By Tom Cushing
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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply... (More)
About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply. My long, strange career trip has included law and management jobs in two Fortune 50 companies, before founding the legal search and staffing firm Cushing Group, Recruiters. I've lectured on negotiation and settlement strategy, and teach graduate courses at Golden Gate University (Adjunct of the Year for a doctoral seminar on business, law and society). Illinois, Texas and California (Inactive) admitted me to law practice; I hold JD and MBA degrees from the University of Illinois, and a BGS from the University of Michigan, with Distinction. There -- Go Blue! Personally, my daughters are a lawyer in NY, and a pre-med student in NM - their lives-and-times often animate these columns. I'm active in animal advocacy matters, having led a citizen team that took Alameda's city animal shelter to a non-profit operation - we saved $600K annually and the lives of some 700 companion animals/year vs. the City's best alternative. I'm delighted with that success. My family has re-homed 144 foster animals over many years; we host four boisterous border collies of our own. Mostly for humane movement efforts, I was nominated for GQ magazine's 2009 Better Men, Better World Award. You may notice that many of my rants relate to critter issues. In addition to the Raucous Caucus blog, I frequently contribute to The BARK magazine, and am a proud Moderator emeritus on the popular news and humor website www.Fark.com
. I prefer scotch over imported beer (Hide)
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The Berkeley Bake-sale Blues
Uploaded: Sep 26, 2011
The world needs a Berkeley. From the Free Speech Movement (FSM) days of Mario Savio and many others, this Bay Area burg has been synonymous with Progressive politics. The campus was in the vanguard of the movement that peaked in the student-led anti-war protests of the early 1970s. And it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the FSM was demonstrating for such radical causes as a faculty free of "loyalty oaths" and on-campus political organizing by anyone other than the tidy Republican and Democratic student "clubs" of the day. That's pretty prosaic stuff, from this vantage. Besides, Berkeley also proclaims itself a Nuclear-Free Zone, and we'll all need a safe place to go in case the Unthinkable happens.
Those political clubs are back in the news, as the College Republicans have organized a "diversity bake sale" for this week. Different ethnicities are to pay various amounts for their pastries. Albeit derivative of an identical stunt pulled by Fox News' John Stossel last year in New York, this self-proclaimed satiric event has had the desired effect of re-igniting debate on Affirmative Action. Specifically, the junior GOP draws attention to a bill on Governor Brown's desk that would reinstate race/gender/ethnicity-conscious admissions in the UC and CSU systems.
The bill, SB 185 appears to conflict with Prop 209, the 1996 Constitutional initiative that forbids the use of such factors broadly in California public processes, including college admissions. The new measure purports to allow minority-conscious admissions to the maximum extent allowed by the 14th amendment. Those boundaries were recently established by a pair of University of Michigan cases, in which the US Supreme Court approved the "critical mass" approach of the law school, but disallowed "points" policies of the undergraduate college that were not sufficiently "narrowly tailored" to meet Equal Protection muster. Its supporters claim they have threaded the Constitutional needle on this difficult policy matter if Governor Brown signs the measure, they will surely get a chance to test that theory in court.
Affirmative Action has always been a difficult concept for the American public to accept, in contrast, I believe, to the passive, "thou-shalt-not" commands of anti-discrimination laws. It creates identifiable winners and losers in its processes, and, by forcing the pace of a status-blind society, AA appears to simply turn the tables of discrimination, albeit narrowly and temporarily. Justice O'Connor, in her majority opinion in the Michigan Law case, expressed the hope that one day these policies might be unnecessary, and also the view that we're not there yet as a society.
So once again, we owe Berkeley the debt of consciousness-raising this time from the conservative side of the aisle. SB 185 has flown under a lot of radar to its current position. This issue does deserve debate, and thanks to those stalwart College Republicans it's likely to receive it very soon. It may get a bit heated around here fortunately, you can always head for those nuclear-free Berkeley bunkers.
What is it worth to you?
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