Nehemiah Surratt delivers the mail every morning at the Dow Jones office near Times Square in Manhattan. He sorts the incoming mail, transports it to the various departments, and picks up outgoing documents. In the afternoon, Surratt takes classes at Hunter College, where he's a straight-A student majoring in Spanish translation. Soft-spoken and shy, dressed in a rumpled, gray button-down shirt and a white knit cap, Surratt could be any other 26-year-old making his way in the world.
Two years ago, he scraped up all his savings and flew to New York, where he planned to kill himself in a cheap Midtown motel. He'd never been to the city before, he says, and he wanted to see it before he died.
Jon Corzine was up against a tough crowd this spring when he appeared before the annual New Jersey Conference of Mayors in April. It was just a few weeks after the governor proposed massive cuts to state aid for municipalities, among other drastic reductions to the state budget for 2008, and it was the first time he was in a room surrounded by the local leaders who would have to deal with the impacts of those cuts.
Demonstrators protest percentage rates on payday loans in Harrisonburg, Va., on Nov. 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Daily News-Record, Nikki Fox)
In late March, the town council of Kilmarnock, Virginia, voted 4 to 2 to keep in place zoning laws that would effectively block the payday-loan industry from expanding in their town. Fifty citizens -- an impressive turnout in a town of just 1,244 -- crowded into the council meeting to plead with elected leaders not to change the town's zoning laws to let Advance America, one of the largest payday lending companies in the country, set up shop at the local Wal-Mart complex.
"I think they practice usury," said Frank Tomlinson, the council member who led the opposition to the proposed zoning change. "They loan to people who have their backs against the wall, and then they quite frankly stick it to 'em."
The McCain Agenda: Despite the hype, McCain's environmental record shows a candidate who acknowledges the reality of climate change, but will do little to roll it back. A President McCain would only push for reforms that do not inconvenience businesses or trouble the conservative elite.
If the hype is to be believed, Sen. John McCain is practically the second coming of Sierra Club founder John Muir. "I will clean up the planet," McCain told a New Hampshire crowd in January, a promise he has made at dozens of campaign stops since then. "I will make global warming a priority."
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Henry Waxman held an oversight hearing on the effectiveness of abstinence-only education programs. Shelby Knox, the young woman who was featured in the documentary The Education of Shelby Knox about growing up a conservative Southern Baptist in Texas before becoming an advocate for comprehensive sex education, was on hand to testify about the ineffectiveness of the programs. She blogged about her testimony afterwards: