Chancellor issues statement on Arizona shootings
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau expressed shock at the political shootings in Arizona this past weekend, and condemned the use of political hate speech.
Probing the haphazard rise of harsh supermaximum prisons
Across the nation, 25,000 high-risk prisoners are currently housed in "supermaximum" units designed for extreme sensory and social deprivation. Berkeley grad student Keramet Reiter — researching the rise of this harsh form of confinement — has pored through archives and listened to former prisoners' powerful accounts of near-total isolation and its psychological effects.
Students stage mock-trial to engage in international law, human rights
Students in the political science course "Accountability for
International Human Rights Violations" reenact high-profile, international
trials and act as prosecutors, defense and judges. In their most recent
trial, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld faced charges of extradition
to France to be tried there for violating international torture laws.
Minimum wage hikes don’t eliminate jobs, study finds
Increasing the minimum wage does not lead to the short- or long-term loss of low paying jobs, according to a new study co-authored by UC Berkeley economics professor Michael Reich and published in the November issue of the journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.
IRLE's conference on "New Deal/No Deal?"
In the midst of forecasts of continuing economic woes and congressional gridlock, experts gathered recently at UC Berkeley to assess what worked and what didn’t during the Great Depression-inspired New Deal, the Obama administration’s still emerging efforts to ease the Great Recession, and prospects for relief, reform and recovery.Much of the conference, “New Deal/No Deal? The Age of Obama and the Lessons of the 1930s,” is now available online at http://irle.berkeley.edu/conference/2010/.
Elizabeth Warren envisions launch of tough '21st-century' watchdog agency
Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, speaking Thursday evening at the Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, diverged from her "standard" speech — on the worsening financial straits of the U.S. middle class — to talk about what it means "to build a new agency in a new world where information travels at the speed of light." Warren said new technology can help make the agency responsive to consumers and less vulnerable to "capture" by the financial-services industry.
Legalize marijuana? Pro, con, or undecided, Berkeley students sound off on Prop. 19
On Nov. 2, state voters will decide on a controversial and quintessentially California ballot measure, Proposition 19, the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010." Where do students at Berkeley, with its reputation for liberalism (accurate or not) come down on the issue? Eleven campus undergraduates think out loud about the pros and cons of Prop. 19.
Researchers examine California public, private workers’ pay, total compensation
California taxpayers are not overpaying or overcompensating their state and local workers compared to private sector employers, according to a policy brief released today (Monday, Oct. 18) by the Center on Wages and Employment Dynamics at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.Wages earned by California’s public employees are about 7 percent lower, on average, than those received by comparable private sector workers, according to the report. However, the researchers concluded that when taking into account the more generous benefits of government employees, there is no significant difference in the level of total compensation between the two sectors.
Campus hosts election events
In the brief time remaining before the Nov. 2 general election, the University of California, Berkeley, will host a series of informational events about the Golden State's congressional races, the emergence and impact of the Tea Party, and last-minute polling results in California.
Oral history weaves story of the Oakland Army Base and its profound region-wide impact
The Regional Oral History Project at the Bancroft Library has interviewed nearly 50 people associated with the now-defunct Oakland Army Base — either in military or civilian capacities — over nearly six decades. The oral histories, and an associated book, limn the key role the base played in U.S. military conflicts as well as the economy and culture of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Chancellor: Universities play key role in strengthening science, math education in the U.S.
The nation's future competitiveness relies on the success of its universities, among others, in producing teachers for the next generation of scientists, tech whizzes and engineers, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told a panel of experts at the Brookings Institution Monday, and Berkeley is doing its part.
Study finds governor’s budget would cost jobs, economic output
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cuts-only approach to balancing the state budget will leave deep economic scars, according to a new report issued today (Thursday, May 27) by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. But it adds that balancing cuts with targeted revenue increases would save nearly 250,000 jobs – half of them in the private sector.
IGS goes Web 2.0 with information resource on state propositions
The University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) is taking a decidedly Web 2.0 tack to help voters sort through the facts, fiction and political posturing around five propositions on the state’s June 8 primary election ballot. IGS has collaborated to produce California Choices, a comprehensive resource guide with a unique and colorful multimedia presence and an online tool (http://californiachoices.org/ballot-measures/endorsements) that, along with a wealth of related data, lets voters electronically share their personal positions on ballot propositions.
Downsizing the prison-industrial complex
California has created, through its laws and policies, a hugely bloated correctional system, says Barry Krisberg, a well-known advocate of criminal-justice reform. With 170,000 prisoners held in dozens of overcrowded facilities located mostly in rural areas, the system is financially unsustainable — setting the stage, potentially, for smarter policies, he says.
