Melanie Breault

Melanie Breault was a Web intern at The Nation during the summer of 2010. She is a student at Ithaca College in upstate New York and a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @mbreaul1.

College Seniors Face Lack of Entry-Level Jobs College Seniors Face Lack of Entry-Level Jobs

As those laid off during the recession continue to apply for entry-level positions, college seniors are facing more competition than expected.

Mar 14, 2011 / StudentNation / Melanie Breault

Generation Y Encouraged to Break Tradition Generation Y Encouraged to Break Tradition

Why are 20-somethings taking longer to grow up, no longer following the traditional timetable of adulthood?

Sep 8, 2010 / StudentNation / Melanie Breault

Fostering Lifelong Learning Through Discounts Fostering Lifelong Learning Through Discounts

Of the 17 million college students in the United States, more than half a million of these students are over the age of 50. More and more schools are offering discounts and tuition...

Aug 10, 2010 / StudentNation / Melanie Breault

Credit Unions Help Students See the Light, Not the Red

Credit Unions Help Students See the Light, Not the Red Credit Unions Help Students See the Light, Not the Red

How does a student afford mandatory expenses for college without graduating $5,000 or more in the red? Consider credit unions, instead of credit card companies.

Aug 3, 2010 / StudentNation / Melanie Breault

MEDIA FIX: Upcoming George W. Bush Memoir Eagerly Embraced By—The Democrats? MEDIA FIX: Upcoming George W. Bush Memoir Eagerly Embraced By—The Democrats?

(This guest post written by Nation intern Melanie Breault.)  George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points -- remember, he was "The Decider" -- is not set to be published by Crown until November 9th, the week after the 2010 midterm elections, but it's already raising alarms, and not just in the predictable places. The former president says his book is not an autobiography, but more of  “an analysis of key decisions in his life, both before and after he was elected president,” according to the early pubilcity. That’s fourteen decisions to be exact. Already we know that Decision Points starts with an anecdote about the night Laura Bush asked her husband whether he preferred booze to fatherhood and how from that moment on, he quit drinking, cold turkey. Crown  says the book gives "gripping, never-before-heard detail" about the disputed 2000 election, how he responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis. Bush will also write “honestly and directly” about his weaknesses and mistakes as president, as well as his path out of alcoholism.  News emeged today that Bush would grant his first big interview for the book on November 8 with NBC's Matt Lauer. As Bush edits the final touches of his opus on his computer in Dallas -- it's already marked down from $35 to $18.90 at Amazon -- GOPers can’t decide whether they’re happy about this new release or depressed. Former aide to the president Matt Latimer says the publication date -- surely highlights from the book will be leaked before Election Day -- represents “monumentally bad timing.” Paging Julian Assange! Other conservatives call Bush “selfish and stupid” because of the timing, like Lebron James (but with less access to ESPN hype). Latimer titled his Daily Beast article, "The Bush Book Bomb."  Bush is not on the ballot this time, making the midterms “a referendum on Barack Obama,” says GOP strategist John Feehery, in NPR's report. But still, nervous Republicans would have preferred a later release date. "Right before Christmas," Feehery suggests. "It would make a nice stocking stuffer." The Democrats have already started putting out the welcome mat for Bush era nostalgia, as Laimer describes in his piece for The Daily Beast:   Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: “The more flashbacks of the Bush era we have, the more people will be reminded about the huge mess that Barack Obama and the Democrats inherited." Democratic strategist Karen Finney says that the publicity surrounding the book is the perfect opportunity to refer to the Bush policies and “have it resonate with voters by linking Republicans still in office with those policies.” Which is exactly what the DCCC did last month when they unveiled a new web video ad that showed Rep. Pete Sessions telling Meet the Press, “we need to go back to the exact same agenda.” But Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn think this book is a great idea and that the GOP can use it as Americans become more dissatisfied with the increasing national deficit under the Obama Administration. He told C-SPAN, "I think a lot of people are looking back with a little -- with more fondness on President Bush's administration, and I think history will treat him well." Since Bush is no longer the president, voters are warming up to “Bush, the person,” so they may also be intrigued by his memoir, not resentful. Its Amazon page offers a "three-fer" with latest books by Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham. Bush says he wants historians to use this book as a tool to evaluate his presidency. "I don't think you can come to a definitive conclusion about a presidency until the passage of time," Bush said. "I want to put you in my position."

