world.

The total amount that people want is rather small--around $1000--and usually toward creating or expanding a small family business, like a restaurant or auto repair shop. numerous individuals make small contributions toward any one loan, which both limits the risk and helps create more of a network of donors.

Politics and Government started our account with $100, and Professor Fields asked his summer students in Introduction to Comparative Politics to choose which country and applicant they wanted to support. You can find out about who they chose here.

What I like about Kiva is that while any interest on the loan goes to cover overhead, the principal itself is paid back to the original lender. So if all goes well, we'll have our hundred bucks back, and can reinvest it. To date, the repayment rate at Kiva is over 99%.

We'll look to grow our account in the near future, and Student Body President Hart Edmonson '08 and I have also talked about expanding this further across the student body. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Constitutions Matter

You certainly wouldn't get any argument from me on that--standard introductory political science. But what's with all the billboards that have sprung up around town with nothing more than these two words?

Blogs at the News Tribune and our own Exit 133 (Derek Young '96) are suggesting that this is a statement by Clear Channel in response to Tacoma's decision to bring all billboards in town in compliance with regulations that limit their size and placement. Is Clear Channel saying that these restrictions are a limitation on free speech? It will be interesting to see how this battle shapes up--Clear Channel has deep pockets.

More on the story here.

Thanks to Exit 133 for the image.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Teach in Chile

CIEE proudly announces the opening of applications for our second Teach in Chile program: http://www.ciee.org/teach/choose_program/teach_chile.aspx.

Teach in Chile begins in late February 2008 for the Chilean academic year; the application deadline is September 1. Application information is available on the CIEE website http://www.ciee.org/teach/teach_chile/placement_chile.aspx.

CIEE is collaborating with several reputable institutions to host Americans as English teachers for the 2008 Chilean academic school year, starting in late February and ending in mid-December. These institutions include local private schools in Santiago, the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, and DuocUC, a non-profit private institution of higher education established in 1968 by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

An exceptional opportunity for recent graduates, the CIEE Teach Chile program offers native English speakers with strong Spanish skills, who possess, at minimum, a bachelor's degree a unique and affordable opportunity to live and work in this fascinating country and to gain insight into the life and culture in a way no traveler could. Previous teaching experience is not necessary, although it's quite desirable.

CIEE program benefits include orientation by on-site CIEE staff and local experts in Santiago focused on cross-cultural issues and teaching methodologies, insurance coverage, 24 hour in-country emergency support services, pre-departure advice and support, teaching tools, and visa advising.

Please feel free to contact me with questions, or share my details with interested alums.

Kind regards,

Jennifer Atkinson
Manager, Teach Abroad Programs
CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange
7 Custom House Street, 3rd Floor
Portland, ME 04101-4739

T: 207/553-7639
F: 207/253-0639
E: jatkinson@ciee.org
W: www.ciee.org/teach


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fall Internship, World Trade Center Tacoma

From Colleen Gause '06:

I have been keeping busy at the Trade Center since we last saw each other in June. We’ve had several events and trade research projects, and I am developing some new publications for WTC Tacoma.

As summer is drawing to a close (sooner that I would hope!), our summer interns are kindly letting us know that they will be heading back to school and various ventures in the next few weeks. With that said, we would love to have folks apply for fall internships now. Would you mind posting the opening on the blog?

Here’s some verbiage:

The World Trade Center Tacoma is recruiting for fall interns. Interns are asked to work 15-20 hours per week, and are unpaid. We are flexible to work around student class and work schedules. There are positions available in event coordinating, international trade services, and website design. Interested students are asked to submit their resume, cover letter (indicate which intern position you are interested in and your schedule availability), a letter of recommendation, and also a school transcript if you are interested in receiving academic credit for your internship. For more information about intern positions, visit: http://www.wtcta.org/index.php?CURRENT_PAGE_ID=521.

All application materials and questions about internships can be sent to Colleen Gause at cgause@wtcta.org.

Thanks in advance for your assistance. I’d love seeing more Loggers down here at the Trade Center!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Need a Job in NYC? Alum's got one!