California Assembly committee endorses UC Berkeley statistician's election auditing method
Since 1965, California counties have been required to hand tally 1 percent of all ballots after an election to validate the machine count, despite the fact that available auditing techniques lack any statistical basis. UC Berkeley's Philip Stark has now provided statistically sound methods for conducting these audits, and a proposed bill, AB 20203, will establish a statewide pilot program to test these methods.
Wendy Brown: Without quality public education, there is no future for democracy
UC Berkeley professor of political science Wendy Brown was among the more than 200 Berkeley faculty members who traveled to Sacramento on March 4. A co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association, she gave the following address on the capital steps during the "Educate the State" rally.
How Berkeley is finding its voice in Sacramento
Since the beginning of the spring semester, a team led by the Office of Government and Community Relations has been gathering stakeholders - from on campus and beyond - in a coordinated effort to boost the effectiveness of Berkeley's budget-advocacy activities.
Back at Berkeley, Citizen Clinton embraces the global village
Speaking Wednesday to a packed Zellerbach Hall, former President Bill Clinton discussed the growing importance of nongovernmental organizations in remediating the problems caused by global poverty, and the need for today's students to "put yourselves on the line" to combat inequality."
'A Woman's Nation' reveals a workplace transformation
Women now make up half the American workforce, a dramatic social transformation over just one generation, according to the Shriver Report, co-produced by a Berkeley Law team. But public policy hasn't kept up with the massive social change.
Study finds significant non-union impacts for proposed tax on “Cadillac” health plans
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education report that an excise tax on high-cost employer health insurance plans as proposed by the U.S. Senate would affect more non-union than union workers. Likewise, they say a majority of the savings from a reduction in the tax, as proposed by the White House and union leaders in January, would accrue to non-union workers.
Climate change: 'Berkeley has a special obligation'
As a public university, Berkeley has a "special obligation" to reach far beyond its scientific expertise to seek solutions to global warming, Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming told experts from across campus Thursday at the "Beyond Copenhagen" conference on international climate change negotiations.
Cardenas first in Mexican speaker series
The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies will host a lecture by Mexican politician Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas next Wednesday (Feb. 3) on the promise and legacy of the Mexican Revolution and on Mexico's present challenges.
Limb regeneration and attosecond research each get $1 million from Keck Foundation
Two UC Berkeley research projects that push the boundaries of their fields have each received $1 million grants from the W.M. Keck Foundation. One grant will fund research on limb and organ regeneration, while the other will support a laser laboratory that probes the movement of electrons on the attosecond timescale.
Studies find proposed health care reforms offer big savings to individuals, families
Four million Californians who are uninsured, have unaffordable job-based coverage or who are buying coverage in the individual market, would be eligible for Medicaid or subsidized coverage under bills under consideration in the U.S. Congress, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leading while black: Scholars assess the 'de-racialized' Obama White House, and Michelle's makeover as 'Mommy in Chief'
African American scholar-activists on Thursday conducted a follow-up evaluation of the nation's current "weird, surreal" condition, as journalist Brenda Payton put it — "led by a black president who we aren't supposed to think of as black."
How to solve California's fiscal crisis? First, don't think of an elephant
"The California Democracy Act," recently submitted to the attorney general's office, would take the state back to pre-Prop. 13 days, when the majority ruled -- and the Legislature was able to pass a budget
What ails California?
"What Ails California?," a daylong conference held last week on the Berkeley campus, at times resembled an episode of the TV show House -- but without the "aha" moment in which the patient's disease is identified and the cure prescribed. The state's voters, it seems, want change. But what kind of change? And will it help solve California's budget crisis?
Goldman School to have greater impact, thanks to $5 million gift
Over the years, the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley has emerged as a leader in proposing solutions to major issues facing society, and now a new $5 million gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund will make it possible for the school to make a greater impact in the world.
Study says California furloughs will save less than anticipated
Much of the savings from California state workers’ three-day-a-month mandatory furlough will be offset by reduced revenue and increased costs to the state general fund in future years, says a study released today (Thursday, Oct. 15) by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.
Wither healthcare reform? Policy experts at Berkeley offer insights and predictions on the debate
ational healthcare reform continues to dominate the headlines, with Congress laboring over various proposals and President Obama making his case for reform to the public. To help shed light on where the debate stands today, and where it may be headed, the NewsCenter queried heathcare-policy experts at Berkeley for their insights — asking what they would like to see in a comprehensive healthcare plan, what compromises they expect from Congress, and what they predict will finally emerge.
