Weekly Roundup 5/7/2012

Michael Cooper, The New York Times, May 5, 2012 (May 6 print edition)
Synopsis: With the presidential election six months away, Times’ national correspondent Michael Cooper handicaps President Obama with 215 electoral votes from solid or leaning Democratic states, Mitt Romney with 206 from solid or leaning Republican states and nine states with 115 electoral votes up for grabs. All nine went for Obama in 2008; all have seen Republican gains since then, and all have signs of economic rebound.
Takeaway: In closing Cooper quotes a Princeton political scientist: “It looks to me,” says Christopher Achen, “that it’s on the cusp right now.”

For CQ Researcher coverage, see Bob Benenson, “Presidential Election” (Feb. 3, 2012).

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


David Kushner, The New Yorker, May 7, 2012

Synopsis: In 2007, 17-year-old George Hotz wanted an iPhone, but he also wanted to make calls using his existing network, so he decided to hack the phone. Now 22, he embodies the ethos of old-school computer hackers: Use your technical skills, persistence and curiosity to bend existing technology to new purposes. That’s an idea that the technology industry is still figuring out how to respond to.

Takeaway: “Hotz defines a hacker as ‘somebody with a set of skills,’ and points out that the skills alone don’t make you good or evil. It’s up to you to decide how to use them.”

For more, see our Sept. 16, 2011, report, Computer Hacking.

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


Hannah Seligson, The New York Times, May 5, 2012

Synopsis: Joblessness among the young is at a crisis level: Unemployment among workers under age 25 was 16.4 percent versus 8.1 percent overall. But unlike many groups in the United States, younger, jobless Americans didn’t have advocacy organizations behind them. Think AARP for older Americans.

Takeaway:  Help is on the way. Two new movements have arisen to fight for the young and jobless: Campaign for Young America and Fix Young America. Both have gotten the attention of lawmakers and are laying out policy recommendations, including college loan forgiveness.

For CQ Researcher coverage see: “Student Debt,” Oct. 21, 2011.

--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor