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Sophie Quinton

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Heading Off the Coming Retirement Disaster

May 9, 2013 When California State Sen. Kevin de Léon talks about his plan to help people save for retirement, he usually starts by describing his Aunt Francisca, a housekeeper. “She’s north of 70 and she still cleans homes,” says de Léon. Francisca can’t afford to retire because she has no savings. Even...

Crowdfunding Everything From Solar Panels to Veronica Mars

April 17, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For those wary of traditional banks after the 2008 financial crisis, there’s another option: lending and borrowing online through crowdfunding platforms. These companies act as financial intermediaries, gathering small amounts of money from large numbers of lenders, investors, or donors to fund a given cause or project. Investments made through...

How Smartphones Could Revolutionize the Way We Heat and Cool Our Homes

April 4, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In the summer of 2011, Texas experienced a heat wave that had electricity providers sweating. So many homes were cranking the air conditioning that utility companies feared the electric grid couldn’t handle the strain. One Austin neighborhood stood out. During triple-digit afternoons, homes in the area with south-facing solar panels...

How to Write Poetry for History

January 17, 2013 Only three presidents have commissioned a poem for their inauguration ceremonies: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton (who had two), and Barack Obama. For his first swearing-in, Obama called on Elizabeth Alexander, a poet and professor at Yale University. This time, he picked Richard Blanco. Alexander chatted with National Journal about...

Winners and losers in fiscal cliff deal

January 1, 2013 Middle and lower-income taxpayers are the main beneficiaries of the fiscal cliff deal, but there are other winners—and losers—of the last-minute scramble to avert scheduled tax increases and spending cuts. The gridlock leading up to the deal dimmed the country’s already dim view of Congress. Lawmakers aren’t going to get...

Obama wants recommendations from new gun task force next month

December 19, 2012 President Obama, in announcing a task force on gun control headed by Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday, urged Congress to move quickly next year on legislation to tighten restrictions in response to the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. He said he assigned Biden to lead the interagency effort...

White House to GOP: We're waiting on 'realistic' revenue-raising proposal

November 27, 2012 The White House hasn’t yet seen a “realistic proposal” from Republicans that would raise the kind of revenue President Obama is seeking, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. "Math tells us that you can't get the kind of balanced approach that you need without having rates be part...

Obama Biographers: The President Thinks Like a Writer

November 16, 2012 Subscribe: > Newsletter > Facebook > LinkedIn The problem with President Obama, his biographers say, is that he's also a writer: a man who likes to think about the big picture and the long term. He's a thinker who happens to also be the most powerful actor on the world...

Key GOP senators vow to oppose Susan Rice as Secretary of State

November 14, 2012 Senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday made crystal-clear their opposition to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as a nominee for secretary of State. Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., criticized Rice’s faulty explanation of the Sept. 11 attack...

Tough road to a debt deal, even for a community-organizer-in-chief

November 13, 2012 President Obama’s reelection campaign managed to community-organize its way to electoral victory and a second term. Now we'll find out whether the same kind of grassroots approach can help Obama push his policy agenda through a divided Congress. Rallying voters behind a candidate is one thing; it’s quite another to...