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Pepper Spray Incident – Is this becoming typical?

From Gawker:

Santa Monica College Campus Police Pepper-Sprayed This Tiny Child Last Night

It wasn’t just students protesting tuition hikes who were blasted with pepper spray by campus police at Santa Monica College yesterday. This child—apparently a 4-year-old girl—was also hit. The students, and child, were pepper-sprayed to prevent them from “storming”—i.e. attending—a board of trustee’s meeting.

Is anyone keeping track of the misuses of pepper spray by badged authorities lately. The number is going up and the victims are turning out to be more and more non-criminal.

I am wondering if there are rules for pepper spray use which are equivalent to firearms use in, say, crowds of students (yeah, I remember Kent State) or laborers.

My guess is that there is not.

University of California’s FixUC proposes an investment plan to replace growing student loans.

This is a great idea… I got started reading it after a mention on Andrew Sullivan‘s site, and I went to the official FixUC proposal page: Here is the basis of the proposal direclty from the FixUC presentation:

What is the UC Student Investment Proposal?

Within the past decade, UC students have suffered from egregious increases in tuition costs. In 2011, the State of California cut $650 million in UC system funding and decreased its total support to the system by 21.3 percent. These cuts were met, yet again, with tuition hikes by the UC, and tuition for the 2011-2012 school year rose nearly 18 percent from last year’s. UC tuition has nearly quadrupled over the last decade alone.

In an effort to combat the increasing financial burdens facing students of the University of California, Fix UC has designed a comprehensive plan for the restructuring of the system by which students pay for their education.  The UC Student Investment Plan will make it possible for students to attend the UC without paying any upfront costs whatsoever.

After they graduate and get jobs, UC alumni will pay a static percentage (based on 5%) of their salaries for 20 years of employment.  Because payments are based on salary, no UC graduate will have to reckon with fees that he or she cannot afford.  Students will no longer be held hostage by unmanageable loan payments with fluctuating interest rates and strict deadlines.

Under the Student Investment Plan, graduates will only ever have to pay a stable, predictable fraction of the money they make – that means no loans and no debt.  The plan will also garner the UC enough additional revenue to free it from complete dependence on state funding and make room for long-term institutional growth.

The purpose of the plan is to reestablish the UC as an affordable option for all qualified California students while gradually reducing its reliance on undependable state monies.

Got it? Some of us are still paying our own and family members’ funding for advanced education from all over the country and the concept of colleges “investing” in their students’ futures is a solid one to me. It not only will, eventually, bring in more money to the institutions it will serve to improve the education structure…better classes make better investments.

Fix UC President Chris LoCascio recently presented an update on Fix UC to the UC Board of Regents at their meeting at UC San Francisco. The next steps will involve working with the federal government and UCOP to explore a collection system through the IRS that the UC and other American institutions can use to collect funds from graduates in the United States and abroad. This seems to mean that they are hoping to go beyond UC to other Universities. This is a plan worth getting other schools interested in… however, it should begin with student involvement to make it realistic. Here’s their organizing statement:

Fix UC is a student-created and run organization dedicated to solving the University of California’s funding crisis.

Our goal is to identify root problems and provide long-term solutions to the UC regents, with the hope that they will not only consider, but implement the plan outlined in our UC Student Investment Proposal.

Quote with a quote for the Afternoon….


Why College Costs So Much… by Doctor Cleveland

Mitt Romney recently told an aspiring college student that if he had trouble affording college, he should just shop around for the best price, which proves that Romney has no idea how college prices work:

  “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a   little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that.”

Romney also made sure to point out that the student should get no government assistance of any kind to go to college, which proves that Romney has no idea how America‘s post-war prosperity worked.

See, college is so much like the business world that Romney claims to represent. Kids just have to shop around to get into the one they want. And if they want one that costs less, there will be no shrinking of the educational value.

The government, apparently, gets no value out of investing in an educated populace, so why should it participate in subsidizing education?

The public colleges and universities  enroll three out of every four American college students and have been faced with skyrocketing tuition increases due to the cutting of state funds. When I went to college in the sixties, state and federal funding paid the majority of tuition support for middle class students. Today, however, at some flagship schools, the state’s percentage of the budget is now sometimes 10% or lower.  And, if the Romney gets his way, it will be much less.

The rest of the Cleveland article (and its subsequent Part II) will take further view on the subject.

Why don’t we go after a 21st Century government?

Second round of the French presidential electi...

Is this the Old Way?

I was watching Walter Mosely on Book Notes this afternoon as he promoted a new book about American politics. One of the things he said has stuck in my head: we have an 18th century government in a 21st century environment. What he was referring to was the fact that we still elect representatives to “represent” what we believe in Congress and to vote on items for us, whether we, in the end, agree with them or not. And, since they are easily corrupted by corporations and lobbyists putting money in their campaigns to get the job of “representing” us, we often do not agree with what they are voting for… for us.

Yet we are in an era that is pervaded by technology, where Facebook keeps thousands of us at a time, no matter where we are, communicating together. What if we all put a particular amount of time (Mosely suggested 90 minutes, but I don’t believe that much is possible on a daily basis… more likely 30 minutes) into being on-line and voting on those things ourselves? All of a sudden there is no need for Congress… the only way big corporations could influence us is by making their products and services cheaper or higher in quality (it would be realyl hard to pay off 220 million voters who are representing themselves.)

Certainly, there would have to be technical administration services created to hold the wiring together. nd we would have to have volunteer committees to control things like the military and the treasury and other important needs. But think about a real Democracy here… 1 on 1 in operation, but a huge scale overall. I know there will be so many arguments on why it can’t be done… but didn’t the imperial governments of the 18th Century think the great American experience, freeing itself from Great Britain, was certainly going to fail?

All I am saying is think about it… and remember that right now, right this very second, you and I are in a potential debate on the subject and that debate could be expanded and millions could take part. Then all we need to do is have a vote…

I was so happy to see that the NY Times has the CATF in their Summer Theatre Season listing.

Contemporary American Theater Festival

I didn’t remember seeing CATF last year, but this year, when the NY Times ran it’s annual listing of major theater sites across the country, there was the Contemporary American Theater Festival, the only listing under West Virginia in Summer Stages.

Looks like our local festival, now entering its 21st year, is being recognized in the major listings. Congratulations to Ed Herendeen and staff.

The Plays in Repertory, JULY 8 – 31:
FROM PRAGUE by Kyle Bradstreet
RACE by David Mamet
AGES OF THE MOON by Sam Shepard
WE ARE HERE by Tracy Thorne
THE INSURGENTS by Lucy Thurber