Berkeley in the News Archive

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

1. Upward Mobility Has Not Declined, Study Says
International New York Times (*requires registration)

A new study co-authored by Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Patrick Kline has found that the income mobility rate in the U.S. has been relatively steady in the last 20 years, with the odds of escaping one's station at birth no higher today than they were decades ago. The authors note that sharply rising incomes at the top of the ladder may be a key reason for continuing immobility, keeping in check progress made by less discrimination and a stronger safety net. The results suggest that parents have a more profound influence on their children's lives today than they did before. As inequality has risen, lengthening the gap between the rich and poor, the economic penalty of being born poor has increased. Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, and San Francisco Chronicle (AP). A related story about inequality research appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Full Story

2. Letter to the Editor: The Middle-Class Squeeze
International New York Times (*requires registration)

Public policy professor Robert Reich responds to a David Brooks column, “The Inequality Problem” (Jan. 17), saying: "In arguing that the problem of poverty is distinct from widening inequality, David Brooks overlooks what’s happened to the middle class." Noting various effects of slow growth, high unemployment, and income inequality, Professor Reich concludes: "America’s shrinking middle class also hobbles upward mobility. Not only is there less money for good schools, job training and social services, but it’s also harder to move upward when the income ladder is far longer, and when its middle rungs have disappeared. ... Unequal political power is the endgame of widening inequality — its most noxious and insidious consequence, its fundamental threat to our democracy." Full Story

3. American elections need help. Here’s how to make them better.
Washington Post

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration released on Wednesday its Report and Recommendations to improve the voting experience in the United States. This commentary reports that the commission "relied heavily upon the expertise of the nation’s top political scientists and election administration experts," including Berkeley political science and law professor Taeku Lee. Full Story

4. Monkey Cage Blog: The real extremists are American voters, not politicians
Washington Post Online

Political science graduate student David Broockman writes about a working paper he has written questioning the popular view that politicians are pursuing more extreme policies while most Americans would prefer moderation. "Using a survey designed to measure support for extreme policies, I find that the characterization of the public as largely centrist rests on shaky ground," he says. "On many issues, much of the public appears to support more extreme policies than legislators do. And while many argue that today’s engaged activists support more extreme policies than the broader public, my findings suggest the opposite: The disengaged and infrequent voters who allegedly constitute the moderate middle are actually more likely to endorse extreme policies than politically active voters." Full Story

5. China accuses hackers for Internet disruption; experts suspect censors
Washington Post

Nicholas Weaver, a senior researcher at the Berkeley-affiliated International Computer Science Institute, comments on a glitch that led to a major Internet disruption in China on Tuesday. Although the official explanation is that the blackout was the result of hacking, experts say it appears to have been a mistaken effort by Chinese censors to block sites they deem subversive. “The rule was supposed to be, ‘Block everything going to this IP address,’ ” Weaver says. “Instead, they screwed up and probably wrote the rule as ‘Block everything by referring to this IP address.’” Full Story

6. Asian Americans and the 'model minority' myth
Los Angeles Times

A commentary about Tiger Mom author Amy Chua's forthcoming book, The Triple Package, discusses the "model minority" myth the book "seems to perpetuate." The article describes the myth as the "notion that Asians are culturally — even genetically — endowed with the characteristics that enable them to succeed in American society." She quotes associate ethnic studies professor Ling-chi Wang, who warned in 1968 in Berkeley's Asian American Political Alliance newsletter that Chinatown's problems "will forever be neglected by the government" unless the community liberated itself from "the tyranny of this Chinese myth." Full Story

7. Great Music for the Great War: Concerts in the U.S. and Europe for a Grim Centennial
International New York Times (*requires registration)

The upcoming centennial of the beginning of World War I will be commemorated by numerous musical events in the U.S. and Europe. At UC Berkeley, the Vienna Philharmonic will visit Cal Performances in March to participate in a two-day symposium with scholars from Vienna and the Berkeley campus. Franz Welser-Möst, director of the Vienna State Opera, will conduct the orchestra in Mozart and Bruckner, and deliver a talk entitled “The Responsibility of Artists.” The symposium was the idea of Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director of Cal Performances. He says that he had been struck upon moving to the United States to discover that World War I was not as present in the public consciousness as it had been in Britain, where he was raised. "When I was in school, as a kid, history was really focused on World War I as a defining moment. ... It wasn’t just the awful brutality of the war that was very present. It was also the arts and culture. ... I hope people will take a moment to reflect on the magnitude of what the First World War was ... and where we are 100 years later — which doesn’t feel so long, actually." On April 6, the Kronos Quartet will debut “Beyond Zero, 1914-1918,” a multimedia work created by composer Aleksandra Vrebelov and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Full Story

8. California names Art Kaufman defensive coordinator
Washington Post

Cal football coach Sonny Dykes has hired Art Kauffman as the team's new defensive coordinator. He was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati last season, and according to this article, he "has developed some of the nation’s leading defenses during a 32-year collegiate career." He also worked at North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas Tech. Full Story

9. The Big Event Blog: Martin Luther King Jr. at U.C. Berkeley ... are you in these photos?
San Francisco Chronicle Online

A series of photographs from Martin Luther King Jr.'s May 17, 1967, speech at UC Berkeley is presented with a request that anyone who sees themselves in the photos email the blogger with memories of the event. He is hoping to use the results in an oral history or multimedia presentation from the crowd's perspective. Full Story

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