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)

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.

Continue reading

Summer Reading: Four Headlines Stories That Caught My Eye


A recent Brookings Institute report reconfirms a little-known fact: Crime is going down in the U.S. in both the ‘burbs and major cities and has been decreasing for a while.

Since 1993, violent crimes have been in a much-welcomed free-fall. As crime researchers write in the Atlantic, the reason(s) explaining this drop are currently mere speculation.

Yet, the sensational coverage on Headline “News” and local six o’clock broadcasts remains the same, making communities (more) leery of their own neighbors. And preventing people from realizing the downward trend that has existed for more than a decade.

To TV stations, crime stories are the drama they need pull in viewers and ratings, and, not least of all, advertisers.  Crime stories are what they actively seek to catch on film as it unfolds. A case-in-point: the Casey Anthony trial coverage.

 From Nancy Grace (Why does she still have TV showExhibit A) to strangers in the street, the “guilt” of an un-convicted “Tot Mom” accused of killing her child is already decided in many minds. The whole media circus proves to me that tragic Peyton Place scandals should stay local and not  be broadcasted to a national audience.  When national broadcasters “pick up” their local affiliate stories, they cheapen sensitive, emotional stories and frame them as soap operas with daily updates, which viewers can tune into to catch the latest “episode.”

And I can’t flip channels fast enough to avoid catching a glimpse of polls asking viewers to decide a defendant’s guilt. I thought that’s what a judge and jury was for…

 There is never enough coverage of convicted white-collar criminals like Raj Rajaratnam. The media never misses a perp walk though. But cases with national impact deserve more than one-day coverage.

Rajaratnam was convicted in one of the largest insider-trader cases in U.S. history. His conviction in May, lacked the drama of Anthony’s, but the impact affects me more.

When the “financial wizards of the Darks Arts” act up, you’re guaranteed there’s a ripple effect that WILL affect everyone. Stock markets and their investors are an emotionally unstable, high-maintenance pair: They will react to every outcome; from a slap on the wrist to being sentenced in  a jail cell beside Bernie Madoff. Their reaction may cause downturns or upshots that send the economy (and every American) on an emotional roller-coaster.

As the financial crisis shows, the doings of financial wizards deserves more scrutiny than the messy relationship of a Orlando family.

Continue reading

Top 18 Highest Paid Employees at HU & HUH a.k.a. “My First Infographic”

During the 2010 academic year, before the PCAR process began in October 2009, top administrators received pay rises approved by the finance committee of the Board of Trustees.

When Sidney A. Ribeau became president in 2008, his gross pay was $239, 704 with a base salary of 207, 498.  Last year’s gross salary: $608, 049. The new salary figure of more than $700 thousand becomes complete after tacking on nontaxable benefits of $100 thousand dollars, including a  $95,000 house paid by the university (as a traditional custom).

While current university president’s wages soared, his predecessor’s plunged.  H.P Swygert, president emeritus who currently teaches at the law school, received $2, 300,880 in the 2008 to 2009 academic year, as reported in the Hilltop previously. A lion-share of the million dollar compensation was the disbursement of deferred payment –$1, 730, 363, to be exact – from a plan Swygert started in 1999.

Eleven of the top 18 highest paid employees at the university, including the hospital, are administrators with offices in the Mordecai Johnson Administration Building – or in the case of several had offices in the administration building. Continue reading

MOVIE REVIEW: Even the Rain (Tambien La Lluvia) (Sin SPOILERS…)

They Can’t Go On, They’ll Go On (Dig the Beckett-esqe Title)

a.k.a The “Happy World Water Day” Post (Beleatedly since WP had a “hack attack”)

A statue immortalizing Frei Montesinos giving his famous speech located in the Dominican Republic. (“bartolomedelascasas”)

La verdad tiene a muchos en su contra… la mentira muchos a favor.

(The truth has many enemies. The lie has many friends.)

–          Frei Antonio de Montesinos/Juan

The movie-within-a-movie (or mise en abyme) is a strange beast dependent on two stories that either complement each other or fail to jibe at all. In the case of Rain, off-set drama propels the story as much as it did in successful predecessors like Almodovar’s Broken Embraces and Minelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful.

Early on, the obsessed screenwriter Sebastiàn (Gael Garcia Bernal) remarks, “I hope I can get through this.”

He does. Yet, he quickly loses the “bleeding heart” façade that’s in full effect at the film’s open.

The first scene is fittingly a casting call for an epic film about the “real” discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus (referred to as Cristóbal Colón in the film and played by legendary yet alcohol-dependent actor Antón).

The open casting call draws people from every small town surrounding Cochabamba, Bolivia. So many people show up that Sebastiàn and company – his foil Costa and documentarian Maria – have to turn away those at the end of line.  But a future cast members, a Quechua man named Daniel, thwarts their plan by stirring up a commotion.

Daniel, who’s casted to play the martyred cacique leader Hatuey, lacks professional acting experience. Yet, we quickly discover that he has one gift that threatens the film: a knack for rallying people against the Bolivian government.

The almost useless Maria follows around Daniel and his fellow “starving Indians” (as Costa offhandedly refers to the Quechua people he casts to play as the Tainos of Hispaniola). Her aim: to make a behind-the-scenes featurette for the main film.

Following the Quechua extras allows Maria to catch more than unguarded moments off-set. She luckily follows them the day workers from the government’s water agency come to harass the villagers. In turn, the villagers chase the agents away with their fists and swing shovels as the truck pulls off.

