Features by Brendan Hoffman
Upon entering the floor of the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, I noticed a tendency delegates had of glancing up as an ethereal light caught their faces. This response was partly an effort to catch a glimpse of a large video monitor hanging overhead, and partly – it seemed – tied to a sense of wonder at being part of an event so deeply tied to their political beliefs and sense of identity. These are the party faithful, those who spend their own money to travel to the convention… read more.
Amid the fertile fields of Iowa sits Webster City, a town of 8,000 people in the midst of an existential crisis. For the better part of the past 80 years, manufacturing has kept the town employed and prosperous, with a factory that made everything from something called a doodlebug to, most recently, washing machines under the brand Electrolux. The tree-lined streets of handsome single-family homes and a main street packed with local businesses are the very picture of middle class America. In 2011, the factory closed and moved to Mexico, laying off nearly all of a… read more.
It was only a few short years ago that Barack Obama rose from the ranks of junior senator to inspirational presidential contender to leader of the free world. Shortly thereafter, Republicans made major gains in the midterm elections thanks to the grassroots fervor of the Tea Party. Now, with the 2012 campaign for the presidency well under way and dissatisfaction with President Obama a persistent theme, Republicans candidates are duking it out all across the country in an effort to win their party’s nomination and take on Obama head to head. Iowa provided the first testing… read more.
Amid a persistently down economy and record federal deficit, Congress and the White House squared off in an epic battle over spending by the federal government. Driven by the Tea Party, Republicans demanded massive cuts to the budget. Democrats fought back to the point that the federal government came within 90 minutes of shutting down, until an agreement was reached shortly before midnight on April 8. The fight served as a major test for the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, as well as President Barack Obama, who officially launched his re-election campaign that… read more.
To cap a year of turmoil in Haiti, with a devastating earthquake and widespread cholera outbreak, Haitians went to the polls on November 28 in the first round of voting to choose a new president. Current president Rene Preval’s hand-picked successor, Jude Celestin, faced minimal popularity. Michel Martelly, a well-known singer, is wildly popular in Port-au-Prince but faces limited support in the countryside. Meanwhile, a former first lady, Mirlande Manigat, could emerge as the compromise candidate. Due to persistent difficulties for most people in obtaining a voting card, turnout was extremely low. A runoff between… read more.
An outbreak of cholera which began in the Artibonite River valley, in the center of Haiti, and soon spread to Port-au-Prince and beyond, killed more than three thousand people and sickened tens of thousands more in late 2010. A quick response from Haitian and international medical organizations helped save countless lives, though a climate of distrust based on rumors that the United Nations is responsible for the outbreak has complicated the medical response in many areas. Many people continue to live in circumstances that do not afford them the luxury of avoiding activities that bring… read more.