Elizabeth Warren continues to be a powerful force in the campaign to fix the student loan system. Warren spoke at a recent hearing for the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee, saying that although the interest rate necessary to cover the cost of the student loan program without making a profit would be about 2.5%, the government is charging students nearly twice that amount for undergraduate loans, and even more for graduate and direct loans. But Warren has come under fire from critics who say that the figures she is using in her argument are wrong.
In the follow-up to the controversy surrounding the suspension of Northeastern‘s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine by the school,
It would be wrong of me to say that O Presidente plays music from another time. That’s simply missing the point. While the band, comprised of Andrew Zingg ’13, Nathaniel Draper ’12, Tobias Butler ’13, and Thomas Yopes (UC Berkeley ’13), writes music with very particular and sometimes peculiar influences, they’re not really reaching back into the past to steal sounds. Rather, their debut album Clube De Futebol collapses the past 60 years of music history into 10 succinct songs and adds their own, very 21st century sense of humor right on top.
A quick taste of that humor: According to lead singer Zingg, the band formed around a failed student group that he and guitarist Draper attempted to start during his freshman year. Clube de Futebol, originally, was the proposal for “this club that would get SBC funds to pay for a TV and the Fox Soccer channel so we could get together with our friends and watch soccer. The Portuguese spelling was an homage to Brazil’s beautiful way of playing the game. Needless to say, SBC never agreed to give us any money. But the name stuck.” The band name, O Presidente, was a product of the same failed Clube—it was Draper’s official title, in Portuguese of course.
That’s not the last bit of Brazillian influence you’ll hear on this record. On the 50s throwback “Take My Baby,” the group sings its final verse in—you guessed it—Portuguese. You’ve got to give these guys credit for continuity. That song is notable for its American inspiration as well. Beginning with a classic slide into an upbeat surf-guitar riff, “Take My Baby” is a concise tune with easy-to-place roots.
If doubts existed about the ability of a rock opera to translate from the recording studio to the resonating acoustics of Wesleyan’s own Memorial Chapel, let them be dispelled. Christopher Owens, formerly of the indie-beach-punk duo Girls, brought along a posse of eight other musicians to perform the entirety of his recent solo album, Lysandre, to a full and surprisingly attentive crowd.
Mara Connor (Wes/Vassar ’13) opened the show with an enjoyable acoustic set, bringing Henry Hall ’14 to add electric guitar and some rock flair for a few songs. After Connor ended with a cover of one of Owens’ own tunes, the golden-haired Adonis himself came onstage to sing about, well, girls.
Lysandre, of course, is really only a rock opera in form, not length. Owens and company plowed through the album in little over a half hour. Although the 11 album tracks differentiate themselves well enough along the California pop-rock spectrum, the simple but versatile “Lysandre’s Theme” reprises throughout in the keyboard, sax, flute, and guitar parts. Album highlights “New York City” and “Here We Go Again” were the most energetic and successful performances, while the awkward am-I-a-bad-songwriter tune “Love Is In The Ear of the Listener” was the only down moment in the set.
We’re now four weeks into break with one left to go. As a senior back on campus, I can tell you it seems a lot of people have found excuses to come back early. Is break too long, or does it offer the optimal amount of time to get a job, an internship, work on one’s thesis, or do something else productive? Regardless of how you feel, your parents sure have opinions. Some gems from the “parents_talk” listserv:
“At this moment we Californians are blessed with a relaxing, sunny (as in no snow) riotous (bumpy backroad stand-up-in-the-jeep) vacation with our daughter who is also preparing for her upcoming “internship” when we return to the Bay Area. It couldn’t be sweeter. That said, in speaking to her about the viewpoints expressed here, she’d gladly “trade” several winter break days for a couple of extended weekends with no classes to get on top of the voluminous workload at school…just because she loves it so much!!” – P’15
“If you live in a rural college town that is also dormant for part of Wes’s break, there are no museums open. Many local businesses also close. The local college kids sew up any internships, via long-standing program relationships. Sleeping, movies, reading, and walks are fine for a few weeks, as is visiting, but eventually sibs and high school friends head back to school. And the Wes kid – is – still – on – break. It’s like waiting for Godot.” – P’15
“My daughter works SO hard on her double majors at Wes that she both needs and benefits from the downtime over winter break. I know she is going back re-charged and ready to give her best for the spring semester and have no problem with the well deserved rest.” – P’?
“The time away has afforded my son the opportunity to experience unique travel and service programs related to his life and learning at Wes. He is currently in Africa, and is working with the people in rural areas, as well as with the small businesses looking to launch successful entrepreneurial ventures. I think this is an important part of his learning experience.” – P’14
Also of note, Roth mentioned “thinking now about new January programs” in his latest blog post. Read past the jump for more thoughts from our parents. Also, as always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.