After “greeting” the two men in the truck, their violent reaction to the mere sight of the government reps becomes clear as they explain to Maria their losing battle against the government. For the last few years, the government has pushed to privatize the wells in Bolivia by taxing villagers’ use of wells that some of them privately purchased.

Daniel and his fellow neighbors refuse to back down.  And when the government agency finally padlocks the last well of freshwater in the village, tensions in Cochabamba reach their breaking point. Fearing that even rainwater collected in a pail will be outlawed next, the villagers begin mobilizing, and agitating officials with traffic-jamming demonstrations and blockades.

Filmmaker Costa (r) and screenwriter Sebastian (l) stumble into a water-fight much more violent than a Supersoaker match. (Vitagraph Films)

“You don’t understand. Water is life,” Daniel says to Costa when he bribes him to stay out of the trouble.

But Costa later sees eye to eye with Daniel and the demonstrators, even risking his life in the process.  Sebastiàn, on the other hand, dismisses the protest as an annoyance (“…our film is going to last forever” while the protests will be forgotten). His modesty should have its own milk carton: it’s missing…or it never existed.

As a “nutcase” for his craft, Sebastiàn believes “the film comes first, always.”  And ‘til the bitter end, he’ll harangue and coerce those who stray from his overriding goal: to see the script that he devoted years of research to brought to life. His selfishness, heightened by his inner “vampire” (i.e. his  talent), allows him to see nothing but his film – making everyone expendable after they’ve done their jobs. But as a bloodied Daniel/Hatuey tells Costa after the latter bails him out, “Some thing’s are more important than your film.”

The film’s political bent does not make it unadulterated Marxist poetry (à la Gilles Pontecrevo’s La Bataille d’Alger).  Furthermore, the dedication to progressive historian Howard Zinn does not make this “fictional” account more biased than most cable news channel (CNN valiantly tries to put the “c” in the centrist political fiction that politicos like to shovel.) In fact, the movie strikes a balance between revisionism versus accuracy (which is sacrificed for “bottom line” costs).  Antón was simply egging on Juan/Frei Antonio Montesinos when he said the film “isn’t art. It’s pure propaganda.”

Before the credits roll, the balance shifts decidedly to the left – in favor of the villagers. The exact moment in which the balance is lost: when the mayor of Cochabamba utters the unforgivable line: “If you give the Indians an inch, they’ll drag us back to the Stone Age.”

In their struggle for yaku (Quechua for “water”) against the government, the villagers have a protest chant to counter the government’s underestimation of them: “Rifle or gun, the people will never run!” The defiance of the chant demonstrates their unbreakable resolve – much like Sebastiàn who refuses to leave Bolivia with an unfinished film.

Classic Rating: 7.5/10 – Potential Cult Classic

Side-note:  In light of the stalled US climate legislation (full overview of the climate bill’s demise) and the delayed resolution of Lago Agrio-Chevron lawsuit, a happy ending for the “Green” crowd is long overdue.  2000’s Erin Brokovich, by modern standards, is ancient.

But besides being a political drama, Rain is a great way to “celebrate” Columbus Day…or “Turkey Day” alongside this musical play from the Addams Family Values:

“Climate Change: Real or Hoax?” Panel Sheds Light on Policy Difficulties and Its Impact on Food Security (Part 1)

During a two hour event on climate change, two editorial cartoons summed up the misconceptions atmospheric scientists, a policy expert, and an environmental lawyer tackled before a packed auditorium.

The first cartoon, which was drawn by British cartoonist Chris Madden, depicts a man playing an ostrich, burying his head in the sand “over climate change is much easier now that half the world’s turned to desert.”  Tongue-in-cheek yet very accurately, the drawing provides a glimpse into how the climate change (or “global weirding”) debate has lead to a majority of everyday Americans doubting the impact of global warming.

Warren Washington Warren M. Washington atmospheric science climate change real or hoax UCAR

Warren Washington, PhD, takes question from the audience before panel discussion begins. (Derrick Haynes)

Results from the latest Gallup Social Series Environment poll demonstrate that Americans belief in global warming, uncertainty about its source causes (human activities or natural causes), and scientific evidence are declining.  More Americans – 48 percent, to be exact – believe that global warming is exaggerated. Those who believe climate change is occurring have dropped by 15 percent, the “lowest since the first time Gallup asked this question back in 1997.”

“Right now the skeptics have been pretty effective about misinforming people,” Warren M. Washington, PhD, told an audience who filled the auditorium of Howard University’s Social Work Library. Continue reading

Where Did the “Mother Nature Overlooking the Anacostia” Come From?

Glistening mosaic brightened up the drab side of a highway overpass in front of Kenilworth Park.

While returning from my hour (and some change) ride on the Anacostia (via a “party” barge boat), I stumbled upon a portrait of “Mother Nature” overlooking the river surrounded by a blue heron and water lilies.

Unfortunately, there was no artist signature to tell me whose addition to the side of an overpass was worth stopping me in my tracks to gawk at.

I like mysteries: I know that film noirs are more truthful than most “docudramas.” But this kind of mystery saddens me.

More picture posted below:









Accompanying “towers” with sunflowers and fluttering ladybugs among other Anacostia plant and wildlife captured in these colorful mosaic sculptures.

A Great Blue Heron soars in an azure sky.

“You say hello, and I say….” Goodbye! ‘Til next time!