Congress Members With a Personal Connection to the Student Debt Crisis

Gauging the Nationwide Trend of Student Loan Debt & Default:

Interesting note: I remember the brouhaha about Arizona having the highest default rate, but I completely miss somebody pointing out the irony that it also had the highest number of student-borrowers in repayment as well.


2012 D.C. Primary Candidates &Their Corporate Contributions

Illustration/Infographic by Derrick Moore

More than half a million dollars’ worth of reported campaign contributions during the primary came from corporations, businesses (parking developers, realtors, restaurants, etc.) , and PACs – the precise figure being $590,786.95.

In a a January interview with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi, Council member Muriel Bowser remarked with great dismay in her voice,“Nobody talks about individuals.”

But I will, briefly, before diving into the corporate/business contributions.

The primary contribution records did show “democracy in action” in the form of average Joes-and-Janes contributing to their favoriate canditates. Their donations ranging from $5 to to maximum $1,000 (or a tadbit more for bundlers) made up primarily all of the candidates’ “war chests.”


Not-So Inconspicous Bundling (Beyond Contribution Limits), A Non-exhaustive Look:

Yvette Alexander:

  • $3,500 from the Henrico County (Va.)-Delaware-Originated Group (Springfield/Fairfax/Mount Vernon Petroleum…)
  • $6,000 from the Baltimore-Rodgers Legacy Clan of Twelve (Rodgers Legacy, Randa Investment Co, Inc, Redwood Apartments…)

Marion Barry:

  • $3,500 from the SAME Henrico County (Va.)-Delaware-Originated Group (Springfield/Fairfax/Mount Vernon Petroleum…)

Tom Brown:

Jack Evans:

  • $3,500 from the Clyde’s Incorporated (Gallery Place, Georgetown,…)
  • $7,000 from The Montrose Road Suite 500 Crew

Vincent Orange:

  • $9,000 from the Henrico County-Delaware Originated Group (Including Rock Creek/Capitol Petroleum which did not contribute to either Alexander or Barry)
  • $6,000 from The Montrose Road Suite 500 Crew

Peter Shapiro:

  • $2,700 from Foulger-Pratt Development LLC /Foulger-Pratt Managmenet/ Fougler-Pratt Rockledge Properties, all on March 20, 2012 (3/20/201

EXCEL SPREADSHEET (Dig In!): ElectionPostMortemContributions

Photo Credits:
T. Brown (Official Site):

Chart Post No. 3 (n’est-ce pas?): Fourteen-Year Strong HU Adminstratives (And One Ex-Admin) and the Total Cost of Their Employment to the University


HU Administrators Pay Salary Total Cost of Employment Swygert Minor Leftwich Hampshire-Cowan

Derrick Moore (Haynes)

Minding the Pay Gaps/’Students Firsts’, Right?” a.k.a. My Last Screed in The Hilltop

Thanks to the Board of Trustees’ Executive Compensation Committee members, bonuses doled out to administrators last school year caused a bit of stir on campus. However, more can – and will – be said about the yawning pay gap between administrators and faculty members outside of the hospital/medical departments.

A September report by the Faculty Senate’s salary task force found that the the average increase in salary pay trails behind other local universities, including Gallaudet and Trinity universities.

From 1999 to 2009, salaries for professors (tenured, associate, assistant) and instructors at other Washington higher learning institutes have nearly all increased by 30-plus percent. That’s more than double the pay increase that Howard faculty saw.

The average pay increase among Howard professors and instructors was barely out of the teens, ranging at 2 percent for instructors and 17 percent for both tenured and associate professors. (All salary numbers came from a survey by the American Association of University Professors, AAUP, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

A survey of IRS 990 forms from the same period (1999-2009) reveals the base salary/compensation for four administrators in office (and still in office except for one) fared much better:

  • Artis Hampshire-Cowan (Senior Vice President and Secretary ) – 40% pay increase

  • Norma Leftwich, JD (General Counselor) – 29% pay increase

  • Hassan Minor, Ph.D (Senior Vice President Strategic Planning, Operations & External Affairs) – 36% pay increase

  • H. P. Swygert, H. Ph.D (President emeritus and law professor) – 48% pay increase

For a fair comparison with the AAUP/Chronicle survey of faculty, other payments and bonuses that contribute to administrators’ total cost to the university were excluded. In the graph that accompanies this piece, all of the aforesaid are included and over a longer time period as well – from 1998 to 2011 school years.

When looking at the AAUP/Chronicle survey over the last two years, a clear gender pay gap is evident. Administrators seemed to have paid attention to this gap and nearly halved the pay gap by academic titles in the latest survey. At the instructor level, female instructors now make more than their male counterparts – $1,200 more, to be precise.

The greatest pay gap in the 2011 school year was between tenured male and female professors. That still remains the case. Last year, tenured female professors made $22,500 less than their tenured male professors, according to survey results.

