Category Archives: Schools

Trump, Mexicans, and California’s own history

Donald Trump’s virulent denigration of Mexicans has a long historical resonance in California, where they were long trumpeted by the editors of the state’s leading newspapers and by its politicians, and within living memory.

As we have noted previously, California was a hotbed of the eugenics movement and its ultimately futile drive to put racism on a scientific footing.

In our featured video of the day, Natalia Molina, University of California, San Diego, Professor of History, Urban Studies, Latina/o Studies, Immigration, Gender, and Public Health examines the history of anti-Latino racism in the Golden State and its enablement by the state’s legal, medical, and media communities.

From University of California Television:

How Scientific Racialization Shapes Mexican Immigration Policies 1848-Present

Program notes:

Natalia Molina, professor of history and urban studies at UC San Diego, traces the ways US public health and immigration policies intersected and influenced the country’s response to Mexican immigration

Map of the day: A dramatic public school shift

From the Southern Education Foundation [PDF]:

In 1989, less than 32 percent of the nation’s public school students were low-income. By 2000, the national rate as compiled and calculated by NCES had increased to over 38 percent. By 2006, the national rate was 42 percent and, after the Great Recession, the rate climbed in 2011 to 48 percent. NCES data shows that in 2012 the rate of low income students was barely below one-half –49.6 percent. In 2013, the rate crossed the threshold of one half so that in 2013 low income students became a new majority in the nation’s public schools. While found in large proportions throughout the United States, the numbers of low income students attending public schools in the South and in the West are extraordinarily high. Thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West.

In 1989, less than 32 percent of the nation’s public school students were low-income. By 2000, the national rate as compiled and calculated by NCES had increased to over 38 percent. By 2006, the national rate was 42 percent and, after the Great Recession, the rate climbed in 2011 to 48 percent. NCES data shows that in 2012 the rate of low income students was barely below one-half –49.6 percent. In 2013, the rate crossed the threshold of one half so that in 2013 low income students became a new majority in the nation’s public schools. While found in large proportions throughout the United States, the numbers of low income students attending public schools in the South and in the West are extraordinarily high. Thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West.

Pity the poor California university chancellor

Until lately, the main claim to fame of Linda Katehi, chancellor of the University of California’s Davis campus, had been her role as boss of the infamous Pepper-spraying Cop, the officer who used a jumbo sized spray can of the stuff to soak protesting students who simply sitting across a sidewalk.

But no longer.

Seems she can’t make ends meet on a mere $35,363 a month and has been forced to take on piecework to survive.

From the Los Angeles Times:

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has apologized for her controversial moonlighting activities, which had prompted a call for her resignation and legislative hearings on paid outside activities by university officials.

Katehi, who earns $424,360 annually as chancellor, had come under fire for accepting a $70,000-a-year position with the DeVry Education Group, a for-profit firm that offers college degrees online and on 55 campuses nationwide, including 13 in California.

DeVry is being investigated by state and federal authorities on allegations of deceptive advertising about job and income prospects for its graduates. It has denied the accusations.

A blast from the past: Loots, reboots, and stays

Originally posted 26 November 2009. . .

As noted in the previous post, the roots of today’s electoral field has deep roots, and the subject of this post explains how some of the groundwork was laid.

Back before the Reagan Revolution, and long before PNAC [People for the New American Century] set the agenda for the neoconservatism of Bush II, one man set the agenda for the years to come.

Writing at a time when even a Richard Nixon was willing to embrace healthcare, environmentalism, and a guaranteed minimum income for the poor, Lewis F. Powell Jr. offered a striking new vision of America, one made real by his successors.

Though best known for his tenure on the United States Supreme Court from January 7, 1972, to June 26, 1987, Powell was a far more interesting figure: Spook, merger of corporate giants, and far-thinking political strategist.

Powell was a Harvard Law School graduate who entered the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, where was assigned to the Operational Intelligence Division of the Directorate of Intelligence of United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe, specializing in German communications intelligence and reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the end of the war.

After the war, he became a corporate lawyer for a large Richmond, Virginia, law firm—specializing in the issue closest to the heart of the corporate machine, mergers and acquisitions. Another specialty was tobacco litigation, and his chief client was the industry’s lobby, the Tobacco Institute, the industry’s immensely powerful lobbying arm. He also served on the board of directors of Philip Morris for the seven years preceding his elevation to the bench, furthering a certain intimacy with the art of killing smokers for fun and profit.

One of his Virginia neighbors was Eugene Sydnor Jr., Director of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Casual neighborly conversation about their perception of the nation’s “plight” provoked the lawyer to draft a memorandum—often called the Powell Manifesto—which he handed to his neighbor on August 23, 1971. Blogger Ed Encho at STATION CHARON rightly dubs it the Looter Capitalist Manifesto.

His manifesto is represented in the transformation of every institution in our lives, which have been warped to the woof of the oligarchs and corporocrats.

The memo begins:

Confidential Memorandum:
Attack of American Free Enterprise System
DATE: August 23, 1971
TO: Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman, Education Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
FROM: Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

This memorandum is submitted at your request as a basis for the discussion on August 24 with Mr. Booth (executive vice president) and others at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues of action for further consideration.

