As a companion to the story about the UCLA near-riots, here’s a DIY education chaser courtesy of GOOD magazine.
We live with an economy and country where education is increasingly becoming either priced out of availability or a lifelong financial ball-and-chain turning students into indentured servants to the state that has paid for their education?
UCLA students are near-rioting over a 32% tuition increase. The unrest has resulted in 14 reported arrests and one tazering so far. Quick, deploy Apple Store discount vouchers to pacify them!
As a graduate of the UC system, I can’t say I’m surprised, but 32% is beyond the pale of previous tuition hikes. How in hell do they expect students or their families to pay that in this economy? How in hell do they expect to be able to fund that in financial aid? Why is California crippling its own workforce for the coming decades? Education is the backbone of any democracy, and by pricing it out of the range of those who need it, California is only hurting itself in the long run.
With a philosophy seemingly diametrically opposed to that of elected law enforcement officials in Los Angeles, the attorney general of Colorado, John Suthers (a Republican), has advised the governor of that state that medical marijuana sales should be regulated and taxed like alcohol and tobacco (and not tax- exempt like pharmaceuticals are, as medical cannabis is not prescribed per se, but “recommended” by doctors). This plan seems consistent with the stark reality in these dark times that state and county governments need to seek new avenues of public funding that will not prove to be politically unpopular. Medical cannabis activists have long been pro-taxation, as it confers legitimacy on the space.
The taxation of medical marijuana sales is something that we hear a lot about in California, and the above graphic gives some idea of how much money would be left on the table should medical marijuana be banned—or merely hounded and harassed out of business—here in Los Angeles. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley have declared their intentions to continue fighting the medical marijuana dispensaries, but it’s important to keep in mind that 77% of Los Angeles residents indicated that they were for the regulation and taxation of dispensaries, according to a recent Mason-Dixon poll.
No matter what sort of spin you put on the issue, ignoring the revenue-creating potential of taxing cannabis sales—which will continue, legally or otherwise—hardly seems prudent when we live in an era in which local governments can’t afford to fix potholes or hire schoolteachers.
Der Spiegel Online reports on the upcoming trial of a German spy who betrayed state secrets to his lover. The whole thing begs to be made into a movie, and we’re not even fully into the second act yet. Serious drama:
An explosive trial about to start in Munich involves a spy accused of betraying state secrets to his gay lover. It promises to expose the shadowy world of Germany’s foreign intelligence and may end up damaging the service…
The defendants are Anton K., a BND agent for many years, and his interpreter. The trial revolves around money and the betrayal of secrets. Love, sex and a betrayed wife are also part of the checkered tale, which takes place against the seedy backdrop of Kosovo’s criminal underworld. In other words, the case that the federal prosecutor general is now preparing is the stuff of a larger-than-life drama, the sort of material that would normally be found in the movies or in bestsellers.
While the outcome of the trial remains uncertain, it is already clear that there will be at least one loser: the BND. If the prosecution wins its case, the agency will face the embarrassment of having to admit that one of its agents was out of control for years, and that a career spy gave away state secrets in the height of passion while on assignment in Kosovo. But an acquittal would be just as embarrassing for the agency, because it would show that the BND had expended tremendous resources pursuing one of its employees.
An enterprising activist/prankster named Robert Ericksonyes man’d a contingent of mentally challenged Tea Baggers in Minneapolis by getting them to chant—it was an anti-immigrant rally, basically—“Columbus go home” like braying jackasses until a few of these dim-bulbs caught on. It’s bust-a-gut funny and disturbing at the same time. Watch the one old guy in the NRA hat guy lose it at the end.
When I was watching this I was thinking how these people are so angry, they don’t like the way things are going, they know they are less well off than they were before and they are pissed off and they have a right to be, but the problem is, their anger is directed at the wrong targets. This is in no small part due to the out-sized influence of assholes like Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly on low IQ Americans. These Tea Bagger’s opinions are simply ignorant—that’s putting it kindly—and their minds are snapped shut like steel traps. They’re so dumb they don’t even know how dumb they are. It’s impossible to take them seriously as a political force. I take heart that as time goes on and demographics change in this country that there will be less of this kind of idiocy moving forward in history. The faces in the crowd here are mostly senior citizens. They’re not going to be around, most of these folks in 20-30 years. We’re watching the death throes of a certain reactionary element of American society that we can all do better without. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it is will eventually happen. [To clarify, I still think there will be dumb people, but they’ll be less dumb than the Boomer tea baggers simply because they will be less old-fashioned and have lived in a more interconnected, multicultural world than their parents. Does that make sense?]
Discover Magazine reports on a new military-grade Taser which has a 200-foot range and has raised concerns about lethality. As opposed to what, um, guns and all that OTHER stuff the military uses? Hey, I just hope mall cops don’t end up with them…
After flying well below the radar for the last few years, Barack Obama’s younger brother, Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, surfaced yesterday—his first public speaking event—to promote his new, autobiographical novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen.
Speaking from Shenzhen, where he lives with his Chinese wife, Ndesandjo said little about Barack, but he did say, “We are family. I love my family and we are in touch.” Seeing his brother win the Presidency helped Ndesandjo come to terms with his painful past—enough, anyway, to finish the book, what the Brown and Stanford-educated Ndesandjo calls a search for “identity and self.”
In the 255-page novel, self-published through Aventine Press, Ndesandjo’s character is called David. He makes no reference to his brother, Barack. But he depicts their Kenyan father as an abusive alcoholic who beats David, and David’s Jewish American mother.
Barack Obama Sr. married Mark’s mother, Ruth Nidesand, while he was studying at Harvard, after divorcing President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. The elder Obama and Nidesand lived together in Nairobi, Kenya, where Mark spent much of his childhood. How much of the book is true?
‘It’s a work of fiction, but there’s a lot going on in there that parallels my life,’ Ndesandjo said.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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