About Kelley

After serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, Kelley has returned home to the U.S. and is now working on Arsenal for Democracy as a co-host and contributor.

Oct 28, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 148

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Guest: Heather R. Andrews. Topics: RushCard malfunctions harm vulnerable, low-income consumers; why the post office should offer some banking services; what we can learn from a 1945 speech by President Truman. People: Bill, Kelley. Produced: October 25th, 2015.

Episode 148 (48 min):
AFD 148

Discussion Points:

– Broken promises as a prepaid debit card pitched, with hip-hop cred, to poor consumers breaks down.
– Should the post office offer limited banking services for low-income people in the U.S.?
– In a Sept 1945 address to Congress, Pres. Truman outlined what the country must do after the war. What can we learn from that today?

Related Links

Guest essay by Heather R. Andrews: “Russell Simmons’ RushCard leaves vulnerable flat broke”
AFD: “Should USPS be empowered again to offer banking services?”
AFD: “13 of Truman’s 21 policy points from 1945 are relevant today”

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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video game blog of our announcer, Justin.

Oct 14, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 146

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: How the Reagan Revolution influenced the American Left; the US airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan; Perkins Loans end. People: Bill, Kelley, Nate. Produced: October 11th, 2015.

Episode 146 (54 min):
AFD 146

Discussion Points:

– Generational Politics: How the Reagan Revolution influenced the American Left
– The US blew up a hospital in Afghanistan. What now?
– Why was the Perkins Loan program allowed to expire?

Related Links

AFD: “Getting trapped in Reagan’s ideological framing”
France24: “Aid workers killed in US air strike on Afghan hospital”
AFD by Kelley: “Perkins Loan program expires after 57 year run”

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Oct 7, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 145

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: The Future of Wages; Burkina Faso shakes off a coup; emerging movements in the Republican and Democratic presidential races. People: Bill, Kelley, Nate. Produced: September 13th and October 4th, 2015.

Episode 145 (56 min):
AFD 145

Discussion Points:

– What is the future of living wage laws?
– What can Burkina Faso’s resistance to a coup tell us about transitions to democracy in poor countries today?
– Can anyone save the Republican field from itself? Can Sanders prevail over Clinton after all?

Related Links

The Globalist (by Bill): Op-Ed: “The Future of Living Wages”
AFD: “Short-lived Burkina Faso Coup had very little support”
AFD: “Procedurally, GOP nomination is within Trump’s reach”

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AFD Radio Ep. 144 – Fr. Tony Akinwale on Nigeria’s Future

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Guest Interview by Bill: Fr. Tony Akinwale, Nigerian political philosopher and theologian of the Dominican Institute in Ibadan Nigeria. How Nigeria could become a world power very soon and what Americans should know about that country. Then: Kelley covers Guatemala’s political upheaval. Produced: September 18th, 2015.

Episode 144 (53 min):
AFD 144

Related Links

Fr. Tony Akinwale’s website
Nigeria Guardian: “The Real Name Of Corruption”, by Tony Akinwale
Nigeria Guardian: “Naming and renaming” (Public nomenclature under military rule), by Tony Akinwale
Nigeria Guardian: “A kingdom of warlords”, by Tony Akinwale
AFD by Kelley: “Guatemala has a lot to celebrate this independence day”

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Sen. Warren seeks to stop employers from running credit checks

elizabeth-warren47% of companies use credit checks as part of their hiring process for some positions. 1 in 7 people believe that poor credit scores kept them from being hired.

Senator Elizabeth Warren hopes to change that. Warren (D-MA) and Representative Steven Cohen (D-TN) have introduced a bill to prevent employers from running credit scores on potential hires. The duo believe that not only are credit scores frequently inaccurate, but they are also blatantly prejudicial, giving an advantage to wealthy applicants whose savings were able to buoy them during difficult times.

The use of credit scores in hiring is troublesome for a number of reasons. Primarily, as Demos Senior Policy Analyst Amy Traub reports studies on the matter have “found no correlation between personal credit and propensity to commit theft or any other ‘counterproductive workplace behaviors.” So, while this process is fruitless for learning about prospective hire’s ability to do the job well, it does allow employers to discriminate on the basis of wealth.

Warren explains:

“This is about basic fairness — let people compete on the merits, not on whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills.”

 
Ten states have already banned the use of credit scores in hiring, most recently Nevada. Warren and Cohen hope to make the ban federal. The bill that Warren introduced in the Senate, the Equal Employment for All Act, is cosponsored by six other Democratic Senators and supported by more than 40 organizations.

Perkins Loan program set to expire at end of month, after 57 year run

The country’s longest-running student loan program, the Perkins Loan, is set to expire on September 30th and it remains unclear whether the program will be extended. For the past 57 years, the Perkins Loan has aimed to serve students with the highest needs and is unique because of the flexibility in the loan.

The Perkins program distributes $1.2 billion in loans each year, which represents only 1% of college loans disbursed in 2014.

Colleges and Universities receive an allotment of Perkins Loan money and are responsible for determining who has the most need in their student body and passing on the loan to them. Many believe this is a cost-effective model because universities use the money that they are paid back through the loan program to distribute more loans.

The loan also provides students with a 9-month grace period after graduation before they begin repayments and allows the loans to be cancelled if the student goes on to work in certain public fields, such as law enforcement or social work.

At least 95 members of Congress, university and college leaders, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) are prepared to defend Perkins Loans. However, key GOP lawmakers appear to be prepared to let the program expire.

Perkins Loans are not without their pitfalls. Some wish to simplify the federal aid programs to students to make it easier for students to navigate the system. The chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) would like to see a simplified system with three programs for aid: one federal loan program, one work study program, and one grant program — which would leave no room for the Perkins program.

Additionally, the funding formula used to determine how many Perkins loans a college can distribute is outdated. Ben Miller, Senior Director for Post Secondary Education at the Center for American Progress points out:

“The funding formula guarantees colleges receive the same amount of money that they did in 1999. Because the 1999 amount was supposed to provide colleges what they received in past years, that amount is similar to what schools received in 1979. The 1970s funding formula looked at school enrollment to determine how those dollars would be allocated. However, during that time period, enrollment in colleges and universities in the Northeast was much more concentrated than it is now, so students attending universities in other parts of the country are losing out, Miller said.”

 
While there are legitimate reasons to simplify student aid programs and ways to improve the existing Perkins program, there is little chance of that happening before the end of the month and if the program is allowed to expire, it is America’s neediest students who will pay the price.

According to NASFAA President, Justin Draeger:

“If Congress doesn’t vote to extend the program before its Oct. 1 expiration date, incoming low-income students are expected to face a gap of $2,000, on average, in their financial aid packages.”

 

Sept 16, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 143

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: How to redirect hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for the wealthy toward low-income programs; the low-wage service economy recovery; should the US accept more Syrian refugees? People: Bill, Kelley, Nate. Produced: September 13th, 2015.

Episode 143 (55 min):
AFD 143

Discussion Points:

– CFED.org: “Redeploying $540 Billion in Federal Spending to Help All Families Save, Invest, and Build Wealth”
– Why it doesn’t feel like a recovery: So many new jobs in retail services get paid less now than before the recession’s peak.
– Should the U.S. accept more than just 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year?

Related Links

Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED): “Redeploying $540 Billion in Federal Spending to Help All Families Save, Invest, and Build Wealth”
NYT: “Low-Income Workers See Biggest Drop in Paychecks”
AFD by Kelley: “United States to accept (a few) more Syrian refugees”

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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video game blog of our announcer, Justin.