Writing at a time when national movements had challenged the racism of mainstream society, were waging a campaign against the Vietnam War, and were raising critical questions about the growing power of corporations, Powell declared,

Should not the Chamber also request specific courses in such schools dealing with the entire scope of the problem addressed by this memorandum? This is now essential training for the executives of the future.

What he prescribed was a wide -ranging program of propaganda, one which increasingly dominates our mass media, but one has recreated the universities—then boiling founts of dissent and challenge—into bulwarks of the corpocracy.

While the chamber played a role in the unfolding events, other organizations such as the Cato Institute [a major Reagan Administration], the Heritage Foundation, and similar institutions—which had the great advantage of names other than “chamber of commerce”—took center stage, flooding the airwaves, filling the op-ed pages, and infiltrating the everyday discourse of journalism.

Since the entire memo is available at the link, I will focus here on an issue close to home [literally, here in Berkeley]. I leave it to readers to decide if Powell’s strategy has proved effective.


The assault on the enterprise system was not mounted in a few months. It has gradually evolved over the past two decades, barely perceptible in its origins and benefiting (sic) from a gradualism that provoked little awareness much less any real reaction.

Although origins, sources and causes are complex and interrelated, and obviously difficult to identify without careful qualification, there is reason to believe that the campus is the single most dynamic source. The social science faculties usually include members who are unsympathetic to the enterprise system. They may range from a Herbert Marcuse, Marxist faculty member at the University of California at San Diego, and convinced socialists, to the ambivalent liberal critic who finds more to condemn than to commend. Such faculty members need not be in a majority. They are often personally attractive and magnetic; they are stimulating teachers, and their controversy attracts student following; they are prolific writers and lecturers; they author many of the textbooks, and they exert enormous influence—far out of proportion to their numbers—on their colleagues and in the academic world.

Social science faculties (the political scientist, economist, sociologist and many of the historians) tend to be liberally oriented, even when leftists are not present. This is not a criticism per se, as the need for liberal thought is essential to a balanced viewpoint. The difficulty is that “balance” is conspicuous by its absence on many campuses, with relatively few members being of conservatives or moderate persuasion and even the relatively few often being less articulate and aggressive than their crusading colleagues.

There’s a whole lot more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

UC Berkeley betrays 80,000 faculty, staff, students


What word other than “betrays” defines the conduct of an institution that waited two months before telling 80,000 people who have attended, worked for, or provided services to “the nation’s premiere public research university”?

And that’s precisely what they did.

From the Oakland Tribune:

UC Berkeley officials announced Friday that hackers may have access to Social Security and bank account numbers for about 80,000 current and former faculty, staff, students and vendors following a December attack on the university’s financial system.

The attack occurred on Dec. 28, 2015, when hackers obtained access to portions of computers that are part of the Berkeley Financial System. The intruders gained entry through a security flaw that UC Berkeley was in the process of patching during the last three months of 2015.

IT security staff detected the intrusion within 24 hours and blocked access to the records. They finally patched the system sometime in early January.

On Friday, officials began mailing letters to alert thousands of employees, students and others about the breach so they can be on guard.

There is simply no excuse for the university to have sat on vital information of a threat to the financial and potential physical security of scores of thousands of men and women,

And what made the university finally go public.

The Tribune reports that the action only came after a reporter with a lead contacted the university for confirmation.

And that raises the disturbing possibility that the university never intended to go public.

As for all that data, maybe the school should consider storing it on an iPhone.

Zinn, Chomsky, and a talk about hope and despair

A pleasant weekend diversion in the form of an unusual discussion featuring two unusual men.

The occasion was a 20o4 fundraiser for Spare Change News, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest street newspaper. Since 1992, we have been covering issues other Boston media often ignore—inequality, homelessness, culture and resistance.”

Held at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, the gathering offered the two speakers, long-time friends and supports of the paper since its founding, to let down their hair a bit.

They touch on a wide range of issues, including the real nature of American elections, the long and venerable history of American socialism, the dark side of the drafters of the Constitution, and much more.

The discussion is also interesting in light of events of the intervening years.

So enjoy. . .

From Argus Fest:

Noam Chomsky & Howard Zinn “Is There Hope in This Desperate Time?”

Program notes:

This event was a fundraiser for Spare Change street paper and the Homeless Empowerment Project. Recorded on September 27, 2004

Unrest sweeps India’s campuses; lawyers riot

Massive protests are underway in India, mobs of lawyers are wandering the streets beating up those deemed “anti-nationalist,” and a crackdown on free speech on the campuses of the “world’s largest democracy.”

Yep, you read that right “mobs of lawyers.” And lest the thought of lawyers carrying out right-wing violence surprise you, we offer this quotation about German lawyers from Sabine Hildebrandt’s The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich: “by conservative estimates physicians were seven times more likely to become members of the SS than the general population, while teachers had an SS membership rate comparable to the rest of the population. Only lawyers were more likely to join the SS.”

And now for the main story, from Al Jazeera:

Thousands of students have participated in a series of protests and Jawaharlal Nehru University has come to a standstill.

The arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, 28, last week took place after a demonstration that marked the anniversary of the 2013 execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri man convicted of an attack on India’s parliament in 2001.

The attack left 10 people dead and was blamed on an armed group based in Pakistan.

Kumar was arrested after a student group, ABVP, linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), filed a police complaint alleging anti-Indian slogans were heard during the demonstration.

A smartphone video of Kumar’s speech, which has since been widely shared, disputes these accusations

And it didn’t take long for the protests to spread, as the Associated Press reports:

A protest that rocked a New Delhi university this week spread across India on Thursday, with students and teachers in at least 10 cities demanding the release of a student leader arrested on sedition charges and accused of being anti-Indian.

The protesters were outraged by nationally televised scenes of Kanhaiya Kumar, the student union president at Jawaharlal Nehru University, being kicked and punched while he was escorted to a court hearing Wednesday, renewing allegations that the Hindu nationalist governing party is intolerant.


The demands for the student’s freedom in the Indian capital were met by mobs of Hindu nationalists, including many lawyers, attacking students and accusing them of being anti-Indian.

More from NPR:

Some of Modi’s most ardent followers fall on the far right of the political spectrum. A crowd of them descended on the university’s campus this week, swarming the barricaded gate, and vowing to root out what they called “a nest of anti-national activity.”

Hours later, a group of lawyers pummeled students at a court complex as police looked on. According to local media reports, more unruly lawyers rounded on the only defendant in this case to date, thrashing Kanhaiya Kumar.

When bundled into court, Kumar appeared terrified and denied the sedition charge. India has been dissecting the doctoral student’s experience and drawing very different conclusions.

“We Indians will not tolerate this. They cannot raise slogans against our country. It is not free speech — it is speech against our country,” says Radshree Kumar, a supporter of the Modi government. “It’s a plot to destabilize our country.”

From ANI News, here’s a video of Friday’s lawyerly riot:

Lawyers hold protest march in Delhi against ‘anti-national’ forces

Program note:

Lawyers in the national capital took out a protest march against raising of anti-national slogans by Jawaharlal Nehru University students from the Patiala House Court to India Gate on Friday. The protestors raised slogans like “Vande Mataram” and also burnt effigy with “traitor” written on it. The protestors demanded action against JNU students, who had raised anti-India slogans. One of the protestors said that they have suspended their work for today and want justice against anti-national activities in JNU.

More from Indian journalist Barkha Dutt of NDTV:

As goons in black robes rampaged through the Delhi court house where Kanhaiya Kumar is being tried, they assaulted journalists not just on day one, but then once again, a little over 24 hours later, emboldened by the knowledge that no cop was going to come after them and in open contempt of a Supreme Court directive. Euphoric from the taste of blood, they congratulated each other on social media for being the “shers” [lions in Hindi — esnl] who did “what the government and military could not do”. The Chief Goon, Vikram Chauhan, photographed with a slew of BJP leaders – everyone from Rajnath Singh to LK Advani – has been garlanded on the court premises; candles have been lit in “solidarity” for him. The alacrity with which the police arrested Kanhaiya Kumar is in cruel contrast to the inaction against these lumpen lawyers who enjoy political patronage.

Here’s another video of the lawyers’ rampage from the Indian Express:

Lawyers Protest Outside Patiala House Court Against Kanhaiya Kumar’s Bail Plea

The Hindu, one of the nation’s leading newspapers, noted in an editorial the refusal of Delhi police to intervene as the lawyers beat students and anoyone else they deemed an “anti-nationalist”:

[T]o see events that have unfolded over the past week only as the government’s battle for ideological control for India’s universities, as real and as condemnable as the effort is, would be to miss the gravity of the moment. In the national capital this week, the Home Minister gave currency to parody accounts of Pakistani terrorists to build a case against JNU students and yet remained visibly unmoved by the obstinate refusal of the city’s police force, which comes under his charge, to arrest “nationalist” lawyers and a party MLA who beat up students on and around court premises. BJP spokespersons affected condemnation of the violence, but breathed outrage about the allegedly seditious sentiments voiced at a meeting on the JNU campus to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case and hanged in 2013. Such false equivalence has never been seen since Independence, between a Central government virtually refusing to honour the state’s essential compact with its citizenry to enforce the law and the right of Indians to freely express their sentiments, that too in the especially free zone that university campuses are meant to be. And its utterance should frame an anxiety the Prime Minister must respond to, that “nationalism” is being adopted as a political and executive touchstone by which Indians are sought to be divided between those with the ruling dispensation and those not.

BLOG BJP logoAccompanying the editorial was a cartoon by Surendra [Surendranath Reddy], depicting a Delhi policeman saluting a record player with a speaker adapted from the logo of the BJP:



No one should be surprised that Modi’s police stood by and allowed a bunch of black-robed goons to carry out political violence.

After all, it was Modi who, as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, who ordered police to stand down as Hindu rioters stalked and murdered as many as 2,000 Muslims and burned down their homes and businesses in 2002.

There’s lots more after the jump, including more protests, international reaction, and yet more murders. . . Continue reading