In 2011-12 survey, results show that tenured female professors now make $11,800 less than male professors – a nearly 91 percent leveling out of the pay gap. If the university can make such progress in this area, then leveling the pay gap between administrators and faculty is not such a impossible task.

And while President Sidney Ribeau has not been at Howard for a decade-plus, looking back at his salary at Bowling Green State University shows that Howard has been more generous. In fact, it follows the general trend of private universities using their promises of higher salaries to lure away employees from public universities.

In the 2007 school year at Bowling Green, Ribeau’s base salary was $305,252. The following year, his final year at Bowling Green, his parting gift was a 2 percent pay increase to $312,125.

Skipping past Ribeau’s six-month pay in 2009 to get to 2010, we have him receiving his first full-year salary from Howard: $608,049 – a nearly 50 percent salary increase from his old salary at Bowling Green.

After the board of trustees voted on PCAR last year, President Ribeau received a 5 percent pay cut, bringing his base salary down to $579,515. But base salary alone underestimates Ribeau’s total cost to the university, which includes a deferred compensation plan: $710,115.

Ribeau’s total cost of employment also includes the “nontaxable benefit” of the university paying $95,000 to rent a house located in the Kent neighborhood of Ward 3.

For a house that’s being paid for the “convenience of the university”, how convenient is it for our president to be closer to American University than to Howard?

To me, that’s $95,000 that could be re-invested into housing for students. Isn’t ‘Students First’ is our university policy? The cost of that rent payment could cover one-year of free on-campus housing for students unable to afford off-campus pads, especially for freshmen and sophomores.

At the same price as president’s rent payment, 31 students could have stayed in Cook Hall doubles with a full bath ($2,995 per student) for free at current room rates. Or instead, twenty-seven freshman boys could have moved into singles in Drew Hall. Or 23 co-eds could have stayed in Meridian singles with a connecting lavatory.

If the university is going to subsidize housing, why not subsidize the housing of students? After all, full-time students cannot work full-time jobs that pay six-figure salaries like our university president and administrators.


Bowling Green State University IRS 990 Forms (FY 2007 to 2008)

FY 2006-2007 (pg. 34)

FY 2007-2008 (pg. 34)

Foundation Center/HU (2002-2010)      ***’98-2001 debating whether I should post on Scribd or not. I was thinking something a little more private.

FY 2001-2002 (pg. 50)

FY 2002-2003 (pg. 25)

FY 2003-2004 (pg. 26)

FY 2004-2005 (pg. 26)

FY 2005-2006 (pg. 5)

FY 2006-2007 (pg. 5)

FY 2007-2008 (pg. 5)

FY 2008-2009 (p. 52)

FY 2009-2010 (pg. 57)

HU – FY 2010-2011 (pg. 65)

HU Faculty Senate:

Task Force Report – Sept. 2011 (pg. 20)

D.C. Bike Theft Chart & Story a.k.a. My First Post This Year (Three Months After New Year’s) !

Data: MS Excel/Oracle OpenOffice (Spreadsheet)

Story: “Citywide (Reported) Bike Thefts in D.C. Decline Over Four Years, Yet Ward 6 Remains a Hotspot

Data Source: D.C. Data Catalog (“Crime Incidents”)
Hint: For those non-tech/computer engineering people (such as myself), Google Refine (h/t Poynter Institute) is your best friend in actually making the default .CVS/KML format of the data catalog open up in Excel/OpenOffice.

Non-Wonky Biking Transportation Study: “Bicycling renaissance…” (J. Pucher et. al – Transportation Research, 2011)

Q & A: Director Kasi Lemmons (Avril ’11 at Paul Robeson Film Festival @ HU)

Director Kasi Lemmons in the SOB Auditorium for student film festival. (Foto Credit: Bree Grant)

If luck comes your way, be prepared.

Luck is the love child of preparedness and opportunity.


Acting was director/screenwriter Kasi Lemmons’ first love. Her big break came before she even entered junior high. Lemmons’ membership with the Boston Children’s Theater opened the door to her first appearance in a local television show called “You’ve Got a Right”, a courtroom drama. And when she left the Bay State she headed to New York for film school at the New School for Social Research. While in New York, she also studied at the famous Lee Strasburg acting studio, the home of the Method acting embodied by Marlon Brando.

When Lemmons relocated to California, she began starring in her first major films, including Spike Lee’s “School Daze” and Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of Lambs.”

While acting helped Lemmons pay the bills, her decision to step behind the camera would raise her profile in the movie industry even more. She wrote the screenplay for the sleeper indie, “Eve’s Bayou”, during a break from acting. ”Bayou” won numerous awards for Lemmons, including a an “Outstanding Directorial Debut” from the National Board of Review. “Talk to Me,” a 2007 biopic starring Don Cheadle and Martin Sheen, garnered further accolades for Lemmons and the ensemble cast.

Q1: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers and students?

Be prepared. Always bring your ‘A’ game. That’s really my motto. If luck comes your way, be prepared. Luck is the love child of preparedness and opportunity. You got to do your part and to be prepared.

