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Berkeley prof to students: Sorry we stole your birthright

This is made of awesome. Boomer prof repudiates boomer greed, apologies to his students for boomers having stolen their birthright. A letter to my students | The Berkeley Blog
Welcome to Berkeley, probably still the best public university in the world. ... That’s the good news. The bad news is that you have been the victims of a terrible swindle, denied an inheritance you deserve by contract and by your merits. And you aren’t the only ones; victims of this ripoff include the students who were on your left and on your right in high school but didn’t get into Cal, a whole generation stiffed by mine. This letter is an apology, and more usefully, perhaps a signal to start demanding what’s been taken from you so you can pass it on with interest. Swindle – what happened? Well, before you were born, Californians now dead or in nursing homes made a remarkable deal with the future. (Not from California? Keep reading, lots of this applies to you, with variations.) They agreed to invest money they could have spent on bigger houses, vacations, clothes, and cars into the world’s greatest educational system, and into building and operating water systems, roads, parks, and other public facilities, an infrastructure that was the envy of the world. ... Young people who enjoyed these ‘loans’ grew up smarter, healthier, and richer than they otherwise would have, and understood that they were supposed to “pay it forward” to future generations, for example by keeping the educational system staffed with lots of dedicated, well-trained teachers, in good buildings and in small classes, with college counselors and up-to-date books. .... This deal held until about thirty years ago, when for a variety of reasons, California voters realized that while they had done very well from the existing contract, they could do even better by walking away from their obligations and spending what they had inherited on themselves. ... Now, your infrastructure is falling to pieces under your feet, and as citizens you are responsible for crudities like closing parks, and inhumanities like closing battered women’s shelters. It’s outrageous, inexcusable, that you can’t get into the courses you need, but much worse that Oakland police have stopped taking 911 calls for burglaries and runaway children. If you read what your elected officials say about the state today, you’ll see things like “California can’t afford” this or that basic government function, and that “we need to make hard choices” to shut down one or another public service, or starve it even more (like your university). Can’t afford? The budget deficit that’s paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don’t have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that. Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.

August 21, 2010

Jerks destroy Golden Gate Park rose garden

32 rose plants in Golden Gate Park vandalized...

August 12, 2010

The Web is dying. Googlezon is killing it.

How the Google/Verizon proposal could kill the internet in 5...

Feds: Couple refused to sell home to black radio personality, wife

Feds: Couple refused to sell home to black radio personality, wife - CNN.com
A Chicago, Illinois, couple, their real estate agent and a real estate broker face charges of violating the federal Fair Housing Act for refusing to sell a $1.8 million home to black radio personality and comedian George Willborn, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said. The five-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot home was listed for $1.799 million by owners Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia and their real estate agent, Jeffrey Lowe, the housing agency said in a statement Tuesday.... Lowe told investigators that while he was representing the Sabbias, Daniel Sabbia told him he would prefer not to sell the home to an African-American, but added "if it was for the right price he did not care who bought the house," the complaint said. However, the agency "has determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred in this case based on race and has authorized and directed the issuance of this charge of discrimination," according to the complaint.