Aug 2, 2010 / Blog / Melanie Breault

Media Fix: Obama In ‘View’ — Survives Mockery from Palin, Colbert, Fox News Media Fix: Obama In ‘View’ — Survives Mockery from Palin, Colbert, Fox News

(This guest piece written by Nation intern Melanie Breault, who also contributes items every day to the Daybook.) If you had the opportunity to sit down with President Obama and four of your girlfriends, what would you talk about? Immigration reform, the Gulf oil crisis, the WikiLeaked Afghanistan war documents? How about Snooki, Mel Gibson and the president’s iPod playlists? This morning, Obama made history as the first sitting president to appear on a daytime talk show when he appeared on The View, and the show’s hosts took full advantage. Without wasting any time, Barbara Walters asked him, “Do you really think that being on a show with a bunch of women, five women who never shut up, is going to be calming?” His response: “Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched.” The hosts of the show actually did quiz the president on political issues including the economy, the war, as well as race relations in reference to the Shirley Sherrod episode. Still, Sarah Palin tweeted this afternoon: “President w/ no time to visit porous US/Mexican border to offer help to those risking life to secure us, but lotso' time to chat on The View?” A few days before the show, FOX News criticized the president for choosing the ladies over the Boy Scouts' 100th anniversary Jamboree. An article there pointed out that “organizers had invited the president to speak to the 45,000 scouts in attendance” and “all three of Obama's predecessors have made it to one Jamboree while in office.” Stephen Colbert didn’t waste an opportunity to laugh at its absurdity, by claiming that the president was “once again disrespecting our boys in uniform.” As the day went on, media outlets picked which part of the interview they want to focus on, whether the headline reads “Flustered by Mel Gibson & Snooki” or “I Wasn’t Invited To Chelsea’s Wedding." Tonight The Daily Show opened with some choice clips from the media protests (Fred Barnes, Michelle Malkin, even Ed Rendell)--with some claiming that Obama had destroyed the "dignity" of the office. Jon Stewart then showed George Bush's sit-down in 2004 with....Dr. Phil.  The hot blog topic, naturally, was his claim that he didn't know who Snooki is, even though he had name-checked her in a speech. We'll expect calls for impeachment over that by daybreak. Then there was the inevitable what's-on-your-iPod query and reply: "You name it. You name a song, I've got it on there. I've got Jay-Z on there. I've got Frank Sinatra on there. I've got Maria Callas on there." "Justin Bieber!" proposed Sherri Shepherd. "I do not have Justin Bieber on there," said Obama. Good thing those under-18 still can't vote. 

Jul 29, 2010 / Blog / Melanie Breault

StudentNation: Making an Educated Investment StudentNation: Making an Educated Investment

In a society where a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma and a master’s degree is the new bachelor’s, the issue of college affordability is a common ...

Jul 27, 2010 / StudentNation / Melanie Breault

Actually Getting There Is Only Half the Battle

Actually Getting There Is Only Half the Battle Actually Getting There Is Only Half the Battle

Students who have transferred from community colleges to four-year schools often lack the professional skills required to land jobs and internships after graduation.

Jul 14, 2010 / Melanie Breault

MEDIA FIX: Gulf Oil Leak Causing ‘Doomsday’—Just a Lot of Hot Air? MEDIA FIX: Gulf Oil Leak Causing ‘Doomsday’—Just a Lot of Hot Air?

(This post was written by Nation intern Melanie Breault, who is also contributing Daybook items and tweets all summer)  How is the world going to end? This is a harrowing question that seems to be coming up more and more in casual conversations, especially after movies like 2012, The Road and Inception (to be released this Friday)—and now, the scary BP oil leak in the gulf.   Helium’s article by Terrence Aym suggests that “251 million years ago a mammoth undersea methane bubble caused massive explosions, poisoned the atmosphere and destroyed more than 96 percent of all life on Earth.” Aym claims that another methane bubble formed 55 million years later. Several scientists say there are warning signs in the gulf of this happening for a third time. Time magazine’s NewsFeed picked up the story and went into panic mode saying, “This is news that goes beyond ‘spooky scary’ into ‘start-reevaluating-your-life scary.’”  But NewsFeed then presented a counter argument. They cited an interview with Gary Byerly, a geoloist at Louisiana State University who says, “The idea that there could be a catastrophic cave in, or a methane gas explosion, that’s not a reasonable worry.… The rock formations on top of this oil deposit have enough strength that nothing like that is going to happen.” Now a key scientist cited by Aym denies he predicted doom for mankind. Discover magazine links to full debunking here. While we all relax a bit, who is the public supposed to believe?  Remember Climategate? Leaked e-mails between scientists cast public doubt on the integrity of the global warming argument. A few months before the conference and the emails, 84 percent of scientists said the Earth was getting warmer because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, while only 49 percent of the public agreed. Skeptics of global warming had a field day, or more appropriately, a bunch of snow days this winter as the inches started to build and the temperatures continued to drop. But this season, as Juliet Eilperin cites for the Washington Post’s Post Carbon, “Some environmental activists might be tempted to point to this summer's heat waves to bolster their case.”  Maybe the tone will change as the public pants in front of their fans.

Jul 13, 2010 / Blog / Melanie Breault