University of California

The Data Plan

Don't like affirmative action? The alternative could be much worse.

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How Gov. Jerry Brown's dog, Sutter, helped deliver his owner a big political victory.

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California has imprisoned more people wrongfully than any other state. Will this persuade voters to abolish the death penalty?

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The new jobs report is out and it’s not good at all. It may not suggest the economy is slowing down, at least according to the economists I’ve consulted and read. But it certainly suggests the economy wasn’t growing as fast as we thought. And it’s not like anybody thought it was growing that fast in the first place. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday morning that the economy created just 69,000 jobs last month. It also revised its estimate for April, down to 77,000 from 115,000. Unemployment has gone up a tenth of a percentage point, to 8.2 percent.

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When Ron Paul released a statement earlier this week informing supporters that “moving forward … we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primary states that have not yet voted,” it was easy to imagine Mitt Romney’s campaign staff quietly rejoicing.

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Facebook’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) is projected to value the company at $104 billion. Reportedly, only Visa has had a larger IPO. Only time will tell if Facebook is really worth such an astronomical sum, but one thing about it is not all extraordinary: Its location in the Bay Area. From 1996 to 2006, 9 percent of all U.S. IPOs were headquartered in the San Francisco metropolitan areas--where Facebook is located--and another 10 percent came from the San Jose metro area. The data come from University of California-Davis professor Martin Kenney and his colleague Don Patton.

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By the time the police arrived with the pepper spray, sending throngs of college students choking to the ground, it was clear that Santa Monica College’s plan to raise tuition had gone badly awry. Days earlier, the trustees of the 31,000-student community college had announced a novel strategy for dealing with the state of California’s latest round of punishing budget cuts. It would open up new sections of perpetually over-subscribed courses like English and Math—but only to students willing to pay four times the standard price.

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In the last years of the nineteenth century, Charles Dow created an index of 12 leading industrial companies. Almost none of them exist today. While General Electric remains an industrial giant, the U.S. Leather Company, American Cotton Oil, and others have long since disappeared into bankruptcy or consolidation. Today, the Dow Jones includes giant corporations that hadn’t even been created when Ronald Reagan first sat in the Oval Office.

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The protests against the Berkeley College Republicans’ mock “Diversity bake sale” last week, in which minorities were charged lower prices than whites, are illustrating that history is all about taking a step backwards for every two steps forward. Back in the day, when I started speaking out about affirmative action in 2000, to even question racial preference policies was to be tarred as a moral degenerate. The conversation has moved on since then.

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I have a bit of a weakness for insulting people's intelligence. I recognize this and try to restrain myself. When I read Stephen Moore's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, I thought that I would give restraint a try. There's simply no way to honestly analyze this piece without commenting on the author's intelligence. I suppose, to be charitable, I should refine that to mean Moore's analytic intelligence; there are many kinds of intelligence, and perhaps Moore is gifted with great social intelligence, or artistic intelligence.

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