28 May 2010

All dressed up

So the new season of So You Think You Can Dance has started back up. Hurrah!

Or, slightly less enthusiastically: sweet. I'll have to check it out.

Seriously, though: the judges annoy the heck out of me, and the freak show aspect is a waste of time, but every once in a while something awesome comes along. Case in point:




Yeah. So that's Teddy Tedholm, who auditioned last year, made it to Vegas, got cut before the Top 20. The piece he did for his audition last year:




Heckuva dancer.

Anyways.

Y'all been following the student strike down in Puerto Rico? Or, to put that another way: y'all heard about the student strike down in Puerto Rico? Somehow it's gotten very little coverage in the mainstream press, but it's huge and it's been going on for over a month now.

From a blogpost by Daniel Hernandez of the LA Times:

The University of Puerto Rico remains paralyzed by a student strike that has lasted more than five weeks, engrossing the entire island. Students shut down the campus on April 21 over austerity measures that university officials sought in order close a massive budget shortfall. The strike at the university, which serves 62,000 students, reflects wider economic troubles in Puerto Rico. The U.S. commonwealth is in the midst of a deep recession.

Students are reportedly barricaded behind campus gates under heavy police watch at 10 of the university's 11 campuses. Supporters have been hurling food and water over campus fences to reach the students, resulting in violent confrontations with police. In one widely reported incident, police beat and arrested a man who was attempting to deliver food to his son, a striking student.

Media reports say support for the strike is widespread on the island, but university officials disagree, saying it is being led by a small minority. Last year, discontent with the economic policies of Republican Gov. Luis Fortuño -- who sought to lay off thousands of government workers -- led to an island-wide national protest.

"Not since Puerto Rico rallied to chase the United States Navy out of Vieques a decade ago have so many different social sectors rallied around a single cause," reports the Miami Herald.


And, from Caribbean Business, a Puerto Rican news site:

The crux of the student strike revolves around tuition waivers, but the stoppage has been colored by claims that the Fortuño administration aims to privatize parts of the UPR system. There are also complaints that the administration is using state funds to build capital works that will pass to private enterprise and possible tuition hikes down the road. They also want a guarantee that the system will not suffer budget cuts due to its formula-based funding pegged to Treasury Department General Fund revenue.

At the heart of the students’ demands is the reversal of a plan to further limit tuition waivers for students with high grade-point averages. Such students currently do not have to pay tuition, but can still qualify for and take federal Pell Grants. The UPR administration is now saying that qualifying students will have to pick between the two, but will not be able to benefit from both.

The majority of UPR students qualify for Pell Grants, which more than cover tuition and leave recipients with discretionary spending money in most cases. According to government statistics, 40,000 UPR students receive Pell Grants. Of that money, 32% covers tuition while the remaining 68% goes to “other student expenses.”

The administration has said that a student vote to ratify the strike could lead them to shutter the system and scrap the semester.


Interesting stuff.

All y'all have a great day. Back to work!

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