Megan Buscho 'o6 writes:

I wanted to see if you would post something about the non-profit I am working at New Visions for Public Schools. We are hiring for a couple of entry-level positions, and I would love to help out any Loggers that are looking for jobs in New York. The website is www.newvisions.org, so if you could post a small blurb, I would really appreciate it.

Check it out, and there's an older post on what Megan's been up to, including a discussion of New Visions, here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bet on it

I was thinking about the prediction markets today. I'm not much of a gambler, myself, but I'm interested in the ways in which markets can be used to predict certain outcomes--not just betting on sports, but things like elections. Online betting is illegal in the US, but in Ireland Tradesports and Intrade allow you to bet online on a range of things, including the outcome of the Russian presidential elections or whether there will be an airstrike by the US against Iran by the end of September. Many observers in political science and economics have argued that these kinds of markets, where there is real money involved, have a good track record at guessing future outcomes correctly. That being said, it's interesting to look at the Democratic candidates for president as viewed by the betting community. The number on the right can essentially be viewed as a percentage of likelihood of that person being nominated. You can click on the pictures for a larger size.

Here's the bet on Clinton becoming the presidential nominee:

And here's Obama:

Interesting to look through, even if you're not a gamer at heart.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Morgan O'Neal '06 is off to law school

Morgan writes:

I just wanted to give you a quick update on where I'm at and what's going on. I finished my contract at Microsoft in June and have been taking a vacation. I had applied to the Seattle University School of Law in January and found out in April that I was on the waitlist...I finally heard about 3 weeks ago that I've been admitted to the entering class of 2007. My first (full!) day of class is on August 27th...I'm thinking about blogging my experiences as a One L, so I'll let you know if that happens and you can pass the info to anyone you think might be interested.

Best of luck to Morgan and let's hope that for that One L blog to give us the inside scoop on life at law school.

The First Ninety Days

A short piece in the Wall Street Journal on how recent grads should approach their new job in its first ninety days. The main points:
  • Find a mentor
  • Get on people's radar
  • Play up your tech skills
  • Turn on spell check
  • Keep your opinions to yourself.
Read the whole piece here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jennifer DeLury Ciplet '98: Amazon Watch to NISGUA

A ways back we profiled Jennifer DeLury Ciplet '98, who has been managing director of Amazon Watch. But time marches on and Jennifer has taken a new position as Executive Director of The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA ). Congrats to her for the new job and all the best!

In related news, this leaves a vacancy at Amazon Watch. Interested in filling Jennifer's shoes and becoming their executive director? Deadline for applications is August 1; find the job posting here.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Julie Housh '06: DC Job, advice, and internship opportunity

Julie Housh '06 updates us with what she's been doing, her job in DC, weighs in on the value of doing an internship and offers one to boot. Make a note of it!

Hi Professor O'Neil,

Just another P&G alum note. I've been living in D.C. since graduating in May '06 and am presently working in Rep. Rick Larsen's office (WA-02) as a staff assistant. I'm happy to help anyone who is in D.C. - visiting, interning, relocating. - or just curious about working on the Hill, living in D.C., etc.

As staff assistant I am also the intern coordinator and we're currently looking for fall interns. If it's too late for students to commit to the fall, it might be useful to start thinking about spring or summer internships, we're always in need! While the internship is unpaid, we're happy to help with school credit to make coming all the way out to D.C. worthwhile. I've attached the internship information below.

I cannot recommend an internship in politics (or anywhere) enough. I interned in D.C. the summer before my senior year and loved it; I wrote a memo that ended up becoming my senior thesis. After graduating I took another internship and landed my current job. It really is a great way to find out how things really work and decide whether or not politics is the right field for you.

Thanks so much. I really love the department blog, it's great to see what's going on and where people are.

Julie Housh
Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02)
107 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Office of Rep. Rick Larsen (D­WA­02) is seeking to hire a fall intern in the Washington DC office. Candidates should have an interest in and knowledge of the legislative process, possess excellent writing and communication skills, and have an understanding of the American political system.

Interns will be responsible for projects such as writing congressional correspondence, working with federal agencies, fielding constituent phone calls and other requests. Other duties include leading Capitol building tours and providing staff with general office support. During their term, interns are encouraged to attend briefings and committee hearings of personal interest and complete individual and team goals.