Mondale: Connecting the dots between U.S. security and foreign development aid
In an event sponsored by the Blum Center for Developing Economies, the 81-year-old Mondale invoked the spirit of the Peace Corps as he argued the case — though "argued" might be too strong a word for the mild-mannered Minnesotan, who goes by the nickname "Fritz" — for U.S. development aid to countries in need.
U.S. signs on to international disability-rights agreement
The United States' signing last week of the United Nations' international convention on disability rights brought cheers from Berkeley academicians and activists involved in efforts to assure the quality of life for disabled people — and reminders that there remains much to do to, both here and around the world.
Can we reduce medical costs while expanding the availability of health care?
Without reform, the current U.S. healthcare system will well make the federal government "go the way of GM — paying more, getting less, and going broke," President Obama warned recently. In a Q&A with the NewsCenter, Dean of Public Health Stephen Shortell, an adviser to the Obama administration on pending health care legislation, speaks about needed changes — from a center for comparing effectiveness of various treatment options to better incentives for doctors and hospitals to reduce costs.
A Latina judge's voice
Foes of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court have focused in part on her comments on the role of ethnicity, gender and life experience in judicial rulings. Read the full text of Sotomayor's speech on the subject, delivered Oct. 26, 2001 at U.C. Berkeley as the Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture.
Why do we tolerate a massive prison system that produces 70% recidivism rates?
Legal scholar Jonathan Simon discusses the social and fiscal impacts of California's approach to crime and punishment. Unless we confront its central flaws, he says, "everything is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." Part 2 of a two-part Q&A.
Why parole does not work in California
California's criminal justice system has been thrust into the national spotlight by the shooting deaths of four Oakland police officers by a recently released state prisoner. Criminal-law expert Jonathan Simon talks about the 'broken' system he has studied since the 1980s.
Experts weigh in on the battle for national healthcare reform
As the herculean and unpredictable political battle over national healthcare reform unfolds on Capitol Hill, a panel of experts explored "considerations for the Obama administration" at an April 1 campus event. Four experts in health policy, politics, law, and labor focused on needed changes, with emphasis on what is realistically achievable.
Goldman School portal takes the worry out of 'experiments of concern'
How concerned should we be about breakthroughs in synthetic biology that might also be useful to bioterrorists? An online advice portal developed at Berkeley may help to minimize those risks.
Should California consider Australia's wildfire policy?
Berkeley fire researchers caution that any state wishing to emulate Australia's policy of preparing citizens to defend their homes against wildfire needs to take responsibility for properly training and supplying them.
Berkeley Law dean charged with 'fixing the educational pipeline'
Berkeley Law dean Chris Edley — who taught Barack Obama at Harvard and worked in Bill Clinton's White House — mixes Beltway savvy and legal acumen in his role as special adviser to UC President Mark Yudof.
Obama's race not a factor in election, say economists
Reinforcing the notion of a "post racial" nation, two University of California, Berkeley, researchers' analysis of voting patterns indicates that voters were not motivated by race in the 2008 U.S. election of Barack Obama, the country's first black president.
The march to war, from Bonaparte to Bush
This year's Jefferson Lecturer, Stanford's David Kennedy, talked about how today's all-volunteer U.S. military not only makes it easier for a president to go to war, but jeopardizes crucial aspects of American democracy.
Blue sky ideas for Obama sought by new campus website
The campus that's been called "White House West" now has a new website, "Blue Sky: New Ideas for the Obama Administration." Launched by Berkeley law professor and Academic Senate Vice Chair Christopher Kutz, the site features -- and is seeking -- short essays by Cal faculty with fresh federal policy ideas, and is drawing raves both on and off campus.
Survey Research Center marks half-century of data-based insight
Not just accumulating and disseminating reams of data, but interpreting it to help shape public policy, is the mission of Berkeley's Survey Research Center.
Bringing it all back home
It took a quarter century for Wilda White to land the social-justice job of her dreams: helping to train the next generation of public-interest lawyers.
Research explores policy research and impressions of bias
A University of California, Berkeley, study shows that when people learn about research findings that conflict with their own beliefs about politically controversial topics, they not only doubt the conclusions, but also question the researcher's objectivity.The study by Robert MacCoun, a UC Berkeley professor of public policy, law and psychology, will be published in the February issue of the journal Political Psychology and already is online.
Throngs at Berkeley witness dawn of the Obama era
The mood was one of elation on UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza as one of the site's largest crowds to date witnessed the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on big-screen TV.