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Gov. Brown’s proposal on housing approvals could be a win-win

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | May 25, 2016

Governor Brown’s proposal in his new budget to make certain housing developments eligible to be approved by the state “by right” has riled up not just local governments — who stand to lose discretionary approval over these projects — but some labor and environmental groups as well. It’s pretty obvious why these groups are upset: … Continue reading »

Frozen eggs and Title IX

Mary Ann Mason, professor, Berkeley Law | May 19, 2016

Recently, I gave a research talk on work and family issues to a class of women MBA students at my university. Our UC Berkeley research team, the Do Babies Matter? project, had clearly identified when and how family formation affects career patterns for academic and professional men and women. As usual in this talk, I … Continue reading »

Bernie, Hillary and historical memory

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 10, 2016

I spotted a bumper sticker as it passed through Berkeley on a blue Camry the other day. It read “McGovern-Shriver 1972.” It was a fresh sticker, not a 44-year-old relic, the driver’s wry comment on historical memory. All but the shouting is over preparatory to the Trump/Clinton face-off this summer. (Full disclosure: I, like almost … Continue reading »

Dynamic pull of public culture gives symbols many lives

Sonia Katyal, Chancellor's Professor of Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology codirector | May 6, 2016

Years ago, Justice Frankfurter observed, “the protection of trademarks is the law’s recognition of the psychological function of symbols,” noting, further, “if it is true that we live by symbols, it is no less true that we purchase goods by them.” As a college student, one of the most powerful purchases I ever made was … Continue reading »

Impunity and the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | May 3, 2016

“The Honduran government lacks the veracity and political will to conduct a just, thorough and professional investigation.” This was the reaction of Silvio Carrillo, a nephew of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, when asked to comment on the news that four men have been arrested by Honduran police in connection with the March 3 assassination of … Continue reading »

Build a bigger wall at the border?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 29, 2016

A key Donald Trump pledge is to stop the inflow of undocumented Mexican immigrants by building a border wall so much higher and wider than the one we have now that none could enter the U.S. illegally. One oddity of this pledge is that the inflow of undocumented Mexicans has already stopped. For the last roughly seven years, … Continue reading »

Open letter to the class of 2020

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | April 22, 2016

The original version of this letter was posted in late 2010 on the Reality-Based Community blog).   In the last several weeks, I’ve been asked by a variety of friends and colleagues to post it again; here it is, with some revisions and updating.  I wish I could report that it’s out of date, but things … Continue reading »

Why Hillary Clinton doesn’t get the youth vote

Paula Fass, professor emerita of history | April 18, 2016

With her long history of engagement in matters relating to children and families, Hillary Clinton’s failure to inspire young people is notable and, at least initially, puzzling. Compared to Bernie Sanders, who is a youth magnet, she has failed to speak to the Millennial Generation or even the Generation Xers. A little probing, however, may … Continue reading »

Why the media have been greasing Trump’s wheels

Edward Wasserman, dean, Graduate School of Journalism | April 1, 2016

How to explain the indispensable role of the news media in lubricating the unfathomable rise of Donald Trump? It can’t be favoritism. I venture to say that a survey of U.S. journalists, taken at the start of the primary season, would have found but infinitesimal support for the idea that Trump was a plausible, let … Continue reading »

The paradox of over and under punishment: Reflections on President Napolitano’s recent measures

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | March 15, 2016

The revelations regarding lenient treatment to senior Berkeley administrators who violated the University’s sexual harassment policy underscores one of the great contradictions of our time: we are a society of both over and under punishment. Toward those on the economic margins, U.S. federal and state criminal law and criminal justice policy, as well as administrative … Continue reading »

‘Great again’ plucks a familiar American chord

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology |

Part of the exceptional Donald Trump campaign is his not-so-exceptional slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Demanding and promising a return to Glory Days is centuries-old American theme, shared by both the political right and political left, based on the conviction that today’s America is less than yesterday’s America. Trump channels a grand mythic feature of American cultural life, of … Continue reading »

The European Union is NOT good for security

Bruce Newsome, assistant teaching professor in international relations | March 12, 2016

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement on Feb. 20 of a “special status” for the United Kingdom in the European Union (EU) briefly boosted support for staying in — if only because he dominated the news. However, support will decline before the referendum on June 23, particularly on the issue of “national security,” which he falsely offered … Continue reading »

Why Trump merits the “f” word

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | March 10, 2016

I’ve been reluctant to use the  “f” word to describe Donald Trump because it’s especially harsh, and it’s too often used carelessly. But Trump has finally reached a point where parallels between his presidential campaign and the fascists of the first half of the 20th century – lurid figures such as Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, … Continue reading »

Why Trump?

George Lakoff, professor of linguistics | March 8, 2016

Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Democrats have little understanding of why he is winning — and winning handily, and even many Republicans don’t see him as a Republican and are trying to … Continue reading »

Scalia’s blind spot

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | March 3, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death on Feb. 13 has not only cast a cloud of uncertainty and speculation over upcoming court decisions this term, but has also thrown a curveball into an already raucous Presidential campaign season. Given the Supreme Court’s precarious ideological balance, a new court appointee would have the potential to dramatically reshape … Continue reading »

Free college tuition would only increase inequality

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor | February 29, 2016

Free tuition at public colleges and universities — it’s a rallying cry in Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, and it sounds like an effective strategy for ensuring that the widest range of students can graduate from college without burdensome debt. But zero tuition actually runs counter to Sanders’ core principle of reducing income inequality. In this … Continue reading »

What Clinton’s campaign reveals about women and power

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | February 24, 2016

There are many ways to measure the power difference between men and women. In social science, power is the ability to influence another person’s behavior. Exercising power can be brutal, as when men target women for sexual harassment and violence — which has had the cumulative effect of influencing what women wear, how they walk, who … Continue reading »

A response to Professor Robin Lakoff

Peggy O'Donnell, Ph.D. candidate, history | February 22, 2016

Dear Professor Lakoff, Now it is my turn to thank you for your passionate response to my blog post from last week, in which I expressed my frustration about statements made by Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright about young women who support Bernie Sanders. A careful reader of our pieces would see that your argument is not dissimilar … Continue reading »

Behind the Republican implosion

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | February 19, 2016

The profound dysfunction on display in the Republican party’s contest for its 2016 presidential nomination reflects an intra-party civil war that has been simmering for the past 25 years and has now burst out of control. In the year 2000, George W. Bush’s signal political achievement was uniting an already fractious Republican Party behind him … Continue reading »