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Darts and laurels

Laurel to the Livingstone and Catawba College students who marched on the Board of Elections office Thursday to promote political involvement among young people and cast their primary ballots. This was something of a “vote-in,” the latter day evolution of another era’s “sit-ins.” It offered grassroots evidence that interest in this election is running unusually high among young Americans, particularly the “millennials,” as sociologists have dubbed 20-somethings who are politically involved, socially active and determined to improve the world around them. So far, the number of 18- to 29-year-old voters has increased in every state’s primary or caucus this year. In Pennsylvania, 70 percent of the 200,000 new voters who registered before the primary were under 35. Based on the surge in registrations reported by counties around the state, that trend appears likely to hold true for North Carolina’s May 6 primary, as well. The question is, once this presidential election is over, will these young people still retain their political enthusiasm?
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Dart to the costly failure of the $20 million “virtual fence” the government set up on the Arizona-Mexico border. With surveillance towers and sensors, the system was supposed to detect movement along the border and transmit camera images to agents patrolling the area ó and it does, sometimes. But the 28-mile fence has not worked quickly enough consistently enough for agents to do a thorough job of catching people sneaking into the United States. So the government announced last week that it is scrapping the prototype. Things aren’t going so well for the literal fence the U.S. is building along the border, either. While some stretches get double-and-triple metal walls backed up with lighting and cameras, people in the area near Naco, Ariz., have puzzled over the jagged patchwork fence National Guard units have built there ó a low, open fence that residents say wouldn’t stop a flea.
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Laurel to a glimmer of upbeat economic news that should be of interest to the new crop of college graduates about to enter the job market. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which monitors the hiring of new grads, says employers are expected to hire 16 percent more graduates this year than in 2007. And in the show-me-the-money department, starting salaries are expected to be higher in engineering, computer science, marketing and other competitive fields. But that doesn’t mean liberal arts grads might as well begin practicing their “want fries with that?” routines, according to Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College in Greensboro. Writing in U.S.A. Today, Malveaux says the key for any job seeker is a diverse skills set (including a foreign language) and flexibility. “If a grad is ready to accept an entry-level job, give a little on job requirements and move if the company asks, chances are she’ll land a job,” Malveaux says. “Picky or inflexible grads might need to prepare for a longer wait.”

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