Don’t give up. It’s very easy to just say after a couple of rejections: ‘It’s too hard. It’s just too hard.’ And you can’t. You’ve gotta be stronger.

I find that with women of color, they’re already discouraged before they start. You have to ignore conventional wisdom. Even voices that say you can’t have it all. That’s not true. You have to be able to ignore the noise and believe in yourself.

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Movie Review: Margin Call (2011 – J.C. Chandor)

Since the DVD just came out today, I thought I’d post this.

Movie Review: MARGIN CALL

Or, The Thankless Job of Quants a.k.a. Sylar’s Good!

This fictional recreation about the collapse of an unnamed Wall Street firm (maybe a combination of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns) circa 2008 opens with what one “survivor” calls a bloodbath. “It’s gonna to get pretty ugly ‘round here,” he says afterwards, a bit dazed.

The following 90 plus minutes prove this observation to be prescient. Although Chandor’s picture is not a gore-fest of fake blood, “blood-letting” comes in the form of ruthless infighting. The “street fighters” are firm execs and their subordinates trying to shift blame for the firm’s failure to the lowest man (or lone woman played by Demi Moore) in the bureaucratic hierarchy.

Unlike in Heroes, Zachary Quinto isn’t among those getting his handy dirty or turning a blind eye to the risks that “cooked books” could lead to. He solves the puzzle that a predecessor who didn’t survive the pink-slip confetti time was sorting out (reminiscent of what  “Suresh”* used to do before dealing with Covert Affairs).

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Movie Review: Viva Riva! [Pas de “Spoilers”]

Capture d’ecran de film poster. (IMPAwards)

“Où est Riva?” (Where is Riva?)


An Oil Thief Flames Out in Kinshasa

With comparisons to 2007’s Cidade de Deus and reviews describing the film as a “Congolese noir”, Riva succeeds in making the latter description fitting, while the former hope remains to be seen.

Djo Munga’s film opens at a fast-paced in media res, which is also a favorite first act of American film noir pictures and their overseas cousins (ex. the Jean Gabin-starring Le jour se leve memorably opens with the trapped criminal shoutin’ and rantin’ from his barricaded room). And within the picture’s first 20 minutes, all of the typical film noir signature archetypes stroll onto the screen as this chase story unfolds.

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Movie Review: Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) [“Spoiler Free” As Usual]

Sleeping With the Enemy


How the Hunter Gets Captured by the Prey

(A Tribute to the Les Marvelettes)

In short, Skin, an adaptation of a French novel, is strictly for the fans, the Almodóvarists, as the five walkouts and three comebacks that I counted at an E Street Cinema showing attested. (I consider myself an Almodóvarist, by the way.)

More than anything else, the picture marks the twenty-two year reunion of the outrageous director with Antonio Banderas, his “acteur fétiche” (roughly translated as “idol actor”). The cinematic synergy that the late French director Claude Chabrol shared with Isabelle Huppert is the same magic that happens when Banderas and Almodóvar work together. (Both Banderas and Huppert made six films with their country’s acclaimed auteurs).

VEINS-GLORIOUS: Banderas hovers over “Vera” (Elena Anaya); capture d’écran de film poster. (IMDB)

Like Banderas’ previous collaborations, he plays his calling card – the “lovestruck madman” – to the tilt. In this case, lines such as “I didn’t know your skin was so soft” sound less like a come-on than a creepy, cannibalistic observation.

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L’Affaire DSK a.k.a. An Obligatory Francophone Post

The “Washington Exile” Returning to France to Become President?

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Stefano Phoenix Stefano DiMera The Days of Our Lives TDOL

ANOTHER PHOENIX?: DSK might have more in common with Stefano DiMera than his looks.

Le Parisien article reports that 49 percent of a thousand French voters polled by Harris Interactive want Dominique Strauss-Kahn to return to French politics; forty-five percent do not.

When pollsters focused on specifically on the French left, les Socialistes and les MoDems, they overwhelming – 62. 5 percent to be exact – wanted existing candidates on the left (upcoming post) to postpone their primary until DSK is ready to finally toss his hat into la course presidentielle.

Less than thirty-six percent of leftist voters said “no” to the left candidates waiting for la retour de la Phénix.

Another poll by Le Nouvel Observateur is not as favorable. Sixty-three percent of 860 French voters told pollsters that they don’t think that he will be the Socialist Party’s candidate. The women polled were “les plus hostiles“, the most opposed, to his possible candidacy.

Free Man in ParisDetrompez-vous! (Think Again!)

The coverage of l’affaire DSK has been nothing short of a courtroom melodrama on the scale of Witness for the Prosecution, and not the average soap opera as one French journalist suggested.

Journalist Tristan Banan, one of the two women before Nafissatou Diallo has decided to file a lawsuit against DSK to prove that she’s not a “menteuse“, a liar. The second woman, Piroska Nagy was a IMF co-worker who felt forced into their affair while the two were both married.

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