If you would like to be considered for an internship, please fax your resume and cover letter to 202­225-4420 or email julie.housh@mail.house.gov. If you have questions about an internship, please contact Julie Housh by email or by phone at 202­225-2605.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Eunice Lake


Monday I hiked up part of Mt Rainier with a friend who is a professor of political science at Corvinus University in Budapest. He'd just finished his first tour of the US as part of a larger international delegation of academics, journalists and parliamentarians, sponsored by the State Department, and wanted to see some mountains--something they don't really have in Hungary.

Luckily for us, Professor Sherman has been teaching a course on the mountain this summer, complete with regular hikes, and he recommended a trail that was not too strenuous for the non-athletic like myself. We were rewarded with some wonderful views and had the place almost entirely to ourselves (except the mosquitos). If you're in town, student or alum, a quick side trip to Rainier is worth it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

YourSpace in My Face in the Workplace

A piece in the Wall Street Journal on the complexities when your social network includes co-workers, including your boss. Social network software is more difficult to compartmentalize, I think, than, for example, blogs, since you can make them much more private or anonymous and only share with a few. With something like Facebook, there's just one "you" for everyone to see. Maybe we need multiple boundaries within these identities that grant levels of access, rather than the rather blunt option of simply calling everyone a "friend" (which they clearly aren't).

More confusion over the boundaries between public and private. Find the article here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Melanie Choy '98 Changes Jobs

I just heard from Melanie Choy '98 that she's just taken a job with the California Endowment, whose mission is to "expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians." Melanie will be a program associate; Melanie says her job will be to review grant proposals related to "culturally competent health systems," which the Endowment defines as "ones that are engaged with and responsive to diverse individuals and communities." It sounds like a great career move and we wish her the best of luck in her new job. Another example of where a degree in political science can take you. Way to go, Melanie!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's the Matter with College?

A lot, according to the New York Times. They've got an essay contest going in response to a piece penned with the title above. You can find it here. I think the essay smacks a bit too much of the notion that "college was great when I went in the (insert decade here), but now these new kids have thrown it all away"--which I think maybe every generation has felt. Compare the changes in the essay above to, for example, those that happened when the GI Bill turned colleges from institutions of elaborate rituals (like freshman hazing) into places dominated by war vets who wanted to get a degree and get on with their lives, with little patience for such "rules".

Or maybe I'm wrong. Read the essay and let me know what you think.

On a related note, I'd observe that the NYT essay itself and its connection to MTV is an attempt by the newspaper to capture a younger demographic, one that is turning away from newspaper reading. Maybe they are hoping that by provoking students they'll pique their interest, though that presumes they read about this essay in the NYT in the first place--a bit of a catch-22.

Monday, July 09, 2007



The other day I was down on Ruston Way and saw an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane fly overhead. This is a Boeing product, and in past I used to watch them fly over Tacoma fairly often, but it's been a while since I'd seen one. If you want to know more about them, Boeing has a good bit of information here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Scoop

This was sent along by Josh Cole '09; rather than try to recap, I'll simply cut and paste. Pretty interesting idea; Josh wants to take a stab at contributing--you might want to, too.

The Scoop '08

Here, in the months to come, young people around the country are banding together to provide in-depth and engaging coverage of the unprecedented 2008 presidential race. Sign-up here.

Our Approach and Mission

Features will come in all styles, as well as in cutting-edge multimedia formats. And in addition to giving students a voice in the 2008 presidential election
and providing the world with impacting coverage of the race, we are also seeking to attempt a truly 'new kind of newspaper,' in which readers matter more than editors, in which stories come from the bottom-up, not the top-down, in which every word furthers our mission of satisfying the curiosity and real needs of our audience,
and in which innovation matters as much as, if not more than, convention.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Fourth

Source: State Department's July 4th Photo Gallery

Happy July 4 to everyone out there in the blogosphere! Be careful with those firecrackers.

Monday, July 02, 2007


The European Union has launched its own channel on YouTube, with all sorts of videos. What kinds of things would the EU post on YouTube? Videos on
Global Warming
US-Europe Relations
Naughty Bits

The last one has raised some hackles, not surprisingly.